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Logical Latecomer

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Solid Snake: Pipe down kid. [goes into Thousand-Yard Stare] After a while, you just stop asking these questions.
Hiimdaisy, "Let's Destroy Metal Gear Again"

Being new to a group or setting helps the latecomer notice that everyone else isn't operating with a full deck.

As the Sixth Ranger or rookie member (including Rookie Red Ranger), this character has likely been absent from all the mental leaps, decisions, and odd adventures that everyone else has undergone. Because of that, none of them can Spot the Thread or notice that there's something incredibly strange about the whole picture. But this character does, and won't hesitate to question why their new companions behave the way they do. Depending on the scenario, the other people may try to address the issue (up to resolving it), or they may just dismiss it and tell the rookie to get used to it.

See also We Have Become Complacent and Meta Guy. Compare Is It Always Like This? and its response Welcome to My World. This may lead to the newcomer being a Defector from Decadence if they leave the group, or the Only Sane Man if they stay. Some may become just as crazy in the end.

Compare and contrast Naïve Newcomer. The main difference between the two is that while another character will at least attempt to give the newcomer some explanation as to why things are the way they are, the latecomer's questions and concerns will be ignored or downplayed (leading to latecomer's further exasperation). Both are equally likely to serve as an Audience Surrogate, however, with the latecomer most often taking the role during the later installments of a work to alleviate Continuity Lockout.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Wagnaria!!: Early on, the series follows Souta, the new part-time waiter, as he discovers one after another the various quirks of his co-workers. Said quirks no other co-worker seems to be bothered by, no other co-worker seems to bother with, no other co-worker bothered to warn him of, and no other co-worker bothered to even mention. The restaurant turns out to be a Dysfunction Junction alright. But Souta himself does make quite a contribution.
  • In K-On!, Azusa joins the club in their second year. Her relationship with the rest of the band starts off very shaky due to this, with her pointing out how lazy and unmotivated they seem to be, and how little they seem to focus on their club activities over drinking tea and eating snacks. In their defense, those things were conveniently exaggerated upon her introduction, with much of what they're not doing heavily implied to have been happening off screen prior to that point (otherwise Yui, for instance, wouldn't even be able to play her instrument), but it's played straight from Azusa's perspective.
  • One Piece: Several members and allies of the Straw Hat Pirates have been this at different points of the manga, as they discovered what a gang of lunatics they're dealing with. More humorously, most of them end up being absorbed into the antics of the crew as a sign that they have grown close to them:
    • Princess Nefertari Vivi had all sorts of trouble dealing with the pirate crew that Igaram had hired as her bodyguards, constantly dealing with their massive egos, habit of picking fights with each other for the pettiest of reasons, and the captain's amazing stupidity. However, by the end of the Alabasta arc, when it was time for her to say goodbye to them, she had already gotten used to all that. Instead, at the party celebrating the fall of Crocodile, it was the Alabasta royal guards who briefly played this role for her, utterly confused for why was the princess so amused by the ruffian behaviour of these pirates. Of course, minutes later, they start laughing and partying alongside them.
    • Nico Robin, who joined the crew soon after Vivi left, was a downplayed example. She would've probably been more openly exasperated by her crewmates' antics were she not only the most stoical member of the crew, but also the oldest (at the time of her joining) and by far the most experienced as well. So even though the Straw Hats were probably the most insane group she has ever been with, that's not by such a margin that their antics would give her too much pause, at least until they marched into Enies Lobby to save her from certain death, something she had really never experienced before.
    • Jinbei is truly a latecomer in the series, as he doesn't actually officially join the crew until Whole Cake Island arc, although he was mentioned as early as the Arlong arc, debuted in Impel Down, and announced his intention to eventually join the crew in Fishman Island. That said, he certainly played this trope straight during Fishman Island, repeatedly going into shock over Luffy's antics, particularly when he smuggled Princess Shirahoshi out of the royal palace.
    • Trafalgar Law showed up in Punk Hazard and offered an alliance between his crew, the Heart Pirates, and the Straw Hats, to take down the infamous Pirate Emperor Kaido. He immediately came to regret it, as it became clear that the Straw Hats are not only completely nuts, but would constantly rope him into any scheme they were involved with on the side and not take no for an answer. It then turned out that he hadn't actually expected to survive past Dressrosa, as his true plan was to interfere with Doflamingo's black market business and hopefully piss off Kaido so that he would go after Doflamingo (who Law really hated) after Doflamingo killed him and Luffy. This plan got derailed hard when Luffy wound up beating Doflamingo instead, meaning that Law now had to commit to the (nonexistent) plan against Kaido. Then he found out that just before Punk Hazard Luffy had, in an unrelated incident, declared war against Big Mom Charlotte Linlin and not mentioned it, thus their alliance had two Emperors for enemies. By the time they reach Law's own crew's hideout in Zou, his sanity has taken a huge toll from Luffy's antics.

    Comic Books 
  • According to Word of God, this was the reason that the Scarlet Spider's debut battle was against Venom. Venom was one of Spider-Man's most dangerous and insane foes, but during this period of time, Spider-Man had entered a non-aggression pact with him, where the two would basically leave each other alone. Peter at this time was married and Venom was well aware of his true identity, so Peter was partly motivated by a desire to protect his family. Despite this, some writers felt that this was horribly out of character for Peter Parker, and expressed their feelings through Scarlet Spider, who is very pissed off that Peter made this deal.
  • Superboy and Supergirl were this for the original Legion of Super-Heroes; as people from the present day, they understandably didn't know much of anything about life in the 30th century, nor what kind of crazy adventures the Legion got up to. This made them Audience Surrogates who could ask relevant Worldbuilding questions, allowing the comic to avoid constant As You Know moments.

    Comic Strips 
  • Peanuts: Franklin was like this, questioning bits of weirdness that the other characters took for granted such as Snoopy's World-War One helmet and Lucy's psychiatric booth.

    Fan Works 
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged: Trunks, despite growing up in a post-apocalyptic Bad Future, is a relatively normal and well-adjusted young man. This leaves him very unprepared for the insanity of the Z-Warriors when he goes back in time. Especially where his father is concerned.
  • Several characters in The New Adventures of Invader Zim play this role as they are added to the cast, including Norlock, Steve, Viera and Tenn.
  • Mr and Mrs Gold: When Emma first meets Rose, she sees her walking throughout the square with her nose in a book, every other pedestrian and driving car do not find it the least bit concerning or something to notice, as if she has been doing the same walk with them for years (for 28 years even). Naturally, Emma is the only one to think this is strange.
  • In Steven Universe: and the Hunters of Arcadia, it does not take long for Jim and Claire to realize just how justified their trip to Beach City was when they saw Steven and Connie ride a pink lion that can walk on water leave via portal.
    Jim: Claire, you saw that ri
    Claire: I have eyes, Jim.
  • A Professor and a Student: Professor Kukui is completely astonished by all the crazy things Ash has been involved in.
  • Averted in Hell and High Water. Human Twilight would have served this role, but no one is happy with the idea that they have to deal with bringing someone who may not even be all that helpful up to speed on the plot in addition to addressing all the story's recent revelations. So Aria quietly mindwipes her offscreen as soon as possible, so it isn't an issue.
  • A Knight's Tale as Inquisitor: Arturia finds herself having to deal with the Mages and Templars at war due to various circumstances...and eventually is the one to point out that both are at fault for allowing things to escalate to the point that they are in the present and both sides will have to deal with the repercussions of their choices no matter who wins the war.
  • Doofenshmirtz Hero Incorporated!: While "logical" isn't the correct term to describe Doof, he points out several issues with the MHA world, like its stifling of innovation, its ignorance of pre-Quirk history, and how the hero school system is failing the emotional and psychological needs of its children.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America (who spent several decades in suspended animation) is the only person in S.H.I.E.L.D. to see something wrong with the organization's plan to launch a fleet of super-accurate, nigh-unstoppable aerial gunships to patrol the world and enforce peace at gunpoint. It turns out that he's completely right, because HYDRA has been running S.H.I.E.L.D. for decades at that point, and once those ships are in the air, they will wipe out the millions of people worldwide who could ever possibly pose a threat, effectively letting them Take Over the World in one fell swoop. Cap spent about 65 years being frozen, reinforcing the trope more since he is missing generations of angst that have led to S.H.I.E.L.D. deciding on this course of action.
  • Global Heresy: As guests in the mansion, the musicians are exposed to stuff that the Foxley family have lived with for years, and some of their comments (like bewilderment at his not spending time with his niece just because she is illegitimate) strike home with Edward and make him realize he has been too proud and bad at communicating with his loved ones.
  • Godzilla vs. Kong: Josh Valentine. He protests and tries to warn the other characters, including Madison Russell from the previous film, when they're heading toward instead of away from something inside the bad guys' secret lair that any practical-minded or common-sensed person would consider ominous and dangerous.
  • Hot Fuzz: London cop Nicholas Angel is assigned to the village of Sandford and is utterly baffled by how the veteran cops there are quick to write off obvious homicides as freak accidents. This is because the murders have been going on for decades, and so most of the local cops have grown up with the impression that Sandford is a place where no one is ever murdered but that accidents happen all the time. As an outsider, Nicholas lacks that impression and sees the murders for what they are.
  • Jasminum begins when an art restorer and her daughter arrive at a monastery that houses a bunch of lovably quirky monks.

  • Ascendance of a Bookworm: Myne, the protagonist, is a young woman from modern-day Japan who reincarnated in a Medieval European Fantasy. But first and foremost, she's a Bookworm in a world where Medieval Universal Literacy is very much averted, which results in her top priority being introducing cheap books to her new world over everything else, with random items she took for granted in her previous life a close second. She's also a sickly girl prone to Fainting at the drop of a hat. This results in just about anyone who gets dragged into helping her make her dream come true needing to get used to being around a young girl who is very strange from an in-universe point of view. As Myne's network of helpers is ever-expanding over the course of the story, it's not rare for more recent additions to have at least one scene in which they have to deal with the combined craziness of Myne and the people who have known her long enough to no longer be fazed by her behavior and tendency to collapse with little-to-no warning before they end up joining said craziness.
  • Discworld: This is something of a running gag concerning the Librarian of Unseen University: early on in the series a magical accident turned him from a human to an orangutan, but he adapted to his new form quickly and the rest of the university and the city of Ankh Morpork quickly got used to having him around. Newcomers and visitors to the city tend to be surprised by this, and it's mentioned that whenever someone tells the faculty that there's an ape on the grounds they'll probably go ask the Librarian if he's seen it.
    The Bursar hesitated. There was always this trouble with the Librarian. Everyone had got so accustomed to him it was hard to remember a time when the Library was not run by a yellow-fanged ape with the strength of three men. If the abnormal goes on long enough it becomes the normal. It was just that, when you came to explain it to a third party, it sounded odd.
  • The Lost Fleet: Captain Geary is a logical latecomer as a result of being a Human Popsicle. He is trapped in cryo-sleep during the first battle of the Alliance-Syndic war and isn't found and woken up until a century later. Because he's the only member of the Alliance military who remembers how things worked before the war, Geary can see the flaws in the way things are run now when everyone else believes their own propaganda about how those methods are the best ones or that things have always been like that. For instance, every commander is a Leeroy Jenkins in battle rather than fighting as a fleet. The Alliance indiscriminately kills civilians and prisoners, believing it's justice for the people the Syndics have killed and will demoralize the enemy (even though it hasn't in decades). The worst ship commanders are assigned to the ships that are the least likely to be destroyed due to notions about honor, while the talented commanders are used as cannon fodder. Geary works to change that way of thinking, and it doesn't take long for most of the other characters to begin realizing that his alternate methods are working.
    • Geary's outside perspective also leads to him asking a question that nobody else had given any thought to, namely why did the Syndicate Worlds start a war they knew they couldn't win, and why had the Syndics and The Alliance let that war drag on for literal decades of increasingly bloody and seemingly unbreakable stalemate without anyone even talking about suing for peace? His broaching the question causes something of an in-universe Fridge Logic reaction in the people around him because for them the war was just sort of... there, and literally everyone else who could remember a time when it wasn't had been dead for decades. This becomes the Driving Question of the whole of the first series of books.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Charmed, neophyte witch Paige occasionally falls into this after joining Piper and Phoebe who, by that point, had three years worth of experience as Charmed Ones and had gotten used to quite a few things. When Piper turns into a Fury, Paige is quite shaken at how blasé Phoebe, Leo and Cole are when recalling some of the Sisters' past demonic transformations to try and predict Piper's behaviour.
    Paige: "Is there some sort of spell I could do, you know, in advance so I could, uh, not become maybe a Banshee or..." Phoebe: [ignoring her while working on reversing a spell] "What word did you sub 'Demon' with?"
  • Happens often with the study group in Community, but a stand-out example is Todd, who briefly has to join the study group to make equal pairs. They squabble so much over who has to pair up with him that they don't get the assignment done at all, and in the end Todd calls the biology professor in tears.
  • How I Met Your Mother: Robin's boyfriend Kevin is a therapist and finds it difficult to keep in all his professional feelings about how insane the main cast are. In one episode, he explodes and diagnoses everyone with mental health issues on the spot.
  • The Last Man on Earth: By the time Louis joins the cast in season three, the group has gotten used to Phil/Tandy's peculiar logic. Louis grows exasperated not only at Phil's antics, but also by the others' blasé attitude towards them.
  • In Legends of Tomorrow, after Damien Darhk (himself a villain) agrees to work with the Legends to stop the demon Mallus, he has trouble fitting in with the quirky and fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants Legends.
    Damien Darhk: Okay, new guy question — is that a joke plan or a real plan?
  • Murder, She Wrote: Sheriff Mort Metzger, introduced in season five as a newcomer, reacts to Cabot Cove's murder rate with stunned disbelief, commenting that it "makes the South Bronx look like Sunnybrook Farm!"

    Video Games 
  • Devil May Cry 5: Only being introduced one game prior, Nero has no idea who Vergil is and why Dante is so keen on fighting him by himself. He's eventually told that Vergil is Dante's twin brother and Nero's father, which only makes Nero more conflicted because he's suddenly gone from having no family to having a father and an uncle that want to kill each other. As such, he declares the entire Sibling Rivalry between the two a stupid waste of time and unlocks Devil Trigger just to make them back down and settle things like civil people once and for all.
  • Deltarune: In Chapter 2, Noelle becomes a Guest-Star Party Member at one point, teaming up with Kris to help them through Cyber City after they split up from Susie and Ralsei. However, the first time you enter a battle with Noelle in the party, she's confused by the combat interface and the concept of ACTing. Kris and the Virovirokun they're fighting have to put the battle on hold to explain the basics to Noelle.
  • Epic Battle Fantasy 4: Anna is new to the entire adventuring thing and isn't used to some of the questionable things the team does at times.
  • In Persona 5 Strikers, Zenkichi acts as this to the Phantom Thieves, something emphasised by the Time Skip since the original game. Even after the Phantom Thieves take the time to explain the Metaverse to him, he still freaks out big time once they actually take him into it.
  • Mass Effect:

    Web Animation 
  • Red vs. Blue has this role shift from character to character, with the newest member of the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits generally taking the role until they find their niche in the cast. At first, it was Frank "Doc" DuFresne. Then it shifted to Agent Washington when he arrived, followed by Agent Carolina, then the leaders of the Chorus forces, then Dylan Andrews... the role is in flux but each time results in a different brand of comedy.

    Web Comics 
  • Hiimdaisy: Played for Laughs in Let's Destroy Metal Gear series, in which every protagonist plays the Extreme Doormat/Straight Man to the insanity going on. The page quote above is recited to new protagonist, Raiden, by previous protagonist, Solid Snake, while Snake sports a post-traumatic Thousand-Yard Stare.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Minrah Elle Shaleshoe, a dwarf Fighter/Cleric, joins the eponymous Order at the end of Book 6. She is often puzzled by the party's numerous idiosyncrasies, not having had six books to get used to it like the readers.
    • A very positive example of the trope happens later, as the team are preparing for battle, with everyone making good suggestions or enabling the suggestions of others. Minrah is pleased by the team's supportive nature, which Elan states only exists because they tried everything else first.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Adventure Time ministory "Islands", several isolated remnants of human colonies are discovered, one of which is governed by Finn's biological mother, Minerva, who is the last of the "Helper" caste that managed to survive a lethal plague by uploading her dying body into a computer network. She wants Finn to also upload so she can protect him from danger forever, but Finn tries to convince her that the outside world isn't so bad by showing her his memories. Her response to Finn's many adventures in Ooo is... mixed.
    Minerva: Your world seems so chaotic. Your ruler is a piece of gum, your friend's a vampire, you dated a bit of fire — your life is constantly in danger!
  • Futurama: This was the role of Professor Farnsworth's clone, Cubert, in his first appearance. Having been literally born yesterday, he was there to point out the show's many scientific inaccuracies and logical inconsistencies. This aspect was abandoned in later appearances, when Cubert came to embrace the show's nonsense.
  • Gravity Falls: When animatronics trap Soos, his date Melody, and the twins in a restaurant and start attacking, Soos tells Melody that Dipper and Mabel will protect her while he confronts the machines.
    Melody: Soos, these are children.
  • Justice League Unlimited: Green Arrow joins the team as a Badass Normal joe without even the benefit of being a Crazy-Prepared Chessmaster like Batman (and he also happens to be a hardcore leftist). He is constantly one to question whether or not Cadmus has a point about being afraid of the Physical Gods taking justice into their own hands. In fact, this trope was invoked by the League itself, who wanted him to be their Morality Chain.
  • Milo Murphy's Law actually begins with one—the first episode has Milo meet Zack, who just moved to town and thus doesn't realize that standing next to Milo is a bad idea. Throughout the show, Milo and Melissa keep surprising him with Noodle Incidents that happened before his arrival. A later episode also gives this role to Zack's father Marcus, the only person who doesn't immediately accept that Murphy men have a Hereditary Curse.
  • The Owl House: Luz's mother, Camila, is thrown into this role in the final season, when she assists the teenagers in saving the Demon Realm from both Belos and the Collector. She tries to take everything in stride, but is ultimately taken aback and confused by what is seen as normal and not worth being concerned about and what is supposed to be treated as the horrifying results of the Collector's child-like actions.
    Camila: Uh, okay, okay. The eyeballs on the ground are normal, but the little space cherub is the danger?
  • This was the concept of The Simpsons episode "Homer's Enemy." Frank Grimes is an ordinary guy who gets a job at the nuclear plant and is confounded that Homer is Too Dumb to Live and that everyone else simply accepts it. He is, however, a Deconstructed Character Archetype because of two details: 1) He becomes so angry about this fact that he becomes obsessed with proving how stupid Homer is and it results in him losing his mind and getting himself killed and 2) what gives him the "logical" perspective is not really (Word of God notwithstanding) being "a real person", but having suffered such a hard-core life-long barrage of the Diabolus ex Machina that he's as absurdist a character as any Simpsons regular, only aiming for angst rather than laughs.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Minor example in "Drop Beat Dad" from Greg’s old music manager Marty when he visits Beach City. Most locals are entirely used to Steven being a Super-Strong Child, whereas Marty reacts in total surprise when he sees him easily lift a crate full of stage equipment that would normally take two fully grown roadies to carry.
    • "Gem Harvest": Steven meets Greg's cousin Andy DeMayo, who hasn't seen him in years and doesn't know about the Gems or Steven's adventures with them. Andy is baffled by the Gems' powers, and reacts with fear, concern, and Anger Born of Worry when he hastily tries to leave the family dinner in his biplane and Steven flies after him with Lapis's help, only to nearly fall into the ocean. Interestingly (and hilariously), he actually seems to immediately accept the fact that the Gems are extraterrestrial beings... but he's super mad that Greg has been harboring "illegal aliens."