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The main character runs into someone out of the blue. The next day, (usually at school or work) they think of how they'll never see this person again, when the teacher announces they have a new student... guess who? Whenever a work takes the time to show someone "accidentally" bumping into a random character, you just know they're not random... and the "reveal" is usually only five minutes away, anyways. Sometimes it's done so that the main characters can have a different first impression of each other than the rest of the cast, who simply go by a "oh, it's just a new student" attitude. In a Love Dodecahedron it can often be used to establish the Official Couple from the beginning.

Used most often in romance stories, but it doesn't have to be a love interest.

Compare with Meet Cute, a related trope where a (future) couple meet in an unusual way and will obviously fall for each other in the future; Forgotten First Meeting, in which two people meet and forget it, and Chekhov's Gunman, a character who is introduced but only gradually revealed (or re-introduced) to be important to the plot much later. Also see Early-Bird Cameo. Supertrope of Introduction by Hookup, when the previous meeting consists of the characters sleeping together.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Beast Master: Yuiko Kubozuka's pet cat climbs up a tree and is rescued by a mysterious guy. He runs away before she can thank him. The very next day Yuiko is shocked to find out that the mysterious guy's name is Leo and he's the new transfer student in her class.
  • Bleach: Ichigo absorbs Rukia's powers when he meets her, the next day she shows up pretending to be a student and tells him he has to take over her job temporarily.
  • In the softcore Hentai manga and anime Cinderella Express, a young man on his way to his wedding meets an attractive young woman on the train. It turns out that she's a hooker his friends hired as a "farewell gift." After some apparently very hot sex (windows are steamed over), the woman leaves the train a stop before the man's destination, and he figures he'll never see her again. The next day at the wedding, it turns out she's his new sister-in-law, and she'll be staying with the newlyweds until she can get a place of her own....
  • Early on in The Devil is a Part-Timer! Maou ran into a girl who doesn't have an umbrella while it's raining and gave his umbrella to her. The next day, the girl came back and attempt to attack him with a knife, revealing herself to be his arch-enemy Emilia Justina. Volume 14 reveals that this isn't coincidental, however: Emi was already investigating Maou's possible locations beforehand, and got a bit lucky meeting him in person when the rain hits, though she already suspected that he might live in that particular area (Sasazuka) due to how cheap it is.
  • At the end of the first episode of éX-Driver, Lisa declares she's finally met her dream man after seeing his driving skills... and as he steps out of the car, it turns out he's a young kid. Then he shows up at her class, because he skipped grades and transferred to her school.
  • Freezing: New student Kazuya mistakes Satellizer for his dead sister, causing her to lose a fight. Also accidentally runs into a Rana in town, who happens to be transferring into his academy.
  • Great Teacher Onizuka: Prospective teacher beats up a pervert who is feeling up a woman on the bus. Turns out both he and the woman are applying for work as teachers, and the pervert is the vice-principal...
  • In Hanamaru Kindergarten, our protagonist, a male kindergarten teacher who is Late for School, sees a four-year-old girl standing alone by the side of the road. He stops and asks her, "Excuse me, ojou-chan. What are you doing here?" Ojou-chan essentially means "Miss" or "young lady" - not an unusual way to address a young girl one doesn't know. Anzu, the girl, has an active imagination, however, and immediately jumps to the conclusion that he's hitting on her. Naturally, he turns out to be her kindergarten teacher, and the misunderstanding persists. Hilarity of course ensues.
  • HEN: Chizuru runs into Azumi in her boyfriend's apartment when Azumi first moves in, turns out she'll be attending the same school. Girls' Love ensues.
  • Used to disastrous effect in Koi Kaze where Koshiro and Nanoka meet first on a train, go on a date together, THEN find out they're siblings.
  • Love Hina: doubled up: Keitaro meets Naru 15 years prior, when they were little. He meets her again while looking at test scores. Then he meets her when he moves into the Hinata House.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: Negi bumps into Asuna on his first day on campus, who mistakes him for a lost elementary schooler.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • Shinji meeting Asuka in the manga.
    • And, in the anime, Shinji meeting Rei in the alternate universe/dream sequence.
  • Used several times in One Piece, especially with villains. Considering how crazy all the important characters look, it's pretty easy to tell who we will and will not be seeing again.
    • During the Arlong Park arc, Arlong's foremen see Luffy walking on his own. They intercept his path, ask him where he's going, Luffy casually says he's going for a walk, and he... keeps going. About an hour later, they'll be killing each other.
    • Mr. 2 Bon Clay ends up on the Going Merry for a little bit, and they spend the day dancing about the Okama way. Mr. 2 hasn't realized they're the Straw Hats, and none of the Straw Hats knew he works for Baroque Works.
    • At Water 7, the crew comes across the foremen shipwrights. Several of them turn out to be CP 9 agents.
  • Peridot: Akira, running from would-be rapists, bumps into Mahiru... who doesn't help her. Next day, at school...
  • Rosario + Vampire begins with a Crash-Into Hello between Tsukune and Moka. They walk to school together, but separate at the opening ceremony. Then it turns out they're in the same class.
  • Sailor Moon worships this trope.
    • How does Usagi meet Mamoru, who turns out to be the re-incarnation of her lover in a past life and the phantom thief/superhero that shows up to save her neck at the end of the episode? By throwing a test paper into the air and accidentally hitting him with it. They don't have another "proper" meeting (in civilian identities) until the next episode, when she hits him with her shoe.
    • She meets her feline mentor, Luna, by chasing a bunch of bratty kids away from a black cat they were beating up. While Luna initially runs off, she shows up later in the episode to stalk her and give her superpowers.
    • She meets Makoto, who saves her from a bunch of delinquents on the way to school. Sure enough, Makoto is the new transfer student the same day and before the day is out, Makoto is Sailor Jupiter.
    • Usagi meets her future daughter Chibiusa this way, with Chibiusa landing on her head after falling from the sky. Chibiusa runs away, and Usagi thinks nothing of it until she comes home and suddenly has a brand new cousin that she can't remember having.
    • That hot young man Usagi meets suddenly and crushes on during the S season and "his" girlfriend? Sailors Uranus and Neptune.
    • Chibiusa's meeting of Hotaru, who turns out to be both the major villain Mistress 9 and Sailor Saturn. Ironically, she actually traveled back to the past in this series because her mother told her she would meet an important person, essentially predicting this event.
  • In Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, Kafuka Fuura meets her suicidal teacher Nozomu trying to "make himself taller" before class on the first day of school.
  • In part two of Sweet Guilty Love Bites, the single mom Nina has a drunken night stand with another woman whose name she doesn't even bother to ask. The next morning, she discovers that that woman is her daughter's new preschool teacher. "Awkward" doesn't even begin to cover it.

    Comic Books 
  • The Authority: Kevin: A younger Kevin would sleep with older (married) women for money, on one occasion getting booted out by the furious husband. Kevin shows up to the barracks to find out the husband is going to be his commanding officer. Eventually Kevin signs up for special forces training just to get away from him.
  • The French series Les Profs has a teacher running to get to his class on inspection day. He runs across a street as the light is red for him, nearly getting run over by a car. He then proceeds to chew out the driver (without letting him finish his sentences) before running off to be on time. When he arrives in the classroom, who does he see but the inspector, aka the driver.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Subverted in Catch Me If You Can — on his first day at a new school, Frank Jr. is accosted by a couple of students who snidely remark that he looks like a substitute teacher. He responds by pretending to be a substitute teacher, much to their dismay.
  • Confessions of a Shopaholic: Rebecca is on her way to a job interview and "absolutely must" have a new scarf for it. She stops at a hot dog vendor to get change so she can purchase the scarf "for her sick aunt". A nice young man hands her $20 so she can be on her way and he can get his hot dog. When she arrives at the interview, the man conducting it is.... none other than the nice guy at the hot dog stand.
  • Cruz Diablo: Before the movie actually begins, some musketeers are shown discussing Cruz Diablo at a tavern, calling him a ghost and a devil. Commander Rocafuerte scolds them, saying he could defeat Cruz Diablo, who promptly appears and defeats him. Commander Rocafuerte proves to be important to the movies actual plot later on when it's revealed he aided in the murder of the Count of Luna.
  • In Dan in Real Life Dan meets Marie at a bookshop and the two have a natural rapport, although it turns out that Marie has a boyfriend. The next day, Dan's brother Mitch turns up with his new girlfriend... guess who! And UST Ensues...
  • In Get Smart, Max is contemplating being rejected on the field agent exam to a dog in some pet store display window, when a female jogger crashes into him, and they both fall down. They exchange a few words, and then she gets up and continues on her way. In the very next scene, as Max is looking around the shambles that remain of CONTROL's offices, someone briefly holds him at gunpoint, and it is....the same jogger, who turns out to be Agent 99.
  • In Grease, Sandy and Danny meet over the summer, but split ways as they assume that since Sandy's family is going back to Australia, they'll never meet again. Naturally, next fall, Sandy's family is now in America and she's a transfer student at Danny's school...
  • High School Musical pretty much rips off Grease with Troy and Gabriella meeting at a ski resort, singing a duet, and then assuming they'll never meet again...though this being a movie made and set in 2006, they swap cell phone numbers with the intent of keeping in touch. Which they strangely don't do, which leads straight to them having a surprise meeting at East High after Gabriella's family moves to Albuquerque.
  • Mirror, Mirror has Snow White meet a strange young man in the forest, who's tied up and half-naked after having been robbed by bandits. The next day at a ball, she meets Prince Charming...who turns out to be that same man.
  • In Top Gun, Maverick flirts with a woman at a bar, but crashes and burns. The next day, she's introduced as a civilian instructor at Miramar.

  • Harry Potter:
    • Harry always meets or hears about the new Defense against the Dark Arts teacher before school starts.
      • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone: Professor Quirrell is in the Leaky Cauldron when Hagrid takes Harry to buy his school supplies and Hagrid introduces them.
      • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: Professor Lockheart is in Flourish and Blotts when Harry goes there with the Grangers and Weasleys to buy textbooks and seizes on the opportunity to take some photos with Harry since he knows it will make the paper.
      • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Harry just happens to choose the same compartment as Professor Lupin on the Hogwarts Express on the way to school.
      • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Amos Diggory asks Arthur Weasley to help out after a reported disturbance at Alastor Moody's house while Harry is with the Weasleys and he soon learns that Moody is to be the new DADA professor.
      • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Harry gets a hint of Umbridge's unpleasant personality when she is at his hearing for underaged magic prior to the start of the school year.
      • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: The sixth year DADA teacher doesn't count because he had been teaching Harry a different subject for years. But the trend continues with the new Potions teacher, Horace Slughorn.
      • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Harry doesn't attend the seventh year, but he still meets the DADA (or rather, Dark Arts) teacher before the next school term anyway. In this case, the meeting happens before the book starts. Amycus Carrow is one of the Death Eaters participating in the battle of the Astronomy Tower in the sixth book, dueling with both Ginny and Harry.
      • And ironically, he usually doesn't know it. Quirrell is introduced by Hagrid (though from the reader's point of view, at this stage he's just another relatively generic teacher and there's nothing significant about the DADA position), and Lupin is worked out by Hermione (though given Lupin's friendship with James, it's reasonably likely that Harry and Lupin did 'meet' when Harry was a baby) but on the other five occasions he's unaware that the person he's meeting or hearing about is the new DADA teacher. In the case of Slughorn he thinks he knows, but turns out to be wrong as Slughorn is actually Potions teacher. Amycus is excusable, though; aside from not teaching him, before the final book, Harry doesn't believe that Hogwarts could actually be taken over by the Death Eaters.
    • He also meets Arch-Enemy Draco Malfoy before school starts; indeed, he's the first fellow student he meets.
  • The Lost Redeemer: Nahlia sees Thane at the beginning of the book, although she's unaware of his identity. She doesn't learn his name until later when he finds her in the Ethereal.
  • In The Saga of Darren Shan, the circus that the titular half-vampire travels with has a cadre of Little People — strange, silent, zombie-like creatures with blue robes and glowing green eyes — who seem to be guarding the circus from something, though they also do tasks like move equipment and sell souvenirs. In book 2, when he first joins the circus, he notices that one of them has a limp in his left leg, and nicknames that one Lefty. No one knows what the Little People are, and everyone is convinced that they can't talk, but in book 4, Lefty reveals that he can talk, and he has a name — Harkat Mulds. Harkat becomes Darren's closest friend, and a large part of the plot from then on.
  • The Stormlight Archive: In Words of Radiance, when Shallan is traveling to the Shattered Plains to meet the man she is supposed to marry, she runs into Kaladin, who is in charge of patrols outside the warcamps. Due to a prank from Shallan's conwoman mentor, she ends up pretending to be a Horneater princess and stealing Kaladin's boots. It's only when Shallan arrives in the warcamps a few days later that she finds out that Kaladin is her soon-to-be father-in-law's captain of the guard.

    Live-Action TV 
  • It's fairly common in BritComs for the protagonist to meet and insult somebody they think they'll never see again, only to discover that the person they've insulted is their new neighbour or work boss or bank manager etc.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Harry Sullivan has a minor role in "Robot", but they do not really get to know each other until the following story, "The Ark in Space".
    • In "Smith and Jones", Martha meets the Doctor when he approaches her in the street, takes off his tie and says "Like so!", and leaves. In the hospital where she's interning, she sees him posing as a patient but he claims not to know her. At the end of the episode, he proves that his TARDIS can move through time by time-travelling to the morning of their first encounter, then hopping out of the TARDIS while clutching his undone tie in his hand.
  • In the first episode of Grey's Anatomy, Meredith Grey has a one night stand with a guy she meets at a bar on the night before she starts her surgical residency. The next day, she discovers that the chief neurosurgeon at the hospital she's working at is the guy she had a one night stand with the night before.
  • Our Miss Brooks:
    • In the first episode, titled "First Day", Miss Brooks and Walter Denton have an altercation with Mr. Conklin on the road not knowing that he's the new high school principal hired to replace Mr. Darwell. Later, this incident was retconned as Miss Brooks was shown to have started working at Madison High School long after Mr. Conklin was hired as principal (i.e. the television episode "The Novelist")
    • In the radio episode "Poison Ivy", Miss Brooks offends two important state board officials in the same morning - not knowing that she would be meeting them that afternoon.
    • In the fourth season television episode "Transition Show", Miss Brooks twice bumps into Winona Nestor, causing her to spill the change in her purse. Later in the episode, Miss Brooks would find herself seeking employment with Miss Nestor.

    Video Games 
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy VII: After the first "job," Cloud runs into a girl selling flowers...
    • Final Fantasy VIII:
      • Rinoa asks Squall to dance at the party, but doesn't think much of it. Squall's first mission as a SeeD is...
      • Earlier in the same game: a "random" transfer student asks Squall to give her a tour of the Garden. The girl is actually party member Selphie. And a childhood friend Squall forgot about thanks to the memory loss he suffered from junctioning Guardian Forces.
    • Final Fantasy IX: Zidane shows up to kidnap the princess and gets bumped into by a cute girl wearing a White Mage hood departing the castle.
  • In Persona 4, the main character meets a chatty gas station attendant at the very start of the game who shakes his hand. Turns out the "guy" is actually the goddess Izanami who orchestrates all of the strange murders in the game and gives the main character the power to summon Personas via this very hand shake.

    Visual Novels 
  • Daughter for Dessert:
    • The protagonist bumps into Saul outside Heidi’s Bar before Saul properly introduces himself. Saul lampshades this, saying that the the two of them were not meant to meet yet.
    • Cecilia visits the diner before revealing her identity. She’s rude to the protagonist, but gives Amanda a $1,000 tip.

  • Not Always Right: One story has a candidate for a job try "negging" techniques on the young woman waiting alongside him, trying to bring down her self-esteem in the hopes of getting the job. Too bad he very soon found out she wasn't a fellow candidate but actually the hiring manager...