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"The audience loves the slow thinker."

In any form of comedy and/or drama, whether it be Eastern or Western, the main character will be painfully oblivious to the events that are occurring right in front of him or her. Typically, it is up to the supporting cast, way before the revelation is necessary, to figure out the painfully obvious characteristic of the new personality, or find out a clue so shocking, that it can’t refuse to be overlooked. Instinctively, said support will try any which way to get the information known to the leading man/woman, with unsuccessful results. When the main character eventually does find out what the others have been trying to tell him/her, one of the two outcomes will happen, depending on the situation:

  1. If in a comedy, the main character will step back, stunned, and contemplate the news before properly freaking out.
  2. If in a drama, the character will usually be confronted by the villain, who will deliver a pre-mortem or James Bond-esque zinger, with the main character attempting a desperate What the Hell, Hero? or "The Reason You Suck" Speech, with results that vary wildly with each work.

Subtrope of Idiot Hero, Too Dumb to Live, Late to The Punchline and Genre Blindness. May involve some elements of Failure Is the Only Option, and might become a Running Gag if used on more than one occasion. If it becomes the entire character's mindset, it is destined to become Flanderization.

Quite obviously a comedy, drama, and anime trope.

Examples of The Last Horse Crosses the Finish Line include:

Anime and Manga

  • A visual example in the first episode of Ouran High School Host Club, Tamaki was the very last person to figure out that Haruhi was a girl, visualized by the six lightbulbs, Tamaki's being the sixth and final one to light up. The rest of the Host Club had a hell of a good time making fun of him for that.
  • Gourry from Light Novel/Slayers becomes known for doing this a few times across the series. It'll take him numerous episodes for him to make the connection that someone is the bad guy. This length of time almost crosses into Brick Joke territory for taking so long.
  • In his debut episode in Axis Powers Hetalia, Sealand went for a whole 3/4's of the episode believing that the countries were ignoring him just to be jerks. It takes him to the last quarter of the episode, while nicely enjoying a meal with himself, that the reason that the other countries ignored him is because he hasn't been recognized as a country himself.


  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End , where Tia Dalma uses her sand crabs to locate and bring Jack back to the crew of the Black Pearl. Needless to say, it takes a while for Witty Jack to figure out that his ship was suddenly ferried, without effort, across Davy Jones' Locker, after he himself was trying his damndest to pull it over that same hill with a piece of rope. It takes even longer for him to realize that the ship is moving at breakneck speed, and he will soon be left behind if he does not catch up.


Mythology and Religion

  • In the book of Numbers, Baalam's donkey sees an angel of the Lord well before Baalam (who is supposed to be a prophet) does.

Video Games

 Karla: Zhat is correct, paladin. But zhat is not even zhe peculiar zhing. After zhat, zhe man stood up and valked avay.

Anebriate: Wait, wait wait... did you just say "valked?"

'Karla: ... Yes, he valked avay. Zhat is vhat I zaid.


  • In Psychonauts, it's only after the fight with the first brain tank that Raz realizes Oleander is the villain.


Western Animation

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