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Jerri: Speaking of cute, there's this new kid at school...

Sara: New? I don't like the sound of that.

Jerri: He's really nice!

Sara: Most new people are, until provoked. And then they turn out to be... different.

If a show has scenes featuring a school, the easiest way to drop a new character into the cast is to have that character enter as a transfer student. This is usually done by the Second Episode Morning. If the transfer student is the main character, the series will usually begin on his or her first day at the new school and deal with his struggle to make friends. This will always happen around mid-semester, so the other characters can exposit at them.

Often this ignores the inherent problem of characters with no credentials or information (since a lot aren't even human) being able to sign up for a school within a week or so after getting the idea. See Undead Tax Exemption.

This is a common way to introduce the mysterious stranger who'll become a character's Magical Girlfriend. Conversely, it's a way to have a character who is initially severely irritating to another to force them to deal with each other. In both cases, they'll end up sitting next to each other.

Note how long they wear their old uniforms tells whether they assimilate. Especially if the new school doesn't have uniforms.

Examples of New Transfer Student include:

Anime & Manga

  • Mone in Yumeria is registered and attending Tomokazu's high school almost within minutes of exiting the dream world and showing up in his bed.
  • Eiru and An in the "Makaiju" Story Arc of Sailor Moon effortlessly masquerade as normal middle schoolers.
    • Makoto was also a new transfer in the first season; she could not wear the girls's uniform because they didn't have any in her size. She stays this way the entire series until they finally graduate to high school near the end and their high school carries uniforms she can actually wear.
    • Also, in the last season all three Sailor Starlights transfer to Usagi's school. So does Minako, who actually was in a different junior high and can finally join Juuban.
    • In the manga, Haruka and Michiru transfer to Juuban High since their old school was blown up at the end of the Death Busters arc. They both have to wear their new uniforms — Haruka actually dresses in male and female clothes, and wears both uniforms (seifuku AND gakuran) in the manga's run. (Crystal hasn't reached that canon point yet)
  • Arika's enrollment in Garderobe Academy in Mai-Otome isn't exactly a transfer, but it has all the other symptoms of the trope, including having the one student who knows (and dislikes) her being assigned as her roommate and guide around the school.
    • Mai-HiME's Mai Tokiha and her brother Takumi, on the other hand, are. Their arrival at the school was planned well ahead of time, however.
    • In the Mai-HiME manga, Yuuichi transfers in at the start of the series, and later on, Shiho and several students from Searrs do so as well.
      • In the fake movie trailer, Arika transfers in this way. She is also seen discussing enrolling at Fuuka Academy with Mashiro and Fumi at the end of the manga.
  • Belldandy from Ah! My Goddess! had to go through some shenanigans so that she wouldn't be revealed as a fake student.
  • In Zatch Bell, the character Shion (partner to the momodo Nia) is introduced as a transfer student to Kio's high school. When her mini-story-arc is completed, she exits with the excuse that her transfer stay was over.
  • Shattered Angels more or less depends on this trope to get the story started.
  • The ever-Genre Savvy Haruhi from Suzumiya Haruhi goes looking for a "mysterious transfer student" to complete her club — and latches onto Koizumi, who's just tickled pink to join the SOS-dan. Even if he hadn't exactly been planning to transfer in until Haruhi decided she needed a transfer student.
  • Rukia did this on the Second Episode Morning of Bleach. This one's more plausible than normal, as she has no problem altering the memories of others to suit her purposes.
    • Including the new characters in the filler arc, eight more Shinigami have since posed as transfer students, though many of them are clearly too old to be in Ichigo's class. (Yeah, but Rangiku Matsumoto constantly being one deep breath away from exploding her top is hot.) Or too young, like Hitsugaya; it's even Lampshaded when others ask him why an elementary schooler is hanging out with Ichigo's crowd
      • Shinji Hirako did this in order to recruit Ichigo to the ranks of the Vaizards. When he finally succeeds, he disappears from school and nobody ever wonders where he went, probably since humans who have met Shinigamis posing as normal people tend to forget them when they're gone.
    • There was also a flashback episode about Ichigo and Chad transferring to their current high school, and meeting with Keigo and Mizuiro.
  • "Tessa" Testarossa from Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu, a Whispered prodigy and submarine captain, decides to take a holiday as a transfer student at Sōsuke and Kaname's school. Sōsuke (himself an ostensible transfer student) nearly has a total breakdown ensuring she comes to no harm.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha As didn't even show the school that often, but Fate transferred in and became friends with Nanoha's groupies effortlessly anyway. Hayate transfers in during the spring after A's, having become well enough to attend.
  • Happened to both Bakura and Kaiba in the manga and first series of Yu-Gi-Oh!!. (Kaiba is already a student at the beginning of the second series)
  • Happened to Tenchi, the "main character", in Tenchi in Tokyo, after he moved to Tokyo to both study there and work at a local shrine owned by a friend of his grandpa (whose grandson is one of Those Two Guys).
  • Kanon, Yuuichi — another main character.
  • Sara in Soukou no Strain, who managed to get into military school under a false name and raise no eyebrows.
  • Aiko and Onpu came in to the first Ojamajo Doremi series as transfer students. In the Motto series, Momoko would come in this way as well.
  • Negi Springfield from Mahou Sensei Negima is essentially a New Transfer Teacher.
    • Many of the students refer to Evangeline as a transfer student, even though she's been stuck in that class since before any of the other students (or the teacher, for that matter) were even born.
      • It never was stated that she was in junior high all time, which would be highly visible... Actually opposite was stated as Takamichi was her classmate, which could be happend only in highschool or university. So it's only her 2nd or 3rd time in junior high for that 15 years. And she can change visble age and appearance. So for the sake of Masquerade she is a transfer student.
    • Yue herself becomes a transfer student, as she joins a Wizarding School from the Magical World late in the manga.
  • This particular trope is a major plot device in Gakuen Heaven. Not only is Keita Itou a transfer student as there is a lot of speculation concerning his particular transfer to Bell Liberty.
  • Azumanga Daioh starts with two transfer students. Chiyo is introduced right away, but Osaka's entrance is delayed until the first episode afternoon to give Chiyo some screen time.
  • Both Seto no Hanayome and Sumomomo Momomo feature new students transferring in without delay throughout the series, as the main cast slowly accumulates not just into the same school, but also the same class.
    • In the latter series, Koshi wonders how a dimwit like Momoko passed the entrance examination. Turns out she went to an interview with a school official and her Battle Aura frightened him so much that he admitted her immediately.
    • In Seto no Hanayome, it helps that San's family has effectively taken over the school by the third episode.
  • In the first episode of Futari wa Pretty Cure Splash Star, Mai is the New Transfer Student, having just returned to the area after leaving years ago. Until Urara a year later, and Kurumi from Yes! Pretty Cure 5 GoGo the year after that, Mai was unique among transfer students in the Pretty Cure franchise in that she does not start out with a bad attitude, gradually improve while becoming friends with main characters, suddenly turn out to be evil (though the audience knew this all along), fight the main characters, change affiliations during the fight, head off to apparent death, and then reappear near the end of the season. And later on, we would get Setsuna and Tsubomi, albeit the former is another villain turned good.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion subverts this trope, while touching all the normal bases with impressive grace. Each of the children/pilots has a different "first day" and covers a different "transfer student" plot.
    • Shinji gets the "main character is starting a new life bit". He's ignored, worshiped and beat up by turns on his first day. Most conventionally, he becomes friends with Those Two Guys (one of them being the guy who hit him, blaming him for his sister being wounded in the first episode's Angel attack).
    • Asuka's first week of school is played and shot like the "hot new girl in school" from countless romantic comedies and love sims, more specifically a "returned overseas student" (someone who lived abroad because of daddy's job). Actually, she was born overseas (given her citizenship, in the USA most likely), and has never lived in Japan. It immediately becomes clear that Asuka doesn't care anything about "fitting in" or academics, and all those star-struck boys are just dirt under her shoes. Interestingly, the story never tries to make this an Aesop. She does show a little humanity by making friends with Hikari.
    • Rei doesn't get her transfer day until Shinji's dream in the last episode. This time it's the "love triangle from out of town" bit (with Rei moving in between Shinji and Asuka). This lets Gainax show how much broader they could have played some of their already broad humor and let Megumi Hayashibara really cut loose. She's also the only one to wear a different fuku.
  • Loveless: Aoyagi Ritsuka begins as a transfer student both in the manga and the anime.
  • Ai Haibara in Detective Conan is introduced as "the first transfer student since Conan arrived". It's not a coincidence. Conan seems to have picked up on this as he is immediately suspicious when he hears of a new exchange student in Ran's class who soon becomes the focus of his plot investigations.
    • Conan himself is an example; however, he actually gets transferred back to Teitan Elementary... because the last time he attended was seven years prior to the series. Also subverted in the anime, when the scene where he was transferred was in the stinger.
    • In the parent series Magic Kaito, Saguru Hakuba enters the classroom the same way (interestingly, both he and Haibara have English mothers). This may be a subversion, as he only transfers at the end of the chapter... after having already been established as a teenaged detective going after the eponymous thief. Needless to say, Kaito has a headache.
    • Eisuke Hondou is like this, too.
  • Masayuki from Ghost Hound.
  • Both Yasako and Isako from Dennou Coil.
  • Suzaku transfers in early on in Code Geass. Not the first time the viewers have seen him, though.
    • He does it again in the second season, and there's a marked difference in how the students treat him, since he's gone from being "that Eleven who they say killed Prince Clovis" to "ace pilot and war hero".
      • Also in R2, Gino and Anya transfer in to Ashford, just to see what civilian life was like.
  • Variation in Cardcaptor Sakura: Syaoran (and in the anime, Meiling as well) presumably has all the documentation an innocuous transfer student would need, as he's a human with a past and a family; the most unusual part from a bureaucratic standpoint would be how he joined the class in the middle of the school year. Played straighter with Eriol; while he joins the class at the beginning of the summer session, he's the reincarnation of Clow Reed, and in the manga is explicitly said to have been a child for years, so not much chance of legitimate records from his former school helping his transition.
  • In the first episode of Digimon Adventure 02 Takeru (TK) transfers to the school where Hikari (Kari) and most of the new Chosen Children are enrolled.
  • Gundam Wing uses this thrice. First, Heero transfers in and out of Relena's high-class boarding school (and even does some hacking to establish his "credentials".). Then he and Duo transfer to a public school, with Relena keeping watch (of sorts). Later, Heero and Quatre transfer to the Sank Kingdom's school run by Relena, and they meet another transfer student... Dorothy Catalonia.
  • Subverted in Kemeko Deluxe!, in which a Cloudcuckoolander predicts the arrival of a transfer student, and sure enough, a new character bursts onto the stage (through a window) moments later. However, the actual transfer student turns out to be a named extra unrelated to the main plot.
  • Keiichi in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni counts, although at the start of the story, he's been there for about a month.
  • Both Cab and Minerva in Transformers Super God Masterforce, though in their cases, it was revealed soon after they were introduced that arrangements had been made to send them to the International School. In fact, Cab was initially reluctant to attend until he met Shuta.
  • Himari in Omamori Himari, with a little help through Undead Tax Exemption.
  • Largely averted in Ranma ½. Even though Ranma himself is a transfer student, nothing is ever made of it after season one/volume 2.
    • Gosunkugi becomes a New Transfer Student in the anime, while in the manga he was present from the start.
    • Ukyo Kuonji transfers over from her (boys-only) school to Furinkan while chasing Ranma down.
  • Completely subverted in Manabi Straight! when the new transfer student Manami Amamiya becomes Student Council President on her very first day at her new school, before even being introduced to her new homeroom class.
  • Midori Days with Lucy, an American transfer student who has as much of an idea of Japan as your typical anime fangirl. Acts like one, too, not surprisingly.
  • Amuro Ninagawa of Umisho. And in a later episode of the series, Maaya Nanako.
  • Tatsuma Hiyuu from Tokyo Majin. Subverted (a bit), however, as the series begins In Medias Res, following up with How We Got Here.
    • Not so for the game though as this trope firmly applies since Tatsuma is the protagonist of the game and apppears right at the beginning as a transfer student. Later on however a prologue can be unlocked which tells of Tatsuma's past at his previous school but this was omitted from the anime.
  • Ami Kawashima in Toradora!.
  • Ryu Amakusa and Megumi Minami have to act the part in Tantei Gakuen Q by enrolling into a boarding school to investigate a girl's disappearance, supposedly caused by the nasty online bullying coming from the Class Representative. He ends up murdered, and it's seen that another girl was the target of his constant and cruel insults. The missing girl left with her boyfriend because her parents disliked him, apparently for no real reason.
    • Later, a student of said highschool (Kuniko Touya) transfers into the Dan Detective School. She's the girl who was bullied to the point of emotional breakdown, actually.
  • Katekyo Hitman Reborn's Inheritance Ceremony Arc begins with seven new transfer students to Tsuna's school. It turns out that they are members of the Shinmon Family, sent by the Vongola as guests.
    • The Arcobaleno Trials Filler Arc also had two new transfer students (they were actually Belphagor and Mammon from the Varia). After the arc is over, they leave and nobody questions what happened to them.
  • At the beginning of volume 2 of Ichigo Mashimaro, this is how Ana becomes introduced to Matsuri (having already encountered Chika and Miu).
  • Lampshaded in Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya when Illya shows just how Genre Savvy she is for Magical Girl tropes:

 Illya: That Girl seemed to be about the same age as me, didn't she?

Ruby: Seems to be. What about it?

Illya: According to the pattern...

(The next day...)

Illya: I knew it'd turn out like this.

Ruby: I see. The transfer student development, huh? Quite the cliche.

Taiga-sensei: Take the seat all the way at the back by the window. Right behind Illya-chan's seat.

  • Corpse Party: Blood Covered inverts this with Mayu: when the story opens, it's her last day at Kisaragi Academy before transferring out. Plot developments put a hold on that plan, however...
  • Homura Akemi in Puella Magi Madoka Magica is one, although she doesn't transfer for educational reasons, but rather to keep and eye on and protect Madoka. In the beginning, though, she was transferred for a legitimate educational reason-- she has been previously hospitalized long-term due to heart disease, and was in the process of mainstreaming.
  • At the beginning of Wandering Son, the Nitori siblings Shuichi and Maho are transfer students to an elementary.
  • Otogi Matsuri: Shortly after Yousuke and his friends meet Yomogi Inaba, the strange new priestess of the town's temple, they discover that she will be the newest member of their class.

 Teacher: "We have a new student joining us. She came to town on some family matter. Please introduce yourself."

Yomogi: "I'm Yomogi Inaba. Pleased to meet you!"

Yousuke: "Such a predictable development..."

  • Super Dreadnought Girl 4946 has this a lot.
  • Guilty Crown has Inori popping up in Shu's class, right after he rejected the rebel group Undertaker's offer.
  • Tsuritama's plot kicks off with Yuki's transfer to Enoshima. ...and Haru a couple minutes later. ....and soon after Akira, who is 25 years old.
  • The plot of Sasurai no Taiyou is kickstarted by the poor student Nozomi getting a scholarship that lets her transfer to a richer school... the one where her future rival Miki studies. It's NOT a coincidence: the lady who arranged it is the Big Bad of the story, Michiko.
  • Subverted in Oniisama E: Nanako and Tomoko fit in personality-wise, but they came into Seiran Highschool via the normal admission tests rather than transfers. Still, Seiran is an Elevator School that students normally start attending since kindergarten so having new highschool students at all is quite the novelty for the locals, and Mariko even points it out to Nanako herself.
  • The oldschool manga Akaichi no Eleven begins when Shingo Tamai, the protagonist, goes live from Tokyo to a small city and arrives to the local public school.
  • Akaichi no Eleven's Spiritual Successor of sorts, Captain Tsubasa, starts when Tsubasa Oozora and his family arrive from Tokyo to Shizuoka and Tsubasa transfers to the local public school, Nankatsu. Later, Taro Misaki transfers into Nankatsu as well.
  • Shiho from Private Actress is hired to play the role in a Boarding School for rich kids, so she can investigate the mysterious death of a junior high student there.
  • In Hikari no Densetsu, the manga begins with Hikari having just transferred into her new junior high. In the anime, she's already been there for a while.
  • The Kasugas from Kimagure Orange Road start as this, since their Psychic Powers were revealed to Muggles in their last one (via Kurumi using them in a school competition) and they had to leave so they could keep the masquerade.
  • You Hazuki is one in Attacker You!, due to her father's work. She even spends the very beginning in her old Sailor Fuku, rather than wearing her new school's blazer!
  • In Street Fighter Legends: Ibuki Makoto ane Elena are both this, Both being very awkward and different compared to typical students of the school with Makoto always wanting to pick fights and Elena being friendly almost to a fault and even keeping her old school uniform due to her being much taller than the average female student.

Fan Works

  • This a very common way for authors to insert their new character (often a Mary Sue) into their Harry Potter fanfics, usually having just transferred from America into the fifth, sixth or seventh year and will of course, be in either Gryffindor or Slytherin. Supposedly, J.K herself got tired of this and claimed that Hogwarts officially does not accept transfer students. Not that it stops the fanfic writers one little bit.


  • The "transfer students" in Battle Royale are two guys voluntarily participating in the game. For Kazuo Kiriyama, this only applies in the film version, with the character being a gang leader (the role assumed by Numai alone in the film) in the novel and manga. For Shogo Kawada, he's a transfer in all three versions.
  • Charlie Bartlett is about a rich but troubled boy (the title character) who is kicked out of every private school he attends until he has to resort to a public school. The film opens with him transferring.
  • The Hairy Bird: Odette "Odie" Sinclair


Live Action TV

  • That new girl from L.A., Buffy Summers.
  • Delia Fisher in My So-Called Life.
  • Lots of examples in Degrassi.
    • In early seasons, Darcy, Mia, Peter, Chester, and others arrived this way.
    • Every Lakehurst student who came after Mia was a transfer student (think Holly J, Anya, Sav, etc).
    • In season eight, Clare was not the typical example of a transfer student because she arrived in ninth grade HOWEVER she did transfer from private to public school and kept wearing the uniform from private school.
    • In season ten we have Owen, Drew, Adam, Bianca, and Eli.
  • Strangers with Candy had the entire student body, teachers and parents ostracizing the new kid to the point of almost lynching him for being seen talking to Jerri at the school dance.
  • Gentaro Kisaragi in Kamen Rider Fourze. Later on, Ryusei Sakuta/Kamen Rider Meteor.
  • Blaine Anderson in season three of Glee
  • Saved by the Bell: The New Class had at least one (often more) every season.


  • Dong-ha in I'm At End of Your Sight, though whether or not he attends school depends on his personality.
  • Ma-ri in Orange Marmalade has been her school for around a week before the story starts.
    • Later Si-Hoo transfers to her school as well.
  • Sung-Hae at the start of Zippy Ziggy.

Video Games

  • Appropriate for the school setting of Disgaea 3 Absence of Justice, your Player Mooks arrive in your classroom as transfer students upon creation. Princess Sapphire is a main character example, though she didn't transfer with the intent of being a student.
  • Kori Twelves in Time Hollow. Interestingly, she actually is from that school, just decades in the past.
  • Happens three times in Persona 3. First with the main character, second with a party member (implied to have been done by the company in charge of the school), and a third time with another plot-important character. By the time this happens, the homeroom teacher for said students is beginning to get a little suspicious.
    • Then it happens again in Persona 4. However, whereas his predecessor was transferred from the country to the city, he went the opposite way.
      • 4 has Rise and Naoto as well. Yosuke transferred to Yasogami the previous year.
    • The main character from Persona 5 also starts as one, having transferred to Tokyo to start his year in probation after being framed for sexually assaulting a girl. (He was actually trying to help her from the real assaulter).
  • The catalyst for Bully.
  • Arthur Chen from Backyard Sports.
  • Marche from Final Fantasy Tactics Advance was a new transfer student from the beginning of the game, so he was called "New Kid" at first. "New Kid" is also the name of his job class exclusively during the Snowball Fight.
  • Mayu Suzumoto of Corpse Party is an inversion. She's transferring out of Kisaragi Academy. The festival is supposed to be her last day. If only she'd transferred out sooner...

Visual Novels

  • Too many visual novels to list have transfer student heroines: Princess Waltz, Muv-Luv, Da Capo...
  • And probably even more visual novels have transfer student protagonists: Kanon, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Sumaga, Katawa Shoujo...
  • Nerine and Sia's transfer gets the ball rolling in Shuffle! Later on, Primula transfers into the school as well, one year below the others.
  • Maji De Watashi Ni Koi Shinasai:
    • Chris is a transfer student from Germany, early on in the storyline.
    • This is also how all of the sequel's new characters are put into the game. Yoshitsune, Benkei, and Yoichi transfer into 2-S, Seiso transfers into 3-S, Monshiro and Battle Butler Hume transfer into 1-S, and Tsubame drops into 3-F shortly thereafter.
  • Hisao of Katawa Shoujo; after having a heart attack, his doctors decided it would be best for him to go to Yamaku Academy, and he transferred in early on in his third year. All the other characters, however, most likely have attended Yamaku since they entered high school.

Web Comics

  • Alistair transfers to Gunnerkrigg Court... for a week. He doesn't even bother with a uniform.
    • It's mentioned in passing that Antimony also came to the school late. (Word of God puts the time at about halfway through the first year.)
    • You could say practically everyone attending the Court is a transfer student, as most of them (such as Zimmy and Gamma) are brought to the school to be studied for their powers or conditions, leading to several students coming and going.
  • In Everyday Heroes, Summer starts at her new high school in the middle of her freshman year. Uma just started a few weeks before her, so they're paired in biology lab. Nice to have somebody normal to hang out with.
  • In The Adventures of Shan Shan, Cassiopeia's arrival happens with a lot of other events. Not to mention that she's quick on the uptake.
  • Rain begins when the titular protagonist transfers to a new school so she can attend as a girl.

Web Original

  • Survival of the Fittest... where do we begin? Adam Dodd, Ken Lawson, Erick Rischio, Dacey Ashcroft and Kallie Majors, among others. (and that's only V3)
  • In the Whateley Universe, Bladedancer and Carmilla and Heyoka all started at Whateley Academy late in fall term, at different times. Then Seraphim started winter term.
    • Justified in that Whateley is specifically a school for young mutants, whose powers may spontaneously manifest and necessitate a sudden transfer from whatever school for 'baselines' they previously attended at any point in the school year. It would have to be a pretty atypical semester in which no New Transfer Students showed up for a change.

Western Animation

  • Invader Zim slips seamlessly into Dib's elementary school despite having a Paper-Thin Disguise that doesn't even change his skin color from its normal green; claiming it's a skin condition and also why he doesn't have ears. Or a nose, for that matter.
  • In Code Lyoko Season 2, William is such a transfer student. Aelita pretends to be one once she is no longer forced to stay on Lyoko. Odd is the transfer student in the prequel, "XANA Awakens".
    • In the second Code Lyoko novel, The City With No Name, Eva Skinner/XANA transfers into Kadic Academy with the goal of murdering the Lyoko Warriors. Yeah.
  • Bolbi from Jimmy Neutron.
    • "Slap-Slap-Slap! Clap-Clap-Clap! Slap-Slap-Slap! Clap-Clap-Clap!
  • Daria moved to a new town and started at her new school in the first episode of her own series, mainly to literally distance the show from the stylings of its parent show, Beavis and Butthead.
  • One episode of Arthur had a Flash Back to when Mary Alice "Muffy" Crosswire was a transfer student. Sue Ellen Armstrong is introduced later this way.
  • In The Spectacular Spider-Man, Mary Jane counts even though she was introduced several episodes before she transfered to the main characters' school.
  • This is how South Park introduces many of its one-time characters, but it is also used to introduce recurring characters, such as Pip.
  • Gus from Recess.
  • Doug begins the series as a transfer student.
  • Will Vandom in WITCH starts as this. In the comics Taranee is another one, having moved a few days earlier (in the cartoon she moved a year before the series). Interestingly, in the comics we see that Taranee was actually born in Heatherfield, as the burned down house of Taranee's real parents is on the city's outskirts and moved out when she was adopted.