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Kids have this tendency to get themselves in trouble, often requiring their parental figures to bail them out. Sometimes this goes to the point of violence or physical feats, where Mama Bear and Papa Wolf step up to the plate.

On the other hand, sometimes it's the parents that get themselves in a sticky situation. But then, sometimes the children will go to any lengths necessary to save their parents (or teacher, older sibling, etc.) from danger.

Any series with a Kid Hero who isn't Conveniently an Orphan is bound to try this at least once. See Adults Are Useless. This trope is often a non-Ho Yay version of The Not Love Interest.

Examples of Parents in Distress include:


Anime and Manga

  • Detective Conan
    • The Bumbling Dad Kogoro Mouri has had to be bailed out of trouble more than once by his Action Girl daughter and his Kid Detective (sorta) protegé, the titular Conan.
    • Whenever Shinichi/Conan's mother Yukiko comes to Japan, she tends to get involved in his cases to try helping him. Logically, Conan does what he can to protect his mom whenever this happens.
    • One case has Ran's mother Eri kidnapped by three men whom she antagonized in the courts. She manages to drop hints about her location to Kogoro, Ran and Conan, who rescue her.
  • In the infamous Hentai La Blue Girl, Miko Mido has to save her parents several times. (Mostly in the sequels Lady Blue and La Blue Girl Returns)
  • Sailor Moon and Chibi Moon are so upset when Hawk's Eye attacks Ikuko (Sailor Moon's mother and Chibi Moon's grandmother) that they get their Super forms in Super S.
    • And in the anime, Rei/Mars once had to fight her grandfather, who has been transformed into a demon by Zoicite. (Or more exactly, reverted to the demon form he had in his past life.)
  • One story in Fresh Pretty Cure involved Love Momozono's mother Ayumi getting taken into a mirror world and temporarily replaced by an evil version. The lady's ward Setsuna Higashi is immediately suspicious, but Love is not and even gets mad over it... but then she also realizes what's going on and must first unmask the impostor, then rescue the actual Ayumi.
  • In Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs, Saber Rider is faced with a similar problem to Love and Setsuna's when he drops back home with April and they realize that prior to his arrival, his parents were kidnapped and replaced by evil Vapor Beings. Saber manages to trap the imposters first (with a little help of the family's Evil-Detecting Dog) and then goes to save Mom and Dad with the help of April, his other friends Colt and Fireball, and and his clansmen.
    • Also, a good part of the plot is driven by the kidnapping of April's father/the Star Sheriff's leader, General Eagle.
  • Delia Ketchum is this in the third Pokémon movie, abducted by Entei after Molly Hale, an emotionally broken little girl whose father has just disappeared, wishes for a mother. Her son Ash is not pleased by this turn of events and does his best to rescue her, while Delia attempts to keep herself safe in her difficuly situation AND support Molly.
  • When Lovino aka South Italy was a kid, his "boss" and Parental Substitute Antonio aka Spain saved him from being kidnapped. Years later, Spain falls sick when his economy goes rotten, so South Italy decides to search for a "cure".
  • In the Vampire Princess Miyu OAV, the main character Miyu's main motivation is to save her parents, who are kept in an eternal slumber by the Shinma leaders as catch to have Miyu hunting down the Shinmas who have escaped to the human world.
    • Enma Ai's parents in Hell Girl suffered a similar fate.
  • In Berserk, Casca, rendered almost completely helpless after the events of the Eclipse, is protected from danger by her miscarried and tainted child by controlling the demons that would normally go after her and using them against those who try to harm her. It also uses its powers to warn its father, protagonist Guts, that she is in danger.
  • In Dragonball Z, Gohan powers up when his father, Goku, is in danger. He's not too pleased when his Parental Substitute Piccolo or his Action Mom Chichi are injured either.
    • In a cruel subversion, when Chichi was killed by Majin Boo, neither Gohan nor his brother Goten could do anything but watch in anguish, since both of them were in other dimensions.
  • In the FRLG arc of Pokémon Special, Blue has to rescue her parents who were kidnapped by Deoxys and by extension, Team Rocket.
  • In Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Rena Ryuugu wants to protect her father from scam artists (one of them being Ryuugu's new girlfriend Rina) who want to steal one million yen from him. This being Higurashi and Rena being Rena... well...
  • In Street Fighter IIV, Chun-Li's father Dorai is rendered in a coma after a brutal beating from Cammy. When she returns to finish the job, Chun-Li's childhood friend and Dorai's favorite disciple Fei Long rises to the challenge and fights her to protect his Parental Substitute, managing to both save him and push Cammy to a Heel Face Turn.
  • The Brave Fighter of Sun Fighbird:
    • Episode 36 has Haruka's parents Tasuku and Natsue attacked by "vampires" and Tasuku is bitten and brainwashed by them.
    • Episode 40 has several women brainwashed into attacking Fighbird via Hypno Trinkets, and one of the victims happens to be Kenta's mother Akiko.
    • Episode 45 has Professor Amano, who not only built Fighbird's android body but is Kenta and Haruka's grandfather, kidnapped by the villains after they find out that he is the titular hero's boss. Since the Hospital Hottie Yoshiko and the Intrepid Reporter Momoko are nearby, they also kidnap both women for good measure; Kenta, Fighbird and Satsuda must struggle a LOT to rescue them.
  • In The Brave Express Might Gaine, Sally Yoshinaga's Ill Boy father is being operated on... and then the electricity in that particular city sector goes off. A desperate Sally takes her bike and tries to see what's going on in the nearby energy plant, but she gets caught in the upcoming battle and needs to be rescued by the main protagonist Might. Fortunately, the energy is restored later and Mr. Yoshinaga survives.
  • In Demon City Shinjuku, Sayaka's father aka President Rama has been captured and is being held in the titular Demon City.

Comic Books

  • The Power Pack have done this since day one.
  • Spider-Man will kill anyone who ever threatens his Parental Substitute Aunt May.
  • In Spider Girl, May once had to swing home to rescue her mom Mary Jane from Normie Osborn. However, MJ is a bit of a Mama Bear, so it wasn't really necessary. At another point she had to help save Peter when he was possessed by Norman Osborn.
  • Whenever Batman gets into serious trouble that he can't escape on his own, his adopted kids/sidekicks will go to hell and back to bail him out. The entire Batfamily including (and especially) Bruce will do the same if anything happens to Alfred.
  • In Runaways, Molly manifests her powers when her mother is struck. She is shown to be the one of the kids who misses her parents the most.

Film

  • In Terminator 2: Judgment Day, John Connor risks his life to save his mother Sarah from being killed and replaced by the T-1000. After she's rescued, however, she castigates him for risking his life so much for her.
  • Penny's character in the Show Within a Show on Bolt
  • Will Stronghold and his friends must do this in Sky High, after the Big Bad transforms Will's parents and other adult heroes into babies. Fortunately The Professor has become a Brainy Baby and he helps them out as much as possible..
  • Spy Kids features this in the first movie, when the spy parents Ingrid and Gregorio Cortez are in danger and the titular kids (Carmen and Juni), after getting over the shock of finding out that their parents were spies, set out to rescue them.
  • Indiana Jones has to rescue his father Dr. Henry Jones Sr. more than once, though he's no longer a kid, in The Last Crusade.
  • In Red Eye, Rachel MacAdams gets violent to protect her father from Cillian Murphy. Her dad returns the favor at the end via going Papa Wolf and killing him.
  • The Ice Pirates combines this, Plot-Relevant Age-Up, and Express Delivery into one for the movie's bizarre climax. The pirates and their enemies boarding the ship are all caught in some kind of temporal vortex that causes rapid aging. The princess that the protagonist just slept with has a kid, said kid grows into an adult off-screen and saves the now-aged protagonist from a last bunch of robots. Then the Reset Button kicks in. Yeah, it's weird. (But kind of fun.)

Literature

  • A Wrinkle in Time. Meg and Charles Wallace Murray go up against an interstellar Cthulhu-level evil to save their father.
  • Mowgli in Rudyard Kipling's original The Second Jungle Book rescues his adoptive parents from the angry villagers, mostly for the sake of Messua - her husband's an ungrateful bastard.
  • Somewhat averted in Fablehaven since the children are staying with their grandparents while their parents are away, and their parents have no knowledge of the magical world at all. However, Kendra and Seth are responsible for saving their grandparents and other adults several times through the books and at the end of the fourth their parents are kidnapped to be used as leverage against them and their grandparents.
  • Invoked in Harry Potter 7. Instead of harming children to get parents to obey, the Death Eaters controlling Hogwarts target students' parents/guardians instead, to get the students to behave. When they try to do this to Neville and his grandmother, his grandmother escapes, injuring the Death Eaters sent after her.
  • Septimus Heap
    • Darke has Jenna and Septimus trying to save their mother Sarah when she gets trapped in the Palace in the Darke Domaine. She eventually is rescued by their older brother Simon tough.
    • Averted of sorts in Syren, as Jenna is more concerned with her brother Nicko rather than her actual and annoying father Milo Banda when she and Septimus attack the ship Cerys, where Milo and Nicko are being kept prisoners by pirates.

Live Action TV

Video Games

  • In Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure, the objective is for Pitfall Harry Jr to rescue his kidnapped father, who appeared in the original Pitfall games during the 8-bit era.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • In Fire Emblem: Thracia 776, the Lady of War Evayle is captured and turned into stone. She also happens to be the adoptive mother of The Hero Leif and The Chick Nanna, who swear to rescue her no matter what. And if the player doesn't manage to do it, she'll be Brainwashed and Crazy into becoming an enemy at the end.
    • In Fire Emblem: Blazing Blade, Eliwood's main motivation is to find his father Lord Elbert, who disappeared in strange circumstances. He finds him... in the lair of the Black Fang, gravely injured and weakened. And then he dies in his arms. And before that, Lyn's adventures involved her racing against the clock to both to claim her inheritance as the Princess of Caelin and save her ill grandfather Hausen. And she has to do the second part again one year later, when the Black Fang attacks their realm.
    • One of the missions in Fire Emblem the Sacred Stones involves protecting Pontifex Mansel, Princess L'Arachel's Parental Substitute and the leader of the Rausten Theocracy, for a fixed number of turns. His death is an automatic Game Over.
      • Another mission involves saving Queen Ismaire... who is in fact Joshua's mother. She doesn't make it.
    • The whole plot of Fire Emblem Awakening turns out to be about this trope in one way or another. The Bad Future that the Second Generation characters come from was triggered by the death of Chrom, his wife (no matter who she is) and the rest of the Shepherds, which paved the path to the God of Evil Grima taking over the Avatar's body and destroying the world. As such, Chrom's daughter Lucina and her True Companions travel to the past in an attempt to Screw Destiny via, among other things, preventing the deaths of their parents.
  • In Dragon Age II, this happens twice to Hawke's mother Leandra. The first time, she's fine. The second... not so much...
  • In Cosmos Cosmic Adventure, Cosmo sets out to save his parents from the aliens who apparently kidnapped them.
  • In Mortal Kombat X, Johnny Cage was in huge and painful trouble twice. The first time, his partner and ex-wife Sonya went Violently Protective Girlfriend and saved him from Quan Chi. The second time, his daughter Cassandra aka Cassie invoked this trope and not only rescued him from Shinnok., who had subjected him to Cold-Blooded Torture, but managed to actually defeat him!.
    • In Mortal Kombat 9, Jax had his arms ripped out by Ermac AND was later made into a Revenant for years, only being rescued when Sonya defeated Quan Chi.. As a consequence, in X his daughter Jacqueline aka Jacqui is determined to honor her old man via fighting in his name and looking for Ermac, aka the one who mutilated him to avenge the horrible crap that he went through.
  • Julia Chang's motivation to join the King of Iron Fist Tournament in Tekken 3 is to find her adoptive mother, Michelle Chang from the first two games, who has disappeared in strange circumstances.

Web Original

  • In Thalias Musings, Leto to her twins Apollo and Artemis. This is the origin of the Pythian Games.
  • The story "Christmas Crisis" In the Whateley Universe. Tennyo's parents get kidnapped because they're mutants who work for the C.I.A. Tennyo's brothers find out and call her because they're mutants who work for the C.I.A. Tennyo and her cabbit (It Makes Sense in Context) fly to the rescue because the villains want Tennyo and she's a Person of Mass Destruction.

Western Animation

Real Life

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