->'''Portinari''': ''You are a cynical old bastard.''\\
'''The Dealey Lama''': ''That's right. Cynical and cold and without an ounce of human compassion. The only thing to be said for me is that I always happen to be right.''
-->-- ''Literature/{{Illuminatus}}''

A cousin to the TricksterMentor and the SinkOrSwimMentor, the CynicalMentor doesn't really care whether TheHero succeeds or fails, and he/she often believes it will be the latter. Unlike the SinkOrSwimMentor, there ''will'' be training, and it's usually TrainingFromHell. This particular brand of mentor uses his cynicism to anger the hero and get him to fight back/harder for what he wants and/or believes in. This mentor helps the hero very, ''very'' grudgingly (most likely because he/she was bored and/or had nothing better to do). Never gives encouragement or compliments, except maybe right before the hero's final test/battle, and even then it might be a longshot.

There's a fair to good chance that said mentor either is a KnightInSourArmor or RetiredBadass.

Compare SourSupporter, ZenSurvivor.


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Evangeline from ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'', to a frightening degree. TrainingFromHell aside (of which there is much), one of her major lessons for the main lead is that no act in this world can be completely good like he [[WideEyedIdealist thinks/hopes]], and that being evil comes naturally as a part of living. She also treats him like crap.
** Of course, she turns out to be partially right in that during Mahorafest [[spoiler: Negi admits that he can't really justify fighting Chao, and that he might just be the bad guy this time around]]. Despite this, Eva still seems to be sliding into AntiVillain territory, and has to [[NobleDemon convince herself that she's still evil]], which Negi isn't buying. Seems like Negi and Eva are starting to rub off on each other.
* Hijikata from ''Manga/PeacemakerKurogane'' towards Tetsunosuke. He appears pretty strict and cynical towards Tetsunosuke (not really directly teaching Tetsunosuke fighting, and mainly having Tetsunosuke serve him tea). However, deep down, it's suggested numerous times that he ''does'' care about Tetsunosuke.
* Gambino from ''Manga/{{Berserk}}'' once told his adopted son Guts that he should trust nothing but his own brains and brawn since people are ruthless bastards who will do anything to survive or for the sake of ambition. Gambino even told Guts that he shouldn't trust him. [[AbusiveParents This was one of the only times Gambino acted remotely fatherly to him.]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/ActionMan'': Agent Salmons serves as one of these to the titular Action Man, Ian; he supplies TrainingFromHell partly out of belief that [[TheResenter Ian didn't deserve the Action Man role as much as Salmons did]].

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ''FanFiction/SugarPlums'' Zabuza is this to, well everyone honestly, but especially to Ume which is saying something since she's already [[KnightinSourArmor incredibly cynical]] to begin with. This leads to a lot of [[SnarktoSnarkCombat funny exchanges]] between the two of them.

* Mick, Rocky's trainer from the ''Franchise/{{Rocky}}'' film series, at least in the [[Film/{{Rocky}} first movie]]. He constantly mocks Rocky until towards the end, when he finally comes around and gets upgrade to CoolOldGuy, which is where he remains until he [[spoiler: dies in ''Film/RockyIII'']].
* Creator/ClintEastwood's character from ''Film/MillionDollarBaby''. Oh so much. "I'll try to forget you're a girl."
* ''Franchise/StarWars'': Mace Windu is quite cynical in his view of galactic affairs, compared to many of the other Jedi, such as Obi-Wan Kenobi; he also doesn't seem to like [[DarkMessiah Anakin]] much at all and he opposed little Anakin's training from the start because he thought the boy was too old to begin training. It's implied in the ''Revenge of the Sith'' Novelisation some of this is down to him watching his beloved Republic crumble.
** Following the decimation of his new Jedi order thanks to [[APupilOfMineUntilHeTurnedToEvil one of his most promising disciples accepting the Dark Side of the Force]], Luke Skywalker has become a recluse as of ''Film/TheForceAwakens''. When he is [[spoiler:contacted by an emerging Force-sensitive]] in ''Film/TheLastJedi'', he's none too eager to suddenly begin championing the old ways.
* ''Film/MishimaALifeInFourChapters'': Kashiwagi is this to Mizoguchi in the Beauty segment of the movie.
* Senior Chief Randall in ''Film/TheGuardian''. He seems determined to get Jake Fischer to quit and go home.
* Midshipman Lieutenant 1st Class Matthew Cole in ''Film/{{Annapolis}}'' tells the protagonist Jake Huard from the beginning that Jake is not good enough to serve in the Navy and is determined to kick out anyone who, in his mind, is not worthy to wear the uniform. Naturally, he becomes DrillSergeantNasty. By the end, Jake wins Cole's respect by nearly besting him in the boxing ring (Cole only wins by points). The final scene has Cole raising the bar on Jake by daring him to join the Marine Corps.
* Jimmy Dugan, Creator/TomHanks' character in ''Film/ALeagueOfTheirOwn'', is a cross of this and the ObsoleteMentor.

* The Dealey Lama, A.K.A [[spoiler:Gruad Greyface]] from ''Literature/TheIlluminatusTrilogy''.
** You can't exactly blame the man. [[spoiler:He ''invented'' Good and Evil 50,000 years ago, and then watched people misunderstand and screw up his ideas. He's been trying to destroy his creation and myth ever since. He made himself the [[{{Satan}} Devil-figure]] of all the world's religions in order to get people to renounce him, yet there are still people who would follow at the footsteps of the monster he made himself to be.]]
* Literature/{{Discworld}}'s very own OldMaster AlmightyJanitor, Lu-Tze, who acts as TheMentor to Lobsang in ''Discworld/ThiefOfTime''. It is, of course, lampshaded:
-->''Yeah, but I have years of experience and cynicism! You're just talented!''
* ''Literature/TheHungerGames'' has a slightly-milder example in Haymitch Abernathy. It's only after Kantiss gets fed up with his pessimistic attitude that he even considers helping her and Peeta, but after that he becomes a lot more helpful and supportive then most Cynical Mentors, though he's still a [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold sarcastic jerk]].
* Asher in ''Literature/SomeoneElsesWar'', despite being only two years older than the main character.
* Ash-dan in ''[[Literature/WarchildSeries Warchild]]'' is this to Jos, his older brother's student. How he treats his own student, Hadu, is never addressed, but he likely wasn't as cynical.
* ''Literature/TheHeartsWeSold'': The Daemon qualifies. He's a KnightInSourArmor to the nth degree, looks down on humanity as a whole, and is mostly just interested in getting his job done -- which shows in his interactions with the heartless troop, whom he mainly treats as particularly unruly employees. He gives them the bare minimum of information and help so they don't die, but is very, ''very'' "hands-off," to put it lightly, though Dee suspects he does care about them, at least a little bit.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Claude Rains, the [[{{Invisibility}} invisible hobo]] on ''Series/{{Heroes}}'', as mentioned above. He appears to despise Peter and uses their "training sessions" as chances to beat the crap out of him. He also has several other quotes about the general unreliability and undesirable qualities of humanity, and he [[TrainingFromHell pushed Peter Petrelli off a 30-story building]].
* [[KnightInSourArmor Dr. Cox]] to [=J.D.=] in ''Series/{{Scrubs}}''. He is [=J.D.=] guide of sorts, but he is completely sarcastic and seems to detest [=J.D.=].
* [[Series/{{House}} Dr. House]] has taken on this role in several episodes in addition to being a MagnificentBastard.
* Captain Malcolm Reynolds acts this way towards Simon and River Tam in the first few episodes of ''{{Series/Firefly}}''. He lets them stay on Serenity so that the Alliance doesn't catch them, but he doesn't want much to do with them as long as they don't get in the way, and when he does talk to them, he's pretty cynical.
* [[KnightInSourArmor Colonel Kira]] takes on this role for [[AProtagonistShallLeadThem Legate Damar]] during the final arc of ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'', putting him and his soldiers through hell and back to ensure they'd come out of the war with a free Cardassia prepared to avoid the mistakes of the past.
* Gordon Ramsay on ''Series/HellsKitchen'', who sarcastically berates and insults the chefs for any slip-up, to the point where a viewer might wonder why anyone can stand the man. But when people do meet his standards, or honestly impress him with their talent or passion, his JerkWithAHeartOfGold shines through, as seen when he paid to send Waffle House chef Julia to culinary school in Season 3, and praising Ji in Season 5 for her talent, passion, and courage after she was forced to withdraw.
** Not to mention there was one contestant who mentioned that Ramsay was a totally nice guy outside of the kitchen, so it's pretty likely that the guy is only a CynicalMentor while working in the kitchen.
** One of his old shows from the UK, a cooking challenge pitting him against other world class chefs, showed that he's a very nice guy even in the kitchen if he's dealing with someone he respects. One notable episode has him joking around with an American chef and laughing when the guy accidentally dips his long hair into a custard he (the American) was making.
* ''Series/Daredevil2015'':
** Stick is cynical to the point that he considers Matt Murdock's idealism and belief things can get better to be a ''character flaw.''
** As a seasoned reporter, Ben Urich admits to Karen that he's a lot more cynical these days compared to when he first started out, trying to discourage her from making the mistakes he did.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Samos from the ''VideoGame/JakAndDaxter'' games.
* ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'''s Kreia, the ex-Jedi ex-Sith [[spoiler:[[BigBad but not really]]]] who takes the Exile under her wing, is as cynical as they come.
* Renius, the gladiator who trains the two lead characters in Conn Iggulden's ''Emperor'' series. He goes as far as having their final exam be [[spoiler:a battle to the death between him and Gaius.'']]
* Xaldin for Roxas in ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts358DaysOver2'' (contrast with [[BigBrotherMentor Axel]]).
* Averted with Snake in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2SonsOfLiberty'' in regards to Raiden, since at this point in the series he's recovered from his trauma-induced cynicism and unretired with a much more idealistic outlook (if grim and jaded from age and experience), and then played straight with Raiden in regards to Snake in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid4GunsOfThePatriots'', in which a traumatized, jaded and cynical Raiden teaches Snake the basics of tracking.
* By the time ''VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition'' rolls around Leliana is burnt out and distressed over the threat and upset over Justinia's death, and her grooming of The Inquisitor leans towards the ruthless to the point where threatening assassination of their family is legitimate tactics. She can also be asked about being a bard: Leliana offers to train you which mainly consists of non too subtle hints not to take this path.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* On a ''good day'', Master Fei of ''Webcomic/HowIKilledYourMaster'' is one of these. Mostly, he's a {{Jerkass}}, but he has recently taken to giving Wong some TrainingFromHell.
* Javanshin in Webcomic/OverlordofRavenfell is a sarcastic bastard that has his doubts as to whether Razin can actually become a competent Overlord, a fact he often decides to point out.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Master Shi-Fu in ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda''. He does ''not'' think that Po is the Dragon Warrior and doesn't want him at the Academy, but he puts up with him, tricking Po for a while with TrainingFromHell. Then, he finally starts training him correctly using food as the motivator, and even then it seems a bit cruel. But that's when he (like [[Franchise/{{Rocky}} Mick]]) gets upgraded to CoolOldGuy.
* Azmuth of the ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}}'' franchise is openly ''very'' displeased that his ChosenOne MissedTheCall and only grudgingly allows his incredibly powerful invention to remain with a kid/teenager. Just because he knows the Omnitrix is best off with Ben doesn't mean he has to like it.
* Phil from ''Disney/{{Hercules}}'' starts out as this.
* Wildcat in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold'', originally towards Batman and then to the Outsiders.