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Anime and Manga
- In Love Hina, Otohime Mutsumi asks if Narusegawa Mei (about 10 or 12 years old) is Narusegawa Naru's (17) and Urashima Keitaro's (20) child. Of course, Mutsumi acts rather dim much of the time.
- In the Manga Naru also asks Keitaro, upon first meeting Sara, if she is one of his many lovechildren, or if he kidnapped her. She is just joking though.
- Ironically, numerous people in Sailor Moon comment on Chibi-Usa (8, or 900+), depending on source) being Mamoru's (17-19) and Usagi's (14-16) child. The irony being she is their child... but not yet.
Mimet: Oh...are these your sisters?Mamoru: No. They are my future wife and daughter.
- Chibi-Usa and Usagi have been mistaken for sisters more than once.
- Also played with in R before Chibi-Usa showed up. They were taking care of a baby boy: Minako said called the kid "their child" in good tease spirits, but An/Natsumi was peeved. Also, Chibi-Chibi was sometimes mistaken as Usagi's little sister (and introduced as such, sorta. Ikuko says so).
- People also often say that Usagi and Chibi-Chibi seem more like mother and daughter than sisters, though.
- Ranma ½ has a unique variation where Ryoga (16) is turned into a five-year-old and mistaken to be his own son. Then again, they might have not jumped to that conclusion if Ranma didn't introduce him as such just to mess with him.
- In Bleach, mortals sometimes pose this question to Rangiku Matsumoto concerning Toshiro Hitsugaya, the subversion being that not only is Hitsugaya Matsumoto's superior, they're both Really 700 Years Old.
- On the other hand, Hitsugaya is canonically a child prodigy, and very young for a shinigami. It's easily possibly that Matsumoto is several times his age. The fact that he's her boss, and the more responsible of the two still stands, though.
- In Alice Academy, Sakura Mikan asks the elementary-school-age Hyuuga Natsume if the 3-year-old Hijiri Youichi is his. Then again, Mikan's a little dumb.
- Str.A.In.: Strategic Armored Infantry has an interesting twist, although it looks the same as other examples of the trope. For one, the apparent 16-year-olds are technically much older due to a Techno Babble-explained paradox with sub-lightspeed travel. For another, the apparent little girl is Really 700 Years Old.
- It's surprising for them in another way, since the little girl in question showed up at their table when they weren't looking.
- Parodied in Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, the girls mistake Itoshiki's nephew for his son and proceed to accuse him of children neglect.
- Understandable since the kid called Itoshiki "Dad" and asked for food when they first met. He also looks like a child version of Itoshiki right down to the glasses and fashion sense.
- Possibly a variation: In Kyo Kara Maoh! a young girl shows up claiming to be Yuuri's daughter, and his fiance Wolfram flips out, thinking that Yuuri has "cheated" on him...without considering the fact that Yuuri is 15, and the girl is about 8.
- In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann during the Hot Springs Episode, Kiyal asks Yoko (who she just saw a couple weeks ago, and who is 14 years old) whether Darry and Gimmy (who are about five to seven) are her kids. Cue Spit Take.
- In the fourth volume of Kimi Wa Petto (Tramps Like Us in English), Sumire and Momo are taking care of six year old genius for a few days and people in the park comment on cute those young parents are.
- Used a bit more seriously in Bunny Drop, with the nearly-thirty Daikichi and six year-old Rin. A slight subversion in that Rin is biologically Daikichi's aunt.
- To be fair, Daikichi is Rin's father figure and the person who raises her. The only reason he doesn't offically adopt her is because she didn't want to be.
- In Gintama, Saa-chan mistakes the baby with Gintoki (who looks remarkably like him) to be his child with Otae, who just happens to be there at the time. It ends badly (for Gintoki). But the kid is really cute.
- In the Descendants of Darkness manga, Tsuzuki meets Doctor Muraki in a Meet Cute version, when Tsuzuki catches a fainting little girl and Muraki treats her and asks if she's his daughter. Of course, as it's Muraki, it's a deliberately Invoked Trope.
- In Honey and Clover, a ryokan receptionist asks Professor Hanamoto if the gang are here for a family reunion and if Hagu is the Prof's middle school age daughter (She isn't).
- To Love-Ru occasionally has people mistaking Celine for Rito's daughter (and whatever girl he's with as the mother). It's actually forgivable in this case, as Rito is 17, and Celine looks to be about 2, so it's actually possible. Of course, one of the people who makes this mistake is Rito's mother, who should know better.
- Then again, similar to Bunny Drop, Rito is sort of her father figure.
- Baby Be'el of Beelzebub is constantly mistaken for Oga's son. This is another occurence where it is a natural assumption. Oga is a 15-16 year old, while Beel looks a year old, or less. Plus, Oga is supposed to raise him, and they look very similar.
- Aoi is often mistaken for her baby brother's mother whenever they go out. It really annoys her since the gossiping housewives think that she's an irresponsible teenage single mom.
- Aoi is also mistaken for Be'el's mother when she and Oga are together. The fact that Be'el is quite fond of her is part of it.
- One of the epilogue side-stories to Victorian Romance Emma shows that Grace Jones is occasionally mistaken for Colin or Vivian's mother. She does not take it well.
- After the Lord of Terror arc in Ah! My Goddess, Megumi meets Skuld for the first time, and asks if she's her brother and Belldandy's kid. This despite the fact that Skuld is biologically around 12, and Keichii has known Bell for maybe a year and a half at this point.
- Happens several times in Kokoro Connect after one of Heartseed's associates causes the group to de-age at increasingly random times.
- In A Certain Scientific Railgun, Mikoto finds a little girl named Febri sleeping in the park and picks her up. Kuroko assumes the child is Mikoto's daughter, even though Mikoto is 14 and Febri is about 8. Everybody rolls their eyes.
- In Yotsuba&!, when Yotsuba succeeds in delivering milk to Fuuka, someone thinks she's Fuuka's child. For clarification, Fuuka is 16 (hence why she gave her "15 years old" shirt to Yotsuba for recycling), and Yotsuba is 5 (and even if they don't know that, she's clearly able to converse somewhat), so while it wouldn't be impossible, it's very improbable.
- Also mentioned when Jumbo makes a reservation at a BBQ restaurant and asks for a seperate room, stating that he will have a kid with him. The woman asks if the kid is Jumbo's, Jumbo replies with a nonchalant no.
- In Berserk, Casca finds a mysterious boy on the beach and the group brings him back to their lodging. While there, antics ensue which ends with the child being simultaneously held by Casca and Guts. The others in the group remark how family-like the three of them look before Guts and Casca split apart (at this point of the story, Casca was very fearful to be around Guts which made the display all the more surprising). However, it's widely insinuated that the child in question is Guts and Casca's biological child that was lost due to miscarriage two years prior, brought back by supernaturally-induced events.
- Inverted in Dragon Ball Z. When Goku's friends see Gohan the first time, they think Goku is babysitting someone else's child. They're left completely shock to learn that the cute little boy is Goku's son.
- In ElfQuest: Siege at Blue Mountain, Cutter pays a visit to the human couple Nonna and Adar and assumes that the three children living with them are theirs even though they are too old. His misunderstanding is due to the elves' low birth rate, and their general ignorance of human gestation periods and growth rates.
- In The Smurfs story "The Baby Smurf", the Smurfs are all wondering whose child that Baby Smurf is, and Brainy has the audacity to suggest that the child could be Smurfette's, which she rewards with throwing objects at Brainy.
- DC Nation: Troia was asked several times if Lian was "hers." Because of her Truth Sense, she would have to answer "no," but Lian would cheerfully answer "Yup!" Part because Lian cannot stand her super-villainess mother, and part because Donna's been "Mom...in all the ways that count!" They met half-way; Donna is now Lian's stepmother.
- William Laurence gets subjected to an age-appropriate variant twice concerning the same child over the course of the Temeraire books.
- In Empire of Ivory when he, Temeraire, several uniformed crewmen, and a twelve-year-old girl attended an Aerial Corps fundraiser. His father Lord Allendale, after the latter cheerfully admitted to Laurence and Temeraire personally tutoring her; cornered his son and quietly made diffident, embarrassed, and evasive inquiries as to the health of the young girl's mother. To deny the unspoken accusation would have made Laurence look even worse, he could not reveal her true status in public, and his attempt at a bare bones/true-as-far-as-it-went explanation ("She is the natural daughter of... a gentlewoman living in Dover, whose education I have taken as my charge") did nothing to allay suspicionnote .
- In Blood of Tyrants, after losing his memory and being (re)introduced to his crew (including 16 year old Midwingman Roland), Lawrence tries to piece together what he can of the the last eight years through the correspondence in his cabin and finds A) a letter from his mother mentioning a gift sent to one 'Miss Emily Roland'; B) a decidedly casual and friendly note from an Admiral Jane Roland; and C) records of him paying a hired chaperone for the younger Roland out of his own pocket. His first reaction is to consider how many holes there may be in the parts of his memory he thought he retained.
- Occurs in several P. G. Wodehouse stories.
- More or less inverted in Twilight: the Cullen parents always present the teen vampires as their adopted children, because the ages wouldn't fit. Then Bella and Edward pretend they adopted Renesmee, because even assuming Bella and Edward had a shotgun wedding, it's impossible that Nessie to be born so soon when the pregnancy was not visible at the wedding.
- Not to mention the fact that Edward wasn't even in the area during the time she should have theoretically been conceived.
- In Fifth Chinese Daughter, the narrator's little brother is often mistaken for her son, since she's about twenty years older than he is.
- Happens in Ye Little Hills Like Lambs in the Village Tales series, when a (perfectly nice) footballer in a pub assumes Canon Paddick and Sher Mirza are a same-sex couple and that the Canon's wee niece is theirs.
Live Action TV
- In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All, Pearl tags along with Phoenix and Maya, but whenever Maya is not present, some of the NPCs believe Pearl is Phoenix's daughter. On the other hand, it works entirely backwards in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney with Trucy, who says Phoenix is her father despite her being in her early teens and Phoenix having no children seven years before. It takes a while till we realize she's adopted.
- In The Walking Dead, Lee gets this in regards to the girl he's protecting, Clementine, a lot. It helps that he's a 30-something black man and she's a 10-year old black girl. In one of the epilogues of Season 2, Randy awkwardly assumes Clem is an Absurdly Youthful Mother and attempts to break the ice by asking her if Alvin Jr. is her child.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: Sokka (15) and Katara (14) (who are actually brother and sister) pose as Aang's (12, or 112) parents when he enrolls in a Fire Nation school because he wants to be normal for a little bit and find out some things about the Fire Nation. They pull it off! All Sokka had was a fake beard/mustache and Katara just stuffed her shirt to make it looked like she was pregnant (or fat).
- In Family Guy, Meg gets mistaken for her brother Stewie's mother, and then goes along with it to get a job and tips. Stewie initially protests being used this way but changes his mind after the diner's fry cook gives him some pancakes. Stewie develops a bit of an addiction for them. Meg then fabricates hardships to increase her tips, and then Promptly gets Stewie taken away by Child Services.
- Monsters, Inc. had an unusual example. Waternoose finds Boo and asks if she is Sully and Mike's. They both say no, hiding her with the fact that she's Sully's "cousin's sister's daughter," instead.