"I don't know how the public accepted all these heroes' infant sidekicks. Besides the Catholic church, no other organization hires 10 year old assistants. Being a superhero is a lot like being a cop, and if we were watching Cops and one of the policemen was chasing a car thief with a kid dressed up as a little cop sitting next to him, we would think that was crazy."A character, often an adult or sometimes teenager, has a considerably younger Sidekick. Traditionally the kid will often act as The Watson for the main character, and/or as someone for younger audiences to identify with. Sometimes the kid acts as a Morality Pet or as a Wish Fulfillment personification, which goes some way to explaining the implausibility of a responsible adult putting a young child in dangerous situations. Sometimes the sidekick will be a Teen Genius (or younger) in an attempt to justify their presence, or even a Cute Bruiser. Other times, they're The Load and a Damsel in Distress. Compare Tagalong Kid, Kid-Appeal Character, Bratty Half-Pint and Baker Street Regular. Contrast Older Sidekick.
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Anime and Manga
- Doc Black Jack's sidekick, nurse, and surrogate daughter Pinoko.
- Lone Wolf and Cub is the epitome of this trope. Ogami Ittou's sidekick is three years young.
- Lirio from El Cazador de la Bruja is a loli sidekick to Badass Normal Ricardo.
- Hayate's partner, Reinforce Zwei in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. Her non-Fun Size form looks around ten, with her actual age being younger.
- Wendy Garret of GUN×SWORD is a teenage example of this. She very rarely helps out in battle, but she's better at thinking than Van is. She functions as a manager, handling the money and making travel arrangements.
- Eve of Black Cat is one, but she hardly has trouble keeping up.
- Subverted in Chrono Crusade with Chrono and Rosette. Chrono looks like (and sometimes acts like) a twelve-year-old, but it's soon revealed that he's really a demon that's probably at least a century old, making him actually Rosette's Older Sidekick. Also played somewhat straight with Azmaria, a 12-year-old apprentice in the Order who is assigned to work with Chrono and Rosette.
- In 1989 OVA two-parter Explorer Woman Ray, twin girls Mai and Mami are (according to some reviewers) to the titular heroine what Short Round was to Indiana Jones (see below).
- Robin, sidekick of Batman, is the Ur-Example, and is retained in almost every incarnation of Batman, no matter how Darker and Edgier, simply because of tradition. These days the concept is subject to Reimagining the Artifact, justifying Robin's presence by saying that either the kid is so damaged that he'd become self-destructive (or just plain destructive) without Batman supervising his crimefighting (probably the case with Jason and definitely for Damian), or that Batman is the damaged one and needs a surrogate son (all but said was the case for Tim).
- In Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, when the new police commissioner tangles with Batman and spots the young Carrie Kelly as Robin with him, she adds Child Endangerment on the warrant for him.
- Okay, Jimmy Olsen is more of a Teen Sidekick for most of his appearances, but he's still much younger than his hero.
- Step forward, Rick Jones. For decades Rick has been Marvel Comics' stock sidekick. He has been partners with The Hulk, Captain America, two Captains Marvel, and ROM Space Knight. Must be some kind of record.
- The Hulk also had Jim Wilson, the nephew of The Falcon.
- Following the Batman formula, other younger sidekicks to adult superheroes include Supergirl to Superman, Speedy to Green Arrow, and Wolverine's various sidekicks, usually of the young girl type (Kitty Pryde, Rogue, X-23, Jubilee).
- In the Silver Age, Supergirl played it straight at the beginning, but she eventually subverted it. She was Superman's sidekick and emergency secret weapon while he was training her, but when he revealed her existence to the world, he made clear that she was his partner. Before that, in Action Comics #288, Kara becomes invulnerable to Kryptonite for a while, and Superman seriously regards her as superior to him, and wonders if he should become her sidekick. During the Silver and Bronze Ages both cousins interacted as equals, but in the Post-Crisis universe, teen Kara became his sidekick again.
- Wonder Girl only ended up being an example of this through retcon. She was originally introduced in the Wonder Woman comic as Diana herself as a teenager, in flashback stories set during her youth. Because of her popularity, there were then a few "Impossible Stories" written in which both versions of Diana teamed up. When the Teen Titans comic was created as a team book featuring the Kid Sidekicks of the main Justice League of America members, the original writers assumed that Wonder Girl was an ordinary kid sidekick to Diana, and treated her as such. The attempts to sort this out and give Wonder Girl a separate identity and backstory as "Donna Troy" ended up creating one of the most notorious Continuity Snarls in superhero comics history.
- DC thrives under this trope. Darkly parodied with Kid Devil, whose adult counterpart and idol Blue Devil was barely aware of his existence, despite having made a Deal with the Devil to be a superhero with him.
- The Clock, a very first Golden Age hero (last seen in 1944) and his kid sidekick Butch (a girl). Butch, incidentally, originally wanted to be the Clock's "moll", much to the hero's mortification. She eventually got over it.
- Johnny Bates, AKA Kid Miracleman, from the comic Miracleman. (Originally known in the UK as Kid Marvelman and Marvelman.) Alan Moore's 1980s revival of the series not only aged the character to adulthood but gave him one of the most horrific Face Heel Turns in comic book history. There was also the Teen Sidekick Young Marvelman.
- Bucky Barnes was this to Captain America in World War II. On the Invaders as well was the first Human Torch, who had sidekick Toro, with near identical powers.
- Oddly enough, Moon Knight had an adult sidekick (or at least young adult) who was temporarily killed off and rebuilt as an evil cyborg named Midnight.
- German detective Nick Knatterton had Toni Knatter, in one story. The Meaningful Name was lampshaded by our hero.
- Spider-Man started as a deliberate subversion of this trope. Stan Lee had grown sick of teen sidekicks, so he decided to create a series that featured a teenager as the main star, rather than as support to an adult hero. Everyone thought that It Will Never Catch On... but it did.
- Inverted with Golden Age teen hero the Star-Spangled Kid, and his adult sidekick Stripesy.
- Miles Morales serves as Peter's in Spider-Men, though this consists mostly of Peter watching his back and saving his life and Miles occasionally doing something awesome to make up for it.
- Viciously parodied in Rick Veitch's controversial miniseries Brat Pack, which had transparent Captains Ersatz of various Justice League of America figures physically, mentally and sexually abusing their sidekicks in various ways, including killing them off to get public sympathy.
- Played with during Matt Fraction's run on Hawkeye where the titular hero's teen sidekick was also Hawkeye, specifically Kate Bishop from the Young Avengers. Aside from sharing the same superhero monicker, Kate is actually the better Hawkeye of the two.
- Played with in Morbius' Marvel NOW! series with the teenager Becky, who keeps saying she's his sidekick but Morbius insists she's not.
- Last Action Hero even has the Kid Sidekick refer to himself as the 'Comedy Sidekick', which should be a sub-trope of sidekick.
- The Jedi in Star Wars pair up young padawans with older Jedi to teach them the way of the force. The difference here is that they often remain padawans into their twenties, making them former Kid Sidekicks by that age. They are usually Knighted after that, and soon begin the cycle again by choosing their own padawan. Generally padawans and their masters are sent on diplomatic missions, but with the way the Star Wars universe works, and with the advent of the Clone Wars, it's almost a given that the padawan will be forced to fight.
- Mindy Macready/Hit-Girl from Kick-Ass. Subverted by the fact that she is much more competent than the protagonist.
- The Red Lama and Kim in Rudyard Kipling's Kim. Interestingly Kim is The Sidekick to several different characters including the Red Lama, Mahbub Ali, and so on as well as being The Hero.
- Doc Wilde, a Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze parody, has his two kids who he's been raising to be badasses like himself come up with him on his adventures.
- In Wearing the Cape, Hope (18 years old) becomes Atlas' sidekick in order to learn the butt-kicking ways of Atlas-type heroes. The whole mentor/sidekick angle is played up for the media (her costume is even color-coordinated to match his), but it's clearly understood to be a temporary arrangement, more like an apprenticeship.
- Discussed extensively for laughs in the How to Be a Superhero chapter "The Problem With Boy Wonders". Not that Girl Wonders aren't without their own problems...
- In Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain, Miss A is sidekick to the Original, who is probably her father. She's also a complete Jerkass, with the Original apparently being just as bad, and Penny's parents don't think most other heroes with sidekicks are much better. Not that there's something wrong with sidekicks, it's just that for some reason it attracts all the jackasses.
- In Jeramey Kraatz's The Cloak Society, Amp was Lone Star's sidekick when younger.
Live Action TV
- Mark Hollander to the titular Ace Lightning (albeit sometimes reluctantly).
- Rather bizarrely on Heroes, Sylar temporarily gained one of these in the form of Luke, a troubled teen with the inexplicable desire to go on a road trip with a super-powered serial killer. And keep annoying him. His survival is something of a miracle. The series strongly implied at the time that Luke is Sylar's brother. As with most things on the show, this turns out to not have been the case when it's later learned that Sylar is a Petrelli.
- In Nickelodeon's U-Pick Live segment, they held a contest where the winner would be added to the show as Pick Boy's new sidekick. Something must have gone wrong backstage though, because no kid was ever brought in.
- On Doctor Who, Adric filled this role. Susan and Vickie were likewise younger and less mature than most. Of course, given the Doctor's full age, almost every companion is a kid to him, unless they're Timelords too.
- Word of God has it that they deliberately went out of their way to avoid straight examples of this trope because "children don't want to watch any child character who's younger than themselves", so companions are almost never any younger than their mid-teens and most often in their late 20s or early 30s
- In Welcome To Our Village Please Invade Carefully, The Resistance consists of 34-year-old Katrina and her 17-year-old sidekick Lucy (who turns 18 in the penultimate episode). At various times their relationship can be catgeorised as being either a (very small) Ragtag Bunch of Misfits, Big Sister Mentor and her mentee, or Odd Couple.
- Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure: Cole, for Henry Hatsworth. He's later revealed to be a "Well Done, Son!" Guy and in actuality the Big Bad in disguise.
- Kirby: Sword and Blade Knight to Meta Knight. At least, in the anime. This was eventually carried over to Kirby Super Star Ultra's Meta Knightmare Ultra mode, in which Meta Knight could summon either Blade or Sword to assist him on his journey.
- Maya Fey, the main assistant in the Phoenix Wright Trilogy may or may not count, as she starts 17 but becomes 19 by Trials and Tribulations, although she tends to act like a little kid sometimes. Phoenix also had Ema Skye in one case when she was 16, and Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney has Trucy, who is 15.
- 8-years-old Pearl Fey may also count in the missions where she plays a sidekick to Phoenix.
- It's tradition for the protagonist of the Ace Attorney games to have a cute young girl for a sidekick. Or Gumshoe. Even Edgeworth teams up with Kay Faraday... and then it gets sent up when he's helped by Franziska von Karma. (who also briefly and hilariously becomes Phoenix's sidekick in the third game).
- Miles 'Tails' Prower, sidekick of Sonic the Hedgehog, is of the Gadgeteer Genius variety and has abilities that complement Sonic's. Later games introduced Cream the Rabbit (who has her own Sidekick, the Chao named Cheese), who serves as more or less the female counterpart to Tails (hence why they are often shipped together, despite almost never interacting). She started as a sidekick to Amy, but in Sonic Rush she acted in this capacity to Blaze. In Sonic Rush Adventure, Blaze gets her own sidekick in Marine the Raccoon.
- The Silver Age-inspired Freedom Force computer games give us Liberty Lad, sidekick to Super Patriot The Minuteman. Young Nick Craft, founder and president of the Freedom Force Fan Club, tags along after the team as they try to bring down mobster-turned-supervillain Pinstripe. Naturally, he gets shot.
Pinstripe: Now youse gotsta choose, heroes. Come afta me, or save da brat! Mentor reports that he needs an immediate transfusion... or he'll die! Minuteman, feeling responsible for the plucky youngster, valiantly volunteers to give his own blood to the boy. Mentor warns him that they have no idea what will happen, because Minuteman's blood is infused with... Energy X.Minuteman: By the Constitution, Mentor, there's no time!' The Energy X in Minuteman's blood gives Liberty Lad super strength and agililty and a penchant for red, white and blue tights. He's one of the more fun and effective characters in the game.
- And from the same game, we have Man-O-War and his preteen sidekick, The Sea Urchin.
- Gordito Delgado from The Adventures of Dr. McNinja. The Doctor even compares himself to Batman when he decides to take Gordito in. Of course, the Doctor compares himself to Batman regardless. Note that Gordito's origins - a child of a family of circus performers who was orphaned mid-show - is a tribute to Dick Grayson's.
- Nip and Tuck has an arc that shows a Serenity-inspired movie featuring a kid sidekick.
- From the Global Guardians PBEMU Niverse, Golden Age hero Barnstormer was always accompanied by his Kid Sidekick Tailgunner.
- In the backstory of the Whateley Universe, the pre-World War II superhero Champion had two: Miss Champion and Champion Junior. In a Shout-Out to the way heroes age in Comic Books, Miss Champion only aged (from then on) at about one-fourth normal, which really messed up her social life. Miss Champion is still around, and one of the important side characters of the universe.
- Subverted in the present, where kid sidekicks are specifically banned by a law that the former Miss Champion was instrumental in getting enacted
- In The Incredibles, a little kid named Buddy really wants to be Mr. Incredible's sidekick. When Mr. Incredible declines the offer, Buddy does not take it well.
- In The Fairly OddParents!, The Crimson Chin's sidekick, Cleft the Boy Chin Wonder, is a ten-year old. Makes sense, because his alter ego is actually none other than Timmy Turner himself.
- Spoofed with Barnacle Boy, Mermaid Man's sidekick on Spongebob Squarepants, who is still treated as a child even though both of them are now old men. One episode has him doing a Face–Heel Turn because of it.
- The Transformers have a bad habit of dragging young humans into their battles - young humans who tend to have no powers or skills that make letting them within a mile of Decepticons anything less than criminal negligence. Giving them a reason to be around at all is relatively new to the franchise.
- Young Justice has the main characters being sidekicks to members of the Justice League (Robin to Batman, Aqualad to Aquaman, Kid Flash to The Flash and Speedy/Red Arrow to Green Arrow). Other characters who aren't sidekicks in the comics canon are reimagined as such here, such as Miss Martian being Martian Manhunter's niece and Bumblebee being the Atom's student, while Beast Boy is linked to Miss Martian. The only character who doesn't have a mentor is Blue Beetle... because the previous Blue Beetle was killed.
- The Cadets in Voltron Force are a fairly good example. They bring considerable talents to the team - Vince's Technopathy, Larmina's martial arts talent and Daniel's piloting skills and agility (both physical and mental) complement, rather than overshadowing, the rest of the Voltron Force.
- Sidekick the 4 main characters are kids in sidekick school, who will soon be sidekicks to superheroes, Eric hopes to be the sidekick of his superhero Maxum Man.
- Played with on Atomic Puppet. Joey seems like one at first to AP, and is treated by the egotistical superhero-turned-Hand Puppet as one, despite Joey being the key to unlocking AP's former superpowers. As the series progresses though, AP starts to treat Joey as more of a partner-in-crimefighting than a kid sidekick.
- Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker: Timothy Drake deconstructs the Kid Sidekick as a "Well Done, Son!" Guy pathetically trying to please The Hero because He Just Want to Be Him. When that doesn't happen, there comes the Fan Disillusionment:
Me and the others gave everything, but it just wasn't enough for the old man. I used to think, if I went on long enough, someday he'd retire and I'd... ah, the heck with it. Capes, costumes, bad guys — it was kid's stuff! Bruce probably did me a favor. By the end, I was so sick of it I never wanted to see that stupid Robin suit again...!
- Initially averted in Batman: The Animated Series, which is only notable because Batman and Robin are, as noted above, the Ur-Example of this trope. The series implies that Robin was a Kid Sidekick for some time, but the series begins with him already college-aged and away at school for most of the week. Later played straight after the series was uncancelled, with Tim Drake brought in as a Kid Sidekick to shake things up and let them explore that aspect.
- The Batman has Barbara Gorden (a highschool girl in this continuity), and then later Dick Grayson. Joker gets his own in one episode, although this being Joker it doesn't take long before he's trying to throw said sidekick into a vat of acid.
- TaleSpin has Kit Cloudkicker, with whom Baloo often brings along on his missions, some of which are very dangerous.
- The The Venture Bros. themselves are to some extent a deconstruction of this trope, Dean being intelligent and eager-to-please but timid, Hank energetic but rebellious and invincibly stupid. Their father, an ex-sidekick, blames his seemingly inexhaustible supply of character flaws on the experience. His participation in a support group for "ex-Boy-Adventurers" doesn't seem to have helped him much, but it has introduced us to the likes of an ex-Wonderboy (one of Captain Sunshine's multiple such dropped at eighteen years of age) who memorably claims that it left him unable to get an erection unless he were 'tied to a chair with a bomb strapped to [his] chest'.