Mentor Mascot

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rsz_1clg1wrp.png

The Hero is, in the beginning, just a normal kid (or at least relatively normal, anyway). However, this character has a powerful destiny, completely unaware of the role they will play in the grand scheme of things. Someone has to break the news, and turn this Muggle into the hero they're meant to be. And that someone is... a talking cat?

Part Talking Animal and part enlightened teacher, the mentor mascot plays the dual role of teaching the protagonist about their destiny and powers, while at the same time adding that little bit of comic relief and cuteness (if the show in question is already cutesy, it might start to become sickeningly sweet). Even so, the Mentor Mascot takes its job seriously, and tends to accompany The Hero everywhere just in case the Mooks or the Quirky Miniboss Squad show up.

In a show (or other medium) where the Masquerade is of significant importance, the Mentor Mascot will simultaneously be the strictest enforcer and the greatest threat to said facade, since talking animals are usually not normal. This can usually be solved with pretending to be a stuffed animal, after all, Girls Love Stuffed Animals, but will still be used for comedic effect at times, especially if the mascot is mentoring a grown man.

Oftentimes, the mentor is an Old Master who was cursed into a helpless form, serving as a very good justification for why he is shepherding the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits instead of using his great knowledge and power to save the world himself.

Generally an anime/manga trope (especially common in Magical Girl anime) but still present in other media. In Magical Girl shows, this critter is usually the one who initially gives the girl her powers, and is known as a companion or a familiar.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars: Yoda, anyone? Not in the prequels, but in the original trilogy where he was this manic muppet hiding in a swamp and mostly just provided a training montage. Oh, yes.
  • Arguably, Fin Raizel from Willow. She's a powerful sorceress who spends much of the movie in the form of a possum (not to mention a raven and a goat).

    Literature 
  • Bob the Skull in The Dresden Files doesn't teach Harry magic, but he does (snarkily) exposit on spells and creatures Harry is unfamiliar with, and helps him design magic items. In exchange for romance novels and "out time". Unlike most mascots he usually stays in Harry's magically-warded apartment, since numerous villains would want to kidnap him for his knowledge if they knew he existed.
    • Interestingly, the version of Bob in the TV adaptation did teach Harry magic and fits the "Old Master cursed into helpless form" trope, but that Bob takes human form whenever he needs to speak.
  • The title character in Reserved for the Cat is the heroine's father, transformed into a cat by an evil sorceress. Although his magical abilities in feline form are limited, he does what he can to help her.
  • The Toad in The Wee Free Men ("I'm not a familiar, I'm just slightly presumptuous.") helps Tiffany understand the worlds of witchcraft, Feegles and elves.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the first episode of Power Rangers Ninja Storm, Sensei Watanabe gets into a fight with Lothor, and is turned into a guinea pig. Nonetheless, he is still the team's mentor, and still a master ninja - just very, very small. The same goes for his Japanese counterpart in Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger
  • Mandora Boy in Mahou Sentai Magiranger. He educates the Ozu kids about their powers through song in light of their parents being absent, and provides additional info on the show's spells in a bonus segment.
  • Bomper in Engine Sentai Go-onger is the closest thing the team has to a mentor. He's also a small, pink robot.
  • Yurusen in Kamen Rider Ghost. Ironically, the final episode reveals that her real form is an ordinary housecat.
  • Mr. Belt from Kamen Rider Drive, though rather than a Talking Animal he's a Talking Belt, which doubles as Drive's Transformation Trinket. Otherwise he fits the trope's description quite well, especially the "Old Master turned helpless" part, since he was the inventor of the Drive System, who transferred his consciousness into the belt when he was killed by the Roidmudes.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Chosen One archetype for Paladins in Pathfinder features these heavily. A young Lawful Good person is chosen by a god or goddess to take up the mantle of a Paladin, and are sent a divine emissary that his been reduced to a level-appropriate small animal to guide them and assist them in combat. Eventually they'll be able to shed the tiny animal form and revert to their true selves.
  • Princess: The Hopeful, being a Magical Girl game set in the New World of Darkness setting, naturally has the rules for this kind of set up, drawing on the people within the dream world. Interestingly enough, they don't come to guide the awakened Nobles but instead will come at their call if suitable preparations are set up. Also, they tend to have minor vices like a massive Sweet Tooth in regards to their state as spirits now with a physical form.

    Video Games 
  • Jubei to Ragna in BlazBlue.
  • Ghost is this to the player in Destiny. Granted he's a robot instead of a lil' animal (abit a magical robot), but he's still a textbook example of a mentor/exposition giver that follows the player and guides then through their quests (which usually involve him being a glorified door key.)
  • The Owl Sage in My World, My Way. Doesn't follow Elise constantly, but keeps showing up to give her advice.
  • The cat in the fangame Memories of Mana.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • Persona:
    • Teddie starts as this in Persona 4 since he's a cute teddy mascot who's the only character who starts off understanding anything about the TV World, even if he's just as clueless as everyone else about who the killer is. However, as the other heroes begin figuring things out themselves, he eventually becomes a subversion as he begins to question just what exactly he himself is.
    • Morgana in Persona 5 is a fairly straight example, being a cat who understands the Palace better then anyone else in the group and the one who leads them into becoming the Phantom Thieves of Hearts. He also does this on a more personal level for the main character, offering him advice in his everyday life whilst accompanying him everywhere in his tote bag. It's revealed near the end that Igor created Morgana specifically to guide the heroes.
  • Straynap, the mentor / Exposition Fairy of the Sega Dreamcast Action RPG Napple Tale, is an odd sort of flower-fairy creature. Despite his appearance, he knows all there is to know about the Dream Land in which the game is set.

    Web Comics 
  • Megatokyo: Boo is something of a subversion in that he really does try his best to help Largo, but unlike most of the other examples on this list he has something of a language barrier to overcome. In effect, Boo ends up just squeaking while Largo goes off and causes havoc. It seems that Erika can understand Boo just fine, implying that his ineffectiveness is less due to a language barrier and more to do with Largo being a hyperactive Cloudcuckoolander who doesn't listen to anyone's advice if he doesn't need to.
  • Miya from Angel Moxie is a sendup of Luna from Sailor Moon, but is a good deal snarkier. Then there's the whole really-a-Cat Girl and exchanging her life for Alex's thing.
  • Hermod from Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki, though less qualified than some of the others on this list.
  • Carl from Soul Symphony is this. He's a mystical spirit who looks like "a cross between a rat and a kangaroo", and while he is very wise in the workings of magic, he's not the most helpful mentor.
  • In Hi to Tsuki to Hoshi no Tama, Tipko recruits three magical girls, supplies their first bead, and instructs them in its use and many other things.
  • Spiders from Princess Chroma. Shame his advice is rarely ever taken to heart. He's also the number-one victim of slapstick and humiliation.
  • A downplayed example in Girl Genius: Krosp I (a talking cat) is Agatha's political adviser, but she learns combat from someone else, and doesn't need teaching in the field of mad science.
  • Mechagical Girl Lisa ANT: Io. Alien engineer, in the form of a cute doll-size ant-person.

    Web Original 
  • Dusty from Sailor Nothing plays this role.
  • Played straight and played with in Magical Girl Hunters. The animals in question are almost always outlandishly colored. In case of mass empowerment, a crate full of baby chicks was used. In another case, Sailor H's turn to homicidal mania was prefixed by her animal companion, a purple raccoon, developing rabies.
  • The Recruiters from Lambda. Given the nature of the setting, it's only natural to have so many of these Ridiculously Cute Critters running around and serving as walking army recruitment posters.
  • Kunapipi, of Magical Girl Policy, is not a Kangaroo Rat, but in fact a Wallaby working for Fate.

    Western Animation 

Alternative Title(s): Animal Mentor

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MentorMascot