Minor Living Alone

Schoolday's over. Students prepare to leave... but not all of them go to meet friends, hang out with friends, a Love Interest or to a family. For various reasons, some live alone, younger than you'd expect. The most common cause for this trope is that their parents are dead or absent.

Children that live alone are sometimes rather mature for their age and may even have a job in order to support themselves. If they live with younger siblings, expect them to take on the role of Parental Substitute. Rules of Orphan Economics may apply.

Related to Parental Abandonment. See also Emancipated Child, where the child divorces their parents and goes to live on their own, Department of Child Disservices where child protection services being crappy in general, including this trope as well as placing kids with bad foster families, and Social Services Does Not Exist which is about kids not being taken away from bad families.

Compare Staying with Friends, which is often used when a plot needs to have a character separated from their family but the writers think this trope would be too hard for the audience to swallow.

Examples

Anime & Manga
  • In Sally the Witch, Sally Yumeno aka the Princess of the Astoria realm lives with her adoptive siblings Poron and Cab alone in a Big Fancy House that Sally created with her magical powers. Her parents are alive and well but are the Ruling Couple of Astoria so they can't really live with the three kids, though in an episode they drop by when Sally's teacher shows concern about the kids' situation, tricking him into believing that they work abroads.
  • In Minami-ke, the three Minami sisters live alone. No explanation is given why their parents are absent.
  • Bleach:
    • Orihime Inoue's older brother Sora kidnapped her when he was eighteen and she was three to save her from dangerous parental abuse. After that, he raised her alone until she was twelve, when he died in a car accident. Orihime has lived alone ever since, although she is financially rewarded by an aunt on the condition that she does well at school, which she does. She also works part-time in a bakery after the Time Skip.
    • Yasutora "Chad" Sado is an orphan. Being half-Mexican, after his parents died, he was sent to Mexico to live with his grandfather, whose wisdom stopped him from turning into a bully. After his grandfather's death, Chad returned to Japan where he has lived alone ever since, and supports himself by working in construction and playing guitar at gigs.
    • Uryuu Ishida refuses to live with his father, who has rejected their Quincy heritage for mysterious reasons and objects to Ishida's pursuit of it. Ishida perceives his father's behaviour as a betrayal of their family legacy and refuses to even acknowledge their kinship, instead calling Ryuuken by his first name and living by his deceased grandfather's teachings. It's strongly implied that Ishidas life has been in danger ever since his mother Kanae's Cruel and Unusual Death, and that Ryuuken has sacrificed being a Quincy to keep him alive.
    • Mizuiro Kojima has a mother who doesn't pay him any attention, so he takes advantage of his ability to charm women to get older women to look after him. At least one of the women he's involved with has tried to get him to call his mother, but he refuses. Keigo mentions that Mizuiro had become so withdrawn from people that he was Mizuiro's Only Friend until Ichigo arrived in their lives.
  • Pudding in Tokyo Mew Mew is a preteen living by herself. Due to her father being away at work and her mother being dead for a few years, she's been promoted to parent while she's a toddler. In addition to that, she also works at a café and is a crime-fighting superhero. Of course when her little sister's teacher suspects that no one is living with them, she offers to help Pudding and her siblings out.
  • Haruka Nanase from Free! lives alone in his late grandmother's house, although his best friend Makoto does live right down the street. The Nanase parents moved away for work, and his grandmother died sometime later.
  • Fruits Basket:
    • Although she has friends and family she could stay with if she wasn't too polite to ask, Tohru decides to try to live on her own after she's orphaned. In a tent. Fortunately, the Sohmas are persistent enough to get her to stay with them...although one could just as easily question the logic of moving in with three guys she barely knows. (Then again, Tohru is kind of a Black Sheep to her family save for her paternal grandfather, and when she does temporarily live with them, they treat her like crap until the Sohmas go fetch her.)
    • Around the time she's starting high school, Machi is kicked out of the house after a kind gesture towards her baby brother is misconstrued as attempted murder.
    • Momiji was forced to leave his parents when he was about eight after his mentally unstable mother rejects him practically at birth, and by the time the series begins, he has a house of his own on the Sohma estate. There would have been plenty of servants around, and Hatori seems to look after him when he has the time, but he's very independent by the time he enters high school.
  • Brock from Pokémon was raising his nine younger siblings alone and running the Pewter City Gym on his own while his parents were ran off. In the 4kids dub they decided to kill off Brock's mother, likely because both parents leaving was just too tragic, however several years later Brock's mom was introduced.
  • Kohina in Gugure! Kokkuri-san was this for a long time, until Kokkuri-san basically appointed himself as her guardian and moved in with her.
  • Subverted in Haruhi Suzumiya. Yuki Nagato looks to all appearances like a minor living alone, and that's even the cover story that Kyon tells Haruhi about Yuki's living situation, but in fact she’s actually an alien android, not a teenage girl, and therefore not really a minor at all.
  • In Kamisama ga Uso wo Tsuku, Rio, who is not yet in junior high, lives alone with her little brother. Their mother is deceased and their father is always on long trips for his work (or so he claims).
  • The title character of Kiki's Delivery Service. Justified in-universe; young witches in Kiki's world are not just allowed but apparently expected to leave home and prove that they can live independently once they turn 13.
  • 10-year-old orphan Hayate Yagami lives alone in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, supported mainly by allowance sent by a distant relative. A justification is implied by the end of the season, though: said relative is actually The Man Behind the Man who pulled strings to make sure nobody missed Hayate after her planned death.
  • Kuroko no Basuke: Kagami lives alone, which is the reason for his surprisingly good cooking skills.
  • Midori Days: Seiji lives alone, since his parents are said to be traveling abroad and his older sister, Rin, lives with her boyfriend. She drops by, every other month or so, to give him enough funds to cover food and expenses.
  • Naruto:
    • The title character has lived alone his entire life. His only supervision comes from his academy instructor, Iruka (who doesn't go to his home) and the village chief, who stops by drop off money for the month's expenses.
    • After the slaughter of his entire clan, the deuteragonst Sasuke lives alone as well.
    • It's suggested Tenten lives alone but it's never 100% confirmed. A Shippuden filler does show her house and there's no sign of parents.
  • Justified in Please Twins!, Mike was allowed to live alone thanks to a deal he made with his orphanage, which let's him work and live alone.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica:
    • Mami's parents died in an accident. As it turned out, she also had no relatives, and thus had no choice but to live on her own.
    • Homura, whose family is either nonexistent or estranged. However, her reasons for living alone also stem from the fact that she came to the conclusion that she can only work by herself after countless failed time loops.
    • Kyouko lives in her apartment complex alone with no parental supervision due to her father going nuts, then murdering her mother, younger sister, and then himself in a murder-suicide.
  • Ukyo Kuonji of Ranma ½ not only lives by herself, she runs her own business, all while still being in high school.
  • Makoto Kino from Sailor Moon lives alone because her parents are dead.
  • Rei Kuroki from Vividred Operation lives alone with her pet parakeet in her apartment complex because her parents died from an accident.
  • Unlike many examples of this trope, Umetarou Nozaki aka the title character from Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun lives alone for a relatively down-to-earth reason despite his parents being alive and not abroad. He managed to convince his parents to let him move out and into his own apartment after his early success as a mangaka earned him enough money to do so and showing them that he could continue to support himself.
  • Variable Geo: Satomi's parents died in an car accident years ago, leaving her to look after herself and her kid brother, Daisuke. But, because of his medical expenses, she barely earns enough to support them, despite working two jobs. Which is how The Jahana Group manipulates her into entering the VG tournament.
  • Justified in Kotoura-san. Haruka Kotoura (14 years old) had already suffered Parental Abandonment via her mother's I Have No Daughter. Plus, the general consensus is that any roommates would be bothered by her inadvertent Telepathy, especially during her Leave Me Alone! phase. Zenzou, Haruka's unbelievably wealthy grandfather, pays for the apartment's rent.
  • Yuki Yuna Is a Hero:
    • Fuu and Itsuki are orphans who live alone. Despite both being middle schoolers Fuu is considered her little sisters legal guardian.
    • Karin lives alone despite both her parents being alive and well.
  • Deconstructed in Tora Dora, through Taiga Aisaka's story. Typical examples of this trope have children acting like perfect miniature adults who expertly cook, clean house, do laundry, pay bills, and sometimes even hold jobs; Taiga lives alone because she can’t get along with anyone in her family, but her parents never taught her any domestic skills before they (effectively) threw her out of the house, and they don't bother checking up on her once she’s gone. Until she meets Ryuuji, she’s living in filth and squalor, subsisting on a diet of convenience store food and suffering from chronic allergies due to her terrible living conditions. And she's never held a job either. The series emphasizes the fact that even though she’s technically living on her own, she’s actually completely dependent on Ryuuji’s care and the monthly cash deposits she gets from her father. Part of her character growth arc involves her learning to acknowledge that she can't do everything on her own and start to address the issues that led to her isolation in the first place; this leads her to return to her family home so she can rekindle her relationship with them and, through this, become a better person before she and Ryuuji can start out a new life together.
  • Shinichi Kudo from Detective Conan used to do this, living in the Kudo family's Big Fancy House and taking care of it since his parents live and work in the USA. After he's shrunk, however, under the Conan Edogawa he goes live with his would-be girlfriend and her Private Defective father.
  • Ryou of Koufuku Graffiti is this, through a combination of Parental Abandonment and the death of her grandma who took after her for the past few years. It gets more exaggerated after Chapter 17 when Kirin moves in, making it a case of two minors living alone. The series's premise also Deconstructeds this trope; it was Ryou's extreme loneliness arising from this trope that kickstarted the story.
  • Justified in Yuru-Yuri with Yui. Yui's aunt is the landlady of the apartment she rents. Her parents objected to her living on her own at first, but decided it would be good for her maturity.
  • The Kaiba brothers in Yu-Gi-Oh!, since the death of their abusive adoptive father. Seto Kaiba therefore has to split his time between school, running a company, and raising his little brother, when he's not too busy with card-game-based grudges, which is never. Bakura also seems to have been living alone since transferring to Domino High, which means there are no responsible adults around to notice all the trouble his Superpowered Evil Side causes and gets him into.
  • Rei from Sangatsu no Lion started living in his own apartment at the age of 17, after starting high school a year late. Though he has a foster family to go back to, he found his presence damaging to the blood-related family members while he was still living with them, making him leave in the first place.. His earnings as a shogi player are enough for him to sustain himself, even if he sends a portion of it back to his foster family.
  • Fourteen year old Kousei from Your Lie in April lives alone. His mother died a few years prior. Part-way through the series one of his mom's old friends starts becoming a Parental Substitute for him.
  • It's never stated why Kanae from Dandelion Among Lilies lives alone but she does. The manga begins with her estranged sister and her girlfriend temporarily moving into her house.
  • In Dragon Ball Goku lived on his own in his grandfather's house for a number of years before being found by Bulma. It is not known how long he was alone, but as of the latest retcon, he was 14 when he was found.
    • 16 year old Yamcha was introduced living alone with Puar, a 9 year old Funny Animal in a desert as thieves. Its said they've been doing it for 2 and a half years. Unlike Goku, their parents or other relatives are never mentioned.
  • In Durarara!! Mikado and Anri are both shown living alone, in Mikado's case because his parents rent an apartment for him closer to his school (see below under Real Life) and in Anri's cause because she doesn't have any family left. Masaomi is the only one who actually lives with his parents, and they have such a Hands-Off Parenting style that he might as well be living alone.
  • When we see twelve-year old Amy's house in Sonic X there are no signs of any parents. There's even a sign in front of it that says "House Of Amy Rose".
  • In the original Captain Tsubasa anime, Genzo Wakabayashi is implied to both be a Lonely Rich Kid and to live like this in his family's Big Fancy House. His father is a rich businessman who lives and works in England and his mother is with them, so Genzo decides to follow his Big Brother Mentor (and probable Parental Substitute) Mikami to Germany bot to advance in his career and to visit them more often.
  • In Girls und Panzer, most students who go to the school ships seem to live in apartments on the ship, while their parents live and work on land. Yukari is one of the few exceptions, since her family owns a hair salon on the ship, and it's possible that other children of people who work on the school ships have similar circumtances.
  • In Sword Art Online, Shino Asada lives in her own apartment in real life. It's deconstructed in that Shino often has trouble making ends meet, some of her classmates befriend her so that they can use her apartment to party, and because she lives alone in a building with little security, she becomes a viable target for Death Gun.

Comic Books
  • Runaways is about well, Runaways, the youngest being eleven at the start of the series and the oldest starting at seventeen, that have superpowers and live alone after running away from their super villain parents and then again from child protective services that wanted to keep them apart (and put their dinosaur in storage...It Makes Sense in Context).
  • Billy Batson in Shazam, usually. (In the 90s he was eventually adopted by the Bromfields, in other versions he stays in an orphanage, or with Uncle Dudley, and in the most recent version he has a foster family.)
  • The Freedom Fighters in Sonic the Comic all seem young however they live alone. Only Tails has a known reason for being alone. His family lives in another Zone.

Fan Works
  • In the Ranma ½ Elsewhere Fic Boy Scouts ½, there is a character named Kenneth Pendrell. He is the youngest of the main characters, most of whom are also minors. Almost all of them have had family, including parents, appearing in story or at least referenced as existing. There are even a pair of characters who are established as orphaned minors living with an adult over sister. But in the case of Kenny, the narrative seems to go out of its way to avoid even mentioning any family for him, even when the story has scenes which take place in house which is described as having an "un-lived-in" feel to it. (Kenny himself likely lives in his massive underground laboratory beneath the house.)
  • Scootaloo in Doctor Whooves The Series, because her dad has a very important job that involves traveling a lot.

Film
  • In Angel 15-year-old Angel lives alone and is a schoolgirl by day, hooker by night.
  • In The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane the eponymous Little Girl is living alone in a big house after her terminally ill father committed suicide and she killed her estranged/abusive mother who had come to take her back.
  • In the novel and Film of the Book Hugo, the titular 12 year old character is living alone in a train station after he was orphaned and his uncle abandoned him.

Literature
  • This is the state of affairs for the eponymous character in the second Jack Blank book, and he's only thirteen years old. However, Jack lives in the Imagine Nation, which is a fictional country that functions as a safe haven for superhero fantasy, so the laws may be different there. Even so, 13 is still quite young for someone to be living alone.
  • Pippi Longstocking lives alone with a horse and a monkey. Her father is king of a southern island, and her mother is in heaven. At times, the adults in the town wants to help or assist her, but she prefers to take care of herself most of the time.
  • In Jeramey Kraatz's The Cloak Society novel Villains Rising, it is not a minor but seven minors, the oldest fourteen. On the other hand, they are extremely mature about it; the six who can't do anything useful toward the rescue until the Gadgeteer Genius devises a way spend their days training to keep up their abilities.

Newspaper comics
  • In The Perishers, Wellington lives alone in a squat with his dog, even managing to go to school with the other kids. Before moving into the squat, he and Boot lived in a section of concrete sewer pipe that had been left lying around in a closed builder's yard.

Video Games
  • The Sims:
    • In the original Sims if a parent died a child would live alone...but couldn't pay bills, cook meals. They could live off of snacks in the fridge food from the buy menu, and make some money through grades and painting however.
    • Almost Averted in The Sims 2 where the social worker would pick up orphaned kids. Orphaned teens however, could live alone and could at least pay bills and cook, unlike younger kids. They could also get part-time jobs, which don't pay well but at least give the household a steady cash flow. (It's also possible for a teen to sell most of the crafts that adults can, such as paintings, but this requires a lot of time and/or skill points.)
    • The Sims 2 had a pre-made family of two teens caring for their younger siblings. They were quite hard to play well, and a good source of Video Game Caring Potential.
    • The Sims 3 continues the "orphaned teenager can live alone" trend. They can also register as self employed with the Ambitions expansion pack, almost eliminating the need for parents.

Visual Novels
  • Rika and Satoko from Higurashi: When They Cry are orphans who live together despite the fact they're elementary students. It helps they live in a small, rural community. It's still odd that in one arc Child Services rescues Satoko from her abusive uncle, only to let her go back to living alone with her roommate who isn't even 13. Later on Rika's relative Hanyuu rooms with them too despite also being young. Physically at least. Hanyuu has been a ghost for centuries and died an adult, who even had a kid Rika's age, but takes on the appearance of a child.

Web Comics
  • Homestuck has several cases of this: Jade (age 13) originally lived with her grandfather, but then he died so she lives alone on their island, but she has Bec to look after her. Jake (age 16) is in the same situation after grandma English died. Roxy and Dirk (both 16) each live alone, due to being the last two humans alive several hundred years in the future past Jake.
  • In Red String, Makoto lives in an apartment that his parents pay for in a different city. He insisted on the arrangement so he could apprentice under a chef and go to school with the girl he was arranged to marry.

Western Animation
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: For the first three seasons, The Chipettes lived in a fully furnished tree house, with a living room, a kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom, however, in the Season Four opener, school officials find out about this, and threaten to split them up and put them in foster care; Dave temporarily adopts them, however they and The Chipmunks start getting on each other's nerves, so Alvin talks his neighbor Beatrice Miller into adopting them in one episode. From then on, the girls live with her and soon consider her as their mother figure.
  • Hey Arnold!: Played with: Gerald is fed up with his family not giving him enough space, and moves into an empty room in Arnold's home, which doubles as a boarding house to live by himself. He only wanted attention for leaving though, but his parents and Arnold's Grandpa agree to let him stay until he decides to come back on his own. He moves back by the end of the episode.
  • Recess: Played with in "Bachelor Gus", in which Gus overhears what he thinks is his parents talking about moving away (again), and not wanting to move again, let alone leave his friends at Third Street School, he runs away, and turns the jungle gym into his own bachelor pad. He likes it at first, but is scared by nightfall, and when his parents find him, he learns that they were talking about moving him into the bigger bedroom, not moving away altogether.
  • All of the Teen Titans live without parental supervision in their island headquarters and they fight crime. It makes you wonder if maybe their city lacks a child services department.
  • Averted in Teen Titans Go! as Cyborg is explicitly eighteen. His age was never stated in the original series but here he is old enough to be the other's guardians, or at least count as adult supervision.
  • The titular characters of Fanboy and Chum Chum, as well as Kyle. Well, that is, they share their home with various creatures here and there but no official guardians. Explanations are not given regarding any parents or guardians they might have.
  • The Color Kids from Rainbow Brite don't have any adult supervision. They live alone. It's implied they're Really 700 Years Old though.
  • The titular Strawberry Shortcake and her friends live alone due to the complete lack of adults. Strawberry even raises an infant on her own despite not looking older than eight.
  • Subverted in Max and Ruby. It looks like Max and Ruby live alone but Word of God is that they have Invisible Parents.
  • One episode of The Simpsons had Bart deciding to move out at age ten. He didn't like it for long.
  • The main character of Maisy had a childish personality and according to the First Experience books is as young as she seems. She lives alone and has the independence of an adult.
  • Audie Barrett from the Defenders of the Earth episode "Audie and Tweak" is a pre-teen genius who lives alone except for the collection of robots he has built. Audie regards one of these robots, Tweak, as his best friend, but Tweak has been trying (and failing) to persuade him to make friends with humans.
Real Life
  • This actually does happen in Japan, due to the fact that high schools are not region based. They're more like American colleges, and as such, some students' parents rent them apartments or rooms so they can go to school they attend without waking up really early or the whole family having to move.

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