Parental Substitute

"Watching John with the machine, it was suddenly so clear. The Terminator would never stop. It would never leave him, and it would never hurt him, never shout at him, or get drunk and hit him, or say it was too busy to spend time with him. It would always be there. And it would die to protect him. Of all the would-be fathers who came and went over the years, this thing, this machine, was the only one who measured up. In an insane world, it was the sanest choice."
Sarah Connor, Terminator 2: Judgment Day

An amazingly large number of children in the media suffer from Parental Abandonment. Other children are "lucky enough" to have both parents, but unfortunately live in worlds where there are no Happily Married families. For most such children, life is an endless series of disappointments and let-downs. A lucky few, though, manage to find a Parental Substitute.

A Parental Substitute is an adult friend who fills the children's lonely life with guidance and (often) love. They guide the child and teach them how to stand on their own feet, how to have fun, and how to not be so bothered by the fact that Mommy or Daddy are never around (or ignore them). If the parents in question are dead, they may have known them and are able to answer when the child says Tell Me About My Father. They often tell the kid they are So Proud of You. Usually, by the end of the story, the Parental Substitute leaves as well, but at that point the kid is able to stand on their own two feet.

This trope is often a feature of Tear Jerkers, especially if it follows Take Care of the Kids. If it's an older sibling who's taken over the parental role, that's Promotion to Parent. The Old Retainer may take over this role in event that his employer's children are suffering from Parental Abandonment. If an entire society has teens become parental substitutes, that's a Teenage Wasteland. If the child gets into a big argument with the substitute, expect to hear "You're Not My Father" by the time things get really heated.

Imaginary Friend is often involved. If the Parental Substitute decides to make their status official, as it were, the kid becomes Happily Adopted.

Compare and closely related to Promotion to Parent (when it's a sibling) and Adoptive Peer Parent (for non-relatives), Like a Son to Me, Team Mom, and Team Dad.


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  • In Ai Yori Aoshi, Aoi's mother took Miyabi Kagurazaka in after her parents, who had long served the Sakurabas, died in a car accident, and considers her her other daughter. Miyabi officially gets adopted in the Distant Finale.
  • In Attack on Titan, Hannes acts as a father-figure to Eren and his adoptive sister Mikasa after their mother Carla is killed and their father Grisha goes missing. Eren even calls him "Uncle" despite him just being a close family friend.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia:
    • China raises some of the East Asian nations, but they see him more as a brother than a father. In fact, Korea refers to China as "Aniki" ("Bro"), a rather informal term for "older brother": this is pretty important since the others don't fully acknowledge China as a brother — Japan and Macau call him "Mr. China" while Taiwan and Hong Kong refer to him as "teacher".
    • Same with England and young America. Despite what bash-happy might tell you, they also have an older brother/younger brother relationship, with America at first calling England "Big Bro" (or at the very least offering to, but England, having less than stellar experiences with his own brothers, says "just England is fine") and later telling him that they're not brothers anymore.
    • Hungary and Austria were like this towards North Italy when he was a young child. Also Spain, to South Italy.
    • Denmark was this to a young Iceland, combined with a Big Brother Mentor. He taught Iceland how to make friends, for one, and proclaims that he raised him. In the present, Denmark is still adamant about being a big brother figure and Team Dad to the Nordics as a whole, but especially Iceland, much to the annoyance of Iceland himself, as well as Iceland's blood-related brother Norway.
  • In Basilisk, male lead Gennosuke Koga is raised and trained by both his grandfather Danjou and his maternal uncle Hyouma Muroga, who was just out of his teens when he took up the role. His girlfriend Oboro, on the other hand, is raised by a nanny (who later dies) and her grandmother Ogen. Also, Oboro's fellow Iga ninja Koushirou was pretty much raised by his Evil Mentor, Tenzen.
  • Berserk: Due to Midland being a real Crapsack World and Abusive Parents and pedophiles running rampant. Guts is the sole legitimate father figure and protector of children though sometimes he can't. It's due to the horrific abuse Guts suffered as a child at the hands of his surrogate father Gambino that Guts tries to make sure no child suffers like he did.
    • Rickert has looked up to Guts ever since he saved him during Gut's first siege on a castle so it's natural he sees Guts as a heroic father figure/Big Brother Mentor. Rickert always defended Guts from Corkus's jibes and was deeply sad when Guts left the Hawks. Rickert was delighted at Guts's timely return but is horrified later when he discovers Guts and Casca as the only survivors of the Eclipse which Griffith caused.
      • After Guts tells him about the Eclipse, Rickert is not swayed by Griffith and his kingdom ofFalconia, slapping him when Griffith offers him to join his new band of hawk showing Undying Loyalty to Guts.
    • Jill came to see Guts in this light, especially since her own father Zepek was a gambling, abusive piece of shit. After Guts saved her from bandits, covering her in his cloak like blanket (something he does with Casca later), Jill hardly wants to return to her home life and seeks Guts again. She trusts Guts so much she falls asleep on him and still trusts Guts after seeing and experiencing the worst of him. Despite Jill's wish that Guts take her away from her village and horrible homelife, but Guts refused saying she would just get swallowed by his darkness and that she should be fight her own battles.
    • Isidro could be Guts jr and nobody would think twice, Isidro left his village in pursuit of legend of the "hundred man-killer" (who is Guts). Isidro was drawn to the swordsmen and claimed he'd follow in Guts's foot steps and become legendary. Guts, liking the boy's spirit trains him halfheartedly in very similar manner to how Gambino (Gut's adoptive Dad) trained him note . Neither Isidro or Guts admits how much they care for each other, Guts even keeps watch of him in secret, after Isidro storms off in Enoch Village.
    • Schierke had seen very few other humans due to her sheltered upbringing, but comes to strongly admire Guts forming a none too subtle schoolgirl crush on him. But soon their relationship becomes father daughter-like especially after Schierke guides his soul. Like Jill, Schierke has a serious father complex when comes to Guts.
      • These three kids in particular Guts is very Papa Wolf over.
    • The mother figures of Berserk are Shisu (for Guts), Casca (for the Moonlight boy note ), Luca (to the girls under her care) and Farnese (for Guts' younger True Companions and the traumatised Casca).
  • Daikichi of Bunny Drop acts as the father figure of Rin, a young abandoned relative he took in and raised (before eventually becoming her love interest after a ten year timeskip). He also becomes the father figure of Rin's friend named Kouki, so much so that Kouki proudly declares that he would be happy if Daikichi were his father, and when his mother does remarry, he still considers Daikichi more like his dad than his actual step-father.
  • In the Captain Tsubasa manga, Misugi's girlfriend Yayoi (who is stated to be a nursing student in university) temporarily becomes this to Hyuga's younger siblings when Hyuuga's mother becomes seriously sick and, due to his conflicts at work, Hyuga (who had a Promotion to Parent in the past) can't directly take care of them any longer.
  • A Certain Magical Index: Accelerator and Last Order are taken in by Aiho Yomikawa, an Anti-Skill officer, frequently helped by Dr. Kikyou Yoshikawa. Later in the series, Misaka Worst joins the group. All of them greatly benefit from having authority figures around that both respect them and they can respect in turn.
  • Code Geass: Word of God from the staff as well as C.C.'s Japanese voice actor categorize Lelouch Lamperouge and C.C.'s relationship as mother and son. In lead-up finale episode, she remarks to an Ex-comrade in the final battle that she doer sn't know if she loves him. Multiple times she has been shown to be there for him. She's seen comforting Lelouch in non-romantic ways like after he performed a Mercy Kill on an accidentally Geassed Euphemia. In Season 2 when the audience gets a look at Lelouch's mother who is revealed to be just as much of a Manipulative Bastard as his father you can easily see who is the more genuinely affectionate and maternal figure. Hint: C.C. and not the actual mother. In fact, 10 min into episode 21 of R.2 Marianne is peppering her words with sugary bullshit to get him to agree to hand over C.C. so that she and Charles can finalize their Assimilation Plot. But thanks to Relationship Writing Fumble, it look like something else to some fans.
  • In D.Gray-Man, Cross is this to Allen when he first found the boy as shown in Chapter 206, where said character admitted to having no idea how to care for a child. Word of God says that Cross sees Allen as his own child, and thinks that he's very cute.
    • It is unknown how Allen feels about Cross -whether he sees him as a second father, or not. He mentions thinking of Mana as the only family he had. Lavi asks him what about Cross, and Allen responds that Cross is a demon. However, after Cross is attacked by Apocryphos and believed dead, Allen shows that he did not hate his master as much as he insisted. He appears to be horrified, possibly near tears when he sees the blood in Cross' room for the first time. And he didn't take kindly to Director Lvellie casually lounging in his master's room after the incident. When he comes face to face with Apocryphos and finds out it was he who attacked Cross, Allen attacks him in rage. In recent chapter, Allen is in Nea's inner world, where he will disappear once Nea fully awakens. He meets Cross, and speaks with him for a bit in a very touching scene. After their talk, Allen smiles and says that he was happy he got to see Cross again.
    • There's also a bit of potential irony to the Allen + Cross + Mana triangle. Mana was openly affectionate, and seemed to love him. Cross was very gruff with Allen and seemed to keep him at a distance. But the irony comes in when it becomes a question of whether Mana's affection for Allen was genuine, or if he knew Allen was the host for his deceased brother, and only cared about him for Nea. Meanwhile, the gruff Trickster Mentor, is the one that definitely loved him. Also, Mana is revealed to be The Millennium Earl, whom Allen hates with a passion -even though his master was the one he used to call a demon. Allen has not found out the truth yet, but it won't be happy news when it comes to light.
  • Bear in .hack//SIGN is pretty much the Team Mom. In the real world, he grieves at his broken relationship with his own son, and in the end of the series becomes Tsukasa's real self legal guardian.
  • Piccolo of Dragonball Z is one to Son Gohan, the offspring of his one-time enemy Son Goku. However, it's not mutually agreed on — Piccolo takes Gohan under his wing by force after Goku sacrifices himself to kill Raditz so that he can train for the arrival of the Saiyans. Fortunately, Gohan toughens up and Piccolo softens down. Soon, they are truly close enough for Piccolo to be considered a father figure. Gohan even chooses to wear a battle costume like Piccolo's rather than Goku's gi when facing Cell.
  • In Endride, Prince Emilio has two: he first idolized King Delzaine and referred to him as "father," until he overheard that Delzaine killed his real father, at which point he became angry and resentful. He then met Pascal, who became his second parental substitute, only for Delzaine to later exile Pascal for his disapproval of the Babylon plan. Pascal then spends the first cour using his parental substitute role to try to talk Emilio out of killing his other parental substitute and comforting him in his grief when Delzaine is killed by Ibelda instead.
  • Fruits Basket:
    • Martial artist Kazuma Sohma takes his nephew Kyo in and serves as his father figure. Eventually, he also takes Rin in.
    • And before that, Rin was "rescued" from her Abusive Parents by Kagura and her parents. The rescue was genuine, but poor Rin was so messed up by her abusive situation that she simply couldn't accept or fit in with a more stable/happy family, and distanced herself from them.
    • Yuki's older brother Ayame offers to act as a literal Parental Substitute, to make up for the years when he was an Aloof Big Brother to Yuki. He seals the deal by showing up the parent-teacher conference and stopping their domineering mother from planning Yuki's whole life. And in time, Yuki realizes that Tohru, though his own age, was more of mother-figure to him than a love interest.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • It's mentioned that even before their mom died, and especially after, the Rockbells' home was a home to the Elrics as well.
    • Izumi Curtis also seems to consider the Elrics to be surrogate sons... not that this means she's ever going to go easy on them.
    • There's also plenty of fanfic that promotes Roy Mustang to father figure for any of the teenage protagonists. One of the novels actually has Ed being mistaken for Roy's son, and the parallels are made pretty clear.
    • In the 2003 anime version, Sloth is this to Wrath. He has a living mother but loathes Izumi for "abandoning" him and they don't reconcile until much later.
    • In the 2003 anime Maria Ross becomes a bit of a maternal figure towards Edward. She isn't as close with Ed as he is to Izumi but they have their moments, such as the Cooldown Hug she gives him.
  • Chibi from Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin comes to love his foster dad Moss the mastiff after his father Kurojaki dies.
  • In Girls und Panzer, during the "Little Army" prequel manga, it's shown that Sakuyo, one of the Nishizumi family maids, was this to Miho, providing her advice and support.
  • Gintoki from Gintama acts as Kagura's dad figure sometimes. He and her real dad joined forces to freak the hell out when she got a "boyfriend."
  • When Shiina of Gourmet Girl Graffiti was younger, her mother had a busier job. Tsuyuko the family maidservant became her mother figure.
  • Although Nagi wishes he were more of a boyfriend, Hayate seems to be playing this role for her in Hayate the Combat Butler. Maria is her mother figure, though the role originally seemed to be that of big sister.
    • Hinagiku and Yukiji found the Katsura's to be both willing Parental Substitute and get to play the Happily Adopted card when their parents dropped a large debt on them and disappeared.
    • In the character profiles, Sakuya is said to have been raised by her two butlers and her nurse, instead of her parents, while also serving as the parents to her siblings.
  • In the Hellsing manga and OVA, Alucard acts a little like a father surrogate and mentor to Seras Victoria, who is orphan and has lived in orphanages since her parents' terrible deaths. Integra Hellsing also fills in as Team Mom on occasion (at the ending is more prominent when she literally lectures Seras as if a child) when she's not having Les Yay with her.
    • Hell, even the Les Yay moments made her seem motherly; feeding Seras her blood from her index finger as a mother would feed a baby from their...well, nipple. The way Integra spoke to Seras in the manga during that scene was also very motherly.
    • Father Alexander Anderson acts like a surrogate father and teacher to Maxwell, Heinkel, Yumie, the rest of Iscariot, and the children at his orphanage in Rome. His most human and compassionate moments involve the children he's raised, which includes the majority of Iscariot's ranks. It's the main reason why they're so loyal to him.
      • His final words were to remind his children to say their prayers before bed.
  • Highschool of the Dead: Ever since Takashi's group rescued Alice, Saya and Hirano have essentially taken on the responsibility of looking after her, as if she were their 'daughter'. Which includes bathing her, grooming her, and protecting her. Alice has grown equally attached to them, and often sleeps in the same room as Saya. By chapter 29, they've practically become a family.
  • Before the events of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, Precia's Cat Girl familiar Linith takes this role for Fate, showering her with the love that she didn't get from her psychotic mother. Linith eventually dies, fading away after her contract to train Fate and make Bardiche is fulfilled.
  • In Mazinger Z, Dr. Juuzo Kabuto raised his grandsons after their parents died in a lab experiment gone wrong. After his death, Prof. Yumi took Kouji and Shiro in. However Kouji was Shiro's main parental substitute (although somewhat absent, since Kouji had to split his time between taking care of the household chores, going to school and fighting Mechanical Beasts). After the end of the series, Kouji and Sayaka left Japan for a while, and Shiro was left behind in the beginning of Great Mazinger. He was taken in by Professor Kenzo Kabuto, which is ironic, since he his -and Kouji- REAL father. In UFO Robo Grendizer, Dr. Umon found and took Duke Fleed in, treating him like his son.
  • The titular characters of Michiko & Hatchin develop a familial bond over the course of the anime. Hatchin's mother is unknown and presumed deceased, her father is a deadbeat who leaves her not long after they're reunited, and her foster family is abusive. Despite the fact Michiko kidnapped Hatchin from her foster parents, they're shown to have a strong love for each other even if they don't get along all the time.
  • Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid: According to Tohru, Kanna's parents were very neglectful. So when she was banished to Earth, she ended up latching onto Kobayashi as a mother figure since Kobayashi actually pays attention to her. She later takes in Iruru as well, after the latter performs her Heel–Face Turn.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny, Gilbert Durandal is maybe Rey's adoptive father, but at least he is a parental figure for both Rey and Shinn. It can be interpreted as manipulation, but he appears to genuinely love them. He actually forgives Ray for shooting him, as in "forgive just before dying".
  • Quatre from Mobile Suit Gundam Wing has four of these: the four highest-ranked members of the Magnac corps, led by Team Dad Rashid.
  • Mobile Suit Victory Gundam: 12 year old Shakti takes in a baby named Karlmann early in the show, as he was orphaned in a Zanscare attack. Shakti takes care of Karl for the rest of the series (helped now and again by the others, but she's the primary caretaker), and even in the epilogue is still shown raising the child.
  • Naruto:
    • Iruka Umino unconsciously avoided Naruto for a while because he was the living vessel for the Kyuubi, which killed his parents. After some time, though, Iruka came to realize Naruto for the person he was and realized that aside from the Kyuubi issue they were Not So Different, and by the time the series starts he acts like a Big Brother Mentor to him. Taken a step further in Konoha Hiden when Naruto asks him to come to his and Hinata's wedding as his father. Iruka accepts immediately and cries Tears of Joy when Naruto leaves.
    • The same goes for Jiraiya, who spent three years training Naruto and spending time with him—probably the first period in Naruto's life where there was constantly an adult around to look after him. When Jiraiya dies, Naruto is devastated. When he meets Sasuke again in the Five Kage Summit arc, Jiraiya's death (along with Pain stabbing Hinata right in front of him) helps Naruto finally understand what Sasuke went through.
    • Tsunade is Naruto's sole mother figure, though she didn't think much of him at first when Jiraiya brought him along to recruit her for the role of Hokage. Naruto's personality reminded her of her deceased little brother Nawaki and lover Dan, especially since they all shared the same dream of becoming Hokage. Tsunade gradually grows to care for the youth and gives Naruto Harshirama's (the first Hokage) necklace, and she is also the first woman in canon to kiss Naruto...on the forehead. Even as the fifth Hokage, Tsunade does occasionally give Naruto special treatment and lets him get away with saying his opinion or acting rebellious. Naruto calls her "Granny", which is both insulting (though she is old enough) and kind of endearing. Tsunade even has some mother hen moments endangering most of the village from Pain by keeping Naruto hidden (and training) and vouches for Naruto when A (the fourth Raikage) doubts him, betting that Naruto will be able to save the ninja world.
      • Considering Tsunade's almost-relationship with Jiraya, both of them looking after Naruto can be seen as some sort of surrogate family. Both of them even have an intervention about Naruto and his future before Jiraiya died.
    • Kakashi also counts as one. He liked Naruto from their first meeting, especially since Minato (Naruto's father) was his sensei. He even goes to check up on Naruto in his apartment to see if he's eating right, and urges him to eat more vegetables. But Kakashi opts to train Sasuke over Naruto, letting Jiraya handle Naruto. After Sasuke's betrayal, the two did develop a closer bond, Kakashi helps him train his wind chakra and even tries to hug him when he completes the jutsu, which causes Naruto to freak out. Given that Naruto ends up becoming Kakashi's successor as Hokage and it's implied that even after that Kakashi still helps him out and advises him, it's safe to assume that their friendship/familial bond is still going strong after all those years, especially in comparison to Sasuke.
    • Kurenai Yuuhi acts as a surrogate mother to Hinata, after Hinata's strict father and the rest of her family abandon and even disown her. Hinata does eventually mend her relationship with her family by the end of Part I, after Naruto beat Neji for her at the Chunin Exams finals.
    • It seems likely that Might Guy and Rock Lee have a relationship along these lines.
    • Fanon occasionally has this as a general relationship between the teachers and students. Due to the high number of orphaned kids and kids whose family lives are either awful or unknown, it's pretty reasonable.
  • In Natsume's Book of Friends, the Fujwara couple is a loving family for Natsume. Since they've adopted him, it's the first time he has felt like he's part of a real family.
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, Misato Katsuragi is this to Shinji Ikari and Asuka Langley Soryu, although she's so broken by her own ordeals that Shinji seems to end up taking care of her just as often.
  • This occurs in a Nurse Angel Ririka SOS episode about Ririka's father. He starts to feel lonely because his family is too busy to spend time with him, and is uncomfortable over the fact Ririka is becoming more independent and is developing an interest in boys. He meets a classmate of hers, who incidentally hates Ririka's guts but doesn't know that he is Ririka's dad. It's shown that Miyuki's father is always away at work and she feels left out. The two quice develop a bond. However this causes Ririka to start feeling lonely because her dad is often out "walking the dog". When she finds out about him and Miyuki she becomes jealous. Miyuki calls her out for her selfishness and states that she should be happy that she has a nice father who wants to spend time with his child.
  • One Piece:
    • Happens a lot in the series as most of the characters are orphaned or abandoned at a young age. The most powerful example would have to be Nami's foster mother Bellemere who sacrificed herself for her daughters because she refused to deny that they were hers, Nami herself struggled with the concept of Bell-mere being her mothered but not sharing her blood but at the end of the day loved Bell-mere deeply and her death still traumatizes Nami to this day.
      • Genzo is seen as a father-figure to Nojiko and Nami, telling Luffy in no uncertain terms he would hunt him down and kill him if he ever did anything that took Nami's smile away. Genzo also flips out of at Nami proactive wanted posters and dress sense in true Overprotective Dad style.
    • Tons of others worth noting, though. It happens so often it practically invites you to speculate on what Oda's childhood home life was like.
    • Shanks towards Luffy, since Luffy's father is busy with his "job", and his grandfather was a well-intentioned yet really bad parental figure. They were so close, many thought they would be revealed as actual father and son (especially given that they even looked quite a bit alike early on, though Art Evolution has made their faces more distinct). Luffy and Ace both also had a foster mother (Curly Dadan) in their youth, again because Luffy's dad was gone and his grandpa simply couldn't it in parental-like shoes despite caring for them. Ace also finds this with his captain Whitebeard, since his father, whom he deeply resented anyway, is dead and his mother, Rouge, fell victim to Death by Childbirth.
    • Sanji originally despised his surrogate dad Zeff, completely justified since Zeff raided the ship Sanji was sailing on and beat up Sanji when he tied to defend it. However, when Sanji let slip his dream of finding the all blue which was Zeff's dream as well so when Sanji was swept overboard, Zeff dived in after him. Sanji and Zeff were subsequently marooned on a rock for over 80 days, and survived due to Zeff eating his own leg while Sanji got the actual rations. Overwhelmed, Sanji demanded to know the reason for this kindness, and Zeff simply replied that it was because he and Sanji shared the same dream. Sanji though he still fought with the old pirate, was deeply indebted Zeff for his sacrifice, teaching how to cook and training him to be a baddass.
      • [[spoiler: Sanji's care for Zeff even rivals his loyalty to Luffy and when his actual biologic asshole father black mails Sanji using Zeff's safety, Sanji is briefly forced to violently sever ties with the crew despite being the last thing Sanji wanted. After reuniting with his crew, Sanji declared to judge's face that he wasn't his son at which Judge
was brutally humbled]].
  • Chopper has known no love at his birth and doubly so after eating the Human-Human fruit and being rejected by his fellow Reindeer herd and likely biological parents. But when he was found and saved by the questionably sane Dr Hiluluk Chopper grew to love the quack doctor and was left in despair at his death. Despite his time spent with the superior Doctor Kureha, Chopper still refers to Hiluluk as "the greatest doctor in the world." Hiluluk also gave Chopper his name, claiming his antlers looked like they could chop down trees.
  • Franky loves his mentor Tom as a father, since Tom is the one who found him after Franky actual parents abandoned him. Learning from Tom and seeing Tom (along with Iceberg) work so hard at building the Sea Train inspired Franky who had been building his own battleships at that point. When Spandam of Cipher Poll used Franky own ships to kill civilians, Franky was distraught especially since his own ships had hurt Tom also. Tom forgives him easily but does hurt Franky when he denounces the battleships as his own, he hits Franky saying a parent cannot deny it's child even if the child hurts people. When Tom is captured by The Government Franky goes ballistic especially when Spandam kicks Tom's unconscious body leading to Franky breaking his skull with the butt of rifle and trying to stop a trian with his bare hands just to get Tom back.
  • Robin and both Clover and Saul, maybe Zoro and the dojo owner, ... in fact, the only two members of the main crew that don't appear to have ever had a parental substitute of some sort are Usopp and Brook.
  • Trafalgar Law also had one, Doflamingo's younger brother Rocinante/Corazon. Who ultimately sacrificed his life to save him from Doflamingo himself.
  • Admiral Sengoku had a Number Two, whom he took in and raised when he was a child. Said Number Two was the aforementioned Corazon.
  • Ooku: Shogun Yoshimune's three daughters refer to Sugishita, their mother's male attendant (and later Senior Counsellor of the Royal Harem) as "father", despite him being sterile and having fathered none of them.
  • Yuuta Segawa from Papa no Iukoto o Kikinasai! was just a 19-years-old college freshmen when his older sister Yuri asked him to take care of her daughters Sora, Miu and Hina for a week while she and her husband Shingo were gone on vacation... then they died in the air flight. The three girls would be separated into different homes, taken by different family relatives; the girls didn't want to be separated, seeing this dire situation Yuura volunteered to become their guardian. The family agreed, but they're one step away of taking the girls away if the young and stubborn Yuuta fails to raise them properly...
  • Pokémon is especially bad about this, with insane amounts of one-shot characters clearly being raised by a (often same-gendered) grandparent.
    • With the original main cast, we also had Brock who experienced double Parental Abandonment, and got promoted to parent for all of his younger siblings.
    • Reversed with Misty, whose parents are mysteriously not in the picture and her older sisters are the ones who got the promotion instead and, despite not being bad persons, they're not good at it at all.
    • Gary is the only recurring character to have the "raised by a single grandparent" thing. Fleshed out a bit in a manga, where it's revealed that both Shigeru's biological parents are dead (it's not based on the anime but both characters are based off of Blue from the games).
    • Of the main protagonists, only May and Max have both their parents, but Brock and Cilan do have siblings.
  • Rurouni Kenshin:
    • Hiko Seijuro XIII can be seen as parental substitute to orphaned Kenshin, who he rescued, renamed and took under his wings in age of 8. Hiko may be too proud to admit it, but it’s clear he cares for his "stupid disciple" and will return from retirement to help him.
    • Kaoru tries to be this to Yahiko, an ex Street Urchin whom she and Kenshin rescued from being a borderline child slave to low-ranked delinquents. It doesn't always work.
    • Similarly, Okina was a grand-parental substitute to Misao.
  • In Saki Shinohayu -dawn of age-, after Shino's mother disappears, she's taken in by her uncle Kousuke, who's her mother's brother. He tries the best he can as a single father despite also holding down a job and searching for his sister, and while he mistakenly assumes that mahjong does nothing more than remind Shiho of her Missing Mom, he sees the error of his ways and apologizes.
  • In 3-gatsu no Lion, Akari Kawamoto, who is already acting as a parental figure for her two younger sisters, also serves as a surrogate mother figure for the meek, solitary Rei Kiriyama, even lecturing Rei when he does inconsiderate things like not answering the phone when he's sick for several days.
  • Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit: Balsa pulls double duty as guardian figure and bodyguard to Prince Chagum, after being hired to protect him. At one point in the series, she even gives a knife to him, a symbolic tradition of coming-of-age in her home country. Tanda even points out that her vow to protect him from all harm for as long as is necessary means she is, for all intents and purposes, his mother.
  • Panzer World Galient: When Marder invaded the capital of Arst, killed the King and kidnapped the Queen, Asbeth -their most loyal knight- rescued their son Jordy and ran away. From that day on, he became Jordy's guardian and caretaker, looking after him and teaching him how to fight.
  • In Shoulder-a-Coffin Kuro, the titular heroine and her sidekick come across a pair of very young and very naive twin girls and bring the two along on their journey. They find themselves having to run herd on the kids quite a bit, as well as teaching them about the outside world.
  • The Baba Yaga arc of Soul Eater revealed that Sid took in Black Star after the Star Clan was destroyed by Shibusen. However, not much has been made of this relationship in a parent-child sense, though it's evident Sid looks out for Black Star. If his methods do seem a little odd at times. The reveal made sense, given the attitude towards Black Star taken by both the meister and his partner Nygus.
    • Continued in principle by Black Star taking Angela back to Shibusen. More likely to be 'big brother' than 'parent' given the age difference, but Shinigami agreed she'd be looked after, and most importantly the thought was there.
  • A few here and there in Sword Art Online.
    • First, any children who were trapped in the game were adopted by friendly players in the City of Beginnings. We see one eventually; a young girl runs an orphanage with thirty or more kids.
    • Second, Kirito and Asuna find a little girl named Yui wandering the woods who takes to calling them Poppa and Momma, which they accept quite quickly. It turns out the girl is actually a therapy program designed to monitor the players' psychological states, but has been glitching because she was forbidden from interacting with the players. She became Yui so that she could be the daughter of two of the only happy players in the game.
  • In Tiger & Bunny, Maverick is this to Barnaby. He is also the man who killed both of his parents because they knew about his involvment with Ouroboros, manipulated his memories into believing the murderer was someone else and, later, into believing he was the one who raised him when Freeze-Frame Bonus reveals Barnaby grew up in an orphanage. And Barnaby is totally unaware of it.
  • In the sequel to Tokyo Ghoul, Amnesiac Hero Haise Sasaki states that he considers his mentors, Arima and Akira to essentially be his parents.
    • Saria's relationship with Link can be viewed in various ways. She is Older Than They Look (possibly several hundred years old), has a mature personality for her physical age, and has watched over Link since infancy. Their relationship can be Like Brother and Sister, Saria being a Parental Substitute towards Link, or romantic.
  • 13-year old Mirai and 8-year old Yuuki from Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 befriend a 30-something year old woman named Mari when they encounter each other after an earthquake. Mari spends the rest of the anime trying to help them get back home. Mari is a mother herself, though her daughter is younger than both Mirai and Yuuki.
  • Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-'s Fai D. Flourite and Kurogane turn into this for Sakura, Syaoran and especially R!Syaoran/Tsubasa in the final arc. They've had the names Fai-Mommy and Kuro-Daddy for most of the series but they fit surprisingly well and they do act as if the three kids were their children. After a certain point R!Syaoran starts to think so as well.
  • In Vampire Knight, the chairman of Cross Academy, Kaien Cross, is Yuuki's parental figure. In fact, Yuuki uses his surname until her heritage is revealed.
  • Variable Geo: Both of Satomi's parents died years ago, in a car accident. Since she and her brother have no other living relatives, she's had to support them on her own by working two jobs, while still trying to finish highschool.
  • Oboe is this for Hamel in Violinist of Hameln. It is not obvious for a long, long time, thanks to the Hamel's extreme Jerkass Façade and Oboe mostly keeping in the background (not without a reason), but in the end Hamel even directly states that Oboe is only being he'll ever call "father" when confronting his Big Bad biological parent.
  • After episode 10 of Your Lie in April, Saki's college best friend Hiroko becomes this to Kousei. She had known him from a young age and even encouraged Saki to teach her son the piano, though she later regrets it due to the emotional damage it caused him. Though, it was implied she already become this immediately after Saki's death, it was just she don't want to be near Kousei's life if her existence would bring his bad memories back.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, Yusei, Crow and Jack were taken in by Martha when they were young. Crow himself becomes one to several children.
  • Minamoto, the male Team Mom from Zettai Karen Children, is a full time parental figure and role model to at least five ESPers.

    Comic Books 
  • In John Byrne's Alpha Flight, Shaman is the father-figure to Snowbird (a six-year-old adult), which is ironic considering his relationship with his real daughter. The daughter's baby-sitter and parental/big sister substitute Heather later on became the leader of Alpha Flight, after her husband (the original leader) died. Her husband has been a father substitute for Wolverine, of all people.
  • The Avengers has Hawkeye and Captain America, which has been alluded to several times in canon. Hawkeye, who had an abusive, alcoholic father and several irresponsible successors of that field, unconsciously sees Captain America as a father figure. This is highlighted whenever Hawkeye has a tough time and Cap is there to give him a pep talk or lecture. The earliest examples of the relationship, in fact, took place as soon as Hawkeye joined the team. He jokingly called Cap "dad" and Cap felt a responsibility to look after him. It doesn't help that Stan Lee initially intended for Hawkeye to be Cap's long-lost illegitimate son.
    • Its not uncommon for this to happen with any other young and not-so-young hero too. Bucky, Rick Jones (who himself like Doctor Strange also took care of Hulk when he was in child-like Savage Hulk mode), Spider-Man, and many other young heroes have looked up to Cap as a father and vice versa. He even acted sorta like this to Moon Knight (yes, THAT Moon Knight) in the Secret Avengers, being one of the few who didn't see him as nothing but a crazy schizoid and encouraging his more heroic attempts.
  • Batman is chock full of Parental Substitute goodness. Alfred Pennyworth serves as a father-substitute for Bruce Wayne. Bruce Wayne serves as a father-substitute for Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, and Tim Drake (for whom Dick Grayson also serves as a bit of a brother-figure).
    • Bruce/Batman is also a father substitute for Cassandra Cain (Batgirl II), who also has a mother substitute in Barbara Gordon (Batgirl I/Oracle).
    • In Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl the Wayne family took Barbara Gordon in after her parents were murdered.
    • Alfred has, through the years, gone back and forth between an objective servant to an adoptive-father-figure and back, depending on the writer. However, it's become very common to portray him as an amalgam of the two - officially a servant, but acting as Bruce's surrogate father. This is shown strongly by Alfred being the only one who can tell Bruce off without any repercussions, and is openly stated by Alfred in the "Battle for the Cowl" arc:
      Superman: Alfred, are you alright?
      Alfred: Alright?... No, sir, I'm not... my son has died.
      • Bruce acknowledges this as well; in a Batman and the Outsiders special following Batman R.I.P., Bruce has left a prerecorded message for Alfred in case of his death where he calls Alfred his second father, and takes the opportunity to say "Goodbye, Dad".
      • In the first issue of Superman/Batman, Clark's thoughts are about how complicated the relationship between Bruce and Alfred is, and that even he can't understand it completely.
    • It seems that now Dick has become promoted to father of Batman's Anti-Hero son, Damian.
    • Leslie Thompkins is occasionally referred to as a mother figure by Bruce.
    • Jim Gordon is sometimes played up as this as well - particularly in one episode of the animated series where Batman says that part of his close connection with Gordon is because Gordon is approximately the same age Thomas Wayne would be were he still alive. As for Alfred, Batman R.I.P. stresses it to the point where the possibility is raised that Alfred might be Bruce Wayne's true father, if the scandalous rumors spread by the Black Glove are to be believed.
    • Damian Wayne, Bruce's son, is starting to see Dick Grayson as a mix of an older brother and a father. Especially after his mother Talia was actually cloning him and deemed him not perfect enough and kicked him out of the Al Ghul's house.
    • Batman's frequent role as a surrogate father-figure was ultimately deconstructed with Stephanie Brown (Spoiler/Batgirl III). Stephanie was the daughter of the criminal Cluemaster and went into costumed crime-fighting to oppose him, and eventually gravitated into the Bat-family, but after she became Batgirl she realized that Bruce had been a horrible father figure (She even slapped him). She criticized him on all the manipulation that he put her through, as well as the generally condescending and dismissive attitude he had, and pointed out that the improvements she has made in her life were in spite of him, not because of him.
      • During her own series, Oracle/Barbara begins to act as one for Stephanie as well, which is strange considering Steph's mom is very much alive. She also acts like this to Wendy Harris, helping her deal with the loss of her legs and her brother, and help her re-enter the superhero world.
  • During Marvel's Civil War, Tony "Iron Man" Stark and Peter "Spider-Man" Parker fell into a father/son relationship, until Peter realized he didn't like what Tony was up to and tried to rebel against Stark's superhuman registration initiative. After that, they stopped seeing eye-to-eye.
  • The Flash Wally West considers Barry Allen as a more of father than his own biological one. In return Barry thinks of him as his own as well. Considering Barry's fate (or Wally's depending on universe), their relationship turns into Tear Jerker between them.
    • There is also Bart Allen, 'Impulse' and later 'Kid Flash' who comes from future. With his father being dead and his mother in future, he considers Max Mercury as his father figure. Like his predecessors Wally and Barry, theirs also ends in tragedy.
  • Doctor Strange has served as this for the Incredible Hulk's simple and childlike Savage Hulk incarnation. The Ancient One may have been a father-figure for Strange himself, judging by all the Like a Son to Me dialogue between them.
  • Power Girl:
    • Pre-New 52 Power Girl was already an adult woman when she arrived on Earth, but Superman and Lois Lane treated her as their daughter anyway.
    • Post-New 52 Power Girl was a little child when her rocket landed on Earth. Pa and Ma Kent volunteered to raise her, and Superman took her in when she was a teenager.
      Power Girl: [tearfully] You took me in! You treated me like I was your daughter!
      Earth-2 Lois Lane: Oh, honey... as far as we were concerned, you were our daughter.
  • In the Runaways series, Nico and Karolina serve this function for Molly and Klara, particularly in the last arc, "Home Schooling", in which Old Lace dies and Chase abandons the team.
  • In Gail Simone's Secret Six series, Bane tries to become a father figure to Scandal after she becomes depressed about the loss of her beloved Knockout. While he's not always good at it, since he never had a normal family life himself, they do eventually end up genuinely caring for each other this way. The fact that Scandal's actual dad is an asshole who doesn't accept her sexuality doesn't hurt either.
  • Spider-Man is of course filled to the brim with parental substitutes, starting of course with Uncle Ben and Aunt May. After Ben Parker's murder, the irascible J. Jonah Jameson came to assume a quasi-paternal role, eventually playing "bad surrogate dad" to Joe Robertson's "good surrogate dad" (however Jonah, even though he is a notorious skinflint, footed the bill for Peter and Mary Jane's wedding). Gwen Stacy's father, Captain George Stacy, also took a kindly father approacht to Peter (deducing his identity with Spider-Man) until his untimely death. In later years reporter Ben Urich, Ezekiel, Doc Connors (at times, in the Animated Series he even gave MJ away at their wedding), and detective Lamont would all take a fatherly attitudes to him. Not so many mother substitutes, although Betty and Gwen did have a tendency to mother the seemingly shy and insecure Peter Parker, and Aunt Anna functioned as a surrogate mother to Mary Jane.
    • In the movie adaptations, Norman Osborn tried to become Peter's paternal substitute in the first one.
    • Jameson also functioned as a father figure to Betty Brant. Betty's mother used to work as Jameson's secretary, and when she died Jameson gave Betty her mother's job to support herself. When Betty married Daily Bugle reporter Ned Leeds, Jameson was the one to give her away. She and Ned were Put on a Bus after that, and a Running Gag quickly developed that depicted Jameson going through all kinds of hassle trying to find a new secretary, which revealed just how much Jameson depended on Betty's help.
  • In the original Spider-Woman series, Charles Magnus serves this role for Jessica Drew.
  • Supergirl has several parental figures.
    • Her cousin Superman is or tries to be this, always.
    • Pre-Crisis Supergirl was adopted by Fred and Edna Danvers. They were loving, supportive parents, even after discovering that she was a super-powerful alien.
      Edna Danvers: To others, she's the world's greatest heroine, but she's more than that to us! She's the daughter we dearly love!
    • Eliza and Jeremiah Danvers become post-Crisis Kara's guardians when she moves into National City in Supergirl (Rebirth). They are both her DEO-appointed handlers and her foster parents, and they try to help her understand and adapt to Earth.
    • Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl: Wonder Woman became Kara's surrogate mother when she showed up on Earth.
  • The Ur-Example in comics has to be Superman's Earth parents, Jonathan and Martha Kent. While Kal-El would always have powers by virtue of being Kryptonian by birth, the comics stress repeatedly that it was the Kents' values that made Superman the hero he is. Lampshaded in the "Reign of the Supermen" series with regard to the Jerk Ass Superboy clone:
    Jonathan Kent: No son of ours would act like that, powers or no!
    • Superman, in turn, has taken on this role to Supergirl and, to some degree, to Jimmy Olsen.
    • Also Nightwing's, if Nightwing: Year One is any indication. After Batman fires him, he goes to see Clark. It's not hard to interpret it as a child getting away from his abusive father (the story portrays Batman as a Jerk Ass) and instead staying with his mother (the caring, nice Superman).
    • In Krypton No More, Superman is tricked into believing that Jonathan and Martha were really his birth parents and Fred and Edna Danvers are his cousin Linda's natural ones. Later on, he figures out that he was lied to.
  • X-Men: Professor Xavier gave this the original five, but especially serves as a father substitute for Cyclops.
    • Wolverine has a tendency to become this to young teammates, especially female ones (Kitty Pryde, Rogue, Jubilee), but also e. g. to Colossus (in a more "tough love" kind of way).
    • Also from the X-Men, there's foundling Nightcrawler and his adoptive gypsy family, and his kinda-stepsister Rogue, raised by supervillain couple Mystique and Destiny after running away from home.
    • For a while, Scott/Cyclops himself would act like this, and occasionally still does. Unfortunately writers prefer writing him as a soldier and military leader rather than anything else so its becoming far less frequent.
  • In Venom we learn that Bennet Brant (Betty Brant's older brother) had a surrogate father-figure in the form of the Crime Master. This had the unfortunate effect of causing Bennet to take up the Crime Master identity years later when he decided to become a supervillain and continue the legacy of the original. He also took on Jack O'Lantern as a protégé/son-figure; given that Jack O'Lantern is basically an Ax-Crazy lunatic who runs around with a pumpkin on his head, you can guess how well that turned out.
  • In Violine, it turns out Violine's "mother" is really her father's old governess, Marushka, who falsely claimed to be her mother.
  • Donald Duck to Huey, Louie and Dewey, and Uncle Scrooge to all four of them. Being raised by uncles or aunts is seen as such a big Disney convention that German Duck fans even coined a pseudo-scholarly term for the process: Veronkelung ("uncleification").

    Fairy Tales 

    Fan Works 
  • Misato is this for Shinji and Asuka, as in Neon Genesis Evangelion canon, in MANY fics. Sometimes, that role extends to other characters as well.
    • A Crown of Stars: Misato was Shinji and Asuka's guardian and caretaker during the Angel War, at the end of the which she got killed. During the story Daniel brought her back, and she dedicated herself to fight to rebuild the post-Third Impact world as a way to atone for neglecting her wards during the War. During a conversation with Asuka she admits she was the closest thing they had to a parent, she screwed, and she is awfully sorry about it.
    • Advice and Trust: Misato is this to Shinji and Asuka. She takes care after them and even tries to encourage them to get together... having no idea that they hooked up with each other when she was not looking.
    • The Child of Love: A while after Asuka got ditched by her father and step-mother Misato became her guardian, and later Kaji. When Shinji arrived on Tokyo-3, Misato became his guardian and then she took Asuka in again. Both Misato and Kaji are the only reliable adult role models both teenagers have, and the only people really looked after them after their families abandoned them.
    • Hail To The King: When Shinji was unable to synch with Unit 01 Misato decided to take him in, and she also became Asuka's guardian when she arrived to Tokyo-3.
    • Ghosts of Evangelion: Misato took Shinji and Asuka in when they were teenagers, and helped them raise their daughter.
    • HERZ: Misato has looked after Shinji and Asuka since they were young (although Asuka moved out after the battle of 2015) and even after so many years she sees and Rei as the children she never had.
    • Higher Learning: Misato was Shinji and Asuka's surrogate guardian. During a heated arguemtn with other character she blurts out she cares more about her kids than about NERV or anything else.
    • Children of an Elder God:
      • When Shinji arrived to Tokyo-3 Misato took him in and took care of him.
      • After her parents died, Asuka was adopted by Dr. Himmelfarb. Her foster mother took care of her and mentored her for many years. Later Kaji became her guardian, and when the war began, Misato took her in together with Shinji.
      • After the end of the war Shinji, Asuka, Touji and Hikari have lost their respective families. Misato insists on becoming the surrogate mother of the four teenagers. When they warn her that other people will give her grief about it, Misato retorts she does not give a damn.
    • Doing It Right This Time: When Shinji and Asuka arrive to Tokyo-3 Misato takes them in... and shortly after they insist on she taking Rei in, too. When she asks Asuka what is going on, they explain that they were time-travellers, and she had been her and Shinji's caretaker in the original timeline (and Rei did no longer want to be under Gendo's legal guardianship). After their explanations Misato agrees to be Rei's guardian, too.
    • Evangelion 303: Ritsuko took care of Shinji for a short while when his father sent him away after his mother's death. However Ritsuko seemed to be always with his father, and Shinji did not like her very much. When the story starts he is twenty and he has been used to take care of himself for a long time.
    • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide: Misato is Shinji and Asuka's caretaker. Although she failed them in the past, she wants sincerely to take care of them and protect them, not matter what.
    • Nobody Dies: Yui and Gendo sent Shinji away because several eldritch abominations on the basement wanted to eat him (don't ask). When they summoned him back, Misato became his guardian. She also became Asuka's caretaker when the Sohryu family arrived on Tokyo-3. After considering she had ruined her daughter's life utterly Kyoko thought it would be for the best if Misato adopted Asuka, but Misato talked her out of it.
    • Once More with Feeling:
      • After returning to the past Shinji hopes Misato becomes his guardian again. She does not disappoint. Later he says to the face of SEELE Misato was the only person had looked after him, unlike his so-called biological family.
      • Misato was also Asuka's guardian in Germany. Asuka felt she was the first person since her mother's death had genuinely cared about her. Later, when she nearly died while she was fighting into a volcano, Asuka felt betrayed because Misato seemed more concerned about destroying the enemy than about her safety, but Misato acknowledged she had acted wrongly, explained her actions, apologized and reassured her than she cared about her and Shinji.
    • The One I Love Is: Misato took Shinji and Asuka in when they were summoned to Tokyo-3. Shinji also looks up to Kaji and often goes to him for help, advice or counseling. Several times He has wished that Kaji was his real father.
    • Last Child of Krypton: When Shinji told Misato he had to go back to his uncle’s house again without ever talking with his father she insisted he could stay with her. Shortly after she also took Asuka in when she arrived. Misato was the first adult wanted to take care of both kids in one decade. A while later, when Shinji decides to fight Gendo head-on, she joins him despite of Kaji's misgivings because she can not abandon her kids.
    • RE-TAKE: Misato to Shinji and Asuka, even though Asuka left Japan at the end of the history. She took care of them and even encouraged Shinji to be happy.
    • Scar Tissue: After Third Impact Misato returned to the real world because her wards Shinji and Asuka needed her. As far as she is concerned, they are now her children, not her biological mothers'.
    • The Second Try: Misato had been Asuka's caretaker in Germany and later Kaji replaced her. Later Misato was both Shinji and Asuka's guardian. In the After the End episodes Asuka tells Shinji how her guardians had constantly changed back in her homeland.
      "After my mother died, I was practically raised by NERV. Despite living with them, my father never really cared much about me, and my stepmother was 'almost afraid of me', as she said it. So I was mostly in custody by someone from NERV; send from one guardian to another. But those were the same; only when I got good grades or even more so when I was good in training, I got praise. Even Misato wasn't much better..."
      "Yes, don't you remember? She had been my guardian awhile once before. Looking back, I'd say she most likely still had her own problems dwelling on her mind, but I guess it were those differences between her behavior then and when I came here that made me think she preferred you." Shinji nodded understanding, but didn't interrupt her.
    • Shinji And Warhammer 40 K: After Shinji's arrival to NERV Misato took her in, even if she thought he was a weird kid. As things get crazier and crazier she also becomes Asuka's guardian, and Rei's for a while when Shinji was away.
    • Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton: When Asuka arrived to Japan she thought Misato was replacing Shinji with her, but to her surprise Misato took him and her in. Formerly her guardian had been Kaji.
    • Thousand Shinji: When Misato decided to take Shinji in, he initially resisted. However, he quickly -and reluctantly- bonded with her because she was the only person had treated him like a son after his mother's death. Later he tells Asuka -who had also become Misato's ward- that despite all her human flaws Misato is the mother he missed during his childhood despite all her very human flaws.
    • Walking in the Shadow of Dreams: Misato was Shinji and Asuka's guardian... but she neglected them when they were going through their worst pains, and as a result Asuka got a break-down, hurt Shinji and ran away. Several years later she admitted that she failed both kids.
  • Bait and Switch (STO): Lieutenant Commander Reshek Gaarra's mother died when he was two, and his father was an officer in the Bajoran Militia's local garrison and had to go out on maneuvers a week out of every month. He was raised by his father and his paternal aunt Nefris.
  • In Hogyoku ex Machina, Isshin feels this way about Ichigo's relationship with Zangetsu. He asks Yoruichi to describe Zangetsu to him leading to this.
    "The soul of a fifteen-year-old formed itself a partner according to its own needs and desires, Yoruichi. And when it did…" his voice broke a little "… when it made the being it wanted to fight with for its entire existence… it made a middle-aged man. A teacher. A mentor. Stern and unrelenting, and so damn proud of him it hurts to watch." Everything Isshin had never shown Ichigo he could be. Yoruichi began to understand.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • The Grand Ruler for Lightning Dawn in My Little Unicorn. Not that their relationship has any significance on the overall plot.
    • In Sophistication And Betrayal, the protagonist's boss Pipe Wrench becomes something of a father figure to him. Pipe Wrench's wife similarly becomes something of a mother figure, and both provide advice on how to deal with various personal problems he encounters.
    • Played with in The Twilight Child, when Princess Celestia admits she sees Twilight as a daughter, and Twilight points out she already has parents, whom she loves dearly. Doesn't mean she isn't touched, though.
    • In Dear Scootaloo, Rainbow Dash was raised more or less personally by Firefly, former Wonderbolt and founder of the Cloudsdale Home for Wayward Pegasi, and as far as she's concerned Firefly was her mother.
    • The Differentverse: Derpy Hooves is this for Scootaloo, having raised her since she was a year old, though Scoots’ mother does drop in from time to time. Twilight is also this to Spike, whose biological parents are unknown.
    • In a lot of fanfictions, it's popular to have the Cakes killed off and have Pinkie Pie as the closest thing to a relative for the Cake twins, leaving her as the Parental Substitute.
    • Similarly, it's common for Scootaloo to be an orphan or have a neglectful home/Abusive Parents and end up being taken in by someone (examples range from members of the Mane 6 [with Twilight and Rainbow Dash being most common] to background ponies to even Discord; crossovers also sometimes have characters from other fandoms taking her in) who becomes this trope for her.
    • In The Witch of the Everfree, Celestia was a parental substitute for Sunset before their fight, but she didn't directly acknowledge it, leading Sunset to become jealous of Cadance for Celestia having officially adopted her. After their reconciliation, Celestia starts actually calling Sunset her daughter.
    • Throughout The Nuptialverse story Families, Spike, Scootaloo, and Pinkie Pie all experience a form of this.
      • Spike wrestles with seeing Twilight Sparkle as a mother figure. He's afraid to say it out loud to Twilight but once it's acknowledged openly, Twilight happily accepts Spike's feelings and even formally adopts him.
      • While Rainbow Dash starts out as a Cool Big Sis to Scootaloo as in canon, Rainbow Dash takes her in following Scootaloo's Abusive Parents being arrested. In The Visit, after confronting her biological parents in prison, Scootaloo begins referring to Rainbow Dash as "Mom" and Soarin' as "Dad".
      • Pinkie Pie was essentially disowned by her family following her getting her Cutie Mark. Their rejection of her mark prompted her to run away from home, where she was eventually adopted by the Cakes. Pinkie regards the Cakes as parents as much as she does her biological family.
    • In The Bridge this happens on both sides of the crossover.
      • Princess Celestia and Princess Luna were raised by the Equestrian Founders, seeing Starswirl the Bearded especially as a father figure. Part of the reason Luna grew jealous of Celestia and turned into Nightmare Moon was she felt, incorrectly, that she was the Un Favorite in Starswirl's eyes.
      • Aria Blaze's mother, Hymnia, was one for her cousins Adagio Dazzle and Sonata Dusk. Their mother, Hymnia's sister, died shortly after Sonata was born and Adagio was still a baby. Hymnia was the one who taught them their song magic before she too passed away years later in a storm.
      • Dr. Azusa Aoki, formally Azusa Gojo, was this for Godzilla Junior's early years due to him imprinting on her when he hatched. When it became apparent Junior was sapient, the two saw each other as mother and son even after Junior grew to his titanic adult size. It's heavily implied her care is why he grew up wanting to protect others and turned him into Terra's Big Good.
  • In Marie D. Suesse And The Mystery New Pirate Age!, toward the end, it is revealed that a woman named Denise was this to Madelyn, taking her in, giving her a job, and through being tough but fair, helping to make her a better person, inspiring her so much that she gave Denise's name to her daughter as her middle name.
  • Asaph in Obsession is the mentor to Jirarudan and Veronica, and is more present in their lives than their real parents.
  • In Pokémon: The Great Adventure, Ash gets one in the shape of Silver, a mysterious tailed man with silver hairs that raises him like his own son and teaches him everything he knows. Even after learning the truth about his legacy, the man is still the only one Ash calls "Father".
  • In the Jackie Chan Adventures fanfiction Queen of All Oni, Uncle notes that, even if Jackie and Jade aren't aware of it themselves, Jackie loves Jade to the point that he essentially is her parent in every way except blood. Given that Jade herself suffered Parental Neglect so severe it bordered on abuse, she on some level does see Jackie as her true father figure. To the point that the Aspect of her mind known as "Father" looks just like him.
  • In the Back to the Future fanfic Ich Liebe Dich, Marty tells Doc that back in 1985, he's more of a father figure to him than George is.
  • Mortality: Holmes's parents are never mentioned, so most likely Holmes sees his friend Watson as this.
  • Escape From The Hokage's Hat: Tsunade to all three of her students (Shizune, Naruto and Hinata). While Shizune is a fairly well adjusted adult, she spends most of her time helping Naruto and Hinata with their own personal issues.
  • Rei plays this role in Kiryuuin Chronicles with Satsuki, Ryuuko, and Nui and has been doing so since birth, raising them more than their parents do. Of course, she does have a reason to be, considering how their parents are.
  • In The Vow (a Kung Fu Panda fanfic), Lianne comes to hold in her heart Lord Goa and Lady Jing, Shen's kindly parents, like second parents. In particular, she views Lord Goa a true father her biological father has never been able to be to her.
  • There are some Fullmetal Alchemist fanfics that have Edward put in this role. Bonus points if he's the oldest child in an abusive or neglecting household who takes care of the kids more than the actual "parent" does.
  • In Undertale (Fan Novelization), Frisk takes to Toriel as a mother-figure, though it takes a while for the child to acknowledge the fact. When Toriel calls to check in after leaving on her own, Frisk says "Bye mom", only to immediately backpedal. Even Frisk isn't entirely sure what prompted that.
  • In The Tale Of Nagato Uzumaki, the (now adult) Ame Orphans become this to Naruto after his parents' deaths.
  • In Pareidolia, the fusion of Naruto and Genkuro becomes the father figure for Tayuya in the alternate timeline. What makes it odd is that in the original timeline they had been lovers; Naruto worries for a bit whether he'll be able to keep the two separate.

    Films — Animation 
  • Fish, for Eggs in The Boxtrolls. Eggs indirectly calls the boxtroll his father at one point.
  • The Iron Giant: Dean McCoppin's a father-figure/mentor to Hogarth, whose actual father was a pilot in the American Airforce (and was presumably killed in the Korean War). Hogarth himself has a fatherly/big-brother relationship to the giant robot in the title, who has the mentality of a very young child.
  • Baloo acts as this to Mowgli in The Jungle Book for the brief time they are together. Prior to him, he was Raised by Wolves, his adoptive father Rama even referring to him as being "like a real son".
    • Bagheera also takes on a fatherly role with Mowgli, in the live action remake it's pretty much established Mowgli cares for him as a father, maybe even more than Akela or his biological father.
  • Though Hiccup's father is alive and well in How to Train Your Dragon, it's Hiccup's boss Gobber the Belch who, despite being frustrated with the boy's overall clumsiness and uselessness, is nevertheless supportive and protective of the boy. He urges Hiccup to be happy with who he is, pressures Hiccup's father to let the boy train to fight dragons when it's clear that's what he wants to do, and even defends the boy from the bullies. He's harsh and Innocently Insensitive with his encouragement, but he genuinely means well.
  • In Kung Fu Panda, Shifu is to Tai Lung and later Tigress, and Mr. Ping to Po.
    • The Soothsayer to Shen in Kung Fu Panda 2. All There in the Manual, though some of her interactions with Shen imply this. You get the feeling that if anyone else tried to take a bite out of his robes, they would get a knife to the throat.
  • Lilo & Stitch:
    • Nani tries to be this for Lilo after their parents death. It's hard for both of them.
    • In the sequels and TV show, Jumba and Pleakley end up as this too in a weird sort of way; Nani has no problems leaving Lilo and Stitch with "Uncle Jumba" and "Aunt Pleakley" when she's busy. David could end up as this (or at least a Big Brother Mentor) since he hang out with them a lot as well and gets Ship Tease with Nani.
  • In Titan A.E., the Parental Substitute relationship between Kale and Korso is made even more complicated by the fact that Korso is The Mole.
  • Silver is a mentor and father-figure to Jim in Treasure Planet. Considering how the story goes, is one of the more turbulent examples, but it all worked out in the most satisfying way possible.
  • Flora, Fauna and Merryweather are the mother figures to Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty. While Aurora's mother never died, she did grow up without her mother close to her, so it fell on the fairies' hand to raise the child well. Aurora calls the three her aunts, tho.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Part of what makes Aliens so touching is Ripley's 'adoption' of Newt. Ripley, being frozen for 50+ years, lost her daughter, and Newt's family were killed by the Xenomorphs, so the two fill the empty spaces in each other's lives. Newt actually calls Ripley "Mommy" by the end of the film.
  • Amazing Grace and Chuck features this trope swinging both ways to a degree. Chuck's father, Russell, at first fears that Amazing is this to his son, but he's more like a Big Brother Mentor in Chuck's eyes. Amazing on the other hand, admits that he's "jealous as hell" of Russell's family in general, his own wife and daughter having died in a car crash years earlier. Its even pointed out that his daughter would be just about Chuck's age if she hadn't died.
  • Aside from Uncle Ben and Aunt May, Curt Connors acts as one for Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man. They share a love of science and it becomes clear that Peter desires Connors' approval, something he never really got from his dad.
  • Babe the pig is adopted by Fly, a sheepdog. When Fly's pups were put up for sale and she was heartbroken, Babe comforted her by asking if he could call her Mom, which she said yes.
  • Henri Ducard to Bruce in Batman Begins, for a few short years when the boy was in serious need of guidance. At the end of those years Bruce finds himself disgusted with his ruthlessness.
  • Noni's hairdresser in Beyond The Lights, is this to some degree. She's the first person to ever actually properly comb out Noni's hairnote  and she also proudly watches young Noni sing for the first time in contrast to Noni's disgruntled mother. She shows up later in the movie however to remind Noni that despite Macy's blind ambition and self-interest, Macy does actually love Noni.
  • Cloak & Dagger features super-spy Jack Flack, an imaginary mentor who amazingly enough looks like Davey Osborne's real dad.
  • Vincent Lauria in The Color of Money eventually sees Eddie Felton as a father figure.
  • In the film Dark City, Dr. Shrieber literally injects himself into protagonist John Murdoch's life via an "imprint", creating memories of a father figure who taught Murdoch the skills that he uses to fight the Strangers.
  • Dead Poets Society: Inspiring English teacher Mr. Keating seems to play this role for Neil, whose real father is cold, unsupportive, and controlling. While Neil's father tells him he is not allowed to act in a play, Keating encourages Neil to pursue his dreams of being an actor.
  • In ET The Extraterrestrial, E.T. himself (itself?) serves as a two-pronged parental substitute, offering fatherly advice and motherly attention simultaneously.
  • In Finding Neverland, the Llewelyn Davies boys increasingly look to James Barrie as a father figure.
  • The role M plays as a surrogate mother to the orphaned James Bond is lampshaded repeatedly in the Daniel Craig films, and is a central theme in Skyfall. The Big Bad is a former MI6 agent that M handed over to the Chinese after he turned Rogue Agent; he's now seeking revenge on his 'mother' for having betrayed him.
  • Even Kaiju can be subject to this. Godzilla Junior from the 1990s series was raised by humans for a time in the institute he hatched at, seeing biologist Azusa Gozo as his mother because she was the first thing he saw when he hatched. This turned him into a Gentle Giant towards humans when he got older.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy:
    • Yondu Udonta adopted Peter Quill instead of handing him over to his biological father, who Yondu calls a jackass. And despite his trollish behavior, Yondu admits that he's glad he adopted Peter and does genuinely care for him... in his own bizarre way. This comes to a head in the second film, when it turns out the real reason Yondu kept Peter around all those years was to keep him safe from his father. We see a brief flashback of Yondu teaching him to shoot, and Peter belatedly realizes that Yondu is exactly the Action Dad he always dreamed of before he was abducted.
    • On a darker note, the Mad Titan Thanos has abducted countless children across the galaxy and augmented them to be his slave soldiers. Gamora and Nebula are the only ones we see; Gamora never viewed Thanos as her real father and eventually escaped, while Nebula does refer to Thanos as her father, but still jumps at the chance to kill him. In the second film, Gamora begins to embrace Nebula as a sister more, especially when she realizes how much worse she made Nebula's childhood.
    • In the second film the entire crew acts as this to Baby Groot to various degrees. Groot and Peter listen to music together, while Gamora looks out for Groot's safety ("Put your seatbelt on!") and takes a moment out of a fierce battle to acknowledge his wave.
  • In Highlander, Connor Mac Leod is this to his assitant Rachel, who he adopted as a child. However, since Connor is an ageless Immortal and Rachel was orphaned in World War II, this means an apparently thirty-something man is a fther figure to an elderly woman.
  • In Jurassic World, Owen Grady is this to, shockingly enough, four Velociraptors. It's mentioned in The Lost World by Malcolm that the main reason why Jurassic Park's dinosaurs are so violent and sociopathic is because they had no parents to model their behavior off of, which led to them acting purely on instinct. Owen solves this issue (to an extent) by raising the raptors himself and providing them with a framework for healthy, effective pack behaviors. He's both their alpha and their father-figure, in a sense, and the only person they won't kill on sight.
  • Done rather subtly with Hart and Eggsy in Kingsman: The Secret Service. Hart coaxes Eggsy into joining the Kingsman to follow in his father's footsteps, but over the course of the film its show that it's Hart to whom Eggsy looks for approval. The ending even implies that Eggsy ultimately inherits Hart's codename, Galahad, not his father's would-be codename of Lancelot (Which was claimed by Roxy). After all, in the legends, Galahad was Lancelot's son...
  • Tom Sawyer acquires one of these in Allan Quatermain during the course of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
  • Siblings Éomer and Éowyn from Lord of the Rings look at their uncle Théoden as this. Frodo has his Uncle Bilbo and Gandalf, too.
    • The Hobbit has Thorin and his nephews, Fíli and Kíli.
  • This is what King Stefan intended the fairies to be for his daughter in Maleficent. Unfortunately, the three of them were terrible caretakers. So who were the ones who actually fed, played with, and watched over Aurora? Maleficent and Diaval. Yes, the good guys were so incompetent, the villains had to take care of the baby for them. This actually ends up being plot-important, as their paternal love for Aurora is what starts their Heel–Face Turn and allows Maleficent to break the curse.
  • Ray, of Off The Black, starts to take on the role of father to David.
  • Aunt Lucy and Uncle Pastuzo are this to Paddington having raised him since his parents died, before the Browns take on the role.
  • In Second Hand Lions, young Walter ends up getting raised by his two great uncles, Hub and Garth.
  • Lilli in Snow White A Taleof Terror was raised by a nurse, who was an acceptable substitute for her mother. Lilli holds Nannau's death against her stepmother.
  • Maria Kutschera from The Sound of Music in became one of these towards the von Trapp children and officially became their mother once she married their father.
  • Star Wars:
    • In The Phantom Menace, Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn fills this role in the life of young Anakin Skywalker. Then Qui-Gon dies at the end, leaving Obi-Wan Kenobi to step in as a substitute Parental Substitute. Later, Obi-Wan and Anakin become more like brothers. Though, it's worth noting that perhaps in a strange, twisted way, Watto was also almost akin to a father-figure to Anakin. Almost.
  • Uncle Ben is this to Peter Parker in the Spider-man films.
  • In St. Vincent,Vincent becomes a father-figure to Oliver, whose own father isn't exactly a nice guy.
  • In The Sword of Doom, Shichibei tries to be this to Omatsu after Ryunosuke cuts down her first Substitute, her pilgrim grandfather. His efforts are hindered somewhat though by the fact that Shichibei's job is that of a wide-traveling thief.
  • In Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the T-800 Terminator serves as a father-figure for John Connor. Lampshaded when Sarah Conner notes that the killing machine is a better father for John than any of her old "boyfriends".
  • Agammenon in Time Bandits. Unlike Kevin's slothful, stupid, greedy parents, he watches out for Kevin and instructs him.
  • In TRON Legacy, Alan took over as father figure to Sam after Kevin Flynn disappears. In one of the clips in the news montage on Kevin's disappearance, it looks like he's about to go Papa Wolf on some hounding reporters harassing young Sam.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • Charles Xavier plays this role to all of the X-Men, but it's most notable in X-Men: First Class with a young Hank and the teenaged Alex and Sean, all of whom remain loyal to him before and after Cuba. The mere mention of Sean's death in X-Men: Days of Future Past makes Charles visibly distraught, which is in direct contrast to all of the other names that Erik throws at him. Being a father figure to Jean Grey is explored in more detail in X-Men: Apocalypse, and Quicksilver decides to stay with the Professor instead of getting to know his estranged father.
      • There is one exception. In X-Men: Days of Future Past, Charles claims he had raised Raven, and Erik corrects him—they grew up together. He is not her father. This ties into the end of the film, when he stops trying to control her and lets her make her own choice.
      • Downplayed in the scene where 1973 Charles interacts with Peter Maximoff before the former departs for Paris. Xavier instinctively behaves in a paternal manner when he's around a young mutant, especially one who doesn't have much of a direction in his life (in Quicksilver's case, he's a juvenile delinquent who grew up without a father). Peter's smile at the end indicates that he appreciates the sentiment.
    • X-Men:
      • Wolverine promises that he'll take of Rogue.
      • Scott Summers invokes this while Professor X is in a coma.
      "You taught me everything in my life that was ever worth knowing."
    • The Wolverine: Ichirō Yashida for Mariko, as Shingen, her actual parent, is not a nice man.
    • X-Men: Apocalypse: McCoy is a teacher at the school, and he has a paternal relationship with the younger mutants. He begins to form a bond with Scott.

  • In the Age of Fire series, each of the three main protagonists gets one at some point or another after their parents are killed and they're scattered as hatchlings: AuRon had NooMoahk (the elder dragon who served as his mentor during his last drakehood years), Wistala had Rainfall (the elf who raised her most of her life), and RuGaard had FeHazathant (who took pity on him and adopted him into the Lavadome's Imperial Line when he arrived), respectively.
    • AuRon himself was in turn one to Heiba, the orphaned human girl he was tasked with protecting until he could get her back to her own kind, which took long enough that they ended up bonding closely.
  • Madame (a.k.a. The Old Lady) in Babar took the role of Babar's mother after he gets lost in Paris, raising him and paying for his education creating a strong bond among them. This is expanded in the animated series.
  • In The Baby-Sitters Club, Claudia's grandmother Mimi was this to both Mary Anne (whose mother died when she was very young) and to Claudia (whose parents are alive but don't really "get" her).
  • Subverted in Brotherhood of the Rose, by David Morrell. The two protagonists meet in an orphanage from which they're recruited by CIA chief Elliot, who presents himself as a surrogate father figure. They later discover that Elliot (and other members of his worldwide conspiracy) have done the same thing with other orphans, in order to create a team of Elite Mooks who'll obey their orders without question.
  • The Brothers Karamazov: Fyodor Karamazov cares little for any of his three sons; young Dimitri goes half-naked and unfed until Grigory steps in and virtually raises him himself; Ivan and Alexei are adopted by their uncle Miusov.
  • After her parents go to war in Dirge for Prester John, Sefelet is cared for by Vyala, her mother's friend's mother. They appear to bond more than Sefalet did to her real parents.
  • In Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files, this features twice in the orphaned Harry's Back Story. Justin exploited his need for one. Afterward, Ebneazer did a much better job of it; he is still protective of Harry and deploys such tropes as So Proud of You.
  • In Fire and Hemlock, Pollys grandmother is her parent substitute, as her own parents are in an unhappy marriage and fight a lot. They divorce later in the novel There is also Mr. Lynn and to a lesser extent his friends, who treat Polly more like a friend, but still qualify, as they readily step in when Polly's actual parents neglect her and her grandma is not nearby.
  • In Gene Stratton-Porter's Freckles, Freckles acquires two: Mc Lean is a father figure, and Mrs. Duncan as a mother figure who assures him that she loves him like a son and weeps over how desperately he needs the affection.
  • In William Alexander's Goblin Secrets, the children were taken in by Graba.
  • In the Goosebumps book A Night in Terror Tower, Morgred the sorceror is set to fill this role for Edward and Susannah when they finally escape into the future to live new lives away from their evil uncle and the High Executioner. As the late, rightful King's court mage, he promised to protect them from harm.
  • Harry Potter is crawling with Parental Substitutes.
    • Nearly every adult who has any interaction with Harry is a Parental Substitute They range from mentor/grandfathers like Albus Dumbledore to doting/supportive uncle figures like Sirius Black (who is also his godfather), Remus Lupin and Hagrid. Minerva McGonagall was the head of his house so there's definitely an element of this trope there. Arthur and Molly Weasley basically became his parents once he got away from the Dursleys. Because this is Harry Potter, things don't end well for the first three.
    • Harry's friends are not immune either. Neville Longbottom is raised by his grandmother due to his parents having been tortured to madness by Death Eaters. Harry himself also becomes one to Teddy Lupin. Although he seems to be living with his grandmother, he often visits the Potter-family.
    • More stories of this are told for reoccurring background characters. Susan Bones seems to have been raised by her aunt as nearly her entire family were killed by Death Eaters.
  • In John C. Wright's The Hermetic Millennia, Soorm recounts how Asvid became for him the only father he had ever known, and taught him filial piety. He's lying.
  • Bush towards the decade-younger Hornblower in the Horatio Hornblower books, evolved out of a Big Brother Instinct from early in their careers; he's constantly worrying that his captain isn't getting enough rest or credit or human contact and Hornblower compares him to a mother hen at one point. Not that Bush quite realizes this since he's Britishly out-of-touch with his own emotions.
  • Celia and Tam Lin in House of the Scorpion who are Matt's caretaker and bodyguard respectively, are pretty much his Parental Substitutes, since being a clone, he has no parents, unless you count his original's parents, which would be technically, but they have been dead for over a century.
  • Jim could be seen as this to Huckleberry Finn, whose own father is a violent and uncaring drunk.
  • Haymitch develops this kind of relationship with Katniss and Peeta in The Hunger Games.
  • John Cleaver's therapist in I Am Not a Serial Killer acts like a father figure for John.
  • In Andre Norton's Ice Crown, the princess was raised by her grandfather. Roane appears to be in her uncle's charge, though he seems more taken with the notion of another pair of hands with less regulation, since she's related.
  • In The Infernal Devices, Charlotte raised Will, Jem, and Jessie since they came to the institute. Will says that she would have been called a governess had she not been so intelligent and if she didn't have the ability to chop one into pieces.
  • Jeeves and Wooster: Since the issue of Man Child Bertie Wooster having parents is never dwelt on, there are plenty of implications that he regards Jeeves as something of a father figure. Jeeves, for his part, is often noted to cast a "paternal" eye on Bertie's antics.
  • In Edgar Rice Burroughs's The Chessman Of Mars, U-Thor received a slave woman from his jeddak; he freed and married her, and regards the son she bore the jeddak, A-Kor, as like a son to him. When the jeddak, a Royal Brat, has A-Kor imprisoned out of fear and envy, U-Thor demands an accounting.
    I have made of her a free woman, and I have married her and made her thus a princess of Manatos. Her son is my son, O-Tar, and though thou be my jeddak, I say to you that for any harm that befalls A-Kor you shall answer to U-Thor of Manatos.
    • Also, in the earlier books Gods of Mars and Warlord of Mars Tars Tarkas, Tardos Mors, and Mors Kajak are implied to have served this role for John Carter's son, Carthoris, after Carter was returned to Earth.
  • Journey to Chaos:
    • Nunnal Enaz is a second mother to Kallen Selios because she adopted the girl at a young age and she was already an Honorary Aunt at that point.
    • Dengel became a surrogate father to one of his students. He was even father-of-the-bride at her wedding.
  • Liz Pennykettle for David Rain in The Last Dragon Chronicles. Later, it turns out that she actually is his mother in an parallel universe. She even acts as a mother to Zanna at times.
  • In The Lightbringer Series Dazen, masquerading as his brother Gavin, takes on the role of father to Kip, who is actually his nephew.
  • In A Little Princess, Sara becomes this to Lottie.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion feature many parental substitutes: Bilbo (for Frodo), Théoden (for Éomer, Éowyn and arguably Merry), Elrond (for Aragorn), Maglor (for Elrond and Elros), Annael (for Tuor), Thingol (for Túrin) etc. Maglor's fostering of Elrond and Elros is perhaps especially notable in that Maglor had been (twice, reluctantly) involved in the slaughter of the boys' family before that, and that he had contributed to their mother's attempted suicide...
  • In Loyal Enemies, Rest spent most of his childhood as a poor kid whom nobody wanted to care about, constantly kicked out of every apprenticeship he tried. Then Veres (badass monster hunter Magic Knight) came, said the kid has a magic gift and took him on as his student. At the end of the book another wizard mistakes them for father and son. Rest corrects him, but states that he'd be proud to be Veres' child and he regards the wizard as a substitute parent.
  • In Malevil, the main character Emmanuel is adopted by his uncle Samuel after he runs away from home. Samuel is far more of a father to Emmanuel then his cowardly, hen-pecked brother Simon ever was.
  • Mirabile is set on a recently-established colony world where there are professional parental substitutes, like the protagonist's friend Elly, who make a living raising other people's children alongside their own. The protagonist explains that the "population is still so small we can't afford to lose genes just because someone's not suited, one way or another, for parenting".
  • In Teresa Frohock's Miserere: An Autumn Tale, Lindsey contrasts Lucian's pride in her to her own father.
  • In The Mortal Instruments, Luke helped raise Clary along with Jocelyn. By City of Heavenly Fire, they're referred to as father and daughter more often than not by themselves and others. In a way, he was sort of a father figure to Simon, too, as the latter's father died when he was younger.
  • In Seanan McGuire's October Daye novel Late Eclipses, Toby reflects on how Sylvester has been this to her, despite his failings.
  • In Ian Fleming's "Octopussy", James Bond is sent to take a retired officer to justice. The man, working intelligence at the end of WWII, smuggled a cache of Nazi gold home and killed the mountaineer who had led him up to where it was hidden. It's business for Bond, but it's also personal, as he'd been a friend to the dead man, who had taught him to ski as a teen before the war, and was "something of a father to me at a time that I happened to need one."
  • George serves as this to Lennie in Of Mice and Men.
  • In Pet Sematary, Louis Creed, who lost his father at age three, meets Jud Crandall who becomes a father figure to him when he's an adult.
    He called this man a friend, as a grown man must do when he finds the man who should have been his father relatively late in life.
  • Tamora Pierce: What with her penchant for killing off/extremely distant parents, it only makes sense that...
    • Alanna of Song of the Lioness first has Old Retainer Coram, who reminds her that he changed her diapers. As a page, she has Myles of Olau, who is such a good replacement father that he eventually adopts her.
    • The Immortals' Daine is "mothered" by three different women — Queen Thayet, K'mir warrior Buri, and horse trainer Onua.
    • Kel of Protector of the Small actually has living Good Parents, but obviously they're not around while she's training for knighthood and they're ambassading. Lord Raoul, her knight-master, essentially pulls her through the crappy, 15-18 years. Kel herself becomes a substitute parent to Tobe when she basically adopts him by buying his indenture from an abusive master.
    • The four main characters in the Circle of Magic series are raised by two women who, after a time, they refer to as their "foster mothers".
  • A Prayer for Owen Meany: Owen's real parents don't take much interest in Owen, so Johnny's mother pretty much takes care of him. This makes her accidental death at Owen's hands all the more heart breaking.
  • Halt from Ranger's Apprentice is a father-figure to both Will and Horace. It comes up several times in the books that Will and Halt think of each other as father and son. Similarly, Pauline thinks of Alyss as a daughter.
  • RCN: Given Cordel Leary's frequent absences from the Leary household due to his political activities, Hogg serves as a substitute father for Daniel, teaching him what it means to be a man.
  • In The Red Abbey Chronicles, girls who newly join the Abbey usually choose a girl who has been there for longer, and follow her around all the time. Apparently, the Sisters do not formally control this, but encourage it by assigning the same duties to both girls. (The Sisters also serve as parental subsitutes, but cannot focus on one girl; only the very young ones have a Sister specifically devoted to caring for them.)
  • Oliver to Lionel in Rafael Sabatini's The Sea Hawk.
  • Septimus Heap: Marcia Overstrand is this to Septimus, according to Word of God.
  • Dr. Montgomery in A Series of Unfortunate Events is a good example. In The Penultimate Peril, volunteers Kit Snicket and Dewey Denouement answer some of the Baudelaires' questions and the latter offers to become their guardian. All three of them die.
  • In The Shattered Kingdoms, Lahlil survived an attempt to kill her by exposure and was taken in by the Nomas people, acquiring some parental substitutes. However, some misapplied Nomas religious practices resulted in her being cursed with an illness, and she realised that at least some of them knew the source of her problem but were unwilling to admit it to her. She left, and didn't stay in touch. As such, she's estranged from both birth and adoptive parents.
  • Mrs. Alowo becomes this to her orphaned students in Someone Else's War.
  • Twisted like most things in A Song of Ice and Fire. Sansa Stark is forced to masquerade as Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish's bastard daughter for the sake of her own survival, which would be okay except Littlefinger can't seem to work out if he views Sansa as a daughter or as a younger, more beautiful version of the woman he'd loved obsessively since childhood.
    • As part of the same scenario, Sansa's cousin Lord Robert Arryn comes to view her as something between a parental substitute (for his late mother Lysa, who was murdered by Littlefinger after marrying her) and a Cool Big Sis (since Robert believes that "Alayne" is his stepsister).
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Running a galactic government and occasionally saving it alongside one's scoundrel husband leaves little time for parenting, as the children of Han Solo and Princess Leia learn. Much of their parenting is done by Leia's longtime friend and aide Winter Celchu.
    • C-3PO, in a pinch, makes a surprisingly effective babysitter.
  • The Stormlight Archive: Dalinar Kholin does this quite a bit. At one point he even claims that everyone under his command is part of his family.
    • After his brother's death, he had to act as a father to his nephew, King Elhokar. Part of the problem with Elhokar's reign is that Dalinar coddles him a bit too much, treating him like a child.
    • After the climax of the first book, Dalinar starts treating Kaladin as a son, specifically like Adolin. It's just easy to miss because he treats Adolin like a soldier. It comes to a head when Elhokar is mad at Kaladin for derailing the plan to deal with Sadeas. Elhokar wants him executed, but Dalinar flat-out says that if he tries, he'll make Dalinar an enemy.
  • Jaxon is the closest to a father that Corie and Elisandra have in Summers at Castle Auburn, and he tells them all the time how proud their father would be.
  • Vikus from The Underland Chronicles is the closest thing to a parent Luxa has.
  • Vampire Academy:
    • Victor Dashkov to Lissa and a bit to Rose, originally. He acts as a parental figure to both, offering advice and kind words, organizing shopping trips, and buying Rose gifts unavailable to her.
    • Tasha Ozera is the mother figure to Christian. She raised him herself once his parents were killed. He treats her like his mother and is uncomfortable whenever her love life is discussed.
  • In the Village Tales novels, the Duke of Taunton is this to his nephews and niece – rather to his sister-in-law's vexation, she being after all their mum, and present, living, and in her right mind. Then again, he is the duke, The Patriarch, head of The Clan, and, most importantly, the man whose lands, money, and titles the eldest nephew will presumptively inherit, so....
  • In The Westing Game, Flora Baumbach acts as this for Turtle, who is treated as The Unfavorite by her actual mother. Baumbach's own daughter died years before the story started, and it is heavily implied that Westing paired Flora and Turtle together with the intent of invoking this trope.
  • In The Witches of Karres, Captain Pausert fills this roll for Goth and The Leewit while they are sailing with him.
  • Wolf Hall:
    • Thomas Cromwell sometimes thinks back on the late Cardinal Wolsey not just as master and mentor, but as a father. Wolsey certainly treated him with more regard and affection than Walter Cromwell ever did.
    • Cromwell ends up as a stand-in father to a lot of people. Initially there's his ward Rafe Sadler, who becomes his right-hand man in court intrigues. His nephew Richard takes the name Cromwell after his own father's death, explicitly saying "you are my father now," and an elderly family friend tells Cromwell to look after his wayward adult son. Cromwell also steps into this role for his young nieces as their guardian and looks out for their marriage prospects. Also, any poor but intelligent boy in the vicinity of his London home ends up living there (at one point he has a whole choirful of them) because he's mindful of how he went from Putney urchin to King's right hand and is eager to give other young men the same chance.
  • In Wuthering Heights, Nellie Dean serves as a parent to the second generation. As both children lost their mothers practically in childbirth, Nellie is the only mother either has ever known.
  • In Warrior Cats:
    • Brambleclaw and Squirrelflight raise Hollyleaf, Jayfeather, and Lionblaze as their own after Leafpool gives them up; only Squirrelflight and Leafpool know of this until the end of the 3rd series.
    • Brindleface fostered Cloudkit, and he loves her just as much as his mother.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Given how she was constantly shuffled between foster homes in her youth, Agent Coulson is the closest (and longest lasting) thing to a father figure that Skye of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has ever had. It gets lampshaded in an early episode when Skye refers to an argument between Coulson and May as "Mom and Dad fighting". Coulson outright confirms this status in an episode where Skye is critically injured and tells the doctor who wants to summon her family so they can say their goodbyes that the team is Skye's family.
    • This is further enhanced in Season 2, when Skye's actual father The Doctor (aka Cal Zorbo/Mr. Hyde) shows up. While he desperately tries to connect with her, she rightfully calls him out as a monster (which he regretfully admits to), and clings even closer to Coulson as a result. To say that this pisses the Doctor off is an understatement.
  • In The Big Bang Theory, Man Child Sheldon often views Penny as a substitute for his mother (who is alive, just lives away from him); he wants her to take care of him when he's sick, or sing him a lullaby. This is especially emphasized in the episode "The Guitarist Amplification", when Sheldon runs away to the comic book store, because he can't bear Leonard and Penny fighting, and Penny makes it up to him by buying him a robot and a comic book.
    • His reasoning for not standing watching them fight is because it reminds him of when his parents' fight, which truamatized him. Given how his dad would throw dishes and apparently his mother would bake glass shards in his food as retaliation, it's tragically understandable why the conflict causes him to revert.
    • Leonard takes on a fatherly role at times: taking care of his transportation needs, shopping for food and clothing, making sure he goes to bed on time and is often the one he goes to for advice on relationship matters. When he and Penny were dating they served as surrogate parents, when they broke up Sheldon was like a child in a divorce. That led to a lot of Does This Remind You of Anything? dialogue as Leonard and Penny renew their friendship for Sheldon's sake.
      • Especially the case whenever the changes in status quo had voerwhelmed Sheldon to where he needed to go on his own to recover. Leonard was utterly worried and it took Penny to calm him down and to trust Sheldon. Later, Leonard is the one whi picks up Sheldon up soon.
    • Sheldon's mother tends to be this for Leonard; for all that she tends to be The Fundamentalist and is not particularly well-educated, she is nonetheless a much more loving and sympathetic figure than Leonard's own mother, who treats Leonard as an errant test subject. Likewise, Sheldon sees Leonard's mother this way, as the two of them have much more in common with each other than with Leonard.
  • Sweets from Bones was adopted by an elderly couple, but both died before he began working with Bones and Booth. After Season 4, he begins to see Booth as a father figure and Bones as something like a sister.
  • Breaking Bad has one of the darkest examples possible, to the point of possibly being a subversion. Due to his rocky relationship with his parents, Jesse Pinkman constantly seeks the approval of his former high school chemistry teacher and current partner in the meth business, Walter White. Walter does truly care for Jesse, as he always goes out of his way to protect him, but mixes this care with horrible psychological abuse, emotional blackmail, and manipulation.
  • Capt. Holt is this to Jake in Brooklyn Nine-Nine. There's even one Cold Opening in which Jake calls Holt "dad" by accident, much to the amusement of the entire precinct.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Buffy's father has little contact with her, even after her mother dies, but Giles serves as a surrogate father. In "Helpless", another character describes Giles as having "a father's love" for Buffy. Especially noticeable when a spell causes Buffy to decide to get married and she ask Giles to give her away. In the comics, Giles does for Faith what he did for Buffy.
    • Willow and Xander are similar, as well. Willow's parents are away for months at a time and have virtually abandoned her, rarely seeing her at all. Xander's parents are drunk and too busy yelling at each other to notice him most of the time. Giles often serves as a surrogate father to them both. It makes Giles' somewhat dismissive and snippy treatment of Xander in early seasons kind of upsetting—for instance, in a season 3 episode, he is angry at Xander for sleeping during "Oz-watch", but later seems to find it almost endearing when Buffy does the same.
    • Giles is also the only real adult in Dawn's life after her mother's death, and he clearly has a fatherly role in her life as well. His Team Dad status amongst a group of kids without parents makes it pretty easy for him to end up in this role a lot.
    • The Mayor takes a similar role for Faith after her Face–Heel Turn.
    • Maggie Walsh was a surrogate mother to Riley and Adam; the latter even refers to her as "mother".
  • Gideon to Reid in Criminal Minds. So when Gideon quits, Reid experiences the second loss of a father in his life.
  • Gil Grissom to Warrick Brown on CSI. Warrick talks a lot about it in the video found after his death. "If I could have chosen my father, I would have chosen Gil Grissom" or something close to that.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Ace's father is never mentioned, and she has a bad relationship with her mother, so the Doctor ends up becoming a father figure to her.
    • Various incarnations of the Doctor could be considered a Mad Uncle substitute for a lot of his companions. Even some of the most cynical, like Jack Harkness, want desperately to impress him and live up to his idea of them.
    • The Doctor's relationship with his latest companion Bill, an orphan, is like a fun grandad or a cool teacher. Bill even compares him to her foster mother.
  • Falling Skies: Weaver to Jimmy. While its evidenced throughout the first seasons, from things like Weaver comforting him when he was nearly killed by a Skitter to defending his various screw ups, it really shows when Jimmy dies in the third episode of the second season and Weaver bonds with Ben, who blames himself for his death due to being there, with the two talking about what Jimmy would have wanted and sharing happy memories about him.
    • Pope also offered to do the same with Tom's kids as incentive to get Tom to leave, but as it is Pope, afterall, its not wise to take this as truth.
  • Family Matters: Steve Urkel's parents, in addition to being The Ghost, are abusive, and Steve regularly mentions how much open disdain they show for him. This is part of the reason he always goes over to the Winslow house. Carl Winslow is more of a father to Steve than Steve's father is, even if Carl doesn't usually want him around.
  • In The Flash (2014), Dr. Harrison Wells is this to Cisco Ramon. Cisco is estranged from his own family, who never understood his interest in the sciences, and as a result craves the approval of his boss and mentor who actually understands him. For his part, Wells is very fond of Cisco and considers him to be like the son he never had. Unfortunately, even this paternal love is not enough to prevent Wells from killing Cisco in the alternate timeline where he discovered his true identity.
    • Barry Allen has a second father in Joe West, who raised him after his father wrongly went to jail for the murder of his mother. He even calls him 'Dad' before embarking on his mission to save his mum via time travel. Additionally, while Barry isn't quite as close to Dr. Wells as Cisco is, Wells is yet another paternal figure in his life.
  • In The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Uncle Phil is a better father figure to Will than Will's own deadbeat dad ever was. The only episode when Will's dad makes an appearance cements this. At the end of the series, Will even admits that he looked up to Phil and wanted to follow his example.
  • On Friday Night Lights, Matt Sarecen sees Coach Taylor as this. Matt has a father, but he's a much better soldier than parent.
  • Frontier Circus: In "The Inheritance", Casey 'inherits' custody of a pair of almost adult children.
  • Full House is somewhat based in this trope. Uncle Jesse and Joey move in to help Danny raise his daughters after the mom dies in a car accident, thus becoming additional father figures in the girls' lives. Later, Jesse gets married and Aunt Becky takes on the role of mom substitute.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Davos Seaworth was the closest thing to a decent parental figure Shireen Baratheon had — her actual parents being crazy Lord of Light zealots who spent a lot of time burning people when things weren't going well for them during the War of Five Kings. He admits that he loved her as if she were his own child when confronting Melisandre over her role in Shireen being burned as a sacrifice.
    • Osha eventually becomes one for Bran and Rickon, growing extremely protective of them.
  • In Gilmore Girls Luke is this to his nephew, Jess, after Jess's mother sent him to live with Luke.
  • Gossip Girl: Dorota is more of a mother to Blair than Eleanor Waldorf is. Lily tries to be this for Chuck, but she's barely a parent to her biological children, so... A good moment that demonstrates this trope is when she told Bart Bass, back from the dead, "Charles is mine, too".
    • Lampshaded in season three:
      Cyrus: Dorota is family. She practically raised Blair. [death glare from Eleanor]
  • In Gotham, Alfred Pennyworth and Jim Gordon share this role for the young Bruce Wayne as the show goes into the topic, rarely discussed in the comics, of what kind of child-rearing would create the Batman. As an ex-marine turned butler suddenly forced into the role of sole caretaker of an emotionally damaged child billionaire, Alfred is, with the best of intentions, not really equipped to take care of Bruce. He spoils Bruce by letting him indulge in his obsession regarding the deaths of his parents, and teaches Bruce to solve his problems with violence. Gordon meanwhile, as the only By-the-Book Cop, acts as moral center for Bruce. Both of them inadvertently instill a To Be Lawful or Good mindset favoring good in Bruce, since Alfred does not think highly of the police and Gordon's investigation into the Wayne murders has met with limited success.
  • In Humans at first glance Leo and Anita seem like love interests, that is until The Reveal that Leo sees Anita as his mother and she in turn loves him as her son. They look of similar age but Anita is a sentient robot who has raised Leo from childhood.
  • At the end of the I'm in the Band episode "Lord of the Weasels", Derek Jupiter, the lead singer of Iron Weasel, is considered to be a father figure to the band's teen guitarist, Tripp Campbell.
  • On Leverage, Archie was this to Parker as a teenager, even calling himself her father. Nate and Sophie also have elements of this towards both Parker and Hardison.
  • In LOST, after Claire disappears and fails to escape the island with them, Kate ends up adopting her son.
  • Gaius for Merlin on Merlin. He does meet his real father briefly, but Balinor dies before the episode is over. And his mom is still in Ealdor.
  • NCIS: Gibbs is pretty explicitly this to Ziva:
    • During the episode "Dead Air", Tony and McGee have been teasing her about not knowing much about baseball. At the end of the episode, this exchange ensues:
      McGee: Well, look at this! She do know a little somethin' 'bout baseball, huh?
      Ziva: Yeah. My father taught me.
      Gibbs: [face-splitting grin]
    • Gibbs expresses his side at the end of the episode "Safe Harbor", after giving her some fatherly advice.
      Ziva: Are you lonely, Gibbs?
      Gibbs: You're never lonely when you have kids. [kisses her on the forehead] Goodnight, kid.
    • There's some Fridge Brilliance in the relationship if you know that Ziva is the age Gibbs' daughter would have been if she hadn't been killed.
    • To a lesser extent, Gibbs to Tony. Tony does care for his real father (even after finding out he was/is a con artist) but doesn't really need his approval. Disappointing Gibbs is something that bothers him immensely, and when Gibbs gives him a So Proud of You comment, you can see Tony practically swell.
  • Once Upon a Time: Red was obviously raised by her grandmother, but Granny is also implied to be a parental substitute for Snow White.
    • Hook evolves into one for Henry, doing things like taking him sailing while Emma's out investigating the going-ons in town, and apparently Henry prefers hanging out with Hook than his "boring" grandparents. The symbolism is even clearer when you take into account Hook and Emma having feelings for each other.
    • Hook was also this for Henry's actual father, Baelfire. It's a long story.
  • Raising Hope: Sabrina takes on the role of Hope's mother (who's a notorious serial killer) to the point of Hope calling Sabrina "mommy".
  • In The Sarah Jane Adventures, it is revealed that Sarah Jane's parents died when she was only three months old, and she was raised by her Aunt Lavinia. Exactly how much of a mother figure Lavinia was is somewhat debatable, as Sarah Jane once described her as "always so busy, never in one place long enough to lick a stamp". It can be argued, of course, that that doesn't necessarily mean that she was uncaring or uninvolved. In fact, the pilot for the failed spin-off series K9 & Company gives us a small glimpse into their relationship, and they do generally seem to care about one another (and has Lavinia use exactly that phrase to describe Sarah Jane).
    • There's no denying that Maria and her mother love each other dearly, but Chrissie is, to put it bluntly, a massive flake. Sarah Jane winds up picking up the slack and becomes the mother-figure Maria needs.
  • Series 3 makes it rather obvious that Mycroft was this to the titular character of Sherlock, since their actual parents were very well-meaning but out of their depth with two prodigy children. Interestingly for this trope, it's also implied that Mycroft wasn't necessarily a particularly good parental substitute. Most likely at least partially because Mycroft considers himself to be smarter than Sherlock, and Sherlock considers Mycroft to be smarter than him.
  • Stargate SG-1: Samantha Carter acts as a mother-figure for Cassandra. Even after Dr. Fraisier adopts Cassandra, the girl retains a strong attachment to Sam. O'Niell also acts as a second father-figure for Skaara (though it might be more fair to say that Skaara acts as a surrogate son for O'Neill, whose son accidentally killed himself with O'Neill's gun.
  • On Star Trek: Voyager, little Naomi Wildman's father is 70,000 light years away when she is born, so several of the male crewmembers try to fill a paternal role in her life, usually her godfather Neelix.
    • Captain Janeway serves as a positive parent to young Kes, rehumaned Seven of Nine, B'Elanna Torres (whose father abandoned her), Tom Paris (ditto, just not physically), and Harry Kim (made even more pronounced in "Endgame").
      • Lampshaded in "Barge of the Dead" (where B'Elanna's mother appears in a vision wearing a Starfleet captain's uniform) and "Dark Frontier", where Janeway "tucks Seven into bed" (plugs her into her Borg alcove) after she wins the custody battle rescues Seven from the Borg Queen.
    • Seven of Nine later became this to four creepy-ass Borg children they rescued with variable success. Their interaction was as much about Seven's continued Character Development as the kids', if not more.
  • Leroy's mother in Still Open All Hours abandoned him with his probable father Granville. Pretty much all the female customers of a certain age seem to be his mother-figures, especially Nurse Gladys.
  • The Suite Life of Zack and Cody: Mr. Mosbey is this for London. It's discussed and shown throughout both series that he's been the main parental figure in her life, with her distant parents and interchangeable nannies. In the episode where London is learning to drive, we find out that Moseby actually taught her how to walk as well as tying her shoes, riding a bike and roller-skating. She then comments that he has been in the Tipton family album more than her father or any of his ex-wives. They exchange the occasional tender moment when London is missing her parents. Other characters notice this too:
    London: Why should I get something for Moseby? I mean, what has he ever done for me?
    Bailey: [Beat] Raised you like you were his own daughter?
    London: Look at me. I'm selfish and spoiled. He did a terrible job. [beat] Fine. But tomorrow I'm gonna be extra selfish!
  • Since John Winchester of Supernatural spent a lot of time away from his boys when they were young and died at the beginning of the show's second season, fellow hunter Bobby Singer has served as Sam and Dean's adviser, backup, and primary father figure throughout the series. Dean even says on two occasions (in season three's "Dream A Little Dream of Me" and season four's "Lazarus Rising") that Bobby's been like a father to him.
    Dean: [to Bobby] You're about the closest thing I have to a father. ("Lazarus Rising")
    • For his part, Bobby seems to see the boys as surrogate sons, saying in the season three finale, "No Rest for the Wicked", that "family don't end with blood".
    • Bobby seems to have been this to an extent even when the boys were kids. He is, for example, the only person who ever took Dean out to play ball, and it's shown that Dean and Sam knew him as "Uncle Bobby" when they were young. Interestingly, before Bobby's introduction at the end of season one, they had spent an unspecified amount of time estranged from one another (apparently Bobby had chased John off his property with a shotgun).
    • In Season 6, when Sam wants to avoid regaining his soul, which he fears will destroy him by bringing back memories of his time in Hell, he is told that he can prevent this by committing a grievous sin, specifically patricide. Literal patricide is obviously out of the question, but Sam is reassured that "it needs the father's blood, but the father need not be blood", leading him to chase Bobby violently through his own house in the attempt to commit the murder. (Keep in mind that Sam isn't himself at the time. He knows enough to identify Bobby as his father figure, but not enough to be horrified by the thought of killing him.) The episode also gave us the hilarious Fridge Horror line "Nobody kills me in my house but me!"
    • When they find themselves caring for a baby and have to come up with a name for it impromptu, Dean decides to call it "Bobby" and Sam decides to call it "John". In an effort to not confuse the woman asking about the baby, they hastily restate that the baby's name is "Bobby John".
    • Sam also sees Dean as a father figure. As stated above, John Winchester used to disappear for weeks at a time, leaving young Dean in charge of little Sam. It's no wonder Dean treats Sam like his kid sometimes, calling him "Sammy" and reminiscing fondly on the days Sam was smaller and dependent on him.
  • Teen Wolf has this. Melissa McCall often acts like a mother to Stiles, the best friend of her son Scott, and isn't at all surprised that he has a key to her house. Stiles, whose own mother passed away when he was a child, even calls Melissa 'mom' without realizing it after he's given a sedative and is about to fall asleep.
    • Meanwhile on Scott's end, Stiles's dad is the closest thing Scott has to a father figure, since his own walked out. At one point Stiles's dad even quips that Scott was 'the son he should have had.' Given Scott and Stiles consider themselves brothers it's not surprising they're happy to share their respective parental figures.
    • Melissa also becomes this to Isaac, and basically adopts him in Season 3. Isaac also gains a father substitute in Chris, his girlfriend Allison's Dad and stays with him after she's killed.
    • Played for laughs when Scott's first beta werewolf Liam joins the pack. Despite the fact Liam actually has parents and is only a few years younger than the rest of the characters, Scott and Stiles basically end up co-parenting him, complete with Stiles telling him it's his bed time and Scott giving inspiring pep talks.
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles featured several father figures for John Connor, including Charlie Dixon and Derek Reese. (Of course, since Derek is John's uncle, his falling into such a role is kind of natural.)
  • Kitty Forman and Red Forman on That '70s Show filled in as parents to all of Eric's friends to different degrees, especially Hyde whose own parents abandoned him. They took Hyde in and made him go to school and gave him the love and affection he never had growing up. Red was a better parent to other's people kids than his own though, constantly criticizing and frightening his own son while spoiling his evil daughter.
  • In The Vampire Diaries, we see Damon being a fatherly substitute to Jeremy, even taking guardianship over him while Jeremy's sister Elena is at college. Alaric is this for Jeremy as well.
    • The argument can be made that Elijah (and Klaus to a lesser extent) are this for their younger siblings Rebekah and Kol. They are also Promotion to Parent due to their parents being both dead and horrible
  • In The Walking Dead, Michonne takes over as a surrogate mother for Carl and Judith after Lori's passing. It becomes official in Season 6 when she starts a romantic relationship with Rick and Carl admits that she's effectively become a second mother to Judith and him.
  • Warehouse 13: Artie is, to quote Pete, "so much like [Claudia's] dad it's kinda annoying."
  • President Bartlet is a parental substitute to Charlie on The West Wing. Bartlet and his chief of staff Leo are both parental substitutes of sorts to Josh (even though he's an adult when his father dies).
  • Peter to Neal in White Collar. Peter is always giving Neal "shape up" lectures, but, at the same time, has affection for and protective feelings toward him, and Neal starts looking to Peter for guidance.
    Neal: [to his recently-returned dad] He's been more of a father to me than you ever were!
  • The X-Files: In the first season, mysterious informant Deep Throat is something of a father substitute for Mulder even though Mulder's father is still alive at this point.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Greek Mythology:
    • The philandering Zeus fathered a number of sons, none of which he actually helped raise. Some of them were lucky enough to find substitute father figures who took care of them: Heracles was raised by Amphitryon, his mother's mortal husband, while Perseus was raised by the fisherman Dictys, who took his mother Danae in when she was abandoned by her own father, and Dionysius was raised by the mortal woman Ino and her husband, who Zeus gave to them to take care of so his jealous wife Hera wouldn't find out about his affair.
    • Zeus himself was raised on a secluded island by nymphs, a goat, and his grandmother Gaia. He liked the goat best—enough to make it the constellation Capricorn after its death.
  • In Norse Mythology, Odin sometimes comes off as this to Loki in some stories (most likely the reason behind Loki becoming his adopted son in the Marvel Comics version). While Odin often threatened him allowed others to punish Loki for his mischief, the two shared a blood pact which made Odin always treat him as an extension of himself, basically making Loki his child. Kinda sad that he then had to bind him to a boulder as punishment for making some mean comments/killing Baldr, driving Loki insane and turning him against the Aesir, leading to Ragnarok.

  • In WHO dunnit, Trixie sees her father's business partner, Tony, as a substitute dad after her real father disappears in an auto accident.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • On the 2016 Road To Best In The World Silas Young took it upon himself to act as ACH's father after coming to the conclusion his seven year old son was more of a man than ACH. ACH was offended, already having a good relationship with his biological father.

  • In Henry IV Falstaff likes to think that he is this to Hal. If anything, it is the other way round, at least in Henry IV Part 1, where Hal is usually the one deciding what they're going to do, protecting Falstaff when he's in danger from the police, and telling him off when he behaves inappropriately. This makes Hal's rejection of Falstaff at the end of Henry IV Part 2 a devastating example of [[Parental Abandonment]].
  • Into the Woods: Cinderella becomes one for Little Red Riding Hood and probably for Jack too.
  • In Philoctetes, Neoptolemus is mostly a good guy who is lacking in guidance. While Odysseus first takes on this role for him, Philoctetes becomes a more sincere parental figure to him by the end.
  • Hamilton
    • George Washington is this for the protagonist, which causes no small amount of taunts from Hamilton's enemies. (It should be noted that, historically, Washington was aso a father figure to Lafayette and John Laurens.) Hamilton actually resents Washington's paternal feelings since he's got a lot of Daddy Issues, and it causes a major rift in "Meet Me Inside."
    • The older Mulligan also says that he stands in loco parentis for Hamilton, Laurens, and Lafayette.

    Video Games 
  • Advanced V.G.: Satomi part-times as a combat waitress to support herself and her kid brother, Daisuke. But she barely makes enough for them to get by, since she also has to cover the costs of Daisuke's medical treatment. So she enters the VG Tournament to win the prize money.
  • In Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, the late King Krichevskoy acted as one to the orphan Etna, taking pity and raising her as a daughter.
  • Dishonored's Corvo Attano seems to be this to Emily Kaldwin. As of the sequel, it's since been confirmed that he is indeed her biological father.
  • Cassandra from Dragon Age lost her parents early in her life due to the political intrigue in the Nevarran court. She and her brother were taken in by their uncle, a mortalitasi (essentially a mage undertaker — Nevarra takes funeral rites very seriously). Their relationship was rather strained, since her uncle kept trying to make Cassandra into a 'proper' court lady while she would have none of it. Nonetheless, he still seems to care for her a great deal. In Dragon Age: Inquisition, Cole will mention a letter that Cassandra received from her uncle, and that he can sense just how much her uncle misses her.
  • In EarthBound Beginnings, the protagonist's grandmother, Maria, raised the Big Bad Giegue from infancy, and at the end of the game it's the memories of her triggered by the lullaby that she used to sing him that repels Giegue's Alien Invasion. The game's original Japanese title, MOTHER, refers to this specifically.
  • In Fantasy Life, the player's sweet landlady Pam is quite motherly towards him/her. She encourages the player when (s)he is about to start his/her new job, sometimes gives him/her candy and worries when (s)he starts doing things that may be dangerous. Story chapters always end with the player and the Exposition Fairy telling her about their adventure. She also plays that role towards Yuelia, the mysterious girl who has taken to spend nights staring at stars from her roof and is implied to have lost her mother when she was young.
  • Terry Bogard from Fatal Fury is this towards Geese's son Rock after he adopts him. To Rock, he's is a better father than his real one could have ever hoped to be. This case is especially complicated because Terry taking Rock in is a consequence of Geese's Thanatos Gambit—he chose to let himself die when Terry went Savethe Villain on him, specifically to saddle him with the grief of having orphaned an innocent boy, like Geese himself did to him and Andy, and then make sure Terry would adopt and raise Rock well to atone.
  • Auron to Tidus in Final Fantasy X's backstory, and to a lesser extent during the game itself.
  • Final Fantasy XIII: Lightning is this for Hope. Although it could be seen as a Cool Big Sis relationship, they only act like this after Hope's mother's death, and she spends much of the story being his Resentful Guardian. Also inverted. While Lightning clearly becomes a stand-in for Hope's late mother, Nora, Hope is just as much a stand-in for Lightning's younger sister, Serah, who Lightning raised.
  • Happens frequently in any Fire Emblem game:
    • Fire Emblem Jugdral: In the Seisen game Ayra takes her nephew Shanan out of Isaach on request of her older brother Crown Prince Mariccle, before their kingdom gets destroyed in the war. Later, Adean and Oifaye take Shanan in as well as many other children, including Oifaye's infant cousin Seliph and Adean's own children Lana and Lester. Travant is a darker example, as he killed Altena's parents before taking her in as his war spoil; at the same time, his retainer Hannibal takes care of a young boy named Corple (or his expy Sharlow in case Corple's mother Sylvia died childless).
    • In Thracia 776, Evayle aka the amnesiac Briggid is this to Leif, Nanna, and Mareeta; Leif also has a father figure in Finn, who was a retainer to Leif and Altena's dead parents (and can be Nanna's father); additionally, Nanna's mother Raquesis is said to have been a mother figure to Leif for a while, before disappearing. Finn's old friend Selphina is said to have become this in the ending, taking care of war orphans; this would get her called "Mother of Thracia" after her death.
    • Fire Emblem Elibe: Douglas is this to the dancer Lalam. Lugh and Chad also mention a kindhearted priest who raised them until he died in the hand of Bernese troops and who may or may not have been Lucius. Twenty years earlier, during Blazing Sword, Pent and Louise are parental figures for the magician Erk, whose real parents are never mentioned, while his potential Love Interest Priscilla was raised by House Caerleon after her parents, the leads of House Cornwell, were falsely accused of corruption and could not clear their names, so they went the "Better to Die than Be Killed" way.
    • Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones: Pontifex Mansel from Rausten raises his niece L'Arachel as his heiress and daughter figure, after the death of her parents.
    • Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn also provides Micaiah and Sothe, at least at the beginning of their relationship. In a variation, you can get them hitched if you want to.
      • Tanith and Segrun behave in a parental manner to Empress Sanaki, as she's still a kid and her parent are not mentioned.
    • In Fire Emblem Awakening, Khan Basilio is this to Olivia, whom he adopted when she was a pre-teen and he saved her from a nobleman who wanted to force her be his mistress. This might also be his relationship to Lon'qu, who is stated to be a former Street Urchin.
    • Fire Emblem Fates: Queen Mikoto was the second wife to King Sumeragi (and implied to have been his mistress), and when Sumeragi was murdered and the Avatar was taken away, she took charge of the kingdom and of Sumeragi's orphaned children aka the Royal Siblings of Hoshido, plus her niece Azura.
      • The knight Gunter was this not just to the young Avatar, but to his/her Battle Butler Jakob and to his/her ninja maids Felicia and Flora.
      • Hayato, the Child Mage from the Wind Tribe, was raised by the chieftain Fuga after the deaths of his parents.
  • In Halo, Doctor Catherine Halsey acts as a mother to all the Spartan-IIs, probably due to guilt about tearing them away from their childhoods. Their trainer, Senior Chief Petty Officer Franklin Mendez, kind of acts as a father figure.
    • As a result, Cortana admitting in Halo: The Fall of Reach that she finds Master Chief (one of the aforementioned Spartans) attractive is very disconcerting for Halsey, since Cortana is an AI clone of Halsey (and takes after her personality).
  • Jak and Daxter don't have any parents to speak of (until the third game), and Samos is the one who raised them.
  • Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days: Roxas and Xion are incredibly naive concerning anything that doesn't have to do with combat due to their lack of memories, so Axel takes it upon himself to teach them when prompted. He also tries to protect them from the truth behind their pasts to preserve their friendship.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep: Master Eraqus serves as a mentor and father figure to Aqua and Terra, who themselves can be seen as older siblings or parental figures in Ven's life (the Japanese version of Birth by Sleep has Scrooge give Ven three tickets and telling him to bring "his parents" along; he gives them to Aqua and Terra). Later on in-universe, Axel's extremely over-protective behavior towards his best friend Roxas is revealed to be the result of Axel basically raising him, once again blurring the line between a big brother and father figure in Roxas's life.
  • Chin Gensai from The King of Fighters is this towards both Sie Kensou and Bao. Chin is actually explicitly said to be Bao's adopted father.
  • Urbosa veers between this and Cool Big Sis for Zelda in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. After Zelda's kind and encouraging mother dies while her daughter is still a young child, Zelda's stern father King Rhoam is left to try and guide his daughter to unlock her Royalty Super Power needed to defeat Calamity Ganon. In their interactions with each other in the recovered memories, Urbosa fills a similar role for Zelda to her mother, gently encouraging the princess, sticking up for her (and her appointed knight Link) against badmouthing from people like Revali, and asking Link to convey how proud she is of Zelda.
  • Mass Effect 2 features a really bizarre version of this. Shepard recovers a "perfect" krogan that was created via cloning, but is essentially born in front of his/her eyes. While the creation process taught him things, and Grunt is fully grown, he obviously has no role model—krogan or otherwise—except for Shepard. After his loyalty mission, this relationship becomes clearer that Shepard is Grunt's mentor.
    • Particularly noticeable in the Citadel DLC for 3, where Shepard has to bail Grunt out with C-Sec after Grunt and his krogan friends decided to celebrate his "birthday" with a wild night out on the Citadel. Much property damage and hilarity ensued.
      Shepard: Grunt, you apologize to the nice man for setting his car on fire.
      Grunt: Fine, I'm sorry for setting your car on fire...
      [notices Shepard's look]
      Grunt: ...and I won't do it again.
    • During the Time Skip between 2 and 3, Grunt picks up another parental substitute in the form of Urdnot Wrex, assuming Wrex survives the first game. Wrex is the king of Clan Urdnot, and is busting both his primary and secondary guts to reform krogan society, but he's literally older than the works of Shakespeare and can't last forever, so he seems to be grooming Grunt to take over for him. Of course, this means that Grunt's substitute parents are two of the biggest badasses in the Mass Effect universe; most of both those parents' friends are also huge badasses; and nearly all of those parents' love interests are huge badasses.
    • Captain Anderson is this to Shepard, even calling a male Shepard 'son' at the end of the third game. This especially notable if Shepard's parents were killed when s/he was still a teenager, or s/he never knew his/her parents. He calls female Shepard "child" at that scene. Also, while Shepard can be abrasive, sarcastic or just plain rude to everyone, he/she is always respectful to Anderson.
    • If you don't play Shepard as a potential love interest, the same sort of dynamic appears with Tali, during her loyalty mission, especially that hug. Mixed with Cool Big Sis if Shepard is a woman.
    • The right character choices in Mass Effect 3 can end up with you being like this with EDI, complete with The Talk.
  • Metal Gear has several of these:
  • Samus Aran of the Metroid franchise has the Chozo elder Old Bird as her adoptive parent and mentor after her biological parents are killed by Space Pirates. According to Metroid: Other M, she also views Adam Malkovich, her Galactic Federation CO, as a father figure.
  • In NieR, Emil was essentially taken care of for thousands of years by his non-human butler Sebastian. Eventually, the eponymous protagonist becomes one to him, extending his general fatherly nature to help the boy cope with his numerous issues.
  • In Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, it's revealed that Ghetsis is this to N, although he was really just using him for his own twisted means.
    • Some examples from Pokémon Sun and Moon: Team Skull leader Guzma acts as one toward Gladion, and Professor Kukui acts as one towards Lillie. It's later revealed that they were essentially disowned by their biological mother Lusamine for not wanting to follow her example. Other examples include Sophocles' older cousin Molayne and the trial captain Hala being Hau's grandfather raising him in the absence of his Disappeared Dad.
  • In Skullgirls, 25-year-old Badass Princess Parasoul is this to her little sister Umbrella, who would have been very young when both of their parents died.
    • Big Band and Ileum serve as the father and mother figures, respectively, for the orphans of Lab 8.
  • In Super Mario Bros., the Magikoopa Kamek serves as Bowser's Parental Substitute, having raised Bowser from when he was a baby.
  • Tales of the Abyss: By my count, Luke fon Fabre holds the current Parental Substitute record for the entire franchise, with five surrogate parental figures in total. First, there's Guy, who basically raises Luke after his traumatic kidnapping experience at age ten leaves him with complete amnesia. Then there's Van, who is Luke's mentor and combat instructor. He also happens to be the one who created Luke, as he's the one who cloned him from the original Luke fon Fabre. Jade also counts, thanks to a scene in Keterburg where Luke calls him a "teacher and mentor". Since he created fomicry, he's also Luke's unofficial scientific father, in a way. Jade, Guy, and Van are all explicitly pointed to as Luke's father figures in skits. Then, of course, we must include the Duke and Duchess fon Fabre, who are not actually Luke's parents, again, because he's a clone.
  • Tales of Graces: As lampshaded by the resident Genki Girl, Cheria and Asbel function as this to Sophie while Malik is this to the group.
  • Tales of Symphonia: Lloyd has no shortage of these. He was adopted by the dwarf Drik and sees Regal as a brother or father figure. Kratos also starts to fit this until it's revealed that he's not a substitute but the real thing.
    • Though they're not blood relatives, Sheena calls the Chief of Mizuho 'Grandpa', as he adopted her after finding her abandoned as a baby.
  • This also comes up in Tales of Vesperia, and mainly serves to make The Reveal that Raven is Schwann and has been working for Alexei the whole time sadder. Luckily, he gets better.
    Karol: Damn it, I really liked you, Raven. I couldn't tell you before, but if my dad were—
  • Artemus of Thief was Garrett's mentor and father figure when he was still with the Keepers, and apparently still keeps tabs on him.
  • Sully is this for Nate in Uncharted. He accompanies him on most of his adventures, is constantly giving him advice or berating him for his hasty decisions, and always calls him "kid". It seemed more like an Intergenerational Friendship until Drake's Deception, where it was revealed that Nate's father gave him and his brother up for adoption after his mother committed suicide. Years later, Sully saved Nate's life when the latter was only 15 and, seeing how lost and alone the kid was, Sully took him under his wing and raised him from then on—basically becoming his father.
    Sully: Kid, I've had your back for 20 years. I'm not going anywhere, obviously. I just want to make sure we're doing this for the right reasons. You've got your pride all caught up in this thing, it's making you reckless. I taught you better than that.
  • Lee Everett becomes this to Clementine in The Walking Dead video game. While he never gets officially Promoted To Parent, several characters think Lee is Clementine's father when they first meet them, and at the end of the game, it's Lee who's going to find Clementine, no matter what. And God help anyone who tries to hurt her. In Season 2, Kenny tries to fulfill this role towards Clementine, but it becomes clear that he's not nearly as cut out as Lee. A New Frontier has main character Javier taking over as a father figure for his niece and nephew Mariana and Gabriel while Clementine has had to raise the infant AJ by herself.
  • In Witches' Legacy, following the deaths of Lynn's parents and brother, Carrie finds herself the sole guardian of the young relative she didn't know she had. She steps up admirably - as Elisabeth is about to find out.
  • In Xenoblade, Dickson found Shulk orphaned at the age of four, and adopted him as his own. Didn't stop him from shooting him in the back and reveling in being Evil All Along, and it turns out he adopted Shulk because the kid was now hosting his master. Dickson does seem proud of Shulk when the latter leaves him to die after his boss battle, but it's hard to know for sure.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • In RWBY, after their mother didn't return from a mission and was presumed dead, Yang became a mother figure for her younger sister Ruby.
    • Said mother was actually Yang's stepmother, who raised her after her biological mother walked out almost immediately after she was born.
  • In True Tail, a giant brute bear named Brutus looks after a small young kitten named Caleb. Caleb is also an orphan, so in this series, a bear is the closet thing the kitten has to a protective father.

    Web Comics 
  • Blade of Toshubi: Toshubi is becoming this to Jessica.
  • Given that the titular character's biological family moved to the United Kingdom in the comic's prologue Coming Up Violet one-ups this trope by having an entire substitute family for Ms. Oaks, complete with a mother, father, and two sisters.
  • In Doc Rat, Col for Pippie.
  • In Domain Tnemrot, Dae is like this for Mia, who actually has a father, he just flat out ignores her. Angel is her substitute mother, as her real one is comatose. Despite them having an easy escape from their slavery, they are staying with Mianote  because they are literally the only people who care about her. Their plans even include finding a way to bring Mia with them when they do escape.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Mr. Verres is this for Grace when she moves in with the Verres. Previously Damien was an Abusive Parental Substitute to her and before that Dr. Sciuridae took care of her because she was his Replacement Goldfish though Grace views him as a grandfather. The only real biological parent Grace ever had to care for her was Mr. Guyur (who was killed by Damien) as the other biological parents were either already dead when she was born or non-sapient.
    Grace: You're like a father to me!
    Mr. Verres: ...But you're my son's girlfriend.
    Grace: We're a strange family.
  • In Endstone, Lord Quandal had welcomed Cole to his family as a daughter; it's enough that when she's about to Mind Rape him, Cole wonders why she is doing these terrible thingsfor a panel. And even afterwards she keeps him with her and cares for him in his comatose state.
  • Agatha Heterodyne, the titular Girl Genius, was raised by Adam and Lilith Claynote  after the supposedly tragic deaths of her parents and the disappearance of her uncle Barry.
  • Antimony Carver of Gunnerkrigg Court has four substitute fathers. First is her gym teacher, who used to date her mother. Then there's Reynardine, a fox spirit, who was in love with her mother. Coyote is more of a crazy uncle, but he is still protective of her. Oh, and her actual dad should show up eventually.
  • The original 4 characters of Homestuck have several examples of this, including Dave's older brother and Becquerel, Jade's dog. The subversion is that Dave's brother really is his genetic father through the paradox that is ectobiology, while John's father is actually his half-brother.
    • Troll society is structured so that most trolls are raised by wildlife, meaning that all of them have a parental substitute, but the most famous example in-universe would be the Dolorosa, who raised the Signless when it became clear that he had no chance of being claimed by a lusus. Her adoptive son would later become a Messianic Archetype.
  • In Kurami, the titular infant is being raised by her cousin Ana. What happened to Kurami's parents, and why Ana is looking after her instead, is currently unknown.
  • In Last Res0rt, the powerful Vaeo Family is made up of Vince, his daughter Cypress, and their cousins / nephews Nate and Damien, even though Vince will refer to and treat all three like his children.
  • In Manly Guys Doing Manly Things, Commander Badass is this for Jared.
    Commander: Hey kid, how about from now on before you put anything else in that bag you pretend y' hear your dad's voice in yer head sayin' "Do you really need this?"
    Jared: My dad never cared about me enough to give me stern fatherly advice like that.
    Commander: Okay, look't me now, Jared. Do ya really need this? Really?
  • Asia Ellis from morphE collects these. This official ask blog entry explains this and displays Malloy has become her replacement father figure while she is in captivity.
  • In The Order of the Stick, Elan sees Roy this way, though Roy sees him as more of an annoyance. The third row down of this comic is a beautiful example.
  • Obadai alternates between this and Trickster Mentor with respect to Elysia in Rumors of War.
  • In Something*Positive, Davan initially believed he might be Rory's biological father, but a DNA test proves otherwise. The real father doesn't step up, though, so Davan becomes Rory's father figure anyway. In strip he admits he wishes he was Rory's father. A Flash Forward to 2020 has one of Rory's friends refer to Davan as "your dad".
  • In Zoophobia, Damian's father is never, ever around, and leaves Damian to be taken care of by Tentadora and Styx, despite expecting him to take over his throne.
    • Also Addison and his foster mother Latika.

    Web Original 
  • Pierce filled this role for troubled teenager Kate Bishop in Dino Attack RPG, at least until it turned out he actually was her father.
    • Over the years, Bartholomew Enderson became a father figure to Silencia Venomosa, or at least the closest she had to a father since the murder of her parents.
    • Greybeard inadvertently became a Grandparental Substitute to Mary Rose, especially because she was too young to realize that he is not actually her grandfather.
  • In the League of Intergalactic Cosmic Champions Artsy-Fartsy became the substitute mom to Mysterious Waif Quito Power.
  • Mirrorfall - Ryan for Stef, starts referring to her as his daughter in the third book.
  • Super Mario Logan:
    • Because Bowser is usually in the other room watching his favorite Show Within a Show, Charleyyy and Friends, Chef Pee Pee is usually the one watching his son, Junior.
    • Mario becomes this to Jeffy in all of Jeffy's appearances (excluding "Bowser Junior's Playtime 4", "Pokémon Part 6", "Bowser Junior's Game Night 4", and "The Dog Show!"), because Jeffy's mother was too annoyed by him and didn't want to deal with him any further.

    Western Animation 
  • From Adventure Time, Simon Petrikov served as this to Marceline when she was a child during the aftermath of the Mushroom War. This makes it all the more heartbreaking when Simon's crown eventually drove him irreversibly insane and transformed him into the Ice King. He still remembers her as someone that he likes, and he's still drawn to her despite her frequently moving (implied to be Marceline hiding from the Ice King because it's too painful for her to see him), but he's completely forgotten the true depths of their relationship.
  • In Alfred J. Kwak, Henk (a mole) functions as this to Alfred (a duck) after Alfred's parents and siblings were killed in a car accident. He was a close friend of Alfred's late father, and resolved to raise the boy in his stead. Discussed by Dolf, who thinks Alfred is weird or even inferior for having been raised by someone not his own species.
  • Zuko in Avatar: The Last Airbender finds his parental substitute in his eccentric Badass Grandpa uncle, Iroh. While his biological father is an abusive, sociopathic tyrant whose "love" is entirely conditional, Iroh continues to be concerned only with helping Zuko find happiness even after Zuko stabs him in the back.
    • Also, shown in flashbacks, Monk Gyatso for Aang.
    • Toph admits that she views Katara, only a few years older than her, as a mother figure. Toph's own parents weren't particularly good. Katara also acts a mother figure to Aang, who never knew his own. In an interesting version of this trope, Katara's older brother Sokka expresses the same emotions and he can't remember his own mother because Katara has replaced her in his mind.
  • Bruce Wayne in Batman Beyond functions as this to Terry McGinnis until the reveal that he is Terry's biological father because of a crazy governmental genetics program.
  • Both Captain Planet and Gaia serve as these to the Planeteers, whom they truly love like their own children (at one point, Gaia even says, "Children. They make a mother proud" as she watches them head off to a mission), and whom neither of them will hesitate to protect with his or her life, if need be. Also, considering some of the kids' histories (Wheeler's father was an abusive alcoholic, Ma-Ti's parents were murdered when he was little), it's clear that they really do rely on their two mentors as they would on actual parents.
    • Gi also will occasionally play Team Mom in the field, particularly towards Wheeler and Ma-Ti.
  • In Defenders of the Earth, Mandrake is a father figure to the youngest Defender, Kshin, who was orphaned prior to the start of the series.
  • On The Fairly OddParents!, Cosmo and Wanda act more paternal than Timmy's amazingly neglectful parents could ever hope to.
  • Family Guy:
    • Stewie admitted in a dream that he sees Brian this way in "A Lot Going On Upstairs". Chris also once had this relationship with the Evil Monkey so it seems Peter has a tendency to be replaced with talking animals.
      • Quagmire also seems to be becoming this for Meg (when he's not trying to have sex with her).
      • Actually Subverted with Chris in an earlier episode. Peter decided that he'd failed as a father to Chris and tries to make up for it by being this to Cleveland Jr. but finds that he can't control him. Later, he tries to make Chris smart by having him spend time with Brian but when Chris realizes that Brian is actually a Know-Nothing Know-It-All he decides that he would rather be like Peter.
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: Frankie is this to Mac, whose mom is hardly ever home.
  • Futurama:
    • Farnsworth is the closest thing to family Fry has (he's Fry's very distant great-nephew), and Fry has a grandfather-like relationship with him. Except instead of being a Good Parent, Farnsworth is neglectful, abusive and a harmless sort of way.
    • Also inverted in that Farnsworth seems to view the technically-several-thousand-years-old Fry as the caretaker in their relationship, and so his behavior toward Fry is like that of a bratty know-it-all teenager.
    • In the episode "The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings", Bender acts as a parental substitute to Fry, going so far as to attend his holophone recital and yell at the teacher when she drops Fry as a student.
    Bender: Sometimes I wish your real parents were alive. [Hugs Fry] Not often though.
  • Due to the closeness (geographically and otherwise) between the Goof house and the Pete house on Goof Troop, there is a mutual relationship of Parental Substitutes. Peg serves as a substitute on several occasions for Max's Missing Mom, while Goofy serves on a few for PJ's Abusive Father. Both Peg and Goofy are portrayed as competent, caring parents not only to their own children but also to each other's.
  • In Gravity Falls, it's implied that Soos sees Grunkle Stan as a role model, and possibly a parental figure. Support for the parental figure shows up when it's revealed that Soos was hired on the day he realized his actual father wasn't coming back. For his childhood, Soos was raised by his grandmother.
  • Ivanhoe and Rowena both to Rebecca in Ivanhoe: The King's Knight.
  • Kaeloo: Kaeloo is this to Quack Quack, whose parents are dead.
  • Dennis the monk to Quasimodo in The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Twilight Sparkle can be seen as a mother or sister figure to Spike, knowing that she hatched him as part of passing the entrance exam at her school, as revealed in "Cutie Mark Chronicles" and also following the events in "Owl's Well That Ends Well". According to Lauren Faust, Spike's original backstory had him raised by Celestia as well since Twilight was a filly herself at the time, but she also said this was a storyboard concept and not official at the time.
    • Celestia herself is an odd example; although she's officially Twilight's teacher/mentor, they tend to act more like family even before Twilight becomes her niece-in-law through her brother marrying Cadance. But Twilight's parents aren't absent at all, and there's no indication that they have a troubled relationship with her, so it's more like Celestia becomes an additional parent to her.
    • Celestia is also this for her adopted niece Cadance, who was an orphan before ascending to alicorn-hood, and fanworks tend to depict her as acting as a parent for her younger sister Luna when they were growing up since we have no idea what their parents were actually like.
    • Mr. and Mrs. Cake serve as this for Pinkie Pie. She lives with them in Sugar Cube Corner and Lauren Faust said they see her as a daughter. Furthering the connection, she is a Cool Big Sis and the go-to foalsitter for their blood children.
    • Granny Smith acts as this for Big Mac, Applejack and Apple Bloom since their parents are absent. Big Mac and Applejack sometimes fill in as this for their little sister as well.
  • Ye-Ye in Ni Hao, Kai-Lan, who seems to be the only family member she lives with. Her parents never appear on the show. Kai-Lan's grandfather is always there when she needs him, and he helps both Kai-Lan and her friends when they need it.
  • Rugrats: Stu and Didi Pickles could be seen as this to their niece, Angelica Pickles. While it is obvious that Angelica's parents, Drew and Charlotte (Stu's older brother and his wife), really do love her, they're usually to busy with work to spend any actual "quality time" with her, and Stu and Didi (particularly the latter) are shown to pay considerably more attention to their niece and actually discipline her more often than most of the other adults on the show, including Angelica's own parents.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Plo Koon seems to be filling in this role for Ahsoka, though Anakin Skywalker, normally a big-brother figure, can be this on occasion.
  • Star Wars Rebels: Kanan and Hera are this to Zeb, Sabine, and Ezra.
    • In "The Siege of Lothal", Hera tells them to "make mom and dad proud" as they get to their battle stations.
    • "Legacy" has a more symbolic moment where Ezra has a vision of his dead parents standing next to him. When the vision fades, Kanan is standing where Ezra's father was in his vision.
    • In "The Protector of Concord Dawn", Sabine comments that she must have been "raised right". Cue proud paternal look from Kanan.
  • The three adult Crystal Gems (Garnet, Amethyst and Pearl) in Steven Universe serve as the titular character's guardians, mentors, and family after the death of his mom Rose Quartz, who belonged to their team. Among them though, the general consensus is that Pearl acts the most like a mother to him and fits this trope the best, with the other two being Cool Big Sisters in their own ways. Unlike most examples, Steven's (human) dad Greg is still alive. While he was Steven's primary caretaker, he let the Gems take over when he was of certain age, but is still an active presence in his life.
    • Mildly deconstructed since the Gems still have plenty of insecurities with how to raise Steven becaue he's part-human and it's clear that Greg put the bulk in raising Steven while also helping the Gems.
    • Rose Quartz was this to Amethyst, who hatched in the Kindergarten 500 years later than the older denizens.
  • In TaleSpin Baloo mirrors this relationship with Kit. He also has moments of this with single mother Rebecca's daughter Molly.
  • From Teen Titans: Starfire's "Knorfka" Galfore, who raised her from childhood. Her and Blackfire's parents are never mentioned in the series.
    • Of course, the comic books are another story. Koriand'r's (and, naturally, Komand'r's and Riand'r's) parents are alive and well and living on Tamaran.
  • In Transformers Prime, although Cybertronian culture lacks conventional "parents" in general, Ratchet tends to act in this way to Bumblebee. In Season 2, it's revealed that Ratchet had saved Bumblebee's life after he was critically wounded by Megatron and still blames himself for being unable to fix his vocalizer.
  • Blinky becomes one for Jim in Trollhunters, most noticeable when he gets Jim what he always wanted for his birthday, specifically, a Vespa. Or at least, all the parts for one.
  • Brock Sampson from The Venture Bros. claimed that the closest thing he ever had to a father was his old mentor Hunter Gathers, in turn he seems to be a more attentive parent to the titular Venture brothers, especially Hank.
  • In We Bare Bears, the titular bears grew up as orphans, but they do have some humans raising them, albeit briefly.
    • In "The Island", a shipwrecked young woman named Karla becomes a motherly figure to the three bear cubs during their time on the titular island, including singing a lullaby to them and putting them to bed. But when they escape the island, they are separated when a sleeping Karla is taken in by a rescue crew while the bears surface to Japan, losing the closest person they had as a mother.
    • In "Yuri and the Bear", set in the Arctic and before meeting Grizzly and Panda, a cynical Russian man named Yuri becomes one to baby Ice Bear when he trespasses in Yuri's tent and helps him out when he breaks his leg. Afterwards, Yuri, who lost his wife and daughter, slowly warms up to and bonds with Ice Bear, teaching him various skills and generally becomes a loving father figure for him. However, when Ice Bear gets hunted by poachers, Yuri comes to the cub's rescue, but then has to send him away into the ocean floating on a piece of ice to keep him safe. As a result, a heartbroken Ice Bear never saw Yuri again, but kept Yuri's axe in remembrance of him.
  • Wheel Squad: Mr. Rotter is such a good father to his stepdaughter she's never bothered by her birth father never being mentioned in the series.
  • In X-Men: Evolution, like in the comics Professor X, Storm, and Wolverine both serve as parental figures to Scott, Jean, Kurt, Kitty, Evan, Rogue, and the New Recruits. Logan also tried to do this with X-23 (as he's the genetic base for her and as such technically her father), but she refuses to let him as she sees herself as a weapon, not a child.
  • Young Justice:
    • Bruce Wayne is very much this to Dick Grayson. Dick actually gets jealous in one episode when Bruce privately lectures Aqualad after a disastrous mission. Bruce then alleviates Dick's concerns by playing basketball with him (claiming that it's "training"). Suprisingly enough, this series averts the parental relationship between Bruce and Alfred. Word of God states that Alfred deliberately remained emotionally distant from Bruce in his youth because he felt it was inappropriate for a butler to act as a father to his "master". Alfred regrets that and has since become closer to both Dick and Bruce.
    • Much of Superboy's season 1 character arc deals with him struggling to come to terms with being Superman's clone, and he frequently laments the fact that Superman is unwilling to serve as a parental figure, which is further complicated by the fact that some of Connnor's DNA is actually Lex Luthor's, and Luthor does actually consider Connor his son- at least when it serves his purposes. Season 2's Time Skip mostly resolves the issue, with Clark and Connor settling into a fraternal relationship, with the implication that the Jonathon and Martha Kent became Connor's parental figures.