Parents in Distress
Kids have this tendency to get themselves in trouble, often requiring their parental figures to bail them out. Sometimes this goes to the point of violence or physical feats, where Mama Bear and Papa Wolf step up to the plate. On the other hand, sometimes it's the parents that get themselves in a sticky situation. Then the children will go to any lengths necessary to save their parents (or teacher, older sibling, etc.) from danger. Any series with a Kid Hero who isn't Conveniently an Orphan is bound to try this. Compare Adults Are Useless and contrast Mama Bear and Papa Wolf. This trope is often a non-Ho Yay version of The Not-Love Interest.
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Anime & Manga
- Bumbling Dad Kogoro Mouri from Detective Conan has had to be bailed out of trouble more than once by his Action Girl daughter and his Kid Detective (sorta) protegé. i.e, in a filler case Conan once uses his super-powered shoes to kick a rock towards a Dark Action Girl who has Kogoro in a makeshift gallow, forcing her to release him.
- The live action TV series reveals that the reason Shinichi and Kogoro were drugged and locked in the white room was because of Ran. The Big Bad kidnapped her mother Eri, and the poor girl reluctanly went along with his plan to save her, even though she expect Shinichi to hate her for it. (He doesn't.)
- The London arc relies heavily on rescuing the mother of Minerva (a famous tennis player who's playing in Wimbledon and Apollo (a boy whom Ran and Conan befriended). Plucky Girl Minerva herself does her best to relay clues to Conan and his entourage ''without stopping to play in the women's finals)
- In more than one case, Conan has been followed and helped by his mother Yukiko. When this happens, Conan's determination to catch the culprit tends to be extra-buffed by the prospect of his mother potentially being in danger.
- In the infamous Hentai La Blue Girl, Miko Mido has to save her parents several times. (Mostly in the sequels Lady Blue and La Blue Girl Returns)
- Sailor Moon and Chibi Moon are so upset when Hawk's Eye attacks Ikuko (Sailor Moon's mother and Chibi Moon's grandmother) that they get their Super forms in Super S.
- In the anime, Rei/Mars once had to fight her grandfather, who has been transformed into a demon by Zoicite. (Or more exactly, reverted to the demon form he had in his past life.)
- One story in Fresh Pretty Cure! involved Love Momozono's mother getting taken into a mirror world and temporarily replaced by an evil version of herself. Love's adopted sister Setsuna soon suspects something's going on, but Love is initially fooled, and when she realises the truth (and blows the faker's cover) she has to figure out that what she thinks is her mother is a fake and find the real one.
- In Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs, Saber Rider is faced with a similar problem when his parents are kidnapped and replaced by evil Vapor Beings. He manages to trap the imposters first (with a little help of his Evil-Detecting Dog) and then goes to save Mom and Dad with the help of his friends and his clansmen.
- Also, a good part of the plot is driven by the kidnapping of April's father/the Star Sheriff's leader, General Eagle.
- Delia Ketchum is this in the third Pokémon movie, abducted by Entei after Molly Hale, an emotionally broken little girl whose father has just disappeared, wishes for a mother. Her son Ash is not pleased by this turn of events.
- Axis Powers Hetalia: When South Italy was a kid, his "boss" and Parental Substitute Spain saved him from being kidnapped. Years later, Spain falls sick when his economy goes rotten, so South Italy decides to search for a "cure".
- In the Vampire Princess Miyu OAV, the main character Miyu's main motivation is to save her parents, who are kept in an eternal slumber by the Shinma leaders as catch to have Miyu hunting down the Shinmas who have escaped to the human world.
- Enma Ai's parents in Hell Girl suffered a similar fate.
- In Berserk, Casca, rendered almost completely helpless after the events of the Eclipse, is protected from danger by her miscarried and tainted child by controlling the demons that would normally go after her and using them against those who try to harm her. It also uses its powers to warn its father, protagonist Guts, that she is in danger. Much later in the series, a little boy with a startling resemblance to Casca and Guts that may or may not be the Child reborn as a human whom Casca immediately likes, tries to free Guts of his cursed Berserker armor and later gives him a psychic cooldown hug when he's in a berserk state.
- In Dragon Ball Z, Gohan powers up when his father, Goku, is in danger. He's not too pleased when his Parental Substitute Piccolo is injured either.
- In a cruel aversion, when his mother Chichi was killed by Majin Boo, neither Gohan nor his brother Goten could do anything but watch, since both of them were in other dimensions or were going into one.
- Future Trunks saved his mother, Bulma, and his past self from an attack of Dr. Gero. Later he tried to save his father, Vegeta, from Android #18, but Android 17 pretended him from doing so. When Future Trunks stood up, he was immediately knocked out by 18 who did Grievous Harm With Vegeta's Body. And when Vegeta was having trouble against Cell, Future Trunks did nothing and waited until his father lost his consciousness because he didn't want to hurt Vegeta's pride - Future Trunks was really, really frustrated about this.
- Kid Trunks manages to save Vegeta from being beaten to death by Majin Buu by sending him flying with a kick to the head.
- In the FRLG arc of Pokémon Special, Blue has to rescue her parents who were kidnapped by Deoxys and by extension, Team Rocket.
- In the XY arc, Y's mother, Grace, is taken by Team Flare, presumably for leverage against her daughter and, more importantly, her charge, X, who possesses the Mega Ring that they're after.
- In Street Fighter II V, Chun-Li's father Dorai is rendered in a coma after a brutal beating from Cammy. When Cammy returns to finish the job, Chun-Li's childhood friend and Dorai's favorite disciple Fei Long rises to the challenge and fights her to protect his Parental Substitute, managing to both fulfill this and push Cammy to a Heel-Face Turn.
- The whole plot of the Duelist Kingdom arc of Yu-Gi-Oh! (the first season) centered around Yugi attempting to rescue his grandfather Sugurokou's imprisoned soul from Pegasus. (He and his allies did pick up some other goals along the way later, including rescuing Mokuba (and later Kaiba too) and as a side goal, raising money to pay for Shizuka's surgery).
- Chihiro Ogino's parents in Spirited Away are transformed into pigs, so one of Chihiro's goals is to undo the spell and get them back.
- The titular character from Beelzebub has a moment when his wheelchair-bound mother, who has been lied to about her purpose of being with the people she's with, is trapped behind a strong barrier and gets knocked out hard enough to fall out of the chair by a crony for trying to force her way through it. While Oga is no stranger to rage, this is the first time that little Beel has been this angry. Needless to say, Oga's opponent and said barrier did not last long after.
- Invoked in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS. Quattro tells Vivio that Nanoha is in danger, and all she has to do to get her back is to defeat the demon in front of her. The "demon" in question was Nanoha, but Vivio had been tortured so much in the past few episodes that she honestly thought that she was a monster disguised as her mama in an attempt to deceive her.
- The Power Pack have done this since day one.
- Spider-Man will kill you if you even threaten Aunt May.
- In Spider-Girl, May once had to swing home to rescue her mom from Normie Osborn. However, MJ is a bit of a Mama Bear, so it wasn't really necessary. At another point she had to help save Peter when he was possessed by Norman Osborn.
- Whenever Batman gets into serious trouble that he can't escape on his own, his adopted kids/sidekicks will go to hell and back to bail him out. The Batfamily including (and especially) Bruce will do the same if anything happens to Alfred.
- In Runaways, Molly manifests her powers when her mother is struck. She is shown to be the one of the kids who misses her parents the most.
- Subverted in the case of Victor's mother, who is kidnapped by Ultron just after her son's electric-based powers manifest. He tries to help orchestrate a rescue mission with the heroes, but it ends with his mother getting vaporized in front of him.
- In the Green Arrow storyline "Quiver", the villain has barricaded his hideout with a Blood Seal that prevents anyone not related to anyone inside the Seal from entering. Good thing Ollie's son Connor Hawke shows up to save his dad. While Connor isn't able to defeat the villain's demons on his own, seeing his son in danger is what finally convinces Ollie's soul in Heaven to merge with his Soulless Shell of a body (after the Shell tells him to do it). The fully resurrected Green Arrow breaks free, and together with his son defeats the villain.
- In Luc Helius the Young Cosmonaut by Alcatena, the reason why the titular Luc starts his journey despite being barely a teenager is to find and rescue his beloved father, a famous scientist who disappeared in very shady circumstances.
Films — Animation
- Penny's character in the Show Within a Show on Bolt.
- In Home, Tip goes across the world to save her mother.
- In The Lion King, Scar decided it wasn't enough to kill Simba's father Mufasa, he also had to show Simba's mother Sarabi the back of his paw. Big mistake.
- In Scooby-Doo! Pirates Ahoy! , Fred's parents are abducted by pirates. He immediately goes to the rescue... with the whole gang right behind him.
Films — Live-Action
- Terminator 2: Judgment Day: John Connor risks his life to save his mother Sarah from being killed and replaced by the T-1000. After she's rescued, however, she castigates him for risking his life so much for her.
- Will Stronghold in Sky High.
- Spy Kids features this in the first movie, when the spy parents are in danger and the titular kids, who have just learned that they're not as "boring" and "normal" as they believed, set out to rescue them.
- Indiana Jones has to rescue his father more than once, though he's no longer a kid, in The Last Crusade.
- In Red Eye, Rachel MacAdams gets violent to protect her father from Cillian Murphy.
- The Ice Pirates combines this, Plot-Relevant Age-Up, and Express Delivery into one for the movie's bizarre climax. The pirates and their enemies boarding the ship are all caught in some kind of temporal vortex that causes rapid aging. The princess that the protagonist just slept with has a kid, said kid grows into an adult off-screen and saves the now-aged protagonist from a last bunch of robots. Then the Reset Button kicks in. Yeah, it's weird. (But kind of fun.)
- TRON: Legacy: Sam's searching for, and trying to rescue his dad, who got trapped in Cyberspace twenty years earlier.
- Man of Steel: General Zod makes the rather boneheaded decision to threaten Martha Kent. Superman is pissed.
- Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie: Ivan Ooze had brainwashed Angel Grove's adults into escavating his war machines, then when that was done he pulled a mass You Have Outlived Your Usefulness and ordered them to jump off a cliff. While the Rangers were fighting said war machines, Canon Foreigner Kid-Appeal Character Fred and Those Two Guys Bulk and Skull had to rally the city's kids to keep their parents safe until the Rangers broke the spell.
- Godzilla vs. Destoroyah: During his first fight with Destoroyah, Godzilla Junior receives a deep chest wound from the mutant Precambrian crustacean and seems to be down for the count. But when Destoroyah tries to attack the helicopter carrying Miki Saegusa, who had acted as one of Junior's Parental Substitutes in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, Junior gets his Heroic Second Wind and enacts a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown of his opponent to save Miki.
- A Wrinkle in Time. Meg and Charles Wallace Murray go up against an interstellar Cthulhu-level evil to save their father.
- Mowgli in Rudyard Kipling's original The Second Jungle Book rescues his adoptive parents from the angry villagers, mostly for the sake of Messua - her husband's an ungrateful bastard.
- Somewhat averted in Fablehaven since the children are staying with their grandparents while their parents are away, and their parents have no knowledge of the magical world at all. However, Kendra and Seth are responsible for saving their grandparents and other adults several times through the books and at the end of the fourth their parents are kidnapped to be used as leverage against them and their grandparents.
- Invoked in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Instead of harming children to get parents to obey, the Death Eaters controlling Hogwarts target students' parents/guardians instead, to get the students to behave. When they try to do this to Neville and his grandmother, his grandmother escapes, injuring the Death Eaters sent after her.
- Septimus Heap
- Darke has Jenna and Septimus trying to save their mother Sarah when she gets trapped in the Palace in the Darke Domaine. She eventually is rescued by their older brother Simon tough.
- Averted in Syren, as Jenna is more concerned with her brother Nicko rather than her actual and annoying father Milo Banda when she and Septimus attack the ship Cerys, where Milo and Nicko are being kept prisoners by pirates.
- Legacy of the Dragokin: Benji declares I Am Your Opponent to Kthonia when they were moments away from killing his mother, Daniar.
- In Coraline (as well as the Film of the Book), Coraline initially escapes the Other World and the Other Mother's clutches. She later goes back in order to save her parents, whom the Other Mother has captured and trapped in a mirror.
- Averted in His Dark Materials. While Lord Asriel was arrested and held in Svalbard, he was also aided by those who were holding him. Lyra didn't know this when she went to save him.
Live Action TV
- Captain Sheridan on Babylon 5 gets captured taking crazy risks in order to try and save his father.
- The Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers were willing to trade their powers in order to get their parents back in "Return Of An Old Friend". (Double in the case of the Pink Ranger Kimberly, who was in the middle of a Visit by Divorced Dad.
- Buffy's mother Joyce has been used as leverage against her daughter several times. Buffy also has had to rescue Giles, her Parental Substitute, on more than one occasion.
- On The Sarah Jane Adventures, the only thing as dangerous as messing with Sarah Jane's son is messing with Luke's mum. Forget shipping, their relationship is the show's real love story.
- The made-for-TV Star Wars spinoff Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure is about two kids going on an adventure (with help from their new Ewok friends) to rescue their parents. The sequel... not so much.
- MythQuest: Alex and Cleo are teens searching for their father, who got trapped in a mythic cyber museum.
- Emma Swan on Once Upon a Time has had to bail her parents Snow White and Prince David out of trouble several times (including breaking the curse they were under all of Season 1). Her son, Henry, isn't a slouch in the heroism department, either, eating a poisoned apple turnover and getting hit with the same sleeping spell that afflicted Grandma in order to save Emma, forcing Emma and the Big Bad to work together to undo the spell.
- A minor example occurs in "Chicken Hearts," an episode of Roseanne. Roseanne, who is stuck working for an obnoxious teenager at a fast food restaurant, invites the kid over for dinner and to have husband Dan help him with an auto shop assignment in an attempt to help him see that she can't work weekends. When he fires her instead, her daughters Becky and Darlene step up and start shouting at him, calling him a jerk. Later, as he leaves, they also hand him pieces of his auto shop project, which they helped to destroy.
- In the finale of Season 3A of Teen Wolf, the parents of the three main characters (Scott, Stiles and Allison) have all been kidnapped for human sacrifice by the Darach. The kids have to sacrifice themselves by allowing themselves to be temporarily drowned so they can find where the sacrifice is meant to take place, then it is a race against the clock to find their parents and defeat the Darach before the lunar eclipse.
Myths and Religion
- Perseus was sent into the almost impossible mission of killing Medusa because the King of Seriphos wanted him outta the way so he could force Perseus's beautiful mother Danae to marry him. When Perseus learned that his dear mommy had been taken by force into the court as soon as he left, he rushed to rescue her and got the King as well as all of his courtiers Taken for Granite with the freshly cut Gorgon head he had acquired in the process.
- Both Another Code games had Ashley ending up saving her dad from the bad guy's clutches. In the first game, she had to rescue her aunt as well.
- In Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure, the objective is for Pitfall Harry Jr to rescue his kidnapped father, who appeared in the original Pitfall games during the 8-bit era.
- In Fire Emblem Elibe, Eliwood's main motivation is to find his father Elbert, who disappeared in strange circumstances. He finds him... in the lair of the Black Fang, gravely injured and weakened. And then he dies in his arms. And before that, Lyn's adventures involved her racing against the clock to both to claim her inheritance as the Princess of Caelin and save her ill grandfather Hausen. And she has to do the second part again one year later, when the Black Fang attacks their realm.
- Likewise, one of the missions in Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones involves protecting Pontifex Mansel, L'Arachel's Parental Substitute and the leader of the Rausten Theocracy.
- And in Fire Emblem Awakening, the kids from the future decide to time travel to avert the deaths of their parents... which triggered the Bad Future they're from.
- In Dragon Age II, this happens twice to Leandra Hawke. The first time, she's fine. The second... not so much...
- In Cosmos Cosmic Adventure, Cosmo sets out to save his parents from the aliens who apparently kidnapped them.
- In Final Fight 2, Action Girl Maki's motivation is to save her father and her older sister.
- Tron 2.0: Jet is trying to rescue his father, Alan, from kidnappers who put the hostile in "hostile corporate takeover." He is also trying to rescue and protect the benevolent AI Ma3a from a viral invasion launched by the same creeps. An email implies that Ma3a actually is what remains of Jet's mother, who was killed by a digitizer accident in this timeline, meaning he's spending the game rescuing both his parents.
- King's Quest IV: The Perils Of Rosella: Rosella is taken to Tamir and undergoes a grueling quest to retrieve a magic fruit capable of saving her father's life. Getting the fruit is the easy part, saving Genesta so that she can get a ride back to Daventry, not so much.
- Final Fantasy X: In a very sad, twisted way. Tidus has to Mercy Kill his estranged father, who has become Sin.
- Sonic the Hedgehog character Cream the Rabbit's debut in the series has her fighting against Eggman's robots in order to rescue her mother.
- In Higurashi: When They Cry, Rena Ryuugu wants to protect her father from two scam artists (one of them being Ryuugu's new girlfriend Rina) who want to steal one million yen from him. This being Higurashi and Rena being Rena... well...
- In the fourth case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, a girl named Ema Skye hires Phoenix and serves as his assistant because her older sister Lana (who is basically her mother) is on trial for murder and refusing to deny she did it. As the trial goes on, it turns out that Lana's in even worse trouble than initially suspected. She's been blackmailed by her boss, Damon Gant, for the past few years, which resulted in her taking on a cold, distant and standoffish demeanor in an attempt to cope. (And one of the blackmailing matters is how, if Lana doesn't do stuff like Gant says, Ema will be accused of murder instead.)
- In Better Days, Sheila is nearly raped by Principal Longfellow, leading her son Fisk to save her by conking Longfellow on the head with a baseball bat.
- In Thalia's Musings, Leto to her twins Apollo and Artemis. This is the origin of the Pythian Games.
- The story "Christmas Crisis" In the Whateley Universe. Tennyo's parents get kidnapped because they're mutants who work for the C.I.A. Tennyo's brothers find out and call her because they're mutants who work for the C.I.A. Tennyo and her cabbit (It Makes Sense in Context) fly to the rescue because the villains want Tennyo and she's a Person of Mass Destruction.
- Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius features this in The Movie.
- The Powerpuff Girls often find themselves having to rescue their father figure, although he's come to their aid at times in return.
- Huey, Dewey, and Louie are always rescuing Scrooge and/or Donald Duck from danger.
- Has happened several times in The Fairly OddParents, both to Timmy's parents and to his godparents Cosmo and Wanda.
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Sokka rescues his father Hakoda from the Boiling Rock.
- Zuko also rescues Iroh when the latter is captured by earthbenders.
- Danny Phantom has the titular hero constantly protecting his parents Jack and Maddie from the main villain: namely Vlad wooing his mother which is the lesser of his two evils—the other is him wanting to kill Danny's father.
- Happened once in Totally Spies!, when the girls' mothers were kidnapped and then brainwashed into fighting their daughters.
- Penny does this for her dumbass uncle Inspector Gadget all the time...
- Nick Tatapolous has a habit of encountering all sorts of monsters that require his adoptive son to show up and save the day. Did we mention said "son" is Godzilla?
- In the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2003 series, the turtles have several instances where their adoptive father, Splinter, has to be saved because he's captured or injured.
- Captain Planet and the Planeteers features quite a lot of Parental Substitutes in distress; for has anyone even counted the times when Captain Planet needed the Planeteers' help? Not to mention the instances where Gaia's life (or at least her immortality) was at stake.
- This video of a dog protecting his mother when she got hit by a car.
- Roman hero Scipio Africanus is said to have first became noted by rescuing his father in a battle.
- Rukhsana Kauser and her brother did this to a band of terrorists who were beating up their parents, famously smashing the head of one with a hatchet. It is said that she killed a terrorist with a four thousand dollar bounty on him.
- This video of a baby rhino protecting its mother
- A country wide example could be argued for the Commonwealths and United States coming to the aid of Britain in both World Wars.