Typically the youngest member of a group, the Tagalong Kid is usually the Hero's or the Chick's younger brother. He gets to save the day about once per season
, but in the worst case scenarios he'll end up being The Load
or Designated Victim
in every other episode.
If the kid is part of The Team
instead of just a tag-along, the kid might sub in for just about any role but with the proper tropes behind him or her.
Contrast Token Adult
. Compare Improbable Age
, Really 700 Years Old
, Kid-Appeal Character
, Kid Sidekick
, The Team Normal
, The Team Wannabe
. Token Mini-Moe
is sort of the inverse trope; a cute kid added to appeal to older viewers through Moe
in its purest form.
Not to be confused with a child who's just part of an ethnolinguistic group of people of the Philippines
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Anime & Manga
- Isidro from Berserk.
- Bat from Fist of the North Star, as well as Lin.
- Genki Saotome from Getter Robo. Although he was transformed in Kei saotome in Getter Robo Armageddon.
- Mayumi from Kotetsu Jeeg, Hiroshi's little sister. She was more endearing and more lovingly naive than her counterparts of other Go Nagai works.
- Shiro Kabuto from Mazinger Z and Great Mazinger. UFO Robo Grendizer -the third series from the Mazinger trilogy- also had a Tagalong Kid: Goro, Hikaru Makiba's little brother.
- Chibi-usa of Sailor Moon is one of the Bratty Half-Pint variety.
- Mokuba Kaiba and Rebecca Hawkins of Yu-Gi-Oh!
- Akira of the Shiseiten in Samurai Deeper Kyo.
- Get Backers offers a subversion in the form of 14-year-old MakubeX, who in flashbacks is shown to be something of a tag-along to Ginji. But upon the latter's departure from their hometown, he goes on to become its ruler and has several adults working for him. Some of the said adults "tag along" for their own purposes, while the others are devoted followers who would go to the ends of the earth for him.
- Gimmy and Darry start out as Tagalong Kids in Gurren Lagann. They do become major characters after the Time Skip, but right at first they just stick around and watch the grownups do their thing.
- Clare is Teresa's Tagalong Kid in Claymore, and Raki becomes hers.
- Raki gets one himself after the Time Skip, citing Clare's treatment of him as his motivation. Of course his happens to be Priscilla, the single most powerful Awakened Being in existence.
- Jinpei from Science Ninja Team Gatchaman. As Jun's adopted brother they grew up in the same orphanage together, and Jun literally required that Jinpei joined her when she accepted Dr. Nambu's offer to join the Science Ninja Team. Thus he serves the role of being the smartass Bratty Half-Pint variant of The Smart Guy.
- In Bleach, Zaraki Kenpachi has Kusajishi Yachiru, his vice-captain who's just as bloodthirsty as Kenpachi but holds back so he can enjoy himself.
- In later arcs, we also have Nel.
- In Yotsuba&!, Yotsuba is everyone's Tagalong Kid...when she's in the mood for it.
- Goku of Saiyuki has the personality and relationships of a Bratty Half-Pint down pat — but he's the closest thing the series has to a genuine hero, and it's his relationship with Sanzo/Konzen that is the impetus of...pretty much everything that happens in the plot.
- Alphonse Elric and May Chang in Fullmetal Alchemist are barely teenagers, but they are both very skilled fighters, and Alphonse happens to be a soul attached to a giant suit of armor, making him among the largest and toughest characters.
- Shiro in Ouran High School Host Club.
- Mamoru in GaoGaiGar, although it's quite necessary that he tag along. And Mamoru proves his worth a few times outside his usual specialty, like during his Dynamic Entry / Big Damn Heroes / Throwing Down the Gauntlet moment in episode 40.
- In fact, by the time FINAL rolls around, Mamoru has arguably Taken a Level in Kid Hero; when he reappears late in the series, his purification abilities have gained some real destructive power, he gets his own Final Battle with one of the Sol Masters, and his ultimate Determinator moment in said battle empowered the rest of the team's G-Stones when the good guys were on the knife's edge of defeat. The series would almost certainly have had a Downer Ending if Mamoru hadn't been there and hadn't been as Badass as he was.
- Max from the Advance seasons of Pokémon.
- Team Rocket got a Tagalong Kid in the Sinnoh Arc, in the form of James' Mime Jr.
- Bonnie in the Kalos arc.
- Conan Edogawa of Detective Conan was first considered by the Detective Boys as such, but... his intelligence could hardly be covered.
- Chiru from Xabungle... by that show's standards.
- Antonio from Romeo X Juliet, though he's quite Genre Savvy and competent as well.
- July in Darker Than Black, first to November 11 and April and, in the second season, to Hei. However, despite the Extreme Doormat attitude, he's actually an important member of the group; as a Doll, he can do reconnaissance without anyone having to actually get in the line of fire.
- Nieble from Rave Master is introduced as a child Sieg knows who instantly starts following him around. Once Sieg passes away he ends up with Belnika at all times.
- Rua from Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds is this to the main team. He's the same age as his twin sister, Ruka, but not having any Signer powers he tends to default to this role. Much later on he Took a Level in Badass and becomes a Signer himself.
- Kosuke Kita from Combattler V and Hiyoshi Go from Voltes V. Both are The Smart Guy and underaged.
- In Mahou Sensei Negima! main narrative, Takamichi is a Badass Teacher and Reasonable Authority Figure who acts as a mentor to Negi and outside help to his group, the Ala Alba. In flashbacks, he was the Tagalong Kid for Negi's father's group, the Ala Rubra.
- Son Gohan of Dragon Ball Z starts off as this in the early arcs, only to invert it in the Cell arc when he becomes the most powerful character in the story. After Gohan grows up, Goten and Trunks share the role.
- Capella of 07-Ghost becomes this after Teito and Frau rescue him from slavery. He later leaves the group when he is reunited with his mother.
- In Digimon Adventure, Takeru and prior to Hikari joining the team, his Digimon Patamon only evolved to Adult and fought, twice. Once Hikari joins the team he becomes a lot more active. Ironically, Patamon's evolutions were the most powerful of the team, which is why they didn't appear much (He was always the last to evolve — HolyAngemon didn't debut until 3 episodes before the end!).
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure loves this trope. Part 1 has Poco, a kid who is rescued from vampires by the heroes. Part 2's is Smokey Brown, a kid who is rescued from a Dirty Cop. Part 3 features an unnamed girl who is rescued from an assassin sent by the Big Bad (seeing a pattern here?). Parts 4 and 5 finally break the trend with Koichi Hirose and Narancia Ghirga, respectively, who actually have some combat skill. Part 6 then returns to form while subverting it with Emporio Alnino, a kid hiding out in the prison where the story is set. His ability is arguably the weakest in the entire series, but due to circumstance he ends up being the one who finally defeats the arc's Big Bad. Part 7 finally breaks the trend; the entire cast is composed of adults and no-one is anyone's tag-along.
- Edward is this in Cowboy Bebop, as nobody actually intended for her to join the crew after she helped them out once. She also fills the role of The Smart Guy.
- David in Blood+ sees Kai and Riku as this. Riku is raped and killed by Diva. Post-timeskip, Kai takes a level in badass and proceeds to make himself useful.
- Shippo. After his father is killed, Kagome decides to let him come along with her and Inuyasha on their adventures.
- Sesshomaru has his own tagalong kid/Morality Pet in the form of Rin.
- Yuli/Jun in Ronin Warriors/Yoroiden Samurai Troopers.
- In Gall Force, Mitty. However, her knowledge of air ducts and sewer systems as a Delinquent proves useful to the military.
- Wendy of Fairy Tail started to become this to series' resident Five-Man Band Team Natsu shortly after joining Fairy Tail, and while she is a de facto member now, considered equal with the others in-universe, she is still largely a Tagalong Kid to the readers. She has since graduated to being The Chick, sharing this role with Lucy, who also spends time as The Smart Guy.
- Cattleya's son Rana in Queen's Blade, who turns himself into a Morality Pet for Airi after his mother is petrified.
- The main cast of Highschool of the Dead thinks it's perfectly safe to run around killing zombies with a little girl in tow. Though to be fair, Alice probably really is a lot safer with them than anywhere else in the world.
- Doctor Tenma from Monster has Dieter for a large chunk of the plot who insists on following people.
- Ako Shirabe/Cure Muse in Suite Pretty Cure ♪ turns out to be this. She acted as a masked Aloof Ally most of the time, but pretended to be older and taller than she is. Despite her age, she's very smart and Genre Savvy. Of course, she's similar as strong than other Pretty Cures. She's even the first to become a Pretty Cure. However, she the only one who has not a Belltier or another rod.
- The Selfish Trio from Doki Doki Pretty Cure has Ira, a villainous example. Unlike his teammates, he relies on brute strength instead of smart plans. Even the Monsters of the Week he summons are usually dump and simple.
- Sealand of Axis Powers Hetalia usually ends up as this when he tries to involve himself in the affairs of the real nations. He generally gets chased off because nobody is willing to recognize him.
- Isabel from Red Hood and the Outlaws, the stewardess whom Red Hood takes on a date, is accidentally teleported with the rest of the team onto the Tamaranean space ship. She reacts as well as you'd expect.
Films — Animation
- Woody in Sky Blue. He suffers.
- Alice in The Illusionist.
- Averted in The Lion King. Nala was intended to have a brother who was even younger than her that was a Tagalong Kid however he was scrapped in the final product.
- Skippy the rabbit in Disney's Robin Hood. He even has a sister called "Tagalong".
- Private is seen by the others (especially Skipper) as a cute version of this in Penguins of Madagascar. Somewhat justified when he was a newly-hatched chick, but not after he's fully grown.
Films — Live-Action
- Trish from Angels Revenge.
- Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
- Scott Larson in Midnight Madness He was picked up by one of the teams when he was trying to run away. He ends up saving the day twice, once by enabling the team to beat a video game, and also by using his retainer to restart a stuck elevator.
- Frankie Muniz's character in Stay Alive.
- It seems to be a "rule" of the Jurassic Park series that the main characters must always be accompanied by at least one kid. Jurassic Park kids tend to be The Load most of the time, but will nevertheless probably have a Chekhov's Skill which will prove useful about once in their film.
- Kid from Six-String Samurai. Yes, Kid is actually his name.
- Brandon from the Noah's Arc movie.
- Chekov in the 2009 prequel/reboot of Star Trek is only seventeen, and thus some of the other characters (who are mostly very mature individuals in their twenties) seem to regard him as this. Which he is, to an extent, but he's also pretty clearly gearing up to be The Smart Guy as well.
- Defied in Iron Man 3. Tony Stark brushes away Harley in his attempts to bring him so he can keep him safe from danger.
- That Man From Rio - Adrian, pursuing his kidnapped girlfriend to Rio, is befriended by Sir Winston, a young street kid who saves Adrian's hide a couple of times.
- Merry and Pippin fill this role in The Lord of the Rings, both being younger cousins of Frodo.
- Ponyboy of The Outsiders. He's only considered a "member" of the gang because of his older brothers.
- Lupine Wonse is a literal Tagalong Kid in Guards! Guards! The skipping run he developed to keep up with the big boys in his gang is how Vimes recognizes him as an adult leaving the scene of a crime.
- Allie in Bones of Faerie.
- Doc Wilde, a Doc Savage parody, brings his kids with him on his adventures. He's been raising them to be just like him.
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is an inversion. Sure, Dorothy's not a native, and at 11, she's likely the youngest of the bunch. Still, it's obvious that she's the one in charge.
- Gavroche in Les Misérables is this to the students at the barricade. He is killed after a few pages.
- Adam's younger brother James in Shatter Me who he and Juliette have no choice but to take on the run with them to stop Warner from harming him.
- "Runt" in Dinoverse is the little brother to Zane's host. Zane refuses to leave the herd at first until he's kicked out to fetch Runt. Then he encounters the other formerly human characters, and he can't leave the little guy alone, so...
- Murky of the Origami Yoda series is this. He mostly just hangs around with his older friends and makes comments.
- In Rachel Griffin, the Power Trio is by the second book officially comprised of four members, with the addition of Nastasia's fangirl Joy O'Keefe, who insists on coming and can't politely be excluded.
- The Brady Bunch: Cousin Oliver was never given much to do except be Bobby and Cindy's sidekick.
- River Tam on Firefly. She has a much bigger role in the movie.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Justin in Power Rangers Turbo is literally a kid who tagged along and was given Ranger Powers. For reasons that are never adequately explained in the series, he morphs into a fully grown adult blue Ranger, unless he takes off his helmet, which shrinks him down to his normal size until he puts it back on.
- Robin's younger brother Much from Robin of Sherwood.
- Kate from Robin Hood. Her age was unclear, yet the thirty-year old actress seemed to be channelling a bratty teenage girl.
- Des from Republic of Doyle.
- Alexis Castle on Castle. She also doubles as The Smart Guy/ Teen Genius and provides lots and lots of helpful insight to her Man Child father. And when she shows up at the police station, everyone minds their language.
- Dustin in Zoey 101
- Battlestar Galactica: Boxey ends up being this in "Gun At Ice Planet Zero" and "The Magnificent Warriors" but contributes a little in "Fire In Space", thought Muffit proves more useful.
- Gary's little brother Tucker on Are You Afraid of the Dark?.
- Damien in Only Fools and Horses.
- Thunderstone has Chip, who is the youngest of the main cast at maybe 10 years old. He wants to go out on adventures but is told to stay back as he's "too young to keep up". He really should heed this advice, as his attempts to sneak out and prove himself as useful almost always end with him getting captured or, on one occasion, trapped in quicksand.
- Vaan in Final Fantasy XII — a bit unusual in that he's the viewpoint character. Gameplay-wise (and keeping in mind that there's a large amount of Gameplay and Story Integration) Vaan is out and out the best character on the team, assuming you use him at all. This would seem to imply that Vaan is a monster killing machine the team fortunately has lying around.
- Later games show Vaan has gone into business as a god-like thief and have him be a skilled enough fighter to hold off a Physical God for a long time. So, the FFXII team probably didn't know what they had on their hands. As incidental as Vaan's inclusion on the team maybe, he's probably the single most powerful weapon at their disposal, if not instrumental to their success.
- Penelo went through a similar change. She played an even less of a role in Final Fantasy XII than Vaan did and her only purpose for tagging along was to make sure Vaan was staying out of trouble since he was the only family she had left. Her role was expanded upon in the spinoffs, but she's still mostly portrayed as Vaan's partner who make sure he doesn't cause too much trouble.
- In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, winning all Arena matches saddles you with the "Adoring Fan", a small boy who follows you around gushing about your deeds.
- Petey in Bully.
- Fire Emblem : Seisen no Keifu : You've got two of them in the First Generation : Oifaye, who's the army's Teen Genius Strategist, and Shannan who starts as a James Bondage. Both of them become badasses in the Second Generation.
- Rolf and Mist start as these in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance until they join the army proper.
- Adell's younger siblings, Taro and Hanako, from Disgaea 2 fill this role, while also acting as Those Two Guys for the party. Taro and Hanako double as The Big Guy (gameplay-wise) and The Smart Guy (story-wise), respectively.
- Mission Vao and Zaalbar from Knights of the Old Republic. Mission is more obvious, being Hot-Blooded and a Fragile Speedster (her dexterity is very high), with a bit of the "genius" as her true strengths come from being more well-rounded in the skills department than the droids. She's also higher on the Karma Meter than the party's Jedi (tied with Carth, surprisingly). Zaalbar is definitely The Big Guy, who's actually marginally higher on the Karma Meter than Jolee, but still light-sided. He doesn't really appear to be a kid (Wookiees age differently than humans), but his interactions with Mission, and the fact that he's constantly referred to as "young" mean you likely have two adolescents along for the ride.
- Pearl from Ace Attorney, who, in the second game, is pretty much Maya when Maya isn't being framed for murder or kidnapped.
- By exploiting a glitch, you can get six-year-old Bumble to tag along after you throughout Fallout 3.
- Hope of Final Fantasy XIII is a civilian that was unlucky enough to be caught up in the Purge. He stubbornly follows Lightening for the bulk of the game. Unlike some kids, he's incredibly useful, because he has the highest magic stat in the game.
- Aila to Geddoe's mercenary group in Suikoden III, at least in the mercenaries' opinion. She was a warrior in her home village, but is still young and naive compared to the rest, and at the end of the game Geddoe doesn't let her join the group officially, but he does let her stay around, making her an official Tagalong Kid.
- Ken Amada from Persona 3 who fits the Adorably Precocious Child trope to a T. He most idealistic of the group, and in battle serves as a Combat Medic, with empathsis on the One-Hit KO Hama skills. However, this is post-Character Development after he gives up his vedetta against a party member who killed (accidentaly) his mother.
- Riki from Xenoblade. All the other party members have a good reason for wanting to fight the Mechon, be it to avenge or to rescue loved ones. Riki suffered none of these problems, and is pretty much roped into going along with them. Of course, that's not to say he's just The Load, far from it!
- Ellie from The Last of Us deconstructs this. She was born into the Crapsack World that the U.S. has become, so she's effectively known from birth that she needs to pull her own weight and be just as useful/capable as adults in order to survive. She also knows not to be a Neutral Female, helping out Joel when and how she can.
- Toad plays this role in certain Mario games, including Super Mario Bros. 2.
- Jade, from the Whateley Universe, looks 11. She's actually 14 and most people who meet her think she's the Tagalong Kid and The Load of Team Kimba. She's not actually.
- Matt, Leo and Mark in the first season of Omega Guardians. Andy could also count as well, even though he was treated an equal part of the team depending on the episode.
- In Worm, Theo Anders, son of the Nazi supervillain Kaiser but who lacks powers of his own, is generally brought along by his stepmother Purity with her group, the Pure, because he serves as a caretaker for his half-sister Aster.
- Instead of sending her on a plane to Hong Kong, the Runaway girl follows the Joestar group in Vaguely Recalling JoJo.
- Gamecrasher from TvTomeAdventures.
- Tommy (alias Number T) of Codename: Kids Next Door — was almost promoted to Sixth Ranger. In other cases he gets in The Team's way by tagging along.
- Dil of Rugrats. One episode revolves around the older babies giving him an initiation into "the big babies".
- Hiroki and Johnny in the later seasons of Code Lyoko.
- Enzo in ReBoot, at least the first few seasons.
- Ray Thompson, in the episode "Legends" from Justice League. For the most part, he's a useless sidekick who cheers on the heroes featured in that episode, the Justice Guild. The twist here is that the Guild and in fact the entire city are an illusion created by Ray, who in reality is a mutated psychic child living out his fantasies by warping the world to his whims.
- Tails on Sonic Sat AM, which provides for some Character Development as he trains under his Big Brother Mentor to become a more effectual Freedom Fighter.
- Sheila's younger brother Bobby, from the animated Dungeons & Dragons, is a Tagalong Kid of the Cute Bruiser variety.
- Sari, for the first two seasons of Transformers Animated.
- The Histeria episode "The Legion of Super Writers" has Loud Kiddington play this role to the team of the episode's title.
- Hanna-Barbera had a lot of these in their heyday.
- Jan and Jace in the original Space Ghost cartoons essentially were two kids who went along on Space Ghost's adventures.
- Jonny Quest himself, in the original Jonny Quest cartoon. When he aged up to teenhood in the later series Jonny Quest The Real Adventures, he was much more actively involved in the adventures. Though he got into many scrapes as a kid, too.
- Pete, Dr. Quinn Darien's nephew on The Godzilla Power Hour, although he has the benefit of being the main means of talking with Godzooky and, by proxy, Godzilla.
- Mightor from Moby Dick and the Mighty Mightor had Little Rok (or just plain Rok), who was the younger brother of Sheera, the love interest of Mightor's alter ego Tor (like the original Fawcett Captain Marvel the protagonist's main self was a teenager named Tor while his heroic alter ego Mightor was an adult with a deeper, rougher voice). Basically, Little Rok was an annoying little boy who was a big fan of Mightor, the guardian of their tribe, completely unaware that he was the older alter ego of his sister's friend Tor; in fact Little Rok admired Mightor so much that, whenever there was trouble, he would put on a horned mask resembling the one worn by Mightor, pick up a giant wooden toy club carved to resemble the club used by Mightor, and would fly into battle on his pet bird loudly screaming Mightor's name and boasting that he would either defeat all the bad guys by himself or that he would help Mightor defeat the bad guys (when he followed Mightor into battle that is). Sometimes he actually did help, if only by accident (such as getting in the villain's way just long enough for Mightor to thwart the villain's plan) but most of the time he was just The Load in the fight whom Mightor would have to rescue (and allow Little Rok to think he had beaten the threat by himself) or think up some fake "order" to get the dumb kid to stay put and stay out of his way so he could do his job.
- The "Three Musketeers" segments from The Banana Splits had Tooly who followed the musketeers on their adventures, usually after being forbidden from doing so.
- Spinner in the Clutch Cargo cartoon series. Why did Clutch need to look after a little boy anyway?
- The Thunderkittens in ThunderCats and ThunderCats (2011). They do have some useful skills.
- In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Spike the baby dragon serves as assistant and de facto little brother to Twilight Sparkle, and frequently comes along on the ponies' adventures. Downplayed in that the ponies rarely bring up his age and he's shown to be just as capable as the adult ponies, except for one instance in which he had to miss out on an adventure because he was too young to stay up all night.
- Played cutely straight in the openings of seasons 1-3, where Twilight easily jumps out of the balloon basket, but Spike has to climb out and run after her.
- Max LeBlanc in Night Hood. Might also qualify as a child's version of a Distressed Dude, due to getting into trouble every other episode and having Lupin come and save him. One episode revolved around him getting kidnapped and Lupin had to rob Fort Knox in order to get him back.
- Captain Marvel on Young Justice, with the added twist that nobody realizes that he's a kid. The team assumes he's spying on them for the Justice League, when in reality he's an Ascended Fanboy hanging out with his real age group.
- Howleen Wolf of Monster High, especially in the Fright On! special. She often deals with her wish to be treated less like her siblings' tagalong but wanting to be like them at the same time.
- Apple Dumplin' from Strawberry Shortcake in the 2003 series.
- Toad in The Super Mario Bros. Super Show and The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3.
- Let's not forget the other tagalong of the Mario Bros., which is Oogtar in Super Mario World.
- Steven Universe is an odd example where this character is the protagonist—it centers around a half-magical kid who lives with the Crystal Gems, a team of magical guardians whom his mother used to be a part of.
- Angelina Ballerina has Henry, Angelina's younger cousin, as the tagalong in the original books and the 2002 series. Polly, Angelina's little sister, takes over this role in the 2009 CGI series.
- On Max and Ruby, Max is often this, though probably at least half the time he'd rather not be because he's been dragged along to whatever girly activity Ruby and her friends are doing.
- Reality Is Unrealistic — The Iwakura Mission of Meiji-era Japan was a Japanese tour of the world intended to help the country modernize, so that it would be able to compete with the Western nations. Because it was a mission of modernization, almost all the passengers were adults, who were sent off to study at Western universities so they could use that knowledge to improve their own country. Yet despite this, one of the passengers was Tsuda Umeko, a six-year-old girl. She was dropped off in the United States and taken in by an American couple to be educated there, but the fact that she was there at all is bizarre considering the mission's purpose. (It is possible that this is the reason there are so many examples of this trope in Japanese works, but more likely than not that is just because of Japan's cultural obsession with cuteness, which ironically did not exist in Tsuda's time.)