open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Part of Crow's Back Story in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's: His father-figure Robert Pearson, while trapped in a burning building, told Crow to escape, take his bike and deck, and watch over the rest of the kids he'd taken in.
- After their Duel, a dying Bommer asked Crow to look after his younger siblings before crumbling to dust. However Crow didn't have to since Bommer was resurrected at the end of that story arc.
- Aiolos Sagittarius in Saint Seiya gave the baby Saori to Mitsumasa Kido. It wasn't his kid though, he was trying to protect her from the evil Pope who wanted to kill her because she was Athena's reincarnation, and got killed in the effort.
- In Ao no Fuuin Takao entrusts the entire Kimon family to Soko just before he dies by Akira's hands.
- Subverted in Full Metal Panic! when Sousuke's mother hands him off to Kalinin to raise... who then sends him off (albeit inadvertently) to the KGB. To be trained as a child assassin.
- In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S, one of the dying Zest's last requests to Signum was for her to take care of his charges.
- As revealed in a flashback, this was the dying request of Roy's alchemy teacher/Riza's father in Fullmetal Alchemist. Granted, "take care of my daughter" probably didn't mean "make her your personal assistant and bodyguard," but hey, the woman is damn good at what she does.
- In Noir, in a Flash Back, Mireille Bouquet's mother's request to a five-year-old Kirika, who just killed Mireille's father and is about to kill her, is to take care of Mireille.
- Rem's famous last words in Trigun are for Vash to take care of Knives. She probably didn't envision Knives to be the one who killed all her crew and tried to crash all the Seeds ships or that he would turn into a complete homicidal maniac but what can you do.
- On the other hand, maybe she did - in Japanese, her last words are "Vash, Knives wo..." "Wo" is an incredibly ambiguous word on its own, requiring other words to define it. She could be asking him anything from "Help Knives" to "Kill Knives". "Vash, take care of Knives" is an attempt to capture that ambiguity in English ("Take care of him" often meaning "Kill him").
- In Ashita no Nadja, this trope is why Rita Rossi, Cream and Chocolate are members of the Dandelion Troupe. Rita's parents owned another circus, which burned down one night; before they tried to save the rest of their animals they went up to the Troupe, handed them little Rita and the baby lions, and asked them to take care of the little girl and the cubs. Few minutes after this, the circus tent collapsed and the Rossis died, so the Troupe fulfilled the Rossis's Last Request and took the three in as a part of the crew.
- In Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit, this is both the main plot and back story: when the Second Queen of Yogo suspects that her husband is trying to kill their son Chagum, she tasks Balsa, a warrior-woman who happened to stop the most recent assassination attempt, to run away with him and keep him safe. As the series progresses, we learn that Balsa herself was once the "kid" in this trope, being taken in by a warrior named Jigoro on her dying father's request. A Whole Episode Flashback later fills in the details.
- Played With in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure—part one ends with Dio massacring Jonathan and everyone else on a ship, leaving Erina and a baby girl as the Sole Survivors. Erina wanted to stay and die with Jonathan, but he noted how the baby's mother died protecting her, and urged Erina to take the child and escape. The episode/storyline ends with Erina floating with the baby alone in the wreckage, with the narrator informing us that Erina was pregnant herself. The baby girl, Lisa Lisa, was raised by their companion Straizo, marries Erina's son George and becomes the mother of the next protagonist, Joseph Joestar.
- In One Piece, Gol D. Roger allowed himself to be captured by the Marines since he was dying of a terminal illness and wanted to go out in a more spectacular fashion. The night before his execution he confided in Monkey D. Garp, his most persistent foe among the Marines, that he had a pregnant lover. He told Garp that due to their frequent battles against each other, he knew and trusted Garp as well as he did any of his crew. He thus knew he could trust Garp to take care of his unborn child. And Garp does.
- At the end of Tarzan, a dying Kerchak tells Tarzan to "take care of them," meaning the rest of their clan.
- In Toy Story, when Woody is grabbed by Sid's dog Scud, he tells Buzz to "take care of Andy for me." Buzz rescues him instead.
- In Frozen, when Hans is about to kill Elsa, Elsa just pleads with him, "Please look after my sister." Hans then tells Elsa that Anna is dead because of her (she isn't), prompting Elsa to fall into despair.
- A tweaked example in The Towering Inferno: An explosion knocked the scenic elevator off its track. Lisolette (who had gone to great lengths to save two children, a boy and a girl, in the tower) was holding the girl. She shoves her into someone else's arms before falling from the glass elevator to her death.
- In the prologue of The Amazing Spider-Man, Richard and Mary Parker leave their young son Peter under the care of his Uncle Ben and Aunt May to keep him safe from harm when it becomes clear someone dangerous is after them. They don't survive to reunite with him.
- In The Lone Ranger, Dan, after being fatally shot, asked his brother to take care of his family.
- Nod's father in EPIC asked Ronin to do this.
- At the end of Frozen River, Ray agrees to take the rap for running the smuggling operation, in exchange for Lila raising her kids while she's in jail.
- At the end of Pearl Harbor, as Danny is dying, Rafe encourages him stay alive, revealing that he's going to be a father. Danny replies, "No, you are." The final scene is of Rafe and Evelyn, married and happily raising 'their' son.
- In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, when Batman is about to kill Superman with a Kryptonite spear, Superman begs Batman to "save Martha". This throws Batman off, reminding him of the death of his mother, Martha Wayne. When he demands to know why Superman said that name, Lois reveals to him that Martha Kent is Superman's adoptive mother, and that Lex Luthor is holding her hostage to force Superman to attack Batman. Batman begins to realize how close he came to Jumping Off the Slippery Slope.
- In Deep Impact, when Sarah's parents realize they can't escape before the meteor-induced flood hits, they ask Sarah to take her baby brother and get to high ground with Leo. The parents die, but both teenagers and the baby survive.
- In Face/Off, a dying Sasha begs Archer (whom she still believes is Castor Troy) to not let her and Castor's son Adam grow up to be a criminal like them. At the end of the film, Archer honors Sasha's request and adopts Adam.
- In the fairy tale "Babes in the Woods," this is a dying man's last request made to his brother. Instead, he leaves them to die in the woods. And... that's it. They die. No gingerbread house, no fairy godmother, no sleeping giant, nothing.
- Sense and Sensibility: The events of the novel are set in motion by the death of Henry Dashwood, who asks his wealthy son to take care of his stepmother and half-sisters. John promises he will... and doesn't. It's implied that he initially intends to make good on the promise, but his wife talks him out of it.
- In V. C. Andrews' Midnight Whispers, Dawn apparently shouted this to her brother Philip before she burned to death with her husband. He does take Christie and her brother in, but... to say it doesn't go well would be a serious understatement.
- When a rescue helicopter crewman is dying in Jack Ryan's arms in Clear and Present Danger, he mentions that he has seven (soon to be eight) kids, Jack volunteers to pay the college tuition for all of them. This brings unexpected complications in the next book, The Sum of All Fears.
- Kristina says this to her own husband in The Emigrants when they think she's going to die from scurvy.
- Happens no less than twice between Melly and Scarlett in Gone with the Wind. The first time Melly believes she's going to die while giving birth to Beau and she asks Scarlett to raise him. The second time she really is dying and asks the same thing, saying, "I gave him to you once before, remember?"
- Averted in Les Misérables — M. Madeleine, once he takes the sick Fantine into his care, tries to bring her daughter Cosette to her, hoping that the joy of seeing Cosette again would restore her to full health. However, Javert intervenes, reveals that Madeleine is an ex-convict, and Fantine dies of shock. After her death, however, Valjean promises her he will raise Cosette like his own — and he does.
- This happens in A Series of Unfortunate Events with the Baudelaire kids promising to raise Kit Snicket's daughter before Kit dies giving birth.
- A variation is mentioned in The Bad Beginning, when Violet remembers her parents charging her to always take care of Klaus and Sunny when each younger sibling was born, but this, of course, was years before the parents actually died. However, as they were both part of a secret organization combating vicious criminals and had already lost several comrades, they probably knew even then that there was a good chance that they might be killed and Violet would have to take over.
- In Tolkien's Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, Rian asks Annael to look after the newborn Tuor before she goes to die at her husband's grave.
- From Childe Morgan: King Donal Haldane wants Alyce de Corwyn to trigger his son Brion's Haldane potential if he dies before her son Alaric is old enough to do it, and he implants a mental compulsion in her to make certain. On her deathbed in the same book, Alyce asks this of her husband Kenneth in regards to their children, four-year-old Alaric and the newborn Bronwyn.
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince reveals Voldemort's back story, which includes his mother stopping at an orphanage to give birth. She suffers Death by Childbirth an hour later after requesting that the staff name him "Tom Marvolo Riddle" after his father and maternal grandfather.
- Molly also asks this of Lupin, but it's just her over-worrying in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. To be fair, she has her reasons for concern.
- In Mercy Kill, Bhindi Drayson is fatally wounded on a mission, and urges her second-in-command, Piggy, to "get these kids home safe". In a subversion, Piggy realizes that this attitude contributed to Bhindi making mistakes that, ultimately, killed her; in order to survive, he has to treat the other Wraiths not as children to be protected, but allies who know the risks of their trade, and who have to be put in harm's way impartially.
- The Hunger Games: Cecelia knew she wouldn't make it out of the Quarter Quell alive.
Live Action TV
- A "friend" version in Smallville. Clark asks Oliver to take care of Chloe before he goes to face Doomsday.
- Merlin: Before Morgana's father died, he asked his good friend Uther to take care of Morgana. Subverted in that Morgana's "father" wasn't her real father, Uther is.
- On the same show is a non-parental example: when faced with impending death, both Arthur and Guinevere ask Merlin to look after the other if something happens to them.
- He wasn't planning on dying, but Dexter asked his sister Deb to take care of his son when he was getting ready to leave everything behind after Rita's death at the beginning of season five.
- In Babylon 5, a former friend of Londo's, on the outs with the current Centauri regime, arranges for Londo to look after his children and make them part of Londo's family, shielding them from his political misfortune, after their father's death. At Londo's hands, as part of a duel, which the friend arranged specifically for this purpose.
- A surprising version occurs in the Doctor Who episode "The Almost People". The "real" Jimmy dies trying to save everyone else and tells his ganger to take care of "their" son for him.
- Inverted in one episode of Top Gear. Jeremy finds himself at the mercy of a pack of hunting dogs and tells his kids to take care of their mother.
- In a flashback in The Almighty Johnsons the protagonists' mother has just told her 21-year-old son Mike that their entire family are reincarnations of Norse gods. She then tells him that she is tired of her life and is leaving the care of his younger brothers to him. She is going into a forest to transform into a tree and finally have some peace and quiet.
- In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Ethics," Worf asks Troi to raise Alexander if he dies during the experimental spinal surgery he's about to undergo. He pulls through, thanks to Contractual Immortality, but they do formalize the arrangement in a later episode.
- He tells her that this would make her, under Klingon law, the equivalent of his stepsister. She points out that this would make Lwaxana his stepmother. The thought almost makes him back out.
- Game of Thrones:
- In the Season Six finale, Lyanna Stark's final request is for her brother to take care of her son, Jon Snow (fathered by Rhaegar Targaryen), and hide him from Robert Baratheon.
- Robert asks Ned to be Joffrey's regent and guide until he comes of age. This does not go well for Ned.
- In the season 11 finale, before Dean leaves to perform a Heroic Sacrifice, he asks Castiel to take care of Sam, knowing his little brother will be a mess without him.
- Horribly subverted with John's death in season two — one of his last acts before he dies is to tell Dean that if he can't save Sam, he'll have to kill him.
- Used in The Adventures of Superman when the origin of Robin was given; in the radio version, Robin's father asked Bruce Wayne to take care of him.
Religion and Mythology
- Inverted in The Bible; when Jesus was on the cross, he saw his mother, Mary, standing with "the disciple whom he loved" and instructed him to take care of her from now on, which he did. Mary was presumably widowed by that point, and in ancient Judean culture would have needed a grown son for financial support. (Whether or not she had others is nd-sisters-28224 open for debate).
- In Les Misérables, Fantine (as she is dying) hallucinates that she sees her daughter playing. Depending on the writer, she might not be aware of her impending death; however, Valjean is, and he assures her before she dies that he will raise Cosette and take care of her.
Fantine: Take my hand, the night grows ever colder; take my child, I give her to your keeping... And tell Cosette I love her and I'll see her when I wake...
- The title character in The Duchess of Malfi asks her lady-in-waiting Cariola to look after her children when she's about to be murdered. Of course, Cariola and the children are themselves murdered shortly thereafter.
- Early in Final Fantasy XIII Hope's mother joins Snow (along with some other rebels). She's killed (along with pretty much every other volunteer, but they're not plot relevant) and she says this just before falling to her death. Since she didn't tell him who her son is, Snow has no idea who to protect and decides to protect all the children that were to be taken on The Purge. Meanwhile, Hope witnesses this and blames him for it, follows him, and ends up as a party member. The in-game synopsis notes that in a way, Snow manages to fulfill her request to protect her son by providing Hope with a target and thus a reason to persevere despite the odds.
- From the Final Fantasy series:
- Final Fantasy VII has two instances:
- A flashback sequence about Aerith's childhood has Elmyra finding Aerith at the train station next to her dying mother. Her mother's last request to Elmyra is to take care of Aerith.
- Dyne asks Barret to take care of his daughter, Marlene, after you defeat him.
- In Final Fantasy X, Jecht told Auron to take care of his son for him, just before he sacrificed himself to become the Final Aeon. In an odd variation, Auron couldn't find Jecht's son until he was dead himself.
- In Final Fantasy XII, Judge Gabranth, on his deathbed, asks Basch to take care of his ward, Lord Larsa Solidor, so that war may not erupt again. Being Gabranth's brother, Basch impersonates him to protect Larsa.
- Final Fantasy VII has two instances:
- In Jak 3: Wastelander, the dying Damas begs Jak to find his son Mar. He tells Jak that his son can be identified by a pendant. One identical to the amulet worn by Jak's past child self in the previous game. Tragically, Damas dies not knowing the truth.
- In World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, right before the Battle of Razor Hill, Thrall asks Vol'jin to do this for his wife and newborn son, when Thrall decides to go into Orgrimmar to find any Orcs who are against Garrosh's rule despite knowing it's a suicide to go. Vol'jin obviously isn't very happy to hear this.
- A variant: In Professor Layton and the Curious Village, Baron Reinhold asks this of whoever manages to solve the mystery of the golden apple. The "golden apple" in question is his daughter, Flora; upon resolving the matter, Layton adopts her.
- Tales of Berseria: Shortly before the final battle, Velvet asks Eleanor to look after Laphicet if something should happen to her. Part of this is because they're going up against a god so survival is unlikely, but Velvet has also begun to suspect that her life is tied to the Big Bad, so if he dies she might too. Velvet ends up sealing him in a duel, while Laphicet becomes a god and takes his place. Eleanor decides the best way to fulfill her promise to Velvet is to turn the Abbey into a force of good that will support their new god.
- In Dragon Age II, Hawke's father has died prior to the events of the game, and it's heavily implied that he imparted such an injunction to his eldest child regarding their mother and younger siblings. Hawke certainly spends most of the game trying to do exactly that, but things don't exactly go well.
- In Grand Theft Auto IV, Gerald McReary tells the main protagonist Niko Bellic to watch over his family just before he gets arrested. Depending on Niko's choices, he can fail Gerald with his brothers Derrick and Kate dying on his watch.
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold: The original Black Canary's final speech exhorts Wildcat and the Justice Society to take care of her "little angel" (who then grows up to be the next Black Canary). They train her, but also tend to act overprotective of her even when she's an adult.
- Darkwing Duck:
- Inverted in the episode "Toys Czar Us". Launchpad tells Darkwing that if something were to happen to him, he'd raise Gosalyn like she was his own daughter.
- In the episode "Dead Duck", Darkwing tells Launchpad to "take care of Gosalyn" as he says a final goodbye (which didn't turn out to be so final).
- Defenders of the Earth: When Kshin's grandfather, Hai, is fatally injured towards the end of "The Adoption of Kshin", he asks Mandrake to look after Kshin. Inverted; Mandrake has been a father figure to Kshin since they met on the streets of Singapore seven years earlier, whereas Hai has only recently re-entered Kshin's life.
- Gargoyles: Right before allowing the Magus to put him under the same indefinite sleep spell as the rest of his clan, Goliath asks the Magus and Princess Catherine to protect his clan's eggs. They do.
- Implied in Galaxy Rangers "Psychocrypt" when Zach decides to make his suicide run. He asks his home AI to "take care of everything." Gee-Vee doesn't quite get it, but the audience does.
- An inversion takes place in Steven Universe. In "Lion 3: Straight to Video", Rose Quartz ends her video message to Steven by telling him to take care of "them", "them" being the people she will leave behind with her sacrifice to bring Steven into existence.
- Samurai Jack: After robot assassin X9 is killed by Jack, he asks Jack to take care of his dog Lulu (who was kidnapped by Aku to threaten X9 out of retirement) before shutting down. Even Jack looks down somewhat sympathetically at the robot before walking away.
- After being shot by Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, considered the spark that started World War I, Archduke Franz Ferdinand's last words were (to his wife) "Sophie, Sophie! Don't die! Live for our children!"
- During the Holocaust, many Jewish parents turned their children over to Christian orphanages, secret helpers, or even just other Jews who had a better chance of escape for one reason or another.
- Many parents in London, England, put their children on trains to more remote parts of the country during the Blitz in World War II so that they could escape the frequent bombings in the city. The parents had no way of knowing if they would ever see their children again; they had to trust that the distant strangers who were opening their homes would take good care of them.
- For a more recent example, there were the events of September 11, 2001. As many parents trapped in the doomed towers could contact their spouse/loved ones, they often made this their dying request.