The Kid with the Remote Control
"Wow, my own giant robot! I am now the luckiest kid in America!
This must be the biggest discovery since, I don't know, television or something!"
A child — usually a young boy — who has sole control over some fearsome creature or robot and uses it wisely, despite advice from all the well-meaning but fundamentally clueless adults around him.
Sometimes the remote control is literal — as in the watch used in Giant Robo
by Johnny Sokko/Daisaku Kusama to transmit orders to Giant Robo. Sometimes it is figurative or metaphorical, in the sense that the mecha or creature considers the child its sole master
and obeys only him. Helping said creatures
or raising them from birth
are reliable ways to recruit the free-willed variants.
It can sometimes be difficult to tell whether the kid is his partners sidekick
or vice versa especially if the partner is capable of human speech, but if they are main characters one is probably the Deuteragonist
and the other the Protagonist. The trope originated in dawn-time Anime and Manga and is still strongest in those genres.
If the partner is an Anti-Hero
or even Token Evil Teammate
this trope becomes the Kid with the Leash
See also Guardian Entity
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Anime and Manga
- Juston Seyfert from The Marvel series Sentinel, which intentionally based off the Gigantor/Giant Robo style. He's now back in Avengers Academy.
- Tom Skylark from the "Here Comes Tomorrow" arc of "New X-Men" is a grown-up version of this. He appears to be modeled after Juston.
- Gert (and later Chase) from Runaways. She has a telepathic link to a genetically engineered deinonychus from the 87th century called "Old Lace".
- General Jumbo: Jumbo was the eponymous hero of a long-running story appearing intermittently in The Beano, in command of a sizeable army (and occasionally navy and air force) built by his friend Professor Carter. A low-achieving hero by modern standards, he mainly foiled minor nuisances and petty criminals, but since even this entailed independently controlling dozens of models using a wrist controller with only a few buttons, it would be churlish to deride his efforts.
- His Viz spoof counterpart had an army of Jehovah's Witnesses. They foiled un-christian activities and then handed out leaflets.
- The heroine of Gearz, after receiving a coterie of robot bodyguards due to a postal error. As a Genre Savvy pop culture junkie, she specifically compares herself to Johnny Sokko (Daisaku Kusama's name in the English version of the live-action Giant Robo show called Johnny Sokko and his Flying Robot.)
- Jason from the short-lived Oni press series "Jason & The Argobots."
- Johnny Thunder and his successor Jakeem Thunder, both from the Justice Society of America each controlled an omnipotent genie who's only limit was that he used his power exactly the way he was told.
- Timmie and his pet robot in The Invisible Boy.
- In Terminator 2, a young John Connor plays around with the T-800 for a bit after learning it has to obey his commands, but later on, he uses his power over the machine for more serious purposes - most importantly, telling it Thou Shalt Not Kill.
- The Iron Giant becomes something of a pet for Hogarth Hughes (albeit a fifty-foot-tall pet that eats metal). The bond the two develop become powerful enough that when the Giant snaps and turns into a Killer Robot, Hogarth is able to talk him out of it.
- Hiro is this to Baymax in Big Hero 6, though the only control he has is Baymax's programmer prerogative to look after Hiro's well-being. It's unclear if there was a way for someone else to have overridden Hiro's control.
- Doctor Who
- Charlotte Abigail Lux in "Silence in the Library"/"The Forest of the Dead" has control of a planet-sized library (and a data-checking device the size of a moon) via a literal TV remote.
- In "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances", Jamie has control over an entire army.
- Ambassador Magma: Mamoru summons Magma and his family with a whistle.
- Robot Alchemic Drive: The player character controls a Humongous Mecha by remote control.
- Drakengard: Seere, whose pact-partner is Golem, a giant stone construct with very dim intelligence.
- Twisted Metal: Black: Literally a kid with a remote control; picking the vehicle Yellow Jacket sees the player controlling the corpse of Charlie Kane, who in turn is being controlled by his autistic son, who constructed a device to reanimate his murdered father. In his ending, Calypso breaks the remote control and adopts the boy, as he needs an heir. He would have used the boy's brother, Needles, but he was killed in the contest.
- The character Lymle in Star Ocean The Last Hope has control over a giant hell-hound she calls 'Doggy'. Precis of Star Ocean: The Second Story, was literally this, using a robotic backpack for combat.
- Alice and Ape III are the next to last opponent in Nintendo's Arm Wrestling arcade game. You beat them by sticking a magnet against Ape III's head...
- Yuna from Final Fantasy X, in the past in the series the "summons" have been simply really impressive magic spells, Yuna actually calls down whatever the magic creature of the day is and directly controls the dragon/devil/half-naked ice-woman in battle.
- Scribblenauts: The player has the power to summon anything in the in-game dictionary (which is incredibly huge), thus by extension Maxwell holds this power as well.
- BlazBlue has Carl Clover and Nirvana/Ada, his Magi Tech Forgotten Superweapon/big sister.
- Darkstalkers: The video game series features a robot named Huitzil (known as Phobos in Japan.) Though originally programmed to destroy all life on earth, a malfunction changes his prime directive to protect a little boy named Cecil. In his ending, he also changes the directives of all other huitzil units so that they protect Cecil as well...to the detriment of everyone else on the planet.
- Any Mon games including Pokémon, Demikids, Dragon Quest Monsters, etc... especially since the heroes of these games are kids, yet they have ability to control, raise, and breed monsters that are as tall as or even taller than them.
- Mega Man Battle Network and it's anime adaptation Mega Man NT Warrior: each Net Navi has an Operator who sends their Navi Battle Chips using a device called a Personal Terminal, or PET. The main characters are 5th graders at elementary school.
- Xenogears: Maria Balthasar is explicitly that, a little girl that commands, rather than pilots, a giant, at least partially sentient robot, including being able to call on it's help in a battle that otherwise happens without the use of mecha, even indoors. Much of that robot's design, in-game history and abilities are very similar the aforementioned Daisaku Kusama with his robot, almost to the point of her being an expy.
- Xenogears justifies this trope during Maria's subplot: her father developed Gears (read:giant robots) that needed human minds to function, and after he was uploaded into one himself, Maria's mother uploaded her mind into Maria's Gear in order to protect her.
- BioShock: has a creepy version of this with its little sisters. They're very weak and are nearly defenseless, so they're protected by big daddies: 7 foot tall cyborgs in a powered diving suit.
- In Zodiac, Cancer is a 13-year-old kid who controls a massive power suit with game controller. He designed and built the suit.
- Frankenstein Jr. is a Hanna-Barbera cartoon strongly influenced by Gigantor. Captain Ersatz Frankie is a 50-ft robot with a cape.
- Batman Beyond: Villainous example: Willie Watt had first the remote control for, and later mental command of, a massive humanoid construction machine known as a Golem. He did not use it wisely.
- The Fairly OddParents: Timmy Turner. He has fairy godparents that grant his every wish (that's not against the rules). Whether he uses them wisely is debated. Almost a trope-namer since in one movie he had a pair of magical remote controls, but loses one to the villain.
- The Iron Giant: Hogarth Hughes controls a benevolent alien robot in by speaking very slowly.
- In Wolverine and the X-Men, mutant escapee Marrow becomes this to "Rover", a reprogrammed rust-bucket of a Sentinel created by Polaris from pieces of Sentinels she destroyed. She becomes very attached to him, considering him her truest friend... to the point that, when he is required to sacrifice himself to allow the success of a vital mission for Xavier, she tries to run away with him and leave the rest of the mutant rebels to be slaughtered. When he turns back and makes a Heroic Sacrifice, she then goes on to betray the rebels to the Sentinels out of vengeful spite.