In Yu-Gi-Oh!, we have the Kaiba brothers (biological parents died when they were little, adopted father raised Kaiba under a borderline abusive schooling regimen, then committed suicide after Seto took over his company), Jounouchi/Joey (estranged from his mother since his parents' divorce, and his drunken father is only mentioned once in the first anime series), Anzu/Tea, Honda/Tristan, and Ryuji/Duke with no visible or suggested parents, and Yugi himself, whose mother appears twice, making him for all intents and purposes appear to live with his grandfather, a major supporting character.
Naturally, it's Lampshaded in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series several times. After Tea and Tristan snuck on a boat heading for the private island of the Big Bad of the season, Tristan wonders if their parents even care that they're missing.
Also, Seto Kaiba and his brother Mokuba were orphans "because I had fired our parents."
In the manga, we ARE shown Ryuji's father, but he's not star parenting material by any stretch and only appears for a few chapters.
The lack of parents in the spin-off Yu-Gi-Oh! GX is even worse. Even if the series does take place at a boarding school, some situations definitely call for parental involvement. Fubuki disappears for a year, and is in a coma for a few days/weeks after resurfacing; his sister Asuka, another student, falls apart over him, but where are their parents? (To be fair, one episode suggests that their mother died when they were very young.) Jun Manjyome runs away for three months; no parents looking for him or threatening the school with a lawsuit. (Indeed, his two older brothers seem for all intents and purposes to be his guardians, but why, after they become estranged, he still has access to an unlimited amount of his family's money, is a mystery.) Ryo and Sho Marufuji's living mother is briefly mentioned in the dub (when Sho talks to Rei in her first apparition, he says their mother said Sho is growing up more alike to Ryo, which suggests they're in good terms and maybe in regular contact), but she's never shown. The show is big on sibling relationships, but aside from an appearance by Hayato Maeda's father in an early episode, not at all with parents and children.
Parents are mostly a foreign concept on Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds: The four members of Team Satisfaction grew up on the streets after being orphaned in Zero Reverse. The twins' parents are explained as always being away on business trips... and just leave their kids home alone (albeit in a luxurious apartment complete with a swimming pool) with no supervision save online tutors (until Season 3, when they are seen attending school). Aki reconciles with her estranged parents... who are never seen again after they're introduced. The kids have several Parental Substitutes like Martha and Robert Pearson and, in cases like Crow's and Kiryu's, even becomeParental Substitutes.
Likewise Wataru in Sister Princess. While no genealogy is provided for his (half-?)sisters, the most likely solution to their parentage implies that they are all also missing at least the father whom they must share with Wataru. In the Visual Novel, all the legal ones have alternate endings where they turn out to be adopted.
In Tenchi Muyo!, Tenchi Masaki's mother (Achika in most continuities made before 2000, including the first TV series and all three movies, and Kiyone in the OVAs and most post-2000 continuities) died when her son was quite young, in some continuities from the side effects of saving his life. In the original OVA continuity, Ryoko was deprived of her creator/mother Washuu for almost 5,000 years, after Kagato kidnapped Washuu and kept her in suspended animation in his ship.
Rei lives with her maternal grandfather in both the anime and manga, but it is only explained in the manga why she does. Rei's mother died of an illness when Rei was little and her father spent all his time at work instead of being with his dying wife, which Rei never forgave him for. Rei was left with her grandfather after her mother's death because her father was too wrapped up in his work to care for Rei; Rei only sees him once a year on her birthday. Her father is a major part of the reason Rei distrusts men so much, though her distrust is shown only in the manga because anime Rei is boy crazy (maybe seeking for a Replacement Goldfish?).
Makoto's parents died in a plane crash when she was little, which caused her fear of airplanes. Makoto lives alone and is supported by an unknown relative.
Similarly, Mamoru's parents were killed in a car crash when he was little. Mamoru lived in an orphanage for most of his life until he was old enough to support himself.
Hotaru's mother is dead and her father is possessed by a demon. By the end of the series, he is either dead (manga) or abandons her to go to parts unknown (anime); in either case, Hotaru ends up living with the other Outer Senshi, who function as her new family.
Haruka and Michiru's parents are never seen or mentioned and Haruka and Michiru live together (at least in the anime). Setsuna's parents (if she has any) are most likely dead because, as the Guardian of Time, Setsuna is over 1,0000 years old and was never reborn on Earth.
Even Minako's case differs depending on the adaptation: in Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon she appears to be an orphan, with only an agent acting in loco parentis for her.
Subverted with Gloria. After the group finds a Doorstop Baby, she talks them out of turning it in to the police by talking about how horrible orphanages are. Then it turns out it's her sister's baby, and Gloria left him there to get out of babysitting.
So is Sagara Sousuke from Full Metal Panic!. Similarly, Kaname apparently has her own apartment and little connection to her family in the anime, though they were referenced more directly in the novels.
Watanuki from Xxx HO Li C: Orphaned at a young but unspecified age and has been living alone ever since.
Well, maybe not. It was recently revealed that his parents are still alive somewhere. Just not in his universe. He doesn't remember them due to a Deal with the Devil or three, and so just assumes them to be dead. His "brother" does remember them, but ran away from home at the age of seven, and we'll stop there because thatâ€™s where the parental abandonment ends, and something else begins.
In Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, Xxx Holic's sister series, nobody has a present set of parents. Nobody. Perhaps the most egregious case would be Sakura, who had both a mother and father way before the beginning of the series, but had them erased from existence when Syaoran's desperate wish to save her life screwed over the space-time continuum.
In Goshuushou-sama Ninomiya-kun, three six-year-olds were living alone under the same roof, with occasional older sibling support. One can only hope that they had financial support, at the very least. Also interesting is the fact that the protagonist's parents were alive and well, just very distant.
In Noir, Mireille's parents were murdered when she was a small child. And when Kirika awoke in Tokyo for the first time, she was alone in her apartment, with neither parents nor Soldats agents pretending to be parents.
Likewise, Chloe's parents are never mentioned, but Altena acts as a surrogate mother figure to her (It's implied that she had done the same for Kirika before the Easy Amnesia).
Kazuki Yotsuga in Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure is effectively orphaned when he ends up in a parallel universe where he was never born. In the Back Story, the mother of Mitsuki Sanada divorced her father, leaving him a bit of an emotional wreck and Mitsuki angry and hateful toward her.
In the ending, due to a burst of A God Am I, an ideal universe is created where the "best" elements of both dimensions are fused... and yet almost all the parents have been sent away on permanent vacation.
Parental Abandonment — specifically, the psychological effect of it — is one of the overarching themes of Neon Genesis Evangelion. Shinji Ikari witnessed the apparent death of his mother Yui, and is — to put it delicately — emotionally estranged from his father Gendo after spending ten years apart from him (actually, the fact of Yui's disappearance does help explain what's wrong with both Shinji and Gendo). Asuka Langley Soryuu is estranged from her father as well (depending on the version of Evangelion you're following, this takes different forms: In the anime, it was implied he was never interested in having children, and firmly established that he was very neglectful in his parenting, while in the manga, Asuka never met him as he was a sperm donor selected from a bank of Nobel prize winners and scientists). Furthermore, when she was a young child, Asuka's mother tried to commit a murder-suicide with Asuka, though she only succeeded in killing herself. Rei Ayanami has, as far as most people know, no family whatsoever; when her true origins are revealed, they are ghastly and nightmarish, to put it mildly. Several other major and minor characters have lost one or both parents: Misato, Ritsuko, Toji, Hikari, and Kensuke all come to mind. (However, this is probably not uncommon after Second Impact, which killed half the population of Earth, and during the destructive Angel siege of Tokyo-3.)
The fact that A: it is mentioned that Shinji's class are all pilot candidates, and B: none of them ever mentions a mother, except Kensuke, whose mother is explicitly dead, puts the pile of discarded EVA parts seen late in the series in a very creepy light.
Renton in Eureka Seven had no mother, his father died in the 'Summer of Love' incident, and his sister left home when Renton was young. This left him with his paternal grandfather, until he joins the Gekko State in the beginning of the series.
Ao in the Sequel Series, Eureka Seven AO. His mother vanished in an incident 10 years ago when Ao is 2 years old, and no one knows who his father is. Until he joins Generation Bleu he lives with his adoptive grandfather, who took his mother in when she came to Okinawa. Ao's goal in the entire series is to find his mom and save her, and by the final episode, he succeeded.
Ranma One Half is rife with parental abandonment. Ranma himself does not even realize he has a mother until the last two episodes of the series, having been separated from her when he was a toddler. Shampoo's father is only seen twice in the manga, her mother is never even mentioned, and in any event she cannot return to her village until she either kills or marries Ranma. Ukyou was actually abandoned twice: Once when her father sent her with the Saotomes, and again when Genma left her on the side of the road. (The notion that Ukyo's father forced her to take vengeance on the Saotomes is pure Fanon, both the manga and the anime imply that it's her own idea). Ryoga's parents are always lost. The Kuno siblings were abandoned by their father three years ago and their mother is never mentioned. The Tendo sisters' mother died when they were very young and Soun, their well-intentioned but ditzy father, is... well, himself. Every other major teenaged character is known or appears to be missing at least one parent, mostly their mothers.
In a very notable occasion, Ryuu Kumon's father died right before his eyes — and the audience's eyes, too, making it the one and only confirmed, on-screen death of a character in the Ranma 1/2 universe. Mind that Ryuu was six at the time, had already lost his mother, and was left homeless upon his father's death.
Ataru in Urusei Yatsura still has both his parents, but his father ignores him and his mother frequently wishes he had never been born.
Weird case, in that they're seen frequently (never dropped or written out) and definitely are raising Ataru, but they're not involved in any stories and don't have names. Leading to one of the most genuinely weird moments, in an OAV, where the mom introduces herself as "Ataru Moroboshi's mother".
Lain's entire family disappears on her about halfway through Serial Experiments Lain. In the last few episodes, her own father reveals that Lain is an Artificial Human, created by Tachibana Labs and put in a family so she could have a "normal" life. Since they don't need to be her parents anymore, they just abandon her.
Prince Van Fanyel in Vision of Escaflowne has no living family other than his older brother... who is a servant/general of the invading Evil Overlord, until he pulls a Heel-Face Turn. Still, Van has (understandable) difficulty accepting him back in his life for a while. Hitomi seems to still have her mother and her kid brother Mamoru at Earth, and her dad is at least mentioned when she calls out "Otousan" during a lonely moment on Gaia. Allen Schezar's mother died of grief and illness when he was young, and he hates his Disappeared Dad Leon because he abandoned her until he learns that Leon actually was Dead All Along, murdered many years ago by the Evil Overlord's troops.
Utena Tenjou from Revolutionary Girl Utena is an orphan, and her parents' death and funeral were significant events in her life. Anthy and Akio have no visible family. The parents of Miki and Kozue Kaoru are emotionally divorced from their twin children, and Kozue especially harbors a great deal of ill-will toward them.
Astro Boy was actually sold by his father/creator to what amounted to slavers.
Naruto sure loves this trope. In fact, the only character whose parents are both alive andshown is Shikamaru.
Naruto never knew who his parents were, since both of them sacrificed themselves to seal the Nine-Tailed Fox, and there is no mention of him having any sort of personal caretaker. However, since he's the main character, he has been much luckier by having four father figures in his life: the 3rd Hokage, Iruka, Kakashi, and Jiraiya.
Nevertheless, the 3rd was often too busy running the Hidden Leaf Village, and Iruka and Kakashi themselves were only children/teenagers for much of Naruto's early life. Jiraiya himself was absent for the first 13 years of Naruto's life, despite being his godfather, with their first meeting being by accident.
In fact, Iruka and Kakashi themselves were orphaned while still children; Iruka's parents died fighting the Nine-Tailed Fox, while Kakashi's father committed suicide after ruining his reputation by failing a mission because he prioritized saving his friends, with Kakashi's mother having already died before this.
Sasuke's parents were killed by his brother when he was young. Seeing as all his blood relatives and his entire clan were also killed at the same time, it is unclear how Sasuke, who was seven at the time, managed to survive. As with Naruto, there is no mention of his having a caretaker.
Gaara's (and his siblings') mother died in childbirth, and his father tried to kill him before he himself was killed by Orochimaru.
Neji's father Hizashi was killed to appease the Hidden Cloud Village after Hizashi's brother Hiashi killed one of their leaders when he tried to kidnap Hiashi's daughter Hinata, and Neji's mother has never been shown.
Hinata's own mother has also never been seen, apart from a flashback in episode 166 of Shippuden, and fans often speculate that both her and Neji's mom are dead.
Shikamaru's luck seems to have probably spread to his teammates. Both Chouji's and Ino's fathers are alive and shown, while in the anime, Choji's mother is briefly shown in Episode 82 of Shippuden, and Ino is shown talking to her off-screen mother in Episode 53 of Part 1.
Asuma dies before his child is born. At least the kid will still have a mother in Kurenai and a father-figure in Shikamaru.
According to Kiba, his father supposedly left because of how scary his mother was (whether or not he was kidding about that being the reason or even if it happened at all is debatable).
Even the bad guys are not spared. Sasori's first two puppets were made in the image of his parents, who died when he was very young. This extends to the series's original Big Bad, Orochimaru, whose parents died when he was fairly young; Pain/Nagato and Konan, whose parents were killed in the 2nd Shinobi World War; Kimimaro, whose father kept him in a cage for most of his life before getting himself and the rest of his clan (barring Kimimaro) killed during their war against the Hidden Mist Village; and Haku, whose father killed his mother and tried to do the same to Haku, who killed him in self-defense.
Nagato and Konan's childhood friend Yahiko also lost his parents during the war.
Karin apparently abandoned her parents along with the rest of her village at some point when her power alerted her to people who were about to burn it to the ground (it's not specified whether she just didn't tell them or if they just didn't listen), and Orochimaru decided to take her in after finding out.
Fullmetal Alchemist. Ed and Al lose their mother, and try to bring her back with human transmutation. The rest is, as they say, history. They do eventually reunite, although at different points depending on medium. In the manga, Ed briefly meets up with him shortly after Lust's death early on, while Alphonse is reunited with him in Liore much, much later; he plays a very major role in the overall plot. In the first anime, Ed and Al don't even see their estranged father until very near the end, and he doesn't do much of consequence besides give some backstory to the villain and ineffectually try to stop her on his own.
There's also Winry, whose parents get killed during the war in Ishval, however, their murderer changes between the manga (Scar, in a panic-induced frenzy from having lost all his family and friends in Kimblee's attack) and anime (Mustang, on orders to kill them for tending to wounded Ishvalans).
Also, it is revealed that Hawkeye's mother died when she was young, later followed by her jerkass father, and Roy was raised by a foster mother.
In Mahou Sensei Negima!, Negi Springfield's only apparent extant family is his older cousin, and he is in search of his father, Nagi Springfield, whom most believe to be dead. It's eventually revealed that they're alive, but MIA. His roommate/student/partner Asuna is also an orphan, which is an important plot point in the series' idiosyncratic climax — and, apparently, in the manga as well (though not the same plot point).
Almost every major character in InuYasha is either orphaned or seems to only have one parent (specifically, Kagome, who appears to be fatherless, though she has a very good, open and trusting relationship with the rest of her family, who actually aid her in her dangerous quest as much as they can, since they see it as a part of her destiny). It's mentioned in the novel Shousetsu Inuyasha that Kagome's father died in an accident several years prior to the story, this being the cause why Mama Higurashi, Kagome and Sota moved into the shrine with the grandpa. And this happened few after Kagome's grandma died, too.
The death of Rino Randou's mother in Best Student Council is the catalyst that begins the series. Nothing is mentioned as to what happened to her father, at least at first.
And it's not just Rino, Machii and Kaori are also orphans; in Kaori's case, she has younger siblings, providing a Promotion to Parent. And Rein was actually abandoned by her father, forcing her to live with Sayuri's family. And Ayumu ran away from her family.
In YuYu Hakusho, Yusuke lives with his drunken, cynical, goodhearted but irresponsible single mother Atsuko, who IIRC was kicked out of her house when she got pregnant at age 14. His actual father is never mentioned in the anime, but Atsuko is seen visiting with a man implied to be his father late in the manga. (Raizen is not actually his father, but an ancestor several generations back.)]
Yusuke's father is still alive, and briefly meets with his mother in the manga, floating the possibility of getting back together.
Hiei is cast out by his people, and his and Yukina's mother, Hina, apparently died, so it is unclear who raised Yukina.
It was likely Hina's friend Rui. Although it is unlikely, considering she was also the one who dropped Hiei off a floating island into a demon infested forest.
Due to abusive parents, Sora kidnapped his sister for her own safety and fled the home when he was 18 and she was 3, raising her alone until his death with Orihime was 12. Orihime has lived alone ever since but does receive financial aid from a distant aunt. The anime changed this to the parents abandoning Sora and Orihime rather than Sora kidnapping Orihime.
Chad's parents died when he was eight so he was sent to Mexico to live when his grandfather. When his abuelo died sometime before Chad was fifteen, Chad returned to Japan and has lived alone ever since.
Inverted with Uryuu's estrangement from his father. It's heavily implied that Uryuu walked out on his father and Ryuuken is quietly watching over his son without Uryuu's knowledge.
When Hisana and Rukia entered Soul Society, Hisana was a young child Promoted To Parent because of her infant sister. However, because they ended up in a monstrous part of the Rukongai, Hisana was forced to abandon Rukia to survive.
Both of Kira's parents died some time before he entered the Shinigami Academy.
Subversion: In the Sakura Taisen TV series, Sumire Kanzaki is estranged from her industrialist father and grandfather, who have been absorbed in work for seven years and apparently ignoring her completely, much to Sumire's chagrin; she has become convinced that they don't care about her. In the next-to-last episode, though, we learn it's been because they've dedicated themselves to building a superweapon for Sumire and the Teikokukagekidan all that time, and the father is actually a warm, friendly and loving person. He asks Sumire to forgive him before the last battle, and she does.
Played straight with: Seishuu (his parents were good to him, but his mother died in an earthquake and his father was killed by monster), Shoukei (her parents were overthrown and slaughtered for being injust sovereigns) and IIRC with Rangyaku and Keikei (parents died when they were kids, so they live with Rangyaku's boss Enho)
Borderline case: The main characters' parents in Marmalade Boy are impulsive and flighty, but clearly try to be supportive of their children when they are around at all. When both pairs divorce and remarry each other's former spouses, the whole group moves in together to form a single household so that the children don't need to be separated from their parents. However, they leave the two teens alone as they go off on vacations, they repeatedly dismiss Miki's concerns as "taking life too seriously," and never try to determine the cause of Yuu's emotional detachment. The four parents are so in sync with each other that some fans refer to them as "the hive mind."
Meanwhile, Satoshi is the only other character who has a parent appear, and he's a rich playboy who allowed his dead wife to think he was having an affair to cover the fact that he was having an affair with someone else (although is otherwise a nice guy, from what we've seen); Meiko can't stand her home, as her parents are incredibly hateful towards each other, both having affairs and emotionally distant (and the mother is apparently an alcoholic); Kei is estranged from his family due to the enormous pressure put on him as a musical prodigy, although he's implied to have patched things up in the end; Cousins Ginta Suou and Tsutomu Rokutanda are rivals because their family constantly compared them to each other growing up (and this throwaway line is the only mention they ever get!); Arimi and Suzu's families are never mentioned at all, beyond the fact that Suzu is Satoshi's cousin and, in the anime, her father gets Yuu his scholarship for an American school. In the anime we have Anju Kitahara, who apparently has a rather normal family life with parents who overprotect her a bit since she has a serious illness.
In Pokémon, Ash's father seems to be alive but not around, for some vague, non-traumatic reason. As well, it seems that not only is it socially acceptable, but a cultural expectation that if a child wishes to be a Pokemon trainer, he/she has to leave their house at least at the age of ten and travel the world looking for Pokemon completely alone (unless they find unrelated traveling partners). This is mitigated somewhat by the general helpfulness of the Pokemon world's residents, and the fact that a Pokemon trainer is The Kid with the Remote Control of what is potentially an incredibly powerful weapon.
Subverted, however, with May, the daughter of Caroline and Norman. This is probably intentional since it's the only normal family in the series, and since this is also true of the main character in the Ruby and Sapphire games, on which May is based. If you want emotional issues, Brock seems to be repressing his annoyance at the fact that both his parents ditched him at some point, leaving him to look after the Gym and his nine siblings until Ash turned up.
In the tenth episode, Brock's father comes back, having left home to become a trainer, failed at it, and been too ashamed to show his face around his children anymore, instead opting to disguise himself with a beard and adopt an alias.
Alternatively in Pokémon Special, Red is the only Dex Holder without any mentioned relatives, which leaves the question as to who is managing his house when he's away or who is even supporting him. To make things worse, in the FRLG arc, when he notes how frantic Blue and Green have become due to their kidnapped family members, he muses that he's not freaking out because he doesn't have any family in danger. The wording is vague enough that we don't know if he means that his family's in danger or if he doesn't have any family to begin with.
Yellow's only mentioned family is an uncle that is in the plot from time to time, but he doesn't live near her and doesn't seem to keep in touch with her enough to be considered a "parental figure". (He doesn't recognize her Pikachu in GSC, when she's clearly had it long enough to be pretty close to it.) Her parents are never mentioned, either, and she seems to live by herself, despite being 14 (at the time) and not out on a trainer journey.
Also in the same manga, Koga and Hayate are disappeared dads for Janine and Falkner, and there's no mention of their mothers.
Subverted in the episode Having a Wailord of a Time! When the new trainer picks Mudkip as her starter, her father, feeling sorry for the Treeko left behind, decides to become a trainer alongside his daughter, taking Treeko as his starter.
In Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl Adventure, Hareta's father dumped him at Rowan's lab when he was an infant. Hareta's father, like Hareta himself, is kind of an idiot. Rowan however is supposed to be a genius—a genius who decides that Hareta is better off growing up in the forest. So the kid gets let loose in the woods till he's ten, being dumped off by both his father and his father figure. Oh yeah, and no mother is ever mentioned.
Also from DPA, Mitsumi was an orphan, and she was raised by Cyrus, the Big Bad.
Meowth of Team Rocket was abandoned as a kitten and had to join a gang for food.
Exception: Lan from the Mega Man Battle Network games and anime interacts with both of his parents. His father is a scientist who becomes vital to the series' plotlines, and his mother is a type of moral support when Lan finds that he and Mega Man need to save the world.
Subversion: In Jubei-chan, main character Jiyu's mother is dead true to form, but this has made her extremely close to her Bumbling Dad, who is aware she's a (very strange variant of the) Magical Girl. Their relationship is more important to the series than the plots of the various villains, except where the relationship and the plots intersect.
In Samurai Champloo, Fuu's mother died when she was still a little girl. As for her father, he's the "samurai who smells of sunflowers" Fuu is chasing for most of the series, having run out on her and her mother early in Fuu's life. In his defense, he was fleeing death for being a Christian in the then-still isolated Japan; had he not left, the whole family would've been slaughtered.
In Mai-HiME, the parents of the three main characters (Tokiha Mai, Kuga Natsuki and Minagi Mikoto) are dead; in addition, Yuuki Nao's mother is comatose in an hospital (with the rest of her family killed).
Natsuki's Disappeared Dad is actually still alive, but he's implied to have hooked up with another women while Natsuki was in hospital recovering from the accident that killed her mother (supplementary materials suggest her parents weren't on good terms). Combine that with First District's links to her mother's death, and is it any wonder that Natsuki has issues trusting other people?
In Love Hina, most of the Hinata Apartments residents are either estranged from, or just don't seem to have, parents. Motoko and Kaolla are orphans. Sarah is living with Seta, despite apparently having parents overseas (in the anime, where it is inexplicably implied they are abusive; in the manga, though, her parents are deceased college friends of Seta and Haruka). Shinobu lives at Hinata-sou as a result of her parents divorcing and moving away. (Her parents have several appearances, and became part of the plot for some episodes.) Naru lives away from home because she feels she doesn't fit in after her mother remarries. Keitaro has parents, who are mentioned but never seen, although their voices are heard in the first episode and he talks to them by phone occasionally. (In the manga version, though, Keitaro's parents are alive and well; they run a bakery, and Keitaro frequently fights with them over his decision to attend college instead of taking the family business.) Parents aren't mentioned for Kitsune (who is Naru's contemporary) or Haruka (who is Seta's contemporary, and thus more than old enough to be independent).
Soukou No Strain has an explanation too: the elite are chosen to be Reasoners before birth, and only one character has been shown to have a family member that wasn't a Reasoner, so they all must be either dead or fighting in the war. Sara's parents did, in fact, die when she was a small child.
All the Kanon main characters, save Nayuki (who has a mother, Akiko) and Mai (whose mother is important to her plot, but only appears a few times). Shiori and Yuuichi are said to have parents, but they're never on screen and Yuuichi doesn't live with his. Ayu's mother is dead, and she can't reach her father and stepmother; even in the end, we don't see them. Makoto has Laser-Guided Amnesia and can't find her parents, but it's theorized that we do see one of them as one of Makoto's Mysterious Watchers. If you watched the show, you'll know what I mean.
In the anime Strawberry Marshmallow, the girls' parents appear rarely, if at all. Indeed, it is several episodes in before Nobue and Chika's are even mentioned, the first proof they even exist. Only Ana's are mentioned regularly, and her mother is the only parent whose face is ever seen.
Nobue and Chika's mother appears briefly in the manga during a flashback in which she takes her daughters out on a trip.
The anime and especially the manga version of Kare Kano both subverts and uses this trope. Of the two main characters of the Official Couple, Yukino is shown to have a much healthier family life than her beau Soichiro. In both cases the parents are present, but Soichiro's "parents" are actually his foster parents who are biologically his uncle and aunt. Soichiro's reunion with his biological parents set the stage for the emotional climax of the manga. Tsubasa and Kazuma both have only one surviving parent who marry each other just as Tsubasa and Kazuma themselves get hitched. Other characters have very little mention of family except for Rika's brother. One of them is actually on highly antagonistic terms with his father. And finally, Yukino's dad is an orphan, himself, and that caused some friction with his wife's family before they got married.
In One Piece, Usopp is the only Straw Hat who was actually raised by his biological parents, and his father had left his family. When it comes to other main characters, their parents abandoned them, are dead or the world's most wanted criminals or, puzzlingly, never mentioned. Here's the rundown for the curious:
Luffy: Father's a revolutionary and apparently left Luffy in his grandfather Garp's care who trained him and his (adoptive) brother Ace before leaving them in the care of mountain bandits. Mother never seen as of yet.
Zoro: No mention of parents at all. Closest father figure he had is his dojo master, with Kuina acting like a Cool Big Sis (before her fatal accident anyway).
Sanji: The first time we see him he's working on a boat, and no mention of other relatives other than his father figure Zeff.
Usopp: (Example above)
Nami: Orphaned, twice over. First time, her original village was destroyed by a pirate attack where she was adopted by Bellemere (along with her adoptive older sister, Nojiko, who actually rescued baby Nami from the ruins and carried her around in her arms until they met up with Bellemere). Second, when Arlong invades Cocoyashi and kills Bellmere in front of Nami's eyes. Genzo, the town's sheriff, sorta act like a father figure though.
Chopper: The most literal of the trope as he was ostracized, then kicked out, by his herd. His second father figure does this too but only out of concern for him before he later blows himself up.
Robin: Father died and never shown, mother Olvia left her with her brother who had a very uncaring and abusive wife. Olvia returns to meet her, only to be killed in the Buster Call raid.
Franky: Thrown overboard by his parents and somewhat adopted by Tom, who gets hauled away thanks to Spandam's actions.
Brook: Like Zoro, his parents aren't mentioned - he is well into adulthood when his past is shown. And anyway, since Brook is over 80 years old, it can be safely assumed that his parents are dead.
Ace: His mother Portgas D. Rouge died when he was born, after holding him inside her womb for twenty months to make sure he'd be safe from his father's enemies. Said father? None other than the Pirate King Gold Roger, who was dead by the time Ace was born, anyway and means "his enemies" referred to basically the entire world.
Omamori Himari: There is only one parent actually seen in the manga yet (Rinko's mother), and Kuesu was seen talking to her mother on the phone. Yuuto and Shizuku have dead parents, Himari only once talks about her ancestors in general (Mother is dead, does not know who her father is).
Subverted in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED. In the first episode, we see nothing of the main younger cast's parents, and when they're taken aboard the Archangel, they seem to slip into the usual unusually independent kids role. However, upon arriving at Orb, Captain Ramius informs them that their parents, who were apparently evacuated from Heliopolis separately, are waiting for them, allowing them to visit for a short time. Similarly, the equally young ZAFT pilots all seem to have visible parents when they return to PLANT on leave.
However, the trope is also played straight with Flay (mother died before the series begins, father horribly killed in an enemy fleet action which caused Flay to go insane and manipulate Kira, as revenge for not saving her dad when he needed it), Athrun (mother died in the Bloody Valentine Incident, father killed in the last episode of the series and emotionally disconnected long before then), and Cagalli (never knew her and Kira's real parents, her adoptive mother has died before the series began, and her father's killed in a Heroic Sacrifice midway through the series to get his daughter into space where she'll be safe).
And then there's Mu La Flaga, whose father Al Da Flaga was so dissatisfied with his son (apparently for being an actual child instead of a perfect vehicle for his father's ego) that he effectively disowned Mu, locked him away in a Big Fancy House and had himself cloned instead. Then, he and his wife died in a fire several years later while Mu was still a young boy. The ultimate result of Al Da Flaga's lousy parenting was that Mu became an overachieving heroic Ace Pilot and the clone, Rau Le Creuset, became an Omnicidal ManiacNietzsche Wannabe. Way to go, Dad!
The sequel series, Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny plays this straight. Shinn's parents are messily killed at the beginning of the series, Lunamaria and Meyrin's parents aren't accounted for, Meer is slightly implied to be a war orphan, and Rey is a clone, and therefore does not have natural parents and Dullindal acts as his Parental Substitute.
Demashita! Powerpuff Girls Z appears to use this trope at first, as the only parents (other than Utonium, who is not the girls' father, contrary to the original American continuity) that show up for quite some time are Princess' and the Gangreen Gang's. Eventually, some of the girls' parents show up in the final episode of season 1 (the Christmas episode).
Nearly everyone in Sola, though at least important characters tend to have an excuse. Like being immortal, or The Hunter, or the Tomato in the Mirror.
Most of the characters from the anime Elfen Lied have suffered extreme parental abandonment (or at least the psychological effects of it) similar to those of Neon Genesis Evangelion. The results, needless to say, aren't pretty.
Yuka never seems to have a father, nor is he even mentioned. Her mother shows up near series end in the manga, and really only seems there to question the wisdom of keeping Nana. Kouta's mother is also never brought up, and the loss of his other family members drives the series. Nana never knows her true parents, and is heartsick when she learns Kurarama is not her real father. He is Mariko's. Mayu loses her father early on, and it is indicated they may have been close. Her mother was always distant, and turned outright hostile when she learned that her new husband was sexually abusing Mayu. In an act of coldness that has to place her in the bottom 30 animanga abusive parents, she is jealous of her daughter—who is being raped—for the attention she is getting, and later she signs away custody to Kouta and Yuka without blinking. Lucy, it turns out * end-series warning* was * not* abandoned by her mother. Lucy/Nyu/Kaede's mom was also a diclonius - and then she was used and murdered in the racial eugenics schemes of Kakuzawa. He left Lucy homeless so that she would grow away from Humans. Sadly, it worked.
In Ai Yori Aoshi, Kaoru's parents both died when he was young, leaving him stuck with his abusive grandfather. He moves out as early as he can; that breaks off his arranged marriage to Aoi, his childhood friend, setting the events of the show in motion.
Tina, Aoi and Mayu all have both their parents. Tina's are in the US and Aoi's live at their family estate. Mayu's are constantly traveling, leaving her essentially alone in their Big Fancy House, aside from maids and her driver/guardian Saionji. Taeko's father died early in her life, and the general vibe is that her mother died prior to the start of the series.
All three of Fate/stay night's key human characters have parent issues. Shirou is an orphan, and the man who adopted him is also dead. Rin is living alone, her father having died in the previous Grail War; the man who's been her guardian since then is in fact the Big Bad, and her father's killer. Worst off by far is Sakura: her parents gave her to a foster family years ago, and she's been suffering horrific abuse at their hands ever since.
Inverted in the prequel, Fate/Zero — Kiritsugu (Shirou's adoptive father, and protagonist) left Illya, his daughter, knowing that he can't be reunited with her, which is the reason for her strange relationship with Shirou in Fate/stay night.
It's also applicable to Tsukihime. Shiki's biological parents are dead. His foster father died before the start of the story and is the plot catalyst. Only passing mention of the mother, it's assumed she died. Arihiko has no family left except his sister. Ciel's parents are dead because she killed them. Hisui and Kohaku don't even know their surnames let alone their parents. Most of the rest of the cast aren't people who actually would have families of any sort. An exception is made for Satsuki, who apparently has a healthy home life. Maybe that's why her route was removed?
Death Note: Misa, Near, and Mello are all orphans, and it's implied that L is too. (One of the reasons why Misa is so devoted to Light is because the murderers of her parents were among his first victims.) The psychotic mass murderer gets a normal family, though, helping to emphasize how far he eventually falls.
Dragon Ball begins shortly after Goku accidentally kills his adoptive grandfather, the only family he's ever known. Much later, he finds out just how orphaned he is: not only are his parents dead (mother was never mentioned, father attempted a Heroic Sacrifice to save his planet and was killed), he's an alien from a planet which has been destroyed. Only a few of his race are left, and they're all utter bastards — he has to kill most of them himself.
As for everybody else, Bulma is the only character from the original Dragon Ball with both parents, and they're kind of 'out there,' although her father sneaked into the Competence Zone once. For those introduced in Dragon Ball Z: Vegeta is an orphan, his mother never mentioned and his father killed when Planet Vegeta was destroyed; the artificial humans killed their creator as they woke up; and there's some distance between Videl and Mr. Satan, but they obviously love each other and Mr. Satan dotes on Pan. Trunks originally seemed like he would end up following the trope (raised by his mother after Vegeta's death at the hand of the androids, and is somewhat emotionally distanced from Vegeta himself once they met), but thanks to some time-traveling, he's nearly thirty and still living at homenote Of course in this case "still living at home" means taking over the family business, the world's largest corporation, which his family owns a controlling interest in..
Honoka Yukishiro in the original Futari wa Pretty Cure lived with her grandmother and her parents were art dealers who came home for her birthday. Honoka doesn't seem to have suffered much as a result of this... actually, it looks like a little of Honoka's parents goes a long way.
Yes! Pretty Cure 5 has a couple of these. Urara's mother died when she was very young. This is fairly significant in one episode, which had Urara acting mysterious while carrying around and reading a book that belonged to her mother. Karen has two living parents, but they're a pair of musical performers, consistently making it home for Christmas but otherwise perpetually on tour. (She does have a butler who takes care of her, which is good because this has been the situation since she was little.) This led to some emotional problems down the road. We've never seen Rin's father or either of Komachi's parents. Rin's father, at least, is mentioned in dialog as being around, just never seen. Komachi's parents are busy running the stores that her family owns.
HeartCatch Pretty Cure! has this in spades. Tsubomi's parents were always off on business trips since she was young and she hid away her loneliness with a smile. It wasn't until one year she finally broke down in front of everyone, leading to her parents quitting their job and moving to another town to start anew. Itsuki is shown to be living with her mom, grandfather and (at one point) sickly older brother, but no sign of her father. And Yuri's dad had been missing for three years when he went to search for the Great Heart Tree then came back and became one of the series' Big Bad who works for the Bigger Bad.
The otherwise-lighthearted Potemayo uses this trope with Sunao. His father is constantly abroad on research, and his mother died prior to the beginning of the series.
SHUFFLE!! has its share of parentis absentis: Rin's parents (dead), Kaede's mom (dead) and dad (out on business), Asa's dad (unknown, presumed dead), Sia's mom (back in the God world) and Nerine's mom (back in the Demon world).
Every major character in Saiyuki. In sum: Sanzo's and Hazel's foster fathers are dead; Goku was conceived from the gathered energy of the earth and was born from a rock, so he therefore had no real parents, but his foster/adopted father, and Sanzo's past life Konzen was crushed to death between the doors connecting heaven and earth trying to save young Goku, and his body was dissolved from the massive amounts of spiritual energy created by them Hakkai grew up in an orphanage; Gojyo's stepmother (Dokugakuji's birth mother) was killed by Dokugakuji to keep her from killing Gojyo himself and his father and birth mother committed suicide so that they would not be forced apart by villagers that were angry about their mixed race relationship; Kougaiji reveres his trapped, frozen mother, but refers to his and Lirin's father by his name; Lirin is well aware that her mother has no use for her beyond resurrecting her father, and wonders if Kougaiji's mother will love her instead; Kami-sama was raised by Ukoku Sanzo, otherwise known as Nii Jenyi and is well aware he was nothing to him but a toy; and Homura was abandoned due to the manner of his birth and grew up in a prison cell. Whew!
There is a straight example in Teana Lanster though, who lost both parents, and later, her older brother and guardian at a relatively young age. One of the strengths she saw in her partner Subaru was that she had a loving family to support her, despite the death of her mother at some point.
But how about before the Wolkenritters? There's no mentioning, and given Hayate was then a wheelchair-using Ill Girl, it is expected some body to look after her...?
Hayate flat-out says she was alone before the Wolkenritters came. Didn't the doctors or someone have something to say about a crippled child being left all on her own?
Outlaw Star has a lot of flashbacks of when Gene's father was killed, but makes no mention of his mother. Jim's parents are never mentioned (except for an intro that said his father was a hacker) so it is assumed that he is an orphan who some how came to live with Gene.
Pita-Ten: Kotarou lost his mother in a traffic accident, and his father often works until late hours.
ef - a tale of memories: Miyako's case fits the trope in a distressing manner, as she truly was abandoned by her parents. But there are more examples: Hiro is living on his own despite still being in high school, because of a row he had with his father due to his choice to become a mangaka. Kei and Chihiro's parents are never seen and the one character who has a mother figure, Renji, seems to be lacking a father that is never mentioned, but from a certain character's constant flirting with Renji's mom, it can be assumed that the father is either non-existant, or deceased.
Both Lavi and Claus in Last Exile are orphans, forcing them to spend most of their childhood learning how to fly their fathers' vanship.
Night Head Genesis is an instance in which the trope is strictly followed up to a certain point, Naoto and Naoya are abandoned by their parents because they fear the siblings' destructive powers. As a result the brothers spend 15 years in a research facility, eventually escaping only to find out that their parents have blanked out certain memories and are convinced that the two have perished as children while trying to same a little girl from drowning.
In Tantei Gakuen Q, Kyuu lost his father at an early age and lives only with his mother. His father, Satoru, was a detective and had to live his life practically undercover until his death. Megu's parents are in good terms with her, but they both work abroad and she lives with her older sister Akane. Kazuma lives with his parents in a huge mansion, but they're never seen onscreen. Kinta's father is a high-ranked police officer with whom he has a rather strained relationship until the end of the anime. Ryu is an orphan who lives with his tutor, Yurie, and calls her "mother" in front of others per orders of his evil grandfather, the villainous King Hades from the Meiousei organization
Miaka Yuuki's parents had a REALLY nasty divorce when she was little and she lives with her over-exigent mother and her college-aged brother Keisuke. In the manga, her mother re-marries later.
Yui Hongou's parents are only shown once; in their only appearance, they seemingly are rather normal people. In the anime, her father is never even shown; we only see her mother when she asks Miaka if Yui had taken a detour to her home, which is the first clue about her being swallowed into the Shi Jin Ten Chi Sho.
Parental Abandonment (more exactly, her parents are going through a really bad divorce) is supposed to be Mayo Sakaki's Freudian Excuse. Unfortunately, it comes off as Wangst, and Mayo is such a Jerk Ass that people don't give a shit in the end.
Several Most of the Seishi are orphans or abandoned. Here are some plot-driving examples:
Tamahome's mother is dead and his loving father is crippled by an illness, killed halfway through the series by Suboshi.
Hotohori's mother was an iron-fisted Fold Digger in the court and died a few years after he was appointed as the heir to the throne.
Soi's parents sold her to a brothel since they couldn't keep her.
Amiboshi and Suboshi's parents died in the war, apparently in front of the twins.
Nakago's mother was raped and murdered in front of him when he was a child. In his character novel, he kills the former general of the Kutou army, who is his Disappeared Dad... this happened after a Luke, I Am Your Father moment.
In Fushigi Yuugi Genbu Kaiden Takiko's Ill Girl mother dies of Tuberculosis in the FIRST Chapter, and her father is never around because he was researching the Shi Jin Ten Chi Sho to find a way to save his wife, and he never wanted a daughter to begin with.
The two sisters in Binbou Shimai Monogatari have a deceased mother and a father who ran off to hide from a big gambling bet.
It is surprising that no one has seen fit to mention Integra Hellsing here. Her mother was out of the picture in early childhood, her father died when she was twelve, she shot her own uncle dead shortly after (mainly because he was trying to kill her), and the rest of her formative years were spent under the... idiosyncratic... guidance of the family Battle Butler and the vampiric (un)living weapon she inherited.
Seras Victoria was orphaned at an early age. She witnessed her father being killed by the gang he infiltrated (the father was a policeman), and her mother died trying to confront them, as well as witnessing the gang members raping the corpse of her mother. Seras herself attacked them with a fork, only to be shot and left for dead.
They are not alone. Walter is already a field agent for the Hellsing organization at the age of fourteen (per the prequel series The Dawn), with no mention of parents. Maxwell was abruptly abandoned when he was young for being the illegitimate son of a man's mistress. Pip Bernadotte is implied to have lived with his grandfather, who instilled the mercenary mindset in him. Alucard, as the semi-immortal Vlad III, has the historically nasty death of his father by the Turkish variation of scalping. And these are just the characters for which we know about their parents.
Used several times in Fruits Basket, though not as often as might be expected. Many juunishi still have both parents (Hatsuharu, Hiro, Kagura, and Ritsu) or are independent adults whose parents are only briefly, if at all, mentioned (Shigure, Kureno, and Hatori). Kisa's father is simply never mentioned. Outside this group, Saki has a full family, who actually show up in-panel. In the more extreme cases...
Tohru's father Kazuya died of illness when she was young, and her mother Kyoko in a car accident some months before the series begins. Her grandfather is very loving, but the rest of her family is quite bitchy.
Yuki is estranged from his parents, who essentially sold him as Akito's playmate (or plaything). Ayame is implied to be similarly estranged for quite a while, only * starting* to patch things up when Ayame appears. Apparently, Yuki's mother is just starting to soften up to him later.
Kyo's mentally unstable mother committed suicide when he was young, and his father was so badly traumatized that he still blames Kyo for it. Partially mitigated, as Kyo's uncle Kazuma has become, in essentially all respects, his adoptive father.
After years of pretending to care for her, Rin's parents beat up and rejected her; she lives with Kagura's family and later with Kazuma as a result. Similarly, Momiji was rejected by his mother after birth (he turned into a rabbit right after being born, and she asked to have her memories of him erased since she couldn't bear that) and lives alone; his father still supports him economically, though, and seems to start accepting Momiji some more later when his sister Momo is born.
Arisa's mother left her father for another man, and her father became an alcoholic (with her supporting him instead).
In Kaze no Stigma, Kazuma gets abandoned by his parents after losing a match with his cousin. At least he gets a gold card from his mom, but he bends it to prevent himself from relying on them.
The Prince of Tennis is a rather curious case. With the exception of Ryoma's relatives (parents, cute female cousin, pet cat), Ryuzaki-sensei's relationship with her granddaughter Sakuno (whose parents aren't even * mentioned* ), Akutsu and his beautiful Absurdly Youthful Mother (what happened to the father, nobody knows), Kawamura and his father the genki sushi chef, and/or the siblings who are into tennis as well (Yuuta and Shusuke Fuji, Kippei and An Tachibana, Senri and Miyuki Chitose, Narumi and Kurumi Ijyuin), the players' families are usually ignored, or only their voices are heard in the background. If they do show up, it's generally in small manga chapters (Tezuka's parents and grandfather, Fuji's mother) or tennis-related cameos (Yumiko Fuji, Kaidoh's parents and younger brother). And in the case of the Americans, they're not exactly the best role models either (Kevin's father is an alcoholic who raised him as a tennis Tykebomb, the Griffy twins' aunt and caretaker was abusive and sold them out to their mentor)
In Kimagure Orange Road, Kyosuke and his sisters have a Missing Mom who died few after the girls were born, though she's still revered by the whole family. Hikaru lives with her parents, but they're never shown onscreen. Madoka is the biggest example: she gets along well with her parents, yet they're very famous musicians who practically live on tour so she lives with her older sister, and when said sister gets married and moves abroads with her husband, Madoka prefers to live alone at home.
In Detective Conan, Shinichi's parents (a famous writer and a brilliant actress) do care for him, but they are always on tour and, since Shinichi doesn't want to go with them, he lives alone (though in active contact) until he physically reverts into a child via Odd Poison and goes to live with his girlfriend Ran. Ran herself lives only with her Bumbling Dad since her parents are separated on bad terms (she's still in more or less contact with her mom as well). Sonoko avoids it since her parents and older sister are more or less around and manage to be both rich and nice people.
Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Out of the dozen-odd main characters, only Relena has both parents alive and well, though a few episodes into the series her father is killed, at which point she learns that she's adopted and her real parents are dead too. Her adoptive mother Mrs. Darlian, on the other hand, never appears after the scene in which they comfort one another over Mr. Darlian's death.
On the other hand, the characters who lose family have it as a source of motivation or Character Development, including Relena as well as Quatre (father, sister), Wufei (entire colony), Zechs (Relena's brother), and Dorothy (father and grandfather). Everyone else either got over their parents' deaths, or were too young to remember them.
Most of the recurring characters in Get Backers are over the age of eighteen, but there are several teenagers with varying levels of parental absences. Most of the overage characters had dead or missing parents as well, but there are some semi-healthy adoptive relationships. Also some inversion, since Juubei and Sakura abandoned their family in order to follow Kazuki, and Toshiki is implied to have run away from home after defeating his half-brother. There are flashback scenes that show that Ban specifically was abandoned for his abilities and handed off to his grandmother, who has the same powers..
Train from Black Cat had his parents murdered, and then he was temporarily taken care of by their murderer, albeit not by choice. After he dies, he's picked up by Carl, a Chronos member.
Several other characters show this, but they're mostly Apostles of the Stars.
Natsu was raised by a dragon after being abandoned/separated from his parents in a forest.
His rival, Grey had his entire village destroyed by a demon. Then Gray's mentor (who was practically a substitute mother to him) sacrifised her life to seal that same demon when he was still a child.
D.Gray-Man: Allen was abandoned by his biological parents due to his left hand, and then raised by Mana Walker, who died sometime before the beginning of the series. He's then taken under General Cross's wing, but it's hard to say if there is anything resembling a father figure in him. Lenalee and Komui's parents are killed by Akuma when Lenalee is young, leading to the discovery of her being compatable with the Dark Boots, and Komui has to join the Order to stay with her.
Also, neither Miranda nor Krory's parents are ever seen or mentioned, although Krory's grandfather is. However his relationship with his grandson appears to be more of one that Krory is simply a part of his collection.
Timothy's father was a notorious thief, who went to jail. His mother is never mentioned.
Gungrave: Brandon (the protagonist) spent his childhood in an orphanage along with his friend, Harry and it's never said how they lost their parents. When Mika Asagi comes into the picture after the timeskip, not only was her father murdered by Harry before she was even born, she witnessed agents of Millenion murder her mother (Maria) before her very eyes (although their main target was Mika herself) as the family butler (who also dies along the way) was ordered to help bring Mika to the one person who can protect her—Brandon. Mika gets thrown for quite a loop, however, when she discovers that Brandon isn't really "himself" anymore—he's the lonely, undead killer called "Beyond the Grave".
Tokyo Mew Mew has lots of this. Out of the five main girls, only Ichigo (and in the anime, also Retasu) is shown to have a normal family. Minto's parents are too busy to look after her, so she is watched over by her grandmother. Bu-ling has to take care of her five younger siblings because her mother is dead and her father is away — and she's only nine at the end of the series. Zakuro has no known relatives and apparently lives alone; she's fifteen at the end. Finally, there's Teen Genius Ryou, whose parents were killed in the backstory, and whose only family appears to be his partner Keiichiro.
The aliens themselves also bear mentioning, as none of them seem to have parents to speak of, save for Quiche, who's seen holding the hand of what might've been a parental figure in the anime. Nothing in the way of relatives is mentioned for Pai or Taruto, who's about Bu-ling's age and yet somehow allowed to go off secure a planet for his people...
In the Pretty Sammy series, Misao's father hasn't been home in years while her mother is always working and frequently leaves her home alone, only putting forth enough effort to have a meal provided.
Saya and Divaâ€™s biological mother died long before they were born (they hatched out of cocoons found in her mummified corpse) and no information is given on their father, though itâ€™s probably safe to assume either Nathan is their father or heâ€™s dead. They were adopted by the first Joel who locked Diva in a tower and experimented on her while treating Saya like a princess. When Diva got out she killed him. Finally, Saya was adopted by Kai and Riku's stepfather George Miyagusuku in 2004, only to be forced to kill him as he was turning into a chiropteran.
Kai and Riku were both orphaned and adopted by George, but then lost him for above reason.
James and Karl both saw Diva as their mother, but she never gave Karl the love and attention he craved and she rejected James after he had Schiff parts put on him.
Hajiâ€™s parents sold him to Joel and Amshel for a loaf of bread when he was twelve.
Maoâ€™s father is the leader of a Yakuza crime family, so presumably doesnâ€™t have much time for her. He does send his goons after her when she tries to leave with Okamura, but thatâ€™s likely because she stole money from him. Once they get out of Japan he doesnâ€™t seem to make any attempt to find her despite the fact that sheâ€™s traveling the world with a man about twice her age.
Kenshin's parents died of cholera along with his entire village. Later he was sold out as a slave, but the caravan was slaughtered by bandits with him as the only survivor. The closest to a father figure he has is his mentor, Seijuuro Hiko.
Kaoru's parents have passed away by the time the series starts, leaving her as Heir to the Dojo. Her neighbor, Dr. Genzai, is a sort-of father figure for her in the anime. In the manga, she's picked up another stray, an old man named Kihei, who cooks and cleans for her, but is actually out to steal her dojo.
Sanosuke and his friend Katsu were the Tagalong Kids for the rebellious Sekihoutai, but except for these two, they were all slaughtered. In the manga, we learn that Sano actually ran away from home after his mother's death, but his dad (who's just like his son), sister and brother are alive and well.
Yahiko's dad died in the war when he was a baby, his mother was an Ill Girl who had to support herself and Yahiko until she passed away and he was adopted by gangsters who used him as a pickpocketer.
Also in the war, a teenaged Megumi was separated from her family in Aizu and she doesn't even know if they're alive or not. It's hinted that they're all dead, though.
Aoshi and Misao are orphans raised into the Oniwabanshuu by Okina.
In the anime, Yuutarou is an orphan too, only his parents were rich so he lives in a Big Fancy House. Raijuuta used his need of a father figure to lure the kid into his evil plans. In the manga, his father is alive, well, and very rich.
In the anime, Shougo and Magdaria's parents were slaughtered in front of them (the father was stabbed to death, the mother was shot) for being Christians. They escape thanks to their maternal uncle, later have to raise themselves.
In both OAV and manga, Tomoe and Enishi's mother died when he was born so she became his surrogate mom. In the manga, their father Oibore is alive and well, and later he plays a key role in the Jinchuu arc.
Kaikan Phrase plays around with how messy this actually is:
Sakuya's father abandons his mother prior to his birth, and his mother subsequently drinks herself to death. Sakuya shows the effects of this and has to deal with meeting his remaining family ( specially, his evil half-brother Ralph) as an adult.
Yuki is disinherited for choosing the band above his family duty, but the family still obviously love each other and turn to each other in times of difficulty.
Atsuro is kicked out of the house for similarly choosing the band over more sensible options, but after some loud arguments and intervention by his adoptive sister Yuuka (sister. In conclusion, sister) he returns home.
Towa is mysteriously estranged, but he reacts strongly to the others not trying to maintain relationships with their parents.
Aine's parents are preoccupied with their own relationship difficulties to the point of being criminally negligent, but they do occasionally feel the need to provide appropriate parental censure.
Santa's situation is the only one that plays the trope perfectly straight — his parents never appear, and are never mentioned.
Kamina's mom died and dad left when he was a child (and he finds his skeleton a couple episodes in).
Simon's parents died in an earthquake.
Rossiu's mother is dead, and he can't even refer to his father as such due to his position as the religious leader of his village.
Yoko's parents are dead.
Gimmy and Darry's parents are... you guessed it.
... You know what... I'm pretty sure that, pre-time skip, everyone's parents are dead.
Well, not Nia; her father is Lordgenome. No mention of her mother. If she even had one, that is.
She picks up Parental Abandonmentduring the series, when she's stuck in a box and thrown out like garbage.
Features pretty heavily in Princess Tutu in the backstory of two characters:
Fakir's parents died when he was a young child because of an accident involving his powers, and his foster father is caring, but became distant from Fakir as he grew older. Once his backstory is fully revealed, it explains a lot about his overprotective nature.
Rue's mother is never mentioned and her father the Raven is emotionally abusive. Although it turns out the Raven simply kidnapped her as a child, and her parents had been distraught when she was taken away from the crows.
Rosette and Joshua's parents died when a ship they were on sunk. The two were sent to live in an orphanage, but Joshua went insane when Aion gave him Chrono's horns, and Joshua froze their caretaker and the other orphans in time.
Satella's parents were killed by a demon missing his horns, and was raised by her butler afterwards. In the anime her butler is then killed by the same demon.
Azmaria's parents are implied to have died because of her powers. She was adopted into a troupe of traveling musicians, but a villain seeking to use her powers adopted her from them... and later killed them to cover his tracks. Then the villain was killed by the demon he had a contract with.
Demons have a society set up something like bees, in the sense that they have a queen from which they're all born from — so technically, none of them have parents (or even completely understand the concept). However, it still plays into the backstory of Chrono and Aion — their mother was a human young woman, pregnant with twins, who was kidnapped by the demons and forcibly turned into their Hive Queen, Pandemonium. When Aion discovers this, it causes the Freak Out that turns him into the Big Bad.
In Suzumiya Haruhi, Haruhi and Kyon seem to have parents (who are never seen on-screen) but Kyon is quite perplexed when he meets up with Yuki at her apartment and she's living there alone. Later on, after Ryōko disappears, Haruhi suspects something is up when she discovers that Ryōko's apartment manager never saw her parents — because she also lived alone, in the same building as Yuki.
Well, this makes sense once you realize that Yuki and Ryoko are alien robots made to observe Haruhi.
Ayase from Okane Ga Nai is an orphan whose parents have died when he was still a child and he is living alone when the action begins. This does not last long, though, as he quickly spirited away by Kanou with whom he is forced to live and have sex in order to pay an exorbitant debt. In the manga version, Ayase is shown to treasure every memento that reminds him of his parents, even going to the extent of disobeying über manipulative and forceful Kanou to rescue pictures of them from his former apartment that is about to be sold.
Mobile Suit Gundam has a great example of non-dead parental abandonment. Amuro Rei's father Tem Rei is very much alive during the majority of the series (and might technically still be alive afterward), but he is a man obsessed with his work, and cares little about either his wife or son. By the time Amuro sees him again later in the series, he has gone quite mad after an accident. As for Amuro's mom, Kamaria, she lives on Earth, and is also likely still alive after series end for at least a while, but the two of them are especially estranged due to her extremely strict pacifistic principles (she called her own son a monster for killing a Zeon soldier in self-defense). The novelization also implies that the real reason she didn't leave Earth with her husband was because she was having an affair.
Actually, a scene in the Gundam movies specifically states that Tem died through Death by Falling Over in Side 6, having plummeted down the stairs of his home during Amuro's battle.
Setsuna F. Seiei killed his own parents and sister after being brainwashed by Mad Bomber Ali al Saacheez. That explains his attatchment to Marina, who closely resembles his Missing Mom.
Lockon Stratos' parents and little sister Amy were killed in a terrorist suicide bombing, perpetrated by the terrorist group that Setsuna is a part of.
Feldt Grace's parents were killed before the start of the series. They were members of Celestial Being and died when one of the Gundam prototypes went horribly wrong.
Saji Crossroad lives with his sister, Intrepid Reporter Kinue Crossroad, because their parents are dead. Then Kinue is killed by Ali al Saacheez for getting too close to the truth.
Louise Halevy is studying abroads and we only see her mother All of her family perishes later when Nena Trinity fires at the wedding they were attending in Spain. Poor Louise is the only survivor of the incident.
Saotome Alto from Macross Frontier seems to suffer from this, as his mother died of an illness when he was still a kid and he was thrown out of the family by his father after refusing to continue the family tradition of kabuki performance and instead pursuing his dreams of becoming a pilot.
Ranka Lee is one of the few survivors of the 117th Research Fleet. Her parents weren't so lucky.
Michael Blanc's parents were killed when he was young and he was raised by his older sister until she killed herself after being court-martialled for accidentally shooting her commanding officer/former lover in battle.
Sheryl Nome was a homeless girl in the slums of the Galaxy fleet before she was found by Mad Scientist Grace O'Connor and turned into a galaxy-wide pop-idol.
In Saint Seiya all the saints are orphans. In the manga, Mitsumasa Kido is actually the Bronze Saints' father, making the fact that he sent out his numerous sons to get abused and killed while trying to obtain their Cloths all the more horrible. The anime softens this by making them orphan boys picked up from either orphanages and/or the streets randomly, trained for a time in Kido's Big Fancy House and then sent out for their Training from Hell.
In School Rumble, Tenma and Yakumo Tsukamoto live without their parents. No explanation is given and the father is the only parent seen (and then only in flashbacks). Harima Kenji is living with his cousin and we never see his parents (though he does have a younger brother who I would assume lives with them), Oji Karasuma's parents live in America, and we actually get to see Eri Sawachika's parents but they are still away most of the time, leaving her in the care of the family servants.
Lucky Star: Konata's mother died when she was very young, Yutaka lives with her uncle and cousin, and Miyuki's father is never mentioned.
However, the series seems to avert the trope overall. None of the instances cause damage or discomfort to characters or viewers, beyond engendering mild empathy for Konata. Her single-parent relationship with her father is very loving and supportive in both directions (the loli/otaku stuff is played for comedy). The Hiiragi twins, Miyuki and Minami all have delineated, idyllic family lives. Screen time is just too expensive to spend on multiple parental units, because the show isn't about them. Yet Lucky Star focuses far more often on family life than comparable shows like Azumanga Daioh, High School Girls, Hyakko and (despite the age differences), Strawberry Marshmallow, and presents it quite positively.
Deadman Wonderland features Ganta (orphaned in an earthquake); Yo and Minatsuki Takami (mom abandoned Minatsuki during the earthquake; Minatsuki killed her and much later set her dad up to be killed by her brother, probably out of sadistic boredom); and Shiro (no family to speak of other then being childhood friends with Ganta and his mom, and possibly The Director who implants Deadman organs in her and wants her to kill him. She obliges).
Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure has this running the entire length of the series. In Part One, Jonathan Joestar lost his mother when he was an infant in a carriage accident; Dio Brando, meanwhile, also lost his mother as a child, but personally killed his father for being an abusive alcoholic. Part Two has Joseph Joestar, who was raised by his grandmother (his father having been killed by a vampire and his mother, Lisa Lisa, giving him up to keep him from what now looked like the family destiny, requesting Erina tell Joseph both his parents were dead). Jotaro in Part Three actually has both parents, but his father is a famous musician perpetually on tour. In Part Four, Josuke grew without the presence of his father (Joseph), he meets him at the start. Part Five has Giorno Giovanna, his father is Dio note whose head took over Jonathan's body and is estranged from his stepfather and mother. In Part Six, Jolyne had to live with his father's (Jotaro) frequent absency. Most of the series has her trying to save him. As for part Seven, Johnny's father shunned him as he prefered his older brother. Johnny got booted out after a fight with him.
In Berserk, Casca was thrown out of her house at a very young age because her parents couldn't support her, and was taken in by a noble who wanted another servant girl — only it turned out that the scumbag didn't want her for cooking or cleaning, and she was saved by Griffith. Guts, meanwhile, was born from a pregnant woman's hanged corpse and taken in by Shisu, a prostitute who had just had a stillbirth and thus saw baby Guts as a Replacement Goldfish; she later died of the plague. His adoptive father, a mercenary leader... deserved everything Guts eventually did to him.
In Penguin Revolution, Yukari's mother left her and her father when Yukari was young. Early in the first chapter of the series, Yukari's father sends her an email to tell her that his latest business venture has gone bust, he has to "lay low for a while," the lease on their apartment is up that day, and he's canceling both of their cell phone contracts so she won't be able to reach him even if she tries. Yukari is thus left to fend for herself at the age of sixteen.
Sizer, the red-winged angel/Demon King spends most of the time before and part of canon believing that her mother abandoned her when she was little.
Hamel, her brother, has rather a terrible experience when the presence of Pandora is removed from the equation. Let us say that the people of Anthem really should have thought that out better.
The death of Raiel's parents in the massacre at Anthem (really should have thought that out better...) is one of the driving forces for him to increase his skill in magical music and defeat demons. It's worse in the anime, though.
Flute has issues over the fact that her mother, Queen Horn, chose to send her off to some village instead of raising her herself.
Nana Osaki, Shin and Black Stones' fangirl Misato of NANA all have absentee parents to varying degrees.
Ken: His father abandoned him and his mother when he was four, and his mother died several years later. His father Kentaro is alive, but as the leader of Red Impulse he left his family behind to protect them. When Ken finally learns the leader of RI and his father are one and the same, it's too late.
Joe's parents were killed by Galactor agents when he was eight. Young Joe found their corpses in a beach. It's later revealed that they were Galactor agents themselves and trying to defect with the help of Dr. Nambu.
Jun and Jinpei are orphans, not much is known about their situations beforehand. Jun took the infant Jinpei under her wing when she was still a child herself. There is an episode where Jinpei tries to learn about his origins, but the only person who knows for sure lies to protect him and ends up dead.
While Ryu's the only one with a normal family, a lot of fans assume his unseen mother to be dead or divorced from the family. (In Battle of the Planets, oddly enough, Ryu's counterpart Tiny was an orphan like the rest of the team)
This is the central premise of Aishiteruze Baby, when Yuzuyu's mother gets stressed out and abandons her to her relatives and Yuzuyu's cousin Kippei is forced to take care of her.
Yotsuba Koiwai is adopted. All we have about her family before Koiwai adopted her is that she was an "abandoned child", as Jumbo puts it, and that at some point she lived on an island, as far as she remembers herself. Koiwai himself is quiet about how, exactly, he adopted her, saying only that he found her in another country.
The manga Bunny Drop focuses on a young man named Daikichi having to raise a six-year-old girl with this. He wound up with little Rin after her father (Daikichi's grandfather) passed away, there was no mother in sight, and nobody else was willing or able to take her. Daikichi manages to track down Rin's mother, Masako, and decides that the (much younger) woman, while indeed caring about Rin, is in no way mature enough for the job.
Shun Ukiya of Gate Keepers harbors more than a little resentment with his father for dying some years before the start of the series, and in turn his daughter Ayane similarly resents Shun for his heroic sacrifice several years before the opening of the sequel series Gate Keepers 21.
Feiling, Kaoru, Specs ("Megane") and Big Boss all have no visible parents. Reiko appears to live alone except for a governess. Yukino's parents died some eight centuries ago, in the Heian Era.
However, there is an aversion in Ruriko, whose family is intact and frequently visible.
Appears to be subverted by Megumi, whose parents, though never seen, are still around and active in her life — and whom she seems to wish would disappear.
RahXephon has this happen repeatedly to the protagonist. But then, given that his family tree is more of a Klein Bottle it can be hard to tell that this happened, other than one obvious example.
A suprising number of characters from Baccano!! are a victim of this:
Firo Prochainezo's mother succumbed to tuberculosis when he was ten years, and his father died of lung cancer before he was even born. He has effectively been raised by the Camorra since then.
Claire was orphaned and subsequently adopted by Luck's father, making him the Redheaded Stepchild of the Gandor family. After the death of his adoptive father, he ran away to join the circus
Tick Jefferson was sold to the Gandors by his stepfather to pay off loans. His father had passed away years earlier, and his mother also died not too long after marrying his stepfather. His younger brother, Tack, ran away from home shortly after, at which point he had the misfortune to be picked up by Huey Laforet.
Chane's father (the aformentioned Huey) is currently doing time for terrorism.
Elmer was born and raised as a human sacrifice for a religious cult before Huey came across him. This is the sole example of an encounter with Huey being a step up from the previous life predicament.
Huey himself was orphaned after his mother was killed in a witch hunt circa 1700.
Czeslaw was orphaned sometime before 1711, and his legal guardian thereafter was... well, not one of the best. Czeslaw finally snaps and kills him after 200 years of daily torture.
Ennis was "born" into servitude of Szilard Quates before Firo did the world a favor and killed him for good, and has no mother.
In the Baccano! manga, as well as the first Grand Punk Railroad novel, Jacuzzi tearfully tells the Russo henchmen interrogating him that he doesn't have a mother.
A lot of boxers in Hajime No Ippo have missing parents. Ippo's fisherman dad drowned at sea while rescuing others, so he only lives with his loving mother Hiroko. Miyata's mom abandoned him when he was a child. Sendo's parents are both dead (mom died apparently in chilbirth, dad was a firefighter and perished in a huge fire), so he lives with his paternal grandmother. Takamura is from a wealthy family, but his parents disowned him when he was in high school, due to his violent nature. Mashiba was orphaned when he was in highschool and had to raise himself and his little sister Kumi. We never get to know what happened to Volg's father and his mother is an Ill Girl who raised him alone and dies some time in the series, after Volg has to return to Russia; for all matters, Ramuda is the closest to a father figure he has.
Rave Master is no stranger to this trope. Haru and his sister were both left with a friend when their parents left their island Their mother later revealed to have been killed by Gale Ravegroove no sooner after finding their father. Who then puts himself into exile when infused with a dark bring that'll destroy the world if he gets emotionally distressed. Haru's father returns near the climax of the first part of the series only to end dying saving Haru from a cave in. Musica's family was killed when a evil swordsman tested his newly created sword on them made from Musica's grandfather whose as it turns out is alive and well if not a drunkard. He gets better after the swordsman defeated. Elle's parents apparently died before the storyline. Ruby's father was slain by Doryu. And Jegan destroyed most of Jet and Julia's hometown. Even on the villain end this has happened, Lucia is the son of Gale Ravegroove whose mother was killed in a raid on Demon Card headquarters. His father thought he was killed too so he never knew he survived the attack. Reina's father was accursed of a crime he didn't commit and died in prison and Deep Snow who never really had a parent as he was artificially created considered Gale Ravegroove as his father.
Cowboy Bebop: Ed appears to have raised herself until it's revealed that her nutty-to-the-point-of-horribly-neglectful father just dumped her at an orphanage one day and completely forgot about her. When they do reunite, it takes Ed's father a moment to remember who she even is, and he forgets all about her again seconds later.
Sakuya Aizawa, whose father had an affair, but both parents are alive.
Her father, and two of her (full) siblings have been shown, presumably her mother was with the other two children during this event. She lives, and presumably was raised by her two butlers.
Wataru Tachibana has living parents, but runs the family business and lives alone with his maid.
His mother is shown to have been living in Las Vegas and his father in some other eastern country. His mother gave birth to him when she was young and then leaving him to be raised by Saki.
Hinagiku and sister Yukiji, whose parents ran off, leaving them with a large debt, which Yukiji took care of before getting them adopted by her former teacher and his wife. Hinagiku still happily lives with them, though only their foster mother has been seen.
Athena, whose parents are dead, mentioning this is Athena's Berserk Button.
Isumi's female family (up to her great grandmother) has been shown, but no mention of her father, grandfather or great grandfather has been made.
Izumi lives with her father (and it is implied that her mother is simply not shown.)
Riza lives with her grandfather, though her father may have been seen, it isn't mentioned.
Miki is implied to live with her parents, but they have not been seen.
Both of Chiharu's parents are shown to be around, but are neglectful to the point of eventually burning down their own house in a money-making scheme and then abandoning her to follow through with the scheme.
Both of Ayumu Nishizawa's parents are shown, and are decent folk.
In ARIA there is no mention of Alice's parents, even though she is only 14 years old at the start of the series. Likewise, Akari never mentions her parents, despite being only 16 years old when she moves to Aqua. The only one from Manhome who she has any contact with is Ai—at least in the Anime.
In Letter Bee, Gauche and Sylvette Suede's mother died giving birth to Sylvette, and their father is absent. Lag's mother, already a single parent, was abducted by mysterious men from the capital, leaving him to be raised by his aunt in Cambel Litmus after Gauche takes him there.
Code:Breaker: Ogami's parents were murdered; Toki's father is a heartless Jerk Ass (and also Prime Minister of Japan and a leader of the Code: Breaker's EDEN organization) with no mention of a mom; Sakuraappears to be an aversion but she's actually adopted and has no memory before the age of 5.Yuuhi has no parents and might not actually be human.
In Meru Puri, Airi's parents are working abroad. She supposedly lives with her grandparents, though they are never seen.
In Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, Itoshiki Majiru, the nephew of the titular Zetsubou-sensei, was abandoned by his parents. The fact that his father who may have been disinherited looked exactly like his three younger brothers causes some confusion for him and for the class of Itoshiki Nozomu when he sees Nozomu walking on the street and mistakes him for his father. Hi-jinks ensue, resulting in Majiru living with his Uncle indefinitely apparently along with at least one female member of Zetsubou-sensei's class at any given time.
Subverted by Kiri Komori, who abandoned her parents to live at school and eventually alternated between living there and in her teacher's closet at home when school was out of session. Shortly after leaving home it was destroyed in a fire - her parents may or may not be alive but have never come in contact again with her since.
Abiru Kobushi's mother abandoned her and her father within weeks of the start of Zetsubou-sensei's tenure as teacher.
An odd case in Real Drive, where both Minamo's parents are alive and well (and still married), but she was still mostly raised by her grandmother, due to their jobs' requirements. At the time of the series she's mostly cared by her older brother, who calls himself her guardian. Their father works on the same island and at least in theory lives in the same house, but is so often absent that his first appearance doesn't happen before episode 9. Still, Minamo never questions the extreme workaholism of her parents in true Japanese style.
In Eyeshield 21, the parents of the members of the protagonistâ€™s high school football team take little to no interest whatsoever in the activities of their children (with the exception of Komisubi's folks.) But this trope really comes into play during the Death March storyline, when the team is given to the option to spend their entire summer vacation in America, enduring a hellish and potentially life-threatening Training from Hell. All of them accept the offer without consulting, informing or even thinking about their parents, and none of them are ever shown contacting their folks to let them know that they'll be on another continent for the next several weeks.
Which is a shame, because we'd love to see that phone call. "Hi, mom? I won't be home for dinner. I'm going to be pushing a truck from Houston to Las Vegas. I should be back in about six weeks, assuming I don't die of heat exhaustion. Tell sis she can have the Hot Pocket I left in the freezer. Bye!"
We do see a few scenes on their return from the Death March in volume 11. Some parents are largely kept in the dark, like Sena's parents and Yukimitsu's mother, and some get more of the gory details, like Komusubi's dad and Monta's (apparently apathetic) mother.
Hiruma has a distant relationship with his father who does make an appearance at the Christmas Bowl and no mother is mentioned.
In Tona Gura, the usually fractious Kagura siblings are united in their dislike of their father's near-eternal absence and the moves he makes that permit them to never keep friends. It is implied in the manga that part of Marie's hostility towards her brother's 'perverted' nature stems not merely from her father's orders, but a desire to see Yuuji revert to his pre-puberty self, when he paid attention to her, the way their father does not. Yuuji's desperate, clumsy efforts to win girls, especially Kazuki, can be seen in the light of his father's absence on many levels. Worse, both have to assume responsibilities their father can't be bothered with—Marie in keeping Yuuji under control, and Yuuji in working with Kagura Senior's bipolar junior business partner, Tojo Haya. Their mother is never mentioned.
Maron Kusakabe from Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne was turned into a Broken Bird because her parents often left her at home alone when she was little because of their jobs, which was apparently fairly traumatizing to the poor kid when she was left alone at night. Even when they were home, the anime at least implies that they fought a lot. Later, before Maron was even in grade school, they both left to work in other countries, and haven't contacted her since when the series begins. She now seems to have a deep-seated fear of being alone, especially at night, and cannot comprehend "love" because her parents weren't around to tell her about it. The only reasons Maron is in any way mentally stable when the series begins are Miyako's family, who live right across the hall and took care of her when she was little, and Finn, whose presence keeps Maron from being alone in the apartment.
In Pandora Hearts Oz's father is not a model of good parenting. He ignores his son so much that Oz doesn't even remember his face anymore, and the last two times Oz met him he a) told his son he was disgusting and he never wanted him and b) threw him into the Abyss. Yeah, Oz's dad needs the crap kicked out of him.
Maka's parents are divorced. Her estranged father Spirit watches her from a (unwilling) distance. The manga makes few mentions of her mother, though does point out that Maka thinks highly of and is inspired by her.
Black Star's family was killed by Shibusen, and he was raised by Sid (and probably Nygus too) who is something of a mentor figure, if not exactly paternal.
Death the Kid doesn't apply currently, as he has Lord Death as his father, and they get on well enough. However, Lord Death intends for Kid to 'replace' him at the cost of Lord Death's own...existence, meaning this trope will come into effect.
Of the cast whose parents are even referred to, only Tsubaki and Soul Eater seem to have both without any known issues. Mad big brothers and inferiority issues notwithstanding.
Chapter 78 confirms that Liz and Patti are an example of both this and Son of a Whore.
Liz: I still resent the mother who abandoned both me and Patti, but—-... Even though I heard that she was the most beautiful prostitute in Brooklyn, I don't feel any gratitude for her just for giving birth to me, not matter how beautifully she did it...
So, if Yamabuki is Nazuna's local school, why is she living in the Hidamari Apartments now? Her father was sent to work elsewhere just before school started. Unexectedly, Nozuna's mom followed him because "he's useless living alone."Poor girl.
In Toradora!, Ryuuji Takasu's father is dead but we later learn that he just walked on his mom when she was still preggers, so he lives with his mother Yasuko. OTOH, Taiga Aisaka lives alone because she has problems fitting in at home ever since her mother re-married, and her father ran away from home after his business went down the toilet, and is quite a Jerk Ass otherwise. In the end, Taiga returns to her home so she can deal with her familiar problems.
Is the driving force in the story of Chance Pop Session. All of the major characters deal with the issue from one side of it, Akari, Yuki, Nozomi and Reika were all abandoned as children, though the first three have forgotten that fact. And Kisaragi deals with the guilt of abandoning her children years before.
In Beyblade, Kais father leaves his family to "follow his dream", Talas mother leaves him with his alcoholic father, Bryan share a similar past and Tysons mother is dead while his dad rarly is home (because of his job).
Averted and used in Birdy the Mighty. In the old OVA series, Tsutomu's family, including both parents, were a hilarious part of the story; but his parents drove away from the story at the start of the much later first TV series.
Durarara!!': Anri witnessed her parent's commit murder-suicide, and she currently lives alone without any adult supervision; Mikado's parents sent him off to live alone in a strange city (also without any adult supervision) at age 15; and Masaomi's parents are never mentioned, though if the do exist, they don't seem to mind when their 15-year-old son drops out of school to run away with his girlfriend.
The titular character from Kimba the White Lion has his father shot by poachers, while his mother drowned in a boat. Lyra also lost her parents to hunters.
Minami-ke is a show about three sisters and their daily lives, ranging in age from high to elementary school. But... where are their parents???
Sylphiel: Father killed in a town-wide explosion, with his body sealed underground; this is exploited in Slayers NEXT.
Pokota: His entire kingdom falls to a disease, and his parents are sealed away underground, courtesy of Rezo, without their souls.
Plus many others...
Takuto and the You sisters are the only people in Star Driver whose parents are mentioned, and Takuto's mother is dead while his father is missing and the Big Bad. The You sisters' mother left them to the care of their housekeeper years ago so she could chase after their father, although she reappears and shows signs of wanting to reconnect with her daughters.
Are you one of the main cast of Infinite Stratos? It sucks to be you if you are. To wit:
The Vance sisters' mother died in one of the Queen's Blade tournaments, which is why Count Vance was so set against Reina participating.
Nowa is a half-elf abandoned at birth, though Alleyne serves as a good surrogate mother.
Cattleya's major motive for fighting in the tournament is to try to figure out what happened to her husband (and father of her child Rana, which is where it comes into this trope).
Aldra was orphaned at a young age, as was Irma, who was orphaned by forces acting on Aldra's authority.
Listy's motive as a bandit is to acquire money for the orphanage where she was raised.
Ohana the main character of Hanasaku Iroha is sent to live with her grandmother at a hotspring inn after her mother's boyfriend has racked up substantial debt forcing them to flee.
In Claymore's first episode, it is revealed that Raki's parents were eaten by a Youma possessing his brother's body. As for Clare, what exactly happened to her parents is unsure, but considering she was a Youma's toy for a while, it would be safe to assume her parents were eaten as well. Priscilla's dad, like Raki's brother, was possessed by a Youma who ate her mother and elder brother.
In Rose of Versailles there are several cases. Andre's parents have passed away by the time he is 8, so he goes to live with his grandmother. Rosalie's adoptive mother passes away in an accident when Rosalie is a teenager- and Rosalie later finds out who her biological mother is, to her horror. Bernard's mother dies when he is 5. Robespierre's mother dies when he is young as well. Marie Antoinette's mother is still alive, but sends her away to France to get married when Antoinette is only 14 years old. Not much is known about Fersen's parents- though he is very close to his siblings.
Majorly averted by Oscar, the protagonist, having both her biological parents outlive her! Also downplayed by Alain having his mother be alive until he is in his mid 20's.
Both series of Hanaukyō Maid Tai. Both of Taro's parents are dead, and both of Cynthia's parents gave her up to the Hanaukyo family.
Super Atragon: Go's father was a merchant marine captain that supposedly died when his ship capsized near Antartica during Go's early childhood. Go's mother died later in life. His father is Captain Hayate.
It's everywhere in Berserk. Some prominent examples:
Casca's parents sold her to a noble as a servant (though he wanted her for services other than cleaning and cooking.)
Farnese and Serpico both share a father who is emotionally and physically distant from both of them (especially so in Serpico's case since he was born out of wedlock). Serpico's mother died under the traumatizing circumstance of her being burned at the stake as a witch by both he and Farnese, and Farnese's mother was always out partying, which was not good for her development.
Isidro is an inversion of the trope, as he left his parents for some reason.
Schierke's birth parents are never mentioned and it as never explained how she came to be under the guardianship of Flora, but now that she's dead Schierke definitely qualifies.
Rosine, like Isidro, is an inversion, but on a more diabolical level, as she sacrificed her parents to the Godhand in order to become an apostle.
Kinnikuman, was, as a baby, mistaken for a pig that snuck aboard his parents' ship and dropped on Earth.
In Gakuen Babysitters, the parents of the Kashima siblings are dead prior to the start of the story due to a fatal plane crash.
In Taiyou No Ie, Hiro's parents are dead and Mao's are divorced and distant from her.
In Sangatsu No Lion, both of Rei's parents (along with his sister) die in truck accident as part of his backstory. Their bruised corpses when they were returned to the home for the funeral service have left a lasting impression on his mind.
In Chuunibyou Demo Koi sa Shitai!, Rikka and Touka's father died three years before the events of the series and their mother left them with their grandparents. The resultant solitude is the main reason why Rikka behaves this way.
Yuriko's mother was Driven to Suicide (and have her name permanently tarnished) due to people's allegations that she was a fraud and trickster who pretended to be clairvoyant.
Nanami Momozono from Kamisama Kiss gets abandoned at the start of the story by her father (her mother died when she was little). See, he is a bit of a gambler who racked up a massive amount of debt and barely managed to skip town maybe ten minutes ahead of the creditors and repo-men leaving Nanami to get evicted from her home.
In Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge, Iwai's father was murdered by a killing goods author and her mother abandoned her. This is the reason why she lives in the mansion alone.
Eren's mother is killed by Titans at the beginning of the series, and his father vanishes in mysterious circumstances shortly afterwards.
Mikasa's parents were murdered by slavers intent on kidnapping her, but was saved by Eren and taken in by his family (who are also gone, as mentioned above).
Armin's parents went exploring outside the Walls and never came back. He was the taken care of by his grandfathers, who was one of the 250,000 refugees who died in the failed attempt to retake Wall Maria.
Connie's family ends up being supposedly killed when Titans start appearing inside Wall Rose. Although it's almost certain that his family weren't killed by Titans- they were turned into Titans...
In Happy World Oomura Takeshi was scarred emotionally for much of his childhood and teenage years when the last words his father spoke to him before abandoning him was 'You're a burden'.
Haruka from Free! lives alone in his late grandmothers home. His parents moved away for business reasons.