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Missing Adventurer Parent

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Dad is away adventuring.

This work is a proposed Trope, Tropers can vote and offer feedback in the comments section below.
Proposed By:
henke37 on Apr 17th 2014 at 4:17:15 AM
Last Edited By:
Crossover-Enthusiast on Dec 7th 2017 at 6:02:43 AM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: Trope

Many parents are missing. Some have good reason to be missing. This is one possible reason (good or not).

Adventure, one of the most exciting things one can do. But not everyone is cut out for it. You may be ready for it, but how about your family? Do you really want to bring them with you or can you go by yourself? Or maybe you got lost on your quest, leaving you out of your children's lives.

"Your father ran of on an adventure, leaving me to take care of you and your brother!"

The parent may or may not return, but what the children do during their disappearance is likely to be a focus of the story.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Cowboy Bebop episode "Hard Luck Woman''. Ed's father left her at an orphanage seven years earlier but forgot where he left her so he hasn't seen her in all that time. He spends his time tracking meteorite impacts on Earth so he can create a map that will allow the planet to be re-inhabited.
  • One Piece: Usopp's dad Yasopp is away with Shanks' pirate crew. Usopp already knows this, though, and wants to be just like him
  • In Spriggan, Takeshi Ominae (who serves as foster father after his biological father is assassinated by American commandos in Iran) is an archaeologist hunting down for out-of-place artifact-based ruins, which is why Yu Ominae was sent to live in Japan in his early teenage years prior to the start of the series.
  • Allen's father in The Vision of Escaflowne abandoned his family for a life of adventure when Allen was very young, leaving him with massive daddy issues. It later turns out that Schezar Sr. intended to return, but perished in a remote land with no way to let his family know.
  • Hareta's father in Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl Adventure! left him with Professor Rowan to go on more adventures. Rowan in turn let Hareta be raised by Pokemon.

    Comic Books & Graphic Novels 
  • Alison Dare has a superhero dad and a archaeologist mom. This makes them extremely busy, which is why they sent her to boarding school.
  • The Carpenter family from The Dresden Files was frequently affected by this trope, as Michael was often called away to battle evil as a Knight of the Cross, leaving his wife Charity and their seven children behind with little idea where he'd gone or when (if ever) he'd return.
  • Chris Kristopher from Shutter was unavailable for most of his children, has he was away adventuring and making deals dealing with world-owning organization Prospero. One of the children even thought he was dead (though this was intended.).
  • In the Superman comics, during The Bronze Age Of Comics Jimmy Olsen's father was an archaeologist who had vanished while on an expedition when Jimmy was a child. He was eventually discovered being held prisoner by a Lost Tribe who had made him their king (and adorned him in jewelery made of gold kryptonite so Superman could not just fly in and rescue him).
  • Subverted in Thorgal, where Thorgal wants nothing more than to live in peace with his family. Unfortuantely, the fact that he's a Weirdness Magnet causes all sorts of problems for him. He's had to move at least three times between northern Europe, South America and the Mediterranean in search of a place where they can live.
  • In X-Men, Cyclops and Havok's missing father is the space adventurer Corsair. While he was running with the Starjammers, a Shi'ar Prince raped and murdered his wife; thinking his sons dead as well, he did not return to Earth for many years. They are later reunited, but ultimately, he goes back to space.
  • Robin Tim Drake was able to follow Batman and track down Nightwing eventually becoming Robin while his Adventurer Archaeologist parents were away.

    Film - Animated 

    Film - Live Action 
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Peter Quill's father, missing since the first movie, turns out to be J'Son, king of a distant planet. They expand on this in the animated series before the second film.

    Literature 
  • Pippi Longstocking's dad went and became a king of an island nation.
  • The Spider Wick Chronicles: The dad of the grandmother disappeared while studying faeries. He's been in faerie this whole time and is a young man still though his little daughter is in her senior years.
  • In the Thursday Next books, Thursday's father is an outlaw adventurer through space and time. He comes by to visit occasionally.
  • In A Wrinkle in Time Meg and Charles Wallace's father, a government scientist, has gone missing after working on a mysterious project called a tesseract.

    Video Games 
  • Captain Pud, Newton's father from LittleBigPlanet 3, is away for most of the game's plot, leaving Newton to open the lid to the tin containing the Titans that Captain Pud told him not to. He shows up again at the end, rescuing the heroes. He's not happy with Newton.
  • In MARDEK, Mardek's father Enki has been off on an adventure on Belfan's arctic continent since before Mardek met Rohoph as a kid.
  • Recette's dad went out to adventure in dungeons, leaving her with the massive debt.
  • The plot of SaGa 2 begins when the hero decides to find his or her dad, who has been away for years seeking the scattered MAGI.
  • In Yoake Mae Yori Ruriiro Na, the father of the main character Tatsuya Asagiri is an Adventurer Archaeologist strongly modeled on Indiana Jones. At the time the story begins, he has been absent and out of contact with his kids for quite sometimes. However, his kids don't seem terribly worried and joke that he might have been a victim of Alien Abduction. It turns out that this is partially true. He latter shows up in an alien ship.
  • Fable:
    • In Fable I, the Hero of Oakvale is raised by his kindly, Non-Action Guy father while his mother spends most of her time traveling. Years later, he learns that she's actually the legendary Hero and Hunter of Monsters Scarlet Robe when he recognizes her statue at the Witchwood Arena. Pity she's a Broken Ace when he finds her after years of imprisonment and torture.
    • In Fable II and Fable III, the Hero can be this to their own children if they decide to become a parent. The children, for their part, are excited at the thought of following in the Hero's footsteps as an adventurer.
  • Captain Pud, Newton's father from LittleBigPlanet 3, is away for most of the game's plot, leaving Newton to open the lid to the tin containing the Titans that Captain Pud told him not to. He shows up again at the end, rescuing the heroes. He's not happy with Newton.

    Webcomics 

    Western Animation 
  • The parents of Dave the Barbarian are a king and queen who left on a journey to battle evil, forcing their kids to rule and protect the realm while they're gone.
  • In Martin Mystery, Gerald Mystery is often absent from Martin and Diana's teenage lives since he's an archaeologist, looking for new discoveries.
  • Tom and Jerry: The Movie: Robyn Starling's father is an adventurer (of exactly what type is not said, but it's shown that he owns at least an airline and he spends a big chunk of the film as a Chekhov M.I.A. who disappeared while escalating a mountain). The Nostalgia Critic went as far as to joke he's Indiana Jones (because of him having the same attire).
  • Averted in The Wild Thornberrys where the titular family goes along on adventures together.
  • The backstory of Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero is that Penn's parents travel to other dimensions to restore the balance of good and evil in the Multiverse. One day they were trapped in the Most Dangerous World Imaginable with no way back, so Penn and his friends had to take over while finding a way to bring them back.
  • In Hey Arnold!, Arnold's parents lived an adventurous life in a South American republic called San Lorenzo, but after the birth of their son, they moved to Hillwood for his safety. They eventually had to return to San Lorenzo to take care of a jungle illness outbreak and left Arnold under the care of his grandparents, believing they'll return before long, but they never returned. Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie concerns Arnold and his friends looking for them.
  • Implied in DuckTales (2017). The triplets' mother and Donald's sister, Della Duck, appears on a painting, fighting pirates along with Scrooge and Donald, and presumably her disappearance during an adventure is why Donald is taking care of the triplets now.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Katara and Sokka's father Hakota goes off to war before the series begins, leaving them to take care of each other and their tribe.

Up for Grabs - Needs a Better Description

Feedback: 43 replies

Apr 17th 2014 at 5:40:22 AM

Subtrope of Disappeared Dad and possibly When You Coming Home Dad.

  • Allen's father in The Vision Of Escaflowne abandoned his family for a life of adventure when Allen was very young, leaving him with massive daddy issues. It later turns out that Schezar Sr. intended to return, but perished in a remote land with no way to let his family know.

Apr 17th 2014 at 5:55:00 AM

In Yoake Mae Yori Ruriiro Na, the father of the main character Tatsuya Asagiri is an Adventurer Archaeologist strongly modeled on Indiana Jones. At the time the story begins, he has been absent and out of contact with his kids for quite sometimes. However, his kids don't seem terribly worried and joke that he might have been a victim of Alien Abduction. It turns out that this is partially true. He latter shows up in an alien ship.

Apr 17th 2014 at 6:08:24 AM

In Martin Mystery, Gerald Mystery is often absent from Martin and Diana's teenage lives since he's an archaeologist, looking for new discoveries.


In Spriggan, Takeshi Ominae (who serves as foster father after his biological father is assassinated by American commandos in Iran) is an archaeologist hunting down for out-of-place artifact-based ruins, which is why Yu Ominae was sent to live in Japan in his early teenage years prior to the start of the series.

Apr 17th 2014 at 6:11:16 AM

Sluggy Freelance: Riff's dad is off being an Adventurer Archaeologist. He finally shows up on screen with lots of plot relevance in a recent arc for the first time since the strip brogan in back in 90s.

Apr 17th 2014 at 6:13:29 AM

Elan's father doesn't count (Mom left him, despite the fact that he has a very stable plan and brings along the twin).

@paycheckgurl: Examples Are Not Recent.

Apr 17th 2014 at 6:51:36 AM

Would gender inverted examples count here?

Apr 17th 2014 at 7:50:06 AM

Video Games

  • Sa Ga 2's plot begins when the hero decides to find his or her dad, who has been away for years seeking the scattered MAGI.

Apr 17th 2014 at 8:31:54 AM

Namespaced and italicized a couple examples + sorted examples by media.

Apr 17th 2014 at 9:11:14 AM

^ Like how Unicorn is just a Cool Horse with a Narwhale horn?

Though even then, that is still incorrect as Disappeared Dad is about the dad not being present as opposed to the reason of him not being present, which is what Daddy Had A Good Reason For Abandoning You is about.

Apr 17th 2014 at 9:23:12 AM

In A Wrinkle In Time Meg and Charles Wallace's father, a government scientist, has gone missing after working on a mysterious project called a tesseract.

Apr 17th 2014 at 4:28:58 PM

One Piece: Usopp's dad Yasopp is away with Shanks' pirate crew. Usopp already knows this, though, and wants to be just like him.

Apr 17th 2014 at 6:05:26 PM

  • In Mardek RPG, Mardek's father Enki has been off on an adventure on Belfan's arctic continent since before Mardek met Rohoph as a kid.

Apr 17th 2014 at 8:29:56 PM

Tom And Jerry The Movie: Robyn Starling's father is an adventurer (of exactly what type is not said, but it's shown that he owns at least an airline and he spends a big chunk of the film as a Chekhov MIA who disappeared while escalating a mountain). The Nostalgia Critic went as far as to joke he's Indiana Jones (because of him having the same attire).

Apr 17th 2014 at 8:42:22 PM

Who wanna grab this?

Apr 17th 2014 at 9:35:56 PM

This should expand to include any parent. Because I've found in works that parents are always going off on adventures. Especially archeologist parents. tsktsk

Apr 17th 2014 at 10:42:54 PM

Averted in The Wild Thornberrys where the titular family goes along in adventure together.

Apr 17th 2014 at 11:52:31 PM

Subverted in Thorgal, where Thorgal wants nothing more than to live in peace with his family. Unfortuantely, the fact that he's a Weirdness Magnet causes all sorts of problems for him. He's had to move at least three times between northern Europe, South America and the Mediterranean in search of a place where they can live.

Apr 18th 2014 at 6:55:05 AM

Anime and Manga

  • Cowboy Bebop episode "Hard Luck Woman''. Ed's father left her at an orphanage seven years earlier but forgot where he left her so he hasn't seen her in all that time. He spends his time tracking meteorite impacts on Earth so he can create a map that will allow the planet to be re-inhabited.

Apr 19th 2014 at 9:12:42 PM

  • The Carpenter family from The Dresden Files was frequently affected by this trope, as Michael was often called away to battle evil as a Knight of the Cross, leaving his wife Charity and their seven children behind with little idea where he'd gone or when (if ever) he'd return.

Apr 19th 2014 at 10:16:55 PM

In the Thursday Next books* Thursday's father is an outlaw adventurer through space and time. He comes by to visit occasionally.

* (or leastwise the first one, being the only one I've read)

Jun 12th 2017 at 11:28:57 AM

Jun 12th 2017 at 2:15:34 PM

  • Guardians Of The Galaxy: Peter Quill's father, missing since the first movie, turns out to be J'Son, king of a distant planet. They expand on this in the animated series before the second film.

Jun 12th 2017 at 2:42:52 PM

I thought Corsair (dad of Cyclops and Havok) of X Men is one, being a rarely seen space adventurer. Cannot elaborate more though.

Jun 12th 2017 at 7:35:18 PM

Getta you are correct. Corsair runs with the Starjammers. He thought his sons dead, and when an evil Shi'ar Prince raped and murdered his wife, he didn't return to earth for many years. He found out much later his sons were alive, but still returned to space.

Jun 19th 2017 at 9:04:57 PM

Captain Pud, Newton's father from Little Big Planet 3, is away for most of the game's plot, leaving Newton to open the lid to the tin containing the Titans that Captain Pud told him not to. He shows up again at the end, rescuing the heroes. He's not happy with Newton.

Jun 20th 2017 at 8:07:02 AM

  • Chris Kristopher from Shutter was unavailable for most of his children, has he was away adventuring and making deals dealing with world-owning organization Prospero. One of the children even thought he was dead (though this was intended.).

Jun 20th 2017 at 3:59:42 PM

In the Superman comics, during the Bronze Age Of Comics Jimmy Olsen's father was an archaeologist who had vanished while on an expedition when Jimmy was a child. He was eventually discovered being held prisoner by a Lost Tribe who had made him their king (and adorned him in jewelery made of gold kryptonite so Superman could not just fly in and rescue him).

Aug 17th 2017 at 9:01:11 AM

Bumping this. I support that this be made to Missing Adventurer Parent.

  • Alison Dare has a superhero dad and a archaeologist mom. This makes them extremely busy, which is why they sent her to boarding school.

Aug 17th 2017 at 12:24:53 PM

  • The Spider Wick Chronicles: The dad of the grandmother disappeared while studying faeries. He's been in faerie this whole time and is a young man still though his little daughter is in her senior years.

Aug 17th 2017 at 10:20:36 PM

  • The parents of Dave The Barbarian are a king and queen who left on a journey to battle evil, forcing their kids to rule and protect the realm while they're gone.

Aug 18th 2017 at 9:40:28 AM

  • The backstory of Penn Zero Part Time Hero is that Penn's parents travel to other dimensions to restore the balance of good and evil in the Multiverse. One day they were trapped in the Most Dangerous World Imaginable with no way back, so Penn and his friends had to take over while finding a way to bring them back.
  • Arnold's parents from Hey Arnold are explorers who got lost in an island when he was younger. The upcoming movie revival concerns Arnold and his friends looking for them.

Aug 18th 2017 at 10:37:47 AM

  • Implied in Duck Tales 2017. The triplets' mother and Donald's sister, Della Duck, appears on a painting, fighting pirates along with Scrooge and Donald, and presumably her disappearance during an adventure is why Donald is taking care of the triplets now.

Aug 18th 2017 at 2:15:05 PM

Western Animation

  • Hakota leaves for war before the events of the first episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender; Katara and Sokka are left behind to take care of each other.

Aug 21st 2017 at 10:10:42 AM

  • Robin Tim Drake was able to follow Batman and track down Nightwing eventually becoming Robin while his Adventurer Archaeologist parents were away.

Sep 14th 2017 at 3:19:14 PM

Sep 18th 2017 at 11:19:15 AM

  • In Hey Arnold, Arnold's parents lived an adventurous life in a South American republic called San Lorenzo, but after the birth of their son, they moved to Hillwood for his safety. They eventually had to return to San Lorenzo to take care of a jungle illness outbreak and left Arnold under the care of his grandparents, believing they'll return before long, but they never returned.

Dec 6th 2017 at 5:29:45 PM

The Mardek example in Video Games need the link changed to work:

"VideoGame/Mardek" should be "VideoGame/{{Mardek}}"

Dec 6th 2017 at 7:16:16 PM

Updated the examples list. If nobody else wants this, I'll touch up the description and add references to the related tropes that have been mentioned.

Dec 6th 2017 at 8:13:04 PM

The Guardians of the Galaxy one needs to be deleted, as we now know that Quill's dad in the MCU is not the same as in the comics.

Anime And Manga

  • In Hunter X Hunter, Ging Freecs left his infant son Gon in the care of his cousin Mito so that he could continue having adventures, and has gone to considerable lengths to prevent Gon from tracking him down.

Film Live Action

  • In Bad Santa, Thurman Merman tells Willie that his dad is off on an adventure. In reality, the elder Merman is in jail for embezzlement.

Live Action TV

  • Subverted in an episode of Lethal Weapon, in which Riggs and Murtaugh seek out a paranoid schizophrenic. When they locate his wife and daughter, they learn that the daughter has been told that her dad's prolonged absences are because he's really a superhero.

Dec 7th 2017 at 6:02:43 AM

  • Totori's motivation for becoming an adventurer in Atelier Totori The Adventurer Of Arland is to find her mother, Gisela, who was also an adventurer who vanished years ago. Eventually, you find out that Gisela got shipwrecked, ended up in a far-away land, and died from injuries sustained while fighting a demon who terrorized a nearby village. The True Ending reveals that Astrid found her and managed to save her, and she comes back home.

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