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Younger Mentor, Older Disciple

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When somebody is being taught by someone younger than them (Launching on August 13)

This trope has been Launched!
Proposed By:
Zerukin on Aug 2nd 2018 at 12:28:32 PM
Last Edited By:
Zerukin on Aug 10th 2018 at 7:49:03 AM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

In most cases, the mentor has many years of experience in the topic their student is taking lessons for. The reason for this is often because they are older and have seen more than their young disciple.

That is not necessarily the case here. For this instance, the mentor is actually a few (or many) years younger than their disciple. Reasons for this may vary. The mentor could have experience their older student became interested in. The mentor could also be a Child Prodigy that is passing what they know to their older peers.

Something to note is that if the mentor looks younger than their pupil, but is actually older than them, it is Not This Trope. That being said, this trope can come into play from the opposite spectrum, especially if the student looks younger than the mentor but is Really 700 Years Old.


Examples

Anime & Manga

  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • Due to her status as a Child Prodigy, Nanoha was a Veteran Instructor teaching advanced areal tactics to classes of full grown adults before she was even a teenager.
    • Fate takes on Teana as an apprentice at the end of StrikerS. Chronologically, she is three years younger than Teana due to her status as a clone, though her legal and mental age are older.
    • Being Born as an Adult, Nove is actually the same age as most of the members of Team Nakajima, and two years younger than Einhart. Likewise, Corona and Rio end up studying under Otto and Deed (who are six years their junior) in the lead up to the Inter-Middle Championship. Though like Fate, they are legally older.
    • While she is primarily Einhart's student, Fuka does receive some training from Vivio, Rio, and Corona (who are all a year younger than her).
  • Mahou Sensei Negima! starts off with this as it's premise, with the ten year old Negi teaching middle school English to a class of Japanese schoolgirls. He also mentors some of them in magic once the Genre Shift kicks in.
  • Overlord (2012): Ainz is technically in his twenties, but his body is now that of an immortal lich. He ends up teaching magic to The Archmage Fluder, who's over two hundred years old (or rather, since Ainz was just dropped into his MMO character and has no idea why he has magic or how it works, he gives Fluder some books he found in the guild treasury that talk about magic).

Film - Live Action

Literature

  • Animorphs: After the Yeerks are defeated, Jake ends up teaching American soldiers how to morph. He hasn't even graduated high school, but everyone (including people twice his age) calls him Professor.
  • Circle of Magic: Tris, a teenager, ends up teaching an adult, in magic, as she's the one who discovered him.
  • In Journey to the West, Tang Sanzang is a mortal monk in his twenties or thirties at oldest, while his three disciples are all immortal demigods who are centuries old, with Sun Wukong being over 500 years old due to his imprisonment under a mountain as punishment.
  • The Wheel of Time: Nynaeve joins the Aes Sedai Magical Society at age 25 to learn Healing powers, but soon realizes that one of her Achievements in Ignorance as an untrained Channeler was to improvise a Healing variant that's far superior to the Aes Sedai method. A few Aes Sedai — some of them a century or two old — swallow their pride and come to her for guidance.

Mythology and Religion

  • In The Bible, Jesus ends up teaching Jewish law while still a child.

Video Game

  • In Dragon Ball Xenoverse and its sequel, Gotenks can serve as a mentor for the protagonists. While no age is specified for him/her, it is safe to believe they are older than Goten and Trunks.

Western Animation

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Katara, Toph, and Zuko all serve as Aang's mentors to learn all four elements, and Aang is about 100 years older than all of them. Even if you don't take his actual age into account, Toph would still qualify.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Following the episode titled "Marks For Effort", Applebloom, Scootaloo, and Sweetie Belle become tutors for Twilight's School of Friendship. Bare in mind that they are still fillies and the school has students of various ages. This means that the Cutie Mark Crusader are not only the youngest of the school staff, but they are also younger than some of some the students attending the school.

Real Life

  • Truth in Television as it is highly likely for Technologically Blind Elders interested in learning to turn to their younger peers to teach them how modern devices work.
  • There's the "school for adults" in which people who hadn't finished high school can gain their high school diploma or simply learn how to read and write to illiterate people. In much times, the students are adults in their 50s or even 70s and the teachers are in their 30s, being much younger than the people who want to finish school.

Feedback: 16 replies

Aug 2nd 2018 at 12:42:55 PM

Aug 2nd 2018 at 1:29:18 PM

Literature.Circle Of Magic: Tris, a teenager, ends up teaching an adult, in magic, as she's the one who discovered him.

Aug 2nd 2018 at 1:51:36 PM

  • Animorphs: After the Yeerks are defeated, Jake ends up teaching American soldiers how to morph. He hasn't even graduated high school, but everyone (including people twice his age) calls him Professor.
  • Overlord 2012: Ainz is technically in his twenties, but his body is now that of an immortal lich. He ends up teaching magic to The Archmage Fluder, who's over two hundred years old (or rather, since Ainz was just dropped into his MMO character and has no idea why he has magic or how it works, he gives Fluder some books he found in the guild treasury that talk about magic).
  • In The Bible, Jesus ends up teaching Jewish law while still a child.

Aug 2nd 2018 at 8:00:22 PM

How much "teaching" must there be?

'Cause a kid teaching their parents how to use some bit of tech, could count.

Or, for a more fantastical bent, some young mage teaching their master, a new spell they invented.

'Cause I have Fanfic.Dungeon Keeper Ami, where Ami, a teenager, is teaching a new spell to Abbot Durval. who is more than a century old.

Aug 2nd 2018 at 8:40:18 PM

^^ That's a good draft. If/when it gets launched, I'll make sure to mention it on this page

^You have raised an interesting question. no amount of lessons has been established as of yet. As for examples you have mentioned, the kids teaching parents how newer technology works could definitely prove this as Truth In Television by some extent. Even if some parents learn fast, I know of some other parents and grandparents whom ask for help on using tech often. The teaching of the new spell, on the other hand, would likely only qualify if the spell is complex enough that learning it is not an easy feat. If the wizard is able to perform the spell quickly, then one could hardly call the young mage a mentor. It only seems fair that teaching somebody to perform even a single technique should take some time to qualify.

Aug 2nd 2018 at 9:11:23 PM

  • In Journey To The West, Tang Sanzang is a mortal monk in his twenties or thirties at oldest, while his three disciples are all immortal demigods who are centuries old, with Sun Wukong being over 500 years old due to his imprisonment under a mountain as punishment.

Aug 3rd 2018 at 7:14:00 PM

Aug 3rd 2018 at 7:46:30 PM

Malady mentioned kids teaching Technologically Blind Elders how to use technology — I just thought I'd retrieve the link to that trope.

Aug 4th 2018 at 2:32:21 PM

  • Lyrical Nanoha
    • Due to her status as a Child Prodigy, Nanoha was a Veteran Instructor teaching advanced areal tactics to classes of full grown adults before she was even a teenager.
    • Fate takes on Teana as an apprentice at the end of StrikerS. Chronologically, she is three years younger than Teana due to her status as a clone, though her legal and mental age are older.
    • Being Born As An Adult, Nove is actually the same age as most of the members of Team Nakajima, and two years younger than Einhart. Likewise, Corona and Rio end up studying under Otto and Deed (who are six years their junior) in the lead up to the Inter-Middle Championship. Though like Fate, they are legally older.
    • While she is primarily Einhart's student, Fuka does receive some training from Vivio, Rio, and Corona (who are all a year younger than her).

  • Mahou Sensei Negima starts off with this as it's premise, with the ten year old Negi teaching middle school English to a class of Japanese schoolgirls. He also mentors some of them in magic once the Genre Shift kicks in.

Aug 5th 2018 at 6:11:48 PM

Everything looks good. I feel we the description could possibly get into more details. Don't really know what I could add though. Any suggestions?

Aug 6th 2018 at 8:46:31 AM

Real Life:

  • There's the "school for adults" in which people who didn't finished the (high) school can achieve this, or simply they can learn how to read and write to illiterate people. In much times, the students are adults in their 50s or even 70s and the teachers are in their 30s, being much younger than the people who wants to finish school.

(sorry, I don't know how to express this better in English, feel free to arrange this for the draft)

Aug 6th 2018 at 1:08:29 PM

  • In Pathfinder, the iconic mage Ezren Zefiir ran into an unfortunate aversion. After spending most of his life trying (and failing) to clear his family name, he decided to become a wizard at the age of 42. He couldn't find a master because no wizard wanted to invoke this trope, and ended up being Taught By Experience.

Aug 6th 2018 at 2:23:08 PM

The new title is a whole sentence. This is not permitted, given No New Stock Phrases.

Aug 6th 2018 at 2:37:45 PM

^^^Basara's example will work (with a few fixes).

^^Bisected, however... well the fact he couldn't find a wizard implies he looked for a wizard in general. Besides that, you even state how he learned to become a wizard was by experience meaning he didn't have a mentor. Thus your Pathfinder example is Not This Trope. I really don't think we can do aversions with this one. A subversion could occur I suppose if the mentor gets implied to be younger throughout the story only to be revealed as older much later on.

^ Fair enough. It's easy to fix. I hope the new title is more in line with what is alright. Of course, I could always poll on a better one.

Aug 9th 2018 at 7:53:17 AM

Okay... I think ten hats will be enough before launch. Once ten is reached, I'll launch this three days after.

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