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Ambiguously Related

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Jade: Is Uncle everyone's uncle?
Jade's Dad: He is actually our cousin...aren't you?
(Jackie and Uncle give each other confused looks)

Two characters can look alike (or even identical), share a last name, and behave in a way befitting of siblings or cousins; but that doesn't mean they necessarily are either of those things. This trope covers characters who behave in a way consistent with their being relatives, but whose status as such is never truly confirmednote .

To keep this trope objective as opposed to Wild Mass Guessing, non in-universe examples should have one or more of the following:

  • They often appear together, especially when it would signify something.
  • They have strong similarities in appearance and background.
  • They refer to each other or act as relations that may or may not be metaphorical or credible.
  • In-universe claims or suggestions of relation are vague, incomplete, or questionably credible.
  • Official out of universe sources refer to or hint at a relationship.
  • They have established relations in other continuities, adaptations, or works they draw influence from.

Compare Inexplicably Identical Individuals, which often goes hand-in-hand with this trope, and Viewer Gender Confusion, for another aspect of characters' identities that a show doesn't make as clear as it thinks it does. Also compare Luke, I Might Be Your Father and Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe. Contrast Long-Lost Relative for when the relationship is confirmed. Not to be confused with Mistaken for Related, when the audience knows for a fact that the characters are not related despite in-universe confusion.


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    Advertising 
  • Computer Critters: Harriet and Harold are the parents, Tabby and Hacker are the (adopted?) kids. So how do Foxworthy, Della and Stanley fit in?
  • In the Dolmio puppet shorts, which promote a line of Italian sauces, we are introduced to a family, including an elderly couple, simply called Mama and Papa, with two young adults, Carlo and Sophia, and two children, Nico and Nina. Sophia and Carlo seem to be a couple in some ads, but both also refer to Mama and Papa as their parents, which would make them brother and sister, although they could just be close to their in-laws. Carlo is outright said to be Mama's biological son, yet Sophia looks more like the rest of the family and appears with Mama during a Mother's Day special.
    • Likewise, it's a little unclear if Nico and Nina are meant to be Sophia and Carlo's children or their younger siblings, since Mama and Papa are never addressed as grandparents (i.e. one ad has them give Mama a birthday card addressed to "Mama.")
    • Some ads feature a random woman at the dinner table sitting with the kids. It's possible she's Carlo's wife and mother of the children, another daughter of the family, or just a family friend.
    • Lampshaded by this website, which suggests Sophia and Carlo are committing incest.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Anpanman:
    • SL-Man and Poppo-chan are the only sentient trains in the series by the time the latter appeared in the show in 2006, but there's no indication or questioning that they're related prior to the two meetings each other in 1089a. It mostly implies that they're just separate from other blood-related.
    • Bookman and Book-Sensei resemble each other as they're both guys with books for heads and wear similar clothing with the exception of the glasses, nose, height, and voice. It's never stated if they're related as the former hasn't appeared since his debut story in the early 1990s.
    • Tekka no Maki-chan and her pupil Tekka no Komaki-chan has many similar features such as their facial features and clothing and could pass as a sibling, daughter, or niece to Maki, unlike Kappamaki-kun who doesn't have any similar features to her older sister. But it's never stated that Komaki and Maki are related.
  • In Chainsaw Man, it's heavily implied that the corpse the Violence Fiend took over is Hirokazu Arai, effectively becoming him in the process. They have similar builds, hairstyles, and faces, are both attached to Kobeni, and Violence is first seen after the latter's death, where it's implied he joined Public Safety recently. Violence's mask would also conceal his face from anyone who might recognize it. The first opening of the anime depicts Division 4 in a movie theatre; the only member missing is Violence, implicitly already present as Arai. Furthermore, the ending for the 11th episode depicts Violence alongside the likes of Kobeni and Himeno, when it would have made far more sense to show Arai instead.
  • Daimos: Nana is said to be Shin'ichirō Izumi's granddaughter, but not only does she look nothing like him,note , Shin'ichirō never mentions having children. It's not far off to assume that like Izumi's other child Kazuya, she's adopted.
  • In DARLING in the FRANXX, Zorome meets a kindly old lady who helps him after he got lost in the city. Their dialogue and interactions seem to point to the fact she might be his mother. Later on, this is disproven, as Parasites are heavily implied to be vat-grown and even if they aren't, adults have been immortal and sterile for too long for this to line up.
  • Dragon Ball Super: Universe 11's fighter, Dyspo from the Pride Troopers, has an uncanny resemblance with the Gods of Destruction Beerus and Champa, with the difference of being a bunny instead of a cat. Champa notices this and say both Dyspo and Beerus have narrow faces, but nothing is ever classified why they look alike. It's a common theory to believe Dyspo is part of their race from before they became Gods of Destruction.
  • Kengan Ashura has Byo Mikazuchi, the former master of the Raishin Style, and Rei's predecessor. While their shared surname and hairstyle implies that they are family, their exact relationship is never specified.
  • Little Witch Academia (2017): It is subtly implied that Andrew Hanbridge and Diana Cavendish are related in some form, as Andrew Hanbridge has stated that the two families have been intertwined for ages in episode 10 and when asked by Akko if he and Diana are relatives during a car ride in episode 19, he replies with a vague "sort of". It is unclear though if they're actually related though and if they are, what their exact relation is.
  • Variation in Lyrical Nanoha regarding Nanoha and her older brother and sister. The series spun off from Triangle Heart 3: Sweet Songs Forever, where Kyouya was her half-brother, and Miyuki was her first cousin. It's never made clear if this still applies, or if they're all full-blooded siblings. Complicating matters is the fact that Miyuki calls Kyouya "Kyou-chan," unlike Nanoha, who uses "Onii-chan," and Nanoha uses this to suggest that Fate doesn't have to address her adoptive older brother Chrono as an older sibling.
  • In The Millionaire Detective - Balance: UNLIMITED, Daisuke Kambe lives together with his grandmother and Suzue Kambe, whom Kato initially mistook as his wife. Daisuke corrects him, saying that Suzue is a relative, but doesn't describe how exactly they are related. Given that she calls him "Master Daisuke", it's unlikely they are siblings.
  • In the Mobile Suit Gundam Wing side manga Episode Zero, there is a girl named Midii Une who betrays Trowa. She does not mention having any female relatives (and the reason she betrays Trowa and his mercenaries is that she needed money to care for her sick father and her younger brothers, which suggests that her mother may be out of the picture.) She isn't Lady Une, but some fans believe that they may be related in some way.
  • My Hero Academia: Dabi has an uncanny relation to the Todoroki family. While genetic evidence extends only to his Fire Quirk and his eyes being the same color as the family patriarch, Endeavor, the circumstantial evidence is extensive; having an abusive father who is also a pro hero falls perfectly in line with his motivations, he is covered in mysterious burn scars, he deliberately avoids revealing his real name to people, even saying that it will be revealed "at the right time" as if it's somehow significant, and has been kept away from any situation where it might forcibly be revealed such as when the hideout got raided. Tying his appearance into the family is difficult as he is very disfigured, but flashbacks show that Endeavor's hair was virtually identical to Dabi's at his age. During the Camp Raid Arc, he gave Shoto a lengthened look and commented "Shoto Todoroki, how sad...", and a similarly significant-feeling encounter happened between him and Endeavor sometime later, ending with a promise that they'd meet again. Chapter 290 reveals he indeed is Toya Todoroki.
  • Naruto:
    • The series has always been intentionally vague on whether Hinata and Hanabi's Missing Mom was a Hyuga before marriage. She's only shown in one anime-only photograph where she has her eyes shut, making it impossible to know whether she had Byakugan or not. Her hair is unusually blue (which Hinata inherited), with most Hyuga characters having black or brown hair, which might hint she's from outside the clan. Muddling this more, Boruto reveals that not all Hyuga have Byakugan and that some people with Byakugan don't have the standard milky eyes.
    • Sasuke and Itachi's parents also suffer from a vagueness on whether they're related or not. They both have the dark hair and eyes associated with Uchiha (and Itachi dated an Uchiha named Izumi, showing that romance between distant relatives isn't too frowned upon in the Uchiha clan), but it is never specified. An anime-only filler has their parents going away to visit their maternal grandparents, implying they live outside the Uchiha compound.
  • In Nuko Duke, both Kei and Kana (who are explicitly stated to be Half-Identical Twins) demonstrate Big Brother Instinct towards Sasame, although it's not exactly clear if Sasame is actually their biological sister of if they are simply Like Brother and Sister.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • Sir Aaron from Pokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew resembles Ash Ketchum in appearance and aura such that Lucario initially mistook Ash for Aaron. That they both have the rare ability of Aura only deepens the possibility of Aaron being a distant relation. The main anime would later feature Riley, another Aura user who's training to be a Aura Guardian like Aaron and has an even stronger resemblance in appearance and wardrobe. More coincidentally, there was another Aura Guardian in ancient times with a Pikachu that Ash was mistaken for whose feat Ash duplicated in sealing a Spiritomb.
    • Episode 59 of the Diamond and Pearl series ("Luxray Vision!") features a young Officer Jenny-in-training named Marble. While it can be assumed she's related to that episode's Jenny due to her appearance and that her name is therefore "Marble Jenny", all that's officially stated is Marble's status as "Jenny Trainee #1."
  • Texhnolyze: Both Kano and Ran have yellow eyes, while other characters have realistic eyes colours. Kano refers to Ran as his sister, but he may speak metaphorical. Also Kano is completely insane.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GO RUSH!! has managed to do this with the entire setting and most of the human cast, which are all named after characters and places from the previous series, Yu-Gi-Oh! SEVENS. Much of the human cast resembles characters from SEVENS and retain the same voice actors, and even some of the aliens resemble SEVENS characters, including Venus Ganiko, who for bonus points is this trope to six Identical Strangers who were already this trope. When the first cases of these characters were revealed, the advertising material made it a point to wonder if they'd been seen before, though at least one of those characters has been confirmed as different by the series. Eventually it is revealed that GO RUSH!! is a distant prequel, with Yuga from the previous series having time traveled back as a result of the finale of the previous series and being responsible for the various temporal discrepancies, implying that the various cast members are the ancestors of their counterparts in Yuga's time, though this has not been officially confirmed.
  • This is used as a plot point in Yuureitou. It's revealed that Satoko's mother slept around a lot, meaning that it's impossible to know whether Marube is her biological father or not. Satoko is deeply upset when she learns this and it's the final straw that gets her to run away from her abusive father.

    Comic Books 
  • Aquaman villain Marine Marauder never had his true identity revealed. His successor, Marlene Simmons, makes a reference to her late brother in her first appearance, and Who's Who in the DC Universe speculates that this brother might have been the original Marauder, but doesn't know for certain.
  • Batman and Batwoman split the difference between this and Depending on the Writer. Her last name is his mother's maiden name and they both come from rich Gotham families. Usually they're just vaguely related but some writers have made them as close as first cousins. The Batwoman TV series made a greater point of the relationship, which has been Ret Canoned into the comics.
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe:
    • Moby Duck, a supporting character who had his own title back in the day, may or may not be Donald Duck's uncle. In his first appearance, Donald didn't seem to know him at all, but numerous later stories had him employing miscellaneous cousins of Donald as ship-mates, and considering how incompetent they all are, the only plausible reason he'd hire them would be that they are family. And indeed, Moby has been included on some Duck family trees, but only some (and never in the same place, either).
    • Likewise, Ludwig von Drake is referred to as Donald's uncle, but different authors contradict each other as to how he is related to the other Ducks. According to Walt Disney himself, he's the brother of Donald's father, while in Tony Strobl's stories he's depicted as Grandma Duck's cousin, and Don Rosa claims he is/was married to Scrooge's sister Matilda, making him Donald's uncle by marriage.
  • Tintin's Thomson and Thompson are so alike that many readers unthinkingly assume they are truly twins, but their different last names make this unlikely. Although could they be cousins? Half-brothers? Maybe "Thomson" and "Thompson" are actually unusual first names, and they share an unknown surname?

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • A Different Kind of Truth presents an odd case of Related in the Adaptation. As it turns out, the Female Protagonist of Persona 3 is named Megumi Kujo in this fic. Kujo is the surname of several members of the Joestar family in both the pre Made in Heaven universe and the post Made in Heaven universe. While she was already hinted to have some form of connection to Johnny due to appearing when Johnny first awakened to Tusk Act 1, and whenever Tusk evolves, the fact that she has the same last name as known members of the Joestar family heavily implies that the reason that connection exists is because Megumi herself is in fact a Joestar.
  • In Fidget, You Are a Mystery, Gadget, Penny and the Gadgetinis travel back in time to the middle ages and meet a knight named Josef Tol and his younger brother Milo. While Josef resembles a younger and taller Gadget, and has a habit of crafting mini weapons, it's never established whether or not he and Milo are related to the Gadget family.
  • Haigha plays with this. Since Izuku has rabbit-like features, unscrupulous members of the press latch onto the idea that he might be related to Miruko. She responds to their harassment by messing with the media, offering up a variety of off-the-cuff, wildly conflicting and increasingly ridiculous answers. Later, she gets Izuku in on the fun, ratcheting up the confusion and speculation surrounding the pair.
  • Mass Effect The Equestrian Equation is a case where they become Ambiguously Related. It's revealed Equestria was simulation à la The Matrix that regularly tapered with their memories and many ponies, including Rarity and Twilight Sparkle's parents were but programs. Rarity bring up the question of who there actual parents are and gets tested to determine their relationship with her "sister" Sweetie Belle. Complicating this is that the equestrians small population mean all of them are to some degree related. The test results are kept confidential even from readers, but Rarity doesn't let them change her relationship with Sweetie Belle.
  • Once Upon a Time in Canterlot is a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Fan Animation. In it, Derpy Hooves goes Mama Bear on changelings that try to hurt Dinky and Amethyst. Dinky is undeniably supposed to be Derpy's daughter, however Amethyst's relationship to Derpy is the one in question. Despite their lack of resemblance, it's not uncommon to see Amethyst and Derpy written as mother and daughter (either adopted or biological) because one episode depicted Amethyst and Dinky going to the Sisterhood Social. Then again, their relationship isn't clarified in the short, so many in the comments believe that Amethyst is Dinky's babysitter, not her sister.
  • In early chapters of RWBY: Scars, it was ambiguous whether Roman and his similar-dressing ally Neo were related or not. Roman claimed that Neo was his daughter, but he also could have been lying. A flashback chapter reveals that Roman is indeed Neo's biological father.
  • In Shadow of Another Hero, Link looks near identical to Zelda's Link, though whether he's an Identical Grandson or it's a quirk of reincarnation is left unsaid.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fic Temporal Visitor, Celestia and Luna come from two different clans despite being sisters. Whether this means they're half-sisters, adopted sisters, or just full sisters who live in different clans isn't specified.
  • Quite common in Xenoblade Chronicles 3 fics. Due to the heavy use of Ambiguously Related in canon, Related in the Adaptation is used a lot in fics. However, the ambiguity often at least gets referenced. Sena gets the brunt of this, since she shares a visual connection to a character from a previous game, but the implication that she's a full Blade should make that impossible.
    • A Destroyer's Remorse: Sena is the first of a new type of Blade: Two Blades work together to put their data in a blank core crystal, which a human then awakens, and the new Blade manifests as a baby who grows normally instead of a Born as an Adult immortal. The problem is society hasn't quite decided what all that means. Sena's mother is Brighid and her father Aegeon, but they aren't in a romantic relationship. Sena's Driver is Morag, who is possibly in a relationship with Brighid, but Sena calls her "Auntie." Sena is often called "Sena Ardanach" (as Morag is part of the royal family), but one time someone called her "Sena Ladair" (Morag's family, a reference to how she was supposed to be empress), and it caused a very long legislative session with the Imperial Court. The whole mess was one of the reasons Sena entered Aionios so unsure of her own identity.
    • Campfire Conversations: Linka explicitly mentions Sena as one of her cousins, the daughter of Brighid and Morag, before realizing she doesn't actually know how two women produced a child (she was young when Intersection happened, and no one explained it to her). She assumes a donor was used.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Lion King II: Simba's Pride:
    • Vitani and Nuka. Kovu was adopted by Scar and possibly Zira as well. Vitani and Nuka are most likely Zira's biological children, however their parentage is otherwise unclear. Nuka resembles Scar (but then again so does Kovu) and complains that Scar wasn't even Kovu's father in a manner that suggests he should have been Scar's heir instead. Nuka calls Scar by his name instead of "Father" or "Dad", which makes it more ambiguous. One writer for the film has stated that Nuka is Scar's son, but a different writer has stated that Zira and Scar were never mates. According to the film's director, Darrel Rooney, Zira was originally Scar's lover but this was changed due to worries that Kiara and Kovu would be Kissing Cousins. Zira was still made into "just a follower", but there are implications in both the film, deleted scenes, and The Lion Guard that imply she had an intimate relationship with Scar.
    • Whether Zira is Kovu's biological mother or not isn't obvious. It's stated in the film that that Scar "took him in", which might support the idea that he's adopted, and at least one source calls Kovu an orphan. He was originally imagined as both Scar and Zira's biological son, but his relation to Scar was cut to avoid making him Kissing Cousins with Kiara. No one ever questions whether Zira is Kovu's biological mother and they only mention that Scar isn't his father, which implies that Kovu is Zira's birth son.
    • The Outsiders may or may not be related to the Pridelanders. They were all one pride before the Outsiders were banished, and in Real Life, all the lionesses in a pride are usually related. At the end of the film, Kiara has a speech about how the Outsiders and Pridelanders are "one" and aren't that different from one another.
  • Ursula from The Little Mermaid was originally intended to be Triton's sister and Ariel's Evil Aunt. In the final film, Ursula does know Triton and wants his crown, but it's never explained how they know each other. Various Disney derivatives, including Disney Villains: The Top Secret Files, A Tale of..., and the theatrical adaptation, either heavily imply or explicitly make Ursula into Triton's sister.
  • Played for Laughs in Meet the Robinsons, as Lewis deciphers Wilbur's family tree:
    Lewis: Spike and Dimitri are twins, and I don't know who they're related to.
    Wilbur: Neither do we. Go on.
  • The Dazzlings (Adagio Dazzle, Aria Blaze and Sonata Dusk) from My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks. Them being the only known sirens and always being together despite constant feuding left many assuming there was more to their relationship than just being a team. Adagio refers to them as sisters in the Legends of Magic comic book, but whether it is literal, metaphorical, or honest (as she's trying to manipulate someone at the time) remains ambiguous.
  • Woody and Jessie from Toy Story 2 are two toys based off of characters from the same Show Within a Show Woody's Roundup. While the toys are just good friends, the relationship between the show's Jessie and Woody is never discussed. They dress similarly, are close to one another, and co-star together, which might imply they're either love interests or family, although they could be Platonic Life-Partners like their toy versions too.
  • The Triplets of Belleville: It isn't entirely clear if the eponymous Triplets are actually sisters (they do have physical differences, so they're not identical triplets) or if this is just a stage name they picked ages ago. They certainly are inseparable anyway.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Joker:
    • It's left ambiguous whether Arthur is adopted or not. He finds adoption papers, but it's also possible that they were fabricated by Thomas Wayne (who may be Arthur's father).
    • It's ambiguous whether Arthur and Bruce Wayne are half-brothers. There's evidence both against and for Arthur's father being Thomas Wayne.
  • Transformers Film Series:
    • In Transformers (2007), Optimus and Megatron are referred to as brothers before their falling out over the war. Whether this is literal or metaphorical is complicated by how ambiguous the nature of reproduction is among Cybertronians. Likewise, The Twins and the Bike Sisters are exclusively referred to as relations but in all cases are Combining Mecha who don't really have individual bodies (at first, in the Twin's cases).
    • Transformers: The Last Knight introduces the Order of the Witwiccans who date back to the 5th century when Merlin founded the order to protect the secrets of Cybertronians on earth. Sam Witwicky is implied to be a member and their name clearly resembles his, and in the first film it's shown that Captain Archibald Witwicky discovered Megatron in the ice after his crash, but to what extent the Witwickys are related to the Order and how many have been members is left completely unclear. If Sam is related to Merlin then that would have significant implications on the plot of the film series. For what that's worth.

    Literature 
  • In Dracula, the title character has three female minions: a blonde, who seems to be the leader and romantically involved with Dracula, while the others are described as having Dracula's dark hair and facial features. The protagonists refer to the three as "the Sisters," but there's no firm proof that that's accurate, nor whether it's meant to indicate that they're Dracula's sisters or just related to each other. Some suggest that the two dark-haired vampires are Dracula's daughters, whether or not the blonde is the mother. Meanwhile, virtually every adaptation refers to these three as "the Brides of Dracula."
  • In the Goosebumps tale "An Old Story," the witch villain is supposedly the protagonists' great-aunt. At the end it's revealed that each of the parents just assumed that she was related to the other.
  • The The Hunger Games prequel The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes heavily implies that Katniss is related on her father’s side to the group of nomadic musicians known as The Covey who were trapped in District 12 during the war. Katniss and her father inherited their olive complexion and dark hair, musical talent, they know about their favorite lake in the woods, and Katniss actually knows some of their songs. However, to whom exactly she is related and in what way are never explicitly confirmed. Deuteragonist Lucy Gray Baird isn’t the strongest candidate of the bunch. She is framed for murder by the end of the book and runs off into woods, never to be heard from again and it’s unlikely she would have been able to go back to live in District 12 under an assumed name as a Hunger Games victor. Her cousin, Maude Ivory, is the more likely one to be her grandmother. Lucy Gray says she only has to listen to a song once to memorize it, she’s the one who sings “The Hanging Tree” which is only sung once, Katniss almost word for word says the same thing about herself in one of the books, and she knows the aforementioned song with the implication it was passed from mother to son to daughter. Lucy Gray’s siblings are said to be dead and their other cousin is a lesbian.
  • The Please Don't Tell My Parents series has one across a few books. Marcia and her father, The Original, share a surname with Palooka Joe, another wealthy superhero from I Did NOT Give That Spider Superhuman Intelligence!, but no exact relationship is confirmed. The ambiguity is downplayed but not completely cleared up in Please Don't Tell My Parents You Believe Her, where she refers to her grandfather being a superhero and to Jake Bradley aka Palooka Joe.
  • Princesses of the Pizza Parlor: From Episode 2, two people that look related, but are highly emphaized that they're not, even using Anaphora of "the same [physical quality]" to emphaize their similarity:
    Some people could be forgiven for thinking Katelyn and Cynthia were sisters, or at least cousins. They were about the same build, the same age, and had similar galaxies of freckles spread across their faces. Those people would still be completely mistaken, but it was understandable.
  • In The Rise of Kyoshi, Mok greets Xu Ping An by calling him "big brother." Kyoshi seems to assume that this is literal, though she later muses that, given daofei custom, it's possible that they were "sworn brothers" instead. Lek is also referred to as having a dead brother, though he later clarifies that they weren't actually related.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events's Count Olaf becomes the guardian of the Baudelaire children through claiming he's a close relative of theirs. There is never any evidence to support this claim, but it's mentioned that his hoodwinking of the law on this issue relied on convincing Mr Poe that "closest-living relative" means "the relative who lives closest"... suggesting that he may still genuinely be a distant cousin.
  • The Vampire Chronicles has an in-universe example, where Jesse's narration shows that she really isn't sure how "Aunt Maharet" is actually related to her or whether she's just an odd family friend. It's ultimately revealed that Maharet is a Time Abyss vampire and her great-grandmother by roughly 6000 years worth of "great"s.
  • The Wicked Years:
    • Melena and her husband Frexspar both fell for a quadling glass blower named Turtle Heart. It's left ambiguous throughout Wicked whether Elphaba's sister Nessarose is Turtle Heart or Frex's daughter. The family tree in A Lion Among Men reveals that Nessarose is Frexspar's daughter.
    • Throughout Wicked and Son of a Witch it's a question whether Liir is Elphaba's son. Elphaba fell into an Angst Coma after Fiyero's death and wasn't sure if she birthed Liir or not. Liir is later revealed to be Elphaba and Fiyero's son.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The Sopranos Tony and Christopher are actually cousins. Tony frequently says that Christopher is not only his nephew, but his blood, which could be inaccurate. Dickie Moltisanti, Christopher's father, is the first cousin of Carmela Soprano (nèe DeAngelis). So, Christopher is really Carmela's first cousin once-removed, and only a cousin through marriage to Tony. It's all addressed in Season 5 as "an Italian thing".
  • In Doctor Who, UNIT scientist Petronella Osgood in the new series is presumably related to UNIT scientist Tom Osgood from "The Daemons". However this is never stated on screen. Steven Moffat intended her to be his daughter, but Big Finish Doctor Who names her father as Frank, and vaguely implies Tom might be her uncle. And of course, post-"Death in Heaven" and "The Zygon Inversion", it's an open question whether either of the Petronellas are biologically related to any humans (although, again, Big Finish says the "real" Osgood wasn't the one who was killed).

    Music 
  • Vocaloid: Len and Rin Kagamine are frequently marketed as a package and have similar gendered designs. They have been called twins and mirror images of each other at different points by Crypton Future Media, who has since retracted both positions and considered their relationship up to fan interpretation.

    Theatre 
  • Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer from Cats are two calico housecats who commit thievery and mischief together. It's never concrete if they're Lookalike Lovers or Half-Identical Twins, though at least some sources call them siblings.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Genba No Kizuna, a prequel to Shinrai: Broken Beyond Despair with a different set of characters, some characters share the same last names as Shinrai characters, which probably isn't a coincidence. While Nobuhiko Shinpuku from Genba is the paternal uncle of Raiko Shinpuku, the protagonist of Shinrai, it's unclear how Shinketsu Kikai from Genba is related to Taiko Kikai from Shinrai.
  • A Little Lily Princess: The game's version of Sara's French maid Mariette is given the surname Dumas, which quickly requires Mariette to specify that she isn't aware of having Alexandre Dumas among her close relatives, without denying the possibility when in comes to more distant ones. Another thing the game gave Mariette is skin dark enough to have African ancestry somewhere in her bloodline.

    Web Animation 
  • In Homestar Runner, The elder Brothers Strong, Strong Mad and Strong Bad both have natural skin tones and look like wrestlers, whilst their younger brother Strong Sad has a white face, gray body, and elephant feet. In "caffiene" and "DNA Evidence", Strong Bad says he believes Strong Sad is his adopted brother.

    Webcomics 
  • MoringMark - TOH Comics
    • Milan is the only one of the Fan-Created Offspring to not have her parentage confirmed, though it's heavily implied that she's the daughter of Skara and Viney. She has the former's skin tone, hair colors, and magic specialty, and the latter's eye color, spiked hairband, and is even specified to have a mother that specializes in healing magic. The only thing about her that doesn't immediately tag her as being related to them is the fact that her hair is incredibly frizzy, while they both have much straighter hair. This is no longer the case, however, as chapter 24 of the "Grom Factor" series of comics would finally be confirm that Milan is indeed Skara and Viney's daughter.
    • Milan's girlfriend Ayzee and Pandora are obviously not biologically related given that we know who their parents are (Luz/Amity and Hunter/Willow respectively), but certain details in comics sent during the timeframe of the show's epilogue imply that they might be step cousins as Hunter is all but stated to have been adopted by Darius, who in turn is dating Amity's father Alador.
  • NEXT!!! Sound of the Future: Discussed in the afterword of chapter 4 in regards to counterpart Kagamine Rins and Lens, androids created in pairs who have the same last names, are designed to be the same age, and look very similar. However, the official description given by their production company is that they are “two halves of the same soul” rather than being twins. Because they end up spending a lot of time together during their mandatory idol training, many of them do end up seeing each other as siblings.
    Len: Well, we're not really related? We're androids, after all.
    Rin: But since Kagamines are produced and train together, it's no surprise that most pairs end up seeing each other as family!

    Web Videos 
  • Several characters in Pokémon Legends Neo: Ghetsis have appearances suggesting they're descendants of preexisting characters, but a few of them are never outright confirmed to have a familial connection.
    • Taida's orange hair and ponytail evoke Cerulean Gym Leader Misty. He also works with Water-type Pokémon as part of his job as a Magikarp fishery manager.
    • Pike has a similar hairstyle and manner of dress to Indigo League champion Lance, and is also named after a type of spear.

    Western Animation 
  • Batman: The Animated Series features a downplayed example in the case of Arkady Duvall. We know he is Ra's al Ghul's son, we just don't know if he and Talia share a mother.
  • Debate rages on as to the nature of Chip 'n Dale's relationship. Are they (possibly twin) brothers, friends, or even something more? Official media can't seem to make up their minds either.
  • The DuckTales (2017) episode "Let's Get Dangerous!" ends with Drake taking in Gosalyn, but unlike in the original Darkwing Duck it's never made clear if he officially adopts her (in part because here her grandfather is missing but presumed alive rather than explicitly dead). The Grand Finale even lampshades this, with Webby's String Theory board connecting all the cast having a question mark between them.
  • Hercules: The Animated Series cuts out most of the Tangled Family Tree that is Classical Mythology without outright disputing it. For example, Ares and Athena are referred to as "siblings," as are Apollo and Artemis, but Hercules is the only character explicitly stated to be Zeus' child. There's even a reference to the gods "[giving] birth through their heads," but nobody ever says that Athena is Zeus' daughter or Hercules' sister. The show does canonize Zeus, Poseidon and Hades as brothers, unlike the movie, but understandably avoids the issues that would come from calling Hera their sister.
  • Invader Zim:
  • Uncle in Jackie Chan Adventures may be Jackie and Jade's biological relative or their Honorary Uncle. Jackie calls him uncle, but so does Jade and everyone else. One episode involving time travel reveals that he went by "Uncle" even before Jackie came to live with him. The episode "Mirror, Mirror" downplays the ambiguity, when he, Jackie, Jade and Tohru all return to the location of Uncle's childhood home, which he refers to as "the original birthplace of the Chan family", indicating that he is a Chan by birth, but it never clears up his exact relation to Jackie, Jade and the rest of the Chans.
  • The short A Kitty Bobo Show stars a cat whose parents are two dogs. It's unclear if dogs can have cats in this universe, if he's adopted, or if one of them is a stepparent. According to Kitty's voice actor, the show would have revealed him to be Happily Adopted.
  • In Milo Murphy's Law, Mort and Chad look similar and often hang out together. Them being brothers/cousins was common Fanon before being Jossed by Word of God.
  • In the Muppet Babies (2018) episode "Grandpa Camp", Baby Gonzo draws a picture of himself with his grandparents, who are apparently a photorealistic human couple. This is not elaborated upon in any way.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • The background ponies who participate in "Sisterhooves Social", "Brotherhooves Social", and "The Cart Before the Ponies" are paired with foals of varying degrees of resemblance. The main characters participating have done so with established biological siblings (Rarity and Sweetie Belle, Applejack/Big Macintosh and Apple Bloom) and honorary (Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo), leaving the nature of those pairings open to interpretation.
    • Cloud Chaser and Flitter often appear together, have the same blue pelts, similar eye colors, and similar mane colors. It's not clarified if they're fraternal twins, of another relation, or just similar-looking friends.
    • In "Pinkie Apple Pie", some genealogical records appear to reveal that Pinkie Pie is a distant cousin of Applejack's, but one of the names is smudged on the relevant page. Pinkie goes with AJ's family on a journey to the Apple family historian to clear the issue up — but those family records are smudged as well. At the episode's end, Pinkie and AJ still don't know if they're related, but decide Pinkie can be a member of the Apple family if she wants.
    • In "Grannies Gone Wild", the stage magician Jack Pot looks and acts a lot like a male version of Trixie, and he's old enough to be Trixie's father. For what it's worth, the Loose Canon book My Little Pony: Ultimate Guide does specify that they're father and daughter, and it came out a year before the episode aired. According to the writers is that the implications were intentional but "Hasbro may decide to change their minds down the line somewhere."
  • The Owl House:
    • In "Hunting Palismen", The Golden Guard whose real name is Hunter, is revealed to be the nephew of Emperor Belos, but it isn't clear if Hunter is adopted or biologically related to him. It's hinted and eventually confirmed over the course of the season that Hunter is actually something called a "Grimwalker", and is the latest in a long line of clones created from Philip's older brother.
    • "Them's the Breaks, Kid" features a pair of Potion Track students who look like Boscha split apart; one of them sporting her facial features and third eye, while the other shares her eye and hair color. However, we don't know if one or even both of them happen to be her mothers.
    • In "O Titan, Where Art Thou", Steve is shown to look very similar to Mattholomule when he reveals his face for the first time, leading to the possibility that the two are related. Word of God revealed that they're half-brothers.
  • Pixie, Dixie and Mr. Jinks has the titular mice duo. They are designed very similar but voiced by different actors and nothing is confirmed if they're supposed to be identical twins.
  • Roland And Rattfink: "The Foul Kin" portrays Roland and Rattfink as Rotten Rattfink's nephews but doesn't make it clear if they're brothers or cousins.note 
  • The Simpsons:
  • South Park:
    • Michael of the Goth kids is designed like most white characters, but one episode shows an Asian woman whom he refers to as "Mom." Is he mixed-raced and the limited art style just doesn't reflect this, or is she his stepmother? Adding to the confusion is an earlier episode where he seems to imply that his parents broke up, but then, the Goths are known to be Unreliable Narrators when it comes to angsty backstories, and it's not like South Park kept an airtight continuity in its early seasons.
    • Fanon assumes that Kevin Stoley and Esther are Half-Identical Twins due to their similar designs, though nothing else indicates this.
    • Thomas Tucker (Craig's father) and Skeeter are both tall redheads who are sometimes treated as Straw Rednecks, leading fans to assume that they're brothers. "Good Times With Weapons" also indicates that Skeeter is Red McArthur's father, so many fanfics present her and Craig as cousins.
    • Jimbo Kern is Stan Marsh's uncle. Originally fans assumed that he was related to his mom, Sharon, due to the surname, until "My Future Self 'n' Me" gave her maiden name as Kimball. Word of God said that he was actually Randy's half-brother from a different father ("that's the only way that works, right?"), but "The Pandemic Special" finally canonizes him as Sharon's (half?)-brother.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • Mr. Krabs is a crab; however, his daughter Pearl is a whale, and her mother goes unmentioned. It's never specified in-series if she is adopted or his biological daughter through Interspecies Romance or Random Species Offspring. A book written by one of the writers implies that Mr. Krabs was married to a whale and that Pearl takes after her Missing Mom.
    • While the Primitive Sponge from "SB-129" and SpongeGar from "Ugh" are known to be distant relatives of SpongeBob, it is unknown whether or not Spongy Spongy from "Cave Dwelling Sponge" is related to him. Nonetheless, he closely resembles SpongeBob (save for his sloping forehead and larger cheeks), to the point that he is constantly confused for him (getting SpongeBob into trouble as a result). Also, only SpongeBob can communicate with him.
  • Gems in Steven Universe, thanks to Bizarre Alien Reproduction, don't have biological relatives the way humans do, the only exception being Rose Quartz and Steven. Thus, the series often plays loose with how "familial" relationships between gems are:
    • While Garnet, Pearl, and Rose Quartz live(d) together, they first met as peers, whereas Amethyst was implied to have been raised by them—they were the first people she ever met, and Amethyst was born a Blank Slate instead of being fully Born as an Adult like most Gems. She has been variously treated by the others like an adopted child, younger sibling, or friend (with some viewers seeing her and Pearl as having romantic chemistry).
    • Garnet, Pearl, and Amethyst helped raised Steven, and though he assessed how "mom-like" each was, he never uses any term more specific than "family." In-series, people in town seem confused about how Steven is "related" to the Gems: Mayor Dewey assumes that they're his sisters, Andy referred to them as aunts, and Sadie at one point just refers to them as "Steven's... family?"
    • The Diamonds are extremely close, and there's hints that White Diamond created the other three. Fans debate on how to define the dynamics. Are the four like sisters, or is White Diamond sort of the mother of the others, or were all three older Diamonds co-mothers to Pink? The latter is the most conducive to those who see Yellow and Blue's relationship as more romantic than familial.
    • Among the Off Colors are Conjoined Twins that resulted from a single rutile gemstone branching out in multiple directions. They're referred to by other Gems as the "Rutile Twins", but siblings are explicitly a foreign concept to Gems, so they likely mean "twins" in a geological sense. It is debatable if they can literally be considered siblings.
    • A few times Gems familiar with the concept of family have referred to Gems made together as if they were relatives: Amethyst once called Jasper "sis" and a group of other quartz-type gems her "Famethyst" because they were all made on Earth. Steven told some Rose Quartzes that being made by Pink Diamond makes them and he himself like siblings, though the comparison is kind of lost on them.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
    • The various versions of TMNT don't generally clarify if the turtles are related biologically or just through adoption. As they were non-sapient before their mutation, they may not even know themselves. The exceptions are Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation and Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: In the former, the turtles are explicitly not blood relatives. In the latter, they were unrelated (and of different species) back when they were regular turtles, but were infused with DNA from a single human, thus making them genetic relatives as well.
    • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003): In the sixth season of the show, we're introduced to Cody Jones, a great-grandson to April and Casey. And in that season, his relationship with his Evil Uncle Darius Dun is one of the main storylines. However, in all that time, we never find out if Darius himself is an actual grandson to Casey and April or if he's an outsider who simply married into the family to become Cody's uncle. Given that Darius has the same dark hair and a similar skin tone to Casey, a blood relationship is certainly possible but the audience isn't given any confirmation one way or another.
  • Transformers: Animated featured Continuity Cameos by the Witwicky family, the Autobots' human allies in the Generation 1 cartoon. Spike and Carly are clearly shown to be husband and wife with Daniel still being their son, but the character resembling Spike's father Sparkplug is never seen with the rest of the Witwicky family and is never confirmed to be a Witwicky, which makes it unclear whether he's still related to the Witwickys in this continuity or if he is intended to be an unrelated character who just happens to be based on Spike's father from the Generation 1 cartoon.
  • The Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald: Both the Fry Kids and the McNuggets are a trio of very similar-looking beings who are rarely seen apart, but it isn't made clear whether either group is family or simply likes being together.

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