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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.



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  • 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 
  • 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 seems 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.
  • 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 
  • 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.
  • Moby Duck, a supporting Duckverse 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).
  • 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 
  • 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.
  • 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.

    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.
  • The Dazzlings (Adagio Dazzle, Aria Blaze and Sonata Dusk) from My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks. Their 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.
  • Ursula from The Little Mermaid (1989) 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.

    Films — Live Action 
  • Joker (2019):
    • 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.

  • 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 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".

    Multimedia Franchises 

  • 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.

  • 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.

    Video Games 
  • Animal Crossing has Tom Nook, Timmy, and Tommy. They look like they could be related and have similar names, however it's suggested that Tom is their adopted uncle. Even that is vague because the Japanese term (oji-san) they use can also be used to refer to any man you respect.
  • Animal Restaurant: Eggy claims that Yolky is his little brother when introducing him. However, Gumi wonders, "How do you have a brother all of the sudden?" and Yolky's description is likewise doubtful:
    Eggy says he's his little brother... (maybe Eggy found him?).
  • BattleToads (2020): Throughout a Running Gag, the Toads declare many times their brotherly affection for each other, always bringing up the question of whether or not they are actually brothers, and never answer the question. By the end, they decide to have a talk about it.
  • In BlazBlue: Central Fiction, if you read between the lines of dialogue and foreshadowing, Naoto Kurogane may in fact indirectly be the uncle of Ragna, Jin, and Saya. Their mother (a Prime Field Device) is implied to be based on Naoto's sister, Saya Terumi. It is never explicitly spelled out for the audience. On the other hand, Naoto is also heavily implied to be an Alternate Self of Ragna. Make of that what you will.
  • Cuphead: Elder Kettle is stated to be the caretaker of Cuphead and Mugman, but it's unclear if he's actually their father, grandfather, foster parent, or otherwise. Considering that he's an anthropomorphic kettle, and they're cup-headed people, they do look somewhat different, although it could still be a considered a Strong Family Resemblance compared to the other characters in the game.
  • The cats in Feed the Cat all look alike, with some being kittens and the rest being adult cats, so it's possible they're siblings from two separate litters, one older and one younger.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Two of Marth's loyal knights in Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light are the cavaliers, Cain and Abel. They're named after a famous pair of mythological brothers, and they're coloured red and green, just like Nintendo's most prominent brothers. Despite this, they are never specifically referred to as brothers.
    • Done infamously in Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War with Claud and Sylvia. They both have the same Heroic Lineage (Braggi blood), and Claud mentions in a conversation that he once had a sister who he lost contact with and would be about Sylvia's age if she were alive... the, ahem, strange part about this is this conversation sets the two on the path to becoming love interests. The developer has stated that they're merely "distant cousins", but whether this is an attempt to dodge the issue is unknown.
    • Nino's supports with Canas in Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade imply that he might be her uncle, as both Canas' wife's sister and Nino's mother were named Iris. Canas also points out that they could simply be two women with the same name, so neither of them know for certain, but they both think it would be nice if it were true.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's: Vanny/Vanessa might be a relation of the Afton family. Later Five Nights at Freddy's AR: Special Delivery emails refer to her as "Vanessa A." Whether she is related by blood, she changed her name as a show of devotion, or if this is a Red Herring is unclear. The Retro CDs in Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach focus on what appear to be her therapy appointments, which reveal she had an Abusive Dad who made her testify against her mother in a custody battle when she was a child. However, one of the last ones imply that the details don't line up. Since she referred to her dad as "Bill," a nickname for William, she may have either been lying outright, was trying to talk about her dynamic with Glitchtrap in a way that a normal person would understand, somehow developed Fake Memories, or was telling the truth on some level. The fact that William has been undead for a long time doesn't help the ambiguity, nor the possibility that there might be multiple patients on the CDs.
  • Harvest Moon (Story of Seasons):
    • Harvest Moon 64 has this between the protagonist and all the bachelorettes. Pete is the Identical Grandchild of the protagonist from the first game. All of the bachelorettes are related to bachelorettes from the first gamenote . This means that one of them should be your cousin. The problem is that none of them ever mention being your cousin. It can't be Elli since Ellen isn't your grandmother, which leaves the other three girls. Karen and Ann are options because Eve and SNES Ann had at least two kids, which is possible in the original game, but it isn't obligatory. Either way, it's to be assumed that your wife is the one who isn't your cousin.
    • It's never mentioned whether Karen's mother (unnamed in 64 but named "Sasha" in future titles) or her father Gotz is Eve's child. It's more so implied to be Sasha due to her having dirty blonde hair in a similar hairstyle as Eve's.
  • Popo and Nana, the playable characters from Ice Climber, are depicted in Super Smash Bros. as having a very close lover-esque relationship, described as "rarely seen apart." The Melee intro at one point even shows Popo and Nana giving each other a high five, with a heart coming out where their hands meet. However, given that they look and sound like children (too young to be lovers), and that they have identical features, many believe that they are actually siblings. Word of God states that the nature of their relationship is up to the player's interpretation. However, the Japanese title of Event 21 in Melee roughly translates to "Those Who Interfere People's Romance", and an update to the Japanese Melee website explains that they're "more than friends, but not quite lovers."
  • Kirby:
    • Lololo and Lalala are almost never seen apart, and their only differences are their colors and Lalala's bow. While the games never elaborate on the relationship between the two, the characters they were based on, Lolo and Lala, are in a romantic relationship. The anime (which is in an Alternate Continuity to the games) has them as two halves of what was originally one monster, who was split into two for having a useless ability and not wanting to fight.
    • Whenever Meta Knight's mask is removed, he's revealed to look identical to Kirby, suggesting they are at least the same species. The implications of this, given he's opposed Kirby as often as allied and seemingly wants to keep his true appearance hidden (Meta Knight flees immediately after losing his mask) remain mysterious.
    • Ado, a boss from Kirby's Dream Land 3, and Adeline, a boss-turned-playable ally from Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, may or may not be the same character; both are young painters with similar appearances and the Japanese Romanization of Adeline is Adorēnu (with Adeline's name in internal files sometimes being shortened to "Ado"), leading many to believe "Ado" is a nickname. Several manga adaptations of Dream Land 3 even depicted Ado in a nearly identical fashion to Adeline's final design in 64. 20th Anniversary Hoshi no Kirby Pupupu Taizen, the series' 20th anniversary artbook, would confirm that Ado is a girl just like Adeline, thus clearing up the biggest potential hurdle (as Ado looked far more androgynous and was often assumed to be a boy by fans before then), and tease the "Ado is a nickname" theory, but ultimately states it's unknown if they're the same person. Adeline's next appearance as a Dream Friend in Kirby Star Allies gave her an attack named "Ado's Painter", which, much like Ado in Dream Land 3, can summon Kracko (a recurring boss) to attack. Fanon mostly settled on "Ado = Adeline", while the Kirby Wiki covers both characters on its page for Adeline (albeit with a disclaimer that ambiguity still remains and there has yet to be a direct confirmation). The Kirby Manga Mania manga from 2018, while non-canon, also considers the two characters to be one in the same.
    • The aforementioned Pupupu Taizen artbook lists Dark Nebula from Kirby: Squeak Squad as one of the "Dark Matter Invaders", but states its true relationship to Zero (the entity in control of said invaders) is unclear. Not helping matters is how its original name is Dark Zero. Most fans believe it to be a rogue, but still antagonistic, offshoot of the "main" Dark Matter species.
    • While originally introduced as a standalone antagonist, Drawcia, the Big Bad of Kirby: Canvas Curse, has been succeeded by (mid-)bosses of a similar nature who are suggested to be her sisters: Paintra of Kirby: Triple Deluxe (Paincia in the original Japanese) and Vividria of Kirby Star Allies (Vivitia in the original Japanese). Paintra's Flavor Text mentions "a painting said to depict a pair of sisters separated at birth" while Vividria's mentions how she wishes to prove herself to her sisters (and get into a good art school). Additionally, a piece of concept art from the art booklet included with the Star Allies soundtrack depicts the trio along with Claycia from Kirby and the Rainbow Curse (the Spiritual Successor to Canvas Curse). Drawcia and Paintra are labeled "姉様" (ane-sama), seemingly confirming they're Vividria's elder sisters. Claycia, on the other hand, is denoted with the "-san" prefix, suggesting there's no familial relation, only a shared "art-sorceress" theme.
    • Kirby Star Allies:
      • The Three Mage-Sisters are indeed described as "sisters" in Hyness (their boss') Flavor Text. However, in the Japanese version, a more specific meaning for the term used is rather a sisterhood (i.e. of nuns). Note that Hyness himself is called an "Officiant". Later, Nintendo Switch's Kirby Star Allies Channel acknowledged the two meanings and they deem it as a "mystery" akin to Kirby and Meta Knight's own ambiguous relation. Dialog in the game's DLC suggests that they're not related by blood, but for what it's worth, Nintendo of America seems to prefer treating them as a family, so it could be that they view Hyness as their adoptive father and thus both interpretations are somehow correct.
      • Due to lines in the villain's Motive Rant and the Wham Shots that the Final Boss Void Termina has, it's implied that said Final Boss is related to Dark Matter (an old reoccuring villain; Void Termina's core can transform into something resembling it), Zero (Dark Matter's "boss"), the "ancients" (who made the Master Crown, and Void Termina can make a replica of it), and even Kirby himself (its core primarily displays a face similar to Kirby's, helped by its pink coloration).
  • Zack and Jess in JumpStart Adventures 6th Grade: Mission Earthquest. At least Uncle Eli seems to be uncle to both of them.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • 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.
  • In Littlewood, many of the Townsfolk suspect Willow and Dalton of being brother and sister. They both accompanied the Hero on their original adventure, and despite bickering constantly, they seem close. However, the true nature of their relationship is never divulged.
  • Luxaren Allure: The Big Bad, Evil Overlord Darkloft, is revealed to have blonde hair during the final battle, which the developer states is a hint that she's distantly related to Aurelie's infernal element family. However, the developer states that it's a possibility and doesn't confirm this.
  • Mortal Kombat: Whether or not Liu Kang is a descendant of the Great Kung Lao is a source of much confusion and debate. The first depiction of him being a descendant of the Great Kung Lao was in the first movie where Kang was a Composite Character of himself and his fellow shaolin monk from the games, Kung Lao, the namesake and descendant of the Great Kung Lao in the games. Goro's bio in Mortal Kombat 4 states that Liu Kang is indeed a descendantnote  of the Great Kung Lao. However, this relationship is never mentioned in the games' stories nor do any of Kang's endings and bios mention him and Kung Lao being cousins with Kung Lao's connection to the Great Kung Lao being the only one that is ever acknowledged.
  • Pit People: The exact nature of the relationship between Honey Hug and Honey Kiss is never specified. All we know is that Honey Kiss was so devastated by Honey Hug's accidental death at the end of Battleblock Theater that he wanted to destroy the world.
  • Pokémon:
    • Ariana from Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver has a striking resemblance to Silver, The Rival of the Johto games. The two share the same red hair in the same hairstyle. Ariana is a Team Rocket Executive and Silver is the son of the former Team Rocket leader, but whether they're related is never specified. Ariana's relationship with Giovanni has never been discussed nor does she speak of him in a manner associated with a lover, making this case unsolved for the foreseeable future. Considering that N and Ghetsis look identical despite not actually being related, it could just be a massive coincidence.
    • Elite Four Bertha in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl bears a striking resemblance to Kanto Elite Four Agatha, which is even lampshaded in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 by Shauntal of the Unova Elite Four. Quote  While ordinarily this could just be chalked up to coincidence, in Pokémon Legends: Arceus Bertha's identical grandmother Charm mentions originally hailing from Kanto, hinting at a familial relationship between the two. Furthermore, Bertha and Agatha are known for using Ground and Ghost types respectively, while Charm uses both.
    • Pokémon Legends: Arceus makes it across the board. Almost every major or recurring character in the game is implied to be the ancestor of another character in the franchise (though largely those from Generation IV, given that Hisui is the past version of Sinnoh), mostly through similarities in hairstyle and facial features, but it is never clarified whether they truly are related or not. This is particularly true in the case of Cynthia, who has two possible ancestors: Volo and Cogita, both of whom heavily emulate her looks, while the former also has her Signature Mon and the latter has her outfit's color palette. Whether any, either, or both of them are her ancestors is left unclear, not helped by Cogita's having a major case of Vague Age which suggests she's much older than she looks. The only connection that is confirmed is Kamado being an ancestor of Professor Rowan.
  • Psychonauts: Bobby Zilch and Doctor Loboto both have blue skin and mismatched red-green eyes. However, they never bring the other up at all. Psychonauts 2 has Doctor Loboto sneak back to Whispering Rock in the post-game because according to him, he left his kid there. Take that as you will.
  • In Saints Row: The Third, one exchange between The Boss and Kinzie vaguely implies that The Boss may be directly related to Matt Miller's girlfriend.
  • Silhouette Mirage has Armageddon refer to Shyna Nera Shyna as "Sis". They also have the most similar character design, are both creations of Edo, are the rare individuals possessing both Silhouette and Mirage, and are its most powerful wielders. Whether they're only related by being products of Edo's experiment or anything more is, like much of the games ending, left ambiguous.
  • This pops up quite a bit in various SNK titles.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: Sonic, Shadow, and Silver all have very inexplicable similarities with each other; they all share the same exact height and weightnote , and share some connection with the series' main MacGuffin, the Chaos Emeralds. Word of God states they're the only ones capable of harnessing their powers, something fellow hedgehog Amy Rose isn't able to do. Despite this, however, they're apparently not related in any way; Shadow was created 50 years before Sonic was born, and Silver was born 200 years into the future long after Sonic would have been alive. Fanon speculates Shadow's creator, Prof. Gerald Robotnik, based his appearance off of a mural in Sonic 3 & Knuckles depicting Sonic (in his Golden Super Mode) fighting against his grandson, series Big Bad Dr. Eggman. Hence, Shadow's appearance resembling Super Sonic. Silver is speculated to be related to Shadow due to the latter's Immortality allowing him to theoretically be able to live out until Silver's time (the now erased Bad Future seen in Sonic '06 shows that Shadow was indeed still alive at that time albeit due to having been captured and placed in stasis), with many even believing that Shadow is Silver's father (though this is mainly chalked up to how they appear to be based on Vegeta and Future Trunks as well the Universal-Adaptor Cast of Sonic and the Black Knight depicting them as Lancelot and Galahad).
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Wario and Waluigi are the Evil Counterparts to twins Mario and Luigi. However, their relationship is unspecified. It's unknown if they're also brothers.
    • Peach and Daisy have a passing resemblance and it's not unknown for real-world royal families to mingle. At least one strategy guide has mentioned them being cousins, but it's not a canonical source.
    • Peach and Rosalina. They share similar blue eyes and blonde hair. Despite not officially being a princess, it's implied Rosalina is of royal blood. She wears a crown on her head and has worn it since childhood. She has also apparently lived near (or in) a castle as a child. It's possible that Peach is a descendant of Rosalina's through her brother. Early in the development of Rosalina, the two were related somehow, which explains their similarities.
    • Bowser was originally the Koopalings' father. By Bowser Jr.'s introduction in Super Mario Sunshine, this was left up in the air for a decade until the Koopalings were retconned by Shigeru Miyamoto as not Bowser's children. Their current relationship is a mystery, with some official localizations even having the freedom to poke fun at it.
    • Are Toad and Toadette siblings or love interests? No one knows. Nintendo changes stances often.
  • Undertale:
    • W.D. Gaster appears to be related to Sans: they both speak in and are named after unique fonts (Wingdings and Comic Sans, respectively), both were involved in scientific research prior to the events of the game, Sans has access to weapons called Gaster Blasters, and a sprite commonly believed to be Gaster looks somewhat skeletal. As a result, it's popular to interpret Gaster as Sans' brother or father, but Gaster's nature as a Deconstruction of Dummied Out content means the truth of their connection will never be known.
    • This trope is also zig-zagged with Gaster and Papyrus. If Gaster is indeed related to Sans, it should follow that he's related to Sans' brother Papyrus as well, but the game is strangely silent on the subject of their relationship. Compared to the relatively large amount of evidence linking Sans and Gaster, there's nothing even hinting at a connection between Gaster and Papyrus except for their unique typefaces and their relationships with Sans.

    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.
  • 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 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 step-parent. 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.
  • 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 who real name is Hunter, is revealed to be Emperor Belos nephew, but it is unknown if Hunter is adopted or biologically related to the emperor. There is evidence both supporting that Hunter was adopted or biologically related to Belos. When Hunter was talking with Belos alone, and Hunter suggests researching wild magic, Belos reminded him wild magic destroyed their family. They are what all that reminds of their family. However, when talking to Luz, Hunter revealed that he couldn't use magic, that his ancestors could not use magic, and he did not think he has a future in this world until Emperor Belos took him in. This could mean Hunter is an orphan from a magic-less family that Belos took in, or he is a member of Emperor Belos' family that was magic-less, and after their family was destroyed, Belos took him in.
    • "Eclipse Lake" implies that Hunter may be actually something called a "Grimwalker", created by Belos as a literal ingredient in his plans. And when speaking to him in the cold open, Hunter addresses Belos as "Emperor Belos" rather than "Uncle", and privately refers to him as just "Belos".
    • The Reveal in "Elsewhere and Elsewhen" that Belos is actually Philip further muddles things. Did Philip have hybrid descendants, or is there no blood relation between the two of them at all?
    • "Hollow Mind" puts the ambiguity to rest with the reveal that Hunter is indeed a Grimwalker and is the latest in a long line of clones created from Philip's older brother. At the same time, it throws new ambiguity into the mix with the implication that the brother is actually an ancestor of the Clawthorne family due to Philip's memory portraits showing him in a relationship with a red-headed witch that bears more than a passing resemblance to Eda.
    • In an example that doesn't involve Belos in any way, "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 possiblity that the two are related (and that he might even be the unseen older brother Mattholomule mentioned in "Through the Looking Glass Ruins").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.
  • 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'"
    • 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.
  • 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.