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Big Brother Instinct

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"Big brothers... you know why they're born first? To protect the little ones that come after them!"
Ichigo Kurosaki, Bleach


One very common way to establish that a male (or increasingly frequently female) character is a Nice Person (even if the niceness is hidden under a gruff exterior) is to give them an instinctive desire to be a respectable big sibling to smaller or younger characters (in more cases female than male). These other characters may be truly younger siblings, or they may be completely unrelated, or even older, but the feeling is the same: to act as their protector.

The Big Brother Instinct serves to explain fan attraction to Moe tropes and devices as an emotional, rather than sexual, response. There seems to be something inherently comforting to an awkward male about being looked up to by a younger girl for support. Therefore, Moe can be wish fulfillment about taking a "big brother role" instead of about being a Love Interest. Rather amusingly, it's also quite often that the trope gets inverted, and the younger sibling wants to protect the older instead. Hilarity Ensues when both versions happen at the same time.


If both characters are male, the older (or in the case of twins, the physically stronger) brother will usually act as the younger/smaller brother's protector, to the point of treating him like a child, even when the younger brother is fully capable of protecting himself. This behavior can come across as loving and nurturing or as condescending and smothering. If the older brother goes to extreme, morally questionable lengths for the sake of the younger sibling, then they are a Knight Templar Big Brother.

Compare Mama Bear, Papa Wolf, Family Man and Promotion to Parent. Compare/Contrast Big Brother Bully. While the two may seem mutually exclusive at first glance, they frequently overlap in both fiction and reality: the same sibling who makes their little sister's life a constant parade of pranks may have a If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her... conversation with her new boyfriend. Also, contrast with Disappointing Older Sibling when the character either lacks the Big Brother Instinct or is completely ineffectual at protecting the younger sibling.


Has nothing to do with the TV show Big Brother. The 1984 meaning of "Big Brother" is covered under Big Brother Is Watching.


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    Comic Books 
  • Occurs with (intentionally invoked) Unfortunate Implications in American Born Chinese: When the Chinese boy Jin starts to date his classmate Amelia Harris, an Anglo friend strongly urges Jin to stop, saying he wants her to "make good choices."
  • Batman: Dick Grayson's relationship with everyone he knows, him being on both ends. Be they a Titan, Leaguer or one of the Batfamily, Dick will make sure to get you messed up for harming them. Be they a Titan, Leaguer, or Bat, they will make sure to get you messed up for harming him. As Jason Todd found out, even if you're his brother, you do NOT hurt one of the other brothers.
    • Special mention to his relationship with Tim Drake, the third Robin and Dick's adopted little brother. One issue had Tim believed to have been killed by the Joker when a mass Arkham escape was in progress. Nightwing then beats the Joker to death with his bare hands, it didn't help that the Joker decided to bring up how he had also killed Jason Todd (the first of Nightwing's adopted little brothers). The Joker was just lucky Batman was around to revive him.
    • And a second one to Dick's relationship with Batman's biological son Damian Wayne, who eventually softens up to Dick, though he probably wouldn't say it out loud.
    • Catwoman tends to be a female version of this whenever she acquires a female tagalong who's too old for this to be considered Mama Bear.
    • Kate Kane was this to her twin sister Beth, whose personality was meeker than Kate's. On one occassion Kate even beat up an older boy who was bullying her.
  • In Mega Robo Bros, whenever Freddy is threatened, Alez will immediately rush to his defense.
  • The Mighty Thor: Thor treated Loki this way in early flashbacks to their childhood; however, it only aggravated Loki's already raging inferiority complex, putting him on the path to villainy.
    • However, after Loki accidentally brought about the near-total destruction of Asgard, was killed in a last-ditch heroic sacrifice to save what was left (that may have been part of The Plan) and reincarnated as a kid with only his childhood memories, he appreciates this protection a lot, since the only reason most people in Asgard haven't killed him yet is because they know Thor would go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge on them and the city if Loki is harmed.
      • Kid Loki seems to be similarly protective of Thor. During the Fear Itself event, he engages in dark dealings and agrees to restore the Ragnarok Cycle all to save Thor from being killed by The Serpent.
    • Thor has always been like this towards Loki even when the latter was a villain. For better or for worse, Thor sees Loki as his responsibility. Thor will always foil Loki's evil plots and step in to save him from worse threats.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (IDW):
    • In the first arc (Issues 1-4), Rarity and Applejack (normally Vitriolic Best Buds) are willing to go off by themselves to rescue their respective little sisters, when it seems that Twilight's overthinking will slow everything down.
      • Also, Rainbow Dash is fiercely protective of Scootaloo, even though (continuity-wise) the arc is set before their official bonding episode.
    • Celestia shows this towards Luna on a few occasions. It may be a small thing, like shielding her temporarily defeated little sister in the second arc (Issues 5-8) – or a full-on-power suicidal attack on her mirror-world Evil Counterpart, who hurt both versions of Luna (due to unexpected synchronization between the two worlds), in the seventh arc (Issues 17-20). She's only stopped by a magical barrier conjured up by Mirror!King Sombra.
  • Quicksilver is protective to the point of jealousy when it comes to his sister the Scarlet Witch. This is taken further in Ultimate Marvel.
  • It's complicated, but both Superman and Supergirl are this to each other (Supergirl is technically at least fifteen years older, but due to suspended animation shenanigans, Superman is a grown man while she's still a teenager).
    • In the Red Daughter of Krypton arc, Superman was NOT amused when he found out what his cousin had became a Red Lantern, and both Green and Red Lanterns were frightened of what he would do should he blame them. Later on, when one of Supergirl's enemies mentioned that he would go after her cousin after defeating her, she pounced on him and beat him.
    • In War World Superman is trying to find Supergirl, who has gone missing. When The Spectre -literally God's Wrath's embodiment- gets in his way, Superman tries to punch him. Superman is not prone to listen to reason if Kara is in danger.
    • In The Supergirl from Krypton, Superman is very overprotective of his long-lost, new-fond young cousin. Very, very overprotective and short-tempered. Darkseid found out the hard way.
    • In Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade, Superman is protective from his cousin... and Lex Luthor from Lena. Say whatever you want about Lex, but he cares for his little sister.
      Lex: Lena is my sister, alien... I'm going to save her.
    • Say what you will about Bizarro, but in Bizarrogirl , he intended to flee because he wanted to protect his young cousin at all costs.
  • In a Star Wars Tales series, mercenary Darca Nyl comes across a mentally handicapped GIANT of a man and his petite sister fleeing from pursuers. One night, while camping, the girl is set upon by a huge and vicious predator. Darca knows that he can't reach them in time to save her, when the man leaps at the beast with a large rock in his hands. Several minutes later, the creature has long since stopped moving and he keeps smashing at it with the rock.
  • In Switch, Mary, the protagonist, explains that she once saw a boy getting bullied but left pretending she hadn't seen anything. In contrast, when a giant monsters throws a van against her little brother, she rushes to get him out of the way and gets crushed instead (though the Witchblade heals her injuries).
  • X-Men:
    • Has this with Wolverine being a Big Brother Mentor to the younger heroines, including Kitty Pryde, Jubilee, and his Opposite-Sex Clone X-23.
    • Gender and age-inverted with X-23 herself, who in Wolverines #1 is shown to have become highly protective of her older "brother" Daken after his healing factor was shut down at the end of The Logan Legacy by Siphon, and tells him to stay back while she deals with any members of the Wrecking Crew they come across.
      • Still gender-inverted, but otherwise played straight between Laura and the Sisters — four clones of her created by Alchemax Genetics — in All-New Wolverine. She goes through great lengths to protect and help them, nearly loses her cool when she thinks Taskmaster killed them, and is visibly upset when Doctor Strange admits he can't help her cure the girls despite her assurances she would get them through it.
    • Anyone who messes with Nightcrawler’s stepsister Rogue is in for a Teleport Spam. On the flip-side Rogue cares deeply for her adoptive blue brother and once carried him in her arms to save him falling off a waterfall.
    • Gambit’s first canon appearance was looking after Kid Storm and same as Wolverine he explicitly cares for Jubilee and X-23.
    • Though they can find it hard to get along, Cyclops still tends to treat Havok this way, insisting on carrying his coma-ridden brother into the X-Mansion despite the presence of a wheelchair and being so protective and interfering that they're mistaken for a couple in an issue of X-Factor.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Several from the Classical Mythology:
    • Apollo, despite being the younger twin, tricks his twin sister Artemis into killing Orion because he feared this was one guy for whom she could give up her vow of chastity.
    • To the great surprise of those who watched the movie Troy, Agamemnon in the original Classical Mythology and The Iliad has this in spades where Menelaus is concerned. Paris fucked with Menelaus, Agamemnon will make Troy burn.
    • Speaking of Troy, Helen of Troy was once kidnapped by the hero Theseus (according to some accounts, at the age of seven) because her beauty was so great he wanted to marry her – her brothers Castor and Pollux got her back, though.
    • There's also one regarding Castor and Pollux themselves. Castor was the son of Leda and her husband, the King of Sparta. Pollux was the result of Leda being seduced by Zeus, but it hardly mattered to them. The brothers were inseparable heroes until they were defeated in battle. Pollux, being a demigod, went up to Olympus, but was unhappy because his brother was in the mortal underworld. so Pollux marched down there and refused to leave unless Castor went with him, presenting the Gods with a tricky conundrum. Long story short, the brothers became the constellation Gemini.
    • There's a Big Sister Instinct in the play Antigone. Oedipus' two sons, Eteocles and Polynices, were quarreling over the kingdom inheritance and eventually killed each other in a duel. Their uncle, Creon, decried that no one would bury the brother he liked less (essentially leaving him to rot shamefully in the streets) on the penalty of death, but what did the brothers' sister, Antigone, do? Defied his order and buried her brother, of course!. This ended tragically, though, with Antigone put into a tomb and hanging herself, while Creon himself had to lost his wife and son indirectly because of the grief of Antigone's death.
  • More "little sister instinct". A very religious Italian woman named Angela Merici was very depressed when her older sister Gianna Maria died without rites, and prayed ceaselessly to make sure her soul would be at peace. One day, she received a vision telling her that Gianna was in Heaven with the saints. In gratitude, Angela devoted the rest of her life to teaching, religion and service to the poor, founded the Order of Ursulines, and ultimately became Saint Angela Merici.
  • Happens in a couple of places in The Bible. One passage in the Song of Songs goes "We have a little sister, and her breasts are not yet grown. What shall we do for our sister on the day she is spoken for?"
    • When Shechem (the man, not the town) rapes Dinah, Simon and Levi make sure Shechem (the town, including the man) pays for it dearly. Jacob isn't happy about this, but they still don't feel they did anything wrong.
    • When Tamar, a daughter of David, is raped by her half-brother Amnon and thrown out, her full brother Absalom sends his servants to kill him.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • The Hardy brothers, Matt and Jeff. Matt as the older brother, both in story lines and Real Life, often plays this role (when he's not this, he instead is the Jerkass).
  • A group of GLOW villains kidnapped Little Fiji to lure her older sister Mountain Fiji out of the arena to ensure Mountain Fiji wouldn't get another victory. Little Fiji's opening rap even refers to giving her sister a call if she's in trouble.
  • Punk is clearly fond of those he considers his little sisters, in Kayfabe and in Real Life. During his Chicago Street Fight with Chris Jericho, his opponent proceeded to taunt his little sister who was sitting ringside. She promptly slapped him in the face. When Chris tried to go after her, Punk pretty much lost it and beat the shit of Jericho, including putting him through the Spanish Announcers Table with a flying elbow.
  • Jericho himself qualifies for this trope in real life. At Summerslam 2016, after the controversial ending to the Orton-Lesnar match that saw Randy Orton bloodied the hard way by Brock Lesnar (and later revealed to have suffered a concussion), a furious Jericho backed Lesnar against a wall, demanding to know if that had been intentional. Repeat: Jericho was willing to get into a real fight with Lesnar if he'd hurt Orton deliberately.
  • Roman Reigns of The Shield had this for his two other teammates, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. Even after Rollins stabbed him and Ambrose in the back, he still has this for Ambrose and it's been implied that he still has somewhat of a soft spot for Rollins. In fact, some of the main reasons why he hates The Authority, particularly Triple H, is because of the pure hell they've put Dean through and their corruption of Seth.
  • Bella Twins:
    • When Stephanie McMahon was using her power to bully Nikki in revenge for Brie embarrassing her, Brie arrived at the show as a fannote  and got her revenge - when Stephanie slapped her at ringside, Brie got the police involved and Steph was arrested for assault.
    • Even one time when the twins themselves were feuding, Brie prevented AJ Lee from attacking Nikki at ringside.
    • Averted one time when Brie abandoned Nikki to get attacked by Kharma. Nikki forgave Brie, admitting she would have done the exact same thing.
  • Stevie Ray is also a real life example. During his podcast, Stand Up For Greatness, he revealed that when he heard that Mike Awesome had hurt his younger brother Booker T in a match, he confronted him. Stevie made it very clear that if Awesome had admitted that he intentionally hurt Booker, he would've kicked his ass.

  • Angelica Schuyler from Hamilton absolutely loses it when she finds out that her sister Eliza's husband Hamilton cheated on her and broke her heart. In a cut song called "Congratulations," she drags Hamilton for a whole two minutes. Despite showing some love to Hamilton, Angelica Schuyler will not take any of Hamilton's shit and will always put Eliza, her only remaining baby sister, before anything and anyone in the world. One of her lines in "The Reynolds Pamphlet" sums it up:
    Angelica: I love my sister more than anything in this life / I will choose her happiness over mine every time!
  • Emma Borden from Lizzie is fiercely protective towards her younger sister. With their mother's death and abusive father, Emma essentially became a parental figure to Lizzie. It is clear she feels responsible for her happiness and well-being (more accurately, lack thereof). Given the subject matter, her efforts to save her sister don't exactly work.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Lana Skye from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney comes across as an Aloof Big Sister to Ema, but as it turns out, she's been acting as a reluctant accomplice to Gant for years, all to protect Ema from the Awful Truth: that she accidentally killed Neil Marshall during the SL-9 Incident. However, Gant actually staged the scene to frame Ema and killed Neil himself, all so he could manipulate Lana's protective instincts and blackmail her into forging evidence for him whenever he saw fit.
    • In Justice For All, the third trial reveals that Acro had this for his little brother, Bat, which was how he ended up confined to a wheelchair. When he saw Bat getting his head chewed on by a lion, he ran in to save him and was attacked as a result.
    • In Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, Apollo shows signs of having this for Trucy. When she's grabbed by a threatening intruder in the courtroom during case 4-2, he follows after and, when he finds her alright, he cries and shouts how he's going to press charges on whoever did it (he's not too happy to find out Trucy faked the kidnapping herself). He is also shown accompanying her to various places, even if he himself isn't very interested (like Klavier's band concert). Bonus points for The Reveal that he really is Trucy's big brother!
    • Simon Blackquill to Athena in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies, to the point where he'll confess to a murder he didn't commit just because he believes she did it.
    • Miles Edgeworth, despite being a serious character who doesn't show much emotion, softens up considerably around young women, especially gifted teenagers like Ema Skye who may blunder at times but are clearly serious about their work. This is probably because his own little sister, Franziska von Karma, is too proud to let him be the big brother.
  • CLANNAD: A female-female example. Harass Ryou, and her twin sister Kyou will throw a huge book straight to your face and kick you while dazed.
    • Youhei Sunohara is the series' Butt-Monkey most of the time, but mess with his sister Mei and he'll do an Offscreen Teleportation to kick your ass.
    • Tomoya also seems to have this going for him, despite not having any siblings. Whenever Mei calls him Onii-chan, he becomes overly excited and is willing to do whatever she wishes from him.
  • In Fate/stay night, Heaven's Feel route, Shirou states that he wants to save Ilya just because the "older brother protects his younger sister". In the route's end, Ilya herself does a Heroic Sacrifice to save Shirou, who actually is her younger brother.
    Ilya: "You said an older brother protects his younger sister, right?... Yeah. I'm the older sister. So I have to protect my younger brother."
  • Yuuya towards Sakuya in Hatoful Boyfriend. Sakuya claims that Yuuya has never once acted like a brother to him, but this couldn't be further from the truth as not only does Yuuya sacrifice his life to save Sakuya's in the Bad Boys Love route, but he reveals that he kept Sakuya's egg from being thrown away on his cruel stepfather's orders and killed his stepfather's own offspring so that Sakuya could take its place and live a life of luxury. For that matter, the sacrifice was done with no thought at all for his own self-preservation. He turned his back on the attacker to focus completely on protecting Sakuya.
    • Just in general Yuuya seems to have this instinct for a lot of characters, even an older teacher at some point. He'll take the bullet or patiently talk someone through things and let go of one of his hard-kept secrets to help them. Yuuya wants to protect and help lots of people, it's just that Sakuya takes priority. Some fans call him "everybirdie's senpai" for this reason.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry: Satoshi was like this toward Satoko before his disappearance to the point of murdering their abusive aunt brutally, even though he was usually calm and gentle, since he was under the influence of Hinamizawa Syndrome. A year later, Keiichi and Shion take up the position with Keiichi taking it in the completely wrong direction while Shion plays it straight, but only after screwing up. Big Time. Satoko actually starts calling them "Nii-Nii" and "Nee-Nee".
    • In one of the PS2 arcs, implied to be the way that Minagoroshi-hen could have gone, Shion goes exactly the same way as Keiichi.
  • In Little Busters!, Riki begins to feel this way towards Komari in her route when she confides that she feels sad that she keeps seeing a non-existent older brother in her dreams. Later, it's revealed that he did exist and felt this way towards her, too, in spades. On the flip side, Komari also tries to be a big sister towards Rin and Kud, though it doesn't always work out – in the test of courage, if you take both Kud and Komari, the two keep switching roles with one always scared and the other trying to act cool and comfort them.
    • Rin, Riki, and Kyousuke all play with the trope a bit. Kyousuke definitely dotes on Rin, but he also worries that she is too dependent on him. Rin herself is open about her lack of respect for him, almost always calling him by his first name and refusing outright to call him 'oniisan' or 'oniichan', but it's also clear that she deeply relies on and admires him. On the other hand, Riki has an admiration for him so strong it borders on the the extent that in one scene Kyousuke admits that he thinks both Rin and Riki are cute and Riki worries that Kyousuke 'only' sees him as a little brother. However, like for Rin, Kyousuke is implied to also be worried that Riki relies on him too much, and in Rin's route he seems to be trying to challenge Riki into standing up to him and facing him as an equal. However, ironically, when he tries to break their dependence on him he does it in a way that seems to cement his position as the authority, assuming he knows what's best for them and manipulating them against their wishes.
  • In the School Days sequel of sorts Summer Days, Kotonoha's reaction to seeing her younger sister Kokoro in very... compromising situation with her prospect boyfriend Makoto is grabbing a golf club and hitting the culprit upside the head. Too bad Kokoro intercedes in Makoto's favor.
    • She manages to play it much straighter in Summer Days: when she finds out that Kokoro has been sexually abused by both Makoto and his friend Kyouichi, she... grabs her father's katana, murders both Makoto and Kyouichi, and sets the building where this took place on fire before getting to safety with poor Kokoro.
  • In Umineko: When They Cry, Battler behaves this way both towards his younger sister Ange and to his little cousin Maria. He bonds with Maria early on in most of the arcs despite not having seen her in six years, and is very protective of Ange. After Ange reveals her identity to him and performs a Heroic Sacrifice, Battler snaps out of his funk and goes up several levels in badass and sets his mind back on track to defeating Beatrice and making it back home to her.
  • Snake of Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors spends the entirety of the game being the cool, aloof, Deadpan Snarker of the group, but when Ace tells him how he killed his little sister Clover, all that composure goes out the door, and he grabs Ace, even after taking six gunshots to the chest, so that he can keep him inside an incinerator, killing them both.

    Web Animation 
  • Broken Saints: Heartwarming Orphan Shandala, the heroine, is looked after by her adopted parents' son as if she were his own flesh and blood.
  • DSBT InsaniT: It may seem like Killer doesn't care for his twin sister, but he'll defend her if he finds the need to.
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • Agent North, with such a trustworthy, older-brother instinct that he gets assigned Theta, the AI fragment composed of Alpha's innocence. He's the only one in the program qualified to take care of a being of pure innocence. But seriously, watch seasons 9 and 10. The dude lives and breathes trust.
    • Blue team. Sure, Caboose is an idiot. But he's their idiot.
    • Wash eventually develops it for the Reds and Blues. In the flashback, he tried to mimic North's, but CT wasn't buying it. As of Season 11, Wash especially has this in regards to Caboose, trying to keep him from getting overcome with depression after Church leaves and, in Season 12, making sure Freckles is okay after getting captured by the Feds.
  • Gender-flipped with Yang in RWBY, as one of her primary character traits is how protective she is towards her little sister Ruby (to the point that there's an entire Image Song devoted to the subject). When the events of Volume 3 leave her a broken mess suffering from PTSD and depression for several months, it's the realization that their father can't take care of her and go after Ruby at the same time that ultimately gives her the motivation to come to terms with her trauma and begin her recovery.
  • Parodied in RWBY Chibi. When Ruby can't open a jar of pickles, Sun tries to help her but also fails. Yang turns up because her "big sister sense" is tingling. She insists on opening the jar of pickles for a reluctant Ruby, who drags Sun off to a safe distance while Yang wages open warfare, complete with using weapons, on the jar.
    Yang: You dared to make my baby sister hungry? You're going down jar!

    Web Comics 
  • Arthur from Wiglaf and Mordred has got a bad case of this for his little brother Mordred — so much so it tends to get in the way of his evil villainy. His staff often enjoy pointing out the brother complex he claims doesn't exist.
  • Sam from Bittersweet Candy Bowl, as well as his brother Jordan, both towards their younger sister Lucy.
  • It would be unwise of you to mess with Bear's younger sister Patches.
  • Declan towards Violet in Chrysalis, even though they aren't related by blood.
  • Jamie from Distillum has heaps of it towards Rob.
  • DNA: Sirius is very protective of Orion and the other kids. When Jay kicks Orion to get him out of the mud, which (Rigel had just been trying to drown Orion in), he bites Jay in the leg and looks like he is about to kill him with his powers before Orion stops him. In Segment: Mud, he goes berserk when he sees that Rigel made Lukas cry.
  • Dominic Deegan tends to act this way toward his cheerful, overly optimistic little brother Gregory. Was kind of justified when the comic started because Gregory was infected with a necromantic taint that was slowly killing him, but it was removed early on and now he's perfectly healthy while Dominic is missing a leg.
    • Played with between Dominic, Gregory, and their older brother Jacob. Jacob spends significant amount of time and parts of major plot-lines trying to maim his little brothers for his own advantage, though he claims there's no emotion involved and it's just part a convenient part of his plans rather than malicious. And yet, he immediately does far, far worse to those who hurt them first.
  • Dumbing of Age: Sarah is a cranky, tactless misanthrope who would mostly prefer everyone else just leave her alone so she can study...except where her roommate Joyce is concerned.
  • We're introduced to Elon of Ears for Elves when he's searching for his younger sister Myari after she's run off into the dangerous forest. He gives her a severe talking-to, but has her best interests at heart.
  • El Goonish Shive: Elliot's Chronic Hero Syndrome appears to have given him a Big Brother Instinct with respect to Ellen despite the fact that his "little sister" is actually his Half Identical Twin / Opposite-Sex Clone.
    • Occasionally Elliot has this towards Tedd, like here and here.
    • Grace's brothers also have some of this in them, though they don't show it nearly as much as Elliot does towards Ellen. Even though Damien scared them shitless, Hedge tried to subvert the orders concerning her as much as he could without being killed.
    • Ellen has shown she's just as willing to stand up for Elliot when he's threatened/hurt as viceversa. In her other life, this trope is more or less how she befriended Tedd.
  • In Frankie and Stein, Frankie and Adam seem to have this relationship. They haven't really known each other that long, but Adam is very concerned for her, and her current crisis.
  • Jae Gu of Girls of the Wild's has been raising his siblings since their father's death and mother's abandonment of them. Needless to say, harming them is his one and only Berserk Button. When they got sick suddenly, he carried them barefoot to the hospital, leaving footprints of blood by the time he gets there. After finding out they had gotten food poisoning off of tainted sushi someone gave them on purpose, he walked, feet still bleeding, all the way to the person's school and attempted to beat them down with a chair for what they did.
  • Clark from Gold Coin Comics really shows this side when Tonya, his sister, runs into trouble...
  • Kat in Gunnerkrigg Court once punched a psychopomp just because these guys made Annie very sad. Later she hates Annie's Disappeared Dad, for the same reason.
  • Homestuck: Equius is extremely protective of his moirail, Nepeta. In fact, this is the first thing that shows us that maybe he's not that bad a guy.
    • Also, the thought of his twin sister dying is one of the few things that manages to unnerve Dave.
    • Similarly, John did not take it well when he found out that Davesprite had broken up with his sister Jade.
    • Finally, although Bro Srider is shown to be an absolutely crappy parent to Dave, he does slice a meteor in half and give up his rocket board to get Dave safely into the game, and later dies trying to save the kids' session.
  • In Lackadaisy, Viktor is violently protective of Ivy. To the extent that every boyfriend she wrangles is pounded to the point of a full body cast. This is particularly noticeable when you contrast it with how he reacts to others, which usually tops off at Vague Irritation at best.
  • In MYth, Hades is a heartbreaking example. He destroyed the bond he had with his little brother Zeus in an attempt to make him strong enough to be king of gods.
  • Roy develops this for Elan, though it (understandably) takes a while, and he still denies it.
    • Roy actually did have a little brother, (key word here being did), and Elan has a living twin brother but has been shown explicitly thinking of Roy as his brother instead.
    • Roy has a literal little sister, for whom he feels the same protective need (despite crazy morality differences). Proof? He went to rescue her from villains, knowing fully well that it was a trap all along.
    • Redcloak kicks some ass via this trope in his Trope Namer Origin Story.
  • Larima of Pacificators fame thinks she's protecting her younger sister Taffe, but, really, it's the other way around. (Oh, and it annoys Taffe.)
    • Later chapters shows that Larima really is a protective big sister; Taffe just doesn't realize it, because much of Larima's actions take place behind Taffe's back.
  • Pixie and Brutus: Brutus takes his role as Pixie's "new big brother" very seriously. If anything could possibly hurt or upset her, he's on-guard against it.
  • Polandball comics give the US one of these for Canada. ISIS threatening the US? Barely worth acknowledging. ISIS threatening Canada? Reason enough to beat ISIS to death in seconds.
  • In Sakana, it's Taros personal Berserk Button whenever someone threatens or talks bad about his little brother Jiro, and is always there to care for him and cheer him up when he has a problem.
  • Vinnie, the werewolf from Skins. He looks out for the irresponsible happy-go-lucky vampire, Rabbit and acts as a kind of substitute big brother. He's known Rabbit since they were orphaned in the last occult war.
  • Most of the cast, but particularly Jason, behaves this way toward their younger friend Anna in Something*Positive.
  • In Sticky Dilly Buns, Dillon and Jerzy briefly go into what Dillon later calls "mother hen mode" when Andy presents a rather disconcerting gift to Ruby during a dinner date.
  • Yoona used to be this to her twin brother in Welcome To Room 305. She was tall tomboy who would beat up boys who would bully her sensitive brother. As adults she is a Big Sister Bully though.
  • Aiden in Winters In Lavelle has this towards his little sister, Kari. It's even been said by Keshii that the main reason why he dislikes Ashton is because he can tell that Ashton has a thing for his sister.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent:
    • Onni has this towards his younger sister Tuuri and his younger cousin Lalli, who for all intents and purposes might as well be second younger sibling to him. He later gets dragged into visiting a strange dreamspace location by budding mage Reynir. When the location turns out to not be as deserted as they thought, Onni's first reflex is to protect Reynir from whatever threat the place's resident may represent.
    • Emil has this towards Lalli, despite Lalli actually having more field experience than him at just about the same age. There are two factors explaining it. One is that Lalli has an Ambiguous Disorder that makes people who don't know him that well assume he is less able to take care of himself in a dangerous situation than he actually is. Second, Emil doesn't believe in magic and thinks the "mage" on Lalli's resume is just a fancy title. The end result is that if Lalli exposes himself to the giant monster attacking their night train in just the clothes in which he's been sleeping, Emil's thoughts are less "the train guards could probably use his assistance" and more "I need to get him out of here before he gets himself killed".

    Web Original 
  • Dead West has a character, The Porcelain Doctor who is enforcing this trope into others. His aura, called the Devil's Veil, shows him fragile, weak and casts a glamour to make others like him (or wanting to crush him). He cannot turn it off, which really annoys him, but is notable that Gervas, our narrator would feel the same without falling to his aura. His real big brother is more along the lines of a Knight Templar Big Brother.
  • Decembersville: Nutty Jimmy is like this to his sister, Sarah. As illustrated here.
  • Dimension Heroes: Rob displays this trope towards his fellow Dimensional Guardians, reasoning that as the leader, he's responsible for their safety.
  • The Other Kind Of Roommate has Terry showing this for Beth. It's treated as cute and protective before it gets controlling and is explained as the reason they broke up.
  • In Worm, this is a major part of Grue's makeup –- in fact, his trigger event came when he was defending his little sister from his mother's abusive boyfriend.
  • The Adventure Zone gives us Lup. Even while trapped in the umbrastaff, she still kills off Edward for basically torturing her twin brother.

    Web Videos 
  • Aaron has two brothers getting into a blazing row. When the younger one comes home drunk, the older immediately comes to his rescue.
  • The web documentary F*** Kayfabe: Wrestling with Labels -– Cianan and Matt have this towards Bobby. Bobby jokes that himself and Pete both think of the other as their little brother so they decided to be twins instead. Bobby has this for Kev and even refers to him as "my little brother" in the Special Thanks at the end.
  • In the Noob webseries and comics, any enemy bothering Gaea has a decent chance of having Golgotha show up for a serious beating, regardless of her location when the bothering started. A variation in that Gaea is a Dirty Coward rather than weak and Golgotha's protectiveness is simply stemming from their history as Childhood Friends.
  • The Nostalgia Critic:
    • Rob Walker will be the first to admit anything that didn't work out in an episode, but if you go too far and insult Doug instead, he will make you sorry.
    • In character terms, while The Other Guy is a Big Brother Bully when the Critic is alive/sober/lucid, he'll always show how much he cares when nobody else is around.
    • They're not related but in Demo Reel, after Donnie (Doug) gets kidnapped, badass stoic Carl (Rob) tears down the forest looking after him and makes sure he's okay when he returns.

    Real Life 
  • Robert "Bobby" Kennedy had a raging overprotective little brother instinct towards his big brother John. Apparently, his fury could scare the shit out of anybody if they tangled with John. Especially if it was LBJ (Lyndon B. Johnson).
    • LBJ was no slouch, either. He was a master at cajoling Congress into doing whatever he wanted because, damn it, he was LBJ. The fact that Bobby could match him and actually make him back down is pretty amazing.
  • Especially during their early years together, actor Dean Martin was very protective of his partner Jerry Lewis, who was barely out of his teens, had a troubled upbringing marked by neglect, and had dropped out of high school at the start of junior year due to anti-Semitism. One night in an Atlantic City bar, some mobster's mook demanded to know of Martin why he had teamed up with "that fucking kike"note ; Martin's answer was to grab hold of the mook and slam him across the bar straight into a shelf of glasses.
  • James McNeil, age 17, saw his autistic ten-year-old brother climbing to the top of a 120-foot electrical tower. Though fearful of heights he climbed after him and held him in place until a rescue crew arrived. The story is described in the November 1997 Reader's Digest.
  • Nine-year-old Malik Medford rescued his brothers from a car thief.
  • Another inversion, an 8-year-old boy was killed after wounding a burglar who was attempting to rape his older sister.
  • In 2002 Christopher Vince, aged 12, died after pushing his 16-year-old brother Ben out of the way of a falling branch.
  • In an example of big sister instinct, a nine-year-old girl risked her life to push her five-year-old sister out of the way of an oncoming truck.
  • This 11-year-old protected his younger sister from a carjacker.
  • Members of a fraternity are supposed to develop this, as the house is set up for a big brother to look after a little brother (pledge).
  • A 12-year-old Florida boy saved his four siblings from a fire.
  • On an unreleased Chappelle's Show, "Charlie Murphy True Hollywood Story," the older brother of comedian Eddie Murphy tells how he had to be let go as head of security for Eddie's entourage because he got carried away with beating up anybody within earshot who would talk smack about his little brother. He went so far as to physically threaten a man paralyzed below the neck who wouldn't stop loudly cussing out Eddie in a restaurant!
  • A rather heartwarming example on the British clip show You've Been Framed (heartwarming for the show anyway). A little girl of about seven is decorating a Christmas tree with her toddler brother. The tree starts to fall over, and realizing that it's going to land smack on top of her brother, the girl pulls it towards her so that it lands on her instead, with her brother only getting hit by the mostly harmless branches.
    • The show also has an example of Little Sister Instinct. Two kids walk up a driveway on Halloween, and a plastic skeleton pops out of a fake grave. The elder brother cries and runs from it, terrified. His little sister looks between him and the fake skeleton before walking up to it and repeatedly punching it until it breaks.
  • True story of a young man, upon being released from prison and returning home, heard about his little sister being harassed in high school by a jock whom she'd turned down for a date. Ex-con immediately goes to a place where he heard said jock liked to hang out, and beats him bloody in front of all his friends. Bones are broken. Ex-con walks away from a jock who is sprawled face down on the pavement, making one final comment over his shoulder. "Don't mess with my baby sister. I don't give a fuck about going back to jail."
  • MMA Example: The students of Cesar Gracie, namely Nick and Nathan Diaz, Gilbert Melendez and Jake Shields, are very protective of each other. To sum up:
    • Nick threw in the towel after Nate took a vicious head kick against Josh Thompson, to try and get the referee to stop Thompson from inflicting punishment.
    • Nate threatened to quit the UFC after Gilbert Melendez was in a contract dispute, out of solidarity.
    • The Diaz brothers and Melendez fighting with Jason Mayhem Miller after he interrupted Jake Shields. Notable because Melendez and Nate Diaz are two full divisions lower than Mayhem, and Nate wasn't even a Strikeforce fighter, and could have been kicked out of the UFC for it.
  • Colin Farrell has a Little Brother Instinct towards his older, gay brother.
  • In the few chronicles that survive from the period, William Adelin, the only son and heir of King Henry I of England, is described as having died during the White Ship disaster because he was trying to save his illegitimate half-sister Maud from drowning. He apparently rushed out of the dinghy he and his friends were lowering out of the wreck, trying to find her. He never did.
  • A tragic example: After The Voice Constestant Christina Grimmie was shot and killed at a concert, her brother charged the shooter and brought him down. Many left in the venue hailed him for saving their lives.
  • Kanye West learned this when he dissed Taylor Swift by claiming he made her famous when he rudely interrupted her accepting her award, regardless of her talent. Taylor's younger brother Austin posted a video on his Instagram of him whistling the theme to The Bridge on the River Kwai while throwing out the Kanye brand shoes from his closet.
  • When Gavin Free first started living in the United States after being hired into Rooster Teeth, he ended up living with Rooster Teeth and Achievement Hunter co-creator Geoff Ramsay, where he essentially became part of the family, especially being a surrogate big brother to Geoff's daughter Millie. When Gavin found out that Millie's old dentist had been arrested for pedophilianote , Gavin's first question was "Is he dead yet?"

Alternative Title(s): Big Sister Instinct, Little Sister Instinct