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Father, I Don't Want to Fight

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Or, the one problem that the Proud Warrior Race Guy can't solve by beating the crap out of it. It turns out that his kid has serious moral qualms about the fact that his culture basically functions on the premise of Might Makes Right, with all the negative things that implies.

If the violent culture is depicted as sympathetic, there's a chance the son may simply be portrayed as being misguided. In spite of this, they rarely ever completely come around to the thinking that the violent culture is in the right. He will very often be called out as being a sissy by anyone he runs into — at least until he rebels and goes off somewhere else.

Often occurs alongside My Species Doth Protest Too Much.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In one episode of Ranma ½ a knock on the head rewrites Ranma's personality and s/he decides she wants to give up martial arts and take up flower arranging instead. She literally says this almost word for word to her father. Of course by the end everything is back to normal.
  • Subverted in Dragon Ball Z. Gohan doesn't like to fight, so he isn't able to release his full power against Cell at first. His rage-propelled powers don't even work when the villain beats the crap out of him, but they manifest finally when Cell attacks his loved ones. When Gohan achieves his new power level, he becomes a sadistic bastard who enjoys hurting his foe.
    • More specially, Gohan doesn't like to harm people, even if they are evil dicks. He does like fighting when it's done for fun or sport. He just cannot be a Blood Knight like his father who enjoys fighting whether it's for sport or a life-or-death struggle. Of course, Goku simply enjoys the thrill of fighting, and lacks the cultural sadism that "normal" Saiyans exhibit, especially Vegeta. Hell, Goku will often go out of his way to NOT kill a defeated foe, because he gets no thrill from killing, or from the knowledge that he beat someone, he just wants them to get stronger so they can fight again.
  • Shinji Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion is probably anime's greatest example. In the first episode, he outright refuses to fight, mostly due to his own personal fears and uncertainties, combined with the fact his father left him years earlier and only called him because he had a use for him. Although he does come around by the end of episode 1, he constantly regrets this decision, and often times gives up on piloting, at one point only returning after realizing his not fighting could result in the destruction of all life on earth!...and Kaji guilting him into piloting.
  • Dragon Ryuhou in episode 55 of Saint Seiya Omega, justified in that, after spending all of his life training to be a strong Saint and bring his father Shiryu back to normal, all he wants to do is live a normal life with his family.

    Films — Animation 
  • In The Book of Life, Manolo is trained by his father to be a great bullfighter, and while he definitely has all the skills of his forebears, he is too much of a soft-heart to deliver the killing blow.
  • Zigzagged in How to Train Your Dragon. When the movie starts, Hiccup is upset that his father won't let him be a part of the Viking way of life, as Hiccup seems to screw things up every time he gets on the battlefield. Hiccup changes his mind when he realizes he can't bring himself to kill dragons- but unfortunately his father also had a change of heart when Gobber convinced him to enroll Hiccup in dragon-slaying classes. Hiccup is unable to convince his father that he's had a genuine change of heart on the subject.
  • Lenny, the vegetarian, pacifist shark from Shark Tale. It is Played for Laughs, with crossdressing parallels.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • In The Kings General this is Dick's attitude toward war and his father Richard Grenville after the Time Skip. That he turned out this way wasn't that surprising, considering that before the timeskip he went faint at the sight of blood, and had to deal with his father belittling and insulting him for not being courageous enough all the time. The closest Dick gets to reconciliation with his father on this is when he betrays the royalists at the end of the book to avert another war, and Richard decides not to hold it against him.
  • Mown in And Another Thing.... Particularly difficult because Vogon culture is not simply destructive, it is based on destruction. (And bureaucracy.)
  • In Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo's oldest son Nwoye doesn't live up to the strong masculine image of his father (who, in turn, struggles to be unlike his own lazy father), as a result he is treated cruelly. It comes to a head when Nwoye converts to Christianity (meaning, among other things, that he won't perform ancestor worship when Okonkwo dies) and is effectively disowned.
  • Samwell Tarly in A Song of Ice and Fire is a very intelligent and sensitive boy, very much a Non-Action Guy (especially at the start of the series), born into a society that values boys who grow to be great knights and to a father who is especially keen on following those values. Thus most of Sam's early life was spent getting teased, beaten, chained to a wall, and even tortured to make him more of a man. Eventually his father took him on a hunting trip and gave him a choice. He could renounce his heritage, family, and home and go serve the Night's Watch, never to be acknowledged again, or he could find himself the victim of a hunting accident.
  • In A Frozen Heart, a retelling of Frozen (2013), Prince Hans spends much of his childhood this way. He was born into a family that believes in Might Makes Right and Meekness is Weakness. When his older brothers bully him, his father tells him that their family should be "lions, not mice." This is a rare case where the character comes to accept his family's way of thinking.
  • The Underland Chronicles: Hamnet tried this. It didn't end well.
  • Ronja the Robber's Daughter: Both Ronja and Birk refuse to follow in their father's footsteps as highwaymen.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Worf's son Alexander from Star Trek: The Next Generation is adamant about not embracing the Klingon culture, having grown up in the peaceful, functional Federation culture. This causes Worf much consternation, because he knows that Alexander will be eaten alive by Klingon politics the minute he inevitably tries to initiate reform. A time-traveling future Alexander indicates that this is exactly what happens and Worf was killed by a rival house as a result. In the present Worf consoles him that the time-traveler's presence has already begun to change their timeline.
    • Although they get off to a rocky start, when Alexander joins the Klingon army during the Dominion War, Worf is proud to see his son finally embrace his warrior heritage (even if he is something of a bumbler as a soldier). It marks a turning point in their relationship as Alexander accepts Worf as a less-than-perfect father and Worf accepts his son as the less-than-perfect warrior, each doing the best they can.
  • 24: A terrorist's son finds he doesn't want to be a part of his family's mission.
  • In Angel one of the reasons Lorne was so happy to leave his home dimension and never return was because his species views all conflicts as black and white issues to be resolved using violence, while he could actually see the other point of view. His mother was not pleased.
    Lorne's mother: Numfar, do the dance of shame!
  • In a more mundane sense, Frasier had this relationship with his father. When he was a boy, Frasier always avoided fighting his bullies while Martin always urged him to do otherwise. Martin said it was because Frasier needed to stand up for himself, and Frasier complained that Martin wouldn't be happy until he came home with a bloody nose.
  • In Supernatural, Sam's dislike of the Hunter lifestyle and wanting a normal life led to a four-year estrangement between him and his father and brother prior to the series. Of course, he is soon brought back by Dean when their father goes missing and his girlfriend dies.


    Video Games 
  • Skies of Arcadia:
    • Enrique spends much of his screen time complaining to his mother the Empress about how vicious and cruel the Armada is. As a result, it comes as little surprise when he helps Vyse and friends escape the Grand Fortress in his Super Prototype ship.
    • Optional Boss Rupee Larso, the young son of an infamous air pirate, is forced to assume leadership of his father's crew after the latter's death, though he makes it very clear that he wants nothing to do with piracy, and would much rather pursue his talents for designing luxury carpets at a store owned by his mother.
  • The Unsworth family in Knights in the Nightmare has supplied the kingdom with knights for generations; although it's traditional, Nina (one of the Unsworth kids) never wanted to be a knight and was forced to join the army against her will. Her superior officer mentions having seen her cry about it.

  • Drowtales example: Ariel learns about this trope the hard way. She's hardly an angel herself, but the thought of being proud to have murdered someone just because they are an enemy of her clan.... It ultimately comes down to a Sadistic Choice between said enemy and one of her few allies, and after she kills the enemy she's pretty clearly traumatized by the aftermath.
  • Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic has the young orc Ain who doesn't have much of a problem getting in a brawl with someone of his calibre. In the Orc-Drow war however, his father says it's time for him to become a warrior by killing one of their enemies, and presents him with an imprisoned Drow - Ain's former teacher Miss Steatoda, who cowers before him unarmed, helpless, and in fear. Ain refuses to kill her, for which his father exiles him.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Avatar: The Last Airbender tries a more nuanced variant of this once it starts developing the backstory of its original villain: it isn't that Zuko doesn't want to fight, it's that he didn't want to fight like this, specifically like psychopaths... and his father burned part of his face off and sent him on a Snipe Hunt in such a manner that he sincerely believes he needs to redeem himself from this dishonorable weakness.
    • The sequel The Legend of Korra has this occur in Tarrlok's Backstory. His father is obsessed with teaching him how to bloodbend but Tarrlok hates it and feels it's wrong to do to the animals they are training on. He finally refuses when asked to bloodbend his brother. In the present day he refuses to use these skills his father taught him until forced to. In a way the same events lead the brother to also refuses to 'fight'. The brother uses the powers his father taught them to stop *all* bending, not just bloodbending, as Amon to prevent anyone from behaving as his father used to.
  • Lion-O in Thunder Cats 2011 protests against mistreating the Lizards the cats have oppressed for generations, despite his father Claudus' views which mirror the rest of Thunderan society. He has to fight them anyway, but he is still compassionate towards them and spares them when he can.
  • In the South Park episode "You Got..." the boys get served by a dance crew from Orange County. When Randy learns of this, he insists on teaching Stan how to dance back in response.
    Randy: Put on some loose-fitting clothes and meet me in the garage.
    Stan: But, Dad...
    Randy: Now!
    • Apparently, Randy and Kyle's mother, Sheila, have made a habit of this. In the episode "Holiday Special," Stan is embarrassed when Randy gets Columbus Day turned into a school day. Kyle draws on similar experiences with his mother, and suggests Stan use reverse psychology to calm his father down.
  • An episode of Futurama has Lrrr (LEADER OF THE PLANET OMICRON PERSEI 8!) take his son to the most easily vanquished planet in the universe — three guesses — to get his scouting badge in Planetary Conquest. He can't bring himself to do it, and the episode turns into an E.T. pastiche.
  • This is a great source of irritation for Stan Smith in American Dad! with his nerdy son Steve, who is relentlessly bullied in school. Steve lacks almost every aggressive drive, and simply doesn't have the physical ability to fight. At one point, this drives Stan to become a bully for Steve to "toughen him up" and force him to confront his problems head on. Of course, this ends up backfiring, as Steve hires STAN'S old school bully, Stelio Contos, to beat him up. Of course, bullying remains a problem for Steve, as a local bully who idolizes Stelios brings him in to beat Steve up.