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Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling

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"Pichu's brother doesn't want him to get hurt. He's the smart brother."
Narrator, describing the Pichu Brothers in the Pokémon short, "Pikachu and Pichu"

In media, there's a tendency for siblings to be portrayed as opposites. Enter the Foolish Sibling and the Responsible Sibling.

In this trope there will be one sibling who is foolish, usually acting melodramatically and prone to doing irresponsible and impulsive things. They may be louder, more outgoing and usually more popular (or at least try to be), and desiring attention, especially from the opposite sex. Usually, they don't have outright bad intentions, they just don't understand that anything they do can have consequences for themselves or other people. Alternatively, they may just be a Horrible Judge of Character and get involved with the wrong people on a regular basis; they refuse to believe their "friends" could be anything but pure of heart, despite obvious evidence to the contrary. Their antics will be their undoing, getting them into trouble for which there is no one but themselves to blame. The Foolish Sibling may be a Bratty Teenage Daughter, Alpha Bitch, Fille Fatale, Childish Older Sibling, Annoying Younger Sibling, The Casanova, Manchild, NEET, Dumbass Teenage Son, or The Ingenue.


The other sibling is usually the elder of the two(sometimes much older) and will follow all the rules about how one is supposed to act and behave, being an exemplary version of a Proper Lady or The Dutiful Son. They're often more of a parental figure in the other sibling's life, even if their actual parents are still present. They might be quieter or plainer, though usually they are only quiet or plain by comparison to their obnoxious other sibling, and doesn't qualify as a Shrinking Violet or The Quiet One at all. They're almost undoubtedly smarter though and may be portrayed as a Bookworm, or just very concerned about rules, social and moral. Generally, the responsible sibling will try to steer their foolish sibling to the right path, taking it on themselves to look after the kid and make attempts to curb the other sibling's behavior. This seldom works, however, at least not until the end, when the foolish sibling gets their comeuppance or realizes the error of their ways.


They may serve as a Betty and Veronica pair. The responsible sibling is the one who will submit to an Arranged Marriage, which may be a Perfectly Arranged Marriage and is generally happier than the foolish love match of the foolish sibling.

A subtrope of Sibling Yin-Yang. Usually involves An Aesop about the right way to act, that is to say, be more like the responsible sibling and not the foolish sibling (although the responsible sibling may learn a lesson about "loosening up" and "having fun"). And while the responsible sibling is usually the elder of the two, the roles can be switched, with the younger sibling being the responsible one. Another possibility is a middle child being the responsible one to his or her older and younger siblings. However, there are some moments when the responsible sibling can act melodramatic and impulsive. Also compare Slobs vs. Snobs, Red Oni, Blue Oni, Right Way/Wrong Way Pair, The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry, and Cain and Abel.

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Inverted in Aruosumente. It's flamboyant, chatty and seemingly carefree Lante who takes responsibility when the serious, quiet Dante acts on an impulse and goes off the hook, sometimes even attacking people at random.
  • Asteroid in Love: Mira Kinohata is an energetic Genki Girl who is known to be not particularly intelligent, while her sister Misa is a composed Cool Big Sis who has a Teen Genius reputation.
  • Bloom Into You has the Nanami sisters, Touko and Mio. At the time of Mio's death, Mio was a highly respected Student Council President, while Touko was a shy girl with mediocre grades and few friends, making them come off as a downplayed version. In fact, it's the opposite. While Touko strived to improve herself and eventually achieved all the success Mio had, she learned that Mio was a slacker who delegated most of the work to her fellow student council members, including having them do her summer homework.
  • Rowdy, underachieving delinquent Romio and strict, no-nonsense prefect Airu from Boarding School Juliet.
  • In Bokurano, Daichi's uncle Kengo is the responsible sibling while Daichi's father is the foolish one. The latter disappeared, leaving his young children to fend for themselves, while the former is a businessman who employs Daichi and offered to take in the four kids.
  • In Brave10, Yukimura is the foolish sibling to Nobuyuki's responsible one, as Nobuyuki is very orthodox and straightforward, while Yukimura is the lazy, playful chessmaster.
  • In Charlotte, there's the Kurobane sisters. Misa, the eldest sister, was the Foolish sibling, since her reckless thrill-seeking ways got herself killed, and she remembers causing problems for her parents. Yusa, the younger sister, is the Responsible, being an Idol Singer who's far nicer and more level-headed, causing Misa to say that Yusa was quite unlike her in that regard.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Goten is nice, but carefree and naive, while his older brother Gohan is intelligent and responsible. Justified by the age gap between them and Gohan's murderous childhood before Goten was born.
  • Dr. Stone: Ginro is the foolish to Kinro's responsible. Ginro is the brother most likely to slack off or try and find the easiest way out, while Kinro's catchphrase is "rules are rules".
  • Ebisu-san and Hotei-san has the two Ebisu sisters, the younger of which is half of the eponymous couple. The elder sister is the foolish one, being quite lazy when it comes to cleaning and even forcing Mayo to take care of Hana. The younger sister, on the other hand, is responsible, being a highly efficient worker who balances her job with caring for her niece.
  • Fly Me to the Moon has two pairs of sisters.
    • The Arisugawa sisters. Kaname, the younger sister, is a responsible and hard-working girl who does most of the work around the bathhouse and is the Only Sane Man of the family, while her older sister Aya is rather lazy and immature.
    • Tsukasa and her adoptive sister Chitose. Tsukasa is a hard-working levelheaded housewife to Nasa, while Chitose is a Clingy Jealous Girl who seems to have nothing better to do than to try to break Tsukasa and Nasa up.
  • Gundam: Played with in Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, where Judau is usually seen skipping school and doing things with his friends while his younger sister Leina is bugging him to get an education. However, it's actually reversed: the things Judau is doing with his friends is hard work in the junkyard, and he skips school to keep up this job so that he can save enough money for Leina to get a good education. Leina tends to ignore this and focus on the present, while Judau's thinking long-term.
  • Inuyasha:
    • Kagome isn't flighty per se, but often forgets to bring her homework to class, only for Sota to pick up the slack. Then again, considering she's spending most of her time in the Feudal Era, she can hardly be blamed for losing focus on her supposed off days.
    • The titular Inuyasha and Sesshomaru also exhibit this. While Inuyasha is brash, crude, and free of responsibilities, Sesshomaru is calculating and elegant.
  • In It's Tough Being Neeko, there's the Niito sisters. Nemuko, aka Neeko, is the Foolish sibling, being a NEET with crippling social anxiety. Her much younger sister Imoko is a high schooler who's willing and able to work part time having gotten a job at a place that rejected Neeko.
  • Yui and Ui from K-On! epitomize this trope. While Yui tends to be irresponsible at best, Ui cooks, cleans house, and even helps her older sister with her homework.
  • Kirby: Right Back at Ya! has the responsible Tiff and the foolish Tuff. Tiff is quite intelligent, while Tuff is not too bright and tends to act before thinking.
  • Laid-Back Camp
    • Nadeshiko is an energetic ditz, while her sister Sakura is a taciturn Cool Big Sis.
    • Minami and Ryouko Toba. Minami is a hard-drinking Sensei-chan, albeit one who sometimes proves to be good at her job as a teacher and truly cares for her students. Her younger sister Ryouko often keeps Minami in check, such as texting her to make sure she isn't drinking too much while driving her students around on the Izu camping trip.
  • In Lucky Star, Kagami is studious and level-headed while Tsukasa is more naive and childish.
  • Played for Drama in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Reflection, where Kyrie's inability to be like her more level-headed and responsible older sister Amitie causes her to develop an inferiority complex and leaves her open to Iris' manipulations.
  • In Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, remarkably, Kashima's younger sister Rei manages to turn CloudCuckoolander Kashima into the responsible sibling half. Rei being very naive and having a compulsion to publicly and inappropriately ship every boy and girl she sees interact with each other forces Kashima to play damage control and try to keep her sister's behavior in check.
  • In Moriarty the Patriot, Mycroft is the responsible Compassionate Critic to his impulsive, irresponsible, childish, and spoiled little brother Sherlock and bears the burden of their ancestor's sins alone in order for Sherlock to be able to live his life freely.
  • Naruto:
    • People expected the First and Second Hokage to be serious, loyal, responsible people. Only the younger fits this description on a normal day. His older brother instead thinks it's a good idea to teach a toddler how to gamble. Yes, the First was responsible for Tsunade's gambling addiction. It also counts as Hilarious in Hindsight, since Fanon usually depicts them in reverse positions. Hashirama was often depicted as the responsible one, and more compassionate than his younger brother, who was often depicted as a playboy who has a notable percentage of descendants everywhere. The only part that stuck in Canon was Hashirama being the more compassionate one.
    • Sakon and Ukon fit, Ukon's favorite phrase even being "wise older brother, foolish younger brother." Ukon seemed to be the more pragmatic of the two, while Sakon was more sadistic in liking to drag things out.
    • Kinkaku and Ginkaku, for what little panel time they had, may fit as well. They are half-siblings or fraternal twins. Kinkaku is bigger and seems to be the more observant and pragmatic one in battle. He's also rather stoic in the manga. Ginkaku is the louder of the two, and more prone to smirking and losing his cool. He's the one that ends up being taken down first, and according to Kakuzu, it's not the first time, since Kinkaku is known to rage when it happens.
  • No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular! has Tomoko and Tomoki. Tomoko is the older sister and tends to laze about and play games. Her younger brother Tomoki is more serious about his studying, calmer and even helps around the house without being asked, even making his own lunch for school. Lampshaded by their mother, who thinks Tomoko should be the responsible sibling because she's older.
  • Non Non Biyori: Natsumi is much more carefree and irresponsible than her older sister Komari. Komari is generally more responsible, but has her moments of immaturity (ironic, since she looks younger than Natsumi and wants to be perceived as her actual age).
  • Yuuya and Yamato from Nukoduke qualify despite not being siblings. Yuuya is a loafer who frequently runs away from his class chores and causes a lot of trouble for his school mates. Yamato is the student council Vice President who must constantly remind his friend to pull his act together. Other characters regard the two as brothers (as they grew up together) and generally consider Yamato as Yuuya's guardian.
  • Siblings in One Piece often have this dynamic even if they aren't biologically related.
    • Nojiko and her adoptive sister Nami. Nami frequently got into trouble by stealing, and later became a pariah in the village by joining the Arlong Pirates(although it was to free her village), making her Foolish. Nojiko, however, is far more mature for her age, to the point at which her adoptive mother Bellemere described her as the mature one, and grew up to become a tangerine farmer, making her Responsible.
    • Luffy and his brother Ace. For the most part, Ace is much more level-headed and intelligent than Luffy, making him the Responsible sibling to Luffy's Foolish sibling.
    • Franky and Iceberg, Tom's two apprentices. Franky was the Foolish sibling, spending his time building battleships in the hopes of using one to take down a Sea King, and his inventions ended up being stolen and used to frame Tom. Iceberg was the Responsible sibling, having worked on the sea train with Tom, united the shipyards of Water 7 under his leadership and deceived the World Government for years, with his more eccentric traits being Obfuscating Stupidity.
    • Lola is the Foolish sister to her sister Chiffon's Responsible as fellow children of Big Mom of the Yonko. Lola ran out on an Arranged Marriage, and was naive enough to think her mother still loved her, which is why she gave Nami Big Mom's Vivre Card. Chiffon, however, is significantly more intelligent, going along with her marriage to Capone "Gang" Bege while plotting with Bege to assassinate Big Mom.
    • Ulti and Page One of the Tobi Roppo. Ulti is significantly more childish and hot-tempered, resulting in Page One having to keep her in line.
  • In A Place Further than the Universe, there's the Tamaki sisters- Mari (aka "Kimari") and Rin. Mari, the older one, can be fairly childish and immature, even going off to Antarctica after forging her mother's signature on the permission form. By contrast, her younger sister Rin is far more serious and responsible and helps talk Kimari into only packing what she needs for her trip.
  • Pokémon Omega Ruby Crimson Passion & Pokémon Alpha Sapphire Indigo Wisdom is a manga starring Polar Opposite Twins Alpha and Omega. The younger twin Alpha has Tsurime Eyes, is more serious, and is more calmer. The older twin Omega has Tareme Eyes, is goofier, and is more hot-headed.
  • Played with in The Rising of the Shield Hero. Naofumi was originally the Foolish elder brother due to his poor grades and otaku lifestyle, so his parents forced the younger brother to become the Responsible son. The stress of meeting their expectations drove him to adopt Yankee culture, becoming the Foolish brother, only for Naofumi to play Responsible by helping him blow off the accumulated stress with galge games. Afterward, the younger brother returned to being Responsible while Naofumi became Foolish.
  • In Sailor Moon, the main character Usagi is ditzy, fun-loving and lazy, while her younger brother Shingo is much smarter and more responsible.
  • In A Scummy Gap Student With A Hard Life Calls Upon A Lady of the Night, Makino, the younger of the two Hanabusa sisters, is the foolish one, having failed her college entrance exams and become a Rōnin due to being too lazy to study, leading her to waste money on a lesbian call girl and concoct schemes to get closer to said call girl. Her older sister, however, got into a good school, making her the responsible one.
  • Sorcerer Hunters has brothers Carrot and Marron. Carrot is a shameless skirt-chaser who tends to be lazy until the prospect of hooking up with an attractive woman comes along; then he charges headlong into danger. His younger brother, Marron, is thoughtful and considerate and takes his job as a hunter seriously.

    Comic Books 
  • Charles Soule's Daredevil has responsible Sam and foolish Hannah. Sam works bad hours doing a crappy job in order to support the two while Hannah goes out clubbing.
  • The main characters of Exorsisters, Kate and Cate Harrow. Cate is very mature and responsible, while Kate is a Hard-Drinking Party Girl. The twist is they actually aren't sisters, Kate is Cate's soul- Cate's mom made a Deal with the Devil and lost her own soul, but gave up Cate's to save herself. By the time Cate got her soul back, it was sufficiently different from her to become its own person, Kate.
  • In Witchblade the main character Sara Pezzini is the responsible sibling to Julie Pezzini's foolish sibling. Sara is a cop while Julie has got into trouble, and has even gone to jail for dealings drugs.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: Lila is the elder more snarky and much more responsible sibling to her sister Eve. The elder Brown sister has lost sleep trying to keep her sister's idiocy from getting her chucked in prison, and Eve was willing to sell government secrets to an Axis spy because she was embarrassed at the possibility he might publicly reveal she'd gone on a date with him.

    Fairy Tales 
  • In Bearskin, the youngest daughter responsibly accepts the man to whom her father had promised one of his daughters after her two sisters scornfully rejected him; for one thing, she notes that True Beauty Is on the Inside and the man had kindly rescued her father, a total stranger.

    Fan Works 
  • In The Fledgling Year, Corin is the straitlaced, responsible twin and Cor is the impulsive, insensitive one (tendencies which were hinted at in the original canon, and are explored and developed in much more depth in this fic).
  • Played with Highly Questionable Decisions and Satsuki and her two younger sisters, Ryuuko and Nui. By the account of being older, Satsuki tends to more responsible and is the Only Sane Woman when it comes to dealing with the latter two, especially Ryuuko with Jerkass and reckless tendencies and Nui with her innocence. However, at times, she did demonstrate herself to be Not So Above It All (if Ragyo listing of dos and don'ts is a clue).
  • We have this in Kill la Kill AU with Satsuki and her sisters, Ryuuko and Nui. Satsuki tends to be the more responsible one, often trying to steer her sisters in the right direction, regardless if they like her to or not, and it upsets her when they don't listen to her, while the latter two tends to do what they want, whenever they want to and sometimes it comes back to bite them.
  • The Rose and the Crown has the Gerard siblings: dour, dutiful, upright and responsible Etienne and foolish, feckless, debt-ridden but charming and funny Lucien.
  • A played with example in Secret Sunshine, where Ryuuko is the responsible sibling to Satsuki's foolish, as the latter left her child to be raised by Ryuuko, forcing her to be more responsible to care for her niece, while Satsuki, for some reason, didn't want to deal with the responsibilities. To really emphasize this, Satsuki was mentioned to be living her life "like normal" (going out with friends, for example), while Ryuuko was mostly left to stay at home with Kiko. Not surprisingly, Ryuuko is pretty resentful towards Satsuki for that.
  • Tales of the Undiscovered Swords:
    • Hatsuzakura Thinks Like a Romance Novel often without regard to what others feel about the matter, while his older brother Shokudaikiri is decidedly tired of his antics.
    • Kasen may be blatantly playing favorites with his brothers, but it's not that his concern for Sasanoyuki doesn't have ground – the latter robotically follows objectives at the expense of his own well-being more than once, leading Kasen to use his captain authority to order him to take care of himself at one point.
    • From the get-go, Hinata is painted as a Leeroy Jenkins who is very insecure about being The Generic Guy, while his older brother Juzumaru is more firm, grounded and worries about his safety.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Big Hero 6, Hiro is the Foolish sibling to Tadashi's Responsible. Hiro would rather spend his time bot-fighting since he graduated from high school early, while Tadashi regularly attends college and wishs Hiro would do something more productive with his intelligence. At the beginning of the film, Tadashi rescues Hiro when Yama and his goons were going to beat him up.
  • Soraya and Parvana from The Breadwinner. The first we see of Parvana is her moping over her family needing to sell her nice dress, and the first we see of Soraya is her criticizing Parvana for slacking in her chores. Later on, Parvana disguises herself as a boy to support her family, walks through a possibly mined tank graveyard, gets punched for trying to bribe a prison guard, and hits the Talib who had her father taken away in the face with a brick. Soraya, meanwhile, cooks, cleans, and helps take care of her toddler brother, as well as emotionally supporting her mother and grudgingly accepting her Arranged Marriage.
  • Frozen:
    • Played with in the first film. At the start of the story, Anna is the Foolish sibling, being a sheltered princess who is willing to marry Prince Hans, a man she's only just met, while Elsa is the Responsible future queen. This sort of dynamic is explored in the "A Sister More Like Me" picture book, which also shows the sisters accepting each other's differences. As the film goes on, though, Elsa's determination to isolate herself makes her come off as more foolish, while Anna ends up becoming more responsible as she braves danger to get Elsa back.
    • In Frozen II, Anna and Elsa's dynamic from "Frozen Fever" is carried over with Elsa continuing to be overconfident and reckless and Anna acting as her voice of reason and caution.
  • The Incredibles:
    • In The Incredibles, Dash is the foolish sibling to Violet's responsible sibling. Dash is stubborn, hyperactive, and acts out against having to hide his powers. Violet is quiet, doesn't cause trouble unless provoked, and knows when it's their time to save their parents. Dash plays pranks on his least favorite teacher while Violet doesn't get into trouble at school.
    • Played with in Incredibles 2. Evelyn seems like the Responsible to Winston's Foolish, as Evelyn's the one who comes up with the means to implement Winston's ideas. She also softly scolds him for his over-enthusiasm and childlike tendencies, and keeps business conversations on track from his tendency to get sidetracked. These roles are reversed once Evelyn is revealed as the Screenslaver, when her misplaced anger and bitterness towards superheroes (who she blames for their parents' tragic deaths) causes her to endanger lives to ensure they stay illegal. However, Winston is in turn responsible enough to go back and try to help save the innocent people caught up in Evelyn's scheme.
  • Lilo and Nani of Lilo & Stitch. Lilo is a wild, irresponsible kid who constantly causes trouble, while Nani is a hard-working person who wants Lilo to grow up happy and safe. This is slightly deconstructed — 19-year-old Nani acts responsibly because she was forced to grow up fast after their parents died and she was promoted to parent; while Lilo is only six, still suffers from residual trauma caused by the parents' death, and some of her antics are a result of being bullied by other children since she doesn't fit in. Lilo is also almost taken away by social services because of several unfortunate events caused by her (and Stitch's) antics.
  • The Lion King: This dynamic between dangerously childish Scar and wise and just Mufasa escalating badly is what kicks off The Hero's Journey.
  • The first part of The Prince of Egypt showed this dynamic, with Ramses as the responsible sibling and Moses the foolish one. Future Pharaoh Rameses is terrified of disappointing his father, while Moses tries to get him to lighten up.
    Moses: You know what your problem is, Rameses?
    Rameses: What?
    Moses: You care too much.
    Rameses: (smiling) And your problem is, you don't care at all.
    • Conversely, though, Moses also shows enough responsibility to recognize when his antics have gone too far, and to stick up for his brother.
    • This then gets reversed in the second half. Moses takes responsibility for being God's instrument and freeing the Hebrews, while Rameses defies God's will even as Egypt is suffering a divine beatdown.
  • In Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Jefferson Davis (Miles' father), and his younger brother Aaron. They used to "tag" buildings in their youth but drifted apart when Jefferson became a police officer, while Aaron stayed the way he was and at some point went to work for the Kingpin as The Prowler.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In 27 Dresses, Jane is the elder, responsible sister and her younger sister Tess is foolish.
  • In Brother, this is more or less the dynamic between the Bagrov brothers. Danila is the responsible one, Viktor is the foolish one (despite Viktor being older).
  • Cries and Whispers: Karin is the eldest sister, more prompt in helping the dying Agnes and has her mind on settling the affairs of the house. Maria is the youngest who cowers in the face of Agnes' suffering and is shown to be fairly hedonistic, going as far as attempting to fool around with the doctor who's come to visit his terminal patient. Agnes, the middle sister, is too ill to be anything but passive.
  • In Double Harness, Valerie is irresponsible, callous, and selfish while Joan is level headed, frank, and reasonable.
  • In Four Brothers, Jeremiah and Jack are far more responsible and rational than their more impulsive and hot-headed brothers, Bobby and Angel.
  • Played straight and is the main plot point in Jason's Lyric, besides the love story. Jason is the responsible and dutiful son, while Joshua is the Hot-Blooded and troublemaker son to their mom, Gloria.
  • A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints downplays it. Antonio may be a Jerkass but he's protective and the more functional responsible sibling. His younger brother Giuseppe is terrible with people and The Friend Nobody Likes because of it.
  • In Sisters (2015) Kate and Maura perfectly fit this trope. It's shown that this is a problem for both though; Kate is constantly getting fired and her own daughter doesn't want to live with her, while Maura never gets to enjoy anything because she was worried about everyone else.
  • In Sucker Punch it's not known if Sweet Pea and Rocket are related in real life - but they are sisters in Baby Doll's fantasy world. Sweet Pea is the forward-thinking responsible older sibling, while Rocket is said to have been the foolish one who had trouble at home with their parents.
  • Sunshine Cleaning: Rose is the hard-working, responsible older sister. Norah is the lazy, rebellious younger sister.
  • Thor: Before shit gets real, Loki and Thor. Loki- though younger- was the bookish, reasonable, responsible brother who was implied to regularly attempt to talk sense to Thor, who was childish, reckless, and volatile. However, it's played with in that as the movie progresses, the brothers switch places. Thor's time on Midgard as a mortal mellows him out and he matures into The Wise Prince, while Loki's insecurities (and the discovery of several painful truths about his heritage) lead him to attempt a plot that backfires horribly on him and begins his path to self-destruction and villainy.
  • Troy: Hector is The Dutiful Son and Happily Married to Andromache; Paris is more impulsive and has no wish to settle down with one woman before he meets Helen.
  • Tuff Turf has Morgan Hiller, who's constantly getting into trouble and has been kicked out of multiple prep schools, and his older brother Brian, a responsible student on track to become a lawyer.
  • W. portrays George W. Bush as the foolish sibling to his more responsible younger brother Jeb. As a result, Bush falls under the impression that his parents favor Jeb over him and spends much of his adult life trying to gain his father's respect.
  • X-Men: Apocalypse: Scott is the rebel of the Summers brothers, while Alex, being older, is the more responsible one.

  • In the first opera from The Ring of the Nibelung cycle, Fasolt and Fafner are this during their first appearance, with Fasolt being the gullible and emotional brother, and Fafner the calculating and rational one. However, the situation quickly slips straight into Cain and Abel.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Classical Mythology: An Older Than Feudalism example is the Titan brothers Prometheus ("forethought") and Epimetheus ("afterthought"). While the former was clever and rational, the latter was foolish. In Plato's discussion of the myth, Epimetheus completely bolloxed everything when the two brothers were given the job of creating humans and animals. Since he lacked foresight, he came down to humanity last and had nothing more to offer, so Prometheus had to steal fire and give it to humans to prevent our extinction. According to Hesiod's Theogony, Epimetheus enthusiastically received Pandora from the gods, despite all of Prometheus's warnings that she would be a blight upon humanity. He was right, she was. This is the Ur-Example in Western Literature.
  • Japanese Mythology: Foolish brothers are the reason why the Japanese pantheon is ruled by a goddess. Amaterasu's first brother, Tsukuyomi, killed the goddess of food out of disgust at the way she procured the food, so Amaterasu vowed never to speak to him again, hence why day and night are always apart. Amaterasu's other brother, Susanoo, was a Sore Loser who threw a massive tantrum after he lost a competition with her and was banished to Earth. His descendants initially ruled the world, until Amaterasu ordered her descendant to depose them.


  • Rabbit Hole: Becca is the responsible wife and mother. Her sister Izzy is a wild child that gets into bar fights after having sex with another woman's boyfriend—and gets knocked up by said other woman's boyfriend.

    Video Games 
  • Crash Bandicoot: Crash, the resident Cloud Cuckoolander, is the foolish older brother to Coco, who's smarter and has more common sense (although not without a few antics of her own).
  • Devil May Cry has a very complicated case of this with Dante and Vergil. At the first glance, you can assume that Dante with his devil-may-care attitude cares only about entertaining himself, barely taking responsibility for anything in his life, while the calm and composed Vergil is the responsible twin that takes everything seriously. However, their actions under pressure can testify otherwise: Dante becomes a bit more serious when things get tough, while Vergil shows cracks in his persona, easily becoming irritated when something doesn't go his way. Dante surprisingly also displayed a lot of maturity in his teens, saving up enough money to buy space for his shop and intending to become a Devil Hunter, while Vergil ran around the world in pursuit of power, even fathering Nero during a one-night stand, which shows that despite his cold and calcutaing facade, the older brother can still be prone to impulsive decisions.
  • Lyndon and Edlin of Diablo III were close brothers who chose different paths when they grew up. Lyndon became a scoundrel and started running with the Thieves' Guild more to amuse himself than anything. Edlin became a city guard with a wife and children.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Dragon Quest IV: Meena is dutiful, commited and circumspect. Her sister Maya is a lot less serious and loves to gamble.
    • Dragon Quest V:
      • Parry is reckless and a bit of an airhead whereas his sister Madchen tends to take her role as a princess more seriously.
      • Prince Harry was initially the foolish sibling to Wilbur's responsible sibling. Ironically, after his character development, Harry has become much more competent and responsible than Wilbur has.
  • In Ensemble Stars!, the Aoi twins seem like a clear-cut case of this, with Hinata being a hyper-enthusiastic, Perpetual Smiler Genki Boy and Yuuta being much more thoughtful and reserved, but it's twisted a little in that Hinata is much more into their idol duties and so is sometimes the one pushing Yuuta (who worries about being defined entirely by his brother) into practicing more.
  • Artoirel and Emmanellain de Fortemps from the Heavensward expansion of Final Fantasy XIV are Responsible and Foolish, respectively. Both of them show signs of childish behavior, but Artoirel is the heir to the noble Fortemps family legacy and thus The Dutiful Son, while self-centered Emmanellain is more or less a Lazy Bum Upper-Class Twit.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • In Fire Emblem Awakening, Lucina, who's Chrom's Kid from the Future, is a serious and mature girl compared to any of the second generation units who can wind up as her siblings- Male Morgan, Cynthia, Kjelle, Brady, or Inigonote - with each of them being significantly more eccentric in their own ways.
    • Felicia and Flora from Fire Emblem Fates are Foolish and Responsible, respectively. Felicia is Foolish in that she's quite incompetent as a maid, being clumsy and terrible at cooking. Flora is Responsible, being the much more competent maid and cook.
    • In Fire Emblem Gaiden, Delthea is the foolish sibling to her older brother Luthier's responsible sibling, being Brilliant, but Lazy where he is hardworking.
    • In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Hilda is a rather lazy young noblewoman, while her older brother Holst is an accomplished warrior and commander who is responsible for defending the Leicester Alliance from Almyra. It's played with a bit in that part of the reason why Hilda is lazy lies in her belief that she'll never measure up to Holst.
  • Despite being equally talented at fighting, Kim Dong-Hwan and Kim Jae-Hoon, Kim Kaphwan's sons from Garou: Mark of the Wolves, are this, with Dong-Hwan being the Foolish one (a lazy slacker who prefers the Korean nightlife to strict training) and Jae-Hoon being the Responsible one (taking more after his dad in both looks and dedication, to the point of actually inheriting his Hou'ou Kyaku).
  • Technically, they're cousins, but Grand Theft Auto IV's Roman Bellic plays foolish gambling addict to Niko's responsible contract killer.
  • inFAMOUS: Second Son: Delsin (Foolish) and Reggie (Responsible) Rowe. Delsin is an unemployed delinquent, and Reggie is the country Sheriff who expresses much embarrassment at having to keep arresting his younger brother. Though Delsin starts becoming more responsible after unlocking his Conduit abilities.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has Impa and Purah. Impa is a very serious and responsible woman who always helps out and explains things to Link in a straightforward manner, while Purah is a very perky woman who decided to test a newly-designed Fountain of Youth rune on herself without doing any safer preemptive tests first and who frequently treats Link in a very teasing and mischievous manner.
  • While not exactly foolish, Daniel from Life Is Strange 2 is considerably more carefree and reckless than his older brother Sean. Which is not ideal, considering how Daniel is the one with telekinesis.
  • Mega Man Battle Network has the foolish sibling be Lan/Netto Hikari, who likes to sleep in and neglect his studies, and Megaman/Rockman.EXE aka Hub/Saito as the responsible sibling who has to be his brother's alarm clock and personal nanny at times.
  • Claus and Lucas from Mother 3. The former is the foolish one, and the latter the responsible one, which shows the most strongly in how they react to their mother's death. Claus goes off to get revenge, while Lucas obediently remains at home and indirectly spills the beans on where his brother went via a Suspiciously Specific Denial.
  • Subverted with Kannon and Seishi Bosatsu from Namu Amida Butsu! -UTENA- – they bear the personalities associated with this trope with Kannon a kind but strict Team Mom and Seishi a Manchild who engages in Big Brother Worship, but Kannon spoils Seishi rotten and Seishi is nice and sweet enough to never take advantage of his brother's trust or become a spoiled brat.
  • Miwako (responsible) and Yumi (foolish) Shimizu from the Nancy Drew game Shadow at the Water's Edge. Though also a bit of an inversion— Miwako's prudence renders her very apprehensive and unwilling to help Nancy with the mystery, instead attempting to discourage her from continuing, while Yumi is actively helping her, albeit in a very cryptic, indirect manner.
  • Dōjo and Oguna in Onmyōji. Dōjo is a Spoiled Brat who doesn't hesitate to insult even her older brother when he tries to reason with her, even though he always puts up with it. According to Oguna's in-game autobiography, there was a time when Dōjo was lost eight times in a single month.
  • The Stamatin twins in Pathologic. Petr is a co-dependent alcoholic shut-in, and Andrei (while spending most of his time in the twyrine den coming up with ways to screw with people, and therefore not responsible in any traditional sense of the word) is a dangerous man with a strong force of will, and considers it his personal mission in life to protect his brother from the outside world. In particular, professionally. They work together as architects - Petr designs avant-garde buildings that break the laws of reality and Andrei does the civil engineering necessary to erect them.
  • Persona:
    • Partially lampshaded in Persona 3. When Ken Amada joins the team, Junpei assumes a Big Brother Mentor role. Yukari mentions something to the effect that Junpei's is like the foolish sibling, while Ken's the responsible and mature one.
    • In Persona 4, Ryotaro Dojima was apparently the foolish sibling to the main character's mother, since he's implied to have been a bit of a troublemaker when he was young, such as earning himself a thrashing from his father by riding around on a bike.
    • Persona 5:
      • Eiko and her brother. Eiko is a somewhat poor student who ends up falling in love with a manipulative host and nearly getting sold off if not for Makoto's intervention. Meanwhile, her brother is apparently quite talented, and that fact, along with their parents' favoring him helps cause Eiko's issues.
      • Youji Isshiki and his sister Wakaba. Wakaba was highly eccentric but was also an exceptional cognitive psience researcher and a loving mother to Futaba. Meanwhile, Youji is fairly wasteful with money, thus causing him to extort money out of Sojiro, who'd taken Futaba in after hearing about Youji abusing her.
      • Kazuya Makigami, a petty thief and Mementos target, and his more studious younger brother Naoya, whom Kazuya bullies.
  • Solatorobo gives us Red and Chocolat. He's somewhat Hot-Blooded and is the one who actually fights, while she is Mission Control and manages the team's financial issues. In this case, the responsible sibling is only 13, while the foolish one is 17.
  • In Stardew Valley, Haley is the Foolish to Emily's Responsible. Despite her outgoing attitude, Emily is the more mature of the two and works part-time in Gus' bar, while Haley seems very childish for her age, throwing tantrums at the thought of being forced to do household chores and mostly just loitering about.
  • Played with Mario and Luigi in Super Mario Bros. While Mario is characterized as impulsive and Luigi is described as the more level-headed one, the contrast rarely comes into play in the games or is often reversed. Mario can become focused on the task at hand and Luigi can make foolish decisions due to his cowardice.
  • Downplayed with Polar Opposite Twins Jade and Floyd in Twisted Wonderland. While initial character profiles and in-game introductions establish Jade as calm and mature and Floyd as a Brilliant, but Lazy hedonist, it soon becomes clear that Jade enjoys chaos and their Slasher Smile Creepy Twins shtick as much as Floyd does, and indulges much of Floyd's behaviour due to wanting his twin's happiness more than anything.
  • Played with in Undertale, where Papyrus appears to be an ambition-minded skeleton dedicated to serving the royal guard, while Sans only seems interested in pranks and loafing. The reality is that Papyrus' attempts to be serious and mature makes him come across as quite (unintentionally) goofy and, as it turns out, he doesn't have a single mean bone in his body, and as such he's incapable of actually hurting anyone, meaning he is not really cut out for bodyguard work. Meanwhile, Sans secretly spends a lot of his time trying to keep his brother happy and is quite cynical and melancholic beneath his goofy surface, and he hides his own problems to not worry his brother. And if the player behaves evilly enough, he is eventually driven to attempt to kill them, and unlike his brother he will not show any mercy.
  • In the prologue of Until Dawn, Beth is strongly implied to be the responsible sibling, compared to her twin sister Hannah whom Beth calls "naive", even to her older brother Josh, who was seen passed out drunk.
  • Played with in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines with Voermann twins—the responsible Therese and the foolish Jeanette. And by "played with", we mean that they are actually two extremely split personalities inhabiting the same body; they are actually Malkavians and this is how their madness manifests itself.
  • In The World Ends with You, Beat and his little sister Rhyme. The former is a hothead who isn't terribly bright, resulting in him making unwise decisions and his parents giving up on him. The latter is mature for her age, serving as the voice of reason as Beat's partner and never gave up on Beat. This is emphasized when you acquire their bookbags as secret pieces of equipment; Beat's is beaten up, while Rhyme's is in pristine condition.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney
    • The Fey sisters in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. Maya is the Foolish sibling, being a rather childish 17-year-old with a voracious appetite for ramen/burgers(depending on the version). Mia is the Responsible sibling, being a successful defense attorney who left her village to find her mother and prevent any disputes between herself and her sister over who would succeed the family name. It helps that at the time of Mia's death, she was 27 and Maya was 17.
    • Played with in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney with the Gavin brothers. Kristoph is a defense attorney known as "The Coolest Defense in the West" for his calm demeanor, has an excellent win record, and is generally unflappable. Younger brother Klavier is a wild-card prosecutor who flirts while in the courtroom and is the lead singer of his very own rock band outside it. Kristoph is also the Big Bad of the game, and Klavier one of your best allies in bringing him to justice.
  • In Beyond Eden, Oscar Edenic is the dutiful first son responsible for managing his family's household and fortunes, while Edward Edenic is the wild third son who was expelled from school for an unknown incident and seems content to spend his days gambling and practicing shooting. Their conflicts are manipulated and exploited by Villain Protagonist Alex Wake in multiple routes.
  • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc has Mondo and Daiya Owada. While calling a biker gang leader "responsible" would be a bit of a stretch, Daiya was the glue that kept the Crazy Diamonds together, and ultimately sacrificed himself to save his brother, entrusting him with the gang. Mondo, for all his Hot-Blooded and manly attitude, was deeply insecure, which was why he challenged his brother to a race, leading to Daiya's death, and why he later killed Chihiro in a fit of rage, making him come off as the foolish one.
  • In Marco and the Galaxy Dragon, Tera Isezaki is eccentric, proud, and fond of flaunting her family’s vast wealth in various ways. Her younger sister Rakka, by contrast, is humble, down-to-earth, and acts as the family’s self-appointed Minister of Finance to keep Tera from blowing their money on dubious purchases from Galaxy Auction.

    Web Animation 
  • DSBT InsaniT: Bill is the Foolish Sibling, and Whitney is the Responsible Sibling. Bill is bombastic and will charge right into confrontation. Whitney will try and approach confrontation nice and easy and will Take a Third Option if possible.
  • In the GoAnimate "Character gets grounded" videos, a lot of the troublemakers have this dynamic with their siblings. It's worth pointing out that these are simply the most common dynamics between these characters in the grounded videos, and some videos have been known to reverse the characters' dynamics or even have both be Foolish:
  • Ichabod and Calamity in No Evil, with Ichabod as the studious, neurotic one (Responsible) and Calamity as Brilliant, but Lazy (Foolish).
  • Trick Moon: Prince is the responsible one, but as he is trapped he has to rely on his foolish siblings Trickshot and Pocket. Despite his obsession with looking "cool", Trickshot takes his job more seriously than Pocket, grabbing her when she stops to save her game after Mage steals the Moonstone.

  • Adventurers! has Karashi (responsible) and Mizuna (foolish). Both were trained as ninjas, and Mizuna was actually a prodigy, but she misunderstood all the favorable comparisons to Karashi, fled, and joined Khrima. When the sisters duel, Mizuna throws a sudden childish fit upon realizing that Karashi broke one of her earrings, with the comic's title sarcastically urging the reader to guess which one was the older sister. Upon her Heel–Face Turn, Mizuna is shown to still be impatient while training.
  • In Concerned, there's the Frohman brothers. Gordon Frohman is the Foolish sibling, with the misadventures resulting from his spectacular idiocy driving the plot of the webcomic. His twin brother Norman is the Responsible one, having saved Gordon's life many times since they were children, only for Gordon to not understand that Norman was saving him.
  • Cucumber Quest has the Brother–Sister Team of Cucumber and Almond. Cucumber is a bookworm who would rather hide the Artifact of Doom and end the quest to save the world before it's even necessary. Almond is so excited for said quest that she invokes You Can't Thwart Stage One.
  • Elon and Myari of Ears for Elves, oh so much; they fit the opening paragraphs of this page to a T. Older brother Elon is cautious and methodical where Genki Girl Myari is impulsive and excitable.
  • General Protection Fault
  • Nebula has older sister Earth as a naive Genki Girl, with her younger sister Venus being a pragmatic and more mature Deadpan Snarker.
  • Julie is mostly the responsible sibling and Angelika is mostly the foolish sibling in Our Little Adventure.
  • In Pacificators, we have Larima and Taffe. It's not quite so straightforward, though; Larima is The Ditz and Genki Girl who loves being a Pacificator, and takes her duty seriously. Taffe is The Stoic and The Lancer, but she never wanted to be a Pacificator in the first place.
  • Rowan Fitzpatrick in Rhapsodies is much more grounded than her manic, hyperactive, Ditzy Genius brother, Brian. This is the main reason she's the office manager in their financial consulting firm.
  • Rosebuds: Maria ends up being the foolish sibling practically all the time, while Maricela and Rosa often share the responsible spot.
  • Anna and Susan from Sire make up both halves of the Jekyll & Hyde-Child, thusly one sister is rational, calm and reasonable and the other is completely and utterly without inhibition.
  • In Suihira, Hadima, the protagonist's elder sister, is the responsible future queen in a Perfectly Arranged Marriage. The protagonist, Wahida, acts like a Royal Brat before running away on a Mission from God, which is conveniently bestowed on her days before her own wedding.
  • In The Veligent, Kade is the more laid back sibling, while his brother is the more serious and responsible one.

    Web Original 
  • In Petscop: according to their descriptions, Roneth is the responsible to Toneth's foolish because he learns from the latter's mistakes and doesn't need to be watched all the time (implying Toneth does need to be watched all the time).

    Web Video 
  • Aaron has two brothers, Chris and Adam. Adam was a drunken wreck in his teen years, making him the Foolish sibling. Chris is well-adjusted and living away from home, making him the Responsible one.
  • The Cry of Mann:
    • Berry is the responsible sibling, to Jouglat and Jack's foolish sibling. While she works hard trying to keep the family from falling apart and tries to act as a moral compass of sorts, Jouglat goes crazy due to his warr obsession, and Jack spirals out of control due to his obsession with his art.
    • While they're not actually blood-related, they're practically sisters, and they share this dynamic. Mabel's the responsible one, who tries to protect both herself and Ashes from the soldiers, whom she doesn't trust or care for. Even after she falls for Glintz-Terry, she refuses to take action and thinks of herself as being naive. Ashes is the foolish one, who chooses to flirt with soldier Durkin and shows no fear when dealing with the other soldiers, a mentality that Mabel chastises as being too foolish and dangerous.
  • The Nostalgia Critic and The Other Guy. Also slightly played with, as The Other Guy is proud to reveal that he controls the Critic like a puppet-master. As they do a lot of videos as themselves reviewing modern movies, Doug and Rob will play this dynamic too. Doug's usually the ditzy, slightly crazy Wide-Eyed Idealist, while Rob is more cynical and can smack Doug down when he gets too far.
  • SuperMarioLogan:
    • In the "Bowser Junior's First Grade!" story arc, Emily Coleman, who is one of the few students who has some common sense and maturity, serves as the responsible sibling to her crazy brother, Patrick's foolish sibling.
    • In "Chef Pee Pee's Family", Chef Pee Pee and his unnamed sister serve as the responsible siblings to their sister, Stacy's foolish sibling. In particular, Stacy spends most of her time cheering the same word: "Queef", much to their annoyance.
    • In "The Koopalings! Part 2", Junior, Iggy, Roy, Larry, and Ludwig are the responsible siblings, while Wendy, Morton, and Lemmy are the foolish ones. In particular, Wendy smashed a dish over a spot she missed, and later cut the couch in half with a chainsaw which led to Mario and Bowser getting evicted from their apartment, Lemmy broke a table with a cannonball from Bowser's clown car, and Morton smashed another table with a hammer, with Junior trying to stop them all the while.
  • Cream Heroes: Dodo is the Foolish, having jumped atop Claire's kitchen cabinets despite the dangers and has eaten soil, silicone and paper. This stands in contrast to his brother Toto, who tends to be calmer and more responsible, acting as a defender from the robot vacuum and the zombie hand massager. Notably, if Dodo doesn't go to DD or Nana for comfort when he's upset, he will seek out Toto.


Video Example(s):


Delsin and Reggie Rowe

Delsin is the foolish one, known for vandalism and mischief, while Reggie is the cop who always has to bring him in.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / FoolishSiblingResponsibleSibling

Media sources:

Main / FoolishSiblingResponsibleSibling