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In some series, the young hero lacks a mother or father. In others, the parents are present, but are so incompetent that they might as well not exist or else so hands-off as to leave the hero effectively independent. This trope pertains to another option — a character who does have parents that are rarely, if ever, seen. It doesn't have to be the case that the child is neglected. Their parents are probably as good as any. It's just that the audience never or very rarely sees them due to their lack of importance to the plot as the main focus are on the main characters.

See also There Are No Adults. If one or both parents are absent with no clear explanation, you've got the Ambiguously Absent Parent.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Assassination Classroom: Though they may be briefly mentioned on occasion, the students' parents never appear until dozens of chapters later, if at all.
    • Chiba and Hayami's parents are shown in a flashback, respectively.
    • Nagisa's father, who is often absent due to his work, appears in chapter 76. He seems to be nice, and it's mentioned that Nagisa's mother is strict. Chapter 112 reveals that "strict" is a severe understatement.
    • Takebayashi's parents (chapters 78 and 79) aren't happy with his poor grades and are shown to be quite distant from him at home and because of that, he leaves Class E for a couple of chapters.
    • Kimura's parents and Kirara's mom are shown in a flashback in chapter 89.
  • In Bakuman。, Moritaka Mashiro talks with his father once on the phone, but he is never seen in person, and it's been noted that they don't talk often. Miho's father has also not appeared in the series yet.
  • Justified in Cardcaptor Sakura. Yukito's grandparents are mentioned, but never appear onscreen because they don't exist. Yukito is an artificial magical creation with false memories, and not even he realizes that he never had any grandparents.
  • In Case Closed Ayumi, Mitsuhiko, and Genta's parents are almost non-existent, as these kids can go off to a dangerous mystery case on a whim, as long Professor Agasa is at least supervising. There was an earlier episode where the parents are seen for a few seconds, then they don't really make an appearance ever again. Ayumi's mom's voice spoke once when leaving her apartment, and Genta's dad was a suspect on a episode. Also Genta's mom does appear, but mostly in background or flashback every time Genta talks about his mom.
  • The amount of chapters Kon and Murasaki Kimidori from Doctor Slump are seen in can be counted with one hand. Among the Kimidori household members, Aoi, who forms the Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling dynamic with series regular Akane, is seen more often than either of the parents, to the point that Aoi is basically Promotion to Parent simply because of this trope.
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, Yui's parents are mentioned in the manga, but not seen. (Her mother is seen briefly in the anime.)
  • Pretty much all characters in Gatchaman Crowds. Rui is an astonishingly rich teenager, who lives by himself (well, with an AI whom he constructed). Hajime and Sugane are also underage and live with the rest of the G-Crew. Hajime is shown talking over phone to her mother, who apparently takes no issue with her daughter leaving home and moving in with a bunch of strangers.
  • In Hayate the Combat Butler, on a trip to a hot springs, Hinagiku's parents are supposedly taking her on the trip as a late birthday present since her father couldn't be there for her birthday. Neither parent is ever shown through the entire arc, even after Hinagiku faints in the hot springs and needs to be fished out. Most of the characters parents are mentioned as either dead or run away (leaving the children with massive debts).
  • Downplayed in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War. Despite the series mostly taking place during school, all but one of the main characters' parentsnote  makes at least a token appearance during the story. That said, most of the supporting cast plays this completely straight with very few exceptions.
  • In The Kindaichi Case Files, Kindaichi's and Miyuki's parents are alive and well, but they're (at most) rarely seen due to their lack of relevancy to the plot at hand — a good thing, too, because of the gruesome nature of many a plot Kindaichi and Miyuki find themselves in at the time.
  • So far in Kiss and White Lily for My Dearest Girl, none of the girls' parents were seen or mentioned, even when they are at home (except Ayaka's mother during a brief flashback, but faceless). Yurine and Sumire do mention their "family" a few times, but it seems like it consists of just the two of them.
  • Only two parents ever show up in Komori-san Can't Decline!, Komori's mother and Megumi's father (the latter of which only appears as a hand).
  • We never see any of the girls' parents in K-On! during the regular seasons, except during an imagination sequence of Yui and Ui's parents happily spending Christmas together in a foreign country. However, Yui and Ui's parents finally show up briefly at home during the movie.
  • In Love Hina many of the residents of the Hinata House's parents seem to be completely absent. Keitaro's parents are never seen in either the manga or anime. Naru's and Shinobu's parents are seen in the anime, but not the manga. Kitsune, Motoko, and Suu's parents are also nowhere to be found.
  • Alisa and Suzuka's parents in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha are never shown. The closest we get to meeting them was the cast-wide picnic they were invited to in the third Sound Stage of A's, where they remained unheard and obviously unseen, although Alisa is once heard speaking to her father. Same goes with the parents of Rio and Corona of ViVid, who we only know exist via side-comment from Fate. Then again, both pairs are Those Two Guys.
    • Averted in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Reflection, which introduces Arisa and Suzuka's parents along with the Kyrie and Amitie's mother (due to them being human in this continuity instead of robots that Professor Florian accidentally granted sentience).
  • Several Makoto Shinkai films:
    • In Voices of a Distant Star, Mikako and Noboru's parents are never shown or even mentioned. Words of Love/Across the Stars has Mikako's mother appear and vaguely says that her father "stopped coming home", but Noboru's parentage still remains mysterious.
    • In The Place Promised in Our Early Days, none of Hiroki, Sayuri or Takuya's parents are depicted.
    • In 5 Centimeters per Second, Takaki's mother is briefly seen, but his father, who is known to be alive because his job keeps having the family uproot, is not.
    • In Weathering With You, Hodaka's parents are known to exist because they call on the police to get him back and it is implied that Mr. Morishima’s abuse is one of the reasons he ran away, but apart from an obscured photograph, they are never depicted onscreen in the film proper. As for Hina, while it is known her mother is dead by the time of the main part of the film, her father is nowhere to be seen.
  • Parents are never seen, and barely even mentioned in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. The only time they're brought up is when Kyon's little sister briefly says something to her mother, and when Haruhi tells Kyon how her father took her to a baseball game as a child. Even in that flashback only Haruhi herself is actually seen as anything but Faceless Masses.
  • Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid: While Saikawa's parents are mentioned, they are never seen in the main series. They do have small appearances in the anime and Kanna's spin-off manga though. Kanna and Tohru's mothers are also never seen, though dialogue implies that they're both alive.
  • In My Hero Academia, Izuku Midoriya's dad is never seen. Fans might assume that he either died or left the family sometime between the flashback (when Midoriya's mom describes him as "my husband") and the present day, but no, the databook says that he's just been working overseas over the entire series. It also gives him the Punny Name Hisashi, similar to the Japanese phrase hisashiburi, which means "long time, no see."
  • Naruto:
    • Several characters' parents are never shown: Rock Lee's parents (if he even has any!), Tenten's parents (assuming she isn't orphaned), and the mothers of Neji, Choji, Ino, and Shino (though we see Ino's and Chouji's in the anime; Hinata's was also shown in the anime but is explicitly a Posthumous Character).
    • Sakura's parents were unseen for a decade (though her mother's voice was heard in the second episode), but finally shown and named in the sixth Shippuden movie, along with an anime episode tying in with it. As the manga's author was involved with the story and character designs of said movie, those names and appearances can probably be considered canon.
    • All the parents of the Konoha 12's children are known... Except for Metal Lee's. His father is Rock Lee however his mother is unknown. Apparently Kishimoto didn't bother to Pair the Spares with Rock Lee or create an original character for him to marry. It's never mentioned if his wife is off-screen or deceased.
    • Obito's parents are shown in a photograph, but they're otherwise never seen or referenced to.
  • In Negima! Magister Negi Magi, out of all the 3-A students, we only see the fathers of Yuuna and Konoka. The former has her dead mother appearing in flashbacks, but that's it. Evangeline and Misora are stated to be orphans, Hakase and Chao might count as Chachamaru's co-mothers, Sayo's parents most likely died decades ago, and Asuna's past is so obscure it's unknown if she ever actually had parents in the strict sense of the word.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • Ash's father is referenced a few times in early episodes but he's never seen. The closest we ever get any details about his whereabouts is that he's off on a Pokémon journey. Even in flashbacks, Delia is depicted as a single mother.
    • Most of Ash's friends have at least one parent as well, but Misty, Iris and Cilan appear to have none.
  • The protagonists' parents in Pokémon Adventures rarely have visible parents, except in the Ruby & Sapphire arc. Red has never even mentioned his, which is odd considering his game counterpart has a prominent mother (and invisible father) who appears in the original games and its sequel. For Blue and Silver, this is justified due to being kidnapped as children, with Silver having amnesia of who his parents are. For everyone else, there's little justification as to why their parents are left unseen.
  • Almost all of the parents in Princess Tutu, probably because the bulk of the story takes place in a Boarding School.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, only Madoka's parents are ever seen. While Mami and Kyoko are later confirmed to be orphans, the parents of the rest simply never show up. It can be excused for Homura as her backstory remains a mystery, but it’s jarring for Sayaka.
  • Sasagawa Ryohei and Kyoko from Reborn! (2004). The manga has never even hinted at them having parents.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Sailor Mercury's mother. It got to the point where she has to go to the airport to leave for America and her mother isn't there with her and nobody even comments on it.
    • Pretty much all the Sailor Senshi who aren't orphans have this problem, except for Usagi. Minako's parents are never shown or mentioned (in the manga, they're alive but plot-irrelevant) and Rei's only parental figure is her grandfather (in the manga, her mother is expicitly deceased and her father is neglectful). In the manga, Sailor Mercury is one of the very few aversions to the trope, where both her mother and father are shown sympathetically despite being divorced.
  • A few cases in Saki.
    • Saki and Teru's mother has never been seen yet.
    • Nodoka's father has so far made only two appearances, but her mother, whose job is the reason why Nodoka keeps changing schools, has never appeared.
    • Touka occasionally mentions her father, but he has never been seen.
    • In Saki Achiga-hen, the Matsumi sisters lost their mother at a young age, but their father, who owns the family inn, has not been seen.
  • The only parent that's ever seen in Seitokai Yakuindomo is Suzu's mother. It's even a running gag that Takatoshi and Kotomi's parents are never home.
  • In SEX teenagers Kaho and Natsu get involved with delinquents, the yakuza, and criminal activities, plus the US army; Kaho goes to live with two guys and gets involved with an assassin, Natsu bombs people, gets shot and kidnapped... without even a mention of a reaction from their parents. (Natsu's dad is mentioned once early in the story, as a plot device, and that's all.)
  • Sola. Nobody's parents are ever seen, heard, mentioned, or even alluded to. Can result in Fridge Logic when the entire incident of Takeshi breaking into the protagonist's house to kill his girl- among others -goes completely unnoticed.
  • Supposedly Kousei from Your Lie in April has a father in his life but he never appears in any flashbacks or even calls (not even when Kousei's mother dies). Kousei lives by himself despite being fourteen. The OVA finally deigns to show him, but so briefly as to not do much good.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • The English dub removes Yugi's mother from the show entirely by cutting her one speaking appearance from an episode. (She does show up very briefly at the end of the first season at the hospital when Yugi's grandfather recovers, but it's such a quick cameo that even manga-familiar viewers likely don't register who she is.) She shows up only a few times in the original manga, though, and there is no mention of Yugi's father.
    • Happens in a lesser way to some other characters: Joey's complicated family set-up is mentioned, but the parents in question are rarely seen (his abusive dad makes a cameo in the Toei anime, and his mom appears in only a single episode in the Duel Monsters anime). Téa and Tristan's parents are never shown or mentioned in either the manga or anime, and Bakura's archaeologist father is mentioned but not seen. Atem's mother appears in a single panel in the manga and not once in the anime (despite his father having a large role in the Millennium World arc).
  • Yuki Yuna is a Hero:
    • Yuna's parents are only referenced in passing. Even in the second season, where Yuna is quickly dying and later has to marry the World Tree, they're only mentioned in dialogue.
    • Togo's parents only appear once. This is made more noticeable by the fact Togo's middle school aged friends are the ones who pick her up from the hospital.
    • Justified for the other Heroes. Karin has an excuse that she left away from home, while the two sisters are orphans.
  • In YuYu Hakusho all of the young characters seem to suffer this fate.
    • Kuwabara's parents are never mentioned in the show, it's suggested he is raised by his older sister who is in her early 20s in the anime and 18 in the manga. In the manga their father does appear in one chapter toward the very end.
    • At first it seems that Yusuke's mom completely averts this trope in the beginning, only making it follow Disappeared Dad because we don't see his father at all. However, after the 14th episode his mother doesn't have a speaking part and after episode 27 we never see her again. She's only mentioned once before Yusuke leaves for demon world later.
    • At first it seems Kurama's human mother is a doting parent, but after episode 7 we never see her featured in an episode again until she gets married, and even then it's merely cameo appearances. It seems Kurama has to lie to her on a regular basis since she doesn't know he's a fox demon but we never see what his excuses as for why he seemingly goes missing for multiple days at a time.
    • Hiei is the most extreme example of this in Yu Yu Hakusho. For the first 3 seasons the audience knows nothing from his past and only knows he has a sister. At first it seems he could be fully grown and on his own, so that's why we never hear from his parents. In a Whole Episode Flashback we see his upbringing. He was born in a female One Gendered Race where men are forbidden. After it's revealed his mother gave birth to a boy, Hiei is thrown from a cliff to his "death." Not long after his mother killed herself out of grief. It seems only she knew of his father, so whereabouts are unknown. Because his twin sister has not had a child yet, something her entire race does every 100 years without fail, it can be assumed neither him nor his sister are full grown. In fact, they're some of the few ambiguously aged characters in the show.
    • Even Keiko plays this trope. We know she has parents, but we only see them twice in the entire series. We don't know what they think of her suddenly missing several days of school and not coming home on multiple occasions nor do we ever hear her explanations.
  • In Zegapain, the absence of parents is explained. Everything is a computer program. Most of the "actual people" are teenagers or adults. Parents would just take up more data space. "Does not seeing your mother really have much effect on your everyday life?" is actually said by one of the characters who is pointing out that the hero has never seen his mother, though he hears her voice as she leaves for work and she leaves food for him in the mornings.

    Comic Strips 
  • Susie's parents are never seen in Calvin and Hobbes despite Calvin visiting her house several times. Susie and Calvin even speak to Susie's mother on two separate occasions, but she remains off-panel both times.
  • Madam & Eve plays this straight with Thandi, whose home life is all but nonexistent and whose mother has only appeared in the comic a handful of times. This is especially notable during the COVID-19 Pandemic, as she's staying in the Anderson's home during the lockdown and even attends her remote school classes there.
  • The entire cast of Peanuts. The series is famous for having almost no adults appear on-screen. One very early strip where Lucy enters a golfing competition did have adults in it but it only served to set up the fact that they're still children (She abandons the competition just before it actually starts due to Charlie reminding her that it was almost her nap time). The animated versions retain this while having all the adults' dialogue represented by trombone noises.

    Fan Works 
  • In Boys und Sensha-do! Miho's father has been occasionally mentioned, but never seen. He doesn't even come to visit her when she's hospitalized.
  • Used in the DuckTales (1987) fanfic, Little Bro. A long-standing staple of the Disney Ducks Comic Universe. An unhatched infant is being cared for by non-parent relatives.
  • The New Adventures of Invader Zim does this with Steve and Viera's parents. While they get a brief description by the twins in the chapter they're introduced in, they don't actually show up, and as this writing still haven't.
  • Princess Trixie Sparkle: Celestia makes reference to her mother, and it's shown that Luna was born when Celestia was already a teenager, yet their parents don't appear on-screen.
  • In the Turning Red fic The Panda Chronicles, none of Mei's friends' parents or 4*Town's parents are shown, aside from a brief mention of Aaron T.'s mother.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Chronicle: With the exception of Andrew's terrible father and terminally ill mother, none of the boys' parents are shown.
  • In Eyes of a Stranger: Jane and Tracy's parents never appear in the film even though there's no evidence they do not exist or have abandoned the family, because their presence in the film would take away from Jane's role as Parental Substitute to Tracy. Their presence is certainly missed, as Jane fails to adequately supervise her little sister when they are both children, resulting in Tracy being kidnapped, raped, and left blind and deaf-mute, and leaving Jane in the role of caring for her in adulthood, to the point of putting Jane's life plans on hold.

  • The parents in the children's book series Charlie and Lola are mentioned but never shown. The same applies to the cartoon adaptation.
  • The Pevensey parents in The Chronicles of Narnia are presumably good parents but they are invariably absent for one reason or another in the books.
  • In Fablehaven, Kendra and Seth's parents are only seen for a few brief scenes in book 2. Otherwise they are only mentioned when Kendra and Seth and their grandparents are discussing how to convince them to let them stay at Fablehaven longer.
  • In Felicity Floo Visits the Zoo, Felicity's parents are never seen, so it's unknown if they took her to the zoo or if she somehow went solo.
  • Hermione's parents in Harry Potter. Because they are Muggles, they are not very connected with the happenings of the magical world. They are actually present during the shopping trip in the second book, but they never speak and their names are never revealed. We do know that they're both dentists, however. Hermione was supposed to have a sister as well but Rowling gave up on introducing her when she got to the fifth book without having done so.
  • Max and Ruby is well-known for this, almost to the point of notoriety. The song from its stage show "Bunny Party" called "Where Are the Parents?" states "They're cleaning up the attic like busy grown-up rabbits, in the kitchen making lunch, 'cause bunnies like to munch!" though this doesn't explain why she has to give him his own bath, guide him around town, nor why she has so much maturity that she is actually able to manage things if if she really is being cared for by parents. They are sometimes cared for by their grandmother, who is seen, though this is rather more common in latter installments of the Animated Adaptation. Eventually this was subverted in the cartoon as their parents were made full-fledged characters. As of 2018, the parents are present in the books as well.
  • Sam, Bangs & Moonshine has Thomas, whose parents aren't seen.
  • In When You Reach Me, Annemarie's father is prominent in the few scenes he is in while her mother is only referred to in one scene. Julia's father is never seen while her mother is in the closet (her meditation room) when Miranda is at Julia's house one day.
  • Wonder Woman: Warbringer: Poornima "Nim" Chaudhary's parents are mentioned exactly once as people who might worry about Nim, but never actually show up.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Pretty much all the Scoobies' parents except Buffy's mom on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, though Willow's mother, Sheila Rosenberg, does appear once, playing a fairly big role in the Season 3 episode "Gingerbread." Xander's parents also did appear onscreen in the episode where he leaves Anya at the altar. Cordelia and Oz's parents were never shown onscreen once outside of a picture in Cordelia's case. And of course there's the various teenage villains or victims of the week, especially in the high school-set early seasons, from which we hear not a peep from their parents (with one notable exception).
  • Control Z:
    • Luis' mother appears in the show, but his father is never shown.
    • Alex's parents are only mentioned once in Season 2. After being attacked by the avenger, Lulú is unable to contact them and Alex revealed that they were currently in Querétaro.
    • Pablo and Rosita themselves also lack parents and they are implied to be living alone in their homes, albeit with merely a brother in the latter's case when she throws a birthday party.
  • On Gilmore Girls, Lane's mother is a fairly prominent character, but her father is never seen. Less observant viewers might think her father is dead or her parents are divorced, but there are several instances where Lane mentions her parents and implies she lives with both of them.
  • Many of the parents on Glee, as the show mostly takes place at school.
  • In iCarly, Freddie's mother was the only parent of the main cast who was shown with any frequency. Carly's father who was a Colonel in the US Air Force spent the majority of the series on tour of duty and made only one onscreen appearance in the series finale. Sam's mother was referred to numerous times but only made one appearance on the show played by Jane Lynch in an episode where she kicked Sam out. Sam's father was also never seen, though a crossover with Victorious confirmed he has left Sam and her mother.
  • Odd Squad enforces this trope and then plays it straight by the end of Season 2. Tim McKeon and Adam Peltzman, the show's creators, made the intentional decision to never show any of the characters' home lives because of the "All Kids are Equal, All Kids Belong" modus operandi — hence, almost none of the main characters' parents are seen. The only main character who is known to have parents in any capacity is Otis, confirmed in the Season 2 finale when he reveals his backstory. However, his family, including his parents, planned on committing a major and lethal act of oddness, causing him to rat them out to Odd Squad, where they are captured and sent to a zoo in Missouri while he is taken under Ms. O's wing. It's never explained what happened to his biological parents.
    • Outside of main characters, Ohlm's parents are seen in the Season 2 finale.
  • Saved by the Bell: Zack's mom appears once in awhile, his dad less often, Lisa and Kelly's parents appear a couple times, Screech's mom appears once, as does Slater's dad. The main adult is Principal Belding.
  • Sydney to the Max: Sydney's best friend Olive has a family and her parents get several mentions, but have yet to appear onscreen.
  • Kenan & Kel: Kel's parents are never shown on screen, but so is pretty much the entirety of Kel's life outside his friendship with Kenan. In one of the few episodes Kel mentions them, he says his dad is a rocket scientist and his mom is a brain surgeon.

  • In Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues, Sebastian's parents are described as caring but often busy with work. This explains why he's able to sequester a nine-foot bug monster in his house without risk of detection.

  • In Grease, none of the teen characters' parents ever appear, they only get a few passing mentions,
  • In L'enfant et les sortilèges, only the skirt of the protagonist's mother is supposed to be visible.
  • In West Side Story, we hear Maria's parents both calling to her from offstage in one seen, and Tony mentions his mother while a few of the other Jets mention their fathers, but no parents ever appear onstage. In fact the parents are so irrelevant to the plot that the second film adaptation easily cuts them out altogether and portrays Tony, Maria, Bernardo and Riff all as orphans.

  • Barbie has parents, according to the licensed books, but they're never referenced in the toys, nor do they have toys.

    Video Games 
  • Ace Attorney never mentions Phoenix's parents, whatever life-threatening woes he gets put through. It's semi-justified in that he's a grown man- all interactions with them could theoretically take place offscreen.
  • Mom in Animal Crossing series exists only as a source of letters. Your father gets referenced in these letters but only sends you one letter.
  • Ness' dad in EarthBound (1994). Aside from the occasional phone conversation he might as well not exist. He is probably a Salaryman.
  • Some of your classmates in High School Story may talk about their parents, but There Are No Adults and that includes parents (then again, Adults Are Useless in this world anyway). You'll sometimes hear about them, but even when a classmate invites you to their house for a project, you'll never actually meet a parent.
  • In I Was a Teenage Exocolonist, Nomi-Nomi mentions their mom and dad often in their dialogue, but they're nowhere to be seen.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • We hear Sora's mother early in the first game, but never even see the parents of anyone on Destiny Islands. Sora doesn't mention his parents in future games either, despite being absent for years.
    • Probably the most egregious example of this trope amongst the Destiny Islands trio is Riku. Sora, as mentioned, has a mom we hear speak offscreen, and in Birth by Sleep, Riku mentions to Terra that Sora's dad rowed them out to the play island. Kairi has her grandma shown in a few cutscenes, and it's stated she's adopted by the mayor of the islands after she arrives during the meteor shower. Riku, however, has next to nothing regarding any mentions of familial relations. The only evidence indicating he has parents is when he tells Sora in the beginning of KHI that they may never see theirs again.
  • Lonely Wolf Treat: While Treat's parents and Moxie's mom (though her dad left years ago) are shown, and Trick's biological parents left them abandoned at a young age, Mochi is the only one to have parents that are acknowledged and mentioned occasionally but never appear. It might be because they are implied to live far away from the main locations where the story takes place.
  • No Umbrellas Allowed: While Bob's father Darcy is a major character, his mother is barely mentioned at all. At most, she appears as a faceless background character who talks to Darcy about hoping to reunite with Bob's brother Bukgu someday.
  • Persona:
    • Almost everyone's parents in Persona 3. Except for Yukari and Mitsuru's fathers, who are rather important to the plot, Akihiko, Ken, Shinjiro, and the Main Character's parents are all dead, Junpei's father and Mitsuru's mother are not dead, Aigis doesn't have parents, and Koromaru's are irrelevant. That leaves all of both of Fuuka's parents and the mothers of Yukari and Junpei.
    • Persona 4. Luckily for this Persona series cast the parents are present, although except Kanji's mom and Dojima (the MC's uncle), none are seen.
    • Persona 5: Hardly any of the crew's parents are seen except for Sojiro Sakura (who adopted Futaba and all but does the same for the MC), Kunikazu Okumura (Haru's father, and one of the targets throughout the game, and also dies through no fault of the Phantoms, but they were framed like that), Yoshizawa's father, Masayoshi Shido (Akechi's bastard of a father, and the seeming Big Bad of the game), and (metaphorically) Kuon Ichinose, SOPHIA's creator. And the only ones who only get mentioned as alive are Ann's (parents abroad), Ryuji's (father abandoned, mother left to raise him alone), and the MC's (by Sojiro when he mentions them sending the MC to him). Morgana's nature means he naturally has none, Yusuke's and Futaba's and Akechi's mothers are mentioned as dead, as is Makoto's father, with no mention of the other parent's fates, and the same goes for Haru's and Kasumi's mothers.
  • Most of the characters in the Sonic the Hedgehog game series have no parents (or any relatives at all, for that matter) - which makes it especially weird whenever a character with parents, like Cream and her mother Vanilla, shows up. Some characters like Knuckles (last of his species and thus his parents are dead) and Shadow (has no parents) have excuses, but characters like Tails and Amy just live alone despite being eight and twelve respectively.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Mario and Luigi's parents. They are mentioned but almost never seen.
    • Early English media and manuals mention a "Mushroom King" however, aside from a few references, he is never alluded to in the games. It's left vague if Peach has living parents however her still being a princess implies such. As far as its been shown, Peach is the sole ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom.
    • Bowser Jr presumably has a Missing Mom considering that Bowser is so set on Peach.
    • The Koopalings have no known parents whatsoever. They were originally Bowser's children but have since been retconned as unrelated.

    Visual Novels 
  • Out of the protagonist’s and Johanna’s classmates in Double Homework, none of their parents appear in person until late in the story. This is justified with Amy, who takes pains to keep her family situation secret from her classmates, and with Dennis, whose wealthy father pays for an apartment for his son to live in alone. Through everything, only these two are seen talking to their respective parents in the main part of the story, while Lauren’s mother almost catches her daughter having sex with the protagonist. Ironically, though, Lauren ends up as the one for whom this trope is ultimately played the straightest: Amy’s and Rachel’s moms, Morgan’s uncle, and even Dennis’s dad all appear in person late in the story, while neither of Lauren’s parents ever appears properly; nor are they ever heard again after they nearly catch their daughter in the act.
  • In Higurashi: When They Cry Keiichi's parents are nameless, faceless, and barely present. Characters talk to them off-screen. The manga gave both designs but no names, while the anime only showed them from behind.
  • Hisao's father in Katawa Shoujo only appears in one scene in the prologue, and does not have a sprite, like many of the visual novel's extremely minor and nameless characters do. Lilly's mother is also only heard on the other end of the phone in Hanako and Lilly's routes.
  • In Melody, it is known that Sophia lives with her parents, but they are never shown, not even when Melody is shown over at Sophia's house.
  • Most of the cast of School Days. Sekai's mother is seen a few times, such as in the Magical Kokoro-chan OVA. She and Kotonoha's mother have a few H-scenes with Makoto in the games too.

  • Many of the comics of Platypus Comix feature characters whose parents are either never around or rarely appear. Sometimes it's Justified, in series where the main characters are young adults.

    Web Original 
  • Tyce and Eli from Deagle Nation have these, although Eli's mom can be heard over the phone in one video.
  • Although there are mentions about Eleonora and Menelaos having a home and a family in Greek Ninja, they are never shown, neither are any of the other characters' parents, characters who are students in Ariadnio and assumed to have parents.
  • Homestar Runner makes a Running Gag about never revealing or involving any of the main characters' parents. The only ones who have ever been seen are Pom Pom's, who look like different colored versions of him, and Homsar's, who he claims are a cup of coffee and a Chipwich.
  • Lacey Games while it's established that Lacey lives with her Creepy Uncle, the whereabouts of her parents is left ambiguous and Lacey never making any mentions about them. The closest indications of her parents might be represented as a group of anthromorphic pigs in the Nightmare Sequence on the third episode alongside her uncle.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series lampshaded this when Tristan asked Tea, "Don't our parents even care that we're missing?"

    Western Animation 
  • Skippy Squirrel's parents from Animaniacs are only mentioned a few times in passing. This is actually addressed in One Flew Over The Cuckoo Clock in which his Aunt Slappy develops a condition similar to dementia after watching too many daytime talk shows. The child protective services come to take Skippy away after she's no longer mentally able to look after him and mention that his parents are nowhere to be found. When The Nostalgia Critic interviewed some of the cast and crew of the show, he asked Slappy's voice actress Sherri Stoner about Skippy's parents and she replied as Slappy that his parents are on a long vacation.
  • The babies in Baby Looney Tunes mention having parents; however, Granny takes care of them the entire series. Their parents are always conveniently off-screen.
  • The Backyardigans are little anthropomorphic animal kids playing in their backyard so it's presumed their parents are inside. While they are mentioned a few times, the audience never sees them.
  • The Little Einsteins are four kids named Leo, Quincy, June and Annie going on adventures with their Rocket. We never see their parents nor did they talk about them. Or any other humans besides themselves.
  • In Beavis And Butthead the two main characters are established to live with their single mothers who are implied to be prostitutes. The duo occasionally mention them and sometimes call to them but we see them only once. However, we do meet their dads in the movie: Motley Crue roadies just as stupid as their sons and their behavior is similar to theirs, that don't seem to notice their resemblance to them and abandon them after providing them with a fire for the night. Based on the foursome's conversation, the duo are half-brothers and one of the roadies is their dad.
  • Most of the parents in Code Lyoko, since the vast majority of the action is within the campus of a Boarding School. The exception is the Ishiyama family, who have a bit more screen time since Yumi commutes from home. Ulrich's, Odd's and William's parents do appear over time, as well as Jérémie's father. By the end of the show, the only significant parents we haven't seen are Jérémie's mother (who is only occasionally mentioned) and Sissi's mother (who isn't mentioned at all, but the producers have confirmed she's still alive).
  • Downplayed since he's an adult, but we never see or hear from Darkwing Duck's parents, or any other biological family members he might have. We do see Darkwing's parents in a flashback from "The Secret Origins of Darkwing Duck", but that episode deliberately contradicts the series' established continuity.
    • It's stated in the pilot that Gosalynn lived with her grandfather before he died. Her parents are never mentioned, but the fact that she was staying at an orphanage and that Drake Mallard adopted her without an issue implies that they've passed as well.
    • Darkwing does mention his parents momentarily whilst arguing in one episode, claiming that they created him, which would imply that they're still alive.
  • DuckTales (1987): Doofus' parents are never heard from. A little disconcerting, since Doofus regularly goes on perilous adventures and gets captured from time to time.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: We get multiple references to the parents of the kids but the closest we get is seeing the backside of Ed's mother ("Rock-a-Bye Ed", an All Just a Dream episode), the arms of Eddy's father and Ed's mother ("Mission Ed-Possible"), and the arm of Eddy's mother ("Smile for the Ed").
  • In Ewoks, there's the Warrick parents, there's Chief Chirpa, there's Bozzie and there are Lumat and Zeephee. However, Malani and Teebo's mother and father (who were previously introduced in a young reader book and the father was identified as being one of the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi) are never seen throughout the series.
  • None of the characters in Fanboy and Chum Chum seem to have parents or any sort of guardian watching over them. The eponymous duo, even though they're both kids who are still in school, live all by themselves in what looks like a water tower with nobody taking care of them. For that matter, adults in general rarely ever appear in the show.
  • Two of the main characters in Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends are Madame Foster, the house's founder, and her granddaughter Frankie, the house's caretaker. Frankie's own parents are rarely mentioned, but she's a young adult who's old enough to live on her own anyway. The show's creator would confirm years later that they are still alive.
    • Goo's parents are stated to still be around, but never appear on-screen. The only relative of hers we get to see is her uncle Joe.
  • In Gravity Falls, Dipper and Mabel's parents are only seen at the very beginning of the series, and even then, only their arms as they get the kids ready for their trip to Gravity Falls. We do know that it was their idea to send them (while Dipper, at least, was reluctant to go), and Stan talks to them on the phone at the end of Season 1, but we don't even hear their side of the conversation. And, for the record, Word of God confirms that they didn't know about the Twin Switch that happened between Stanford and Stanley either.
  • None of the characters' parents in Grojband are ever seen. Trina mentions her and Corey's father in the pilot (who is confirmed by Word of God to be a single adoptive father), while Kin and Kon mention their parents on two separate occasions and absolutely no word is ever dropped regarding Laney's parents.
  • Most of the regular child characters in Harvey Beaks have a least one parent shown, who tend to be recurring characters themselves, but we don't see Claire's or Kratz's. Claire's mother is mentioned several times, but we only see them talking over the phone. Even scenes in Kratz's house show no one else living there.
  • Downplayed in Jem as the characters are adults. It's still noticeable that Stormer's and Roxy's parents are never even referenced because almost everyone else has dead or absentee parents.
  • Kaeloo:
    • Stumpy's mother is one of these. Stumpy and his sisters still live with her and regularly talk about her, but Stumpy's mother herself is never seen onscreen; in one episode she makes an appearance but her voice is heard from offscreen and she never appears physically.
    • Due to Mr. Cat running away from home before the start of the series, his mother is one of these as well. Her presence in the show so far is limited to one brief phone call and one scene of her yelling at Mr. Cat from offscreen.
  • Tiifu and Zuri are two of Kiara's friends in The Lion Guard. Their mothers have yet to be seen. It's never explained if they're from Simba's pride or not, though they certainly weren't present in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride.
  • Muppet Babies: They appear to actually live at Nanny's house full-time. Even more confusing in one episode where Kermit's nephew Robin is introduced as a tadpole, and nothing is said about Robin's parents or the rest of the Frog family.
  • Despite numerous scenes in My Life as a Teenage Robot being set in their homes, we never see Brad and Tuck's or Sheldon's parents.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Downplayed for the main cast, as they're all young adults living away from home, but all of their parents show up at least once throughout the entire series, though Applejack's (seen in flashbacks) are confirmed to be deceased by Word of God.
    • Played straight for some of the younger characters. Scootaloo didn't have any parental figures even mentioned for most of the show's run, resulting in the fanon that she's an orphan and wants Rainbow Dash to treat her like a sister because she never had a family. Episodes like "Parental Glideance" didn't help, as while Scootaloo talks about wishing she had supportive parents like Dash's, it isn't clear if she's referencing her own parents or just talking about wanting parents in general. One of the books and an issue of the comics would reveal that her parents are alive and work abroad, while she lives with her aunts, but none of these characters would appear in the show proper until the final season in an episode specifically addressing Scootaloo's home life.
    • Sweetie Belle's (and Rarity's) parents have only appeared in one episode, with some episodes implying that she spends just as much time, if not more, staying at her older sister's home as she does with their parents. We've seen her parents' home on at least one occasion, with the establishing shot having her father sitting outside, but he has no interaction with her.
    • The High School AU My Little Pony: Equestria Girls has all the characters as teenagers, but the parents are still never seen due to most plots taking place at Canterlot High or school events. Sunset Shimmer is assumed by fans to live alone, since she naturally doesn't have any family in the human world. That said, it's never addressed in the movies or specials if she even has family back in Equestria either, with the only mention being a throwaway line in one of the comics where she says she was never close with them.
    • Cadance is Celestia's niece. Celestia's sister Luna was stuck on the moon until just recently. So, assuming Cadance is not Really 700 Years Old, who are Cadance's parents? Turns out she's Celestia's adopted niece. Whatever happened to her biological parents is never mentioned. All that's known is that she was found in the wilderness by herself.
  • In Over the Garden Wall, we never see Wirt and Greg's parents. The two are half-brothers, with Wirt's dad implied to be absent and their mother now married to Greg's dad. The only thing we know for sure is that Greg's dad encourages Wirt to be more social, and that Wirt, being a Socially Awkward Hero, does not seem to like him much.
  • The various Peanuts specials involving Charlie Brown and other children.
  • PJ Masks: None of the 3 Kid Hero's parents are ever seen (although they are mentioned a few times), nor is it known if they even know their kids are superheroes. The Night Villains' parents (assuming they still have them) aren't seen or mentioned either.
  • In Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja, parents are only very rarely seen, with Howard and Heidi's dad and Bash Johnson's mom being the sole exceptions (Bucky's mother is only heard). Mostly, the only characters the audience sees are the kids, their teachers, and the villains. In fact, Randy's parents are not seen in at any moment, although he names his mom sometimes.
  • Ready Jet Go!: Aside from Jet, whose two parents are always present, Mitchell, Sean, Sydney, and Mindy are all confirmed to have both a mom and a dad each, but almost none of them are ever shown. Mitchell's dad is always shown, but Mitchell's mom has only been heard. Sean's mom is always shown, but his dad is nowhere to be seen. Mindy's mom is heard, but not shown, and her dad is also nowhere to be seen. Sydney's mom makes frequent appearances as of season 2, but her dad is nowhere to be seen. As for Lillian, she is confirmed to have a mom in "Mindy Turns Five", but is unknown if she has a father.
  • Parents are only very rarely seen in Recess.
  • Shimmer and Shine: Even with most of the season 1 episodes taking place in or around Leah's home, we never see her parents, nor are they mentioned. Same for Zac, too. He pretty much comes and goes as he pleases via the loose picket in their shared fence. Similarly, the genies don't seem to have parents, or at least they're never referred to. The only parental figure of remote is Princess Samira, who has the general appearance of a responsible teenager.
  • Most of the characters' parents in Tiny Toon Adventures have been shown at one point or another except for Buster, Fifi, Shirley, Furball, and Fowlmouth; Furball is an orphan and the others' parents are either never mentioned or just never seem to be at home at the same time with their kids.
  • Total Drama: We see a few parents in season one's "Message from Home" segments (Owen, Duncan, and Heather's parents, and Gwen's mother), and DJ's mother shows up from time to time, but that's it. Justified since the teenage protagonists are competing on a reality TV show away from home, but you think you'd hear about a lawsuit or something when Ezekiel has apparently been missing from his house for years at this point.
    • Just like Baby Looney Tunes and Muppet Babies, the parents of the kids in Total DramaRama are usually just mentioned. We do occasionally catch brief glimpses of their arms or legs, but so far only Duncan's parents and Gwen's mother have made full-on appearances.
  • Word Party technically only has four babies with no adults in sight.