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The best part about living alone? He gets to make his own rules.
Schoolday's over. Students prepare to leave... but not all of them go to meet friends, a love interest or a family. For various reasons, some live alone, younger than you'd expect. The most common cause for this trope is that their parents are dead or absent.

Children who live alone are sometimes rather mature and capable and may even have a job in order to support themselves. If they live with younger siblings, expect them to take on the role of Parental Substitute. Rules of Orphan Economics may apply.

Related to Parental Abandonment. See also Emancipated Child, where the child divorces their parents and goes to live on their own; Department of Child Disservices, where child protection services are crappy in general, including this trope, as well as placing kids with bad foster families; and Social Services Does Not Exist, which is about kids not being taken away from bad families.

Compare Staying with Friends, which is often used when a plot needs to have a character separated from their family but the writers think this trope would be too hard for the audience to swallow. Contrast Basement-Dweller, an adult character who still lives at home with his parents.


Examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach:
    • Orihime Inoue's older brother Sora kidnapped her when he was eighteen and she was three to save her from dangerous parental abuse. After that, he raised her alone until she was twelve when he died in a car accident. Orihime has lived alone ever since, although she is financially supported by an aunt on the condition that she does well at school, which she does. She also works part-time in a bakery after the Time Skip.
    • Yasutora "Chad" Sado is an orphan. Being half-Mexican, after his parents died, he was sent to Mexico to live with his grandfather, whose wisdom stopped him from turning into a bully. After his grandfather's death, Chad returned to Japan where he has lived alone ever since, and supports himself by working in construction and playing guitar at gigs.
    • Uryuu Ishida refuses to live with his father, who has rejected their Quincy heritage for mysterious reasons and objects to Ishida's pursuit of it. Ishida perceives his father's behaviour as a betrayal of their family legacy and refuses to even acknowledge their kinship, instead calling Ryuuken by his first name and living by his deceased grandfather's teachings. It's strongly implied that Ishida's life has been in danger ever since his mother Kanae's Cruel and Unusual Death and that Ryuuken has sacrificed being a Quincy to keep him alive.
    • Mizuiro Kojima has a mother who doesn't pay him any attention, so he takes advantage of his ability to charm women to get older women to look after him. At least one of the women he's involved with has tried to get him to call his mother, but he refuses. Keigo mentions that Mizuiro had become so withdrawn from people that he was Mizuiro's Only Friend until Ichigo arrived in their lives.
  • In the original Captain Tsubasa anime, Genzo Wakabayashi is implied to both be a Lonely Rich Kid and to live like this in his family's Big Fancy House. His father is a rich businessman who lives and works in England, his mother is living with him and Genzo's older siblings from the manga aren't mentioned (probably since this is a very early canon point), so Genzo decides to follow his Big Brother Mentor and probable Parental Substitute Mikami to Germany both to advance in his career and to visit his parents more often.
  • Syaoran from Cardcaptor Sakura lives by himself in the manga during his stay in Japan, away from his family in Hong Kong at the ripe old age of 10. The anime adaptation evidently found this too hard to swallow, even with Tomoeda being the Sugar Bowl it is, and gave him a guardian in the form of Wei Wang, who's an Old Retainer of the Li Family who taught Syaoran martial arts. The sequel, Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card, has Syaoran come back to Tomoeda to live alone again and in the anime adaptation, Wei Wang doesn't accompany him this time.
  • Shinichi Kudo from Case Closed used to do this, living in the Kudo family's Big Fancy House and taking care of it since his parents live and work in the USA. After he's shrunk, however, under the Conan Edogawa he goes live with his would-be girlfriend and her Private Defective father.
  • Chainsaw Man:
    • After Denji's abusive father died, his debtors pretty much enslaved Denji, leaving him to live in a ramshackle shed with only his dog-like devil Pochita as company. When Denji is drafted into Public Safety at the age of 16, he's made another agent's roommate.
    • Asa has lived alone since her parents were killed by devils, her mother at least surviving to see her daughter in high school. After Part 2 starts, she's still physically alone, but is Sharing a Body with a devil. Her friend Yuko, also orphaned by devils, seems to be living alone as well.
  • It's never stated why Kanae from Dandelion Among Lilies lives alone but she does. The manga begins with her estranged sister and her girlfriend temporarily moving into her house.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Goku lived on his own in his grandfather's house for a number of years before being found by Bulma when he was eleven. It is not known how long he was alone.
    • 16-year-old Yamcha was introduced living alone with Puar, a 9-year-old Funny Animal, in a desert as thieves. It's said they've been doing it for 2 and a half years. Unlike Goku, their parents or other relatives are never mentioned.
  • At the start of Fly Me to the Moon, Nasa is living this way. Just before his high school entrance exams, he'd gotten hit by a truck and only survived due to the intervention of a mysterious girl named Tsukasa. He spent a long time in rehab, resulting in him missing the chance to do entrance exams, and ultimately dropped out to work. Not wanting his parents to worry about him, he ended up getting his own apartment, which is later revealed to be some distance from his family's home. Around the time he turned 18, Tsukasa found him, and they got married.
  • Haruka Nanase from Free! lives alone in his late grandmother's house, although his best friend Makoto does live right down the street. The Nanase parents moved away for work, and his grandmother died sometime later.
  • Fruits Basket:
    • Although she has friends and family she could stay with if she wasn't too polite to ask, Tohru decides to try to live on her own in a tent after she's orphaned and her grandfather's house is being renovated. Fortunately, the Sohmas are persistent enough to get her to stay with them.
    • Around the time she's starting high school, Machi is kicked out of the house after a kind gesture towards her baby brother is misconstrued as attempted murder.
    • Momiji was forced to leave his parents when he was about eight after his mentally unstable mother rejects him practically at birth, and by the time the series begins, he has a house of his own on the Sohma estate. There would have been plenty of servants around, and Hatori seems to look after him when he has the time, but he's very independent by the time he enters high school.
  • In Girls und Panzer, most students who go to the school ships seem to live in apartments on the ship, while their parents live and work on land. Yukari is one of the few exceptions since her family owns a hair salon on the ship, and it's possible that other children of people who work on the school ships have similar circumstances.
  • This is used tragically in The Gods Lie. Rio, who is not yet in junior high, lives alone with her little brother. Their mother is deceased and their father is always on long trips for his work (or so he claims). As it turns out, the reason they're alone is because their grandfather died and Rio buried him in the backyard instead of telling anyone.
  • Ryou of Gourmet Girl Graffiti is this, through a combination of Parental Abandonment and the death of her grandma who took after her for the past few years. It gets more exaggerated after Chapter 17 when Kirin moves in, making it a case of two minors living alone. The series's premise also deconstructs this trope; it was Ryou's extreme loneliness arising from this trope that kickstarted the story.
  • Kohina in Gugure! Kokkuri-san was a child living alone, until Kokkuri-san basically appointed himself as her guardian and moved in with her.
  • Hyakunichikan!!: Shuuto is a high schooler living on his own (except for Chiho, who he's taking care of) for three months while his parents are overseas.
  • The titular hero from Inuyasha lived alone in the woods for a long time. It is pretty clearly implied that this is true of almost all hanyou because they are hated and shunned by both humans and youkai.
    • The sequel Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon shows Moroha, Setsuna and Towa. Setsuna and Towa were abandoned in the woods by their father, Sesshomaru, to help them learn to become stronger. At the time they were two young children. Moroha was raised by a wolf demon tribe since she was young. In both these cases, it is revealed that Sesshomaru's retainer Jaken was the one responsible for delivering the kids to these locations, and he did pop by occasionally to check on them.
  • The title character of Kiki's Delivery Service, who sets out at the age of 13 and sets up a delivery service while living above a bakery owned by an expecting couple. Justified in-universe; young witches in Kiki's world are not just allowed but apparently expected to leave home for a year once they turn 13 to begin their training.
  • While most of the girls in K-On! have offscreen parents Yui and Ui's parents have been traveling the world for almost the whole three years of the show's timeframe, with their only adult supervision being the old lady who lives nearby. Yui is totally useless at household chores, meaning that from age 14 to 17, Ui was doing all the cooking and cleaning.
  • Kotaro Lives Alone, as the title already reveals, resolves entirely around a 4-year-old boy named Kotaro who is already living on his own in an apartment, and takes care of himself.
  • Justified in Kotoura-san. Haruka Kotoura (14 years old) had already suffered Parental Abandonment via her mother's I Have No Daughter!. Plus, the general consensus is that any roommates would be bothered by her inadvertent Telepathy, especially during her Leave Me Alone! phase. Zenzou, Haruka's unbelievably wealthy grandfather, pays for the apartment's rent.
  • Kuroko's Basketball: Kagami lives alone, which is the reason for his surprisingly good cooking skills.
  • Mogumo from Love Me For Who I Am is roughly fifteen and lives by themself. They live alone because their high school is far from home.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
  • Rei from March Comes in Like a Lion started living in his own apartment at the age of 17, after starting high school a year late. Though he has a foster family to go back to, he found his presence damaging to the blood-related family members while he was still living with them, making him leave in the first place. His earnings as a shogi player are enough for him to sustain himself, even if he sends a portion of it back to his foster family.
  • Midori Days: Seiji lives alone since his parents are said to be traveling abroad and his older sister, Rin, lives with her boyfriend. She drops by, every other month or so, to give him enough funds to cover food and expenses.
  • In Minami-ke, the three Minami sisters live alone. No explanation is given as to why their parents are absent.
  • Unlike many examples of this trope, Umetarou Nozaki aka the title character from Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun lives alone for a relatively down-to-earth reason despite his parents being alive and not abroad. He managed to convince his parents to let him move out and into his own apartment after his early success as a mangaka earned him enough money to do so and showing them that he could continue to support himself.
  • My Dress-Up Darling: Marin mentions that her mom died of illness when she was very young, and her dad was transferred to work abroad when she began high school, so she's living by herself in her apartment.
  • Naruto:
    • The series has multiple examples, most notably the orphaned title character. He has lived alone his entire life (according to filler flashbacks, he's had his own apartment since he was 5 or 6), is denigrated and scorned by almost every adult, and is only very loosely supervised by his teachers Iruka and Kakashi and the Hokage. The village gives him money for expenses and his apartment is small, so it's plausible that he wouldn't need a job, but he's not the sharpest tool in the shed so it's a little unlikely that he'd competently take care of himself.
    • Sasuke has the same problems after his family died at age seven, but at least he's established to be intelligent.
    • A Shippuden filler scene shows Tenten's house and there's no sign of parents.
  • Main character Maron Kusakabe from Phantom Thief Jeanne is 16 years old, but lives by herself in her own apartment, as her parents moved overseas for work when she was younger. This is deconstructed, since despite pretending otherwise, Maron is secretly sad and lonely from having to live all alone.
  • Justified in Please Twins!, Mike was allowed to live alone thanks to a deal he made with his orphanage, which lets him work and live alone.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • Brock was raising his nine younger siblings alone and running the Pewter City Gym on his own while his parents ran off. In the 4kids dub, they decided to kill off Brock's mother, likely because both parents leaving was just too tragic, however several years later Brock's mom was introduced.
    • More however, the protagonist Ash is a ten-year-old boy who travels around the country without adult supervision despite having a living mother. This is normal in their universe as many ten-year-olds roam with only their Pokémon for protection. Sun and Moon and Journeys avoids this as he stays with Professors Kukui and Cerise respectively during those arcs.
    • Due to their mom being a Workaholic and dad missing, Lillie and Gladion play this straight in an arc where every other main character has at least one parent to look after them. Lillie stays at the family manor with her butler as the only regular guardian she has, while Gladion took up Pokemon training on his own in order to avoid potentially traumatizing his sister with Type:Null.
  • In Private Actress, Shiho Kobayakawa was initially raised by her maternal grandmother but after she died, she rented a small apartment on her own and worked as a P.A. to make ends meet. It's justified since not only she's the Heroic Bastard of a famous actor (who doesn't even know of Shiho's existence), but her mother Sayuri is also an actress and she can't let the press know that Shiho is her child, since unmarried mothers are heavily looked down in Japan and both their lives would be ruined if the secret leaked.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica:
    • Mami's parents died in an accident. As it turned out, she also had no relatives, and thus had no choice but to live on her own.
    • Homura, whose family is either nonexistent or estranged. However, her reasons for living alone also stem from the fact that she came to the conclusion that she can only work by herself after countless failed time loops.
    • Kyouko lives in her apartment complex alone with no parental supervision due to her father going nuts, and murdering her mother, younger sister, and then himself in a murder-suicide.
  • In RaButa, Kurume's parents died when she was in middle school, and she's lived by herself ever since, with her part-time maid Fuyu being the closest thing she has to parental supervision.
  • Ranma ˝:
    • Ryoga Hibiki spends most of his time aimlessly wandering across Japan, due to his poor sense of direction. It's implied to be a hereditary trait, since the few times he finds his way home, his parents are never present.
    • Ukyo Kuonji has been supporting herself ever since she ran away from home to track down Ranma and his father, Genma. She successfully runs her own business, while still being in high school.
  • Real Mo Tamani Wa Uso Wo Tsuku: Kaoru Terazaki's mother has passed away and his father is described as always being away on business trips, meaning it's up to him to look after their apartment. He's actually become very good at housework, but Nanami Ousaka is horrified when he becomes horribly ill one day and is left bedridden with no one to care for him. This prompts her to head over to look after him (despite her being a borderling Hikikomori), which also leads to her learning about his mother being deceased.
  • Fourteen-year-old Makoto Kino from Sailor Moon lives alone because her parents are dead.
  • Sally the Witch: Sally Yumeno, aka the Princess of the Astoria realm, lives with her adoptive siblings Poron and Cab alone in a Big Fancy House that Sally created with her magical powers. Her parents are alive and well but are the Ruling Couple of Astoria so they can't really live with the three kids, though in an episode they drop by when Sally's teacher shows concern about the kids' situation, tricking him into believing that they work abroad.
  • When we see twelve-year-old Amy's house in Sonic X there are no signs of any parents. There's even a sign in front of it that says "House Of Amy Rose".
  • Tentomushi no Uta: The seven Isshuu children have lived without adult supervision since the deaths of their parents, with Tsukimi, the oldest of the two daughters, being only 11 and the oldest son Kaji being no older than 10.
  • Tokyo Mew Mew: Bu-ling is a preteen girl living without her parents or any adult guardian. Due to her father being away training martial arts and her mother being dead, she's been promoted to parent for five younger siblings while she's an elementary schooler. In addition to that, she also works at a café and is a crime-fighting half-monkey superhero. At the very least, the anime included a kindergarten teacher who offers to help Bu-ling and her little siblings out.
  • Totsugami: Tasaku starts living alone in his mansion after his grandmother passes away. This doesn't last for long though as Kozuka and Nakiri (who are both adults) move in with him after their apartment gets burned down by an onibi.
  • Sui in Twilight Star Sui and Neri is a preteen girl who lives most of her life parentless and with an absent adult company on her side. She is mostly taken care of by Neri, her pet sloth, something that is the closest there is to an "adult figure" for her.
  • Variable Geo: Both of Satomi's parents died years ago, leaving her to look after herself and her kid brother Daisuke. But, because of his medical expenses, she barely earns enough to support them, despite working two jobs. Which is how The Jahana Group manipulates her into entering the VG tournament.
  • Rei Kuroki from Vividred Operation lives alone with her pet parakeet in her apartment complex because her parents died in an accident.
  • Weathering With You: Hina and Nagi's mother is bedridden in hospital at the very start of the film and dies offscreen in the one-year Time Skip between that and most of the rest of the film. Their father is never even mentioned. Eventually, Surprisingly Realistic Outcome occurs as social services gets involved.
  • Why the Hell Are You Here, Teacher!?: After Kobayashi told his parents he wanted to be a manga editor instead of a doctor, they kicked him out.
  • Fourteen-year-old Kousei from Your Lie in April lives alone. His mother died a few years prior and his father is usually traveling. Part way through the series, one of his mom's old friends starts becoming a Parental Substitute for him.
  • The Kaiba brothers in Yu-Gi-Oh!, since the death of their abusive adoptive father. Seto Kaiba therefore has to split his time between school, running a company, and raising his little brother, when he's not too busy with card-game-based grudges, which is never. Bakura also seems to have been living alone since transferring to Domino High, which means there are no responsible adults around to notice all the trouble his Superpowered Evil Side causes and gets him into.
  • Yuki Yuna is a Hero:
    • Fuu and Itsuki are orphans who live alone. Despite both being middle schoolers, Fuu is considered her little sister's legal guardian.
    • Karin lives alone despite both her parents being alive and well.
    • Supplementary materials indicate that after the events of the anime, Sonoko moved to Sanshu in order to join her friends and now lives alone, bringing the Hero Club up to 4/6 members to whom this trope applies.
  • Justified in YuruYuri with Yui. Yui's aunt is the landlady of the apartment she rents. Her parents objected to her living on her own at first but decided it would be good for her maturity.

    Comic Books 
  • Robin (1993): After Tim's mother is murdered and his recovering father is abducted he ends up living alone while Bruce tries to track down his father. He's also stuck as Robin to AzBats during this time which means that after school he's trying to keep someone in Powered Armor from killing people after said person tried to kill him and bricked up all the known entrances to the batcave. For a period after his father died and while he was still too angry at Bruce for his role in Stephanie's death to consider Bruce's offer to adopt him he lived on his own in Bludhaven. Later still as Red Robin he moved out of the manor and started living in his own flat in Crime Alley, which was evidently preferable to living with a little brother who keeps making little attempts on his life.
  • Runaways is about well, Runaways, the youngest being eleven at the start of the series and the oldest starting at seventeen, that have superpowers and live alone after running away from their supervillain parents and then again from child protective services that wanted to keep them apart (and put their dinosaur in storage...It Makes Sense in Context).
  • Shazam!: Billy Batson, usually. In the 90s he was eventually adopted by the Bromfields, in other versions he stays in an orphanage, or with Uncle Dudley, and in Shazam! (2012) he has a foster family.
  • The Freedom Fighters in Sonic the Comic all seem young however they live alone. Only Tails has a known reason for being alone. His family lives in another Zone.
  • Superman:
    • Supergirl (2005): Fifteen-year-old Supergirl lived alone in her own apartment for several months until she was adopted by Lana Lang.
    • Supergirl (2011): When she returns to Earth after leaving the Red Lanterns, sixteen-year-old Kara finds a job as a waitress and rents a flat in NYC Queens. When Superman meets with her in Crucible, she has spent several weeks living on her own and insists on going on living with no supervision.
    • In The Girl with the X-Ray Mind, teenager Lena Thorul lives alone due to having no known relatives.
  • Tintin: Tintin is 14-15 in the comics and 17 in the live-action CGI movie. Lives completely alone. The movie is set in the 1930s while the comics go from the 1930s to the 1970s. Tintin may be ageless or just have really extended lifespan without early maturation (living 16 times longer, and also needing 16 times longer to mature). In Comics and movies set in the 1930s, Tintin may still be chronologically a minor (under-18, under-21 pre-World War II), but it is before the age of child welfare laws, so mature and intelligent teenagers could masquerade as adults in society without too much trouble in those days.

    Comic Strips 
  • In The Perishers, Wellington lives alone in a squat with his dog, even managing to go to school with the other kids. Before moving into the squat, he and Boot lived in a section of concrete sewer pipe that had been left lying around in a closed builder's yard.

    Fan Works 
  • At the start of the My Hero Academia fanfic Anyone, Izuku's mom travels the world for work and Izuku lives alone in their apartment in Japan, until All for One moves in.
  • In the Ranma ˝ Elsewhere Fic Boy Scouts ˝, there is a character named Kenneth Pendrell. He is the youngest of the main characters, most of whom are also minors. Almost all of them have had family, including parents, appearing in story or at least referenced as existing. There are even a pair of characters who are established as orphaned minors living with an adult over sister. But in the case of Kenny, the narrative seems to go out of its way to avoid even mentioning any family for him, even when the story has scenes that take place in the house which is described as having an "un-lived-in" feel to it. (Kenny himself likely lives in his massive underground laboratory beneath the house.)
  • Scootaloo in Doctor Whooves – The Series, because her dad has a very important job that involves traveling a lot.
  • After his father died in His History Revealed: A Dr. Robotnik Biography, the high school-aged Robotnik spent a while living on his own. He used his dad's money but was quickly left homeless because he couldn't pay the bills.
  • The Home We Built Together: One of the wedding presents Hiccup and Astrid receive is their own home. While they are technically considered adults considering they are married, they are still just teenagers.
  • In Laying Waste To Halloween, both Annabeth and Percy are minors that live alone. This is justified because they've both been emancipated from their parents.
  • The Miraculous Ladybug fic Powers of Invisibility has Juleka Couffaine, a fifteen-year-old when we meet her, living alone in an apartment in Paris paid for by her parents, who spend most of the year teaching archaeology in China or doing research elsewhere, though they "usually" come back for Christmas. Dialogue implies that this has been going on for at least five years, and Juleka doesn't seem to get how not normal this kind of parenting is, reacting with honest confusion when her friends or their families react with shock or anger upon learning about it.
  • Six-year-old Naruto is considered too old for the orphanage in Princess of Konoha.
  • re:Bound (RWBY): Seventeen-year-old Pyrrha moved out into her own apartment at age fourteen because she couldn't stand the grandeur of her parent's mansion. Her parents agreed that, as long as she kept winning tournaments, they'd pay for her apartment and let her live on her own.
  • Mobians in Speed and Purpose are given adult freedoms at age fourteen, including being able to move out. Their village council, or something similar, gives them an allowance until they're eighteen.
  • In the Triptych Continuum, it's eventually revealed that Scootaloo has been living on her own (buying groceries, paying the mortgage, and the like with the checks her parents send her) for at least three full years. Oddly enough, the authorities are not happy; they force her to live with a foster family and issue arrest warrants for her parents.
  • In the My Hero Academia fanfic We're Working on It, Shinsou lives alone and takes care of his little siblings as their Parental Substitute. It's justified because he pretends that he's his mother.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Angel (1984) 15-year-old Angel lives alone and is a schoolgirl by day, hooker by night.
  • Better Luck Tomorrow: 17-year-old Daric lives alone, as his parents travel a lot or work somewhere else. Because of this, his house becomes a setting for many a Wild Teen Party.
  • Enola Holmes 2: Sherlock lets Enola keep her own place despite being an underage girl in Victorian London. Passersby tend to be a little scandalized that she can live, work, and move around unsupervised.
  • In Home Alone, Kevin is accidentally left home alone for a few days when his family leaves for Paris. The cashier is clearly suspicious to see him shopping alone but it is not enough to call the police. His parents tried to call the house and have the police check on him but the phone lines were all down due to a storm and the officer did not find anyone in the house (as Kevin was frightened and was hiding under the bed). All the neighbors are off on vacation so they don't notice his presence either.
  • In the novel and Film of the Book Hugo, the titular 12-year-old character is living alone in a train station after he was orphaned and his uncle abandoned him.
  • In The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane the eponymous Little Girl is living alone in a big house after her terminally ill father committed suicide and she killed her estranged/abusive mother who had come to take her back.
  • Played for drama in Nobody Knows where four children are left to live alone by their mother and they do not reach out for help. It doesn't end well.
  • In Zebrahead (1992), the delinquent Nut lives with some friends in an abandoned house across the street from Nikki. When the principal asks to talk to his parents, Nut is evasive about why they aren't available.

    Literature 
  • In Accel World, Kuroyukihime lives alone and is estranged from her parents because after Kuroyukihime's sister tricked her into killing Red Rider, Kuroyukihime confronted her sister with a knife, leading to Kuroyukihime getting kicked out of the house.
  • Animorphs: Tobias has technically been one since the first book after his Mode Lock into an adult hawk, eventually getting his own territory and living as a hawk, since in his human life he was an orphan taken in by a separated aunt and uncle who didn't care about him (once he disappeared, both thought he was living with the other). Then a cousin of his shows up wanting to take care of him (actually Visser Three tracking down Elfangor's human son), and the lawyer handling the case says Tobias looks healthy and well-dressed enough for someone living off the grid (the former because he acquired his human form thanks to Time Travel, the latter because Rachel picked out his clothes for the meeting). He does come off as having No Social Skills, but that's because he's no longer used to human emotions.
  • In Jeramey Kraatz's The Cloak Society novel Villains Rising, it is not a minor but seven minors, the oldest fourteen. On the other hand, they are extremely mature about it; the six who can't do anything useful toward the rescue until the Gadgeteer Genius devises a way to spend their days training to keep up their abilities.
  • In Durarara!!, Mikado and Anri are both shown living alone, in Mikado's case because his parents rent an apartment for him closer to his school (see below under Real Life) and in Anri's case because she doesn't have any family left. Masaomi is the only one who actually lives with his parents, and they have such a Hands-Off Parenting style that he might as well be living alone.
  • In Endo and Kobayashi Live! The Latest on Tsundere Villainess Lieselotte, Endo lives alone in an apartment complex owned by his aunt so he can be closer to his high school, chosen for its baseball program. He could have moved back home after he retired from baseball, but by the time he started having a crush on Kobayashi.
  • The Evolution of Emily: August's stepdad Blake moved out of his homophobic parents' home when he was fifteen. He spent three years as a homeless busker, enduring robberies and assaults. Once someone even peed on him while he was asleep. His life improved when he joined the band Funkalicious, and the drummer let him sleep in his van.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya: Subverted. Yuki Nagato looks to all appearances like a minor living alone, and that's even the cover story that Kyon tells Haruhi about Yuki's living situation, but in fact she's actually an alien android, not a teenage girl, and therefore not really a minor at all.
  • This is the state of affairs for the eponymous character in the second Jack Blank book, and he's only thirteen years old. However, Jack lives in the Imagine Nation, which is a fictional country that functions as a safe haven for superhero fantasy, so the laws may be different there. Even so, 13 is still quite young for someone to be living alone.
  • In The Missing Piece of Charlie O'Reilly, Jonathon was Ret-Gone by Brona and taken to the limbo-like Asylum before escaping into a world where no one remembers him, so he lied about his age and started working for a lawn care company that pays in cash and doesn't ask questions. His boss rents him a one-room apartment over his garage. Jonathon will be eighteen soon, so he won't have to lie anymore.
  • Momo: Momo is a little orphan kid who lives alone in the ruins of an old amphitheater despite being twelve years old at best. Momo has no known family, she absolutely refuses to go to an orphanage, she does not want to be adopted either, and she insists she can take care of herself; so the people living near the amphitheater decide to help her by cleaning up and making habitable the dungeon she had settled in, bringing her food and checking on her routinely.
  • In Mouse (2017), fifteen-year-old Bliss tells her friends that her parents spend most of their time in Hong Kong and her brother is at prep school, leaving her alone in their suburban house. The truth is, her family doesn't exist in this timeline. She "borrowed" a vacant house in the suburbs when she traveled back in time to Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
  • The title character Nickel in Nickel Plated lives alone at age 12, after having escaped from child pornographers (and it's implied killed them). He signed the lease by paying a homeless guy to pretend to be his dad and makes enough money to survive by selling marijuana to high schoolers, blackmailing pedophiles on the internet, and working as a Kid Detective (usually for people who don't know his age).
  • Pippi Longstocking lives alone in Sweden with a horse and a monkey in her own house. Her father is king of a southern island, her mother is deceased. Pippi even avoids school because she sees no need for education and she's wealthy given how much gold her father left behind for her. At times, the adults in the town want to help or assist her, but she prefers to take care of herself most of the time. Her father did offer to pick her up, but she couldn't bear leaving Tommy and Annika behind, and seeing that Pippi has grown more attached to her two best friends than to her father, she declines to go to the seas with him.
  • Secret Vampire: James is seventeen and lives by himself in an apartment his parents own. Poppy thinks this is really cool because of the independence it gives him, although it becomes clear it's a symptom of the utter lack of closeness between James and his parents; they're happy to let him more-or-less fend for himself despite him being a high schooler, while he doesn't even want to be under the same roof as them. It does come in handy later, as it gives Poppy somewhere private to stay after she turns into a vampire.
  • Simon from The Shadowhunter Chronicles has to live alone for a while after he is turned into a vampire and his strictly religious mother considers him a monster and banishes him from her apartment. It doesn't take long, however, before a werewolf named Jordan Kyle lets him live with him.
  • Watch in Spooksville. His Mom, Dad, and sister all live in separate states and while he first claims to live with an aunt, it's eventually made clear he lives alone. It's never explained how this all came to be but he seems well off despite all this, although this does cause him to be rather lonely.
  • Stim: When Chloe was sixteen, her father moved overseas and left her in New Zealand. Her mother was in a mental hospital, so she moved from flat to flat and worked as a waitress to pay rent.
  • Super Cub has the main character, Koguma. She has no parents (her father died when she was very young, and her mother abandoned her without explanation), no relatives, and no friends. She lives alone in an apartment with help from a stipend and a scholarship to attend the local school.
  • In Sword Art Online, Shino Asada lives in her own apartment in real life. It's deconstructed in that Shino often has trouble making ends meet, some of her classmates befriend her so that they can use her apartment to party, and because she lives alone in a building with little security, she becomes a viable target for Death Gun.
  • In Lawrence Block's Tanner on Ice Evan wakes up after being a Human Popsicle for 25 years and goes back to his old apartment, only to find that his ward Minna has spent the entire time living there without an adult.
  • In the Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note novel The Youkai Computer Knows, Nanaki is in this condition due to the application of On One Condition: he can only inherit the family if he stays in the family mansion until 20, and he's 12 at the point. While he doesn't mind, Aya, after recalling her Friendless Background, finds this appalling.
  • Thora: In the first book, the Loki docks at the seaside town of Grimli, where Thora's human Disappeared Dad used to live. To avoid being seen, her mermaid mother Halla lives on a small, barren island called the Rock five miles from shore. Her Parental Substitute Mr Walters has to go to Argentina to attend a relative's funeral, leaving ten-year-old Thora alone on the Loki most of the time. Local busybody Mrs Grubb unsuccessfully tries to get her into foster care.
  • Togetherly Long: Oukii and Chiisai, the older of which is ten, live in a hut together in the human village in the magical land of Kuni.
  • Deconstructed in Toradora!, through Taiga Aisaka's story. Typical examples of this trope have children acting like perfect miniature adults who expertly cook, clean house, do laundry, pay bills, and sometimes even hold jobs; Taiga lives alone because she can't get along with anyone in her family, but her parents never taught her any domestic skills before they (effectively) threw her out of the house, and they don't bother checking up on her once she's gone. Until she meets Ryuuji, she's living in filth and squalor, subsisting on a diet of convenience store food and suffering from chronic allergies due to her terrible living conditions. And she's never held a job either. The series emphasizes the fact that even though she's technically living on her own, she's actually completely dependent on Ryuuji's care and the monthly cash deposits she gets from her father. Part of her character growth arc involves her learning to acknowledge that she can't do everything on her own and start to address the issues that led to her isolation in the first place; this leads her to return to her family home so she can rekindle her relationship with them and, through this, become a better person before she and Ryuuji can start out a new life together.
  • Alvie from When My Heart Joins the Thousand is a teenage Foster Kid who used to live in a group home for emotionally troubled teenagers, where she was severely bullied and ran away three times. After the third, she told the judge that she preferred being homeless to staying in that place, so the judge agreed to let her move into her own apartment, as long as the social worker Dr. Bernhardt checks up on her twice a month. Alvie now works at the zoo, feeding animals and cleaning cages, and makes enough money to scrape by.
  • In Where the Crawdads Sing, Kya's entire family abandons her in a shack in the marsh by age ten. Without Pa's disability checks to support her, she gathers mussels and fish and sells them to Jumpin', who runs the gas station. She uses the money to buy food and kerosene, and mostly wears hand-me-downs from her vanished siblings. She pretends Pa still lives with her so the authorities won't take her away.
  • Wildflower Ranch: After the disappearance of Alyssa's mother, she spends two weeks pretending everything is normal because she's afraid social services will separate her from her autistic half-brother. She tutors other kids in order to buy food. When the lights go out because she can't pay the electricity bills, she wonders how Ethan will cope without his morning glass of cold milk. It turns out she doesn't have to worry about it, because the next day Ethan breaks his arm, the hospital can't contact his mom, and Alyssa is forced to tell the truth.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Beverly Hills, 90210:
    • In the original show, Dylan - when he was in high school - lives alone in either a hotel or a separate suburban residence while his father is in jail and faked his death and his mother lives in Hawaii.
    • In the sequel show, Naomi lives alone because she refuses to live with her father (who then gives Naomi her finances) and her mother suddenly leaves town.
  • In The Big Comfy Couch, Loonette is apparently a child (although she's played by a young woman), but she and her living doll Molly live in their own house, with no adult supervision.
  • The Good Place: It's revealed that Eleanor lived alone from the age of fourteen, after emancipating herself from her neglectful parents.
  • Daniel Striped Tiger of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood is a tiger cub who lives all by himself in the clocktower of the Kingdom of Make-Believe. He is explicitly said to be an orphan and no one appears to be supervising him. Oddly, the sequel series Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood portrays the now-grown-up tiger as the son of Grandpere Tiger, suggesting he was adopted at some point between the two shows.
  • In a later episode of Murder, She Wrote, Jessica becomes concerned about a boy who regularly does yard work for her, as his teacher says he's been missing school. Worried, Jessica investigates and realizes that the boy's mother is missing and that he's been living on his own for a few days. When she reappears, she becomes a prime suspect in a murder case. Jessica becomes the boy's foster parent until she clears his mother's name.
  • Nicholas and Ava of Once Upon a Time initially. In the fairy tale world, they were Hansel and Gretel, but the Evil Queen separated them from their father and sent them to steal from a blind witch. They survive, but can't find their father before the Dark Curse hits and are left to live alone in a decrepit old house in Storybrooke until Emma arrives.
  • Seen plenty of times on One Tree Hill. Most noticeably are Peyton, whose father is a longshoreman who has to work from home to support the family and whose mother died in a car accident when she was eight, and Brooke, who's a Lonely Rich Kid with a workaholic father and a socialite mother, both of whom are too self-absorbed to give her any of their time.
  • Reservation Dogs: Elora, raised by her grandmother Mabel, inherits the house when Mabel passes. She is almost an adult at this point, but her homeownership stands in stark contrast to the rest of her teenage friends who are living with parents or guardians.
  • This varies over the course of the show, but in the fifth season of Shameless (US), Debbie (a teenager) and Liam (a young child) are the only permanent residents of the Gallagher house.

    Roleplay 
  • Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues:
    • After the death of her parents, Harriet has been living alone. She's too traumatised to enter her own house though, so her psychiatrist arranged it so that she could shack up in a spare room in the high school.
    • Hyeon also lives alone, with the implication that his parents abandoned him in favour of a hedonistic lifestyle. While he used to live with his grandmother, she then passed away, leaving him to live in her old house while occasionally getting checked on by his legal guardian who works out of state.

    Video Games 
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link in his various incarnations is perpetually orphaned and often alone. For instance, in Twilight Princess, he's a teenage Farm Boy who starts off living by himself in Ordon Village.
  • In Project SEKAI, Kanade lives by herself (although Honami comes by once a week to help with cleaning) — her mother is dead and her father is comatose. She attends school online, and while she has a grandmother she keeps in contact with, for the most part, her income comes from writing music.
  • The Sims:
    • In the original Sims if a parent died a child would live alone...but couldn't pay bills or cook meals. They could live off of snacks in the fridge food from the buy menu, and make some money through grades and painting, however. This leads to a sort of Unintentionally Unwinnable state for the game, as children can't grow up to become adults without mods or a spell in Makin' Magic, leading to a very limited gameplay.
    • Almost averted in The Sims 2 where the social worker would pick up orphaned kids. Orphaned teens, however, could live alone and could at least pay bills and cook, unlike younger kids. They could also get part-time jobs, which don't pay well but at least give the household a steady cash flow. (It's also possible for a teen to sell most of the crafts that adults can, such as paintings, but this requires a lot of time and/or skill points.)
    • The Sims 2 had a pre-made family of two teens caring for their younger siblings. They were quite hard to play well, and a good source of Video Game Caring Potential.
    • The Sims 3 continues the "orphaned teenager can live alone" trend. They can also register as self-employed with the Ambitions expansion pack, almost eliminating the need for parents.
    • The Sims 4 You are perfectly able to have teen-only households as well as households with teens and children. The game models teens with same model as young adults, making them look 16-20, teen behavior is closer to that of a 13-15 year old (11-14 for girls). As long as there is at least one teen in the household the household remains playable (you can have one teen and seven children in the household if you want). Children need to go to school and not go super-hungry to avoid social worker involvement, but all-teen households never have social worker involvement. You can deliberately create such households as well, as opposed to them being created in play (killing off the adults, which generally requires deliberate effort on the player's part to kill off a sim of anything other than old age, or hunger when autonomy is disabled and you forget to pause).
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • According to Sonic Adventure, twelve-year-old Amy lives alone in an apartment in Station Square. By Sonic Battle Amy's moved to Central City.
    • Tails is eight years old with no family in sight. He apparently lives by himself. Tails Adventure takes place even before he met Sonic but Tails lived alone even then.
    • Sonic (15) carries a nomadic life, traveling from place to place on his own without having a home.
    • Knuckles (16) lives alone in Angel Island, although it's justified by the fact he's the Last of His Kind.
  • Tomodachi Life allows you to create child Miis, which will move into their own apartment. They are seen to get along just fine, donating money each morning to help the player, making friends with any other islander (even with Miis older than them), randomly taking part-time jobs at one of the island's businesses, going to just about any other place in the island to spend their free time without problem... in fact, the only thing child Miis can't do is get married, which is remedied by using Age-o-matic spray on them after they have proposed to their significant other.
  • Virtual Villagers:
    • Virtual Families, a spin-off of the Virtual Villagers series, can have children living alone if their parents have both died. Although they cannot work, the kids can collect items and sell duplicates on the internet. Especially if the parents left a moderate amount of money, they can get along quite well, and buy enough food to keep themselves alive.
    • In the Virtual Villagers games themselves, if some disaster happens and only one or two kids are left alive, they might be able to keep going by finding mushrooms. This is really only a short-term solution, though, and the player has to pray they'll last until they grow old enough to work.
  • In Yandere Simulator, Ayano is living alone during the game because her mother is in America chasing down the Journalist that tried to expose her as a Yandere murderer, and she dragged her husband along for the ride.

    Visual Novels 
  • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair: Nagito reveals in his Free Time Events that his parents were killed in a plane crash when he was in elementary school. Seeing as how he also mentions having no other relatives or any friends, it’s safe to assume that this is how he grew up.
  • Before the events of Fate/stay night start, Shirou and Rin both live alone in fairly big houses. In Shirou's case, Taiga (old family friend, daughter of the landlord, and Shirou's homeroom teacher) keeps checking in every day, however, and Sakura Matou comes by daily to help as well (ever since Shirou got a serious shoulder injury, though by the start of the visual novels, it has healed long ago), to the point that Sakura even has her own set of keys.
  • Hatoful Boyfriend has the main character (default name Hiyoko Tokasa) live alone as a hunter-gatherer in a CAVE. This is because her parents were crisis negotiators who died in a terrorist attack on the Hatoful House orphanage. When she was younger, she was Staying with Friends at her best friend Ryouta's place, but she eventually left to avoid being a further burden on the already impoverished Kawara family.
  • Rika and Satoko from Higurashi: When They Cry are orphans who live together despite the fact they're elementary students. It helps that they live in a small, rural community. It's still odd that in one arc Child Services rescues Satoko from her abusive uncle, only to let her go back to living alone with her roommate who isn't even 13. Later on Rika's relative Hanyuu rooms with them too despite also being young. Physically at least. Hanyuu has been a ghost for centuries and died an adult, who even had a kid Rika's age, but takes on the appearance of a child.
  • Yuuya from My Harem Heaven is Yandere Hell is a teenage orphan who lives in his parents' house. Until he turns eighteen, he has to be regularly checked on by his landlady.
  • Akira from Spirit Hunter: NG is in his last year of high school but already has his own apartment in favour of staying with his aunt. This is to keep his job as an underground brawler a secret from her, and because he likes the freedom.

    Webcomics 
  • Devil's Candy: Kazu, a fourteen-year-old, lives alone in his parents' mansion. They're globe-trotting doctors and TV stars who still very much love and support Kazu and regularly send him souvenirs, and the reason they left him behind is implied to be that he was badly injured in one of their past adventures and they don't want that happening again, but he's still been left all to himself without any caretakers.
  • Barely averted in Freaking Romance. Zylith is eighteen, a legal adult, but even Mrs. Howser thinks she seems a bit young to be living alone.
  • Homestuck has several cases of this: Jade (age 13) originally lived with her grandfather, but then he died so she lives alone on their island, but she has Bec to look after her. Jake (age 16) is in the same situation after grandma English died. Roxy and Dirk (both 16) each live alone, due to being the last two humans alive several hundred years in the future past Jake.
  • Willa Dragonfly of Latchkey Kingdom seems to be quite the responsible 13-year-old. Her grandfather (who is her only family) regularly goes off on long journeys that last months and Willa is responsible for feeding herself in the meantime. It's more "Extremely Free-Range Children" than "Parental Abandonment".
  • Lampshaded in Otaku Dad in that Hana’s dad actually lives in the same building.
  • In Red String, Makoto lives in an apartment that his parents pay for in a different city. He insisted on the arrangement so he could apprentice under a chef and go to school with the girl he was arranged to marry.

    Web Video 
  • Just about every character in the Yandere High School universe lives alone or with a friend/significant other. Sam and Taurtis had to pay rent in the first house they owned. However, Taurtis failed to pay the rent, which led to them being evicted.

    Western Animation 
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: For the first three seasons, The Chipettes lived in a fully furnished tree house, with a living room, a kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom, however, in the Season Four opener, school officials find out about this, and threaten to split them up and put them in foster care; Dave temporarily adopts them, however they and The Chipmunks start getting on each other's nerves, so Alvin talks his neighbor Beatrice Miller into adopting them in one episode. From then on, the girls live with her and soon consider her as their mother figure.
  • Animaniacs:
    • Yakko, Wakko, and Dot live inside the water tower at WB studios. Despite being kids, they take care of themselves without any parental supervision.
    • In "One Flew Over the Cuckoo Clock", Skippy Squirrel is forced to live by himself at his aunt Slappy's house after he's forced to take her to a retirement home when she goes insane from watching too many talk shows. However, when a CPS agent becomes aware of this, she takes Skippy away to a foster home. Fortunately, things go back to normal when Slappy shows up to take him back home at the end of the episode.
  • Beavis and Butt-Head: Beavis and Butt-Head definitely don't live with their parents, and no other adult authority figure (outside of the Highland High staff) is ever seen or mentioned. The show never explains how this happened, and no one at their school seems aware of it. Though it's hinted they live with their mothers (and, as mentioned above, it's likely they handle the house bills), they're just never around. From their talk about them and the movie, it's heavily hinted that they're actually prostitutes or call girls.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door:
    • Played with. Sector V of the titular KND spend most of their time in their treehouse headquarters, even having their own rooms for sleeping in. However, all five members have families and seem to split their time between headquarters and home (Sector V's treehouse, for instance, is growing from the top of Numbuh 1's house.)
    • Played straight with the Interesting Twins from Beneath the Mountain. They're grade-school age, and Father is apparently their guardian, but they live in Japan while he lives in America.
  • Audie Barrett from the Defenders of the Earth episode "Audie and Tweak" is a pre-teen genius who lives alone except for the collection of robots he has built. Audie regards one of these robots, Tweak, as his best friend, but Tweak has been trying (and failing) to persuade him to make friends with humans.
  • Dink, the Little Dinosaur: Dink and his friends are surprisingly mature for their age and are never shown to have any family or herds and seem to live independently when they are not playing or on adventures together.
  • Lena from DuckTales (2017) is never seen living at a house, and spends a lot of time at the amphitheatre. The supplementary comics for the show state that she dropped out of a boarding school. In the season 1 finale, it's revealed she lives in the space under the amphitheatre stage. The triplets comments that it's a depressing uncomfortable place and why she prefers staying at the mansion when she can. Then again the same scene also revealed she ain't exactly a minor... After the events of "Friendship Hates Magic!", she's adopted into the Sabrewing family.
  • The titular characters of Fanboy and Chum Chum, as well as Kyle. Well, that is, they share their home with various creatures here and there but no official guardians. Explanations are not given regarding any parents or guardians they might have.
  • Hey Arnold!: Played with: Gerald is fed up with his family not giving him enough space, and moves into an empty room in Arnold's home, which doubles as a boarding house to live by himself. He only wanted attention for leaving though, but his parents and Arnold's Grandpa agree to let him stay until he decides to come back on his own. He moves back by the end of the episode.
  • Jelly Jamm: The King and Queen, who are clearly not the kids' parents, are the only grown-ups ever to be seen. The kids appear to live alone and no one ever considers this odd. Whether or not the concept of parents even exists on this planet is up for debate.
  • Kaeloo: Most of the episodes show the characters, who are all kids/preteens, living alone. However, the show has horrible continuity issues, so a few episodes show the characters who do have parentsnote  living at home with their parents.
  • The main character of Maisy had a childish personality and according to the First Experience books is as young as she seems. She lives alone and has the independence of an adult.
  • Subverted in Max and Ruby. It looks like Max and Ruby live alone but Word of God is that they have Invisible Parents. Later seasons introduce their parents on-screen.
  • Universal lack of parents is one of the most notable features of PAW Patrol. While toddlers like Alex, Julia, and Julius have guardians (though no known parents), school-age children like Ryder, Katie, Carlos, Danny, and Ace are all shown living on their own, having jobs, and even running their own businesses with no parents seen or mentioned and no adults expecting them to have any. The general consensus is that the series takes place in a society where it's normal for people to reach the age of majority when they're what we would consider children and live on their own and support themselves.
  • Pet Alien: 13-year-old Tommy Cadle lives in his lighthouse with the titular aliens, but very little parental supervision. His mom occasionally communicates with him through a speaker, but makes no on-screen appearance and is otherwise out of the picture.
  • PJ Masks: Luna Girl is all but implied to be living entirely on her own, in particular during the time she and Motsuki permanently settled in the Luna Fortress. The home situation of the other Night Time villains is unknown since we never get to see their daytime lives.
  • The Color Kids from Rainbow Brite don't have any adult supervision. They live alone. It's implied they're Really 700 Years Old though.
  • Recess: Played with in "Bachelor Gus", in which Gus overhears what he thinks is his parents talking about moving away (again), and not wanting to move again, let alone leave his friends at Third Street School, he runs away and turns the jungle gym into his own bachelor pad. He likes it at first but is scared by nightfall, and when his parents find him, he learns that they were talking about moving him into the bigger bedroom, not moving away altogether.
  • One episode of The Simpsons had Bart having himself emancipated and moving out when he discovered Homer wasted all the money Bart earned in commercials as a baby. He moves back once Homer repays him.
  • The titular Strawberry Shortcake and her friends live alone due to the complete lack of adults. Strawberry even raises an infant on her own despite not looking older than eight.
  • All of the Teen Titans (2003) live without parental supervision in their island headquarters and they fight crime. It makes you wonder if maybe their city lacks a child services department.
    • Averted in Teen Titans Go! as Cyborg is explicitly eighteen. His age was never stated in the original series but here he is old enough to be the other's guardians or at least count as adult supervision.

    Real Life 
  • While many child stars in the US end up seeking Emancipated Child status over financial mismanagement, some have ended up living alone for other reasons. Johnny Galecki's family moved with him to Hollywood originally to pursue his acting career, but didn't enjoy the LA lifestyle, so his parents and siblings moved back to Chicago, leaving him alone at 14 in a furnished apartment to finish the show he was currently working on. Except then he got another gig, and another, and just stayed there by himself.
  • Occasionally American teenagers from troubled homes move out with their parents' agreement rather than go into the foster care system. This doesn't require a full emancipation process, especially if the lease is signed and paid by the adult guardian.
  • This actually does happen in Japan albeit rarely, because high schools are not region based. They're more like universities, and as such, some students' parents rent them apartments or rooms so they can go to school they attend without waking up really early or the whole family having to move. They usually do have some form of adult supervision, either with a family member from the area who checks in on them or a hired caregiver. A more common situation is the student staying in a dormitory within the school itself.
  • Donald Trump's grandfather Frederick immigrated to the United States from Europe via steamship alone, without parents, at the age of 16, though he lived with extended family relatives that had immigrated to America previously. Parentless teenage immigration into the United States wasn't that uncommon prior to World War One. Along with that, a lot more teenagers were independent of their parents in the US at the time, since little legal restriction on this existed (they often worked to support their family anyway even when still with them).

 
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Arlo has settled into his new life at SBS, but has a hard time living by himself and tries to make the best of it.

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