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Older Sidekick

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To the right: Dan Dare. To the left: not TV's Frank.

The Doctor: Bless. I'll have to trade her in. Do you need anyone? She's very good at tea. Well, I say very good, I mean not bad. Well, I say not bad... Anyway, lead on! Allons-y. But not too fast, her ankle's going.
Jackie: [sotto] I'll show you where my ankle's going!

Because we expect an older character to have more experience, a sidekick older than the main hero is a rare thing. Outside traditional Super Hero comics, there are several reasons to use them.

One is that the older character won't fall out of the Competence Zone because they're under the direction of the younger hero, and thus doesn't undermine their maturity. If the relationship is close, the sidekick's more adult qualities actually fulfill some kind of parental role, which the hero might lack from having no family, without being intrusive. On the other hand, the Older Sidekick can be a non-threatening (yet incredibly appealing) fantasy object for the audience, who identifies with the main hero. A variant of this is when the younger character leads due to rank or status but requires the more experienced sidekick for advice. A typical example of this would be Captain Smooth and Sergeant Rough.

Another is that the main character may be too young or small to possess much physical power. Their expertise lies elsewhere, thus the Older Sidekick also is the Battle Butler who goes everywhere the main character does, instead of merely staying home and minding the house. Often, in these cases, there only appears to be an age difference, or the age difference is the opposite of what it appears so it's not as hard to justify them hanging around each other.

A related dynamic is when the two characters have an (increasingly) equal partnership, but there's just enough of an age difference to inspire protective feelings in the older one. Usually both characters are designed to appeal to different segments of the fandom, and the story will end up using many designs that appeal to shippers (compare Seme and Uke). Think of it as a more intimate version of the Buddy Cop dynamic.

In fact, the Older Sidekick is very handy for lessening the perceived squick of shipping the characters, as the audience seem much more willing to rationalize that the characters are on equal grounds.

Compare More Senior Subordinate, where an experienced character takes a supporting role within an organization, allowing a less experienced (but perhaps more capable) one to assume leadership.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Tuxedo Mask, Sailor Moon's college-age boyfriend. He starts out as the Mysterious Protector, but quickly falls into sidekickdom by the end of the first season. Note that he's college-aged in The '90s anime, whereas in the manga he still was attending High School.
  • Vampire Princess Miyu's minion Larva was eventually revealed to be an incredibly attractive man beneath the mask, and due to fan pressure, we saw it much more frequently.
  • Renamon and Ruki in Digimon Tamers. Their relationship is more of being actual contemporaries rather than a pet or babysitter dynamic, although this is probably more conducive to Ruki's original cold professionalism.
    • A Message In The Packet takes it even further: Ruki calls Renamon her big sister several times in her message.
    • Digimon Tamers actually has a number of these, since the series takes place (mostly) in the real world rather than the digital one. In the latter parts of the series, the kids are backed up by the middle-aged Monster Makers, as well as man in black Yamaki and his Hypnos organization. In fact, their ultimate triumph can be attributed fairly equally to the efforts of both children and adults.
  • Villain example: Nappa is the older henchman to Prince Vegeta in the Saiyans arc of Dragon Ball Z. However, Vegeta was much more powerful than him, and quickly killed him when he was unable to fight anymore.
  • Bee Train became famous for its "Girls With Guns" dynamic, usually featuring a hot, confident older woman partnered with a younger, shorter, but still quite capable girl.
  • In One Piece, The Captain Luffy is tied (with Usopp) as the second-youngest crew member, with only Chopper being younger than them. The other seven Straw Hats are older: Zoro, Nami, and Sanji only a year or two more so, but the four latest members—Robin, Franky, Brook, and Jinbei—so much so that they fall into Intergenerational Friendship with the others.
    • Also Killer to Eustass Kid, likely Silvers Rayleigh to Gol D. Roger, and possibly Ben Beckman to Shanks.
  • Lumeire and Eclair from Kiddy Grade are also an apparently older/younger girl duo. Many of the partner couples of the GOTT are like this in the series.
  • Alyssa and Miyu from My-HiME. (Well, at least so it seems. Since Miyu was an android built specifically to protect Alyssa, the latter was technically slightly older.)
  • Evangeline and Chachamaru in Negima! Magister Negi Magi, though only in appearance (hundred-year-old vampire and two-year-old Robot). Negi and Asuna (and his other partners) along with Chamo are definitely played straighter.
  • Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok has Yamino Ryuusuke, who looks ten or fifteen years the title character's senior, and is Loki's frequent sidekick, butler, housekeeper, voice of reason... oh, and son.
  • Naruto: The Akatsuki usually pairs their members like this.
  • In Chrono Crusade, Rosette tends to introduce Chrono as her assistant. In his usual form he looks to be a young teenager a few years younger than her, so this doesn't seem too odd at first, but in reality he's a demon who is actually closer to 90 years old. In his demon form, he looks closer to a man in his twenties and is much taller than her. And yes, he's very protective of her, and yes, they're the series' Official Couple.
  • Arf of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha for Fate, though considering how she's a wolf familiar that Fate bonded with, she may be Younger Than She Looks (well, when she's not using her Fun Size mode).
    • Arf, despite having been created two years before the original series, is "officially" 16 in the original series, having been a familiar long enough to attain an adult form, and tends to consider those in Fate's age group younger than she is.
    • A straighter example is the Wolkenritter of Hayate, most of whom are not only older than Hayate in appearance, but they're all a lot older than her in age.
  • Pop from Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai is a few years older than the protagonist Dai.
  • Kamina and Simon of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann are Bash Brothers who are true equals, both excelling in the areas the other lacks in. However, Simon later outgrows Kamina, making the latter seem like an older sidekick in retrospect. The ironic part is that at first glance, Simon looks like Kamina's sidekick and the former was content at staying in his shadow, but Kamina being the Cool Big Bro that he is wasn't having any of that, and constantly pushed Simon to reach his full potential and surpass him.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Fu, one of Ling's bodyguards. Fu looks 60 or 70, and Ling is only 15. Justified in that Ling is a prince, and Fu's entire family serves the royal line.
  • Sven Volfied of Black Cat is both Train's Older Sidekick and the Team Dad. His primary role (aside from kicking ass when necessary) is to be the voice of reason, maturity, and emotional stability, as Train's mental age is about 12 and Eve is discovering what emotions are.
  • Rangiku Matsumoto serves as Toshiro Hitsugaya's lieutenant in Bleach, despite her being older and having been a Soul Reaper longer than he has.
  • Tiger & Bunny has Wild Tiger (Kotetsu), a super hero in his late thirties that is losing popularity due to his age. To boost ratings for Hero TV, Tiger's sponsors assign him to be the sidekick of the 23 year old hero Barnaby. The age difference between them is often emphasized, with Barnaby insultingly referring to Tiger as "Old Man" for almost the entire first half of the season. By the end of the show, Wild Tiger regains respect and is acknowledged as having an equal partnership with Barnaby.
  • In Genma Wars, Nuu is both this trope as well as Parental Substitute, helping to raise the half-demonic child Gin along with his human mother Non and became his loyal sidekick / mentor following her death.
  • Moriarty the Patriot:
    • John H. Watson is 26 to Sherlock's 24.
    • Albert James Moriarty, William's older brother is 27 to Professor Moriarty's 24, and he specifically sought William out to sidekick him.

    Comic Books 
  • The Golden Age DCU had the Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy, his adult sidekick. This was brought back in The Modern Age of Comic Books in Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. and also in Justice League Unlimited, although the potential squick is reduced because her sidekick (the original Stripesy) is her stepfather, tagging along to keep her out of trouble.
  • Jon Sable's old fencing coach Sonny Pratt appointed himself to this role in Jon Sable, Freelance.
  • Back in The Golden Age of Comic Books, a lot of superheroes had older Plucky Comic Relief sidekicks. The best remembered today is probably Doiby Dickles, the cab-driving associate of the original Green Lantern.
    • Another example would be Uncle Marvel, adopted uncle of Captain Marvel.
    • Actually, the entire Marvel Family is older than Billy.
  • In the 1989-93 NOW Comics comic book adaptation of The Green Hornet, Hayashi Kato (sidekick of the second Green Hornet, based on the Bruce Lee role in the 1966 TV adaptation) becomes Older Sidekick to Alan and Paul Reid (the third and fourth Hornets, respectively).
  • Digby, Dan Dare's Plucky Comic Relief sidekick.
  • Rayek in ElfQuest has Ekuar, who can kick ass with a twinkle in his eye despite years of slavery, torture and mutilation at the hands of the trolls.
  • Rip Hunter and Booster Gold are an interesting case. Since Rip Hunter is the leader of the Time Masters, Booster could be considered his sidekick — except he's actually Rip's father later in the timeline. Rip, in turn, is advised by the older Booster from time to time.
  • Subverted with Post-Crisis Supergirl. She is fifteen years older than her cousin Superman, but she was put in suspended animation for thirty years, so she looks younger than him.
  • Although not as active in the field as some examples Alfred could be considered to be this to Batman.
    • The original Alfred was a rotund, rather goofy character used mainly for comic relief. Most versions since then have him as a rather more distinguished-looking fellow who takes the field rarely, but is generally surprisingly competent when he does so.
  • Captain Haddock, Tintin's sidekick, starting in 1941.
  • Héctor Germán Oesterheld was a sidekick of El Eternauta at the second volume. In this case, El Eternauta is the main character, and Oesterheld is simply an Author Avatar of the real Oesterheld.
  • Subverted by the team of Venus and Cupid in Big Bang Comics. They're both immortal gods, but Venus looks like she's under 30 and Cupid looks like he's pushing 60. However, Venus is actually the older of the two, and is in fact Cupid's stepmother.
    • Though he didn't appear in any actual stories, the "History of Big Bang" issues note that the Golden Age Beacon had an older sidekick, Aloysius "Oily" Boid, in the fashion of the Green Lantern and Doiby Dickles.
  • A villainous example: Bane's henchmen Bird, Trogg, and Zombie from Batman were already adults when he was a child in prison serving his father's sentence, they took him in after his mother died and taught him how to read, fight, and survive harsh conditions.

    Fan Works 
  • In "What if Tom was never a Controller?", Tom mainly helps out the Animorphs by being a chaperone after he's Welcomed to the Masquerade, despite them all being his little brother's age. After he gets the morphing power during the world leaders' summit, he becomes their leader, but steps down to be support once again after seeing Jake shine on the Iskoort planet.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • In A Brother's Price, Princess Ren's sidekick, Captain Raven Tern, is a bit older than she is. Her family apparently has served the royal family as bodyguards for quite some time.
  • In Books 3 and 4 of The Faerie Queene, the only female knight, Britomart, is accompanied by her old nanny, Glauce, disguised as her squire.
  • In Dragon Bones, Ward has Oreg, who is Really 700 Years Old, but looks younger. When he flees castle Hurog, he is accompanied by Axiel (his late father's valet) who came to the castle as an adult when Ward was a toddler, Penrod, likewise an old employee of Ward's father, Bastilla, a woman in about her thirties, and Oreg. The only one in the group who is younger than Ward is his sister Ciarra, but Ward is clearly the one in charge.
  • In Dragon Rider, Twigleg (who is stated in A Griffin's Feather to be over 400 - in Dragonrider Nettlebrand claims that he and Twigleg were created in the early 15th century, making them nearly 600 years old, but this is probably just his exaggeration) becomes this to Ben, who is 12 when we first meet him. Probably neither Twigleg nor Ben would describe it this way - from Twigleg's point of view, he has decided to switch alliances from being Nettlebrand's Minion to being Ben's, and from Ben's point of view they are simply friends. The age differential is downplayed, since, although Twigleg has had hundreds of years to read and study, he has rarely been outside the alchemist's castle, and therefore doesn't know much about the outside world. Also, Twigleg is so small and vulnerable that most people, especially Ben, feel protective towards him, the way they would towards a child.
  • In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Dorothy is a child of about 9-12 years old. The ages of her companions tend to vary by adaptation or interpretation. Going by the book, though, Nick Chopper (the Tin Woodsman) was a full-grown man before the Witch's curse caused him to become a steampunk cyborg.
    • Amped up in Tin Man where DG is explicitly stated to be 20 "annuals" old. Glitch and Cain are easily 15-20 years older, the former being an obviously long-term adviser/old friend to her mother, the latter having a son roughly DG's age.
  • In the third and fourth Song of the Lioness books, having won her shield, Alanna goes out to roam the world. Her only travelling companions are her cat Faithful and Coram, technically in her employ, but more or less a father figure.
  • Artemis Fowl is always accompanied by his Battle Butler (known, self-descriptively, as Butler). The author justifies the name as the fact that one of Butler's ancestors may have been the person whose name became the title of the profession. This is an artistic liberty, since Butler comes from the Old French word for "wine bottle" by way of the Anglo-French word for cup-bearer.
  • Modern-day paladin Michael Carpenter plays this role whenever he pairs up with Harry Dresden in The Dresden Files
    • Harry is often paired up with Thomas His older brother, who fits this role as well.
    • Karrin Murphy, who is four years older than Harry, also fits this role.
  • This is Older Than Feudalism: In Homer's The Iliad, Patroclus was traditionally an Older Sidekick (and, later, the ultimate Dead Sidekick) to Achilles, although modern adaptations such as the movie Troy tend to portray him as younger to be more in keeping with audience expectations.
  • Sergeant Lewis to Inspector Morse in the original novels.
  • In Harry Potter, both Ron and Hermione are - albeit slightly - older than the title character.
    • The Fantastic Beasts series also reveals that Nagini is this, being an adult woman with a curse that would eventually turn her permanently into the snake that she was during Harry's time at a time when Tom Marvolo Riddle wasn't even a year old.
  • Marc to Jame in Chronicles of the Kencyrath.
  • In The Chronicles of Prydain, Fflewddur Fflam is the Older Sidekick to Taran and Eilonwy, who are barely out of their teens. He subverts the expectation that he would be more mature and responsible than them, however, being something of a romantic and a daydreamer (although he's still handy in a fight).
  • In the Belgariad, Garion has several older companions who're basically there to fight his battles, since he's still a child and has no real combat training for most of the series. By the time of the second quintology, several years have passed and he's more than capable f taking on enemies himself, so his former companions get a side story throughout the books instead of being part of Garion's party.
  • In the Elenium by the same author, middle-aged knight Sparhawk has an even older squire called Kurik. When asked by his childhood friend why he didn't just let Kurik retire, since every other knight in the order had learned to make do without a squire by this point, Sparhawk replied that Kurik had been placed in his service since he was a boy and he wouldn't even know where to begin in telling his oldest companion his services were no longer required.
  • Dragonlance has Flint, the 300 year old dwarf, playing the wise sidekick to the 100 year old hero, Tanis Half-Elf.
  • In The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and The Return of the King, the 87-year-old human Aragorn is accompanied by the 139-year-old dwarf Gimli and the nearly 3000-year-old elf Legolas. In The Fellowship of the Ring, Aragorn himself is an older sidekick to the 50-year-old Frodo Baggins.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Dominic Santini to Stringfellow Hawke in Airwolf.
  • Mike to Gus in Breaking Bad. Neither is particularly young, but Mike is clearly older.
  • Former spy Michael Westen of Burn Notice frequently calls for assistance from his best friend, retired Cold Warrior Sam Axe, who generally enjoys the opportunity for adventure.
  • Doctor Who: Most of the Doctor's companions are in their twenties, maybe thirties, but there are a few that are older. However, almost no companions are as old as the Really 700 Years Old Doctor.
    • Captain Jack Harkness to the Doctor in the two-parter "The Stolen Earth"/"Journey's End". After being trapped under Cardiff for 2000 years in his spinoff show Torchwood, he's now twice as old as the Doctor, who claimed to be 903 around that time.
    • In "Army of Ghosts", the Doctor briefly pretends that Jackie Tyler, Rose's fortysomething mother, is in fact Rose, in order to fool the Torchwood Institute. Jackie was dragged along by accident.
    • Though naturally much younger than the Doctor, Wilfred Mott in "The End of Time" certainly looks the part, being the Doctor's oldest human companion. The Doctor outright says he'd be proud to have Wilf as a dad.
    • In series 5, Rory Williams became this, being an Auton replicant with Rory's memories, standing by the Pandorica for 2,000 years. Though by the end of "The Big Bang", he's now back in his twenties, with his millennia of memories locked away unless necessary.
    • Graham O'Brien, one of the Thirteenth Doctor's companions, is played by Bradley Walsh, who was in his late fifties at the time.
    • In Big Finish Doctor Who, the Sixth Doctor is accompanied by Dr. Evelyn Smythe. At age fifty-five she is perhaps the third-oldest human companion, behind Wilf and Graham.
  • Dorota to Blair Waldorf on Gossip Girl.
  • On an episode of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, it was revealed that Iolaus is actually older than Hercules by two years.
    • Rather odd considering that in the myth, he's Heracles' NEPHEW.
  • Outlander: As a final promise to the dying Ellen Fraser, Murtagh maintains Undying Loyalty towards his godson Jamie, following him into multiple stints of exile that force Jamie from the safety of his home, into war, and repeatedly risks his own life to keep Jamie safe. Throughout the series, he is Jamie's second set of eyes and ears and his right-hand man. Until the Crown forcibly separated them, if you saw Jamie, there was a pretty good bet that Murtagh was somewhere nearby.
  • The actor who plays John Watson in BBC's Sherlock is five years older than the one who plays Sherlock. However, the age difference isn't obvious and so far hasn't come up on the show.
  • In the 1950s Zorro series, Gen Sheldon (Bernardo, Don Diego de la Vega's loyal manservant) was 16 years older than Guy Williams (Diego de la Vega/Zorro). It was reversed in the 1990s series, where Felipe (the Suspiciously Similar Substitute for Bernardo) is younger than Diego.
  • Billions: Wags is visibly older than Axe and his actor is four years older than Damien Lewis.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Sapphire to Dusty Rhodes in the WWF and later, Jacqueline in USWA. At 53, she was one of pro wrestling's oldest rookies and was selected from the crowd, as it was believed Dusty's manager should be a common woman since he was a "common man".
  • One of New Japan Pro-Wrestling's bookers, long time tag team specialist, and general trouble maker Gedo, became the mouth piece of company ace and Chaos centerpiece Kazuchika Okada. He eventually betrayed him for the even younger Jay White, becoming a villainous version of this trope.
  • The Vampire Lord Asteroth, who despite being around the business since the 1980s sought out Paul London for more training.

    Video Games 
  • K' from The King of Fighters has Maxima, who has to keep his younger partner's temper in check at times.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Cloud, the Hero, and Barret, the Lancer, from Final Fantasy VII. Barret is fourteen years older than Cloud. Interestingly, neither of them are particularly mature - Cloud spent his formative years in a People Jar and has the emotional maturity of a sixteen-year-old as a result, and Barret is emotionally driven to the point of completely neglecting to think his actions through. They seem to cancel each other out.
    • Sazh Kaztroy in Final Fantasy XIII is forty, while the rest of the party are in their teens or early twenties.
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty does the equal-partnership-with-paternity-and-fan-service thing, and (oddly for the series) it's played straight and isn't deconstructive. Raiden is the Bishōnen, and the main character. Snake is a Cool Old Guy, the side character, and mentors Raiden. Both are very sexy.
  • Both of the sidekick NPCs from Beyond Good & Evil are significantly older than the 21-year-old protagonist Jade. One of them is her middle-aged "uncle," the other is a soldier in his mid-30s.
  • Pint-sized sixteen or twenty-one year-old detective Johnny Garland has an older sidekick in the form of Battle Butler Lenny in the game Shadow Hearts: From The New World. He's also the youngest member of the party. He's not alone, either: Shania has Natan as a bodyguard, and Hilda has Roger Bacon, although the two of them would disagree on which is the sidekick.
  • Scaler has the Kid Hero Scaler assisted by Leon, a jowly lizard-man with a Giant Flyer. While they don't exactly get along well at first, eventually they take a shine to each other. Good thing, too, since Leon is Scaler's long-lost father.
  • Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army has Talking Animal Spirit Advisor Gouto-douji, who is over a thousand years older than the eponymous protagonist.
  • Sengoku Basara has two instances of these. First is Date Masamune's Battle Butler Katakura Kojuro, who has a good ten years on his master and is implied to be somewhat stronger, and second is Sanada Yukimura's Ninja Sarutobi Sasuke. Both examples also play the part of the Hypercompetent Sidekick to their rather young and inexperienced leaders, serving as a calmer counterpart to the Hot-Blooded teenagers. Incidentally, both masters and sidekicks are rivals to one another.
  • Donald Duck and Goofy to Sora in the Kingdom Hearts series. While they're Funny Animals who don't really have a set age, they're still pretty much adults.
  • Baldur's Gate has Jaheira and Khalid, two sensible elves and old friends of your foster father. While you don't have to bring them along (or even meet them at all, if you so choose), they are canonical in the sequel, not to mention that you're given explicit instructions to seek them out.
  • Fallout:
    • Fallout 2 has Cassidy. He's in his late 50's, and his fan-created talking head for the fan restoration patch served as a basis for his art in the New California tabletop, where he's so old his beard is completely grey. Marcus would also qualify; his Super Mutant status has made him stop aging, but her served in the Master's army during Fallout—eighty years previous.
    • Since the player in Fallout 3 is 19 years old, every companion except Dogmeat (a dog) and Butch (someone your character grew up with) qualifies. RL-3 and Charon technically qualify (Charon is a nuclear mutant who could be as old as 240, while RL-3 is a model of robot that hasn't been in production for 200 years), but it is more obvious with Star Paladin Cross. Cross mentions to the player that she carried you once, when you were a baby. Jericho, a recruitable former raider, is nearing 65 years old, according to source material.
    • As in previous examples, Raul and Lily from Fallout: New Vegas. While Raul and Lily have the same age-defying abilities as Charon and Marcus (respectively), they come across as much older because of Raul's constant referring to himself as a feeble old man (and his loyalty quest hinging on it), and Lily's mental instability leading her to mistake the Courier for her grandchild.
  • Kraden fills this role to every Golden Sun hero as a noncombatant scholarly advisor. In The Lost Age, Piers also fits the role, with Felix as the leader.
    • In Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, Matthew (sixteen) is helped along his quest by the aforementioned Kraden (who is now over one hundred), Eoleo (a little over thirty), and Amiti (twenty-ish). The latter two don't exactly look or act their ages, though.
  • Kumatora and Duster to Lucas in Mother 3. Duster is explicitly in his thirties. Kumatora's age is more vague, but she could be anywhere from an older teen to a young twentysomething.
  • All of Oliver's party members in Ni no Kuni are older than he is. Esther is only a few years older, but Swaine is about thirty and his little brother, Marcassin, is in his early twenties. Exposition Fairy Drippy, the most explicitly "sidekickish" of them, is old enough to have traveled with the Great Sage Alicia when she was younger, and acts a bit like a man in his forties.
  • Sidekick Creature Nuisance and borderline Team Pet Riki, from Xenoblade Chronicles 1. Although his cuteness makes his age difficult to ascertain and he talks like a small child, he's actually a forty-year-old father of nine. Technically speaking, Melia is older, but because she ages differently due to her race, she's functionally the same age as the rest of the party.
  • In Touhou Fuumaroku ~ the Story of Eastern Wonderland, there's Genji, a flying geezer turtle who serves as Reimu's mount and mentor. He was never seen in again, as subsequent games in the series would depict Reimu as simply flying by her own power, rendering Genji's general existence redundant.
  • Chrono Trigger has Crono himself as one of the younger party members, alongside Marle and Lucca. Robo's age is nigh impossible to determine, but Frog and Ayla are both definitely older, as is Magus.
  • The first Resident Evil game family man Barry contrasts the survivor mentality that Jill is developing.

    Visual Novels 
  • Phoenix's regular partner in the Ace Attorney saga is his young assistant Maya Fey, but when he needs extra assistance he calls Maya's older sister Mia fey, who fits in this trope. Also, Mia's assistants were her mentors Marvin Grossberg and Diego Armando, both older than her. Then Apollo was assisted in his first case by his mentor Kristoph Gavin, and later Phoenix himself, and finally in the Spinoff Ace Attorney Investigations, Edgeworth is helped by the older Detective Gumshoe. In The Great Ace Attorney, Ryuunosuke is often aided in investigation by the older famed detective Herlock Sholmes. It is later revealed that Sholmes had an older partner in the form of Yujin Mikotoba before the events of the game.
  • Spirit Hunter: NG:
    • Ban and Rosé are both notably older and more experienced with the supernatural than high-schooler Akira, but because he's the one afflicted with Kakuya's curse they default to him as their leader, figuring that his decisions on how to handle his own curse are more important than what they think is right.
    • Later in the story, police officer Ooe joins the crew. She mostly helps Akira from the background, working with her connections to allow him access to private areas.

    Web Animation 
  • The Most Popular Girls in School: Trisha 2 is this to Mackenzie in the Cheer Squad thanks to being Held Back in School, though she's no older than 20note  as of Season 5.
  • RWBY: Qrow serves as the adult companion to The Team starting in Volume 4. It's mainly comprised of teenagers going on 18, and they're later joined by Ozpin (in Oscar's body) in Volume 5 and Maria in Volume 6.

  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Pompey to Nale in the Linear Guild. He's actually quite surprised to learn the man who keeps calling him "kid" is less than half his age. Although being a 43 year old half-elf makes him an adolescent, and he acts the part, so Nale has a point.
    • Malack to Tarquin. He's a 200-year-old vampire lizardman, who's agreed to work for a human who must be a fraction of that age, since the arrangement won't last more than 40 years anyway.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Not only was Aang the youngest member of his trio in the first season (sort of), but the cheerful and experienced General Iroh is the foil to the bitter but complex teenage Prince Zuko.
    • Likewise, The Legend of Korra has Asami being slightly older than the titular heroine, especially when Asami is given the sidekick role in Season 3.
  • In Mighty Max, the titular hero is a twelve year old boy, so his Body Guard Norman does all the killing. Meanwhile Virgil, who is even older, serves partially as his boss (telling him what needs to be done) but also as a sidekick, helping him out and giving him details he'll need to know.
  • Jake the Dog in Adventure Time for Finn the Human. Played with, as while they are both chronologically about the same age, Jake's dog biology means that he aged to adulthood before Finn even reached puberty.
  • Hudson to Goliath in Gargoyles
    • It used to be the other way around, but Hudson chose to step down from the leadership of the clan due to old age.
  • The Optimus Prime of Transformers: Animated is much younger than most of his incarnations, being the rough equivalent of a squad commander in his 20's/30's. Two members of his unit - Ratchet and Prowl - are both older than him due to pre-dating the Great War.
  • In Gravity Falls, twelve-year-old Dipper is The Hero, and his twin Mabel is the Deuteragonist. Soos, who is in his twenties, actively describes himself as their sidekick in one episode, and behaves as one (especially toward Dipper) throughout.
  • Captain Hook's first mate and personal assistant Mr. Smee from Peter Pan is about a decade older than him.

    Real Life 
  • In American politics, a degree of value is placed on the youthfulness of the President. Vice Presidents are often older and more politically experienced. This is considered a good balance because the younger President attracts youth voters and is seen as dynamic, while the older VP contributes an air of stability that helps in other demographics.
    • Joe Biden, Vice President to Barack Obama. Before him, Lyndon Johnson, Vice President to John F. Kennedy.
      • That said, both Johnson and Biden went on to be elected President after serving as VP, with Joe Biden being the oldest person to be elected POTUS ever.
    • Then we have Dick Cheney's vice presidency to George W. Bush.
  • Until you get to the senior command levels, a military unit's top NCO is likely to be older and much more experienced than the official CO. Many militaries consider the training of young officers to be part of the duties of an experienced noncom.