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Parents in Distress

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Kids have this tendency to get themselves in trouble, often requiring their parental figures to bail them out. Sometimes this goes to the point of violence or physical feats, where Mama Bear and Papa Wolf step up to the plate.

On the other hand, sometimes it's the parents that get themselves in a sticky situation. Then the children will go to any lengths necessary to save their parents (or teacher, older sibling, etc.) from danger. If the characters are just normally protective of their parents, it's Extremely Protective Child.

Any series with a Kid Hero who isn't Conveniently an Orphan is bound to try this. Compare Adults Are Useless and contrast Mama Bear and Papa Wolf. This trope is often a non-Ho Yay version of The Not-Love Interest.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The titular character from Beelzebub has a moment when his wheelchair-bound mother, who has been lied to about her purpose of being with the people she's with, is trapped behind a strong barrier and gets knocked out hard enough to fall out of the chair by a crony for trying to force her way through it. While Oga is no stranger to rage, this is the first time that little Beel has been this angry. Needless to say, Oga's opponent and said barrier did not last long after.
  • In Berserk, Casca, rendered almost completely helpless after the events of the Eclipse, is protected from danger by her miscarried and tainted child by controlling the demons that would normally go after her and using them against those who try to harm her. It also uses its powers to warn its father, protagonist Guts, that she is in danger. Much later in the series, a little boy with a startling resemblance to Casca and Guts that may or may not be the Child reborn as a human whom Casca immediately likes, tries to free Guts of his cursed Berserker armor and later gives him a psychic Cooldown Hug when he's in a berserk state.
  • Bumbling Dad Kogoro Mouri from Case Closed has had to be bailed out of trouble more than once by his Action Girl daughter and his Kid Detective (sorta) protegé. i.e, in a filler case Conan once uses his super-powered shoes to kick a rock towards a Dark Action Girl who has Kogoro in a makeshift gallows, forcing her to release him.
    • The live action TV series reveals that the reason Shinichi and Kogoro were drugged and locked in the white room was because of Ran. The Big Bad kidnapped her mother Eri, and the poor girl reluctanly went along with his plan to save her, even though she expect Shinichi to hate her for it. (He doesn't.)
    • The London arc relies heavily on rescuing the mother of Minerva (a famous tennis player who's playing in Wimbledon and Apollo (a boy whom Ran and Conan befriended). Plucky Girl Minerva herself does her best to relay clues to Conan and his entourage ''without stopping to play in the women's finals)
    • In more than one case, Conan has been followed and helped by his mother Yukiko. When this happens, Conan's determination to catch the culprit tends to be extra-buffed by the prospect of his mother potentially being in danger.
  • Corrector Yui:
    • In the first episode, Yui isn't very convinced by IR's claims that she is The Chosen One. Then the is attacked and one of the first targets is a virtual amusement park... designed and handled by Yui's father Shinichi, who is still there with his workmates. Yui immediately jumps into action and tells IR that she will be a Corrector.
    • In the second season, Corrector Ai's main goal is to find the conscience of her comatose mother Azusa, which was "separated" from her body in an accident in the Net. It turns out it was NOT an accident.
  • In Dragon Ball Z, Gohan powers up when his father, Goku, is in danger. He's not too pleased when his Parental Substitute Piccolo is injured either.
    • In a cruel aversion, when his mother Chichi was killed by Majin Boo, neither Gohan nor his brother Goten could do anything but watch, since both of them were in other dimensions or were going into one.
    • Future Trunks saved his mother, Bulma, and his past self from an attack of Dr. Gero. Later he tried to save his father, Vegeta, from Android #18, but Android 17 prevented him from doing so. When Future Trunks stood up, he was immediately knocked out by 18 who did Grievous Harm With Vegeta's Body. And when Vegeta was having trouble against Cell, Future Trunks did nothing and waited until his father lost his consciousness because he didn't want to hurt Vegeta's pride - Future Trunks was really, really frustrated about this.
    • Kid Trunks manages to save Vegeta from being beaten to death by Majin Buu by sending him flying with a kick to the head.
  • One story in Fresh Pretty Cure! involved Love Momozono's mother getting taken into a mirror world and temporarily replaced by an evil version of herself. Love's adopted sister Setsuna soon suspects something's going on, but Love is initially fooled, and when she realises the truth (and blows the faker's cover) she has to figure out that what she thinks is her mother is a fake and find the real one.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers: When South Italy was a kid, his "boss" and Parental Substitute Spain saved him from being kidnapped. Years later, Spain falls sick when his economy goes rotten, so South Italy decides to search for a "cure".
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure
    • In Phantom Blood Jonathan saved his father George from being slowly poisoned by Dio, unfortunately George still died when he saved his son from a killing blow from a newly born vampire Dio.
    • In Battle Tendency Joseph saves his mother Lisa Lisa from getting killed by the Big Bad Pillar Man Kars in the Final Battle even cradling her like a baby which is ironically heart warming.
    • Jotaro Kujo has been on both ends of this trope:
      • The plot of Stardust Crusaders is kicked off when Jotaro's mother Holly Kujo suddenly falls sick and Jotaro starts searching for a way to help her. It turns out she's developing her own Stand, but it's rapidly draining her, due to not having the will power to control it.
      • Jotaro in Stone Ocean is left comatose when the Big Bad Enrico Pucci uses his Stand to steal his memories and power. His daughter Jolyne's drive to save her father forms the backbone of the plot.
    • Jojolion develops into this later on. When Josuke discovers he is actually a fusion of two individuals, Yoshikage Kira and Josefumi Kujo, he sets out to find a way to cure Kira's mother (who by proxy is his own mother now and Josuke definitely sees it this way) by chasing a fruit which can grant miracles through equivalent exchange.
  • Judge reveals this to be the reason why Kazuhiko Asai agreed to become The Mole, after being given a cellphone with instructions and a picture of their mother, whom they haven't seen in years due to personal reasons, held at gun-point and told to follow the instructions lest she be killed.
  • In the infamous Hentai La Blue Girl, Miko Mido has to save her parents several times. (Mostly in the sequels Lady Blue and La Blue Girl Returns)
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS:
    • Quattro tells Vivio that her adoptive mother Nanoha is in danger, and all she has to do to get her back is to defeat the demon in front of her. The "demon" in question was Nanoha, but Vivio had been tortured so much in the past few episodes that she honestly thought that she was a monster disguised as her mama in an attempt to deceive her.
    • Lutecia's motivation to be with the villains is getting a cure for her comatose mother, Megane. What she doesn't know is that said villains are the reason why she's in a coma in the first place. Caro and Erio convince Lutecia to lay down her weapons, and some time later, Megane recovers.
  • Pokémon Adventures:
    • This happens to Professor Oak twice, first in RBG arc and in FRLG arc by Team Rocket, leaving it up to Blue to rescue him.
    • In the FireRed/LeafGreen arc of Pokémon Adventures, Green has to rescue her parents who were kidnapped by Deoxys and by extension, Team Rocket.
    • Happens briefly in the DP arc when Mars holds Johanna hostage in Lake Verity.
    • In the XY arc, Y's mother, Grace, is taken by Team Flare (along with the rest of the town) to be used as brainwashed labor force.
  • Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs:
    • Saber Rider is faced with a similar problem when his parents are kidnapped and replaced by evil Vapor Beings. He manages to trap the imposters first (with a little help of his Evil-Detecting Dog) and then goes to save Mom and Dad with the help of his friends and his clansmen.
    • A good part of the plot is driven by the kidnapping of April's father/the Star Sheriff's leader, General Eagle.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Sailor Moon and Chibi Moon are so upset when Hawk's Eye attacks Ikuko (Sailor Moon's mother and Chibi Moon's grandmother) that they get their Super forms in Super S.
    • In the anime, Rei/Mars once had to fight her grandfather, who has been transformed into a demon by Zoicite. (Or more exactly, reverted to the demon form he had in his past life.)
  • In Street Fighter II V, Chun-Li's father Dorai is rendered in a coma after a brutal beating from Cammy. When Cammy returns to finish the job, Chun-Li's childhood friend and Dorai's favorite disciple Fei Long rises to the challenge and fights her to protect his Parental Substitute, managing to both fulfill this and push Cammy to a Heel–Face Turn.
  • In the Vampire Princess Miyu OAV, the main character Miyu's main motivation is to save her parents, who are kept in an eternal slumber by the Shinma leaders as catch to have Miyu hunting down the Shinmas who have escaped to the human world.
  • The whole plot of the Duelist Kingdom arc of Yu-Gi-Oh! (the first season) centered around Yugi attempting to rescue his grandfather Sugurokou's imprisoned soul from Pegasus. (He and his allies did pick up some other goals along the way later, including rescuing Mokuba (and later Kaiba too) and as a side goal, raising money to pay for Shizuka's surgery).

    Comic Books 
  • Batman:
    • Whenever Batman gets into serious trouble that he can't escape on his own, his adopted kids/sidekicks will go to hell and back to bail him out. The Batfamily including (and especially) Bruce will do the same if anything happens to Alfred.
    • When Tim Drake's parents were kidnapped he obediently stayed home in Gotham and let Batman rescue them. Unfortunately, Batman was unable to prevent the murder of his mother and the crippling of his father. Later Jack Drake was kidnapped again, and again Tim allowed Bruce to be in charge of his father's rescue. When Jack was cornered in his own home during Identity Crisis (2004) Tim raced there as fast as he could along with his mentor but was unable to arrive there in time to prevent his murder.
  • Final Crisis: Almost subverted in the comic miniseries Final Crisis: Rogues Revenge. The agents of the Big Bad Libra kidnap the father of Rogues leader Captain Cold. They threaten to kill him unless Cold and the Rogues surrender. But the bad guys don't understand that his father's sadistic abuse and terror was the main factor in shaping Cold's personality. So he tells them that he will hunt them down, kill them, and kill his father himself. The Rogues do kill the bad guys, but Cold does not kill his father. Instead, he orders his teammate Heatwave to burn him to death.
  • Firefly: Brand New 'Verse: Emma has to lead the rescue of Zoe after she is wounded and taken by the Alliance.
  • Green Arrow: In "Quiver", the villain has barricaded his hideout with a Blood Seal that prevents anyone not related to anyone inside the Seal from entering. Good thing Ollie's son Connor Hawke shows up to save his dad. While Connor isn't able to defeat the villain's demons on his own, seeing his son in danger is what finally convinces Ollie's soul in Heaven to merge with his Soulless Shell of a body (after the Shell tells him to do it). The fully resurrected Green Arrow breaks free, and together with his son defeats the villain.
  • Luc Helius The Young Cosmonaut: The reason why the titular Luc starts his journey despite being barely a teenager is to find and rescue his beloved father, a famous scientist who disappeared in very shady circumstances.
  • Runaways:
    • Molly manifests her powers when her mother is struck. She is shown to be the one of the kids who misses her parents the most.
    • Subverted in the case of Victor's mother, who is kidnapped by Ultron just after her son's electric-based powers manifest. He tries to help orchestrate a rescue mission with the heroes, but it ends with his mother getting vaporized in front of him.
  • Spider-Girl: May once had to swing home to rescue her mom from Normie Osborn. However, MJ is a bit of a Mama Bear, so it wasn't really necessary. At another point, she had to help save Peter when he was possessed by Norman Osborn.
  • Spider-Man: There have been a couple of times Aunt May was in trouble and while she normally can get out of it, sometimes it's not enough. Namely in Back in Black, when she got shot and cue Spider-Man delivering a Curb-Stomp Battle against the Kingpin, all while reminding him that while the Kingpin may have impressive human strength, Peter is clearly superhuman and that he will go and kill Kingpin if Aunt May died from the assassin's bullet.
  • Wonder Girl: Lashina tries to force Cassie to cooperate by kidnapping Cassie's mother.

    Fan Works 
  • Children of an Elder God: When a terrorist group invaded NERV's German base, they captured Badass soldier and Mama Bear Misato, and her wards Shinji and Asuka together with Rei had to rescue her. The three kids didn't want to kill people and they were hugely distraught about it afterwards, but they couldn't let those terrorists hurt their surrogate mother.
  • In A Crown of Stars, Asuka rescued her mother Kyoko right when she was about to be executed by a death squad. She shot at them all before picking Kyoko up and hightailing it.
  • In Discworld fic Strandpiel, young witch Rebecka Smith-Rhodes discovers her mother is very likely suffering from a heart condition which she is highly likely to be stubbornly toughing out in the hope it might go away on its own, or else she is simply refusing to accept reality. Bekki knows this has caused women in the family line to die young.note . Bekki speaks in turn to Assassin friends of her mother and then to Matron Igorina. After a week of peer pressure and urgent advice from her doctor, Johanna grudgingly agrees to the operation.
  • Thousand Shinji: When Gendo unfairly placed Misato under arrest, Shinji set to busting her adoptive mother out of jail, killing anyone who stood in his way.
  • In the sequel to The Touch of Green Fire, Kim teams up with Shego to help rescue her mother after she's kidnapped for her skills as a surgeon.

    Films — Animation 
  • Bolt: Penny's character in the Show Within a Show is looking for her scientist father.
  • In Home (2015), Tip goes across the world to reunite with her mother.
  • In The Lion King (1994), Scar decided it wasn't enough to kill Simba's father Mufasa, he also had to show Simba's mother Sarabi the back of his paw. Big mistake.
  • In the Pokémon 3 movie, Delia Ketchum is abducted by Entei after Molly Hale, an emotionally broken little girl whose father has just disappeared, wishes for a mother. Her son Ash is not pleased by this turn of events.
  • In The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue, Jenny McBride's parents get captured by NIMH and she goes on a quest, (along with Timmy) to save them.
  • In Scooby Doo! Pirates Ahoy!, Fred's parents are abducted by pirates. He immediately goes to the rescue... with the whole gang right behind him.
  • In Spirited Away, Chihiro Ogino's parents are transformed into pigs, so one of Chihiro's goals is to undo the spell and get them back.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Parental Substitute variant in Avengers: Infinity War: Tony would've been bludgeoned by one of the Thanos's minions during the battle of New York had Peter not appeared out of nowhere and pulled a Punch Catch on it.
  • In Child's Play (2019), Chucky takes Karen hostage, with the intent of killing her so that he and Andy can be together, and Andy has to go save her from getting hanged.
  • DC Extended Universe
  • House of Fury: In this martial arts film, Teddy, a former martial artist and assassin, retired to raise his children after the death of his wife. But when enemies from his past shows up and kidnaps him, it's up to his children - his adult son Nicky and teenage daughter Natalie - to save their old man.
  • The Ice Pirates combines this, Plot-Relevant Age-Up, and Express Delivery into one for the movie's bizarre climax. The pirates and their enemies boarding the ship are all caught in some kind of temporal vortex that causes rapid aging. The princess that the protagonist just slept with has a kid, said kid grows into an adult off-screen and saves the now-aged protagonist from a last bunch of robots. Then the Reset Button kicks in. Yeah, it's weird. (But kind of fun.)
  • Indiana Jones has to rescue his father more than once, though he's no longer a kid, in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
  • Godzilla vs. Destoroyah: During his first fight with Destoroyah, Godzilla Junior receives a deep chest wound from the mutant Precambrian crustacean and seems to be down for the count. But when Destoroyah tries to attack the helicopter carrying Miki Saegusa, who had acted as one of Junior's Parental Substitutes in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, Junior gets his Heroic Second Wind and enacts a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown of his opponent to save Miki.
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service has Michelle, Harry "Egsy's" mother, who is routinely verbally and physically abused by her husband, Dean, leader of a local group of thugs. Egsy is helpless at first, but after coming back home when he is dismissed by the Kingsmen, he has the full intent of using his newfound combat skills to deal with Dean. At the end of the movie, its heavily implied that he delivered the same beat down on Dean and his goons that Galahad delivered on them at the beginning.
  • Logan: When X-24 kills Charles, Laura, who came to view him as a surrogate grandfather, gets violent and furiously leaps on his back with claws flashing, even though he's twice her size. He's only able to defeat and subdue her because she had no room to maneuver. Later in the film she does it again to protect her actual father, Logan, and this time subjects him to a positively brutal No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. X-24 only manages to shake her off when he manages to land a lucky blow (she is only eleven years old). She ultimately delivers the fatal blow via an adamantium bullet to his noggin when he tries to finish off the mortally wounded Logan.
  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie: Ivan Ooze had brainwashed Angel Grove's adults into escavating his war machines, then when that was done he pulled a mass You Have Outlived Your Usefulness and ordered them to jump off a cliff. While the Rangers were fighting said war machines, Canon Foreigner Kid-Appeal Character Fred and Those Two Guys Bulk and Skull had to rally the city's kids to keep their parents safe until the Rangers broke the spell.
  • My Life as a Dog: Ingemar’s mother cannot handle raising him and his older brother, as they can be troublesome and she is suffering from tuberculosis. This results in the two boys being sent to live with relatives so she can have some temporary peace and quiet to herself.
  • In Red Eye, Rachel MacAdams gets violent to protect her father from Cillian Murphy.
  • In Space Mutiny, the villainous Elijah Kalgan kidnaps the commander's "daughter-mother" (thanks to some bad makeup work on the lead female actor who was 34 at the time of the film's release).
  • Spy Kids features this when the spy parents are in danger and the titular kids, who have just learned that they're not as "boring" and "normal" as they believed, set out to rescue them.
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day: John Connor risks his life to save his mother Sarah from being killed and replaced by the T-1000. After she's rescued, however, she castigates him for risking his life so much for her.
  • TRON: Legacy: Sam's searching for, and trying to rescue his dad, who got trapped in Cyberspace twenty years earlier.
  • Even superheroes the size of cities aren't immune to this trope. Case in point: Ultraman Taiga The Movie: New Generation Climax has Taiga's father, the veteran warrior Ultraman Taro, being possessed and absorbed by the monster Grimdo, and it's up to Taiga and the New Generation Heroes to save his father.

  • Animorphs does this a couple of times. For most of the series, it's Marco's main plotline: he discovers that his supposedly-dead mom is actually the host body of Visser One, and sticks with the group in the hope of one day saving her. In book #45, he also has to protect his father, whose scientific discovery threatens the Yeerks' plans. He saves his mom in the same book.
    • One book has Jake having to protect his father from his Controller brother, whose Yeerk is determined to kill him.
    • Book #48 is a Wham Episode where the Animorphs realize that the Yeerks have begun to discover their identities, and have to finally reveal the truth to their parents and evacuate them to the Hork-Bajir colony for their own safety. Jake's parents, however, are infested before they can save them. Meanwhile, Tobias has finally found his Missing Mom and has to struggle with how to save her too.
  • In Coraline (as well as the movie), Coraline initially escapes the Other World and the Other Mother's clutches. She later goes back in order to save her parents, whom the Other Mother has captured and trapped in a mirror.
  • Somewhat subverted in Fablehaven since the children are staying with their grandparents while their parents are away, and their parents have no knowledge of the magical world at all. However, Kendra and Seth are responsible for saving their grandparents and other adults several times through the books and at the end of the fourth their parents are kidnapped to be used as leverage against them and their grandparents.
  • Invoked in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Instead of harming children to get parents to obey, the Death Eaters controlling Hogwarts target students' parents/guardians instead, to get the students to behave. When they try to do this to Neville and his grandmother, his grandmother escapes, injuring the Death Eaters sent after her.
  • Legacy of the Dragokin: Benji declares I Am Your Opponent to Kthonia when they were moments away from killing his mother, Daniar.
  • In part of the backstory of Lord of the Rings, Elrond's wife Celebrian is captured by orcs. Their twin sons Elladan and Elrohir mount a heroic rescue to bring her back to Rivendell. The mission is successful, but because of what she suffered, she no longer takes pleasure in Middle-Earth and opts to sail to the Grey Havens.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The whole plot is kicked off because Hades kidnaps Percy's mother as leverage during an early battle in the first book. Percy is not happy. He wastes no time readying himself to storm the Underworld to get her back.
    A strange fire burned in my stomach. The weirdest thing was: it wasn't fear. It was anticipation. The
    desire for revenge. Hades had tried to kill me three times so far, with the Fury, the Minotaur, and the
    hellhound. It was his fault my mother had disappeared in a flash of light. Now he was trying to frame me
    and my dad for a theft we hadn't committed.
    I was ready to take him on.
    Besides, if my mother was in the Underworld ...
    Whoa, boy, said the small part of my brain that was still sane. You're a kid. Hades is a god
  • In Race to the Sun, Nizhoni has to rescue her dad, who was kidnapped by the evil oil magnate Mr. Charles and ends up finding and rescuing her Missing Mom, too.
  • Mowgli, in Rudyard Kipling's original The Second Jungle Book, rescues his adoptive parents from the angry villagers, mostly for the sake of Messua - her husband's an ungrateful bastard.
  • Septimus Heap: Darke has Jenna and Septimus trying to save their mother Sarah when she gets trapped in the Palace in the Darke Domaine. She eventually is rescued by their older brother Simon, though.
  • The framing device of Stephen King's non-horror novel The Talisman is that Jack's mother is dying, and he goes on an unbelievable quest to other dimensions in search of the title MacGuffin which can save her.
  • In This Is Not a Werewolf Story, Raul spends much of the book trying to protect his mom, who has become Shapeshifter Mode Locked as a wolf, from a cougar shapeshifter who wants to kill her. By the end of the book he's also hoping to get her turned back into a human one day.
  • A Wrinkle in Time. The first half is about Meg and Charles Wallace Murray going up against an interstellar Cthulhu-level evil to save their father. (The second half is Meg and her father trying to save Charles Wallace from its Mind Control.)

    Live-Action TV 
  • Captain Sheridan on Babylon 5 gets captured taking crazy risks in order to try and save his father.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The title character's mother Joyce has been used as leverage against her daughter several times. Buffy also has had to rescue Giles, her Parental Substitute, on more than one occasion.
  • Multiple episodes of Creeped Out are about this, especially ""Slapstick", where the main character's parents are trapped in an evil puppet show.
  • The Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers were willing to trade their powers in order to get their parents back in "Return Of An Old Friend". (Doubly so in the case of the Pink Ranger Kimberly, who was in the middle of a Visit by Divorced Dad.)
  • MythQuest: Alex and Cleo are teens searching for their father, who got trapped in a mythic cyber museum.
  • Emma Swan on Once Upon a Time has had to bail her parents Snow White and Prince David out of trouble several times (including breaking the curse they were under during all of Season 1). Her son, Henry, isn't a slouch in the heroism department, either, eating a poisoned apple turnover and getting hit with the same sleeping spell that afflicted Grandma in order to save Emma, forcing Emma and the Big Bad to work together to undo the spell.
  • Psych: Shawn drops his usually goofy attitude in Santabarbaratown 2 after his father, Henry, gets shot and needs his help.
  • A minor example occurs in "Chicken Hearts," an episode of Roseanne. Roseanne, who is stuck working for an obnoxious teenager at a fast food restaurant, invites the kid over for dinner and to have husband Dan help him with an auto shop assignment in an attempt to help him see that she can't work weekends. When he fires her instead, her daughters Becky and Darlene step up and start shouting at him, calling him a jerk. Later, as he leaves, they also hand him pieces of his auto shop project, which they helped to destroy.
  • On The Sarah Jane Adventures, the only thing as dangerous as messing with Sarah Jane's son is messing with Luke's mum. Forget shipping, their relationship is the show's real love story.
  • The made-for-TV Star Wars spinoff Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure is about two kids going on an adventure (with help from their new Ewok friends) to rescue their parents. The sequel... not so much.
  • Supernatural:
    • John Winchester is a badass hunter, but he does find himself captured by demons and needing rescue at the end of the first season. He is rescued by his sons, but he's possessed by the yellow-eyed demon and has to be exorcised.
    • Season 10 finds Claire Novak searching for the mother whom she thinks abandoned her. It turns out Amelia was captured and being fed upon by an evil angel. With Sam, Dean and Castiel's help, she's able to rescue her mother.
    • Mary Winchester is brought back from the dead in Season 12, and she's a competent hunter capable of taking care of herself, but her sons do need to rescue her a few times.
  • In the finale of Season 3A of Teen Wolf, the parents of the three main characters (Scott, Stiles and Allison) have all been kidnapped for human sacrifice by the Darach. The kids have to sacrifice themselves by allowing themselves to be temporarily drowned so they can find where the sacrifice is meant to take place, then it is a race against the clock to find their parents and defeat the Darach before the lunar eclipse.

    Mythology & Religion 
  • Perseus was sent into the almost impossible mission of killing Medusa because the King of Seriphos wanted him outta the way so he could force Perseus's beautiful mother Danae to marry him. When Perseus learned that his dear mommy had been taken by force into the court as soon as he left, he rushed to rescue her and got the King as well as all of his courtiers Taken for Granite with the freshly cut Gorgon head he had acquired in the process.

    Video Games 
  • In The Adventures of Willy Beamish, at the end of the game, Leona Humpford captures Willy's dad and tries to kill him. As the last challenge of the game, Willy has to rescue him.
  • Both Another Code games had Ashley ending up saving her dad from the bad guy's clutches. In the first game, she had to rescue her aunt as well.
  • In Cosmo's Cosmic Adventure, Cosmo sets out to save his parents from the aliens who apparently kidnapped them.
  • Creep TV: More like "Owners In Distress", but Muriel and Eustace have been kidnapped by poltergeists and are trapped in the TV, and their dog Courage has to save them.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Seen in Dragon Age: Origins if the Warden comes from the City Elf background. Late in the game, the Warden and friends will return to the alienage where the Warden grew up, and rescue his/her father and other elves from slavers.
      • Both played straight and subverted in the Human Noble origin, as the future Warden has to protect their mother Eleanor from the invasion of the family castle. They do a bang-up job, but when they find papa Bryce bleeding to death, Eleanor opts for a Heroic Sacrifice to buy their child time to escape.
    • In Dragon Age II, this happens twice to Leandra Hawke. The first time, she's fine. The second... not so much...
  • Final Fantasy X: In a very sad, twisted way. Tidus has to Mercy Kill his estranged father, who has become Sin.
  • In Final Fight 2, Action Girl Maki's motivation is to save her father and her older sister.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • In Fire Emblem: Thracia 776, one of Prince Leif's goals is rescuing his Parental Substitute Lady Evayle, who has been Taken for Granite by the Loptr Church. Not succeeding will cause her to be Brainwashed and Crazy into becoming one of the Dead Lords.
    • In Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, Eliwood's main motivation is to find his father Elbert, who disappeared under strange circumstances. He finds him... in the lair of the Black Fang, gravely injured and weakened. And then he dies in his arms. And before that, Lyn's adventures involved her racing against the clock to both to claim her inheritance as the Princess of Caelin and save her ill grandfather Hausen. And she has to do the second part again one year later, when the Black Fang attacks their realm.
    • One of the missions in Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones involves protecting Pontifex Mansel, L'Arachel's Parental Substitute and the leader of the Rausten Theocracy.
    • In Fire Emblem: Awakening, the kids from the future decide to time travel to avert the deaths of their parents, which triggered the Bad Future from whence they came.
    • In Fire Emblem Fates, the Heirs of Fates DLC offers a rather cruel twist... since not only it starts with the parents already dead, but finishes with the fathers (or mother, in the case of a Male Kana) forcibly revived by the Big Bad and being Brainwashed and Crazy. The children characters realize that the only way to return them to normal is to kill them. (Though after that's all said and done, the kids are sent back to their now healed worlds, where the parents are back to normal and alive).
  • King's Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella: Rosella is taken to Tamir and undergoes a grueling quest to retrieve a magic fruit capable of saving her father's life. Getting the fruit is the easy part; saving Genesta so that she can get a ride back to Daventry, not so much.
  • In Pitfall The Mayan Adventure, the objective is for Pitfall Harry Jr to rescue his kidnapped father, who appeared in the original Pitfall games during the 8-bit era.
  • Mortal Kombat X has Johnny Cage being captured and horribly tortured by an empowered Shinnok. The victim's beloved Cute Bruiser of a daughter, Cassie, gets impossibly angry when she finds out.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog character Cream the Rabbit's debut in the series has her fighting against Eggman's robots in order to rescue her mother.
  • The Stalin Subway begins with your father, a KGB scientist, abducted in the game's opening cinematics. The entire first half of gameplay revolves around your efforts to locate him, which you eventually did in a KGB cell.
  • Survivor: Fire: You play as a boy who needs to rescue his parents (as well as himself, his sister, and his grandmother) from a house fire.
  • TRON 2.0: Jet is trying to rescue his father, Alan, from kidnappers who put the hostile in "hostile corporate takeover." He is also trying to rescue and protect the benevolent AI Ma3a from a viral invasion launched by the same creeps. An email implies that Ma3a actually is what remains of Jet's mother, who was killed by a digitizer accident in this timeline, meaning he's spending the game rescuing both his parents.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Daughter for Dessert, Amanda takes care of the protagonist once when he comes home drunk from the bar, and opens the diner when he sleeps in next morning.
  • In Higurashi: When They Cry, Rena Ryuugu wants to protect her father from two scam artists (one of them being Ryuugu's new girlfriend Rina) who want to steal one million yen from him. This being Higurashi and Rena being Rena... well...
  • In the remake-exclusive fifth case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, a girl named Ema Skye hires Phoenix and serves as his assistant because her older sister Lana (who is basically her mother) is on trial for murder and refusing to deny she did it. As the trial goes on, it turns out that Lana's in even worse trouble than initially suspected. She's been blackmailed by her boss, Damon Gant, for the past few years, which resulted in her taking on a cold, distant and standoffish demeanor in an attempt to cope. And one of the blackmailing matters is how, if Lana doesn't do stuff like Gant says, Ema will be accused of murder instead.

  • In Better Days, Sheila is nearly raped by Principal Longfellow, leading her son Fisk to save her by conking Longfellow on the head with a baseball bat.
  • In Phantomarine, when Vanna disappears after becoming Seabitten, Pavel strives to find and rescue her from the Fata Morgana.
  • In Wake of the Clash, Ghost's father-figure/mentor, Clash, is taken over by an unknown villain and made to attack the city before disappearing. After some years Ghost takes it upon himself to right what happend and recover his missing mentor.

    Web Original 
  • At some point in Noob: La Quête Légendaire, an entity reliant on Body Surf gets set free. After a first host possessed from lack of choice, its second host is the father from a father-son pair that had mostly been the center of a Third Line, Some Waiting plot in the previous movie. The event makes the son become part of a more important plot of the story, that involves trying to destroy the entity.
  • In Thalia's Musings, Leto to her twins Apollo and Artemis. This is the origin of the Pythian Games.
  • The story "Christmas Crisis" in the Whateley Universe. Tennyo's parents get kidnapped because they're mutants who work for the C.I.A. Tennyo's brothers find out and call her because they're mutants who work for the C.I.A. Tennyo and her cabbit (It Makes Sense in Context) fly to the rescue because the villains want Tennyo and she's a Person of Mass Destruction.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Sokka rescues his father Hakoda from the Boiling Rock.
    • Zuko also rescues Iroh when the latter is captured by Earthbenders.
  • Beetlejuice has to help Lydia rescue her oblivious parents in a few episodes, such as the one in which her mother is kidnapped by a vampire. Fortunately, Charles and Delia almost never realize they're in any real danger.
  • Boo Boom! The Long Way Home In episode 25, Boo-Booms parents, while on their way to finally meet up with him, are arrested by the Germans and put on a train that will transport them to a labor camp outside Italy, suddenly turning Boo-Boom’s quest to find them into a rescue mission. This leads straight to The Climax of the series, where Boo-Boom and his friends have to pull off a Train Escape to rescue them.
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers features quite a lot of Parental Substitutes in distress; has anyone even counted the times when Captain Planet needed the Planeteers' help? Not to mention the instances where Gaia's life (or at least her immortality) was at stake.
  • Danny Phantom has the titular hero constantly protecting his parents, Jack and Maddie, from the main villain. Vlad keeps trying to woo Danny's mother, which is the lesser of his two evils; he's also constantly trying to kill Danny's father. Complicating the matter, Jack thinks Vlad is his good friend.
  • Huey, Dewey, and Louie are always rescuing their granduncle Scrooge and/or their uncle Donald Duck from danger.
  • Has happened several times in The Fairly OddParents!, both to Timmy's parents and to his fairy godparents Cosmo and Wanda. Either because of the Villain of the Week or some peril caused by a wish gone wrong.
  • Nick Tatapolous has a habit of encountering all sorts of monsters that require his adoptive son to show up and save the day. Did we mention said "son" is Godzilla?
  • In Hey Arnold!, Arnold's parents had to leave him in the care of his grandparents while they make an emergency trip to San Lorenzo to take care of an outbreak of a deadly sleeping sickness. They end up falling ill themselves and unable to return for years. Arnold himself had little to no idea of what happened to them until the episode "The Journal", and by the events of The Jungle Movie, he manages to find and cure everyone affected by the sleeping sickness, his parents included.
  • Penny has to get her dumbass uncle Inspector Gadget out of sticky situations (often caused by himself) all the time.
  • Lambert the Sheepish Lion has Lambert, who snaps into action when his sheep mother is attacked by a wolf.
  • A couple in The Lion Guard:
    • Kion uses the Roar to save Nala from a group of hyenas. Unfortunately it haunts him because he actually used it in anger.
    • Simba, Nala and Kiara get stuck on Pride Rock when Ghost!Scar’s minions set fire to it. Kion and the eagles Anga and Hadithi get them to safety.
  • The Powerpuff Girls often find themselves having to rescue their creator and father figure Professor Utonium, although he's come to their aid at times in return.
  • SpacePOP revolves around five teenage princesses who have to rescue their captive parents from an evil empress.
  • In the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) series, the turtles have several instances where their adoptive father, Splinter, has to be saved because he's captured or injured.
  • Happened once in Totally Spies!, when the girls' mothers were kidnapped and then brainwashed into fighting their daughters.
  • Winx Club: This trope is recurrent across the series.
    • Predictably for the main character, Bloom's parents are often on the receiving end of this trope.
      • The first season's main villains, the Trix sisters, endanger Bloom's adoptive parents, Mike and Vanessa, to lure her into a trap since the effort to rescue them would leave her exhausted and in a bad position to defend herself. For context, they throw Mike and Vanessa into a Pocket Dimension-like abyss, so she has to catch them in time and then fly them back to safe terrain.
      • Bloom's biological parents, Oritel and Marion, are trapped as a statue and inside a sword, respectively, courtesy of the villains who caused their home planet's fall. The plot from late-stage season three to the first movie revolves around finding and rescuing them.
      • Bloom saves her biological parents again in season five. During a royal ceremony to thank the Winx and Sky for restoring Domino, the Trix wait until the Winx are off on a mission to attack. Marion and Oritel are able to fend the Trix off until they are tricked into surrendering; then they are turned into ice statues. After the Winx defeat the Trix, Bloom de-freezes her parents.
    • There are quite the examples in the third season:
      • After the Big Bad breaks free from the Omega Dimension, he defeats the mermaids from Andros' underwater kingdom and turns them into his minions. Except for some fortunate souls who are imprisoned — among them, the queen. Princess Tressa evades capture and alerts the Winx to go and help free her mother, Queen Ligea. Tressa is initially fearful and not the one doing the heavy work but, after some words of encouragement, she frees her mother while the Winx distract the Kraken guarding the prison.
      • Stella earns her Enchantix by pulling one of these. At the very beginning of the season, Stella's father, the king of Solaria, gets Brain Washed And Crazy by Wicked Stepmother, social-climber Countess Cassandra (helped by Valtor). Some episodes later, in a royal event, she does an Heroic Sacrifice to save her father from being burned by a dragon. Then, the transformation song starts. Bonus points because King Radius seems to recognize his daughter for a brief while.
      • Later, Stella devices a ploy to sneak into and interrupt her still brain-washed father and Cassandra's wedding. This is when she is finally able to lift the curse on him thanks to one of the Enchantix's powers.
      • At mid-season, the Portal to the Omega Dimension is about to implode because the Big Bad broke it. As a result, Andros, the planet hosting the portal, will be destroyed, starting with earthquakes and floods that worsen as the portal becomes more unstable. Aisha's parents, the queen and king, fight valiantly against the monsters coming from the portal but get ultimately trapped in the flooding Royal Palace. Aisha saves them before they drown.
    • As Bloom and Roxy are mirror characters, Roxy has had to save her distressed parents too:
      • Similar to Bloom's storyline, the plot of the fourth season involves rescuing trapped fairies from fallen realms. In this case, it's the Earth fairies — relentlessly hunted by the Wizards of the Black Circle and sealed away to be forgotten by humanity. Roxy, the Queen's daughter is not captured due to being too young to manifest magic. When she learns the truth, she gets determined to the Earth fairies. With the help of the Winx, Roxy goes to Tir Nan Og and opens its gates. It's kind of a subverted example because Roxy only learns that Queen Morgana is her mother later in the season.
      • Earlier in the season, Roxy has to rescue her father Klaus because the Wizards of the Black Circle captured and impersonated him to lure her into a trap. She is kidnapped but after her Animal Companion and the magical pets locate her and fool the Wizards, she is able to free herself and her father. They are halted when the Wizards realize their mistake and overpower Roxy even after she triggers her fairy transformation. Fortunately, all of these developments provide enough time for the Winx to go to her aid.

    Real Life 
  • It's not rare for non-human animals to display this trope:
  • Roman hero Scipio Africanus is said to have first become noted by rescuing his father in a battle.
  • Rukhsana Kauser and her brother did this to a band of terrorists who were beating up their parents, famously smashing the head of one with a hatchet. It is said that she killed a terrorist with a four thousand dollar bounty on him.
  • There have been several instances of a parent suffering an accident or injury at home and being unable to call for help, and their child taking the initiative to call the emergency services.
  • In 1958, Lana Turner's abusive boyfriend, a Mafia enforcer named Johnny Stompanato, was killed by her daughter Cheryl Crane while he was abusing her yet again.
  • 13-year-old Joe Rowlands saved his father when their kayak capsized at sea and forced them to swim to a nearby island. When his father fell unconscious from hypothermia, Joe pulled him out of the water and gave him CPR until he began to breathe again, then managed to carry him further up the rocks away from the water where they were rescued a few hours later.
  • Among the many survival stories of the 2023 Hawaiian wildfires was that of two teenage boys and their mother, who fled into the ocean when there was no other means of escaping the flames. They huddled together to keep her warm.