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Tagalong Kid

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A for effort, at least.

Ray Thompson: Can I come along? Can I? Can I?
J'onn J'onzz: I hesitate to put the boy in harm's way.
Catman: Sure thing, little buddy!
Ray: Oh boy!

Typically the youngest member of a group, the Tagalong Kid is usually the younger brother or sister of one of the older team members. They get to save the day about once per season, but in the worst case scenarios, they will end up being The Load or Designated Victim in every other episode. The "tagalong" part of their role almost always occurs after being told they are Most Definitely Not Accompanying Us.

Depending on the setting or the kid's character, this can be a Justified Trope. Say they're living in a Crapsack World where leaving the kid in the "safety" of the townsfolk is a non-option, or the kid is a Living MacGuffin or a Fight Magnet. Sometimes the safest place for the tot is under the team's watchful eye where they can take a more active role in protecting them, and perhaps even teach them how to earn their keep. Such cases can lead to a Coming of Age Story.

If the kid is actually (or eventually becomes) part of The Team instead of just a tag-along, the kid might sub in for just about any role but with the proper tropes behind them.

Team Pet is the animal equivalent to this, Robot Buddy the artificial version.

Contrast Token Adult. Compare Improbable Age, Really 700 Years Old, Kid-Appeal Character, Kid Sidekick, The Team Normal, The Team Wannabe, Token Mini-Moe.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Capella of 07-Ghost becomes this after Teito and Frau rescue him from slavery. He later leaves the group when he is reunited with his mother.
  • Isidro from Berserk. Once he gets a useful weapon (and accepts that he's neither the right size or age to swing a BFS like Guts) he's actually useful in combat situations.
    • Guts himself was considered this to the mercenary group who raised him until he actually trained and became a competent warrior.
  • In Bleach, Zaraki Kenpachi has Kusajishi Yachiru, his vice-captain who's just as bloodthirsty as Kenpachi but holds back so he can enjoy himself. In later arcs, we also have Nel.
  • David in Blood+ sees Kai and Riku as this. Riku is raped and killed by Diva. Post-timeskip, Kai takes a level in badass and proceeds to make himself useful.
  • Conan Edogawa of Case Closed was first considered by the Detective Boys as such, but... his intelligence could hardly be covered.
  • Clare is Teresa's Tagalong Kid in Claymore, and Raki becomes hers. Raki gets one himself after the Time Skip, citing Clare's treatment of him as his motivation. Of course his happens to be Priscilla, the single most powerful Awakened Being in existence.
  • Kosuke Kita from Combattler V and Hiyoshi Go from Voltes V. Both are The Smart Guy and underaged.
  • Cowboy Bebop: Edward is a particularly forceful kind of "tagalong" on the Bebop Crew. Faye promised she could join in return for using her incredibly hacking skills to their benefit for one job, not telling the rest of the crew or intending to keep her end, but Ed takes over the entire ship when it leaves without her. Thereafter, Ed is basically left to her own devices and usually stays on the Bebop even when she is involved with missions.
  • July in Darker than Black, first to November 11 and April and, in the second season, to Hei. However, despite the Extreme Doormat attitude, he's actually an important member of the group; as a Doll, he can do reconnaissance without anyone having to actually get in the line of fire.
  • In Digimon Adventure, Takeru and prior to Hikari joining the team, his Digimon Patamon only evolved to Adult and fought, twice. Once Hikari joins the team he becomes a lot more active. Ironically, Patamon's evolutions were the most powerful of the team, which is why they didn't appear much (He was always the last to evolve — HolyAngemon didn't debut until 3 episodes before the end!).
    • In Digimon Tamers we had Jianliang's little sister Xiaochung. Her partner Lopmon didn't get too much action in the final arc partly because of this; the other bits being the Spotlight-Stealing Squad. Averted with Ai and Mako. Their partner Impmon insists that they stay home where they're safe, given that they're even younger than the aforementioned Xiaochung. Fortunately, they're smart enough to listen.
    • In Digimon Frontier we had Tommy/Tomoki, a crybaby 9-year-old for the first few episodes before starting to stand up for himself as a fighter.
  • The Selfish Trio from Doki Doki! PreCure has Ira, a villainous example. Unlike his teammates, he relies on brute strength instead of smart plans. Even the Monsters of the Week he summons are usually dumb and simple.
  • Son Gohan of Dragon Ball Z starts off as this in the early arcs, only to invert it in the Cell arc when he becomes the most powerful character in the story. After Gohan grows up, Goten and Trunks share the role.
  • Suika in Dr. STONE is easily the youngest member of the Kingdom of Science, though has her own useful abilities as a stealth expert. She grows out of this when she's the only hero left alive to unpetrify everyone else.
  • Wendy of Fairy Tail started to become this to series' resident Five-Man Band Team Natsu shortly after joining Fairy Tail, and while she is a de facto member now, considered equal with the others in-universe, she is still largely a Tagalong Kid to the readers. She has since graduated to being the The Heart and The Smart Girl, sharing this role with Lucy and the two act as sisters.
  • Bat from Fist of the North Star, as well as Lin.
  • Alphonse Elric and May Chang in Fullmetal Alchemist are barely teenagers, but they are both very skilled fighters. Alphonse happens to be a soul attached to a giant suit of armor, making him among the largest and toughest characters. May is a user of the Xingese art of alkahestry, a variant of alchemy that becomes vitally useful at a few points in the story.
  • In Gall Force, Mitty. However, her knowledge of air ducts and sewer systems as a Delinquent proves useful to the military.
  • Mamoru in GaoGaiGar, although it's quite necessary that he tag along. And Mamoru proves his worth a few times outside his usual specialty, like during his Dynamic Entry / Big Damn Heroes / Throwing Down the Gauntlet moment in Episode 40.
    Mamoru: Fight me, Primevals!
    • In fact, by the time FINAL rolls around, Mamoru has arguably Taken a Level in Kid Hero; when he reappears late in the series, his purification abilities have gained some real destructive power, he gets his own Final Battle with one of the Sol Masters, and his ultimate Determinator moment in said battle empowered the rest of the team's G-Stones when the good guys were on the knife's edge of defeat. The series would almost certainly have had a Downer Ending if Mamoru hadn't been there and hadn't been as badass as he was.
  • Get Backers offers a subversion in the form of 14-year-old MakubeX, who in flashbacks is shown to be something of a tag-along to Ginji. But upon the latter's departure from their hometown, he goes on to become its ruler and has several adults working for him. Some of the said adults "tag along" for their own purposes, while the others are devoted followers who would go to the ends of the earth for him.
  • Genki Saotome from Getter Robo. Although he was transformed in Kei saotome in Getter Robo Armageddon.
  • Sealand of Hetalia: Axis Powers usually ends up as this when he tries to involve himself in the affairs of the real nations. He generally gets chased off because nobody is willing to recognize him. He almost managed the obligatory one-time-Tagalong Kid-rescue in The Movie, but nobody acknowledges him then either.
  • The main cast of Highschool of the Dead thinks it's perfectly safe to run around killing zombies with a little girl in tow. Though to be fair, Alice probably really is a lot safer with them than anywhere else in the world.
  • Inuyasha:
    • Shippo. After his father is killed, Kagome decides to let him come along with her and Inuyasha on their adventures.
    • Sesshomaru has his own tagalong kid/Morality Pet in the form of Rin.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure loves this trope.
    • Part 1 has Poco, a kid who is rescued from vampires by the heroes. Despite being a child with no combat ability, he plays a crucial role by slipping through a small hole and opening the way for Baron Zeppelli to save Jonathan from Tarukus.
    • Part 2's is Smokey Brown, a kid whom Joseph rescues from a pair of Dirty Cops who try to blackmail him into giving them part of the money he steals. He doesn't really participate that much in Joseph's adventure, only appearing at the beginning and end.
    • Part 3 features Anne, who is rescued from an assassin sent by the Big Bad (seeing a pattern here?). After stowing away on the protagonists' ship, and later hitchhiking with them, the protagonists get tired of her and get her on a plane home
    • Part 4 somewhat breaks the trend since Hayato Kawajiri only appears in the second half of the manga and participates in the story far more actively than the past "kid" characters, as the first to find out that Yoshikage Kira killed and stole the identity of his father, Kosaku Kawajiri.
    • Part 5 breaks the trend completely, having no children among the main characters, with Narancia Ghirga, who may at first look like one, actually being a 17-year-old Psychopathic Manchild who's older than Giorno and one of the strongest combatants on the team to boot.
    • Part 6 then returns to form while subverting it with Emporio Alnino, a kid hiding out in the prison where the story is set. His ability is arguably the weakest in the entire series, but due to circumstance he ends up being the one who finally defeats the arc's Big Bad.
    • Part 7 breaks the trend again; the entire cast is composed of adults and no-one is anyone's tag-along.
  • Mayumi from Kotetsu Jeeg, Hiroshi's little sister. She was more endearing and more lovingly naive than her counterparts of other Go Nagai works.
  • Shiro Kabuto from Mazinger Z and Great Mazinger. UFO Robo Grendizer — the third series from the Mazinger trilogy — also had a Tagalong Kid: Goro, Hikaru Makiba's little brother.
  • Doctor Tenma from Monster has Dieter for a large chunk of the plot who insists on following people.
  • In Negima! Magister Negi Magi's main narrative, Takamichi is a Badass Teacher and Reasonable Authority Figure who acts as a mentor to Negi and outside help to his group, the Ala Alba. In flashbacks, he was the Tagalong Kid for Negi's father's group, the Ala Rubra.
  • One Piece: Several examples, and all of them play some kind of significant role.
    • Koby only just counts as this in the first arc, a pink-haired young man whom Luffy rescues from the Alvida Pirates. He's only a year younger than Luffy, but his short and pudgy body in his first appearance makes it impossible to tell without the supplementary material. He's world-savvy and competent at navigation, which allows Luffy to reach Shells Town, but has zero combat abilities. This role dissolves when he fulfills his dream of joining the Marines, and becomes an apprentice to Vice Admiral Garp; post-Skip, he's risen to the rank of Captain.
    • The Usopp Pirates are three village boys who enjoyed playing pirate with Usopp. But when the Black Cat Pirates invade, Usopp entrusts them with Kaya's safety, and with their tricks and familiarity with the forest, they manage to fend off Kuro's Dragon long enough for proper reinforcements to arrive and finish him off.
    • Aisa is a Shandoran girl whose combat prowess is an Informed Ability at best. But her Mantra—or Observation Haki—is extraordinarily powerful, letting her sense the presence and strength of an island's worth of people from farther away. It's even stronger than Enel's Mantra, even with his lightning powers augmenting them.
    • Chimney from the Water 7 saga is the granddaughter of stationmaster Kokoro, and she stows away when Kokoro conducts the Rocketman to Enies Lobby. Her contribution is stumbling into a secret passageway that leads to where Spandam and Lucci are taking Robin. When she finds her way out of the passageway, she not only saves Luffy from drowning in turbulent waters—something that's only possible because she's 1/4 mermaid—but also leads him through the passageway...and later Franky as well. The former fights Lucci while the latter rescues Robin.
    • Momonosuke from the Pirate Alliance saga, eventually revealed to be Lost Orphaned Royalty, proves very helpful with the Dragon Zoan fruit that he ate.
    • Tama in the Wano arc proves absolutely invaluable with her power to create dumplings that will instantly tame any beast that consumes one, including Zoans. Going up against a crew filled with nothing but Zoans...
  • Shiro Takaoji in Ouran High School Host Club. Honey looks like he should be, but he's actually the oldest member of the club and a martial arts master.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • Max from Pokémon the Series: Ruby and Sapphire is the younger brother of May and, due to being younger than 10 years old, is not an official Pokémon trainer and thus doesn't have any Pokémon to call his own. As a result, he relies more on his Pokémon knowledge to help Ash's group, which helps counterbalance May's lack of knowledge with Pokémon.
    • Bonnie from Pokémon the Series: XY is the younger sister of Gym Leader Clemont and like Max, is also not old enough to be a Pokémon trainer herself. But unlike Max, Bonnie does have an unofficial Pokémon partner in the form of Clemont's Dedenne. In fact, she does commands Dedenne in unofficial battles. She has a tendency to befriend all kinds of Pokémon, even the big scary ones like Tyrantrum and Zygarde. And she's totally for romance, often trying to get Clemont a girlfriend he doesn't want, and secretly nudging Serena to act on her feelings for Ash.
  • Cattleya's son Rana in Queen's Blade, who turns himself into a Morality Pet for Airi after his mother is petrified.
  • Nieble from Rave Master is introduced as a child Sieg knows who instantly starts following him around. Once Sieg passes away he ends up with Belnika at all times.
  • Antonio from Romeo × Juliet, though he's quite Genre Savvy and competent as well.
  • Yuli/Jun in Ronin Warriors/Yoroiden Samurai Troopers.
  • Chibi-usa of Sailor Moon is one of the Bratty Half-Pint variety.
  • Goku of Saiyuki has the personality and relationships of a Bratty Half-Pint down pat — but he's the closest thing the series has to a genuine hero, and it's his relationship with Sanzo/Konzen that is the impetus of...pretty much everything that happens in the plot.
  • Akira of the Shiseiten in Samurai Deeper Kyo.
  • Jinpei from Science Ninja Team Gatchaman. As Jun's adopted brother they grew up in the same orphanage together, and Jun literally required that Jinpei joined her when she accepted Dr. Nambu's offer to join the Science Ninja Team. Thus he serves the role of being the smartass Bratty Half-Pint variant of The Smart Guy.
  • In Speed Racer, little brother Spritle and his monkey Chim-Chim were constantly stowing away in the Mach 5's trunk.
  • Ako Shirabe/Cure Muse in Suite Pretty Cure ♪ turns out to be this. She acted as a masked Aloof Ally most of the time, but pretended to be older and taller than she is. Despite her age, she's very smart and Genre Savvy. Of course, she's similar as strong than other Pretty Cures. She's even the first to become a Pretty Cure. However, she the only one who has not a Belltier or another rod.
  • Gimmy and Darry start out as Tagalong Kids in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. They do become major characters after the Time Skip, but right at first they just stick around and watch the grownups do their thing.
  • Eto, from Tokyo Ghoul, is a villainous example. A member of Aogiri Tree, she is a child Ghoul in bandages and a cute floral scarf that skips around following the leaders of the organization. She's easily ignored, and doesn't seem like much of a threat in comparison to the group's many seasoned killers. This is a very intentional ploy on her part. In reality, she's Older Than She Looks and uses the guise of a child to avoid drawing attention to herself. She's actually the Big Bad.
  • Chiru from Xabungle... by that show's standards.
  • In Yotsuba&!, Yotsuba is everyone's Tagalong Kid...when she's in the mood for it.
  • Mokuba Kaiba and Rebecca Hawkins of Yu-Gi-Oh!.
  • Rua from Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds is this to the main team. He's the same age as his twin sister, Ruka, but not having any Signer powers he tends to default to this role. Much later on he Took a Level in Badass and becomes a Signer himself.

    Asian Animation 
  • Totobory from Noonbory and the Super 7. While he does have super senses like the rest of the Super Borys (the ability to taste things without consuming them), he doesn't get to use them much. Not to mention he's also a Shrinking Violet.

    Comic Books 
  • All-New Ultimates: After meeting Dagger and that other guy, Ganke asked Miles to an honorary member of the team, or something like that. He didn't even got an answer.
  • Tyler from Jurassic Strike Force 5, the son of a scientist who gets caught up in the various fights between the Strike Force dinos and Zalex's Reptilians. He's surprisingly very helpful to the heroes.
  • Isabel from Red Hood and the Outlaws, the stewardess whom Red Hood takes on a date, is accidentally teleported with the rest of the team onto the Tamaranean space ship. She reacts as well as you'd expect.
  • For most of Tales of the Jedi, Vima Sunrider doesn't do much but get towed along in her Action Mom's wake and being told by various Masters that she'll be a great Jedi, not surprising since she's about kindergarten age. It isn't until "Redemption", which takes place when she's a teenager, that she acts independently.
  • A very dark example in Usagi Yojimbo with Keiko, who has been traveling with Jei ever since her grandfather was killed by bandits (who were in turn killed by Jei). Thing is, Jei is an Ax-Crazy Serial Killer with seriously skewed morality, and it's clear being around him is not good for her in the long term.
  • Young Avengers Vol. 2 has a strange zigzagged semi-subversion in Kid Loki, who appears to be about 10-12 as opposed to the 17-21 of the rest of the team. He's clearly very bright and knowledgeable, if clearly untrustworthy, but he has a bratty personality and self-deprecatingly calls himself "comic relief" due to his habit of Power-Strain Blackout. He's also essentially an adult mentally — the result of the dead adult Loki's centuries of memories overwriting the mind of the original child Loki, resulting in a third person torn between his villainous impulses and his conscience. Later in the series run, he acquires a new 20-something body, courtesy of resident Reality Warper Billy, and his behavior becomes somewhat more mature to match.

    Fan Works 
  • Arc Corp:
    • Downplayed with Ruby. While Jaune doesn't exactly want her to join ARC Corp, since she's a Huntress-in-training, she is able carry her weight whenever she does end up in field alongside him and Blake, even managing to save their lives on one occasion. Jaune's reluctance to hiring Ruby full-time once she turns 17 or making use of her outside being an office sitter is purely because he doesn't want to see one of the only friends he has get hurt as opposed to thinking Ruby is a hinderance.
    • Justified with Amber, Jaune's youngest sister. She ends up having to intern at the Containments Branch due to staffing issues caused by the Mountain Glenn incident necessitating that both her and Lavender (Jaune's other younger sister) quickly be brought up to speed and start running their own offices. She's still helpful due to at least having a theoretical knowledge of everything to do with anomalies, but her presence nevertheless frustrates all parties involved: the rest of ARC Corp wouldn't have sent her to Jaune if they had an actual choice, Jaune and Blake are put off by having to deal with a spoiled brat who outright hates the former and will happily inform everyone else if she sees something suspicious about the way they operate, and Amber herself doesn't want to be there due to hating that the pair are Technical Pacifists that don't kill all anomalies with extreme prejudice.
      Blake: Please tell me we're not going to have to babysit some genocidal mini-Saphron.
      Jaune: I mean, I'm going to have to babysit. You're just going to have to put up with her.
  • In Cross Ange The Knight Of Hilda, one of the little girls under Ersha's care (specifically the one with orange hair in twintails) is given the name Cynthia by the author, and gets saved from her death in Arzenal. Inspired by Rio's words, Cynthia opts to stay onboard the Aurora when the Network takes custody of the surviving schoolkids and works alongside Rhino in the launch bay with the Armorers.
  • Basically applies to Willow Rosenberg in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer/The Chronicles of Narnia crossover "Once and Always", when she finds herself in Narnia during the reign of the White Witch at the same time as the Pevensie children before she even meets Buffy. While Willow is at least between Susan and Edmund in age, Aslan makes it clear that there will only ever be four thrones at Cair Paravel, and so Willow can only be an ally in the upcoming battle with the White Witch rather than a future third Queen. However, Willow ultimately decides that she would prefer to stay and help Narnia rather than leave and forget everything, observing to Aslan that she prefers to stand anyway.
  • Power Rangers: Oceania features Hannah. A college student who likes to hang around the Ocean Rangers, she begins the story like this since she is not a Ranger herself and seems to be the youngest (her parents have even commented on her spending time with adults rather than people her own age). She quickly grows out of it by being an excellent diver.
  • Twice Chosen has Alpha explicitly refer to Rue as this, as there are only five coins and she just happened to follow the other Tributes into the cave.
  • Us and Them: Tifa, who is fifteen here, is basically roped into the mission to stop Jenova after she breaks out of the Mt. Nibel reactor because Rufus insists on not letting her go back to Nibelheim and getting a panic started from the stories of a hysterical teenage girl.
    Tifa: I'm not hysterical!

    Films — Animation 
  • Private is seen by the others (especially Skipper) as a cute version of this in Penguins of Madagascar. Somewhat justified when he was a newly-hatched chick, but not after he's fully grown.
  • Skippy the rabbit in Disney's Robin Hood (1973) is the Tagalong Kid to Robin Hood. He's a spirited Kid-Appeal Character who regards Robin as his hero, strives to be just like him, and sometimes follows him around. Meanwhile, Skippy's sister called "Tagalong" is this to him.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Trish from Angels Revenge.
  • Minya from the Godzilla movies could be considered this for Godzilla and his allies, most notably in Destroy All Monsters where he spends most of the story on the sidelines while the other monsters are mind controlled by aliens and later battle King Ghidorah.
  • Highway to Hell has Adam, Beelze's son who helps Rachel and Charlie escape Hell.
  • Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
  • Defied in Iron Man 3. Tony Stark brushes away Harley in his attempts to bring him so he can keep him safe from danger.
    Harley: So now you're just gonna leave me here, just like my dad?
    Tony: [Beat] Yep.
  • It seems to be a "rule" of the Jurassic Park series that the main characters must always be accompanied by at least one kid. Jurassic Park kids tend to be The Load most of the time, but will nevertheless probably have a Chekhov's Skill which will prove useful about once in their film.
  • Scott Larson in Midnight Madness He was picked up by one of the teams when he was trying to run away. He ends up saving the day twice, once by enabling the team to beat a video game, and also by using his retainer to restart a stuck elevator.
  • In Night School (2018), Mila is basically this for the rest of the night school students, as the rest of the students are all adults taking their GED after dropping out of high school for various reasons while Mila is a juvenile delinquent attending on the insistence of her parents.
  • Brandon from the Noahs Arc movie.
  • "Button" from the 2003 Western, Open Range. His backstory is told by gunslinger/cowboy Charley at one point, saying that Boss Spearman's crew met him in a small Texas town a few years prior to the movie. He was "living off café garbage and couldn't speak a word of English" and they "took him on, thinking [they] were doing him a favour". But they still haven't learned what his real name is.
  • Planet of the Apes (1968): Lucius is a younger Ape who is constantly critiquing the older generation and accompanies Taylor, Nova, Cornelius , and Zira on their quest in the final act, acting as a lookout during the climax.
  • In Shredder Orpheus, Razoreus is the youngest of the prominent Grey Zone citizens and looks up to Orpheus like an older brother. He's the most devastated by far when Orpheus dies.
  • Kid from Six String Samurai. Yes, Kid is actually his name.
  • Chekov in the prequel/reboot Star Trek (2009) is only seventeen, and thus some of the other characters (who are mostly very mature individuals in their twenties) seem to regard him as this. Which he is, to an extent, but he's also pretty clearly gearing up to be The Smart Guy as well.
  • Frankie Muniz's character in Stay Alive (2006).
  • That Man from Rio: Adrian, pursuing his kidnapped girlfriend to Rio, is befriended by Sir Winston, a young street kid who saves Adrian's hide a couple of times.
  • Nao from Ultraman Zero: The Revenge of Belial, who happens to be the little brother of Zero's human host for the movie. He's actually pretty useful and gets to pilot a Humongous Mecha in the final battle.

  • Dinoverse: "Runt" is the little brother to Zane's host. Zane refuses to leave the herd at first until he's kicked out to fetch Runt. Then he encounters the other formerly human characters, and he can't leave the little guy alone, so...
  • Doc Wilde, a Doc Savage parody, brings his kids with him on his adventures. He's been raising them to be just like him.
  • Dragon Bones: Ward treats his sister Ciarra as tagalong kid, even though she's just three years younger than he is. (She's sixteen, which would make her an adult in many cultures.) She is mute, which may contribute to this. Of course, she's technically the only kid who tags along; Ward is on the run from the authorities, the proper adults in the group are his father's valet and the stable master, who just accompany him out of loyalty, and a runaway slave who has her own reasons for running away.
  • Gentleman Bastard: As Locke’s mentee, Bug is 12 years old, a good 15 years younger than the rest of Locke’s gang. He’s more impulsive and crude than the rest of the gang, as he’s a child who’s working to prove himself. Sadly, his fate is a very realistic outcome of this trope. Getting a child involved in dangerous situations is generally more dangerous for a child than an adult, because children are less equipped (less experience, less physical strength in a fight, less maturity, etc) to handle it. And now, Locke has to live with the fact that he put a child in a situation that killed him. Although, in Locke’s defense, if he hadn’t taken in Bug, Bug’s life probably would’ve turned out similarly.
  • Guards! Guards!: Lupine Wonse is a literal Tagalong Kid; he was The Smart Guy in their street gang mostly to stop them beating him when they got bored. The skipping run he developed to keep up with the big boys in his gang is how Vimes recognizes him as an adult leaving the scene of a crime.
  • Les Misérables: Gavroche is this to the students at the barricade, though unlike most Tagalong Kids, he is a core part of the group, and an invaluable asset from the start. There is also some Deconstruction at work, as several of the rebels are reluctant and uncomfortable with having a comrade-in-arms who hasn't reached puberty. He is killed collecting bullets, Defiant to the End.
  • The Lord of the Rings: Merry and Pippin fill this role, both being younger cousins of Frodo. They are not children, but they're considered very young adults (hobbits are considered to be mature and responsible only when they hit their thirties). They fulfill this role in Fellowship, tacking themselves onto the quest to support Frodo but without standing out too often. In The Two Towers they break out of it. Then in Return of the King they both feel like this and The Load to Rohan (for Merry) and Gondor (for Pippin), but take actions that end up being very important.
  • Metaltown: Chip is one of the youngest Metaltown citizens and tags along with Ty frequently; while reticent at first, she eventually warms up to him. Ty trying to save him from a potentially life-threatening job ends up with her going blind in one eye.
  • Origami Yoda: Murky mostly just hangs around with his older friends and makes comments.
  • The Outsiders: Ponyboy. He's only considered a "member" of the gang because of his older brothers.
  • Rachel Griffin: The Power Trio is by the second book officially comprised of four members, with the addition of Nastasia's fangirl Joy O'Keefe, who insists on coming and can't politely be excluded.
  • The Riftwar Cycle: Jimmy the Hand in Silverthorn and A Darkness at Sethanon, the second and third books. Prince Arutha tries to leave him behind in Krondor rather than expose him to the extreme danger that Arutha is going into. Needless to say, the best boy thief in Krondor doesn't take well to having someone try to keep him out of trouble for his own safety.
  • The Ringworld Engineers: Kawaresksenjajok is a City Builder child who accidentally stumbles into Hot Needle of Inquiry and ends up joining the main cast simply because the Hindmost forget to turn a teleporter device off after Louis used it.
  • Shatter Me: Adam's younger brother James who he and Juliette have no choice but to take on the run with them to stop Warner from harming him.
  • Tailchaser's Song: Tailchaser intended to go on his journey alone. Early on he noticed that Pouncequick, an orphaned kitten peer of his, was following him. Tailchaser didn't have the nerve to send the kitten back through the dangerous forest all alone, so he let Pouncequick tag along. Tailchaser soon finds that he prefers having company on his task. Pouncequick is The Heart/Cheerful Child variety.
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is an inversion. Sure, Dorothy's not a native, and at 11, she's likely the youngest of the bunch. Still, it's obvious that she's the one in charge.
  • Warrior Cats: This happens occasionally.
    • In The New Prophecy, Squirrelpaw tags along because she wants adventure and to get away from her arguments with her father, and Brambleclaw is basically forced to agree since she threatens to reveal their mission otherwise. She proves to be helpful on their quest as a decent hunter and fighter, and her Twin Telepathy with her medicine-cat littermate helps her realize what treatment they need to treat Tawnypelt's injury.
    • In Dawn of the Clans, Clear Sky and Gray Wing's younger brother Jagged Peak wants to join the Followers of the Sun Trail on their quest to their new home. Gray Wing originally intended to stay in the mountains, but went to go find and protect his little brother and joined the quest too.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Gary's little brother Tucker on Are You Afraid of the Dark?.
  • Battlestar Galactica: Boxey ends up being this in "Gun At Ice Planet Zero" and "The Magnificent Warriors" but contributes a little in "Fire In Space", thought Muffit proves more useful.
  • The Brady Bunch: Cousin Oliver was never given much to do except be Bobby and Cindy's sidekick.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Dawn Summers, though she is essential to the plot in Season 5, where she first appears.
    • Principal Snyder after regressing to his adolescent self. ("Band Candy").
  • Casey Jones: Casey Junior usually dresses like his father in a junior version of his Dad's engineer's uniform. He's a good kid, who actually managed to save the day in the first episode. As a result, Junior and his dog Cinders are made honorary engineers and get a free pass on the railroad for life. Junior often wants to ride with his father, and sometimes does, but he also has to go to school. Sometimes, a trip is just too dangerous and Casey Jones tells his son to stay home. As such, Junior avoids being The Load. A couple of times he does sneak along, for example he tries to hide aboard the baggage car when a phony Secret Service Agent denies him the opportunity to meet President Chester A. Arthur. Even there, though, Junior helps save the day. The supervising secret service agent discovers the imposter, as he and President Arthur had sent instructions that Junior was to be allowed aboard the train.
  • Alexis Castle on Castle. She also doubles as The Smart Guy/ Teen Genius and provides lots and lots of helpful insight to her Manchild father. And when she shows up at the police station, everyone minds their language.
  • Dark Matter (2015): Five, the Teen Genius and Everyone's Baby Sister of the group. Also in an in-universe sense, Five is the only one without a wanted file in the ship's database and it's unclear at first why there was a girl her age on a ship full of hardened criminals prior to them all being mindwiped. Kidnapping victim? Stowaway? It's the latter, and the crew voted 3/2 to keep her because she was good with machines.
  • Eerie, Indiana: Simon is very much the tagalong kid to Marshall, who is about four years older than him, during their paranormal investigations. In "The Dead Letter", this is lampshaded during Marshall's dream when Simon says, "I'm tired of being second banana on this show." A confused Marshall asks himself, "What show?"
  • River Tam on Firefly. She has a much bigger role in the movie.
  • Forever: Though at 69 Abe is only a kid in comparison to his immortal father, Henry's son Abraham sometimes sticks his nose where it doesn't belong in a manner and attitude that definitely fit this trope.
  • LazyTown: Ziggy usually follows around Stephanie and Sportacus during their antics every episode.
  • Mimoso Ratón in Odisea Burbujas, a baby mouse.
  • Damien in Only Fools and Horses.
  • Our Miss Brooks: Benny Romero in the last season. In "Geraldine", he stowsaway aboard the trailer Miss Brooks, Mr. Boynton and Mr. Munsee are taking to Arizona.
  • Justin in Power Rangers Turbo is literally a kid who tagged along and was given Ranger Powers. For reasons that are never adequately explained in the series, he morphs into a fully grown adult blue Ranger, unless he takes off his helmet, which shrinks him down to his normal size until he puts it back on.
  • Kate from Robin Hood. Her age was unclear, yet the 30-year-old actress seemed to be channeling a bratty teenage girl.
  • Thunderstone has Chip, who is the youngest of the main cast at maybe 10-years-old. He wants to go out on adventures but is told to stay back as he's "too young to keep up". He really should heed this advice, as his attempts to sneak out and prove himself as useful almost always end with him getting captured or, on one occasion, trapped in quicksand.
  • Ultraman had Isamu Hoshino (or Hoshino Fuji in the original English dub), an 11-year-old boy who often visits Science Patrol while they're in their headquarters. He starts off as The Load, but eventually proves himself useful and is made an official member, complete with his own Science Patrol uniform. Unfortunately, he suffers from Chuck Cunningham Syndrome not too longer afterwards
    • The 70s Ultra Series usually have one, like Jiro Sakata from Return of Ultraman, Dan Umezu from Ultraman Ace (although he only appears in episodes 29 through 43), Kenichi Shiratori from Ultraman Taro, and Tohru and Kaoru Umeda from Ultraman Leo. The mainly serve as just a point-of-view character for younger viewers and a little brother stand-in for the heroes.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • The Four Gospels: John the Apostle was likely the tagalong kid among Jesus' disciples. Apart from being "significantly younger" than his brother James (and the rest of the Twelve), it's unclear just how old John was at the point where he Jumped at the Call; but "the disciple whom He loved" (as John later refers to himself in his gospel) in context might well mean parental love for a Happily Adopted son. In a dying moment of awesome Jesus also instructs His mother Mary to take care of John as if he were her son. John later cares for Mary as if she were his mother, too.

    Video Games 
  • Grapefruit Cookie, the Cheerful Child and youngest member of the Citrus Squad from Cookie Run. While she is part of the gang, she isn't really participated within some of their activities, since they're "ball games".
  • Adell's younger siblings, Taro and Hanako, from Disgaea 2 fill this role, while also acting as Those Two Guys for the party. Taro and Hanako double as The Big Guy (gameplay-wise) and The Smart Guy (story-wise), respectively.
  • In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, winning all Arena matches saddles you with the "Adoring Fan", a small boy who follows you around gushing about your deeds. However, he is a coward and will not fight when you are being attacked, making him wholly useless.
  • By exploiting a glitch, you can get 6-year-old Bumble to tag along after you throughout Fallout 3.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Vaan in Final Fantasy XII — a bit unusual in that he's the viewpoint character. Gameplay-wise (and keeping in mind that there's a large amount of Gameplay and Story Integration) Vaan is out and out the best character on the team, assuming you use him at all. This would seem to imply that Vaan is a monster killing machine the team, fortunately, has lying around.
      • Later games show Vaan has gone into business as a god-like thief and have him be a skilled enough fighter to hold off a Physical God for a long time. So, the FFXII team probably didn't know what they had on their hands. As incidental as Vaan's inclusion on the team maybe, he's probably the single most powerful weapon at their disposal, if not instrumental to their success.
      • Vaan can be best described as an "Ace-in-training". You know how in fiction, really skilled Rogue-type or heroic type characters come from dirt-poor backgrounds? Well, that's Vaan. In Final Fantasy XII he's still very young, but clearly has a lot of potentials, while Revenant Wings shows us how he went from Street Brat to the swashbuckler we see in later games.
      • Penelo went through a similar change. She played even less of a role in Final Fantasy XII than Vaan did and her only purpose for tagging along was to make sure Vaan was staying out of trouble since he was the only family she had left. Her role was expanded upon in the spinoffs, but she's still mostly portrayed as Vaan's partner who makes sure he doesn't cause too much trouble.
    • Hope in Final Fantasy XIII is a civilian that was unlucky enough to be caught up in the Purge. He stubbornly follows Lightning for the bulk of the game. Unlike some kids, he's incredibly useful, because he has the highest magic stat in the game.
  • Fire Emblem:
  • Exaggerated quite stupendously in Fur Fighters. Tweek the baby dragon is only one day old before the events of the game force him to take up arms alongside his older war veteran buddies. In other words, he Really Was Born Yesterday.
  • Mission Vao and Zaalbar from Knights of the Old Republic. Mission is more obvious, being Hot-Blooded and a Fragile Speedster (her dexterity is very high), with a bit of the "genius" as her true strengths come from being more well-rounded in the skills department than the droids. She's also higher on the Karma Meter than the party's Jedi (tied with Carth, surprisingly). Zaalbar is definitely The Big Guy, who's actually marginally higher on the Karma Meter than Jolee, but still light-sided. He doesn't really appear to be a kid (Wookiees age differently than humans), but his interactions with Mission, and the fact that he's constantly referred to as "young" means you likely have two adolescents along for the ride.
  • Ellie from The Last of Us deconstructs this. She was born into the Crapsack World that the U.S. has become, so she's effectively known from birth that she needs to pull her own weight and be just as useful/capable as adults in order to survive. She also knows not to be a Neutral Female, helping out Joel when and how she can.
  • Chico and, to a lesser extent, Paz, in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker and Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. As lampshaded by Yahtzee review of the latter:
    Yahtzee: ...But there's these two kids who hang around his base, either by the same principle as those two kids that used to hang around with the Super Friends, or because it's like those little birds that live in crocodiles' mouths, and he hires them to pick bits of cornflake out of his beard.
  • Peret em Heru: For the Prisoners has Rin, a Bratty Half-Pint who snuck into the protagonists' tour group despite not being related to anyone in it. Her tendency to lie and pull pranks can have grave consequences if the player isn't careful...
  • Ken Amada from Persona 3 who fits the Adorably Precocious Child trope to a T. He's the most idealistic of the group, and in battle serves as a Combat Medic, with emphasis on the One-Hit KO Hama skills. However, this is post-Character Development after he gives up his vendetta against a party member who killed (accidentally) his mother.
  • In Puyo Puyo Tetris, Jay and Elle are the youngest members of the Starship Tetra's team and don't seem to have an official position in the crew whereas the rest of the group does. Jay and Elle are also Trickster Twins who love pulling mean pranks on others, especially the Tetra's engineer Ai. Averted in Puyo Puyo Tetris 2, where they demonstrate their importance via their ability to find anything and anyone they want, even across dimensions.
  • Aila to Geddoe's mercenary group in Suikoden III, at least in the mercenaries' opinion. She was a warrior in her home village, but is still young and naive compared to the rest, and at the end of the game Geddoe doesn't let her join the group officially, but he does let her stay around, making her an official Tagalong Kid.
  • Toad plays this role in certain Mario games, including Super Mario Bros. 2.
  • Pipin from Treasure of the Rudra. He is found lost in the Great Forest in Riza's scenario, and he initially bosses her and Garlyle and tries to distract her away from her goal of purifying the world. However, not only does he stay until the end of her scenario, but he is also able to reunite with the Leader of the hidden village, his original goal, and at the perfect time for their party revive Foxy in Sion's scenario.
  • Riki from Xenoblade Chronicles 1. All the other party members have a good reason for wanting to fight the Mechon, be it to avenge or to rescue loved ones. Riki suffered none of these problems and is pretty much roped into going along with them. Of course, that's not to say he's just The Load, far from it!

    Visual Novels 
  • Pearl from Ace Attorney, who, in the second game, is pretty much Maya when the latter's unavailable.

    Web Animation 

  • Gordito in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja. A 12-year-old Mexican GunSlinger... with a full-grown mustache. At one point, the good Doctor highlights that Gordito does not merely "tag along".
    Dr McNinja: Do you think I run around with a 12-year-old boy just because I like his inferior grasp of girls and higher level math? Do you think I left him with my psychotic parents because I wanted him to die? No, you undead pale ponce! Gordito is the effing badass kid.
  • Freddy in The Dreamer. He's getting better, though.
  • Donny has this role in Ears for Elves. Much to Tanna's despair (since she has to look after him), he's also a Cheerful Child.
  • Rico and Ellaine in Minion.
  • In Rescuing Dara, Dara has to come along with the team for their plan to work, and she does help sometimes, but she still is this trope.
  • Meela in Strays.
  • Mia from True Villains.

    Web Original 
  • Matt, Leo and Mark in the first season of Omega Guardians. Andy could also count as well, even though he was treated an equal part of the team depending on the episode.
  • Jade, from the Whateley Universe, looks 11. She's actually 14 and most people who meet her think she's the Tagalong Kid and The Load of Team Kimba. She's not actually.
    • The Three Little Witches have been this to both The Alphas and Team Wondercute at times.
    • In the Gen 2 stories, Karma is the adorable seven year old daughter of one of the teachers, who is constantly trying to join the latest incarnation of Wondercute. She manages to cause more trouble than the rest of them combined.
  • In Worm, Theo Anders, son of the Nazi supervillain Kaiser but who lacks powers of his own, is generally brought along by his stepmother Purity with her group, the Pure, because he serves as a caretaker for his half-sister Aster.

    Web Videos 
  • Instead of sending her on a plane to Hong Kong, the Runaway girl follows the Joestar group in Vaguely Recalling JoJo.
  • In almost all of VanossGaming & Company's animated adventures, LuiCalibre is made into one of these due to his "squeaker voice".

    Western Animation 
  • Angelina Ballerina has Henry, Angelina's younger cousin, as the tagalong in the original books and the 2002 series. Polly, Angelina's little sister, takes over this role in the 2009 CGI series.
  • Spinner in the Clutch Cargo cartoon series. Why did Clutch need to look after a little boy anyway?
  • Hiroki and Johnny in the later seasons of Code Lyoko.
  • Tommy (alias Numbuh T) of Codename: Kids Next Door — was almost promoted to Sixth Ranger. In other cases he gets in The Team's way by tagging along.
  • Defenders of the Earth has pre-teen orphan Kshin (a young protege of Mandrake the Magician) who, especially in early episodes, is keen to prove himself as a Defender, but regularly gets into trouble because of his naivety. He does occasionally help to save the day, though.
  • Sheila's younger brother Bobby, from the animated Dungeons & Dragons (1983), is a Tagalong Kid of the Cute Bruiser variety.
  • Hanna-Barbera had a lot of these in their heyday.
    • Jan and Jace in the original Space Ghost cartoons essentially were two kids who went along on Space Ghost's adventures.
    • Jonny Quest himself, in the original Jonny Quest cartoon. When he aged up to teenhood in the later series Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures, he was much more actively involved in the adventures. The number of scrapes he'd get into didn't lessen from when he was a kid; what changed was his ability to do something about them.
    • Pete, Dr. Quinn Darien's nephew on The Godzilla Power Hour, although he has the benefit of being the main means of talking with Godzooky and, by proxy, Godzilla.
    • Mighty Mightor had Little Rok (or just plain Rok), who was the younger brother of Sheera, the love interest of Mightor's alter ego Tor Basically, Little Rok was an annoying little boy who was a big fan of Mightor, the guardian of their tribe, completely unaware that he was the older alter ego of his sister's friend Tor; in fact Little Rok admired Mightor so much that, whenever there was trouble, he would put on a horned mask resembling the one worn by Mightor, pick up a giant wooden toy club carved to resemble the club used by Mightor, and would fly into battle on his pet bird loudly screaming Mightor's name and boasting that he would either defeat all the bad guys by himself or that he would help Mightor defeat the bad guys (when he followed Mightor into battle that is). Sometimes he actually did help, if only by accident (such as getting in the villain's way just long enough for Mightor to thwart the villain's plan) but most of the time he was just The Load in the fight whom Mightor would have to rescue (and allow Little Rok to think he had beaten the threat by himself) or think up some fake "order" to get the dumb kid to stay put and stay out of his way so he could do his job.
    • The "Three Musketeers" segments from The Banana Splits had Tooly who followed the musketeers on their adventures, usually after being forbidden from doing so.
  • The Histeria! episode "The Legion of Super Writers" has Loud Kiddington play this role to the team of the episode's title.
  • Ivanhoe: The King's Knight: Being old enough to be Ivanhoe and Rowena's daughter and three years younger than Wamba, Rebecca most certainly qualifies. "The Four Black Knights" shows the negative parts of this trope when Rebecca tagging along nearly costs Harold his life.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures: Jade Chan, who likes to tag along with her uncle Jackie Chan on adventures no matter how many times she gets scolded or grounded for it.
  • Justice League: Ray Thompson, in the episode "Legends." For the most part, he's a useless sidekick who cheers on the heroes featured in that episode, the Justice Guild. The twist here is that he's the bad guy; the Guild perished years ago in a nuclear explosion, the same explosion that mutated Ray into a Reality Warper. Ray used his new powers to create an illusion where the Guild was still alive, trapping all of the other survivors with it.
  • On Max and Ruby, Max is often this, though probably at least half the time he'd rather not be because he's been dragged along to whatever girly activity Ruby and her friends are doing.
  • Molly of Denali: Notably averted. Trini is three years younger than Molly and Tooey — a huge age difference for children ten years old and under — but they've treated her as an equal since the day she arrived.
  • Howleen Wolf of Monster High, especially in the Fright On! special. She often deals with her wish to be treated less like her siblings' tagalong but wanting to be like them at the same time.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Spike the baby dragon serves as assistant and de facto little brother to Twilight Sparkle, and frequently comes along on the ponies' adventures. Downplayed in that the ponies rarely bring up his age and he's shown to be just as capable as the adult ponies, except for one instance in which he had to miss out on an adventure because he was too young to stay up all night.
    • Played cutely straight in the openings of Seasons 1-3, where Twilight easily jumps out of the balloon basket, but Spike has to climb out and run after her.
  • Max LeBlanc in Night Hood. Might also qualify as a child's version of a Distressed Dude, due to getting into trouble every other episode and having Lupin come and save him. One episode revolved around him getting kidnapped and Lupin had to rob Fort Knox in order to get him create an illusion back.
  • Oh No! It's An Alien Invasion has S.W.E.E.T. leader Nate's little sister Lily.
  • Ready Jet Go! has Mindy, a 4- (later 5)-year-old girl who loves to tag along on Jet's adventures and is Constantly Curious. However, in Season 1, she couldn't go to space because she was 4 and her mom wouldn't let her go anywhere past Jet's yard. In Season 2, she turns 5 and finally gets to go to space.
  • Enzo in ReBoot, at least the first few seasons.
  • In the Rick and Morty episode "Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender", Morty Smith is excited to be part of what he assumed to be a second assembly of the eponymous Super Team (having already participated in their first one), only to learn that this is actually the third time they've banded together — they didn't summon Rick and Morty for the second adventure because Alan Rails couldn't tolerate Rick, who serves as the team's Gadgeteer Genius. As the adventure continues, Morty starts to lose his enthusiasm for the Vindicators, especially when Vance Maximus admits they merely let Morty hang around for publicity purposes. By the end of the episode, Morty considers the Vindicators unneeded and gives away the Vindicators jacket Vance gave him.
  • Dil of Rugrats. One episode revolves around the older babies giving him an initiation into "the big babies".
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power:
    • Frosta is the youngest member of the Princess Alliance at eleven and three quarters, and is frequently treated differently from the others of the team.
    • In "Launch", this gets inverted: Entrapta, a woman of 25- to 35-years-old who is also the shortest of the Princesses alongside the aforementioned 12-year-old Frosta, is the one who has to be kept on a child leash by the other Princesses lest she wander off into danger.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM): Tails, which provides for some Character Development as he trains under his Big Brother Mentor to become a more effectual Freedom Fighter.
  • Star Wars: The Bad Batch plays with this trope. All of the members of the titular squad are technically children, but all have undergone growth acceleration to bioligical adulthood — sans Omega. Though competent in her own right, Omega is the only one of the squad who hasn't spent the last three years on the front lines of the Clone Wars, and is a bit less experienced and more naive. Further complicating this trope is the revelation that she's older than the other clones by at least a few years.
  • Steven Universe is an odd example where this character is the protagonist — it centers around a half-magical kid who lives with the Crystal Gems, a team of magical guardians whom his mother used to be a part of. He actually holds a great deal of fear that he'll never become powerful enough to be anything but this trope, and forever live in his mother's shadow. By the end of the first season, however, he's matured into The Heart.
  • Apple Dumplin' from Strawberry Shortcake in the 2003 series.
  • Toad in The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! and The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3.
    • Let's not forget the other tagalong of the Mario Bros., which is Oogtar in Super Mario World.
  • The Thunderkittens in ThunderCats (1985) and Thunder Cats 2011. They do have some useful skills.
  • Sari, for the first two seasons of Transformers: Animated.
  • Young Justice (2010):
    • Captain Marvel, with the added twist that nobody realizes that he's a kid. The team assumes he's spying on them for the Justice League, when in reality he's an Ascended Fanboy hanging out with his real age group.
    • Snapper Carr, the quintessential example in DC Comics, is confirmed to have been this in the past, until he did something really stupid that tipped the Joker off about their secret base. But today he's graduated to teacher at the school that Megan and Connor attend, and occasional Mission Control. For bonus points, two of his students are Marvin and Wendy, another quintessential example of this trope from DC media (though they never play this role in the show).

    Real Life 
  • Reality Is Unrealistic — The Iwakura Mission of Meiji-era Japan was a Japanese tour of the world intended to help the country modernize, so that it would be able to compete with the Western nations. Because it was a mission of modernization, almost all the passengers were adults, who were sent off to study at Western universities so they could use that knowledge to improve their own country. Yet despite this, one of the passengers was Tsuda Umeko, a 6-year-old girl. She was dropped off in the United States and taken in by an American couple to be educated there, but the fact that she was there at all is bizarre considering the mission's purpose. (It is possible that this is the reason there are so many examples of this trope in Japanese works, but more likely than not that is just because of Japan's cultural obsession with cuteness, which ironically did not exist in Tsuda's time.)