Big Brother Mentor

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One Robin to another.

This character is the hero's good friend. The hero can fool around with him, go to the bar with him for a drink and talk about some good old man-business with him. Additionally, the character, being older (though mental age matters more than physical age) and wiser than the hero, also acts as a mentor to the hero in times of need or advice.

However, just because the Big Brother Mentor cares about the hero doesn't mean that he can't suddenly break out of his buddy personality and sock him in the jaw if he thinks he deserves it. He only wants the best out of the hero, but won't hesitate to educate him the hard way if the hero shows reluctance to learn or has a tendency to run headlong into danger. And his punches are hard. In essence, he's the ideal big brother figure who knows when to get friendly or strict.

In Anime, this kind of character is often addressed as the more informal "Aniki" instead of "Onii-san".

Often, this character is doomed to die—both to bring the Hero out of the character's shadow, and to give the character an emotional buildup.

This is a subtrope of The Obi-Wan.

If he and The Hero are romantically involved, or just have enough Ho Yay, this can become Lover and Beloved. Differs from Aloof Big Brother in that the Big Brother Mentor doesn't have to be a literal big brother and actually gives a damn about his "little siblings" (Or shows it quite more often than a merely emotionally repressed Aloof Big Brother). Compare with the Stern Teacher, tough and strict but loved by everyone.

Examples of Big Brother Mentor include:


Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Kuwabara to Yusuke later on in Yu Yu Hakusho.
  • Dino to Tsuna in Reborn.
  • Kamina to Simon in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann; Simon even calls him "aniki". The dub uses "bro", and Kamina even refers to the two as "Blood Brothers" a few times.
  • As Setsuna's sempai, Kira in Angel Sanctuary often acts that way towards him. Yue Katou too to some extent. Sarah calls Setsuna "aniki," but towards his own sister he is more of a... oh well...
  • Roy Fokker in Macross/Robotech
    • Ozma in Macross Frontier is ultimately played as a subversion of the archetype. He's an older mentor, and even flies Skull One, but it's usually the other characters who give the most useful advices, he's made lots of mistakes, and he completely fails to die, even when pineapples are involved.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure
    • An evil example comes in Part 5 with the two mafia members Pesci and Prosciutto. Pesci is the little brother and ironically like other mentors Prosciutto dies by getting run over by a train and getting lodged in the wheels before Pesci gets how to be a good mafia worker. Then he dies by getting his head unzipped from his body and thrown into a lake.
    • In Part 7, Gyro Zeppeli's position as Johnny's friend and a teacher could fit this trope as well.
  • In the Fullmetal Alchemist anime, Hughes is Roy's Big Brother Mentor, he hits pretty much every single qualification for one listed above at some point. He is one year older, but he has a family whereas Roy doesn't, and thus a very different perspective on life. He has one notable moment of snapping out of his easy-going attitude.
    • In an evil example of this trope, Pride acts as this towards Wrath, the youngest of the Homunculi. This becomes quite ironic when you learn Pride masquerades as his son, Selim Bradley.
  • In the anime version of Planetes, Hakim Ashmead fills this role for Hachimaki, at least until his Heel Face Turn where he was revealed to be The Mole for the terrorist Space Defense Front. Their mentor, Gigalt Gangaragash, straddles the line between a Big Brother Mentor and an actual The Obi-Wan.
  • 2 prominent pairs on Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: Sho adopts Judai as his "aniki," whom he prefers to his biological Aloof Big Brother (until Judai dumps him for Johan). Manjyome also looks up to Asuka's brother Fubuki. Though he does also call Fubuki shishou (master) as well as big brother. The big brother part seems to be more because of his crush on Asuka, since if he ever married her, they would *be* brothers.
  • Gotho from Armored Trooper VOTOMS fits this role to some extent.
  • The Gundam franchise has several examples as well...
    • Mobile Suit Gundam has Ryu Jose, who doesn't actually teach Amuro how to pilot a Gundam, but how to be a man and soldier; he of course performs a Heroic Sacrifice.
      • Liutenant Sleggar Rowe would've been one of these, had he gotten more screentime. He does get the death part, though.
    • Zeta Gundam has Quattro Bajeena, aka Char Aznable, as the main character's mentor; however, he neither dies nor holds back from kicking ass himself.
      • Villainous example: Kacricon Cooler is this to Jerid Messa. And he gets a Family-Unfriendly Death early in the series.
    • The closest to a Big Brother Mentor in Gundam Wing would be Trowa Barton, the Genius Bruiser Big Guy of the Five-Man Band. His interactions with The Smart Guy Quatre Raberba Winner walk the line between this and straight-up Ho Yay, but he also helped Heero Yuy sort his thoughts after his infamous suicide attempt.
    • Don't forget Roy Fokker's Expy, Mu La Flaga from Gundam Seed. He's actually referred to as Kira's Sempai on one occasion.
      • In Gundam Seed Destiny, Athrun Zala tries to do this for Shinn Asuka. It doesn't really work, as Shinn is too messed up to listen, and Athrun doesn't really have the people skills to pull it off.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam 00's Neil Dylandy aka the first Lockon Stratos was some kind of advisor to not only Setsuna but the most of CB. Even if he's dead he'll probably return as a spiritual advisor. Still, Tieria Erde seems to fit a bit better in the second season, even dealing some Bright Slaps when needed.
      • Also, Lyle, Neil's twin younger brother and the second Lockon isn't necessarily the Big Brother Mentor but has his moments as well, specially in episode 18 where he counsels two of his teammates when they had romantic problems.
  • Played straight and subverted in G Gundam. Argo Gulskii is the oldest, more mature of the Shuffle Alliance and plays the role straight towards Domon and Sai Saici, whereas Schwarz Bruder subverts it by being Domon and Rain's own BBM... and a clone of Domon's Aloof Big Brother Kyouji, who specifically created him with some DG cells and the dead body of the real Schwarz Bruder to play this role before he was fully brainwashed by the Devil Gundam.
  • Big Sister Mentor example: Freya to Kisara in Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple. Kisara calls her "Freya-nee", even when they were on opposite sides.
  • Yashichi, to his followers Sasuke and Hanzo in Mirumo de Pon!
  • One Piece
    • Zoro, to Luffy. Given that he's the Lancer, and Fan-Speak sometimes denotes him as the First Mate of the crew, he often steps in to help Luffy make the tough choices given Luffy's personality. This was especially obvious when Usopp temporarily left the crew and Zoro both supported Luffy's decision to fight Usopp and later forced him to wait for Usopp's apology when it became apparent that Usopp wanted to return to their crew.
    • Also, from what we see in flashbacks, it seems that Marco was this to Ace when he was first captured by the Whitebeard crew and had trouble accepting Whitebeard as his captain and father.
    • For that matter, the relationship between Ace and Luffy play this almost completely straight. Luffy obviously looks up to Ace, who's older, stronger, and more mature.
  • Albert/004 in Cyborg 009. His "little brother" Jet/002 later also has some Big Brother Mentor moments in the Little Psychics mini-arc.
  • Subaru Sumeragi becomes this to Kamui in the X 1999 manga and TV series .
  • Though Tomohiko Yamada of Satou Kashi no Dangan wa Uchinukenai mostly subverts this, he has his moments of wise advice for his younger sister... before going back to his room and tuning out the world around him.
  • Brock is this to Ash and anyone else who is in the main traveling group in the Pokémon anime.
  • In Pokémon Special, Green is this to Yellow in her arc. A female example would be Crystal, to Emerald.
  • England was this to America (and most likely to Canada too) in Axis Powers Hetalia. China is considered the older brother of the rest of the Asian countries, such as Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan, but except for Korea they don't always aknowledge as this.
    • And Switzerland dotes on his adorable adopted sister Liechtenstein.
    • Subverted with Latvia and Sealand. The first tries to be this, but soon finds out that as a Fragile Flower, he needs the support of the latter.
  • Fist of the North Star
    • Kenshiro towards Bat, as stated when he calls him his "irreplaceable little brother."
    • Also Toki and Raoh towards Kenshiro.
    • Bat to his fellow orphans.
  • Maiza Avaro to Firo in Baccano!. Firo reminds Maiza of his younger brother and guides him into the Camorra, and fittingly enough, after devouring Szilard, Firo obtains Maiza's brother's memories along with those of Szilard's other victims.
  • Osamu, Kaga and Johji to Hayato in Future GPX Cyber Formula, also Lope to Hiyoshi.
  • Sakuragi of Rainbow might as well be the king of this trope. Seriously, his nickname is even An-chan ("Bro").
  • Onizuka dips into Sensei for Scoundrels occasionally, but he's a genuine mentor to Noboru all through the manga series. Even if his methods are somewhat extreme.
  • Somewhat subverted in Naruto between Itachi and Sasuke. Itachi challenges Sasuke to see him as a barrier he must overcome, though he uses rather disturbing methods to accomplish this.
    • Konohamaru considers Naruto and Shikamaru to be Big Brother Mentors, too.
  • Mami Tomoe from Puella Magi Madoka Magica is a rare female example of this trope. Too bad she only lives for 3 episodes.
  • Tiger and Bunny has an interesting example; instead of giving the protagonist a Big Brother Mentor, they made the protagonist himself play this role where a number of younger characters were concerned. It's even Invoked Trope in the third episode, where Kotetsu's boss suggests he take this approach with Barnaby.

Lloyd Alexander: He's young, so why don't you try to lead him? You've been doing this for much longer, after all.

  • Sora is this to Ikki in Air Gear, even going so far as to teach him how to properly utilize the Wing Road. This attitude changes when Sora announces his Face Heel Turn and reveals that he was using Ikki and helping him become better so that the Wind Regalia can be made for him to take. All of this is just step one of his plot to become Sky King. This quickly leads to Ikki having a Heroic BSOD moment.
  • Future Gohan is this to Future Trunks in Dragon Ball. Slightly less so in the main timeline to Goten and Present Trunks. Goku's best friend Krillin was this to Gohan.
    • Nail was also like this to Dende, even after Nail's fusion with Piccolo.
  • In Saint Beast, Goh is occasionally called "big brother" by Shin, Rey and Gai for being The Leader of their group.
  • Mamoru from Sailor Moon is the Love Interest for Usagi, the Team Dad for both Seishi teams, and the Big Brother Mentor to the Inners. Specially to Ami aka Mercury.


Comics[edit | hide]

  • Due to the nature of it's "legacy" focus on characters, these pop up quite often in the DCU:
    • Although it's a bit moot now that they're actually brothers, Richard "Dick" Grayson decided early on to take a more active role in the mentoring of the third Robin, Tim Drake, than he did with the second, and the two developed a sibling-like relationship in the process. This was so well-liked by fans that Nightwing writer Chuck Dixon chose to devote what is normally a landmark issue - #25 - of that series not to a major battle or character death, but to Tim and Dick discussing life, Batman, and Dick's seemingly endless parade of hot girlfriends for an entire issue.
      • Well they were doing that while blindfolded, fighting bad guys, on a moving train (I kid you not). So I guess that is the equal of talking about sports and girls while tossing the football around if you were raised by Batman.
    • Although he initially played the role of the older brother who didn't want to be around the younger one, Wally West eventually grew quite fond of Bart "Impulse / Kid Flash" Allen (who's technically his cousin, once removed).
    • Wonder Woman and Donna Troy refer to each other as sisters, although it's been a while since Donna's actually been mentored by Diana. Much like the Batman / Nightwing / Robin relationship above, however, Donna served as an older sister to the second Wonder Girl.
    • Damian Wayne also sees Dick Grayson like this, genuinely respecting him and Dick is one of the few people who believes in him and helps steer Damian in the right direction.
  • Wolverine to practically any younger female character. Most notably Kid Sidekicks Jubilee and Kitty Pryde. In Wolverine #16, a reporter is going around asking people what they think of Wolverine. Jubilee says he's an amazing big brother. Kitty takes it a little further—she admits that she'll probably never get married because she always compares the guys she meets to Wolverine, and they never measure up.
  • Ironically, Gambit is now this to Wolverine's clone/daughter X-23 in her solo self titled series. Although they are on more equal terms than some of the other examples.
  • Maid Man and Cyndablock act like this to Empowered, showing her that not all superheroes are assholes. That it's the Transvestite and the literal blockhead who actually are nice to her must say something about how much being a low-tier superhero sucks.

Fan Works[edit | hide]


Film[edit | hide]

  • Han Solo to Luke Skywalker in Star Wars.
    • Obi-Wan Kenobi to Anakin Skywalker, in the prequel trilogy. You know, before he was old.
    • He even refers to Anakin as his brother in Episode III, while Anakin tells him he is like a father to him in Episode II.
      • Obi-Wan is the Big Brother Mentor of the father of the kid who he is The Obi-Wan to. Now that's evolution.
  • Ken to Ray in In Bruges.
  • Marcus and Kyle Reese develop this dynamic in Terminator Salvation.
  • Mr White to Mr Orange in Reservoir Dogs


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Harry Potter has Sirius Black, his godfather, and Remus Lupin. Too bad that both of them die.
  • Seregil to Alec in Nightrunner, and also Micum and Beka to Alec at times.
  • Joscelin to Imriel in Kushiel's Legacy.
  • Captain Pausert to The Witches of Karres.
  • This is Older Than They Think: In The Bible, when the archangel Raphael took a human form to find and fight the demon Asmodeous, he posed as a young man named Azariah who played this role for young Tobias, the youth who was qualified to marry Sarah, the girl whom Asmodeous lusted after and tormented by killing her husbands right after the wedding.
    • For the reader's enlightenment: this story is from the Book of Tobit, which is not considered part of the Bible by either Jews or non-Catholic/Eastern Orthodox Christians.
      • Although it is still considered a useful read.
  • Zaknafein to Drizzt in Homeland.
  • Percy Jackson has Luke Castellan, who looks after Percy when he first arrives in Camp Half-Blood in The Lightning Thief, and even gives him some cool magic items to help in on his very first quest. It's just a shame that the items are cursed to drag Percy down to Tartarus, and that Luke's the titular Lightning Thief, Big Bad Kronos' Dragon, and one of the main villains of the series.
  • Nico to Cal in the Cal Leandros series.
  • Tonda for Krabat, later Krabat for Lobosch. Here We Go Again.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Paul in Deus Ex. He will try to encourage the player to use non-lethal tactics, and will chew out the player if he/she chooses to do a take-no-prisoners gameplay.
  • Inverted with Hakuoro playing the big brother to Oboro in Utawarerumono. He even uses 'aniki' which gives Hakuoro pause for a moment.
  • Axel is this to both Roxas and Xion in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days.
  • Chris Redfield to Claire Redfield, literally, in Resident Evil. Or so it's been implied.
  • Rei is a roguish variant on this to Ryu and Teepo in Breath of Fire 3, teaching them how to mug people and hunt efficiently. Though he appears to die when Balio and Sunder torch the heroes home, allowing Ryu to begin his adventure, he returns after the Time Skip as an Anti-Hero Lancer to the (now more well-rounded and heroic) Ryu.
  • Sarutobi Sasuke from Sengoku Basara acts like this toward his young master Yukimura, being his friend and advisor and protecting him in dangerous situations. He also acts as emotional support and makes sure he toes the line.
  • Commander Shepard, the protagonist of Mass Effect, is this to Garrus Vakarian.
  • Guy is this to Luke in Tales of the Abyss. He in his own words, "raised [Luke] from a blank slate to a spoiled, selfish kid" and continues to watch out for and offer him advice throughout the game. At one point, he actually DOES punch Luke when Luke says that he will die in Asch's place at the Tower of Rem, and the punch is hard enough to knock Luke flat on the floor.
    • Occasionally the line gets blurred between whether Guy is an older brother or surrogate guardian to Luke, given both the little attention and affection Luke's own father, the Duke initially shows towards him, as well as Guy assuming responsibility for shortcomings in Luke's character. Usually this is negligible as Van is a more obvious surrogate guardian.
  • Persona 4 can see the Protagonist acting this way toward Shu, Kanji, and Naoki. The latter two are actually his underclassmen.


Webcomics[edit | hide]


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Ferris is Dutch's Big Brother Mentor in New Prime.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Danny Phantom fulfills the role to his younger Opposite Gender Clone, Danielle, constantly protecting her whenever she is threatened.
  • Zuko for Aang in the second half of the third season on Avatar: The Last Airbender; made all the sweeter by the (sort of) Luke, I Am Your Father revelation that season.
  • Huey, the main character of The Boondocks is an example to his younger brother Riley (and possibly to his Grandfather as well). Considering though that Riley is quite the arrogant Jerkass, Huey ends up "educating him the hard way" more often than most Big Brother Mentors.
  • Aqualad acts like this to Robin and also Superboy in Young Justice.
    • As with the comics example, Nightwing to Robin (Tim Drake) in the second season.
  • The Voltron Force, especially Lance, serve as Big Brother/Big Sister mentors to the cadets in Voltron Force
  • In ThunderCats (2011), Tygra acts as an interesting combination of this and the The Rival to Lion-O. While he makes no effort to hide how resentful he is of Lion-O's status as The Chosen One, he's also shown that he'll always have Lion-O's back when he's in trouble and has even given him some support when Lion-O doubted himself.
  • In "Ninjago" , the ninja's are this to Lloyd.