Eccentric Mentor

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Alas, earwax.

"Is he -- a bit mad?" asked Harry uncertainly.
"Mad?" said Percy airily. "He's a genius! Best wizard in the world! But he is a bit mad, yes."

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, regarding Albus Dumbledore

The Eccentric Mentor is an apparent contradiction, a sagacious figure who seems eccentric and possibly even foolish, a font of power and respectability who acts like comic relief. Quite possibly, the Eccentric Mentor is too wise and self-assured to care what anyone else thinks. Then again, maybe they're just resting on their laurels. Typically the Eccentric Mentor is an older male character, connected to the back story, who acts as a sort of mentor, protector, or guide. They often feign senility and weakness when it is useful to do so, and rarely take pains to avoid such an appearance if it requires effort.

When pushed, the Eccentric Mentor easily demonstrates how they have earned their status. Those who underestimated them are suddenly confronted with heroic badassery, Sherlock Holmes-level insight, moral fortitude in the face of death, and/or simply being a step ahead of everyone else. Due to their age, wisdom, and conviction, they fear death far less than a loss of integrity.

Combines aspects of Cool Old Guy, The Obi-Wan, Old Master (sometimes), Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass, Bunny Ears Lawyer, often Cloudcuckoolander, and Zen Survivor into one cranky, tough old biscuit. They may fill any of a number of mentor roles, such as Trickster Mentor or Reasonable Authority Figure, related to their personality and their role in the story. As such, no matter how much power they have, they want the heroes to solve the problem...

...which The Heroes may have to, courtesy of the Mentor Occupational Hazard.

Compare with The Wonka.

Examples of Eccentric Mentor include:

Anime and Manga

  • Bleach: Kisuke Urahara, the self-described "mere honest, handsome, perverted businessman." But don't let his sanguine disposition, odd dress-sense or shameless self-promotion fool you; beneath it all lurks the soul of a true badass. A former Shinigami Captain and founder of the Soul Society Research Institute, Kisuke became a legend in the Seireitei after mastering Bankai—a powerful attack which usually takes decades of study to learn—in only three days (this record was later tied by his protege, Ichigo). The catalyst and driving force behind the plot, it is widely believed by fans that the entire series is merely one grand game of Xanatos Roulette played between him and his Magnificent Bastard rival, Captain Aizen.
  • Shinigami-sama of Soul Eater hides his frightening power and appearance behind a cartoonish mask, goofy antics, and childish speech. This is so he doesn't frighten the students at his Extranormal Institute. About halfway through the series, it's revealed that he can't leave the city because he bonded his soul to it in order to keep the Kishin sealed in its can, which is why he needs others to go do the heroing for him. Not that being unable to leave the city ultimately slows him down much.
    • Shinigami is far more knowledgeable about the history of the current conflict than he lets on, having been previously involved in every known side of it (witches, the Gorgons, Asura and his fellow Eldritch Abominations). He's genuinely nice, but his staff and students are right to be genuinely wary of him at times.
  • Hiko Seijuuro from Rurouni Kenshin is a borderline case.
    • So is Okina.
  • Xuanwumon from Digimon Tamers.
    • Qinglongmon, though it's only really clear in the dub of Digimon Adventure 02. He even has the Wizard Beard!
    • Hiroshi Yushima of Digimon Savers also has elements of this - it's not until a good chunk of the series is out of the way that it's shown that he's anything but an eccentric elderly fisherman with knowledge of Digimon.
  • Cologne in Ranma 1/2, although while she is generally laid-back she is always demonstrated as highly competent and is not used as comic relief, beyond occasionally finding it diverting to trick or play games with other people. Happosai is another subversion. He has extreme expertise, appears to be just as skilled as and far more powerful than Cologne, but is also entirely driven by impulse, is practically never serious, lacks common sense and is easily tricked, can't read his own (gibberish) handwriting, and is a Poke the Poodle Comic Relief or flat-out antagonist more often than not.
  • Subverted in Princess Tutu. Drosselmeyer always seems odd (to put it lightly), but he's the one who gives the main character her powers in the first place, and he seems to want to push her along in helping the Prince. However, it quickly becomes apparent that he really is quite crazy, and to top it off he's the Big Bad and his main goal is to trap the characters in an endless cycle of tragedy for the sake of his "art".
  • Hohenheim from Fullmetal Alchemist is practically a stereotypical example, though some might argue that he really is a genuinely socially awkward and emotionally crippled Cloudcuckoolander. And though in the anime, he hasn't always been one of the 'good guys'.
    • In the beginning, the Furher seems to be this. Seems.
  • Naruto's Jiraiya, one of Konoha's Legendary Sannin, and author of numerous pornographic novels. Affectionately nicknamed "Pervy Sage", he enjoys spying on naked women ("research") and is not above robbing 12 year old boys (his godson, no less) to pay for cushy hotel rooms and hookers. But he's a war hero, the Toad Sage a legendary ninja master, the man who taught the 4th Hokage amongst other shinobi greats, and a master of summoning, barrier and sealing jutsu. And he's bad ass enough to shrug off losing his arm without a glance, and spends his free time hunting down the world's most dangerous criminals.
    • Also the Third Hokage, Sarutobi, mentor of both Jiraiya and Tsunade. He serves no plot purpose other than being the foil of slapstick and giving occasional orders, usually offscreen, until his village is attacked and the audience sees for the first (and unfortunately only) time why he is held in such respect by his peers, and why in his youth they called him "the God of Shinobi".
    • Hatake Kakashi, the Fourth Hokage's protégé (seeing a pattern here?). A laid back, perpetually late ninja obsessed with Jiraiya's porn novels, which he reads even while he has his students train. But he's also the most elite Jounin the Hidden Leaf village possesses, and their ninjutsu specialist with over a thousand justu in his arsenal. He makes jokey excuses for his lateness when he is actually visiting an old comrades grave, near enough every day, and has stated that everybody he loved is dead, but he gets by considering his students and the rest of the village his extended family. He's also so legendary, professional and respected he is pretty much next in line to be Hokage, should the need arise, and at one point was very nearly made it until it turned out they didn't need a new one yet after all.
      • He's also apparently legendary enough across the 5 Great Countries that the Shinobi Alliance appointed him as one of their Generals
    • The current Hokage herself, Tsunade, is also a lot like a female version of this. She is a gambling addict, a terrible one who was constantly on the run due to all the money she owed. She's also vain enough to use a life threatening jutsu to make herself look decades younger than she is (which meant that her true form is actually decades older). She also has the training regime from Hell whereby she teaches evasion by trying to smash you with her Super Strength attacks, enough to crack the Earth with a finger. But she is a popular leader and a legendary medic, who has suffered a great deal of personal tragedy.
    • Kishi loves this trope. Maito Gai is a genuine goofball, but he is a serious and dedicated mentor and the Leaf's most prominent Taijutsu master. Chiyo of the Sand is an 80 something old hag who spends all day fishing and enjoys making people (esp. her brother) think she's dead for a prank, but she is a puppet master and an especially deadly poisoner, with some medical skill. The Raikage and Killer Bee of the Hidden Cloud both seem to have shades of this in relation to their subordinates, despite both being eccentric weirdos in their own right (though both are, in their own way, genuinely hotheaded, reckless and the Raikage might be a bit of a warmonger). Hell, even the parents tend to be this trope.
    • The Raikage hasn't been stated to have a student, but Killer Bee is this way to his new protege Naruto
  • Kame Sen'nin in the first Dragon Ball... sort of.
    • Kaio-Sama (King Kai) is a better played example in Z.
  • Chairman Kaien Cross from Vampire Knight.
  • Genshitenson from Houshin Engi.
  • Dean Konoemon of Mahou Sensei Negima.
    • Jack Rakan is also kind of like this, although he's much more over the top than other examples.
  • Vice-Admiral Garp from One Piece is a goofy, lovable father figure (complete with a silly hat)...who also gleefully dispenses Training from Hell, throws cannonballs like baseballs, and provokes a rare Oh Crap reaction from Monkey D. Luffy himself.
    • Oh Crap? Luffy practically BSODs on hearing his name!
  • Makarov from Fairy Tail. He even plays almost the same role as the former Trope Namer - master of a wizard guild while Dumbledore of Harry Potter is headmaster of a wizard school - and they're both the strongest good mages (Makarov might be weaker than Gildarts or Laxus, but he is damn close) of their respective universes.
  • Clow Reed from Cardcaptor Sakura. Don't let his cheerful, laid-back nature fool you. He's quite the Badass wizard!
  • Aozaki Touko from Kara no Kyoukai: is very quirky and friendly, but as Cornelius Alba learned the hard way, do not fuck with Touko if you value your life.
  • Hikaru Tsurugi from Key the Metal Idol serves as an especially eccentric deconstruction of the trope.

Fan Works

  • Dumblydore in My Immortal is at first an alzheimers-ridden, headache-prone old man who swears at everybody. Whether he sides with Enoby or conspires to piss her off is not clear until he saves her from Voldemort and his band twice once, even going on to tell the enitre school and Misery of Mogic that Ebony can defeat Voldemort.
  • The dwarven prince protagonist of Dragon Age: The Crown of Thorns deliberately allows, even encourages, the other six wardens, plus companions, to assume and believe a lot of erroneous things, including that he might really be a kinslayer, just so the shock of later revelations, like the fact that he actually faked Trian's death and painted himself the murderer on purpose, can prompt them to grow wiser.
  • Hasim, one of the Immortals in Keepers of the Elements serves as this to the Keepers. He has been around for hundreds of years, yet he is a cheerful guy who loves his jellybeans and can kick some serious bad guy ass when he needs to.
  • Grunnel the Thinker, to a point, in With Strings Attached. He's a jolly guy who latches onto the four because they're interesting. At first he seems a bit goofy, with quite a sadistic sense of humor, but the four realize quickly that he's extremely intelligent and well-educated. He ends up helping them a lot when magic starts to pour out of the sky on them. He also teaches them about Baravadan society, and they teach him about Earth in return. Subverted in that he backstabs them in Ehndris in order to get control of both Paul and the third piece of the Vasyn.


  • Master Oogway in Kung Fu Panda. He may seem an old senile turtle, but he is blindingly fast when necessary with a multiple nerve strike pattern guaranteed to take anyone down... and of course his selection of Po the Panda for the Dragon Warrior was on the money. Also, he invented Kung-Fu.
  • Rafiki in Disney's The Lion King always seems a bit insane, but has all the answers.
    • And he knows how to kick some serious hyena butt.
  • Merlin, in The Sword in the Stone
  • Uncle Herbert in The Big Brawl
  • Dumbledore during the fifth movie. He is confronted by the Minister Of Magic and about three Aurors. He knocks all of them out and disappears in a blaze of light. As Kingsley puts it, "Dumbledore's got style."
  • Aughra, in The Dark Crystal, appears a little crazy and perhaps even dangerous, yet has an uncanny wisdom for the harmonies of existence.
    • She was involved in the last cycle and has studied the system for centuries at least, she just incidentally went insane in the intervening time.
  • Mr. Miyagi, in The Karate Kid
  • Yoda's appearance in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. He also teases Obi-Wan a bit in Attack of the Clones, but he was younger (and teaching the younglings) at the time.
    • This trope was actually one of the early concepts for the Obi-Wan himself (even after Sir Alec Guinness had already been chosen for the role).
  • Ian McKellen in the first The Lord of the Rings plays this up. He was even asked to play Dumbledore.
  • Jetfire in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
  • Fin Raziel, in Willow, is of the rare female subtype.
    • George Lucas seems to have a thing for this type, judging by Yoda.
  • Merlin in the 1981 film Excalibur comes across this way.
  • The owner/operator of The Circus of Doctor Lao mostly plays the part of the stereotypical Chinese man (complete with Engrish), and occasionally reveals himself to be a powerful and wise being.


  • Harry Potter: Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, former Trope Namer.
    • In the fifth book, when fighting Voldemort, Dumbledore fires off a spell that is never identified, but is clearly very powerful. Voldemort blocks the spell, and taunts Dumbledore that he does not seek to kill him. Dumbledore calmly responds, "We both know there is more than one way to destroy a man, Tom."
    • Also from the fifth book, the scene where Dolores Umbridge and her cronies confront Dumbledore in his office and then try to arrest him.

"Well, it's just that you seem to be labouring under the delusion that I am going to come quietly. I am afraid I am not going to come quietly at all, Cornelius. I have absolutely no intention of being sent to Azkaban Prison. I could break out, of course, but what a waste of time. And frankly, I can think of a whole host of things I would rather be doing."

    • When one of the aurors reaches for his wand, Dumbledore laughs at him.

"Don't be silly Dawlish. I'm sure you are an excellent auror, but if you attempt to bring me in by force, I'll have to hurt you."

    • The film of the sixth book really drives it home beautifully. Dumbledore's massive fire ring against the inferi is one of the most impressive moments in the whole series, and is a fantastic Crowning Moment of Awesome for Dumbledore.
    • Think about how Dumbledore progresses throughout the book. We go from "Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! and Tweak!" to the most powerful wizard in the history of the Wizarding World to a broken man who is grief-stricken over the loss of his sister, Ariana, whom he may have killed (and considers himself to blame regardless of whether his curse was the one that killed her).
      • A fan favorite quote that epitomizes Dumbledore's transition from awesome grandpa to ancient monk badass came in The Goblet of Fire:

"At that moment, Harry fully understood for the first time why people said Dumbledore was the only wizard Voldemort had ever feared. The look upon Dumbledore's faces as he stared down at the unconscious form of Mad-Eye Moody was more terrible than Harry could have ever imagined. There was no benign smile upon Dumbledore's face, no twinkle in the eyes behind the spectacles. There was cold fury in every line of the ancient face; a sense of power radiated from Dumbledore as though he were giving off burning heat."

  • Dallben from Lloyd Alexander's The Chronicles of Prydain
  • Professor Lidenbrock in Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth.
  • Noish-pa, Vlad Taltos's grandfather, sometimes fits this trope in the Dragaera novels, albeit with the comic relief coming less from his own remarks than from Vlad's reactions to them.
  • Shiro from The Dresden Files novels. He may act a little senile at times, but he's actually a seriously Badass paladin and one of the only people in history to take on Nicodemus in a sword fight and win. Too bad he's Too Cool to Live.
    • Though he's not as... easygoing and jovial as the trope specifies, though Arthur Langtry is the oldest and most powerful wizard alive, and the head of the White Council, with the title of 'Merlin', he seems to be generally underestimated, and perceived as a figurehead. Until he shows off the strength and depth of his power by doing such things as, oh - holding off Outsiders with a single ward and turning chaos into order by broadcasting a mental map (with voiceover) to the entire council, whilst attempting to contain an omnilethal nasty with the sheer force of his will. 'not [gained his position] by collecting bottle caps' indeed.
  • Coriakin from The Chronicles of Narnia, who is believed by Dufflepuds to be evil, but turns out to be a wise magician with a sense of humor. Always walking barefoot is among his idiosyncrasies.
  • Gandalf, from The The Lord of the Rings. Even more so in The Hobbit.

"Good Morning!" said Bilbo, and he meant it. But Gandalf looked at him from
under long bushy eyebrows that stuck out further than the brim of his shady hat.
"What do you mean?" he said. "Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that
it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning;
or that it is a morning to be good on?"
(later) "What a lot of things you use Good morning for!" said Gandalf.
"Now you mean that you want to get rid of me, and that it won't be good till I move off."

    • Although much less eccentric after he came back to life.
      • Though he does pretend to be old and feeble to trick the guards of Meduseld into letting him keep his staff (which he refers to as his "walking-stick") when going in to see Theoden. It works too.
  • Brom, from Eragon
    • And later Oromis, to a somewhat lesser degree.
  • Fizban the Fabulous, from Dragonlance, an apparently senile wizard who may or may not have actually been the god Paladine in disguise. It becomes fairly obvious later in the series.
    • Also Zifnab of The Death Gate Cycle; essentially the same character in a different series written by the same authors.
      • The latter lampshades his status as an Expy in his first appearance: he starts to call himself Fizban, but then corrects himself.
        • Zifnab is very different from Fizban in at least one major way, though- Fizban is a god using Obfuscating Stupidity, whereas Zifnab is genuinely insane with only occasional moments of lucidity. He's still incredibly powerful, but it takes some serious effort (usually from his dragon) to get him to reveal important information rather than, say, going off on a long rambling monologue about how he's really James Bond. Or Dorothy Gale.
    • And also from the same authors is Zanfib of the Starshield series. However, he's insane only due to a slightly flawed resurrection. Oh, and he's an agent for the Sentinels.
  • Lu-Tze shows up in several Discworld books, playing the Eccentric Mentor in Thief of Time. Actually, Lu-Tze has more or less made his living appearing to be a weird little monk, on the basis that, since no one notices weird little monks who are just sweeping up the place to begin with, he's far more stealthy and better equipped than the most highly trained of ninja. Not least because, in addition to being able to seriously inconvenience someone about twenty-seven different ways with a broom, if the floor gets dirty you can take care of that too.
  • Belgarath from Belgariad by David and Leigh Eddings.
    • A case of deliberate Obfuscating Stupidity here, he specifically has clothes tailored to look like he found them in a trash can so that he could pass unnoticed.
  • Rare Female Example #2: Gladys from A Sudden Wild Magic by Diana Wynne Jones. Externally, a benign Crazy Cat Lady.
  • Elminster from the Forgotten Realms setting.
  • Platon Karataev from War and Peace.
  • He might be evil, but otherwise Aro of Twilight is just your average vampire Dumbledore. Cleolinda Jones calls him Dumblevamp at one point, I believe.
    • He's just not as smart.
  • Nakor is this to perfection, from The Riftwar Cycle.
  • Zedd from Sword of Truth
  • Uncle Ebbit in The Seventh Tower, who may or may not be going senile.
  • Drosselmeyer in The Nutcracker and The Mouse King (the original story by ETA Hoffmann): is he the children's eccentric but kindly uncle, or is he manipulating all the events of the story? (Hint: he's a skilled builder of mechanical toys (automata).)
  • The Once and Future King version of Merlin, aided by his... unique situation.
  • Most Star Wars Expanded Universe books featuring Yoda make him entirely serious, but Yoda: Dark Rendezvous portrays him as very odd when things aren't too serious. The kind of character that you could see fighting with R2 over a flashlight in The Empire Strikes Back.
    • He rolls around incognito in a fake R2 shell and steals a small child's soda. Very odd indeed. And then, he gets into a fight with the cafeteria droid, who doesn't accept Yoda's self-made food as even "edible." And then, he wipes out an army of battle droids without breaking a sweat, and Hannibal Lectures Count Dooku to a standstill. It's that kind of book.
  • Master Wu of The Gone-Away World is an Old Master (and founder of a secret society of kung fu mimes) who runs a martial arts school that the protagonist trains at. He teaches moves with names like "Walk Like Elvis", gets into arguments about the location of the moon, and cheerfully admits to making up ancient wisdom on the spot.
  • Julian Morrow, the Classics professor in The Secret History. He accepts no payment, practically has his own building on campus, and the few students he accepts must take nearly all their classes with him. Later becomes a Broken Pedestal.
  • Wayne from The Kingdom Keepers is a strange imagineer who guides the DHIs through their trials.
  • Mr. Wednesday from American Gods may be the bad guy, but he most certainly fits the description. He even pretends to be senile in order to get the cashier at the gas station to accidentally pay for his gas.
  • Geser in the Night Watch series is an ultra-powerful, centuries old Other who likes to hang out in themed bars, has a definite sense of humor, and in one instance is shown wearing Disney pajamas. Like the Troper Namer, he's a somewhat morally ambiguous Chessmaster.
  • Grandpa Smedry in the Alcatraz Series.

Live-Action TV

  • The Doctor from Doctor Who often resembles this kind of character.
    • In particular, David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor embodies this trope to a tee. The Family of Blood sought to steal his immortality, and thought he was a doddering pathetic man. BIG. MISTAKE.
    • Matt Smith as the eleventh Doctor plays this to the hilt, He openly admits to being a "Madman with a Box," often acts foolishly, and dotes on grown adults as if they were small children but is almost always in control of the situation and can often manipulate his foes into doing his work for him.
    • This wonderful bit of dialogue from the Tom Baker story City of Death (which was co-written by Douglas Adams): "Careful my dear, I don't think he's as stupid as he seems." "My dear, nobody could be as stupid as he seems."
  • Draal on Babylon 5 is both this and a Large Ham.
  • Spencer from Lonelygirl15, although younger than most examples. What a strange little man.
  • Principal Pal from Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide is very much a non-magical, Americanized ripoff version of early Dumbledore.
  • President Bartlet from The West Wing, in his "Uncle Fluffy" persona.
  • Bertram Cooper from Mad Men may seem like your run-of-the-mill elderly eccentric, but in reality he is just as shrewd a businessman as Don or St. John Powell.
  • Around the Horn's Woody Paige may qualify as this.
  • Hannibal Smith from The A-Team often Invokes this trope if/when he meets clients and/or confronts the weekly bad guys in disguise in an episode.

Theme Parks

Video Games

  • Ford Cruller from Psychonauts is a rare example where his unwise behaviour is involuntary (his mind literally falls apart when he's away from a psytanium deposit).
  • Auron from Final Fantasy X is a mild version, but is good at projecting casual deference when it's handy.
  • An obvious reference to Dumbledore, Gammel Dore from Grim Grimoire.
    • Only not as eccentric as the original.
  • A clearer distaff counterpart, Professor Potsdam in Magical Diary: Horse Hall, who appears to be a hippie with a few screws loose most of the time. Don't make her mad.
  • Guildmaster Wigglytuff, in the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Explorers games is a lovable Cloudcuckoolander who has an obession with Perfect Apples...who is completely immune to the poisonous gas attack of Team Skull and can make the earth tremble with his voice alone when angry or sad.
  • Erasmus, the pun loving archmage from the Quest for Glory series of games. He has a rat familiar who is actually a pretty powerful magic user in his own right. Erasmus is a rare male wizard of great power in the QFG setting, where the most powerful magic users tend to be women (for example, Erana, Katrina, Aziza, Kreesha etc).
  • Galuf from Final Fantasy V is an old man who loves booze, avoided blame by using his amnesia as an excuse, and is the king of a kingdom. Who happens to fight alongside his soldiers because he's just that good. Oh, and he's likely to be one of the toughest members of the party by the point you find him in his world. Hell, he's likely to be one of the toughest party members even before then. Although, then again, that's only if you know how to exploit the jobs.
  • Strago from Final Fantasy VI, and the whole town he lives in, which practices awesome magicks, but keeps it all under the radar of the The Evil Empire. When he joins the heroes, he still comes off a doddering geezer most of the time, but in magical combat, he brings the hurt like nobody else. Also, he learns his most awesome spells by letting monsters use them on him first, and surviving.
  • Laike from Lunar: Silver Star Stor Complete qualifies. Makes sense, considering he was the Dragonmaster Dyne whom the main character Alex worships.
  • Kaepora Gaebora from The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time qualifies, considering who he eventually turns out to be. (The Gossip Stones say he's a reincarnation of a Sage.)
  • Voodoo Lady from the Secret of Monkey Island series. Granted, the whole series has a baseline loco level that makes her brand of unhinged seem not as apparent in context.
  • Ace Attorney's Damon Gant is an odd example of that plays to this tropes applied to a villain. At one point, he even starts switching between lovable eccentric and sociopath within seconds.
    • Phoenix Wright himself falls into this trope in Apollo Justice.
  • Seraph Lamington from Disgaea.
  • Silver Hoshipon of Patapon 3 may qualify. However, the badassery part of the trope has more to do with him being able to fuse together the god of the Patapons (you) with a half-dead member of the race, namely your hero, and then still keeping the energy to revive other 3 patapon.
  • Flemeth from Dragon Age is an odd blend of this trope and Retired Monster. If even half the stories you hear about her are true, she skipped over the Moral Event Horizon centuries before the story even began. However, she despite her vast power and alleged ruthlessness, she never actually does anything openly antagonistic, and has actually helped the protagonists on several occasions (including saving them from what would have otherwise been certain death). She often speaks in riddles and seems to enjoy playing up her crazy-old-woman-who-lives-in-a-swamp persona.
  • Asura's Old Master Augus from Asura's Wrath is one of the most powerful warriors in the setting, and his strength is said to be on par with Deus'. He's also a crazy hedonist who has no goal in life beyond enjoying the pleasures it offers: carnal knowledge of beautiful women, fine wines, good food, and the sheer joy of battle.
  • Yuyuko Saigyouji in Touhou Project is one of the most ancient and powerful inhabitants of Gensokyo, known for her seemingly carefree attitude towards every matter that hides a brilliant scheming mind, a psychology so weird as to be incomprehensible even to those used to dealing with the most eccentric youkai, and her tendency to send her personal servant, Youmu Konpaku, on various tasks and manipulating events as a way to teach her lessons. Too bad Youmu is somewhat dense and narrow-minded and rarely understands what Yuyuko wanted to teach her, if she even notices there was something to learn at all.

Web Comics

  • Master Surya from The Beast Legion. This page explains it all.
  • The Dullahan, Jack Jerripher from Grave Academy.
  • Shojo from Order of the Stick. May only be a borderline case, considering he couldn't avoid having his cover blown and was killed by Miko when she learned of his deception. Then again, she did immediately pay a high price for it.
  • Though introduced with some foreboding, Fa'lina of Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures is Rare Female Example #4 (but as a succubus she doesn't exactly show her age).
  • Llewellyn in Ozy and Millie.
  • Aodan, a country-accented Charizard from Char Cole who is developing a habit of appearing out of nowhere during the main character's freakouts.
  • Sensei Feng from Sluggy Freelance is an Old Master who trains the deadly assassin Oasis in both mind and body, yet resembles an old hobo as much as a martial arts master, mooching pizza rolls whenever he can, and displaying such incredible fighting techniques as literally putting his foot in his mouth.
  • Donovan Deegan of Dominic Deegan is a very capable bard and swordsman, but spent decades mangling the orcish language because of Rule of Funny.
  • Invoked in El Goonish Shive by Tedd for his dad. Most of the time, Mr. Verres is a typical Bumbling Dad... who works for the government, knows everything, is a VIP in the supernatural world for currently unexplained reasons, and is a powerful wizard that will go absolutely apeshit on anyone that harms his family, or anyone under his protection.
    • Also, Mr. Raven for the non-Muggles that are not under Mr. Verres' care. Though, Raven seems to be a bit more stern that your typical Dumbledore, but he does make it up in overtheatrics.
    • And for a more literal sense, we have Jerry. Self-proclaimed Fat Bastard, (though of the jolly sort, not the jumpy sort,) has had more than a few weird ideas about what to do with his time, and looks strangely like Santa Claus. However, he's also a 200 year-old Immortal with ludicrous amounts of power simply by being that old, sage wisdom for Susan, Grace, and Sarah, and powered the Hyperspace Mallet ability that, evidently, every female on the planet had access too. Granted, he's in the process of dying so he can be reborn properly, but he's also sworn himself to repay the debt Immortals owe Susan, making him a weird case. Did we mention he's a master of Serenity-Inducing Fluffy Animal Attack?

Web Original

Western Animation

  • Iroh from Avatar: The Last Airbender, is this, especially in Book 1, to Zuko. In Book 2, also briefly becomes this to Toph and, at the end of the season, Aang.
    • King Bumi, even more so. At one point, he asks Aang to choose which Earth Kingdom warrior he wants to fight, presenting him with two intimidating young soldiers. Aang chooses Bumi. Wrong choice.
      • Later, when the Fire Nation conquers Bumi's fortress town Omashu, they keep him as a hostage to prevent rebellion. To prevent rebellion by Bumi, they put him in a metal box that doesn't let him move anything except his mouth (so that he can breath and be fed). They think that will make it impossible for Bumi to use his very powerful Earthbending talents. They thought wrong. Later, it was revealed that in The Day of Black Sun, he retook his city all by himself and even took down a towering statue of Ozai.
    • Monk Gyatso, Aang's guardian at the Southern Air Temple. He was a major reason for Aang's cheerful, happy-go-lucky demeanor. And, like most people, he died while Aang was frozen, and took a surprisingly large group of Firebenders with him. Surprisingly large, because Airbending is a defensive art. He killed them with defensive bending.
      • And large being dozens. Dozens of highly trained soldiers using the most aggressive attack bending in the world against one old monk with a vow of non-violence. That, my friend, is an Obi-Wan Moment.
      • Not to mention that at the time they were powered up by Sozin's comet...
      • And that firebending has airbending at the advantage.
  • Avatar in Wizards.
  • Uncle from Jackie Chan Adventures. Equal parts crotchety old man and master sorcerer.
  • Grampa Smith from Monster Buster Club. A senile old alien in disguise as a senile old human, he probably knows more about the "monsters" the kids encounter than anyone else, but is far too concerned with the upkeep of his garden to do anything other than offer hints, info, and advice.
  • Miss Frizzle in The Magic School Bus is a bit young, but otherwise fits this trope quite well.
  • Princess Celestia from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic combines this with The Chessmaster.
  • Rafiki from The Lion King.

Real Life

  • Benjamin Franklin was the Eccentric Mentor to the other founding fathers—he was significantly older than the rest, was a noted humorist (and, despite his age, ladies' man), and was respected as the preeminent intellectual of the group.
  • Richard Feynman. Aficionado of the bongos (not to mention mad songs about orange juice), player of epic practical jokes, irreverent, completely unconcerned with the mores and manners of polite society, and the inventor of branches of particle physics you would never understand if you studied for several lifetimes. He's also the guy who demonstrated the fatal flaw in the O-ring design that led to the Challenger disaster. He also chose to do so in the most humiliating way possible to ensure that the press would drag those responsible over the coals.
  • G. K. Chesterton. Anyone who's read his books will know he's actually much funnier than any philosopher/theologian has a right to be, and in books like Orthodoxy, he states a great many things about Christianity that makes him look...a bit odd. However, he influenced the likes of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, two of the biggest names in popular Christian literature.