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Ichigo S Mothers Death Essay

This is an answer to a question regarding a statement I made on Orihime FC on Bleach Asylum that Ulquiorra 'changed Orihime's character for the better'. Basically, the person said that my statement disregards everything th other characters did to develop/change her character, and tha Ulquiorra instead broke her mind.

Let me just take a moment to sum up the roles of the 'other characters' (Ichigo and co) in terms of helping develop Orihime's character (prior to the Fullbring Arc):

Sora: Her gaurdian that protected/shielded her to the point where she felt a burden to him and thus refrained from telling him her troubles because she thougt that doing so would only further 'burden' him. Even after he died, she would never show anything but happiness to him. She was forced to bottle up all her pain and sorrow without taking the chance to solve her problems thenceforth because she felt like a burden. Sora may have been positive in his self-esteem-boosting compliments on her hair colour, but ultimately his influence was and continued to be negative until his cleansing via Ichigo.

Ichigo: Surrogate gaurdian replacing Sora and his negative influence. Barely noticing her, never relying or considering her, fueling her insecurities about herself and her capabiities (as further expanded below), underestimating Orihime's said abilities, and establishing himself as her sole protector to fuel his own complex on power/the ablity to protect others.

Overall: Wholly negative.

Tatsuki: Once again one of Orihime's self-proclaimed protectors. Instead of teaching Orihime how to defend herself against potential threats, she establishes herself as Orihime's gaurdian right from the get-go following Sora's death. She thus makes Orihime dependant on her and fuels her idea that she is utterly helpless to defend herself.

In the chapters prior to the Hollow attack on Tatsuki, Orihime follows Tatsuki around everywhere at school, with Tatsuki the confident leader, and Orihime the obediant puppy, e.g: T: 'Let's go, Orihime!' O: *silent nod, follow instantly*. It was only because of the Hollow attacking Tatsuki and Orihime's will that made her wake up to her ability to protect Tatsuki rather than vice versa, and achieve a development of some kind. This, however, is thwarted by her subsequent dependance on Ichigo.

Overall: Initially negative, ultimately positive (temporarily, and thus it is not a 'change/development' as such)

Chad: He acknowledges Orihime's usefulness and believes in her ability to use them to the utmost, but still regards Orihime as being unable to cope with situations that require physical strength (himself being the embodiment of such). E.g: Yammy and Ulquiorra debut, where he takes a kick from Yammy and deduces that Orihime cannot 'handle' him, despite Orihime proving him wrong by defending herself against Yammy's first attack on her. The Fullbring Arc is a different story though.

Overall: Semi-positive, somewhat negative, but eventually becomes fully positive. He regards both her and her abilities fully in the Fullbring Arc.

Uryuu: Like Chad, he regards Orihime's abilities with more attention and admiration than Ichigo, relying on them and appreciating their usefullness more as well, but he still cannot help himself from protecting her from danger and treating her with kiddie gloves, thus also fuelling her insecurities. Orihime is co-dependant on him.

Overall: Semi-negative, somewhat positive.

Rukia: Encourages Orihime to build better self-esteem and insists on talking about her problems in an effective manner because she has been through the exact same experience with Kaien Shiba--insecurity, dependance, lack of self-esteem, feeling invisible. She respects and admires Orihime's abilities. However, somewhat contradictionally, she tells Orihime to 'get stronger', giving Orihime the message that she is not strong enough to fight alongside her friends, lowering her self-worth. All of Rukia's positive efforts are thwarted by Ichigo, as evident during the HM arc, and Orihime's persistent low self-image and comparing herself to both Rukia and Ichigo.

Overall: Semi-positive (although development from said positiveness is temporary), and somewhat negative. Ultimately negative.

Phew. I hope all that made sense and is plausible summaries.

On to te essay:

It was too long to post and I was too lazy to post it in parts

So, here goes:

Regarding Ichigo and Sora's (while he was alive) influence on Orihime...well, it damaged her growth and maturity, and fuelled her insecurities and low-self-esteem. Orihime was made to feel like a burden to both of them, and thus refrained from speaking her mind and of her troubles because they were her sole protectors (Ichigo taking Sora's place after his death) and did not want to burden them further. Ichigo in particular, more than anyone else, prevented her from defending and thinking for herself in any tough situation.

Whenever Orihime attempted to engage in battle or has the opportunity to do so, she is told to stay away or thwarted by the arrival of Ichigo and co. For example, the time when she battled Yammy: Ichigo turns up and says 'Sorry I took so long, Orihime'--in essence, 'Sorry for allowing you to struggle against enemies only I can defeat', and tells her to get back. He does every time. Get back, you can't handle this, I am the only one who can save you.

By establishing himself as the one Sora was, her knight in shining armour who protected her, Orihime becomes overly-dependant on him as a child is to a parent (Sora ironically said that he considered Orihime as more of a daughter than a sister). Orihime is the core subject of his protector complex because she allows him to place her in the helpless position of a damsel in distress due to the insecurities of being a burden that defines Orihime's character.

Ulquiorra brings out the side of Orihime that asserts her self-confidence fo the longest period of time and effectiveness than any other character I have mentioned in the above summeries. By trying to turn her mind to his view of the world, he inadvertently forces her to show her inner strength and defend herself.

When Ulquiorra enters Orihime's chamber (despite being specifically instructed by Aizen to remain in his own chamber until the invaders directly attacked), he frankly states that Orihime's friends have invaded Hueco Mundo. Now, this may seem as if he was trying to break her, but then Ulquiorra says something strange: 'But that shouldn't matter to you now' before proceeding to make her believe that her powers belong to Aizen.

Firstly, he had no business to tell Orihime of her friends' invasion, being the unquestionably loyal Espada he has thus far shown himself to be, disliking unnecassary action on his part, and is certainly not the kind of person who gets the kick (as in pleasure) out of mentally torturing others, and therefore won't venture to do so unless in a state of mental degradation (as in his final battle with Ichigo)--thus it is assumed that he was chosen as Orihime's captor for this quality.

Secondly, instead of rubbing in the fact that her friends had entered Hueco Mundo and would quickly meet their deaths etc., Ulquiorra goes on to explain why she should not care about this, as if to say 'worrying about it is pointless, focusing on your current situation is the best option', preparing us for his later speech that expands this view more clearly. He backs his statemet up by going on to say that because of the uniform of the Espada she now wears, she is one of them.

He makes Orihime influsive, however slightly, in their organisation. In her school, and even among her nakama, she was made to feel as if she didn't have a secure place/role among them. Ichigo would say, 'Stay back, you're helpless to fight--I'll ask for help only when I say I want it', Rukia would say 'You are capable of fighting but not strong enough yet to do so, healing is your specialty,' , and Chad and Uryuu would say, 'I know you're good at healing, defense and attack, but you need protecting anyway.'

Orihime was recieving so many different messages from those around her she could barely think straight for herself, being the low self-esteemed individual in need of genuine counsel she was. Abilities aside, Ichigo was too focused on protecting and Rukia to notice her, Rukia was too focused on trying to bring out Ichigo's confidence and abilities to notice her, and Chad, Uryuu and Tatsuki weren't with her enough (Tatsuki being in the human world throughout the SS and HM arc) to have a real conversation/heart-to/heart, preoccupied with battles when in her presence most of the time, and thus didn't take much notice of her as they could have. Orihime, therefore, felt invisible and desperately unsure of herself.

Without intending it, therefore, Orihime is being told, however the negative connotations, that she belongs--that she has a clear use. Perhaps this is why she replies to Ulquiorra's statement so boldly and unflinchingly.

It is a realistic statement. Ulquiorra is not trying to break her, but instead change her view to his, that of indifference, the likes of which he believes is the way to escape the pain of caring. He simply does not comprehend that bonds cannot be so easily severed.

And Orihime responds to the question. Dutifully and with dignity. She doesn't wilt in submission, look terrified, broken or anything. Ulquiorra even states himself in his thoughts afterwards that she was 'brave/strong' in her reply, in both the Japanese and English versions. Now this is a compliment that Ichigo never gave Orihime, or anything close to it. Neither did Tatsuki, her supposed best friend. Neither did Chad, Uryuu (to my knowledge). Only Rukia, but that was followed by 'but get stronger', and so its effectiveness is somewhat diluted.

In fact, Ichigo is even utterly dumbfounded that she is as powerful as she is--reacting in shock when he is kept from once again keeping Orihime away from danger through defending Yachiru from a released Nnoitra via her Santen Keshun, and thinks, 'Is Orihime's Shun Shun Rikka that powerful?!'

He should know--he's been around her far longer than Ulquiorra!--and Ulquiorra fully compliments not just Orihime's abilities (even in their first meeting calling them 'very impressive', but also her emotional strength, the likes of which Ichigo could never fathom because he himself drains them from her.

Granted, the situation in which Ulquiorra said this was again certainly not the best, but a compliment is a compliment. Foes compliment each other's prowess in battle, even battles to the death, and this confrontation was no different.

In the next significant instance of Ulquiorra, conciously or otherwise, drawing out Orihime's hidden potential (that is, emotionally, not physically, as with Ichigo) is when he, once again acting out of his orders, comes in to Orihime's room after Chad was cut down by Nnoitra. He seems to display a certain courtesy for her privacy by announcing himself before entering, something he hadn't done before, and certainly something the Espada who could not care less about the girl would not do.

He clearly sees her discomfort behind her impressive facade of defiance and strength. Now, with Ichigo, Orihime has never conciously tried to show such confidence, even during battle, whether she feels it or not, and thus both drains Ichigo's confidence, forcing him to believe he cannot rely on her, and also fuelling her dependance on his judgement/protection. Granted, Ulquiorra is the enemy, but the that she has the ability to show such defiance in the face of danger under which she had previously wilted, paticularly in the presence of Ichigo and co, is something worthy of note.

Plus, Orihime's look isn't hositility, as one would expect from a person facing an enemy, but a look that says 'I'm aware of what happened but I still have my faith/mind intact, so do not say otherwise'. With Ichigo, she does not even pretend to show she has faith in him or any compunction in the face of a threat, shown particularly during Ichigo's final fight with Grimmjow, to the extent where Ichigo's fighting ability is drained from him as his will crumbles.

Orihime knows that she has no Ichigo to come rescue her from her captor right in front of her, and that defending herself is the only option available, and in this one-to-one confrontation, before a man who she neither depends on nor has any particular connection to, she is not subject to the insecurities that plague her around her friends.

Thus, as Ulquiorra states that he sees she is aware of what has just occured, Orihime ventures to defy his apparent assumption that Chad is dead. With Ichigo, she never asserted her beliefs/judgement in his presence; now, in her state of denial, she challenges Ulquiorra head on.

Ulquiorra strangely omits himself from responsibility of Chad's defeat, instead stating that 'fool' Nnoitra got impatient, and defied the orders given to him (hypocrite, much?). Any Espada who wished to break her would either lie and say he was responsible and go on to rub in fake details of Chad's death or assert the fact that Chad was dead.

Instead, when Orihime repeats her statement, Ulquiorra merely states: 'You are being stubborn/obstinate/annoying me', clearly inwardly frustrated by her denial of events. He doesn't insist that Chad is dead or torment her on the subject, but almost rambles in his speech where he attempts to rationalise, asserting his own point of view with the words 'If it were I', stating that she should cut her ties with her friends in order to feel indifferent to the deaths he believes to be inevitable. He may well have said, as he had somewhat done before, 'thinking this way allows you to be numb of the pain of your friends' deaths'.

He does not understand anything about bonds or the human heart, and thus his reasoning is painfully simplistic, but he cannot see that, and cannot comprehend why Orihime 'cannot think the same', as he so states.

Thus, he not trying to break her will, but change her will to bend to his state of mind, the mind-set he believes preferable in the avoidance of pain. He does not goad her into the reaction he recieves, but merely rambles in a way of defending his own callous and simplistic reasoning.

In the face of such terrible cold logic, Orihime strikes him. She strikes the man who could kill her without even trying, as most Espada would do regardless of Aizen's orders. One might assume that Ulquiorra is aware that, in reality, Orihime serves no other purpose than as bait for her friends and the Gotei 13 captains, and this would strengthen the argument that Ulquiorra could very well have killed her right there and then for such an insult, or simply retaliate in some way.

But he doesn't. He doesn't even dodge the blow, as a Vasto Lordes Hollow of his calibre could easily do, or say anything regarding it. If he was trying to show that she was so far beneath him that it wasn't worth him dodging, or that it was useless to attack him, and that emotions do little after all, he would have surely made a cold, final remark asserting this. It would be purely in his character.

Like when he got the final word as he departs from the battle against Uruhara and Yoriuchi, saying within earshot that Ichigo 'is not worth killing', and he had not moved a finger physically himself to prove this fact. It is clear that because Ulquiorra failed to do any of the aforemetioned that he did not intend to torment Orihime as many assume he did. Anyone who does such a thing to a person in such a situation would fully expect for their victim to lash out in some way, but Ulquiorra clearly did not see that coming.

Thus, he gives her a look that is subtly confused. As I have said, he does not comprehend human emotions or the heart, and thus would not be aware that his words would have any other effect than what he expected--a change in her mindset, that of nihilism and indifference to events other than her duty.

Later, Ulquiorra approaches Orihime to inform her once again of the reality of the situation. He does not state he would kill her himself, as many assume, but merely states she would 'die alone', with no one attempting to save her. (This also implies that Ulquiorra had absolutely no idea that Ichigo was about to confront him. This is further implied by the fact that Ichigo somehow heard Ulquiorra goading him into a confrontation through a massive gap in locations, IN SPEECH, NOT THOUGHTS. Why would Ulquiorra waste his breath saying something to someone who couldn't even hear him? I believe this instance was a fragmen of Ichigo's imagination, fuel for his fire, his resolve of confronting his rival.

But enough of that, carrying on.

Ulquiorra believes that Ichigo would naturally, as he had originally intended to do before Ulquiorra confronted Orihime) go in defence of his town first, and believed her friends powerless, as they all were in essance, to rescue her. Thus he says she has been abandoned, for the sake of Karakura Town. Quite ironic. Soul Society was threatened, but Ichigo and co rushed in to save Orihime. Now Karakura Town is threatened, they're like 'OMG we've gotta save the town!!', and up and go there, leaving Orihime alone and vulnerable in Las Noches.

It is blunt and frank summation of her situaton, and even realistic, but Orihime is not fazed in the least by it. Instead she voices her confidence in her friends in the face of Ulquiorra's cold logic, and expands on her beliefs in the heart with the expression of calmness and strength one would not expect from one utterly at the mercy of her captor. She has grown a backbone through Ulquiorra's subconcious prompter of her inner strength and poise. This memorable scene is solid proof of this.

Ulquiorra once again questions her views by asserting his own, rather than mocking or denying them, as a tormentor would do. He reaches out in a physical symbol of his desire to understand why Orihime believes what she does. The 'rip open your chest/crack your skull' speech is not a threat as such, but Ulquiorra's inner frustration and turmoil screaming out. Plus, he does not say 'I WILL rip open your blah blah blah', but 'IF I blah blah blah'.

It was a prompt for Orihime to once again reassert her beliefs in a way he could understand. There is a pause before Ichigo turns up, during which he could have just done it, or at least tried to. But he doesn't. This sudden dark turn in the conversation unnerves Orihime, but she does not scream in fear or shrink back. She continues to make unflincing eye-contact following this statement, and probably would have said something if Ichigo hadn't interrupted.

In the climatic fight between released Ulquiorra and Ichigo, he bars Orihime from healing Ichigo, although healing Ichigo would not have changed the fact that he was the victor and could royally own his butt again and again. He had previously noticed how Ichigo's negative influence affected Orihime's judgment, asking why she did not shield Ichigo from his previous attacks, as she easily could have (once again interuppted by Ichigo who, once again, tells her to get back, once again sending the message: 'I'm fine on my own, you just stay out of the way like a good damsel so I can save you, as I cannot rely on you to watch my back).

To me, it appears Ulquiorra seems to sense that Orihime would not be able to heal Ichigo because the sight of her saviour dying/dead before her eyes would break her, the sight of physically seeing her supposed indestructable protector die right before her eyes (something she had never witnessed nor comprehended before), the man into whom Ulquiora acknowledges Orihime put all her hopes, her very existence, into and thus tries to keep her away. Notice that she merely stops and stares at him--she does not argue or recoil or break down (yet).

His killing of Ichigo right in front of Orihime's eyes was what prompted her breakdown, I fully acknowledge this. But the result--that of showing her true despair--was because his own mind was unhinged by Ichigo's almost inhuman bravado and resolve that so ruthlessly challenged the mindset of nihilism that he had relied on for so long. His subconcious act of protection through barring her from Ichigo's dead/dying body cul ipl that he realised this and  tried to backtrack his actions in vain.

He expected her to come: 'So you've come, woman'. He acknowledged that Orihime had indeed 'poured all [her] hopes' into Ichigo and depended upon him to an almost pathological level, and destroying him would realistically show her that Ichigo is human and not the superman and almighty protector she held him to be, and she was not so important to him that he could not be taken down in battle through his resolve to 'save' her.

Actually, Ichigo's existence in Orihime's life damaged her and held her back from the potential and strength she showed around Ulquiorra. Without him, she would be free to be herself more, be the person she was with him. Unfortunately, once again Ulquiorra underestimated the emotions he still could not fully comprehend, and broke her. The fact that he ventured to bar her from Ichigo implies that he realised this and tried to stop her essentially destroying herself by breaking down so completely. He shows understanding of the connection between Ichigo and Orhime in the question where he asks Ichigo if he is fighting because of 'that woman [Orihime]', and also questions Orihime's act of protecting Ichigo late in the battle, when she had every opportunity to do so beforehand, going on to explain his reasoning with 'You're--'.

Now, if Ichigo hadn't interrupted, I believe that Uquiorra would have said 'You are dependant on him.' or something along those lines. I don't think it would go any other way. His statemet before he cero's Ichigo is proof that Ulquirra was aware of the depth of Orihime's unhealthy dependance on Ichigo and its effects.

Going on to show Orihime his killing of Ichigo is Ulquiorra's twisted way of showing her 'the heart you spoke of is weak, his bond with you is not nearly as strong as you would happily believe.' He is once again asserting his own logic against Orihime's in his volitile state of mind, unhinged by his interactions with Ichigo. He is thus not intentionally trying to break her, but instead prove the strength and worth of his state of mind. He showed her just how huge the extent of her pathological dependance complex was as well as its negative effects of on her state of mind, and pointed to the revelation Orihime comes to later on when she witnesses the destruction created by Hollow Ichigo, realising her faults. Granted, this side-effect was not intentional, but it is coincidential that all this was a result of Ulquiorra's own actions.

Lastly, as a dying Ulquiorra reaches out to Orihime in a gesture meant only for her, he also makes a final attempt to bring out the strong, single-minded Orihime he had come into regular unauthorised contact with. If he hadn't done so, none of the following would have occured. He makes the effort, and brings about a change in Orihime that lasts. His final gesture allows Orihime to make her own judgement according to her heart's will, and she responds to this in a way the mature, compassionate and self-assured Orihime would--by returning the gesture.

She shows that she has come through her trauma still capable of emmitting the inner strength she has so long kept hidden, something that Ulquiorra clearly sees. Her bravery is evident too, being unafraid of the man who killed her supposed love, and showing tears of sorrow for his death.

Now that, if anything, shows that Ulquiorra--instead of breaking her, ultimately pieced her back together from the emotionally confused, dependant girl to the self-assured, free-thinking young woman that she shows herself to be in the Fullbring arc--protecting Ichigo and countering Ginjou's attack against Ichigo's wishes, and then asserting her and Chad's worth to him, none of which she was capable of doing before the nihilistic Espada came into her life and changed her, subconciously or otherwise, for the better.


Dear me...I'm exhausted Please comment and share your thoughts!
I hope I've made sense and that my answer clears up any doubt regarding this topic.

Orihime (c), Ulquiorra (c) and Ichigo (c) belong to Tite Kubo, creator of BLEACH (c)
"Parents are only there to cause angst for the hero. If they're loving and supportive they must die. If they're not then they're mean and abusive so the hero must run away bemoaning his fate."
Parents Are Useless. Even if they don't leave you and/or abuse you, the likelihood of them actually ever taking time to care for you is quite low. Good Parents are hard to come by. It appears that the only decent parents are the dead ones. These are the parents that leave the characters behind, not by choice, early on in the story, sometimes even before the story begins. The characters are now all alone with no family. They may find a Parental Substitute, but they may not always be the bestguardians. These often heroic characters will always have fond memories of their parents. That's because these parents did everything right while they were alive. They spent time with their children and taught them invaluable life lessons that they continue to keep even to this day. Even though the parents are gone now, the actions of the parents still affect the character and keep him going. An essay on dead parents as a literary device can be found here. This is especially commonplace for Superheroes, whose parents or parental figures frequently suffer Death by Origin Story. If it turns out that they weren't quite such amazing parents as believed by the characters, but still treated as such, then it's Never Speak Ill of the Dead. See Good Parents for examples of these who manage to stay alive.


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     Anime and Manga 

  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
  • Ciel Phantomhive from Black Butler's parents, Rachel and Vincent Phantomhive, died when their mansion was mysteriously set on fire. They were described and remembered by Ciel as loving and devoted parents, though Vincent's moral alignment is left slightly ambiguous.
  • Fruits Basket:
    • Kyoko Honda, Tohru's mother, was an amazing person who imparted her wisdom and desire to help both others and her daughter Tohru, causing her memory to live on with her. She dies in a car accident shortly before the series begins.
    • Tohru's dad, Katsuya. Apparently he was such an understanding sort that he fell in love with Kyoko while she was still a delinquent, got her to see that she could be better than everyone thought, and married her despite objections from his family. In fact, a good deal of the wisdom and attitude that Tohru's mother imparted to her comes from the faith she learned from Katsuya. Although Tohru herself suggests that she felt some resentment toward her father for her mother's suicidal behavior after he died.
    • Kyo's mother is more or less an exception. She basically kept him locked up in the house all day, and Kyo suspects she was ashamed of him. This doesn't stop his biological father from holding her suicide against him. Kyo himself is more or less Happily Adopted.
      • Kyo's mother is a unique issue because it was basically because of his father's emotional and verbal abuse towards his mother that she mistreated him and then committed suicide.
  • Masaki Kurosaki from Bleach was a kind-hearted woman who loved her family very much. She left them when her children were very young, risking her life to protect Ichigo from certain death. Her husband Isshin practically worships her memory to this day - a large poster of her is hung in the kitchen of the Kurosaki's house.
  • Subverted in Code Geass. Lelouch practically worshiped his late mother, only to learn that 1) she's not really dead, and 2) she's pretty much identical to his much-despised father, and they both engineered the horrible events of Lelouch and Nunnally's lives in hopes of toughening them up. And they considered those two their favorites.
    • Gets worse in the novelizations, which contain a Flash Back scene where Bismarck sees Marianne interacting with her kids and notices, to his shock, that there's absolutely no love in her face or demeanor - to her they're just objects.
  • Negi's father and mother in Mahou Sensei Negima! is a Disappeared Parents Are The Best variation, since they're not confirmed dead, only MIA (At least, Nagi is. Arika...not so sure). Yes, he's never actually met either of them, but given allthecrap they had to go through, they did a damn good job getting Negi the best (and safest) childhood that they could.
  • Subverted in Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror. The movie starts with a flashback showing Haruka's mother shortly before she died, and Haruka ends up in the titular Oblivion Island partially due to a series of events related to the strained relations between her and her workaholic father. However, at the end of the movie, the mirror reveals that while her mother obviously loved her, her father was more openly affectionate and spent even more time with her when she was little, implying that he works so much in order to support her, not because he's oblivious like she assumed.
  • Probably the most normal, stable adult in Ouran High School Host Club was Haruhi's dead lawyer mom. The more benign of the other adults are Wholesome CrossdresserCloudcuckoolanders.
  • Partially deconstructed in Naruto. Naruto's parents died the day he was born, though they did love him and even protect him from beyond the grave. Still, he's an emotional basket case, though not as bad as Pain, Sasuke or Gaara (though in Gaara's case becoming an orphan was merciful, since his father kept trying to kill him). It's only partially deconstructed because while many parents are abusive or negligent, some of Naruto's friends do have good parents.
  • Kimba the White Lion: Kimba's father was killed trying to rescue his pregnant wife from hunters, and during her time with Kimba, his mother taught him his father's ideals. When she was killed off, Kimba aimed at becoming a benevolent ruler of his father's jungle for the honor and pride of his family.
  • Possibly subverted or played straight in Neon Genesis Evangelion. Shinji has very loving memories of his mom, Yui, and her death affects him well into his teenagers years. Gendo, the living parent, wound up abandoning Shinji after his wife died and didn't see him for years until he was needed to pilot Unit 01 (although it's often implied, if not outright stated, that getting away from Shinji was the only way Gendo could cope with Yui's death). But on the other hand... there are hints Yui wasn't as innocent and sweet as she seemed. She might have known beforehand about being absorbed into Unit 01, and brought her four-year-old son to watch it happen anyway. Like her husband, she seems to have a bit of The Chessmaster vibe to her, but it's unclear how heartless she really was/is.
  • Sango and Kohaku from Inuyasha always have fond memories of their strict but loving father. Inuyasha's dead mother did her best for her half-bred son and loved him dearly, so that Inuyasha did not hate humans entirely.
  • 3-gatsu no Lion:
    • Many of Rei's happiest memories come from his biological parents during his early childhood. While Kouda himself is not bad, he's guilty of a bad case of Parental Obliviousness.
    • The Kawamoto sisters speak very fondly of their mother; Akari and Hina have strong memories of how well of a caretaker she was. Their father, on the other hand, is a mystery. Rei notices that they always speak of their mother and never of their father, leading Rei to theorize in his narration that something happened between the sisters and their father that doesn't exactly place him in a positive light.
  • Subverted in Berserk. Sys, Guts' adopted mother, was the only one who loved him as a child, having picked him as a baby from underneath his deceased mother's corpse and raising him as her own. (So of course, she's dead from the plaguea few panels later.) However, while nurturing, she is also depicted as more than a bit unhinged after a miscarriage shortly before. As for his adopted father Gambino, well....
  • A Cruel God Reigns: Jeremy's dead father seemed like a pretty cool, incredibly sweet guy. Too bad he's dead, or it would have saved Jeremy from his Trauma Conga Line.
  • Tokyo Ghoul loves this trope.
    • Arata is shown to have been a loving and devoted father to his children, Touka and Ayato. What little we know about him is taken from how his children remember him, as a father that always encouraged them and kept up a brave front for them even while struggling to keep them safe.
    • Kureo Mado seems like a sadistic monster when first introduced, taking pleasure in Kicking The Dog and not seeming to have much in the way of redeeming qualities. It's only after he's long dead that we meet his daughter, Akira, and learn that he was a devoted Single Father that worked hard to raise her alone. Omakes feature him scaring her classmates when he showed up for Parent Day, and being accused of being a pervert when he took his teenaged daughter shopping for underwear. Another shows him proudly displaying a portrait his daughter did of him in school, which his coworkers mistake for a sketch of a suspect.
    • Hinami's parents were loving and kind, doting on their only child. Both ended up killed as a result of Van Helsing Hate Crimes, leaving her orphaned. Even so, people comment that it's clear how much they loved her — that she remains such a kind and gentle girl in spite of everything is proof they surrounded her with as much love as possible.
    • Kaneki's relationship with his mother is.....complicated, seeming to play it straight before subverting it. He remembers her fondly as a gentle woman that always did her best for everyone, and cooked him his favorite meal whenever she could. But when forced to confront his past, he admits that he deeply resents her for leaving him alone so often and working herself to death for the sake of her sister. He ultimately comes to accept her flaws, realizing she was simply afraid to lose the people she loved.
  • Jessie's Missing Mom, Miyamoto, in Pokémon is presented as sweet and cheerful, even if she is a high-tier Team Rocket member. She gave up her daughter due to her career but wanted to send money to her. Miyamoto went to capture Mew specifically because it would sell for a lot of money however she ended up getting lost in a blizzard. It's implied she survived and is still searching twenty years later.
  • Nadeshiko Kinomoto from Cardcaptor Sakura. She has been dead for seven years at the beginning of the series, but being dead doesn't stop her from watching over and protecting and caring for her family. She is frequently described by all who knew her as a caring and kind, if somewhat ditzy, person. And, since she was a famous model, there were a lot of photos of her, so her husband puts up a new picture of her every single day, and never once evenconsidersdating anyone else or getting remarried.
  • Ilulu from Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid had very good parents from what little we see of them (the fact that they didn't discourage her attempts to be friends with humans speaks volumes). Their deaths played a large role in her becoming a Tragic Bigot.

     Comic Books 

  • Batman: Bruce Wayne, of course, practically worships the memory of his parents. His parents worked hard to give Bruce a strong sense of justice and knowledge of right and wrong, and the importance of helping those who need it (although they meant using the family fortune to improve the lives of Gotham's citizens, as some stories portray them as pacifists who would've disapproved of Bruce's methods). These lessons naturally fuelled his drive to become Batman after their deaths.
  • Daredevil's father was a good, honest man, who pushed his son to be the best man he could be. Since the elder Murdock was a boxer, he encouraged Matt to study as hard as he could and get a good education, not being uneducated and forced to fight for a living like himself. In addition to being the superhero Daredevil, Matt became one of New York City's most respected and honest defense lawyers. And of course, his dad was killed by the mob before he got to see it happen.
    • However, this is slightly subverted. Jack Murdock loved his son, but Matt, as an adult, admits that he greatly resented his father forcing him to study instead of being allowed to play with other children. Further, when Matt got into a fight and beat up a boy who was picking on him, Jack actually slapped him, something the adult Daredevil tries to turn a blind eye to.
      • Matt Murdock's mom was also dead in the original origin, but Frank Miller later retconned it so she became a nun and Jack lied to Matt about her being dead.
  • Stan Lee, co-creator of Daredevil, loved this trope, and it's especially noticeable in Spider-Man, where Peter Parker is three times an orphan, with his biological parents already dead at the beginning of Amazing Fantasy #15 and his surrogate father, Uncle Ben, killed in that story. It was later revealed that his parents were badass secret agents who once saved Wolverine. Oh, and Uncle Ben apparently saw Captain America first-hand. Other examples from the Silver Age:
    • Sue and Johnny Storm turned from half-orphans to orphans by the death of their father, Franklin Storm, in early Fantastic Four. Neither Reed Richards nor Ben Grimm had living parents (that was later changed for Reed by John Byrne), Ben just mentioned his Aunt Petunia (who was also first shown by Byrne). Subsequently Ben was also given a dead brother, Jake, so he could angst over his violent death as well.
    • Scott Summers, an orphan in the original version, as was his brother Alex, although Chris Claremont later introduced Corsair as their long-lost father. Scott was originally mentored by the criminal Jack o' Diamonds.
    • Professor Charles Xavier, another triple orphan, losing his father, his mother, and his stepfather in his origin stories, gaining evil stepbrother Juggernaut in the process.
    • Janet Van Dyne already had lost her mother, the murder of her father was what drove her to become the Wasp.
    • It even extended to supporting characters, most notably in the case of Gwen Stacy, who perhaps had the coolest dad of Marvel's 1960s.
      • Certainly this trope is very pronounced in Spider-Man, where Betty Brant was an orphan to begin with and then also lost her brother Bennett in a shoot-out. Harry Osborn's mother was also dead from the beginning, in ASM #122 he also lost his father, the original Green Goblin (he got better, though). When Mary Jane finally got an origin in the mid-1980s, it was revealed that her mother also is dead. J. Jonah Jameson was introduced as a widower, which of course made his son John a half-orphan. The trope as inverted with Joe Robertson, who once mentioned he had another son, Patrick, who died.
    • Bruce Banner was introduced without a family. Eventually it was revealed that his mental troubles partly derive from his mother being killed by his abusive father. Bruce's longtime love-interest (and, for a time, wife) Betty Ross was introduced having lost her mother. The Hulk's occasional side-kick Rick Jones has been an orphan from the start.
  • Superman both uses and averts this trope. Jor-El and Lara are shown to be very loving toward their only son, even if Krypton might not have been the best place for little Kal-El to have been raised, and of course are killed when Krypton explodes. Ma and Pa Kent on the other hand, while not Clark's biological parents, are loving, understanding, and always there to give their superpowered alien son helpful advice whenever he needs it.
    • Basically, the whole reason Superman is The Cape is because of good parenting.
      • In the pre-Crisis version and also the first Christopher Reeve movie, Pa Kent had to die before Clark would leave Smallville for Metropolis.
  • Lex Luthor actually killed his parents in the current continuity—well, cut their brake lines on a rainy night, which—well, you know. Reason? Got inhis way.
  • Inverted by The Punisher. He would have been a good parent. But it was his kids who died, not him.
  • James-Michael's parents in Omega the Unknown were very caring despite being robots.
  • In the Jack Chick tract "Happy Hour," the mother dies as an indirect result of her alcoholic husband's actions. The children blame him for her death, and the girl even says that he should have died instead, but they forgive him andconvince him to turn his life over to Jesus.
  • Using an existing quote, Hergé quipped re. his most famous creation, Tintin: "Not everyone is so lucky as to be born an orphan." Tintin's good friend Chang is a young orphan, and his other close friends Haddock and Calculus also have no familial attachments in-story.
  • Notably averted in Watchmen. Rorschach's mother's abuse is part of why he's so unstable. When he heard that she had been murdered, all he said was "Good".

     Fan Works 

  • Princessbinasloves this trope. All of her OCs are orphans.
  • The Joy Of Battle, a Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater fanfic, subverts this trope with Joy's mother. The first chapter sets up the typical Deceased Parents Are the Best scenario with a side character mentioning Joy's mother favorably. Several chapters later, when Sorrow channel's her mother's spirit, Joy makes it obvious that she does not like her mother (living or dead!). Much later in the story, we learn why.
  • In Mutant, Kittery Abigail doesn't live through the second chapter, in stark contrast to the cute, happy first chapter.
  • Cori Falls's Pokemon fanfics portray Jessie's mother Miyamoto as a saintly, loving, nurturing woman who died tragically before her time, and Jessie never misses a chance to wax emotional about this. Becomes a double dose of this trope when Jessie finally finds out about her father Dorian, who's portrayed as a Tragic Hero.
  • Zuko and Katara in How I Became Yours: Rise of the Agni Army, at least according to the author.
  • Subverted in Reconciliation. Sho's mother died in childbirth and his father committed suicide soon afterward; Sho considers his father's decision extremely selfish.
  • In Weekend at Hisao's, Shizune talks fondly about her deceased mother, noting that she was able to get her father to stop hiring tutors to make her speak. Her still living father falls under Parents as People.
  • Firefly in Ace Combat: Equestria Chronicles matured from a filly to an adult mare due to losing her parents, thanks to Black Star. She always speaks with gratitude about them, but still grieves over the loss at times.
  • It's revealed in the 1983: Doomsday Stories that Hungary is this to the successor Nations now living in what's left of her land.
  • In Empath: The Luckiest Smurf, Papa Smurf becomes the sole parent of about a hundred Smurfs because their parents have all passed away due to The Plague. However, some of them also had the foresight to teach their children important skills that would be useful in their lives, although they never expected those skills to come in handy after such a loss of parents.
  • In Children of an Elder God, Asuka's parents died in a lab fire when she was a little child. She remembers them fondly and misses them, as opposed to her canon self who loathes her father and wants nothing to do with him.

     Film - Animated 

  • In the Disney Animated Canon, parents are in luck to survive into screentime at all.
    • Snow White's dad, although he wasn't mentioned in the movie itself. He was in the merchandise and comics though.
    • Bambi's mom.
    • Cinderella: Cinderella's kind dad is seen doting on his daughter in the prologue.
    • The Little Mermaid: Ariel's mom, seen in the third film. In contrast, she has a strained relationship with her father, Triton.
    • The Lion King: Mufasa to Simba. Simba considered him to be great long before he died.
    • Pocahontas's mom, who appears as a Dramatic Wind to help Pocahontas out numerous times.
    • Quasimodo's mother of The Hunchback of Notre Dame loved her son despite his ugly appearance, in contrast to society who shunned him.
    • Atlantis: The Lost Empire Milo's parents. Raised by his grandfather, who has also died before the film begins.
    • The parents of Lilo and Nani Pelekai in Lilo & Stitch. Their father was even the one who came up with the 'ohana motto.
    • The Princess and the Frog: Tiana's dad. Her still-living mom is also a good parent, but it's her dad's dream of owning a restaurant that serves as Tiana's motivation.
    • Frozen: Although fans demonize Anna and Elsa's parents, they qualify. Their decision to hide Elsa away and try to teach her to repress her powers led to mistakes, but it was well-intentioned.
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs: Flint's mom was the more loving and supportive of Flint's two parents in Flint's eyes. Sure enough, she ended up dead after the prologue, while the dad, loving but distant, survived.

     Film - Live Action 

  • Alice in Wonderland (2010): Alice's father, Charles Kingsleigh, would comfort Alice after having a nightmare. He would also encourage her unconventional thought patterns and tell her that it's okay to be mad. Alice would eventually follow in her father's shoes and take up his old business ventures.
  • Beauty and the Beast (2017) adds this for Belle and the Beast's respective mothers. Both died while they were very young and it turns out Belle's died of The Plague and she had Maurice take the infant Belle far away to avoid them being infected. Subverted with the Beast's father, who was a cruel abuser and turned him into the selfish prince he was at the start of the story.
  • In A New Hope, Luke Skywalker's mother is dead, and his father is implied to be dead as well (though by noweveryone knows the truth). Furthermore, his Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru, the parental figures who raised him afterward, are killed by stormtroopers shortly after Luke meets Obi-wan Kenobi.
  • Vada's mother in My Girl. Subverted in the sequel when Vada goes to her mother's old home town to do research on her for a school project and finds out she wasn't so perfect.
  • Jack the Giant Slayer: Jack's father and Isabelle's mother are both very decent people. Jack's father comforts Jack when's he frightened by a storm. Isabelle's mother encourages her to go on adventures and to be the best she can be.
  • Sam's father in A Cinderella Story was practically a living saint.
  • Twister: Jo's father is killed by a tornado, setting the main character's motivation in motion.
  • Interstellar: Murph"s adult life revolves around the utter abandonment/death of her father.
  • Contact: Eillie's life's mission revolves around the search for extraterrestrial intelligence - this culminates with Ellie meeting an alien diguised as her father.
  • The Hunger Games: Katniss views her dead father more highly than she does her loving but not-quite-there mother.


  • In Out of the Dust, heroine Billie Jo has a supportive and kind mother and an emotionally distant (though not terrible) father. Guess which parent dies.
  • Dying Embers: The Mc Carty siblings and their cousin Em have five parents between them, all very loving, and dead for nearly a decade.
  • In Guild Hunter this is both played straight and subverted with Elena's mother: while Marguerite was a wonderful mother up to the event that shattered her family, after that she became nothing more than a shadow of herself, not standing up for her surviving daughters when they needed her and ultimately driving herself to suicide.
  • The Heroes of Olympus