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A character, generally the main character and a child or minor in age, is shown to have missing, dead or otherwise absent parents. Because there is still the need for an adult figure around, the character's grandparents fill in the void. Generally, there are no aunts or uncles in the picture.

The child may feature as a Heartwarming Orphan. When using this trope would interfere with the plot, you often get a World of No Grandparents.

This happens in real life as well. Compare Family Relationship Switcheroo, when the child is raised by grandparents but believes them to be their real parents.

Examples of Raised by Grandparents include:

Anime and Manga

  • Yoh's grandparents, Kinu and Yohmei, in Shaman King
  • Yugi's grandfather in Yu-Gi-Oh!. He does have a mother, but she got Brother Chucked quite quickly. Rebecca Hawkins, as well.
  • In One Piece, Luffy and Ace were watched over by their grandfather, Vice-Admiral Garp. Subverted in that Garp wasn't Ace's grandpa by blood, but actually adopted him upon a request of Ace's biological father. Garp still considered him his grandson anyway, even if adopted.
  • Naruto has Konohamaru, but curiosuly - there are lots of orphans, but grandparents appear much less often than parents.
    • Sasori ended up being raised by his grandmother Chiyo after his parents were killed in battle by Kakashi's father Sakumo when he was 6.
  • Arika Yumemiya from Mai-Otome, and Grandma's sayings are quoted throughout the show.
  • In Umineko no Naku Koro ni, the audience finds out early on that Battler Ushiromiya had a falling-out with his father Rudolf about six years before the story started, and so from the age of twelve until relatively recently, was living with his maternal grandparents.
  • Rei/Mars from Sailor Moon is raised by her maternal grandfather after her mom dies. In the Manga and Live action, her father is still around but she refuses to have anything to do with him because of his cold treatment of her Ill Girl mother, not visiting her a single time until her death; he isn't mentioned in the first anime. Her grandfather isn't mentioned in the live action (nor anyone else she may be living with) thus not using this trope.
  • Link is raised by his grandparents (including his Badass Grandpa) in the manga adaptations of The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons.
  • Ushio from Clannad lives with her grandparents until she's five years old, because Tomoya sees her as a reminder of his wife Nagisa, who died giving birth to her, and can't handle the depression. Once she's five, however, they start rekindling their bond.
  • When first introduced, Yukito Tsukishiro from Cardcaptor Sakura, though as they're often said to be out of town, his grandparents are never seen. As Yukito is the "false form" of the magical being Yue, most of his background is actually false memories, including his grandparents. They simply don't exist.
  • In the manga Baby and Me, one of Takuya's classmates claims to live with her grandparents because her father and mother are famous and are overseas. Actually, it turns out that her grandparents are really her parents, and she's embarrassed about the fact, so she lies.
  • Renton in Eureka Seven was raised by his grandfather after his mother died in childbirth and his father Adrock sacrificed himself during the New Era Summer of Love when Renton was a young child. His uncle appears in one episode, however.
  • Miu in Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple was raised by her grandfather Hayato.
  • Yasutora "Chad" Sado from Bleach. Chad's parents died when he was a little boy, so he spent a good part of his life under the watch of a Mexican Cool Old Guy named Oscar Joaquin de la Rosa, whom he referred to as "abuelo" (Spanish for "grandfather"); it's not fully known if the "Abuelo" was his real grandpa, a distant relative or a mere family friend, but Chad considered him as his gramps for all that was worth.
    • Same goes to Toshiro Hitsugaya, raised by his grandmother in Rukongai alongside Momo Hinamori. The lady is still alive after the series, and some We do knot...' scenes are dedicated to her and Toshiro.
  • In the original Gakuen Hetalia, Seychelles mentions that she used to live with an old man she referred to as "grandfather". Since she's a nation-tan, it's highly doubtful they're 100% relatives.
    • Also, the young Italies used to live with their grandfather Ancient Rome until his "death", then were taken in either by Austria and Hungary (Chibitalia) or Spain (Chibimano).
  • Kaoru Hanabishi from Ai Yori Aoshi. Unluckily for him, the trope comes along abusive grandparents.
  • Since Kotetsu Kaburagi from Tiger and Bunny can't properly raise his daughter Kaede due to his superhero role, she lives with her grandmother Anju plus her uncle Muramasa (Kotetsu's older brother) instead and has no idea about his Secret Identity. Until almost at the end.
  • Lunlun from Hana no Ko Lunlun, since mom died in childbirth and dad followed five years later. Also some of the people she helps, like a Spanish girl named Isabel and a Moroccan boy named Sayid.
  • Takeshi Sendoh from Hajime no Ippo. His mother died few after he was born (maybe because of childbirth but it's not specified), his father was a firefighter who died in the line of duty. Hence why he was raised by his widowed paternal grandmother, the owner of a small shop in Osaka.
  • Mario and Masako Natsume from Mawaru Penguindrum. Their mom was never mentioned, and both their dad and their elder sibling Kanba were thrown out of the family by the grandpa. Who was NOT kind to the remaining kids.
  • Shinobu Iijyuin from Haikara-san ga Tooru, since his father is a very high ranked military man stationed abroads and his mother was a German noblewoman who never was accepted by Japanese society, so she had to leave baby!Shinobu with the Iijyuin clan.
  • Mei from Arashi no Yoru ni is raised by his grandmother, as his biological mother was killed protecting him from Giro and his pack of wolves in the prologue.
  • Nice Guy Panther from Eyeshield 21 was raised by his grandmother whom had given him his treasured sweatband. She was also the one who provided him the money with her own savings to go to Japan. He desired to join the NFL so his grandmother would no longer have to work.
  • Misaki from Hana no Mizo Shiru was raised by his grandfather after his parents died in accident...for a few years, until he died, too. Then he's left in Kawabata's care, which doesn't really end well.
  • Yuri "Yurio" Plisetsky from Yuri!!! On Ice was raised by his grandfather Nikolai. It's quite telling that his grandpa is one of the few people that Yurio, a Bratty Half-Pint, is openly and unconditionally loving to.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure
    • In Diamond is Unbreakable, Josuke Higashikata is raised by his mother Tomoko and his grandfather Ryouhei - though the latter dies early in the story. His father, Joseph Joestar (aka the now elderly hero of Part 2, Battle Tendency), didn't know about his existence until Josuke was in highschool; he also didn't really know who his dad was, until his nephew Jotaro Kujo (the now adult hero of Part 3, Stardust Crusaders) contacted him since there was a need to discuss the boy's place in Joseph's will. Naturally, things are awkward for the three.
    • Joseph himself was raised by his paternal grandmother Erina Pendleton-Joestar, since his father George II was murdered few after World War I and his mother, Elizabeth "Lisa Lisa" Straizo, killed the culprit (a DIO Zombie disguised as a military officer) and had to go on the run for it.
  • Ashita e Attack has Mimi Hijiri and her brother living with their grandmother since their parents died when they were young.


  • In one continuity, Legion of Super-Heroes's Luornu Durgo(Triad/Triplicate Girl/Duo Damsel) was raised by her grandmother, until she died and Luornu was sent to a mental hospital, due to her three selves not being emotionally identical. The grandmother was like this, as well, though she didn't reveal it to Luornu until shortly before she died.
  • The Batman villain Dr. Jonathan Crane aka The Scarecrow was raised by his grandmother. She was not a pleasant woman and it did not turn out well.
    • The same goes for Humphrey Dumpler, AKA Humpty Dumpty.


  • Masao in Takeshi Kitano's Kikujiro No Natsu is a boy who is raised by his grandmother. The plot involves his looking for his estranged mother during the summer vacation (and meeting an oddball surrogate father figure).
  • According to the 2-disc DVD of Atlantis the Lost Empire, Milo was supposedly raised by his late grandfather Thaddeus Thatch (whose best friend was apparantly Preston Whitmore until Thaddeus "was laughed at and died a broken man") because his biological parents were both killed in a railway accident.
  • Huey and Riley Freeman in The Boondocks. Various news reports and other official statements treat "Granddad" as if it were Robert Jebediah "Mr. Bitches" Freeman's actual first or middle name. Even he does it. Huey and Riley's parents are stated to be dead (Robert spent their inheritance on the house), the anime suggests they have no aunts or uncles, so he is the closest person left to take care of them.


  • Heidi starts when the title character goes to live with her paternal grandfather after her parents die and her aunt changes jobs. Her friend Peter is raised by both his mom and his blind grandma.
  • Neville Longbottom from Harry Potter was raised by his Apron Matron grandmother, Augusta, because the Cold-Blooded Torture from Barty Crouch Jr. and the Lestranges drove his parents Frank and Alice mad.
    • Also, Teddy Lupin is raised by his maternal grandmother Andromeda, since Tonks and Remus are killed in the war.
  • Rajput Cool Old Lady in Kim by Rudyard Kipling took it upon herself, though due to her style it was rather taxing for everyone around as well:

  He is wearied, and I forgot, being a grandmother. (None but a grandmother should ever oversee a child. Mothers are only fit for bearing.)

  • In the American Girl historical fiction series, the Victorian-era Samantha is raised by her wealthy grandmother because her parents died on a boat. No, not that one.
  • Allanah Solo in the Star Wars Expanded Universe.
  • Peter Hartling's book Oma ("Grandma") is about an Cool Old Lady who takes in her 5-year-old grandson Karl aka Kalle after his parents die in an accident. They both have to deal with the loss and with the grandmother's ailing health.
  • In Les Misérables, Marius Pontmercy's grandfather takes him away from his father after his mother dies by threatening to disinherit him if his father raises him.
  • In Fire and Hemlock, Polly is raised by her grandmother from around thirteen, after both her mother and father send her away to avoid difficulty with their love interests, leaving Polly stranded and sick in the middle of a strange city. Granny flatly refuses to let Polly's mother take her back even when she offers.
  • In Doctrine of Labyrinths, Corbie was raised by her grandmother, who is implied to have died at some point before she meets Felix and Mildmay. Her parents remain shrouded in mystery as she never gives any information about her mother, and all she knows about her father is that he was probably a Ygressine sailor because she looks almost exactly like the Ygressine people about town.
  • Brown Girl in the Ring 's main character Ti-Jeanne is raised by her grandmother Gros-Jeanne.
  • Subverted with the Tillerman children. They were originally raised by a single mother until youngest child Sammy was six, but their mother's mental health began to decline and she eventually abandoned them and ran away. The story ends with the children's grandmother taking them in and picking up where their mother left off.

Live Action Television

  • Prue, Piper, and Phoebe from Charmed were raised by their grandmother after their mother's death and father's abandonment.
  • Mako/Shinken Pink from Samurai Sentai Shinkenger was raised by her grandmother. Both her parents are actually still alive but her mother was crippled in the climatic fight of the last generation and was unable to train her daughter in the family traditions.
  • It's revealed in the first episode of The A-Team that Murdock's mother died when he was five years old. His father is never mentioned. He mentions both grandparents on occasion, and it's implied that they may have raised him.
  • Sookie Stackhouse and her brother Jason in True Blood were raised by their grandmother after their parents died in a flood.
  • Special Agent Seeley Booth from Bones was taken from an abusive alcoholic father and raised by his grandfather.
    • It's indicated Brennan was rescued from foster care by her grandfather, but there's later info that makes things fuzzy about this.
  • A pretty standard upbringing in Soap Operas, if the hero/heroine is orphaned. ie., Thalia's character Marimar in the telenovela of the same name was raised by her grandparents in a cute little shack near the sea. Then they die in a fire. Literally.
  • Warrick Brown on CSI.
  • Gentaro Kisaragi, a.k.a. Kamen Rider Fourze lives with his grandfather in the latter's motor shop after losing his parents at an early age.


  • In the Sufjan Stevens song "Romulus", the narrator and his brother are left in grandpa's care by their mom, who they apparently don't see again until Grandpa's funeral many years later.

Stand-Up Comedy

  • Chris Rock discusses this in his special Bigger and Blacker. He says that "if a kid calls his grandmama 'Mommy' and his mama 'Pam', he's going to jail".

Video Games

  • Cara from Final Fantasy V is taken care of by her Grandfather Galuf after her parents' disappearance.
  • Chloe in Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility and Animal Parade is raised by her grandfather, Ramsey.
    • In Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town and the female equivalent, May is raised by her grandfather Barley, though it's suggested in a couple of events that her mother is still alive. Also, Stu is raised by his sister, Elli, who appears to have been raised by their grandmother, Ellen.
  • Dead or Alive: Gen Fu is fighting to save the life of his granddaughter, whom he raised himself.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, Link lives with his grandfather, the master blacksmith of Hyrule.
    • Similarly, in Wind Waker, Link and his sister Aryll are raised by their grandmother.
    • Also, while not his Biological Grandparents (assumingly), Ganondorf was raised by the sisters Twinrova, who are far older then him and fit the dynamic nicely.
  • Naoto Shirogane from Persona 4 claims "Grandpa" as the main parental figure.
  • Saleh and Lute from Fire Emblem the Sacred Stones were raised by their respective grandmothers. Saleh is an orphan, Lute's parents are Walking the Earth.
    • Subverted with Lyn from Fire Emblem Elibe, since she came to live with her grandfather only when she was in her mid-late teens and had been living alone for a bit after her parents (and whole tribe) died. Played straighter with Canas's son Hugh from the prequel; he was raised by his grandmother Niime since his parents died protecting their village from a snowstorm.
    • In the Archanea games, Marisha lives with her grandmother. The Mystery of the Emblem remake has the Avatar, Kris, raised by their Retired Badass grandfather.
  • Mai Shiranui from Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters is hinted to have lived like this too, since her only mentioned relatives are her grandfather and trainer Hanzou and her dead grandmother. The hairpin that she wears is hinted to be a Tragic Keepsake from said grandma.
    • According to Mai and Takuma's intro conversation in KOF XIII, Hanzou Shiranui recently passed away. Takuma straightforwardly asks Mai if she and Andy are up for the challenge of keeping up with the Shiranui school of ninjitsu now that Hanzou is gone, and Mai calmly tells him not to worry since they're ready for it.
  • This seems to be the case for Blue and his sister Daisy in Pokémon Red and Blue, as their parents are never brought up, only their grandfather Professor Oak.
  • Gabriel Knight was raised by his paternal grandmother; his parents died when he was still a baby.
  • Kaine in Nie R was raised by her grandmother following her parents death.
  • Subverted in Tekken: Jin Kazama only came to live with his grandfather Heihachi Mishima when he was 15 years old.

Web Comics

  • Sheldon lives with his grandfather.
  • Jade from Homestuck seems to have been raised by her grandfather. Until he died, of course. Now her Guardian is Bec. Then it turns out that He's actually her biological father.

Western Animation

  • Arnold and his grandparents in Hey Arnold!, since his parents Miles and Stella disappeared in the jungle when he was a baby. He's finally reunited with them in the long-awaited Jungle Movie, upon which they come back to the States and move into the boarding house.
  • Max Tennyson in Ben 10. With all they've gone through together, there's not much more raising those kids' parents can do.
  • William Murderface. Murderface, Murderface.
  • In The Land Before Time (sequels, that is), Littlefoot is raised by his grandparents.
  • The Tibbles from Arthur are raised by their grandmother.

Real Life

  • George Washington - First U.S. President; he raised two of his step-grandchildren.
  • List dump of famous people raised by Grandpa, Grandma, or both: Oksana Baiul, Lucille Ball, Tallulah Bankhead, Pierce Brosnan, Cherie Booth, Carol Burnett, Naomi Campbell, Eric Clapton, Frederick Douglass, Jamie Foxx, Morgan Freeman, Anna Harrison, 50Cent, Samuel L. Jackson, Sheila Jordan, Bai Ling, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Davina McCall, Willie Nelson, Isaac Newton,Barack Obama, Edward James Olmos, Al Pacino, Gregory Peck, Lou Rawls, Trent Reznor, Victoria Rowell, Bertrand Russell[1]Sir Walter Scott, Leo Tolstoy, Ellen Wood, Tammy Wynette, etc.
  • According to this site, "6 million children live in grandparent and other relative headed households nationwide" in the United States.
    • It's not that hard to find this. In certain parts of the United States (and many parts of the world) where there is a strong emphasis on family, it's not uncommon for three generations to live in a house together (or at least live close to each other.) If the grandparents are of retirement age and both parents have full-time jobs, this is one of the better situations (it gives the grandparents something to do, it prevents the children from becoming latchkey kids, and it's usually cheaper than a nanny or babysitter.)
  • A very common occurrence in Russia, even when the parents are alive and well. Due to Values Dissonance, it's considered perfectly normal to leave bringing up the kid until the age of 7 or even higher to the grandmother.
  • A common phenomenon in China since the Great Opening Up. Many people headed East to work in the cities, leaving their children in the care of the grandparents. As a result, many Chinese children in rural areas in China are much closer to their grandparents than their parents.
  1. Interestingly, the grandparents in question were the Earl Russell and his wife (and then widow).