Our hero may be a perfectly Nice Guy , respectable, successful, a loving husband and a good father. But what he really wants is for this one guy to acknowledge this. Most often, that one guy is his emotionally distant father, though it can also be The Ace , The Mentor , an Aloof Big Brother or especially that Always Someone Better individual, usually as an old friend of the hero. Almost always a Special Guest , and often a Large Ham as well.
When it's a recurring character, usually a controlling parent. A "Fawlty Towers" Plot will often ensue as our hero tries increasingly more convoluted schemes to convince the "Well Done, Son!
In the end, one of two things happens. Rarely, the "Well Done, Son! This may result in the betrayed hero Calling the Old Man Out. Most of the time, though, everything comes to a head when the "Well Done, Son! The hero fesses up, and the "Well Done, Son!
If the "Well Done, Son! Cue the Sentimental Music Cue. In other genres, this can be a bit more understated, with the "Well Done, Son! May be part of an Inadequate Inheritor plot. The Fantasy-Forbidding Father usually inspires this sort of feeling.
This dynamic is usually father-son. Mother-daughter and father-daughter are not too unusual, but mother-son is rare unless it's the Jewish Mother scenario, which is almost always Played for Laughs. A really unpleasant variation is when the "Well Done, Son! At best, the character may gain some comfort by following his understanding of what the deceased would want if he were alive. Contrast So Proud of You. Also see "Well Done, Dad! This may be caused by Anti-Nepotism.
In Attack on Titan , Reiner Braun originally enlisted out of desire to earn recognition, out of the belief that doing so would allow them to reunite with their Disappeared Dad and make him proud.
By then, it's too late to back out of his mission This is not helped by the fact that Huey, while surprised by her behavior, actively encourages this sort of thing for fun and profit. As a kid, Guts of Berserk wanted more than anything to please his adoptive father Gambino, the leader of a mercenary band that took him in. Unfortunately, as this is the Berserk universe , things turn out badly for him. Turns out that Gambino was a complete asshole who blamed Guts for the death of his lover Shisu from the plague, and who went as far as to have him raped by one of his men because he considered Guts "disgusting" and he did not feel that he could be "raised to be loyal like a dog.
They're estranged because Ryuuken rejects his family's Quincy heritage, but Uryuu still desires his father's approval. As a child, Uryuu once promised his grandfather that he would become very strong to prove the worth of the Quincies to Ryuuken. It's heavily implied that Uryuu has misunderstood his father's behaviour and that Ryuuken's encouraging this misunderstanding to hide the truth. Rukia always seeks approval from her adopted brother, Byakuya.
He spent decades brushing her off by saying not to bother him with 'trivial' matters, resulting in her thinking he hated her. It turns out he was conflicted by two clashing vows that prevented him from getting too close to her. Once Ichigo kicks some sense into his head, he becomes much less obscure about his feelings for Rukia. In the final arc, he finally acknowledges her strength , almost reducing her to tears. In Chivalry of a Failed Knight , Ikki Kurogane was shunned by his family for being born weak and lacking natural talent.
Ikki then dedicated his life to becoming the greatest swordsman he could be so that he could be a man his father would be proud of. While he succeeded in becoming a Master Swordsman , his father bluntly tells him he will never support or acknowledge him, because Ikki's story of self-improvement completely contradicts his father's philosophy that everyone is born to be "cogs in a machine", which means everyone's talent and rank is predetermined.
His father even attempts to sabotage Ikki's progress to prevent him from inspiring others to improve. After getting past the Heroic B. Confidential Confessions has this in Volume 3. Kyoko's father graduated from Tokyo University, so naturally, she's expected to match up not just by him, but everyone.
This, combined with her own weight issues are what drive her to drugs. In an unusual variation, it's not Kyoko, but her father who realizes after some soul searching that he screwed up and drove her to the drugs in the first place.
Zorome fully buys into this, and while the others are less enthusiastic, they all nod their heads in agreement when he starts boasting on how they are impressing Papa by defeating klaxosaurs. A fairly bizarre example occurs in The Day of Revolution when an intersexed schoolboy opts for gender reassignment surgery largely because he hopes becoming a girl will mend his broken relationship with his cold and distant father fortunately it's not his only reason.
Future Trunks kind of got to have it both ways. Despite being repulsed by his father Vegeta's evil behavior, he still wanted his approval and often behaved deferentially. Vegeta, being Vegeta , considered this a weakness and mocked him for it.
He was surprised and more than a little pissed off when Trunks actually followed through on his threat to attack him if necessary to prevent Cell's transformation, even though that meant giving up all hope of winning his approval. Realizing that, after Trunks was revived and returned to his own timeline, Vegeta gave a small but powerful farewell salute.
Present Trunks also has this towards his father, but Vegeta seems to have learned a small lesson, and shows pride in his son from time to time.
This generally takes the form of ' land a punch on my face and we'll go to the park for an hour'. Reporter Takashi Jo from the manga Eagle: The Making of an Asian-American President also frequently tries to meet the challenges that his long-lost father, Democratic presidential candidate and Zen Survivor of the Vietnam War Kenneth Yamaoka, poses to teach his illegitimate son the way of the Magnificent Bastard.
Takashi's attempts to understand Yamaoka conflict with his resentment over Yamaoka's abandoning his mother — and the suspicion that her recent, suspicious death was no accident A female example is found in Elfen Lied with Nana who sees Professor Kurama as her father, whom she calls "Papa," because she needed something to keep her from going insane during the torturous experimentation, believing that she is making him proud.
Kurama, in turn, sees her as his own daughter and cares very much for her. Gender-flipped in Fushigi Yuugi. In the manga the anime only hints at it , Miaka Yuuki was portrayed as seeking her Education Mama 's approval constantly before she was spirited to the Four God's Universe. The manga explained such a conduct as a side-effect of her parents' divorce: Yuuki left and vowed to not make her cry. Toshiki in Get Backers brainwashes Kazuki, steals his soul and nearly murders the kinda-hypotenuse because he feels Kazuki never paid attention to him when they were younger.
In actuality, Kazuki watched him for years, and knows both him and his "beautiful dance of a fighting style" very well. Subsequently, Toshiki joins Juubei as Kazuki's right-hand man and protector for the rest of the series. Maho's motivation for following the Nishizumi style of tankery seems to be to please her and Miho's mother. It's actually so that her sister won't feel pressured to serve as heiress, and so that Miho can live her life her own way.
Miho, on the other hand, shows no desire to live up to her mother's standards, and even states in a "World of Cardboard" Speech near the end of the Little Army manga that her reasons for doing tankery are not "for the sake of her home ". Mako Reizei is implied to not only be afraid of angering her grandmother, but also genuinely wanting her approval, possibly motivated by her guilt over her mom dying after their last conversation was an argument.
Her character song makes reference to this "I don't want to disappoint that person I love". In Hakuouki , Okita wants to be helpful to Kondou and earn his approval. But due to some help from Serizawa's manipulation, he becomes quickly convinced that the only thing he could do for Kondou is kill his enemies but Kondou would rather not have Okita get his hands dirty. This leads to resentment and jealousy against Hijikata, the person who Kondou relies on the most.
Arslan in The Heroic Legend of Arslan works hard to try to please his parents who both act rather coldly towards him. Inuyasha never knew his father but he desires Sesshoumaru's approval. Fortunately, their father left a legacy that taught his sons to make peace with his memory and so make peace with each other.
A female example is found in Layla Hamilton from Kaleido Star , who after losing her mother , swore to not ever disappoint and make her father sad. She couldn't keep her promise when she chose the Stage over a filming career, but did reconcile with Dad later. The main character from Kimba the White Lion has this relationship towards his father who was killed before he was born.
What Sophie Montgomery from Lady actually wants from her mother Jeanne; as she is very desperate for her mom's love and approval, but unfortunately, Jeanne is using her as a pawn as a way to getting inheritance to the Montgomery family fortune and she threatens to send Sophie back to France if she fails to do so.
Fate desperately seeks her Abusive Mom 's approval in the first season. She never does get it , but she overcomes her insecurities after being befriended by Nanoha and Happily Adopted by Lindy. Subaru in StrikerS is all about recognition and approval from Nanoha, who saved her life as a child and whom she has idolized ever since. Her ultimate wish is granted at the end of the season, when she evacuates Nanoha from the Saint's Cradle—granted, the Ace of Aces would have probably found her way out on her own, but Nanoha was happy to be rescued by Subaru, nonetheless, because she knew how much closure this would bring to her faithful student and fangirl.
Subaru's attitude towards Nanoha contrasts in an interesting manner that of her partner Teana's, who starts off with an outright Rage Against the Mentor but mellows down eventually to a sort of Friendly Rivalry with her. Tea doesn't seek Nanoha's approval, she seeks to beat her at her own game the shooting magic — and, ironically, earns a lot of respect from her this way without even realizing.
Unusual example in Mahou Sensei Negima! Negi really wants his father's approval and in volume one even uses the exact words "well done" when talking about what he wants to hear from his father. On the other hand, his father is a Disappeared Dad rather than emotionally absent. The Mazinger trilogy treated this trope in a pretty tragic fashion: One of the reasons Sayaka from Mazinger Z could be so prideful, impulsive, hard-headed and obsessed with showing off was to get some measure of praise and acknowledgement from her Married to the Job , caring-but-emotionally-distant father.
Unfortunately it did not work very well. In spite of all times she risked her life, Gennosuke Yumi rarely gave praise. The case of Tetsuya Tsurugi from Great Mazinger was much worse.
He was an orphan with a ton of abandonment and self-confidence issues. He constantly and gleefully risked his life on a daily basis by riding a Humongous Mecha to fight ancient , giant monsters from Beneath the Earth so his adoptive father approved of him. Kenzo actually was proud of him, but he hardly thought of telling Tetsuya that, being more concerned with disciplining him when Tetsuya did or said something stupid and since Tetsuya was a Jerkass Woobie and an Idiot Hero , it happened frequently.