By Jason S. Yadao
Back in the early, heady days of this blog almost a year ago — when I thought I’d have more free time to devote to it than I actually have, alas — one of my first posts was a Father’s Day tribute to the dads of anime and manga. Since Mother’s Day is today, and since I’m all about giving equal time to both sides of the parental equation, today’s post is dedicated to the moms of anime and manga … whenever you can find them around, that is.
Everything I wrote earlier about dads — often a non-factor in series, either making quick cameos to let us know they exist or explained away via the Overarching Tragic/Poignant Plot Point of the Series — seems to be even more so with moms. I don’t know what it is about creators’ relationships with their moms, but they must have had some serious issues growing up. I mean, just consider the first four moms that came to my mind when I started brainstorming this list:
Yui Ikari (Shinji’s mom, Evangelion franchise): Dead; soul transplanted into Evangelion Unit-01, which Shinji often ends up getting trashed in battle; DNA used as basis for several hundred kajillion Rei Ayanami clones.
Kanata Izumi (Konata’s mom, Lucky Star): Dead; spirit tries to return in family portrait; Konata wants the image deleted, while widowed husband Sojiro wants to burn the image, thinking the family will be cursed if it remains.
Trisha Elric (Edward and Alphonse’s mom, Fullmetal Alchemist): Dead; briefly resurrected (badly); dead again.
Kyoko Honda (Tohru’s mom, Fruits Basket): Main inspiration for Tohru. Hit by a car. Dead.
… and that would have made for the most depressing Mother’s Day tribute ever.
Thankfully there are other moms who manage to remain among the living. And so, with a bit of help as usual from the ol’ tag-team partner in fandom, Wilma J., we offer up this list of memorable moms:
Chi Chi (Gohan’s mom, Dragon Ball Z): The quintessential doting mom who’s always worried about her son’s safety. Sure, Gohan may be the son of freakin’ Goku — most powerful fighter in the universe, power level over 9,000, able to die and come back to life even better than before. She was also a keen fighter in her own right, being the daughter of the Ox King and making it to the quarterfinals of the Tenkaichi Budokai. So what does she want for her son, a product with undeniably rich fighting genes? She wants him to hit the books, not those pesky combatants who always seem to be invading in search of the Dragon Balls. All that fighting stuff is way too dangerous for her precious son, after all.
Aki Hinata (Fuyuki and Natsumi’s mom, Sgt. Frog): Hands-down the coolest mom on Pokopen — err, Earth — by virtue of how she rides a motorcycle to and from her job as a manga editor and allows her kids to keep a whole bunch of alien frogs who could well take over the world if not for them being in awe of her power. Also provides plenty of ample fanservice to the series.
Hanae Ichinose (Maison Ikkoku): The upside with Mrs. Ichinose is that she’s always happy to lend an ear and listen to people’s secrets. The downside: Her willingness comes usually after she downs some sweet, sweet alcohol. And then she’ll spill all those secrets anyway, usually while dancing around with her paper fans.
Vivian Kudo (Case Closed): In a family dedicated to mysteries — her husband, Booker, a best-selling novelist; her son, Jimmy, a good detective in his own right — Vivian manages to hold her own as a master of disguises and a pretty good crime solver. She’s also the only mom on this list to have a nickname, “The Night Baroness,” in honor of her husband’s main character.
Misako Kurata (Sana’s mom, Kodocha): A mom to a celebrity child who herself is a celebrity as a bestselling author (and whose revelation in her book takes the series to a whole different level). You also have to love a woman who has an assortment of hair ornaments that can house her pet chipmunk, Maro.
Misae/Mitzi Nohara (Shinnosuke/Shin’s mom, Shin-chan): The quintessential housewife who cooks, cleans, runs errands, takes care of the children, spends money on luxury items that are promptly broken by said children and is always ready with a swift fist o’ justice every time her husband’s eyes stray over to that cute young woman sunning herself by the pool or Shin calls her “flat-chested” or “cheap.” You know, Mrs. Every Mom. Sort of.
Mrs. Sakurada/Milfer (Nene/Penny’s mom, Shin-chan): We never learn her first name, but she’s the mom that we know all moms secretly are: the type who entertains guests with a smile (sometimes through gritted teeth, if need be), then goes in back and releases tension by beating the stuffing out of a bunny plushie.
Queen Serenity (Princess Serenity’s mom, Sailor Moon): Okay, so technically she’s dead, too, having sacrificed herself for the sake of the Moon Kingdom. But really, isn’t that one of the qualities of a good mom — sacrifice for the sake of providing a better life for her children? Yet she’s also still alive, too, preserving her spirit in a computer and helping the Sailor Scouts remember their true identities.
Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms reading this. I’d include my own mom among them, except I haven’t quite gotten around to teaching her how to browse the Web yet. I’ll get around to that soon, I promise!