Who’s your daddy?

June 19th, 2009

With Father’s Day coming up on Sunday, our thoughts turn to our dear ol’ dads … or, in the case of anime and manga, the general lack of said figures.

It’s that way with a lot of parental units, really. Either they’ll make quick cameos to let us know they exist, or they’ll be explained away for some reason — divorced, away on business trips, killed in the Great Apocalypse of Tokyo-32, what have you.

That said, there are still some dads who stuck around long enough to make an impact on audiences. So in honor of fathers everywhere this weekend, we present this quick list of memorable anime/manga dads that Wilma and I could remember off the tops of our heads — the good, the bad, and the blobby:

Genma Saotome (Ranma 1/2). Had Genma not been so persistent as the head of the Saotome Anything Goes School of Martial Arts in training his son Ranma, the two never would have trained at Jusenkyo, with all its cursed springs, and there wouldn’t have been much of a story. Also, giant panda transformation! Always a plus.

Soun Tendo (Ranma 1/2). Had Soun not been so persistent as the head of the Tendo Anything Goes School of Martial Arts in marrying off one of his daughters to Ranma preserve their respective schools, Akane and Ranma never would have met and there wouldn’t have been nearly as much romantic comedy.

Hiroshi (Hiro) Nohara (Crayon Shinchan). Hiroshi’s just your average salaryman trying to make a living and provide for his family. Unfortunately, he also has a tendency to look at cute women a bit too closely (sometimes with 5-year-old Shinnosuke, at that!) and drink a bit too much while entertaining clients, earning the wrath (and a few head lumps) from wife Misae (Mitzi).

Gendo Ikari (Neon Genesis Evangelion). Nothing says fatherly love like sticking your whiny emo son into a mecha with the soul of your dead wife, having him fight alongside a girl who’s a genetic clone of said wife, and manipulating the agenda of a secret organization to advance your own personal interests. Also memorable because of Gendo’s Paradise, which I discovered a few days ago thanks to a discussion on Anime Vice sharing favorite AMVs.

Sojiro Izumi (Lucky Star). There’s no doubt he loves his daughter Konata, who resembles his late wife so much it’s scary. He taught her pretty much everything she knows about anime and video games (particularly dating sims), too. But the lolita complex … umm, kinda creepy there, dude.

Bunta Fujiwara (Initial D). The man responsible for turning his otherwise nondescript, rather bored-looking son into OH MY PIZZA MOST EFFICIENT TOFU DELIVERY BOY EVAR! Also a drift-racing driver extraordinare who subtly passes on his skills to the next generation.

Van Hohenheim/Hohenheim of Light (Fullmetal Alchemist). As the oldest person (in soul age, anyway) on this list with a mind brilliant enough to be able to forge the Philosopher’s Stone, you’d think that somewhere along the line he would have learned a bit of etiquette and not abandon his family in the name of vague “research,” only to return 10 years later to find his wife dead, his older son with an arm and leg made out of automail and a younger son whose soul is bound to a giant suit of armor. You would be wrong.

Taizo Kotobuki (GALS!/SuperGALS!). Pity Taizo. He’s upholding the legacy of people in his family who became police detectives. All he wants is for his daughter Ran to become one as well. And what does she do? She rebels and becomes a fashion-lovin’, hair-dyin’, free-spendin’, loose-socks-wearin’ kogal. Ingrate.

Dr. Tenma (Astro Boy). The director of the Ministry of Science built Astro Boy to replace his son, Tobio, who was killed in an accident. But when Astro didn’t display a full range of human emotions, Tenma promptly kicked him to the curb. Yeah, thanks a lot, dad.

Chiyo-Dad (Azumanga Daioh). Because every child prodigy should have a blobby floaty cat thingy as a father … at least according to the dreams Sakaki and Osaka have, anyway.

Isshin Kurosaki (Bleach). At the outset, it seems like the head of the household of our heroic Soul Reaper is a doting dad who dotes a bit too much for his kids’ comfort. But as it usually goes in shonen manga, he turns out to be something far greater: a guy who — gasp! — is in the same line of work as his son, except all powered up and infinitely cooler.

Richard Moore/Kogoro Mori (Case Closed/Detective Conan). Best. Detective. Ever. (Just, umm, pay no attention to how his daughter Rachel/Ran is always the one who looks after him because he’s so irresponsible, or the fact that teen-trapped-in-a-child’s-body Conan Edogawa’s actually the one cracking all those cases.)

Mr. Koiwai (Yotsuba&!). Representin’ for all the adoptive fathers out there. And boy, is his adopted daughter Yotsuba a handful: inquisitive, adventurous, green-haired. But he seems to handle things in stride, patiently answering her questions and indulging her in her flights of fantasy whenever he can.

Can anyone think of any others? Talk to us in the comments!

One Response to “Who’s your daddy?”

  1. Otaku Ohana » Blog Archive » Word to yo’ mothers:

    [...] 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 [...]

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