Happy (belated) Father’s Day!
There are a lot of different dads out there. Tall dads, freckled dads, strict dads, lazy dads, bad dads and absolutely amazing dads. Since it was Father’s Day, I want to avoid discussing the bad ones. So let’s ignore the ones who force their sons to get into robots and fight Angels. This post is dedicated to the heart-warmingly tender ones who brag about their kids all the time. I listed 5 superdads for your reading pleasure in a kind of “#1 dad” listing. This post is meant to be largely light-hearted, but it’s a topic that I can’t approach without bringing some personal feelings.
Secretly, this post is about dads I wish I had. These dads are wonderful, whereas my experiences growing up with my actual father were rather painful. I think my fondest memory of him is that one time he told me I was good at playing Parappa the Rapper before locking himself in his studio and ignoring me again. Fast forward some odd years later and it doesn’t really matter any more, because I have an awesome mom to look after me. No really, she’s so awesome she’s watched almost half of the anime I’m about to mention on this list with me. Having some not-so-great dad experiences (my stepdad wasn’t so pleasant either) was unfortunate, but it’s no longer an issue that I think about in regular life.
However, sometimes I wonder what it would be like if I had a dad like some of the amazingly kind guys I see in anime. Oddly enough, my friends never had any cool dads I was envious of, so this feeling is almost exclusively towards those of the 2D realm. It may seem silly, but it’s something I wanted to write about for a while. And here it is!
King Phil (Slayers)
I think this is the best way to start this list in a light-hearted fashion after that little personal note, since Phil is just so insane. I was considering putting Dojima from Persona 4 here and arguing that because he’s willing to change his bad habits that he’s a great father. In the end, I decided I wanted a more straightforward and fun choice, and Phil fit the bill. You gotta love a guy who claims to support peace, yet attacks enemies with crushing blows. He’s a bit of an oaf and a hypocrite, but he still passes on some very important lessons about justice to his daughter. I’ve never seen a father-daughter pairing so in sync as these two. Amelia still thinks her dad is really cool, despite being in the age range where teens are disgusted at being seen with their parents in public. All of Phil’s teachings about justice and pacifism have completely resonated with Amelia, and she uses these teachings to decide how to live her life. Oh, and they also both like flashy entrances that never work out too well. I’m not sure if them being this similar is a good thing or a bad thing, but it certainly is…admirable.
Daikichi (Usagi Drop)
Shh, I haven’t read the manga so let’s pretend the events when Rin gets older don’t actually happen. Anyways, awkward teen years aside, Daikichi turns out to be a good dad. Rin is just sort of thrust into his arms when her dad dies, but he handles the situation extremely well. When no one else wanted her, he manned up and decided to dedicate his life to her. What I like about him is that he’s not the natural father figure type and he really has no clue what he’s doing. He has to learn everything from scratch, and by God does he try hard to learn everything he can. I like the idea of a dad not knowing how to handle kids, but getting by on sheer effort (and trial and error). Furthermore, he makes sure to embrace Rin’s roots by taking her to her dad’s grave and tracking down her actual mother. For a complete noob tackling parenthood alone, he’s got some impressive skills.
Kotetsu Kaburagi (Tiger and Bunny)
Kotetsu is great as a character in of himself. He’s funny, clumsy, charming and has the ability to turn a steel bar into a pretzel. He’s a character whose role isn’t pegged as solely being “the dad.” His relationship with his daughter Kaede is important, but so are his ties to Barnaby, his fellow heroes, and the villains that pop up over the course of the show. He’s a man with many different facets, breaking the trend of dad characters in anime who do absolutely nothing but raise children (with the other end of the spectrum being the abusive/neglectful ones). Unfortunately, he can’t reveal his secret identity as a superhero to his daughter, so she doesn’t understand why he’s never home. Kaede initially detests her father, but she comes around a bit when he saves her from danger using his fading powers. You gotta love a dad who risks his life for his kid. But really, the most endearing thing about him is his perseverance. Even after his wife dies, he stays strong and tries to make a good life for his daughter while working in the city as a hero. Kaede may think he’s super uncool, but I think anyone would love having a dad like Kotetsu to come home to.
This guy is just super cool dad. Yotsuba isn’t his actual daughter, but he raises her just the same. He didn’t even technically adopt her, he’s just looking after her for one of his friends. The rest of the story behind her origin is rather obscure, but it seems like Koiwai is housing her out of the pure goodness of his heart. Again, he’s a single dad who doesn’t let bachelorhood stop him from providing the best care for his daughter. Getting back to how cool this guy is, he teaches Yotsuba all about life in the most amusing ways possible. Yotsuba is extremely chaotic and mischievous, so Koiwai sometimes messes with her to make her feel sorry. For example, Yotsuba got paint EVERYWHERE (including on herself) so Koiwai told her it was permanent and would never come off ever. I vaguely recall one chapter where he threatened to leave her at a shrine because she did something bad too. Koiwai is one of those cool, chill parents who doesn’t overreact to Yotsuba’s antics, be he won’t hesitate to discipline her if she crosses the line too far. Heck, he’d even be a cool buddy if he wasn’t your dad.
Maes Hughes (Fullmetal Alchemist)
I imagine this is the first name that comes to mind when you think “#1 dad.” I don’t think it’s even possible to love your kid and wife more than this guy does. He carries pictures of his wife and kid and constantly shows them to his colleagues. Seriously, the man is a constant flow of gushing praise for his family and a neverending slideshow of snapshots. His love may be a little overbearing, and his colleagues grow weary of his rants, but that just means no one can match his incredible dad-skills. Furthermore, those who have read/watched the series to the end will know that just mentioning this guy’s name on Father’s Day is probably the most depressing thing you can do to an anime fan. Sorry to be a bummer, guys! Go give your dad, mom, or laptop a hug to celebrate Father’s day even if it is a bit belated. Go do it!