Please Adopt Me As Your Daughter: The Best Dads in Anime


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!


Slayers - Philionel El Di Saillune2

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.


Usagi Drop

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.


Tiger & Bunny

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.



Koiwai (Yotsuba&!)

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.


FMA - Hughes

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!


A neuroscience graduate, black belt, and all-around nerd. You'll either find me in my lab or curled up in my rilakkuma kigurumi watching anime.
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24 Responses to “Please Adopt Me As Your Daughter: The Best Dads in Anime”

  1. Namika says:

    Wow, didn’t see this coming. Such a cute post <3 Dad is such an important figure for a girl, so I definitely understand your feelings. I grew up without a dad, but it would be amazing to experience that feeling. At least imagine it. TT^TT
    Daikichi is such a sweetheart ;A; I think men look adorable when handling kids, especially if they don't know anything 😀 almost any anime with a catch like that would instantly become popular with most girls. With me, at least.
    And this list wouldn't be complete without Hughes! He was such a nice character, not only as a dad. But your right, Maes Hughes would be the first character that would come to my mind after hearing #1 dad. <3

    • Overcooled says:

      I haven’t written an editorial in a while and the idea suddenly hit me when I was lying in bed (as most good ideas do). A lot of my friends don’t have a father figure in their life so I figured other people could relate as well.

      Maes Hughes is THE dad everyone thinks of. He’s just…perfect.

  2. Highway says:

    I sometimes feel sort of guilty when people talk about the parents they wish they had, because my life has been pretty much unremarkable, except for being pretty unremarkable.

    I haven’t seen any of the shows mentioned here, although a couple are in my backlog list. But a couple of the anime ‘fathers’ that have stuck out to me are:

    Segawa Yuuta from Papa no iukoto wo Kikinasai!: Someone who doesn’t really know what he’s getting into, but knows why he’s doing it. I liked that the show was pretty honest about the challenges that the whole family faced, and how Yuuta handled it. I also liked the way the whole remaining family eventually came through with help (especially the final help given in the anime, that’s quite the thing).

    Okita Seiichi (Sawa’s father) from Tari Tari: Those who watched the show are probably going “whuuuuu?” Not even who most people thought was the best dad in that show, I still found the concern and love he showed for his daughter touching and authentic, even while completely opposed to her choice of career path. He wanted what he thought was best for her, and it wasn’t to ‘make her settle’ for something she didn’t want, but it was an important parenting task: to try to help prepare her for adulthood. And of course this meant they’d clash. And the anime certainly didn’t make him look that good through their clashes, but I thought he was realistic and showed much love for his daughter.

    • Overcooled says:

      No need to feel guilty when you have something good.

      Fullmetal Alchemist is a must. I hope it’s high on your backlog list! On the flip side of things, I’ve never seen the shows you mentioned either. I didn’t realize the dad from Papa no iukoto wo Kikinasai was actually a decent person. I thought that was some borderline fanservice-y show. You learn something new every day.

      • Highway says:

        I certainly didn’t think it was fanservicey. Yuuta really steps up, he’s never a ‘pervert’ kind of character, just an ordinary guy in college who decides that keeping his nieces together is more important than just about anything, because his older sister did the same for him. They make a lot of sacrifices, some mistakes, but ultimately it’s a show that brings a lot of love.

    • Namika says:

      *O* if you haven’t seen FMA, you should definitely do so. Everything there is. That show is amazing.

    • Highway says:

      I watched a couple episodes of FMA dubbed, probably through the first 4 or 5, but just didn’t get that interested in it.

  3. Baka-Raptor says:

    I nominate Heart from You Are Umasou

  4. Tofu says:

    Father’s day for us in AUS is actually September 1st so it’s not belated at all xD

    I haven’t seen most of the shows listed up top but for me it’d probs be Daikichi simply because he had to change his life around drastically and become a father so suddenly out of the goodness of his heart by taking in Rin. He probs has one of the most developments in the fatherhood business and seeing the two interact with each other throughout the whole series was absolutely adorable to say the least.

    Hughes’ love for his family is so extreme that it’s almost too sad to think about his short air time in the series and how it impacted on his family and everyone else he cared about. Would’ve definitely wanted to see more of him… if only… T_____T

    • Yvoon says:

      oooh is it actually in September?

      LOL no wonder my family didn’t even say anything when I mentioned it was father’s day…..coz it wasn’t. *anotherdumbyvoonmoment* OTL

      But yah, love this post OC~

      Gotta say my favourite dad on that list is Daikichi and Kaburagi. I just love those kind of awkward but sweet dads. :3

      • Overcooled says:

        …Yvoon, you should know when your own country’s holidays are lol. That’s cute though.

        Have you read Yotsuba&!? I know our tastes vary wildly at times, but I think you’d like it. It’s just really sweet, cute, and funny. It’s one of my favourite manga.

        Thinking of Hughes is lovely until you remember what happens to him…

  5. BlackBriar says:

    Nice post and thoughtful tribute to Father’s Day, OC.

    Except for Fullmetal Alchemist, I haven’t seen any of the other animes. It’s a shame because from your descriptions, they’re all great father figures in their own way, even the substitute dad.

    Though his screen time was short, Hughes was one of the best family men you’d ever see in an anime. It was nothing short of a crime that he was killed by Envy.

    • Overcooled says:

      I think you’d like Tiger & Bunny and Slayers, although the latter is quite old and might be harder to watch now because of the animation. The rest might be a little too cute and sweet for you, Mister resident Vampire Lover.

      • BlackBriar says:

        There were chances for me to see Tiger & Bunny but I was unable to get myself into so I let it slip by. But I will heed your warning Miss Mad Scientist. I can only handle cute and sweet things to a certain degree.

  6. Ceyrai says:

    Awww. I love this post! I have a soft spot for anything dad-related (the only times I cried for any fictional story were all dad-related) and this post was just perfect. (Well, forgetting the last arc of Usagi Drop and Maes’s death. Haha nope, not thinking about them at all…)

    But yeah, Maes. Still one of my favorite characters after all this time. It’s rare to see a guy so in love with his family, and it never irritated me, just completely amazed me. I knew his death was coming even in the fist anime, but it still depressed me anyway.

    I’d also like to add a mainstream anime dad who’s another favorite of mine: Namikaze Minato from Naruto. Dying and literally damning your soul just to save your newborn kid (not to mention setting it up so said kid can talk to his dead mom when he’s old enough, in the same scene) is just pure daddy badassery.

    • BlackBriar says:

      I’d also like to add a mainstream anime dad who’s another favorite of mine: Namikaze Minato from Naruto.

      I agree with this nomination!! He wasn’t a father for even 12 hours but he was more than ready to sacrifice himself to protect everything he cared about. Son and village alike. Minato Namikaze was a true hero and awesome family man.

    • Overcooled says:

      Ahhh, me too. The only movie I cried at was Metropolis because of all the wonderful things Rock did to protect his rotten dad T_T I’m glad my post resonated with you!

      I thought about Minato, but I’m less familiar with him since I haven’t read Naruto in a loooong time. He’s definitely a great guy who did a lot for his son.

  7. Kyokai says:

    I cackled to myself thinking about the Father’s day last year when Kiritsugu supposedly killed off some very important characters during his grail illusion… Sure, he won’t be ever nominated for this post but still worth mentioning. xD

    My real nomination would be Akio Furukawa from Clannad, he’s voiced by Okiayu Ryotarou to boot (the dude voiced Berserker in Fate/Zero), and a very fun father character who even took out time to play around with others kids in the anime. I guess after the main dude, he was my second best character from the series.

    • Overcooled says:

      lol yep, most dads are just…kinda of evil in anime. Definitely bad timing for that episode though. Or good timing?

      Ahhh I totally forgot about Clannad! He was a whacky guy, but he had a heart of gold. That entire family was just adorable.

  8. tatsuya says:

    (O//v//O)….nice post guyz
    these is one if the main feature that make anime ‘s so awesome..

  9. Irenesharda says:

    Anime has so many nonexistent or crappy dads, that it’s nice to remember that there’s some really good ones too. Maes Hughes is the only one I remember, even though I’ve been thinking about trying Usagi Drop, and he is one of the best characters in the series and one that everyone remembers despite the fact that he’s not in there all that long. His story is so gut-wrenching, that it totally pushed FMA to be one of my favorite animes of all time.

    • Overcooled says:

      It’s a shame that most parents are either abusive or just mysteriously don’t appear ever (the usual “my parents travel a lot for their job” trick is getting tiresome). You gotta remember all the Hughes to balance out the Gendo Ikaris!

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