Those Wacky Dads

June 19, 2009

For Mother’s Day, I wrote a post (and updated it) about Moms in manga and how they can affect the main characters or the story.  Now, with Father’s Day fast approaching, it’s Dad’s turn.  I’ll look at Manga Dad in the same context, whether they appearance/absence affect the characters and/or the story.  But Dad is going to get an added level, as they seem to break down into 3 categories: Driven, Overzealous, and Creepy.

Driven Dads

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Driven Dads are those that push the character or story in a certain direction, but do so in a more subtle fashion.  The Dad in Dazzle (aka Hatenko Yugi) affects the story.  Rahzel is literally kicked out of her home by him, and told to go see the world.  The story then follows Rahzel’s adventures as she meets and teams up with two hot guys.  In Beauty Pop, Kiri’s dad is a hairstylist, and runs a salon.  He’s trained Kiri in the art of hairstyling, but doesn’t show any interest in following in her father’s footsteps.  He motivates her by giving her projects, such as cutting the hair on 10 dummy heads in a certain amount of time, and will pay her for each head completed.  Such things keep her in practice and improves her skills without a lot of conflict.  In Hunter x Hunter, the story is driven by Gon’s search for his father.  Originally believing him dead, when he learns his father Ging is alive, Gon decides to become a Hunter and find his father, something Ging wanted his son to do.

Overzealous Dads

Overzealous Dads are those that always take things just a little too far.  Ichigo’s dad Isshin in Bleach is a good example of this.  He likes to greet  his son when he returns home by tackling him, or some other form of surprise attack.  Ichigo is constantly having to fend off his father.  But he doesn’t have it nearly as bad as Ranma, from Ranma 1/2.  His father, Genma, dragged Ranma all over, constantly training him in the martial arts, as well as torturing him, (stealing his food, etc), until they end up in the cursed pools, where his turns into a girl when hit with cold water.  But neither can compare to Hyakkimaru’s father, Daigo Kagemitsu, in Dororo.  Before Hyakkimaru is even born, Daigo gives away 48 of his son’s body parts to demons to gain the power to take over Japan!  Now that is one overzealous dad!

Creepy Dads


Creepy Dads are the ones you just don’t want to be around.  In Pet Shop of Horrors, we meet Count D’s father.  A near dead ringer for his son, he is someone that not even D, his own son trusts.  He has a grudge against humanity for what it has done to the environment, and instead of letting nature take it’s course (as D tends to do with his pets), D’s father has been working as a genetic scientist to exact his revenge.  Lelouch of Code Geass, gets more of a cold shoulder from his father, the Emperor of the Holy Empire of Britannia.  He is brushed off and banished when he demands restitution for the murder of his mother and injuries to his sister.  His father’s response sets Lelouch on a path of revenge and, he hopes, the destruction of the Britannia Empire.  But the Queen of Creepy Dads is Kaori Yuki.  She can make Dad not just someone to hate, but also your worse enemy.  In Fairy Cube, Ian’s dad isn’t the most fun person to be around.  Once a great writer, he lost his wife, his inspiration, and some of of his sanity.  Fearing that Ian would leave as his mother did, he burns the wings on his back so he “couldn’t fly away”, like his mother.  He also takes his anger over out on Ian some times.  Thanks Dad.  But for the Mother of all Creepy Dads, few can compare to Alexis Hargreaves of The Cain Saga/Godchild.  Alexis is a truly twisted man that makes the lives of his sons hell.  He beats his son Cain, leaving scars all over his back, and even threatens to kill him.  For Cain’s half brother, Jizabel, he tortures the boy and actually breaks him.  Definitely qualifies for Dad of the Year.

So give Dad a great, big hug this Sunday.  Does he drive you nuts?  Maybe it’s just his way of showing his feelings.  Does he push you?  He just wants you to succeed and do well in live.  Thank him for all that, even if it gets on your nerves.  Be happy that you got him, because it could really have been worse.

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3 Comments for this entry

  • What a cute idea for an article!

    To the list of driven dads I’d add Nanjiro Echizen from The Prince of Tennis who, like Kiri’s dad in Beauty Pop was a legend in his field who retired early and spends his time nudging his progeny towards greatness.

    To the list of overzealous dads, I’d add Tsukushi’s father in Boys Over Flowers. Chronically unable to keep his job, he instead pins his hopes entirely on his daughter snagging a rich husband, and often behaves irresponsibly with the belief that said rich beau will take care of his bills.

  • Thanks for the additions! I haven’t read any of those titles, so it’s good to have more to add to the list!

  • Heather Ward says:

    I think there is a fourth category, nurturing. They are more grounded in reality. Nurturing fathers like the ones found in Card Captor Sakura, Yotsuba&!, Baby & Me, and With the Light. Other fathers that I think need mentioning appear in Fullmetal Alchemist, Neon Genesis Evangelion, MARS and Eagle: the Making of an Asian-American President. Then there are the numerous fathers that appear in Buddha, Black Jack and Phoenix all by Osamu Tezuka.

    Happy Father’s day and may all the dad’s of this world and in fiction enjoy themselves.

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