It’s fun to deconstruct random elements of anime, for example…dads! Fathers in anime come in many shapes and sizes, and the elements they bring to a given story can vary greatly. Sometimes anime fathers are two-dimensional (pardon the pun) foils for other characters, providing comic relief by transforming into a panda when you least expect it (Ranma 1/2), or trying to take away poor Kirino’s eroge (Oreimo). Other times fathers are awesome, stoically supporting the family during times of sadness, like Nagisa’s father from Clannad. But just as each new anime series updates the character design elements to be fresh and new, the presentation of anime dads changes over time. I remember how fascinated I was by Aiko’s dad from Ojamajo Doremi, a single father from Osaka raising his daughter alone, the first time I’d seen the subject of divorce presented in an anime for kids. And of course Konata’s super-otaku father from Lucky Star is a fun character for modern viewers to identify with — though hopefully not too closely. My first “anime dad” was one of the coolest, Pops Racer from the classic Speed Racer. Ah, good times, good times.One of the most famous fathers in anime is also one of the worst: good old Gendo from Evangelion, who forces his son to pilot the Eva Unit-01 with no preparation and do battle with the Angel Sachiel. Good storytelling needs friction between the characters, and the loveless Gendo provides lots of angst for Shinji to push back against. Fathers also play a large part in the Mobile Suit Gundam series, and part of the journey of any Gundam hero (Amuro from the One Year War, Kamille from Zeta, etc.) involves finding his own path in relation to his own father. Anyway, a very special Happy Father’s day too all dads out there, whether you are 2D or 3D!
Father’s Day weekend is a good time to reflect on fathers in anime.