While I hadn’t envisioned becoming a father in my twenties, news of our expanding family has left me elated. Now I can’t wait for the little one to arrive on scene. They say becoming a parent changes the way you view the world, and already I’m watching father-child relationships in a whole new light. But becoming a daddy is a scary prospect and so I sought solace in anime – a medium full of absent and questionable fathers (Evangelion, I’m looking at you), yet there’s plenty of beautiful examples to be inspired by. So here’s our top five anime fathers that’ll help me be the best dad I can.
Piccolo – Dragon Ball
For all his dedication to getting tougher, Goku is left wanting when it comes to the dad department. Now, I’m not saying social services should have been called, but whether you call it neglect or just plain misguided putting his son in constant danger, there’s a real disconnect. Fortunately for Gohan, Piccolo was on the scene, and after Kakarot was killed by our favourite Namekian, he took the tyke under his wing, training him and being his constant guardian. Even after they got older, there was always Piccolo watching out for him. In Super, he can even be seen looking after Gohan’s adorable daughter, Pan, and sacrificing himself for his adoptive son.
Spirit Albarn – Soul Eater
Okay, so Spirit Albarn isn’t exactly what you’d call modal father material, and that’s not just because he transforms into a giant death scythe. He’s a bit of a lowlife, see, with his seemingly insatiable appetites for drinking and gambling and the constant pursuits of carnal pleasures (read: he’s a frequent cheater). But there’s nothing he wouldn’t do for his plucky daughter, Maka. He might go about it the wrong way, and did in fact divorce her mother, but he is a font of continuous support for her, longing only for her requited love, respect and acceptance.
Kohei Inuzuka – Sweetness and Lightning
Kohei is truly an inspiration, and picking out any single moment from a series that frequently left me a crying mess is a tough call. After losing his wife, Kohei takes on the role of single parent, raising his young daughter, Tsumugi. Everything he does is for her sake and so after he sees how ecstatic she is about food (and knowing his own culinary shortcomings) he seeks a sensei to learn how to prepare her favourites. It’s not always easy and he’s a slow learner, but watching how this recently bereaved father and daughter bond over and find comfort in cooking is deeply touching.
Ranka – Ouran High School Host Club
For a series that kicks down stereotypes, it’s only fitting that Ouran High School Host Club would boast a cliché-busting parent. In this case, it’s Haruhi’s hyperactive cross-dressing daddy, Ranka. To support his daughter after the death of her mother, Ranka became a transvestite. Although their personalities are often at loggerheads, with Ranka buying kawaii outfits despite Haruhi’s preference for the opposite, they have an enviable relationship. Ranka has an apparent endless pool of love and adoration for his daughter and endeavours to be as big a part of her life as possible.
Maes Hughes – Fullmetal Alchemist (Brotherhood)
There really wasn’t much competition when it came to the top spot, so it should come as no surprise to see Maes Hughes take first place. His story is much the same in either arc but the love for his daughter Elicia is pure and constant in both. Maes adores his daughter and he’s not afraid to show it. Ever. Seriously, this guy will talk your ears off and show you picture after picture until you’re blue in the face. Yet his affection is infectious; endearing even. It’s what makes the sting of his death one of the stand-out emotional gut-punches in a series full of them. I’m still not over it. But if I can be half the daddy Maes is, I know my daughter is in good hands.