Raising a Hero: The Best and Worst Anime Dads and Father Figures

A father figure might be considered the cornerstone of a hero’s journey, the one who lays the foundation of strength and courage. But the truth, like the sprawling landscapes of anime, is far more nuanced. While some heroes are fortunate to have a father by their side, others forge their own path, their determination fueled by a different kind of fire. These heroes rise above their circumstances, proving that a lack of a paternal figure doesn’t diminish the dignity or strength they bring to the world. From the heartwarming mentors to the unconventional role models, anime celebrates a diverse spectrum of father figures, each one leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of these future heroes. So without further ado, here are some of the best (and worst) anime dads and father figures!

Raising a Hero: The Best and Worst Anime Dads and Father Figures

Photos: IMDB

Loid Forger (SPY X FAMILY)

Raising a Hero: The Best and Worst Anime Dads and Father Figures

Photo: Crunchyroll

Loid isn’t your typical dad. In fact, he’s a world-class spy known as “Twilight” tasked with creating a fake family for a top-secret mission. Despite his initial motivations, Loid throws himself into the role of father, learning the intricacies of school lunches, parent-teacher conferences, and the all-important “how to throw a killer dodgeball game” for his adopted daughter, Anya. While navigating the world of domesticity with hilarious stumbles, Loid develops a genuine bond with Anya, proving that fatherhood can blossom in the most unexpected places.

Piccolo (Dragon Ball Z)

Piccolo’s journey from villain to father figure is a cornerstone of Dragon Ball Z’s emotional core. Initially tasked with killing Goku’s son, Gohan, Piccolo undergoes a dramatic transformation. He takes Gohan under his wing, subjecting him to grueling training to prepare for a world-threatening invasion. Despite their rough beginnings, a powerful bond forms between them. Piccolo acts as a strict but caring mentor, pushing Gohan to his limits while secretly becoming fiercely protective of the young boy. Their dynamic redefines fatherhood in the anime world, proving that love and support can blossom in the most unexpected places, even between a grumpy Namekian and a Saiyan child with a hidden potential for immense power.

Joichiro Yukihara (Food Wars!)

The influence of Joichiro Yukihara from Food Wars! on his son Soma is undeniable. A world-renowned chef who travels the globe showcasing his culinary talents, Joichiro could have easily been an absent father. Instead, he chooses to run a small diner, Yukihira, where he constantly challenges a young Soma to cook-offs. These playful (and sometimes fiery) competitions become the foundation for Soma’s culinary skills. Though Joichiro’s methods are unconventional, his constant push and belief in Soma’s potential light a fire in the young chef’s heart, shaping him into the formidable cook he becomes.

All Might (My Hero Academia)

In the world of My Hero Academia, heroism is a tangible career path, and All Might, the Symbol of Peace, embodies its pinnacle. But for Izuku Midoriya, a quirkless young boy yearning to be a hero, All Might becomes more than just an idol. All Might recognizes the immense potential within Deku, a quality most wouldn’t see in a quirkless child. Despite his own limitations from past injuries, All Might becomes a mentor and father figure to Deku, passing on the torch of One For All and training him to become the next generation’s symbol of hope. Their bond transcends the typical student-teacher relationship, showcasing the profound impact a father figure can have on shaping a hero’s heart and spirit.

Minato Namikaze (Naruto)

Naruto Uzumaki never knew his father, Minato Namikaze, the Fourth Hokage, while growing up. Minato sacrificed himself to seal the nine-tailed fox Kurama within Naruto, a decision that ostracized Naruto throughout his childhood. However, Naruto never lets this define him. He strives to earn the respect of the village and the dream of becoming Hokage, mirroring his father’s own dedication. Throughout the series, Naruto encounters other father figures who shape him. Iruka Umino, his first teacher, becomes a constant source of support and belief. Jiraya, the legendary Sannin, trains Naruto and becomes a gruff but caring mentor. These characters, along with Minato’s unseen influence, fuel Naruto’s determination, perseverance, and unwavering belief in the power of friendship – all qualities that ultimately make him a hero and the Hokage he always dreamed of becoming.

Whitebeard a.k.a. Edward Newgate (One Piece)

Whitebeard, also known as Edward Newgate, from One Piece isn’t your average dad. He’s a monstrous pirate captain, the “Strongest Man in the World,” and the leader of the massive Whitebeard Pirates. But beneath the fearsome exterior lies a heart overflowing with paternal love. Whitebeard considers his entire crew his sons, and his booming declaration of “family” strikes a deep chord within the series. He doesn’t discriminate between biological ties or bloodlines; loyalty and a yearning for belonging are all it takes to earn a place under his immense wing. Whitebeard’s fierce protectiveness and unwavering support for his “sons” are legendary, culminating in his awe-inspiring, albeit tragic, stand against the Marines at Marineford. His actions solidify Whitebeard’s place as a powerful and unforgettable father figure in the world of anime.

Ging Freecss (Hunter X Hunter)

Ging Freecss, Gon’s father in Hunter x Hunter, is a walking contradiction to a father. A world-renowned archaeologist and Hunter, Ging is notorious for his wanderlust and prioritizing adventure over family. He leaves Gon in the care of his Aunt Mito, leaving Gon with a gaping hole in his life and a burning desire to find his missing father. Despite his absence, Ging’s personality is mirrored in Gon’s adventurous spirit and determination to become a Hunter, even though these are fueled by his yearning to connect with his father. Ging, though not a traditional father figure, becomes a goal for Gon, a driving force that shapes his journey and personality.

Grisha Yeager (Attack on Titan)

Grisha Yeager, Eren’s father in Attack on Titan, is a complex and crucial figure shrouded in secrecy for much of the story. Initially portrayed as a loving doctor, Grisha’s past is eventually revealed, showing him as a passionate Eldian seeking to restore his homeland’s former glory. This hidden past and his role in stealing the Founding Titan power set Eren on a path of vengeance that will forever alter the world within the Walls.

Genkai (YuYu Hakusho)

In Yu Yu Hakusho, the formidable Genkai transcends the typical anime dad trope. A seasoned spirit detective with immense power, she chooses Yusuke Urameshi, a delinquent with hidden potential, as her successor. Genkai’s grueling training regimen pushes Yusuke to his limits, but beneath the tough exterior lies a deep well of wisdom and a fierce belief in his potential. She equips Yusuke with not just fighting skills but also the strength of character needed to become a true hero.

Gojo Satoru (Jujutsu Kaisen)

In Jujutsu Kaisen, Gojo Satoru defies traditional notions of a father figure. Sure, the strongest sorcerer and official guardian of Megumi Fushiguro, Gojo’s playful personality and disregard for authority can be maddening. But beneath the surface lies a deep well of determination to protect his students. He acts as an unorthodox shield, pushing them to their limits and fostering their growth. Gojo’s unwavering support, even if delivered with a mischievous grin, makes him a crucial force in shaping the next generation of jujutsu heroes.

Maes Hughes (Fullmetal Alchemist)

In Fullmetal Alchemist, Maes Hughes is neither a mentor nor a distant authority figure. Instead, Hughes brings a refreshing dose of optimism and goofy charm. This chimera-wielding State Alchemist is Colonel Mustang’s best friend and biggest cheerleader. Obsessed with showing off photos of his adorable daughter, Gracia, Hughes’ relentless positivity is a beacon of light even in the darkest corners of Amestris. Despite his lighthearted demeanor, Hughes possesses a fierce loyalty and unwavering dedication to his comrades, making him a source of unwavering support in a world constantly on the brink of war.

Isshin Kurosaki (Bleach)

Bleach’s Isshin Kurosaki is a goofy stay-at-home dad obsessed with puns and terrible jokes – at first glance. As the anime unfolds, Isshin is revealed to be a former Soul Reaper Captain, a formidable warrior cloaked in domesticity. Despite raising his children alone after a tragedy, Isshin’s love and humor never falter. When Ichigo’s destiny as a Soul Reaper ignites, Isshin sheds his disguise, transforming into a supportive mentor. With his hidden strength and unwavering love, Isshin proves that fatherhood can be a battlefield fought with laughter, puns, and a giant dose of unexpected badassery.

Tatsu (The Way of the Househusband)

Raising a Hero: The Best and Worst Anime Dads and Father Figures

Photo: Netflix

In the comedic world of “The Way of the Househusband,” Tatsu flips the script on traditional masculinity. Once a legendary yakuza known as the “Immortal Dragon,” Tatsu’s fearsome reputation is a stark contrast to his current domestic pursuits. Trading threats and violence for cleaning supplies and meal prepping, Tatsu throws himself into housework with the same intensity he brought to the battlefield. While his intimidating past occasionally causes hilarious misunderstandings, Tatsu’s dedication to his role as a house-husband and his unwavering support for his careerist wife Miku make him a refreshing and heartwarming example of a modern housedad.

Who’s your favorite anime dad/father figure? Tell us what you love about them in the comments!