10 Most Fatherly Anime Characters (Who Aren’t Fathers)
While much of mainstream anime seems to lack decent and involved parents, that doesn’t necessarily mean that anime is completely devoid of such integral figures. Of all shapes and sizes, young and old, there is usually someone among the central cast with a strong parental gene – the overwhelming need to protect and nurture.
To celebrate this Father’s Day, it’s fitting to pay tribute to a handful of anime characters who have followed their paternal impulses. Sometimes all it takes is a word or a nudge to start a colossal wave of change.
ten Kunikida will protect his city and everyone (Bunguo Stray Dogs)
In Bunguo Stray Dogs, Kunikida is the type of father who wants his children to stay out of trouble, namely Dazai. Of all the members of Port Mafia, he is the most direct and obsessed with the rules. As proven by countless events in Yokohama, Kunikida cherishes human life to the extent that ending one is never a feasible option for him.
During the Hound Arc, however, Kunikida’s ideals are challenged by Saigiku Jono, who suggests that he would actually feel relieved for the deaths of his comrades. Nevertheless, jumping out of the helicopter and activating a grenade, Kunikida breathes, “With this life as fuel – I will fly for eternity!” No one should meddle with what he values the most.
9 Gojo aims to rebuild a new era for wizards Jujutsu (Jujutsu Kaisen)
Frankly, Gojo’s chaotic and arrogant nature may not make him a particularly ideal parent figure. That said, the Jujutsu Kaisen wizard would never drag someone into a fight he didn’t have to win. On a whim, Gojo invited the novice Itadori to his battle with the cursed spirit of special grade Jogo for educational purposes; all conflict ceased the MS the Gojo domain sprawled.
Obviously, Gojo’s childlike behavior makes him much more engaging to the youngsters under his wing. In turn, he also bonded, motivating them to step out of their comfort zone. For example, it was Gojo’s advice that made Megumi give up restraint to tap into her true potential. Above all else, Gojo wants these kids to be nurtured into a world of jujutsu that’s kind – kinder than it’s ever been to him.
8 Makoto will raise a whole generation of swimmers (for free!)
If subjected to a survey, fans of Free! could only vote for Makoto Tachibana as the most nurturing and selfless character. He drags Merman Haru out of the bath every morning to go to school. He dove into dangerous waters despite his own trauma to save Rei from drowning. Makoto truly puts everyone above himself.
Towards the end of season 2 of Free!, Makoto meets Goro Sasabe, a boy who hates water, while volunteering at a children’s swimming academy. Empathizing with his struggle, Makoto teaches Goro the backstroke – the freedom to look up at the sky while alleviating his fears. From that moment, the desire to propel children closer to their aquatic dreams was instilled in Makoto.
seven Yato reforged Yuki so he could have a second chance at life (Noragami)
In season 1 of Noragami, Yato had no idea how to connect with his chosen shinki given that Yukine immediately called him scary and annoying. To the point of seemingly not returning, Hiyori confessed to Yuki that Yato cared about him like a father, tugging at his heartstrings.
Referring to the spirit as his “one and only”, Yato would further bolster all of Yuki’s feats by encouraging her to “light the way” for him. Having suffered from abuse in her previous life, Yukine never experienced true family love. Basically, Yato changed that – cherishing Yuki with all his heart and giving her all the ingredients to transcend into a newer, holier being.
6 No harm comes to Mikey under Draken’s watch (Tokyo Revengers)
Anyone who knows Ken Ryugiji, also known as Draken, from Tokyo avengers knows he possesses a heart of absolute gold – even if his tattooed physique stimulates feelings of intimidation. Growing up in a brothel, Draken’s constant exposure to women trained his hands to be both rough and soft.
Through Tokyo avengers, viewers can spot Draken not only towering over Mikey like an overprotective daddy bear, but they can also see Draken styling Mikey’s hair and layering it while he takes a nap. In Episode 5, he pulled an emergency flag out of his pocket so Mikey could enjoy his child’s meal. Ken Ryugiji is arguably the most fatherly gang member of all time.
5 Tsuchigomori is determined to help Hanako even in her afterlife (Hanako-Kun in the bathroom)
In Hanako-kun in the toilet, Tsuchigomori paid special attention to Yugi Amane and his strange injuries as a former homeroom teacher. Despite Amane’s dismissive attitude, Tsuchigomori expressed unrelenting concern. After Amane’s lifespan was cut short, the derailment of Amane’s predetermined fate shook Tsuchigomori to the core. Amane’s moonstone then became Tsuchigomori’s yorishiro. A yorishiro is a prized possession, and the moonstone stirred many feelings for Tsuchigomori after Amane’s death.
In episode 6 of Hanako-kun in the toilet, as Amane interacted with Nene and Kou, Tsuchigomari took note of the change in the boy’s character – the vulnerability they extracted from him. Therefore, Tsuchigomari had no qualms about divulging his and Amane’s history with Nene, trusting her to put the information to good use.
4 Koro-Sensei inspired Nagisa to pursue passion over talent (Assassination Classroom)
Koro sensei from Assassination Classroom is a stellar teacher. Even though his role was to train this group of kids to become assassins, his first priority was still to make sure they would be able to fend for themselves once he was gone.
In particular, Koro-sensei has formed an incredibly strong bond with Nagisa. In Season 2 Episode 31, Koro-sensei came to the fore to defend Nagisa against his mother, whose exploits molded him into a treacherous nature – skills perfectly aligned with assassination. Ultimately, it was because of Koro-sensei’s love and wisdom that Nagisa chose education.
3 Yugo lost his life so children could live theirs (The Promised Neverland)
In The promised never-never land, Yugo could never have foreseen the cataclysm the orphans of Grace Field House would impose on his mundane existence when they crash-landed in his bunker – or how grateful he would be for it. While Emma could be optimistic until the end and Yugo had numb himself to deal with the difficulties, he inevitably gave in after she persistently insisted that she could help him.
As it was, Yugo would come to save Emma’s life multiple times, viewing her and the other children as beacons he simply couldn’t let go. They breathed new life into Yugo, even reuniting him with his long-lost family – so it only made sense for him to return the favor.
2 Aizawa would do anything to survive the endgame (My Hero Academia)
In episode 5 of my hero academia, Shota Aizawa was introduced as the dry-humored man ready to ruthlessly expel the student with the lowest Quirk apprehension test score. It’s a stark contrast to chapter 276, where he cries out to the sky that he refuses to die until he can see each of his students graduate and rise in heroism.
From watching over Eri to elevating Shinso as his protege, the influence of these reckless and pure-hearted children has undoubtedly fortified Aizawa’s heart. Over time, they became his main reason for persevering. Aizawa would even sacrifice his own limb to ensure their longevity, determined to protect and witness to each other’s future – a sentiment surely shared by all Guardians.
1 Leorio adopted Gon Freecs (Hunter X Hunter)
Leorio from Hunter X Hunter may only be 19, but whenever it comes to his newly acquired family of three – Gon, Killua, and Kurapika – his deep-rooted fatherly instincts trump pretty much everything else. No fan can ever forget the heartwarming scene from Season 6 when Leorio, nasty tears streaming down his face, dropped everything to get Gon back.
Leorio dashed offstage, rushing frantically, unable to fathom the sight before him until the boy was safely in his arms. The moment these two collided in the air, with Leorio clinging to Gon for life, the Hunter X Hunter fandom unanimously agreed that Leorio was Gon Freecs’ real father.