With Father’s Day 2022 on the horizon, anime otaku are remembering some of the best anime fathers, and adoptive fathers from our favorite anime series. But what makes a dad the best? It’s not easy being a parent and sometimes they get things wrong, but I believe the most important thing is for parents to try their best to be a good parent and to understand their children.
In my Top 10 list you will find fathers who may have had a rocky start, but ultimately became proud of their kids, lavished love and affection upon their wife and child, believed in their kids when no one else did, never gave up trying to gain the love of their children, would do anything to protect their children when they are in danger, believe in their children’s dreams, protected their children even if their own child didn’t remember who they are, would risk everything to find a home for their child because their demise was imminent, and lastly, would literally make fantasy become a reality to put a smile on their kid’s face.
10. Vegeta – Dragon Ball Z
Vegeta is the prince of the fallen Saiyan alien race and the husband of Bulma, the father of Trunks and Bulla, and the eldest son of King Vegeta, which makes him a prince. Vegeta is one of the main characters of the Dragon Ball anime series.
Many anime otaku may be surprised that Vegeta made this list due to the way he started out as a villain in the series, who cared more about his pride than anything in the universe, and his rocky start with Bulma and his son Trunks. But Vegeta earns his spot on my list due to his incredible transformation from a selfish prince to a proud father.
Vegeta was the Prince of all Saiyans and felt he had to be the strongest warrior in the Universe, stronger than Goku, and this was his motivation for a great part of the series. This all changed once Vegeta became a father, however. In the series, you see him slowly transform from a selfish man into a proud family man. Later, we see him as a proud father to Trunks and eventually, he displays how much he cares for Bulma.
In Battle of the Gods, Vegeta performed a series of ridiculous acts in order to protect his home and his family.
For a prideful man like Vegeta think about how difficult that must have been for him. Also, when Beerus slapped Bulma, he flipped out and immediately went Super Saiyan while yelling out: “That’s my wife!” and proceeded to try and kick Beerus’ butt.
During the Cell Arc when Future Trunks was killed Vegeta once again flipped out. He was genuinely angered by his son’s death. Some may argue that Goku is a better father, but let’s face it Piccolo did most of the work when it came to raising Gohan. Both Goku and Vegeta would do anything to protect their families, including sacrificing themselves to save the ones they love.
In Vegeta’s fight against Buu, he gets his “redemption arc”. He made Piccolo take both Trunks and Goten away so they wouldn’t get hurt, which shows he cares about his son’s well-being. His final message was for Trunks to take care of his mother. Then, before he makes the ultimate sacrifice he thinks about his family, “Trunks, Bulma, I’m doing this for you. And yes, even for you Kakarot.”
This is the moment where Vegeta gains his redemption from being a selfish, villainous prince and becomes a proud father and loving husband.
9. Maes Mughes – Full Metal Alchemist
Maes Hughes is a character from the anime series Full Metal Alchemist. Hughes was an Amestrian State Military officer stationed in the Investigations Office in Central City, and Colonel Roy Mustang’s best friend. Hughes was known for being an exemplary soldier and devoted family man. He was so devoted to his wife and daughter that he tended to gush about them to his friends and colleagues a little too much. Hughes had the tendency to flash cute pictures of his adorable three-year-old daughter Elicia to anyone who would let him. If Hughes had an Instagram he would definitely be considered an “Instagram Dad”.
Hughes was never without one or more pictures of his wife Gracias or daughter Elicia on hand and offered up glances of their photographs as either a motivational tool or as a reward for a service well-rendered. Hughes’ was always seen as being loving towards his wife and his daughter in the anime.
Although Hughes went around with a goofy smile on his face, it was mostly a shield concealing his inner darkness as a veteran of the Ishval Civil War. As Mustang’s top supporter of his secret bid for the position of Fuhrer, Hughes was a man ready to do whatever it took to support Mustang’s ideals to create a better world for him and his family.
Not only was he a dedicated father to his own precious daughter, but also was a great second father or “father figure” to the Elric brothers. Hughes would aggressively offer hospitality to the Elric brothers to the point where they began to call him a “kidnapper” as they were whisked away to have dinner at his home. Hughes wanted other people to be as happy as he was with his family and constantly advised his friends Roy Mustang and Edward Elric to hurry up and get married themselves. Roy found this merely annoying while Edward got embarrassed when this was brought up.
Hughes’ murder served as a major starting point for the story to unfold and his funeral is considered to be one of the saddest scenes in anime. FMA fans around the world struggled not to get teary-eyed when Hughes’ daughter began to innocently cry that her father needed to go back to work and that they couldn’t keep throwing dirt onto her daddy. We all know Hughes’ would have been the best dad for the rest of his little girl’s life and would have not only spoiled her rotten, but would have done anything to protect her. After his death, Hughes was posthumously promoted by two ranks, making him a Brigadier General.
8. Tatsuo Kusakabe – My Neighbor Totoro
Tatsuo Kusakabe is a character from the Studio Ghibli, fantasy film My Neighbor Totoro. Tatsuo is the husband of Yasuko Kusakabe and the father of Satsuki and Mei Kusakabe, who works at a college as a professor of archaeology.
While their mother is in the hospital, Tatsuo does his best to keep his two daughters Satsuki and Mei happy. Unlike most parents, Tatsuo actually believes his daughters when they try to talk to him about seeing the ancient forest spirit Totoro and he doesn’t try to say they’re lying or making it up, which is what most modern-day parents would have done. Instead, Tatsuo kindly and patiently understands their belief in Totoro, which makes him an A+ Dad.
In the beginning of My Neighbor Totoro, Tatsuo, Satsuki, and Mei are seen in the moving truck on their way to their new home. When Mei and Satsuki believe that their new home is haunted Tatsuo responds with the statement that he’s always wanted to live in a haunted house.
Later in the story, Mei decides to go exploring and leaves her father in charge of her “flower shop”, and he humors her. After Mei claims to have seen Totoro, Tatsuo not only believes her, but suggests that it was probably a “forest spirit”. Tatsuo, Satsuki, and Mei ended up using the power of laughter to drive away some soot sprites that had taken up residence inside the house.
A few days later, Tatsuo misses the bus home due to a late train, and by the time he makes it to the bus stop his daughters have a new story to tell him. Apparently, while they were waiting at the bus stop Satsuki got to see Totoro for the first time, and he gave Mei a present of acorns. Afterward, when Tatsuo is working late one night he hears the sound of a flute. When he looks through his office window into the distance at some trees he appears to see Totoro and assumes his daughters to be owls since he can’t see them clearly.
Towards the end of the film, we see Tatsuo visiting his wife and saying how he’s worried about Satsuki, who he’s noticed is trying hard to be an adult and be there for her little sister. Yasuko claims she’s feeling better and they discover an ear of corn sitting on the windowsill that says “For Mommy” written on it. Unlike some parents, Tatsuo paid attention to what his children were feeling and wanted to help in any way he could.
7. Souji Arima & Hiroyuki Miyazawa tie 7th place – His & Her Circumstances
Souji Arima is a character from the anime series His and Her Circumstances. Souji is Soichiro’s uncle and his adoptive father. He usually has a gentle nature, but can show strong resolve when the situation calls for it. Following the family tradition, he’s become the head of a prestigious hospital. He’s known his wife since childhood and met her due to her prolonged illness. However, her illness left her unable to have children. After his parents abandon Soichiro, Souji and his wife raise and love Soichiro as if he were their own son. His older sister Eiko tends to say insulting things about Soichiro, and although Souji respects his sister he doesn’t hesitate to defend Soichiro.
Hiroyuki and Miyako Miyazawa are Yukino, Tsukino and Kano’s parents. They were childhood friends who ended up getting married right after high school. Hiroyuki was an orphan, who was raised by his grandfather, and as a result values “family” very highly. Miyako lost her mother as a child and so understands Hiroyuki’s pain. Hiroyuki loves his three daughters very much and in the anime is frequently seen wearing a T-shirt, which reads: “Daughter Love”. Hiroyuki and Miyako are easygoing parents, who believe in allowing their children to make their own decisions about their lives.
The reason Souji Arima and Hiroyuki Miyazawa tie for 7th place is because during one of the scenes in the anime, Yukino and Arima have been called out to the school for a parent-teacher conference to discuss that their grades have gone down due to the fact that their new romantic relationship with each other has distracted them.
Instead of siding with the school like most modern-day parents would have, Souji Arima and Hiroyuki Miyazawa believe that the time their children are spending in high school is precious and more important than studying hard to get good grades. They both support the relationship between Yukino and Arima, and disagree with the school’s opinion that they should break up, and this makes them the best dads ever!
6. Spirit Albarn – Soul Eater
Spirit Albarn is a character in the anime Soul Eater. He is also known as Death Scythe, is the “demon weapon” partner of the late Death and father of Maka Albarn, who was turned into a death scythe by his ex-wife. Spirit is known for his flaw of being a womanizer, a flirt, and enjoys it when groups of women lavish him with attention. He claims to still love his ex-wife and expresses his regret for cheating on her, but his daughter Maka finds this hard to believe when she watches his continued womanizing ways.
Spirit’s most redeeming quality is the fact that he’s a truly caring and passionate father and longs for the love and acceptance of his daughter, even prior to cheating on his wife. Although Maka denies it, Spirit always supports her: he’s there for her when she needs information, tries to motivate her in her studies, and protects her no matter how much danger she’s in.
Maka may have unreasonably high expectations for her father that he can’t meet, but deep down she does realize he’s a good father, even if she doesn’t voice this aloud. Spirit is the perfect example of a non-perfect dad who tries his best to be a great father. Spirit definitely gets an A+ for effort. It’s not easy being a young father, but Spirit does his best and tries to do everything he can for Maka.
Spirit not only defends his daughter Maka but is also seen defending another person’s daughter in the anime. Spirit’s view on what the love of a parent should be like is so firm that when he’s confronted with the way Medusa has treated Crona, he transforms out of his weapon form in order to grab hold of Medusa Gorgon’s collar, despite the danger to his life. Spirit wanted to tell her about his disgust with her “parenting”, but was reduced to tears and unable to say what he’d wanted in the first place about her treatment of Crona. It speaks volumes as a parent to not only protect your own children but other children as well. Those are some good fatherly instincts right there, which has earned Spirit’s place at number 6 on this list.
5. Kotetsu Kaburagi – Tiger and Bunny
Kotetsu Kaburagi is one of the main protagonists in the anime series Tiger and Bunny, and a veteran hero whose lack of regard for collateral damage when fighting crime earned him the nickname “Crusher for Justice” from the public. Due to the fact that Kotetsu cares more about helping the people of the city than earning ratings, points, or fame, he ironically ends up as the least popular hero of Sternbild City and is frowned upon by his fellow heroes. This begins to change when he teams up with another hero named Barnaby Brooks, and together they begin to fight crime and bring villains to justice.
Kotetsu’s 10-year-old daughter Kaede lives with his mother, and at the beginning of the series is seen as being often disappointed when her father fails to visit her as he promised due to his hero duties getting in the way. Kotetsu wants to keep his identity as a hero a secret from Kaede in order to protect her and has to tolerate her continued disappointment in him. In the anime, you see Kotetsu often struggling to buy Kaede presents or trying to make his appointment to see her and tragically failing each time. Kaede doesn’t see this struggle, but the audience does, which is why Kotetsu has earned his spot at number 5 on my list.
Early on in the series, an incident occurs when Kotetsu (as Wild Tiger) is unable to reach Kaede in time to prevent a chunk of ceiling from crushing her and he is so relieved when Barnaby rescues her that he immediately blurts out a heartfelt “thank you”. Kotetsu’s love for his daughter is obvious in the way he worries about her and tries to please her. After Kotetsu is framed for murder, and his mother finally tells Kaede the truth about her father’s job their relationship improves dramatically now that Kaede is able to understand why her father can’t always be there for her.
4. Joichiro Yukihira – Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma
Joichiro Yukihira is a character in the anime Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma. He was born Joichiro Saiba, is Soma’s father, and the owner of Yukihira Family Restaurant in the Sumire Shopping District. When his son Soma shows an interest in cooking, he doesn’t tell Soma he’s too young or underestimates his child’s skills. Instead, he immediately starts teaching Soma how to cook and showing him the ways of the family business. In order to motivate Soma to become an even better cook, he challenges Soma to many cook-offs that have always ended in Joichiro’s victory (for now).
At the start of the series, Joichiro decides to close the diner so that he can travel and work as a guest chef at the world’s top restaurants so that he can further his skills as a chef. Seeing his son’s potential to become a great chef someday he sends Soma to Totsuki Saryo Culinary Institute and tells Soma that he will need to succeed there if he ever wants to surpass him as a chef. The fact that Joichiro sees the potential in his son, and supports his dream of becoming a better chef shows just what a great father Joichiro is.
Joichiro wanted Soma to attend Totsuki just like he did since some of his most important experiences were gained there, as well as meeting the woman he fell in love with. He’s repeatedly told Soma that to become the greatest chef he needs to find someone to cook for. (Eventually, Soma does find that special someone to cook for when he meets Erina). When Joichiro attended Totsuki it was under the name Joichiro Saiba. While at Totsuki he was a Polaris resident, 69th generation student, and occupied the second seat on the Council of Ten.
Joichiro gained his spot on the Council of Ten due to his exceptional level of skill in cooking and the unique flair used in his creative dishes that made him regarded as a visionary by his fellow students and clients alike. He competed in many Shokugekis (cooking competitions) and won first place each time. His clients began to want his next dish to be even better than the last, and this began to take a mental toll on him until cooking wasn’t fun anymore. Joichiro dropped out of BLUE and after graduation decided to travel the world while cooking overseas and eventually re-ignited his passion for cooking.
3. Kyros/Thunder Soldier – One Piece
Kyros is a character in the anime series One Piece. He was a legendary gladiator, who fought at the Corrida Coliseum until 20 years ago. He is the father of Rebecca and husband of Scarlett and the son-in-law of Dold Riku II. When he was turned into a toy everyone forgot his existence, and this tragically included his wife and daughter. After his transformation, he became a One-Legged Tin Soldier Doll and gained the nickname “Thunder Soldier”. He later became the commander of the Riku Royal Army.
To better understand why Kyros is such a great father we need to take a look at his past. Kyros was a criminal turned family man after he fell in love with Scarlett. Although Kyros found happiness with his family he felt like he never deserved such happiness due to his dark past and blood-stained hands. In the anime, he’s seen wearing gloves whenever he holds his daughter Rebecca since he is subconsciously worried about corrupting his precious, innocent daughter with his past sins. It was obvious that Kyros truly loved his wife and daughter, but everything changed when he was turned into a toy.
During a fierce battle against Doflamingo, Kyros ended up sacrificing his own leg after he heard that his wife and daughter were in imminent danger. Sugar intervened and using her Devil Fruit Power turned Kyros into a toy. A side effect of this transformation is that all memories of him were forgotten and his only legacy became the statue of him in the coliseum.
Kyros managed to save Dold and later his wife Scarlett and daughter Rebecca from a group of armed men led by Diamante. However, on his way to the Red Flower Field where he told Scarlett and Rebecca to wait for him, he ended up witnessing Diamante shooting his wife. Kyros cried as his wife died in his arms and lamented the fact he couldn’t hold her properly because he was now a toy.
When Kyros took Scarlett’s body to Rebecca, at first Rebecca was angry with Kyros for failing to protect her mother and didn’t understand who he was or why he was helping them. Kyros swore he would protect Rebecca and stay by her side, and he did. In the following years, Kyros acted as Rebecca’s guardian, worked many jobs to help support Rebecca, and protected her from wild dogs, bullies, and boys giving her love letters.
Think about how hard it must have been for Kyros to be right next to his daughter, but not get the recognition of being her father – no hugs and no “I love you, Daddy,”s. One day, when kidnappers broke into Rebecca’s house Kyros was forced to enter in order to protect her. However, one of Doflamingo’s laws was that toys weren’t allowed in the houses of the humans on his island and because Kyros had broken this law he became a fugitive.
But that didn’t stop Kyros from risking everything to see his daughter in secret every once in a while in order to train her to protect herself. This is one man who never gave up on being a parent despite all of the obstacles that stood in his way. Kyros’ dedication to Rebecca has earned him his spot at number 3 on my list.
2. Golem – Somali and the Forest Spirit
In a world that is ruled by demons, spirits, goblins, and all manner of strange creatures human beings are persecuted and on the verge of extinction. One day, a golem (humanoid automaton) encounters a small human girl in the middle of the forest he has been charged with protecting. The little girl confuses him with being her lost father and calls him “Father”. The golem never corrects the child and begins to watch over her as if he were her real father.
When the golem realizes that his time may be running out he decides to set off on a journey with the girl in order to find humans like her that will be able to watch over, protect, and take care of her properly. The anime follows their travels together and the adventures they have in a world where demons rule and humans are prey. Golems aren’t supposed to have emotions but as time goes on he displays his love for his adoptive daughter Somali in the way he worries about her and protects her continuously throughout the series, or becomes angry for her sake.
Golem fashions a hooded cape with minotaur horns for Somali to wear so that she can blend in better with the world of demons and hide the fact that she is a human, which is considered to be a delicacy in the monster world. Golem has his work cut out for him since Somali’s curiosity frequently gets the girl into trouble.
Golem earns his spot at number 2 on my list due to the fact that even though he’s literally disintegrating he won’t give up on trying to find a new home for Somali and continues to protect her at the cost of his already dwindling life.
1. Loid Forger – Spy X Family
Loid Forger is the main protagonist of the SPY X FAMILY anime series. He has thrown away his past in order to work for his country as an undercover spy under the codename “Twilight”.
His current mission is his most difficult yet and requires him to marry and have a child. In order to pull this off, he arranges a fake marriage with a woman named Yor Briar and decides to adopt a young girl named Anya.
Loid decided to pick Anya out of all the other children at the orphanage he visited due to her ability to read, write and solve a crossword puzzle (which she actually did by reading Loid’s mind to get the correct answers). Initially, Loid views Anya as a nuisance and replaceable, but when he’s reminded of his goal as a spy, to make sure no child cries the way he did in the past, he becomes protective of Anya and his fatherly instincts are awakened.
The main reason he needed to adopt Anya was so she could attend a prestigious school called Eden Academy and get close to the son of his target. Although Loid is often disappointed by Anya’s scholarly performance and wishes she’d spend more time studying and less time watching cartoons, Loid always does his best to treat her as a “normal good father” would and he cares for her well-being.
In the manga, Loid gifts Anya a large stuffed penguin doll, which she treasures greatly. Later, he decides to buy Anya a pet, but they end up adopting a dog, which they name Bond instead. Loid is also seen patiently trying to help Anya understand her school lessons, and he makes serious attempts to understand her feelings and is visibly disheartened when he fails.
Loid was visibly infuriated when Murdoch Swan provoked Anya in the Forger’s entrance interview to Eden Academy and he made her cry. Loid Forger earns his spot at #1 on my list due to the sheer amount of effort he puts into merely being a “good father”.
When the Forgers find out that Anya has been accepted to Eden Academy they get together to celebrate with Franky. Franky suggests that Anya ask Loid for a reward and she tells him that she wants to be saved in a castle in the same way Princess Honey was saved by Bondman in her favorite cartoon show called Spy Wars. Loid eventually relents and rents Newston Castle in Munk for 50,000 dalc. However, when they get there and Anya discovers that the castle is empty she becomes sad.
In an effort to rectify the situation, Loid summons all of the agents stationed in Ostania to the castle and has them dress up as “villains” as part of an “emergency situation”. Anya dresses up as a princess and Loid is forced to dress up as the spy that will save her from Franky, who is playing the role of the League of Evil boss.
It’s cute how embarrassed Loid gets when he’s forced to ask Franky for the “princess” to be returned. After that, Franky introduces Yor as “Yorticia” the world’s deadliest witch and Loid is forced to fight Yor, who manages to deliver a swift kick, which grazes his cheek. Luckily, Yor falls asleep before she can do any real damage to Loid.
At last, Loid is able to smack Franky away and tell Anya that he is there to save her. Anya rushes over to hug Loid as the agents cheer them on. Loid is surprised when Anya calls him “father”, thanks him, and promises to work hard from now on. Loid gives his congratulations to Anya as they watch a shooting star pass over the sky from the balcony.
Loid might be new to this whole “parenting” thing, but he’s definitely doing his best to be a good father for Anya. Loid spares no expense (the bill Loid sent for the whole castle spy mission fiasco was insane!), does his best to understand his daughter, listens to what she wants, and tries to make her happy to the best of his ability. Loid gets an A+++ for the amount of effort in being a “good dad” when in reality he is a great one.
Do you agree with my top 10 list of best anime dads? If you think I’ve missed a great anime dad let me know in the comment section below!