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Answerman - Why Are All The Parents Dead?

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Joined: 16 Jan 2012
Posts: 4623
PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2015 7:57 pm Reply with quote
@ SejinPK :

Oh good - for a moment, I thought the ISS was a gonner.
Lili-Hime wrote:
There's also not a whole lot of siblings in anime... maybe because they have fewer kids in Japan??? It's kind of a missed opportunity not to include the protaganist's family. Some of the funniest parts in Urusei Yatsura was Ataru's poor parents. On the drama side, I enjoyed in Kare Kano how Miyazawa had a big, crazy family and how it contrasted with Arima's colder more formal situation.
Japan's birthrate is a paltry 1.42; one-child families are by far the most common in the country. Most western countries are low birthrate as well(the US is at 1.86), but the single-child problem isn't nearly as exagerated.
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Joined: 07 Jan 2015
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2015 8:02 pm Reply with quote
Wow, I watched some episode of Super Duper Sumos for how awful and the so bad so good was that show. Anime hyper

The Parents thing is frequent. In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure there are some examples, look at Stone Ocean, for example of a particular kind of dad.
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Joined: 13 May 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2015 11:24 pm Reply with quote
"CLANNAD, Kanon and countless others have their fair share of dead or missing one or both parents."

Heh..I came here just to post about how KEY's works generally do a great job at involving family.

I'll tag this all as spoilers....

spoiler[In Clannad, Nagisa's parents are some of the best characters. Okazaki's dad is a big jerk. They explained his mother well. I don't see how missing ONE parent is an issue at all. Most people I know in life only have one parent or their parents are divorced. I don't know how weird that is in Japan but divorce is a VERY common thing in most countries where it's legal.

Kanon, sure we don't see the parents of Yuuichi. However we spend the entire show with his amazing Aunt...that he LIVES with. And that's the important part. She's a constant force in his life, and he even turns to her for advice with Makoto.

Air, if you've seen air you should already know just how much Misuzu's "mom" is involved in the story. 10 years later and this one still breaks me every time I watch the final episodes.


KEY really does a great job with parents, compared to most anime. InuYasha also did pretty well with Kagome's family IMO. Karin (chibi vampire) was awesome with her family and the dude's mom. I could go on and on making a list of shows that had awesome parents. I'm not saying it's not a trope to make parents disappear, but I don't think it's that bad.
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Joined: 01 May 2015
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2015 11:25 pm Reply with quote
While I don't disagree with any of the comments made about how feasible adventures would be with parents in the way, the missing parent trope does seem to be incredibly widespread in the genre. I've wondered if it gained traction from manga "coming of age" after WWII when indeed, many parents had disappeared through combat in the war, being victims of air raids, etc., and its prevalence transferred to anime by so many manga becoming adapted into anime. Granted, the trope of the missing parents in kids' adventure stories had existed long before the advent of either manga or anime and is still potent in western literature, but I think we need to look for special circumstances for its inescapability in the manga/anime arena. Just throwing it out for thought/debate Smile
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Joined: 06 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 3:08 am Reply with quote
Mr. Oshawott wrote:
Hayate Yagami's case is more extreme, in which she was somehow left as a wheelchair-bound orphan...perhaps her parents died of a mysterious death?

No, it was the curse of the Tomb of the Night Sky that did them in.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 1:24 pm Reply with quote
Tiger and Bunny's Barnaby is a nice contrast to the way that some parents that are presented in anime. He is also a rare example of where the lead character is a parent. Clannad After Story does also fall under this trope.
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Joined: 28 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 10:50 am Reply with quote
A while back I was watching Good Luck Girl with a friend and he asked me where Ichiko's parents were. At that point, I realized that I had taken the absentee parents thing as such a given that I didn't even give Ichiko's parents any real thought until asked.
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leafy sea dragon

Joined: 27 Oct 2009
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Location: Another Kingdom
PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 11:56 pm Reply with quote
I'd like to bring up Pokémon as another franchise with mysterious missing parents. Most notably, a lot of people suspected Ash's father as Giovanni, but this was debunked a few generations later (I think late Generation IV, when it was mentioned that his father has red hair). The only generation where both parents are present and are significant is Generation III: The player character's mother is a stay-at-home mom (as is always, though she is a former major force in Pokémon Contests and still participates in Master Rank contests), but the player character's father is a big time Gym Leader. Said father, Norman, is also the reason why they're in Hoenn: Norman moved there to fill a retired Gym Leader's position.

Key wrote:
While I agree with you about everything else concerning this answer, I would point out that at least some of the ninja kids in Naruto do have intact parents, and those parents most definitely let their kids do that because it's all part of the "ninja lifestyle."

Yeah, and behaviorally, Naruto takes heavily after his father, who was as impulsive and rash as Naruto himself. If anything, his father would've taken him on dangerous ninja missions. His mother too, probably.

leatherhead333 wrote:
I've never liked the idea of dead parents being dead simply because they get in the way. What's worse is the trope of parents being oppressive/unsupportive builds this trend as well.

I'd imagine the latter makes for convenient drama. That, and I'd bet there are a lot of usupportive parents of people who want to go into the entertainment field, especially those parents who want their children to be rich at all costs.

Sahmbahdeh wrote:
Super Duper Sumos was bad, but it had nothing on the atrocity that was Mega Babies.

Heh, I remember both of these shows. I tried to watch at least one episode of every western animated program that came out; Disney Adventures magazine had pretty good seasonal guides on what would be on and what they were about, so I kept pretty on the ball about that.

Both Super Duper Sumos and Mega Babies were clearly created to sell toys. The kids seemed to consider them as awful as the adults, as they didn't last very long.

I did like the episode "Balemtime's Day" of Mega Babies though. It was a fast-paced, genuinely clever episode of what was otherwise a repetitive, drab show.

Even Mega Babies was still gold compared to Santo Bugito. I watched one episode as a sampler, and it felt like three hours.

Space Goofs was something I really liked though. That show never managed to find an audience. I wonder if other people liked it.

WingKing wrote:
Nanoha's actually a great illustration of just why parents are so often dead or absent. The biggest problem by far that I have with the first series is Nanoha telling her mother around episode 8 that she needs to take a leave of absence from school for a while, leave home, and go off who knows where to hunt jewel seeds with this nice lady she just met, and Mom's just like, "Of course, dear, whatever you need to do!" Like, seriously? What kind of mother in her right mind would just cheerfully let her third grade daughter leave home and school for who knows how long to go stay with a complete stranger because of a story like that? It may be a show full of magic and sci-fi stuff, but that's always been the hardest thing for me to suspend my disbelief over. No parents makes the storytelling easier because you don't have to deal with that issue and any awkward/unbelievable scenes of that kind (and when they retold the story in the first Nanoha movie, they smartly skipped that part completely).

When I volunteered at a library, I would constantly see parents just drop their kids off at the library and leave them there all day. The library staff was getting sick of it, but there was nothing they could do except call the police, and the cops had more important things to do with their manpower (you know, like looking for people who commit violent crimes). I then noticed that children were also left to their own devices in shopping malls, retail stores, and any other public space that remained open all day.

Sometimes, I would find kids by themselves and look for their parents, but I'd have incredible difficulty doing so because no one would claim responsibility for the kids. Heck, sometimes, the parents were elsewhere in the building but claimed to not have any children so as to avoid getting in trouble (when it's pretty clear the kids would identify said people as their parents, or the kids return to those people when it came time to leave).

I don't know how common it is in Japan, but I can definitely understand the super-tired parents who just let their kids do whatever they want so that they don't have to deal with actual parenting until night falls.
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