7 Awesome Anime Moms Who Are Miraculously Still Aliveby Lauren Orsini,
If being an anime fan has taught me anything about being a mom it's this: don't give birth to a protagonist. The anime mom mortality rate is so disturbingly high that it's incredible I decided to take the risk. Now that my first Mother's Day is rolling around, I'm hoping to take some lessons from anime to ensure that I can survive until my second.
From Tanjiro of Demon Slayer to Tohru of Fruits Basket, it sometimes feels like behind any great protagonist is a sufficiently beloved dead mother. A particular hairstyle seems to amplify this effect: some of anime's most famous moms (Carla Yaeger from Attack on Titan, Trisha Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist, Ryouko Fueguchi in Tokyo Ghoul) opted for a side ponytail and none of them were long for this world. On the other end of the spectrum are the moms who managed to defy death, but failed to be the least bit maternal. I wouldn't look to Isabella from The Promised Neverland for parenting advice no matter how desperate I was; nor would I want Ragyo Kiryuin from Kill la Kill as my mom, fabulous fashion sense or no!
Are the only options to be a good mom and die, or to be a bad mom and live? (Of course not, plenty of bad moms are killed, too, but I digress.) The following ladies have managed to crack the code. Here's my list of seven fantastic moms who are (somehow!) still alive:
Inko Midoriya, My Hero Academia
No matter what Izuku Midoriya is up against, he's got a steadfast cheerleader in his corner. Inko has been Deku's number one fan ever since he was little. Is there anything more heartwarming than her eager “rescue me!” request to a tiny All Might-cosplaying Deku? When Midoriya failed to manifest a quirk, his mom was right there for him, comforting her son to the best of her ability, even though she was just as shocked by the news. Fast forward to the present and she's just as fiercely protective of her boy. When UA decided to have students live in dormitories for safety, Inko was one of the last to be convinced because she was so worried about Midoriya. Considering the injuries he has sustained, who can blame her? But Deku has made some powerful enemies, and Inko is the sweet, thoughtful weak spot in her son's armor, so perhaps she should worry about herself, too.
Sachiko Fujinuma, ERASED
It's particularly miraculous that Sachiko is still alive, and it's all thanks to her son Satoru's supernatural powers. Sachiko knew too much, and when a serial killer murdered her to keep her quiet, it triggered Satoru's “Revival” power to reverse time and nullify her death, prompting the entire plot of the anime into action. As the show continues, we get to know this thoughtful mother who always puts her son first. To avoid spoilers, I'll just say that Sachiko's devotion to Satoru exceeds the level of care that most parents expect to provide for their children. And her motherly attitude isn't only directed toward her son, but to his unfortunate friend, Kayo, who is desperately in need of a kind mom. Satoru sometimes jokingly refers to his quick-witted mom as a “demon” because of the sharp maternal instincts that allow her to practically read his thoughts. I'd argue that this perception comes from just how much she cares.
Mito, Hunter x Hunter
Some awesome anime moms aren't biological moms. Take Mito, who is technically Gon's cousin. Gon was not particularly blessed in the parent department, as his father, Ging, is a real piece of work. Mito cared for Gon since he was a baby, easily winning custody from her cousin, his crappy dad who wasn't around much anyway. Gon has no memories of his bio mom (and nobody, perhaps even Ging, knows who she is). Instead, he told Killua that when he tries to picture his mom, he sees Mito in his mind. Mito never signed up to be a mom but has done a remarkable job of raising Gon to be confident, independent, and brave enough to take risks. It's no surprise that she was upset to see him follow in Ging's footsteps to become a Hunter, but she welcomed him with nothing but love when he passed the test and finally returned home.
Tomoko Higashikata, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable
We can all agree that Joseph Jostar was a cad for cheating on his wife, Suzi Q, but there's nothing to suggest that Tomoko realized the man she fell in love with was already married. She found out eventually though, and rather than break up a family, she opted to raise their child alone in the supposedly sleepy town of Morioh. She manages to support Josuke and herself while still keeping him (mostly) in line. Josuke may be a punk, but he's only matched in toughness by his mom: when she stops a cat-caller in his tracks, we quickly learn that she can handle herself, thank you very much. With so much going on in Morioh, it's a wonder she's able to provide a safe and stable household for Josuke and herself, and it's likely thanks to her keen perception. How else do you explain how such an attractive woman has managed to stay alive for years in the same town as Kira?
Junko Kaname, Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Madoka Kaname comes from a family structure that is still in the minority, though it is becoming more common: a female breadwinner and a stay-at-home dad. Though petite like her daughter, with a childish face, Junko cuts a confident figure in corporate attire. She works long hours and though she makes light of her nights out drinking with colleagues and clients, it's clear that this socializing is just another part of her job. But as invested as Junko is in providing for her family with her career, she's always there to lend a thoughtful ear or some gentle advice toward her daughter. Junko couldn't imagine just how much more extreme her daughter's problems are compared to the average teen girl's but her guidance is still preternaturally applicable to Madoka's grim situation. Considering how dark this show gets, it's almost a spoiler to disclose that Junko makes it through alive, but I'll just say that it's all thanks to her daughter's love.
Tousen Shimogamo, The Eccentric Family
It's no wonder that protagonist Yasaburo is at home in both men and women's clothing—he gets that freedom of expression from his mother. Tousen uses her tanuki powers to juggle between two main human transformations: as a handsome Takarazuka Revue-style prince, and as a gentle and motherly housewife. In a world where tanuki are sometimes hunted for their meat, it's only a trick of fate that it was Tousen who survived and not her husband, Although Tousen's husband was killed, she puts on a brave face for her children. As the matriarch of the Shimogamos, she does her best to create a welcoming home for her four boys as the family collectively grieves Dad's loss. Partway through the series, we learn that Tousen isn't perfect, and in fact has a severe phobia of thunderstorms. When her children band together to rescue their mother tanuki with fur as red as her hair, it's a humanizing moment that shows just how hard she works to be cheerful and strong in front of her family.
Eva has her work cut out for her with a daughter like Main. There's no way she could know that her five-year-old is really a teenager reborn from another world, only that her daughter is eccentric, precocious, and frequently incomprehensible. And yet, Eva takes it all in stride. Main wants to use the oven to make weird cakes? Sure. Main gets yet another fever from overdoing it? Eva is there with lullabies and kind words. If somebody else, say Lutz's mom, had been confronted with a child like Main they'd probably think she was possessed by the devil, but Eva is shockingly open-minded for somebody of her illiterate background. She and her older daughter Turi are on board with whatever odd concoction Main wants them to put in their hair, make handicrafts with, etc. When Main wants to become an apprentice priestess, something that shocks her father, Eva readily accepts Main's wishes, and even shows up at the cathedral ready to risk execution for defying a noble—just so long as she's able to defend Main. (Of course, she doesn't die, or she wouldn't be on this list!)
Who are your favorite anime moms? Which ones would you add to this list?
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