7 Superb Anime Moms
by Lynzee Loveridge,
It's Mother's Day weekend! I originally planned to write an opposing column for this holiday, focusing on some of anime's very worst matriarchs. However, after I'd added my fourth example of a child-abusing, neglectful parent, it dawned on me how dreadfully depressing the whole thing was, and that maybe I didn't want to write a column sharing something so ugly on a holiday that might already be touchy for some folks. So for now, I'm shelving horrible moms in favor of the opposite, which was its own kind of challenge in a genre were parents are usually absent to allow teenage characters to get into more shenanigans.
Kyōko Honda (Fruits Basket) - When the first episode of Fruits Basket starts up, Tohru's mom has already passed away, and Tohru is living pretty much penniless in a tent on Sōma family property. Even though she's an orphan, Tohru never gives up hope, and this disposition can largely be credited to her mother Kyōko, who she draws inspiration from regularly. Kyōko doesn't have the usual backstory befitting stellar moms. She used to be a violent delinquent, the leader of a bōsōzoku (motorcycle gang). Despite a sketchy upbringing, Kyōko adored her daughter and worked hard to provide for her after her husband's death. She's a great example to prove that past mistakes do not bar someone from becoming a loving parent.
Chi-Chi (Dragon Ball Z) - Goku's wife often gets a bad rap as a shrill meddler getting in the way of a dad and his son's adventures saving the world. But let's be frank: Goku is dumb as a box of rocks, and ChiChi is the only reason Gohan didn't follow exactly in his footsteps and end up accidentally engaged because he thought he'd get free food out of it. The anime likes to use ChiChi's outbursts for comic relief, but there's no doubt she loves both her sons and her oaf of a husband. Every time Goku is hurt or comes down with an illness, ChiChi is by his side fussing over him. His deaths, even when they end up being temporary, affect her deeply. There's nothing she wants more than to have a happy family life and see her sons succeed.
Millia Fallyna (Macross) - Millia puts her life as an ace Zentradi pilot on hold when she decides she has to kill Maximilian Jenius. Like all great love stories, Millia and Max find themselves head over heels in love with one another after Millia tries to stab him but fails. Motherhood doesn't come naturally to Millia, and she's rather rough with her baby at first due to her lack of experience and maternal instinct. Her belief in the importance of Komillia's status as the first stellar interracial child actually brings resolution to the ongoing conflict between the Zentradi and humanity. Millia even suits up her daughter and brings her into space to show her existence to her former comrades, an act that leaves them dumbstruck.
Kushina Uzumaki (Naruto) - Naruto got much of his personality and powers from his headstrong mother, Kushina. A force to be reckoned with, Kushina paid the ultimate price to protect newborn Naruto from the Nine-Tailed Fox, but this wouldn't be the last time she protected her son from the beast that threatened his life. In a moment of weakness, an older Naruto almost succumbs to the hatred of the Nine-Tailed Fox, if not for his mother's love and spirit intervening. She's able to finally pass on peacefully after reaffirming to Naruto how much she loves him.
Izumi Curtis (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood) - Izumi epitomizes the idea of "tough love." She has no children of her own but takes in the orphaned Elric brothers as her alchemy pupils. She only takes on the two boys temporarily at first, letting them move in with her and her husband, but then sets the tone for her teaching style immediately by leaving them alone on an island with a knife and a few words of wisdom, telling them to survive on their own for a month. (Sure, she had a guardian watching over them from the shadows, but the boys didn't know that.) The Elrics prove themselves successful, so Izumi takes them into her home for the next six months. The impact her tutelage has on the boys can't be underestimated, and despite her tough exterior, she continues to care for both Edward and Alphonse after they leave home, going so far as to threaten those who might hurt them.
Sanae Furukawa (Clannad) - Sanae's inclusion might seem out of place on a list alongside mecha pilots and ninja warriors. Her sacrifices are mundane by comparison, but they reverberate in a relatable way. Our mothers can't take us into space to stop an intergalactic war, but they might be bakers with questionable taste who gave up a promising career to take care of us. Sanae worked as a teacher while her husband Akio was a stage actor. Both gave up their jobs to open a bakery that would allow them to stay home and take care of the ailing Nagisa. Sanae expresses no regrets over what would be a difficult decision for most. When her new granddaughter comes into her care, she takes on the challenge with a full heart, when it would be easy to be resentful toward Tomoya for being a self-absorbed deadbeat dad. She's instrumental in getting Ushio and Tomoya to build a relationship.
Carla Jaegar (Attack on Titan) - We don't get to see much of Carla before she's unfortunately fridged to spur Eren into the Survey Corps. Instead, we learn most about her through flashbacks, where she accomplishes everyday, normal tasks for a wife and mother living in the shadow of man-eating monsters. She does the laundry, cooks, and puts up with her weirdo doctor (mad scientist?) husband. She's also shown to have a caring, open heart. She takes in Mikasa as one of the family when Eren shows up with her one day. She also attempts to talk sense into her impulsive son and emphasize the burden his reckless actions have on others who care for him. She values her family above all else including her own life, a trait that proves to be her ultimate undoing.
The new poll: Who was your first anime waifu/husbando/both?
The old poll: If you could have one anime item to use in your everyday life, which would you choose?
- Anywhere Door (Doraemon)
- Flying Nimbus (Dragon Ball)
- Death Note (Death Note)
- Three-Dimensional Maneuvering Gear (Attack on Titan)
- AmuSphere (Sword Art Online)
- Nausicaä Glider "Mehve" (Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind)
- Digivice (Digimon)
- Nerve Gear (Sword Art Online)
- Sealing Wand (Card Captor Sakura)
- Kaneda's Bike (Akira)
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