For Father’s Day, let’s reflect on all those great anime dads who loved and supported their protagonist children! That’s actually not a very long list, is it? A lot of anime dads are actually just awful. Whether they’re straight up evil and giving their kids some kind of complex or are just totally absent in their kids’ lives, most anime dads kind of suck. But there are still some shining beacons out there who actually deserve those #1 Dad mugs that are in abundance this season. Namely, the dads who fight to protect their kids and give them the best they can. Let’s take a moment this Father’s Day to highlight those anime dads.

Maes Hughes – FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST

Maes Hughes and the family celebrate Elicia's third birthday.
The Hughes family (ft. Winry) celebrating Elicia’s birthday. | Image: Netflix

You can’t talk about rad anime dads without Maes Hughes of FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST making the list. How many other dads would whip out their wallet-turned-family photo album at every chance they get, regardless of the situation? Military gatherings? Secret liaisons to discuss treason? Doesn’t matter where or when Maes would want you to see that Elicia’s grown two centimeters since you last spoke. Regardless of what darkness loomed over the country, his wife and daughter were the absolute suns of his life. Everything Maes did was to ensure Elicia and Gracia were safe, happy, and protected. This held true even during his final breaths, which made his death one of the hardest to cope with in the series.

Not only was he such a stalwart figure for his own family, but he was also a stand-in father for the Elric brothers. He invited them into his home and looked out for them when their own father was off who knows where. Hohenheim might not have been the sort of dad to play catch with his sons, but that’s alright. Maes was dad enough to step in. He might not have been an alchemist like the brothers, but the soldier knew how the world worked and imparted some other wisdom on the boys. That wisdom wasn’t always perfect or welcome, true, but it was a taste of the normal lives Ed and Al never had the opportunity to enjoy.

No one, in the series or otherwise, can say Maes Hughes hasn’t earned his spot on this list. Had fate been kinder, he’d have sipped from a #1 Dad Mug with pride knowing full well he’d earned it. (Kaitie Kwiatkowski)

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Ryogi “Ranka” Fujioka – OURAN HIGH SCHOOL HOST CLUB

Ryogi "Ranka" Fujioka's first appearance in Ouran High School Host Club
Ranka knows how to make an entrance. | Image: Netflix

When it comes to anime dads, a lot of people might not choose Haruhi Fujioka’s cross-dressing, bisexual, over-the-top father. A lot of people would probably turn their noses at the man’s life choices. But don’t let those people fool you into thinking that Ryoji “Ranka” Fujioka isn’t one of the best dads out there.

When Haruhi’s mother died, Ranka knew it would be hard to fill his wife’s shoes. But as it turns out, Haruhi didn’t need much looking after. She took over the chores and she enrolled herself in Ouran Academy. Just like any parent would be, Ranka is devastated when Haruhi doesn’t invite him to Parent’s Day at school, thinking it had something to do with his looks and behavior. As it turns out, she just wanted her hard-working dad to relax on his day off. With a daughter like Haruhi, Ranka is forced to enact his parental duties in a different way. While he is a hardcore doting parent, his best quality is giving Haruhi the space to become the person she wants to be. He doesn’t question her androgynous looks or scold her for only hanging out with wealthy teenage boys. As long as she’s happy, so is he.

But at the end of the day, Ranka is still a dad and is there to chase away all of Haruhi’s suitors. When he finds out that his daughter had her first kiss at school, he’s ready to fight. Ranka might not be the most conventional parent, but he’s the best dad to Haruhi and that’s what really matters. (Celeste Paed)

Vegeta – DRAGON BALL SUPER

Vegeta, one of the best anime dads, and his family
The Saiyan Prince enjoying some ice cream with his family. | Image: YouTube

Most DRAGON BALL fans have always labeled Piccolo as the best father figure in the franchise. But, in the most recent series, we’ve seen a bit more from another ex-villain father. DRAGON BALL SUPER showed a much softer side to Vegeta that really highlighted the dynamic he’s developed with his family. His character used to be summed up by just one sentence: the prideful Saiyan Prince that seeks to surpass all others (aka Goku). In SUPER, however, Vegeta became so much more than that.

Vegeta matured into a supportive, compassionate, and extremely protective father/husband. He’s always been hard on his son Trunks, but in SUPER we see Vegeta encouraging him and even rewarding him for his hard work. Vegeta was usually distant towards his wife Bulma, but SUPER showed a whole lot of Vegeta being concerned for her well-being and constantly defending her. Vegeta also helped care for newborn Bulla and turned Super Saiyan Blue whenever someone made her cry. This character development is huge because, unlike Goku, Vegeta wasn’t raised with humans. Yet, he understands human familial bonding better than Goku. Vegeta was even blown away when he realized Goku never kissed his wife. And Goku didn’t understand why Vegeta didn’t want to leave to train during Bulma’s second pregnancy.

There are other good fathers in SUPER like Gohan and Krillin, but they have always been inherently good. Vegeta grew to be good and caring. During the Tournament of Power, when Vegeta reflected on what mattered to him, his family came first — before his Saiyan pride. That is some awesome development right there. Because of this, Vegeta should get way more recognition as the loving father/husband that he is. (Samantha Herrera)

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The Best of the Best Anime Dads?

That’s hard to say. These anime dads all faced wildly different challenges in raising their kids and preparing them to face the world. What really matters is what they have in common, not what sets them apart. Despite all odds against them, these dads did everything in their power to give their families the best they could. At the end of the day, they all deserve their #1 Dad mugs (though we do suspect that only Maes Hughes would truly take that gift to count as evidence in his favor).

Who do you think should have been included in this list? Let us know in the comments!

Feature image courtesy of Netflix

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