There are some seriously dysfunctional anime families out there, and the fault usually lies with the horrible anime parents. Shockingly, not all of them are the terrible parents from Yu-Gi-Oh!. In fact, you’ll find bad parenting in anime of all kinds, from Elfen Lied to Pokémon.
Whether they’re forcing their kids to commit suicide for insurance money or transforming them against their will into man-eating monsters, bad parenting in anime is rampant. In fact, it’s probably more common than good parenting. Let’s learn about the worst parents in anime, and pray that their barbarous parenting techniques never transfer over to the real world.
Shou Tucker From Fullmetal Alchemist
Shou Tucker is, far and away, one of the worst parents in fictional history. What makes him so awful? Well, in order to maintain his position as a state alchemist, Tucker uses alchemy to merge his daughter Nina with their pet dog. Let that sink in. Now go take a nine showers, and lament the fact that you still feel gross.
He briefly passes off the monstrosity as an “ethically” created chimera capable of speech, but it’s quickly discovered he couldn’t possibly have done this morally. While he’s waiting to be arrested for his crimes against both human and animals, he tries to solicit sympathy from his mutated child by telling her he’s misunderstood. Not much to understand, dude, you’re willing to destroy your own child and your beloved family pet for a job.
Mayu’s Parents From Elfen Lied
Mayu, one of the most innocent characters in Elfen Lied, ran away from home at age 14 to escape her horrible parents. That alone should tip you off that things are pretty bad. Mayu’s stepfather is a sick man who takes advantage of his new stepdaughter almost as soon as he meets her. When Mayu appeals to her mother for help, her mother slaps her in the face, calls her a liar, and tells her that she is unloved and unwanted.
This lady cares a lot more about her marriage than she does about her daughter’s well-being, and she is more than happy to continue a relationship with a pedophile. When Mayu’s stepfather violates her again, she leaves home, unable to take the abuse anymore.
Hiromi Shiota From Assassination Classroom
In general, it’s not a great parenting move to try and force your kid to conform to a gender identity they don’t agree with. Hiromi Shiota wanted a daughter so she could vicariously relive her own girlhood (which was admittedly terrible). When she gave birth to a son instead, she decided it didn’t matter and raised Nagisa as a girl. Much to Nagisa’s chagrin, Hiromi forced him to grow his hair out and wear feminine clothing.
This alone is pretty awful, but it gets worse. Nagisa is in class 3-E at Kunugigaoka Middle School, which is where kids with bad grades end up. Hiromi doesn’t want Nagisa in that class, but he’s happy doing important work with his classmates, so he’s against switching out. To force her son to comply, Hiromi drugs Nagisa, brings him to school, and insists he torch the building. In other words: excellent parenting. She only gives up when he saves her from an assassin, because apparently now that he can kick ass, he’s worth consideration as a human being.
Ragyo Kiryuin From Kill La Kill
Ragyo Kiryuin is the antagonist of Kill la Kill. She’s also an objectively terrible mother. Ragyo is a seemingly immortal monster, whose body is a combination of human flesh and Life Fibers, which are basically clothing from space. Her goal is to destroy all of humanity and let Life Fibers take over the earth, a goal her older daughter Satsuki pretends to support until she manages to gather adequate forces to take her down. While she’s biding her time, she has to endure her mother violating her.
You would think that supervillainy would be enough for Ragyo, but no, she’s also aggressively cavalier about the lives of her children. When she mistakenly believes her second daughter, Ryuko, died as an infant as a result of Life Fiber experimentation, she disposes of the body, feeling no grief for anything other than the failed experiment.
Later, she’s perfectly content to try and murder both Satsuki and Ryuko for trying to stop her from destroying humanity. Oh, and she orders her third daughter, Nui, to sacrifice her life. Because, evidently, that’s just what you do when you’re a parent.
Sakuya Watanuki’s Parents From Servamp
Like Shou Tucker, the Watanukis of Servamp care a lot more about money and status than they do about their kids. They forced their daughter to commit suicide so they could collect the money from her life insurance policy. Their son, Sakuya, witnessed his sister’s death, but was forced to lie to the police about it.
Though the Watanukis promised their daughter her brother would be safe as long as she sacrificed herself, they went back on their promise and murdered Sakuya for financial gain when he was a teenager. Instead of dying, Sakuya ends up becoming a vampire, but his horrible parents presumably got the money anyway.
Gambino From Berserk
Gambino of Berserk is the protagonist’s, Guts, adoptive father. Because he found Guts after he was born from a corpse (it’s a whole thing), he believes he’s a bad omen, and blames him for everything that goes wrong in his life, including the death of his lover Shisu.
Considering the fact she died from the plague, this is pure superstition, but it doesn’t matter. Guts got blamed anyway. Said blame takes the form of beatings, expecting him to feed himself at age six, forcing him to act as a child soldier, renting him out to a pedophile for profit, and just straight-up attempting to murder him. Guts ends up killing his own foster father in self-defense. It’s no wonder the poor guy can’t stand being touched as an adult.
Kazekage Rasa From Naruto
Rasa is the Kazekage (basically the president) of the Land of Wind in the world of Naruto. He’s also pretty freakin’ awful at the whole dad thing, like most actual presidents. In order to deal with economic problems, Rasa decided he needed his ninja army to be more powerful. To make this happen, he seals the Shukaku, a powerful tailed beast, inside his unborn child. As a result, his son Gaara is born prematurely, and his wife Karura dies in childbirth.
Gaara has to grow up with a rampaging beast living in his body, which forces him to go on killing sprees that isolate him from his whole community. Rasa repeatedly tries to eliminate his son for the safety of the village, but he fails every time. Remember, he was the one who made his son a monster in the first place. Meanwhile, nobody is really taking care of his other two kids, Temari and Kankuro. They just kind of have to raise themselves, while their father is busy trying to murder their brother.
Gendo Ikari From Neon Genesis Evangelion
Like Maximillian Pegasus of Yu-Gi-Oh! fame, Gendo Ikari of Neon Genesis Evangelion is so focused on trying to reunite with his dead wife he’s willing to do basically anything to get there. Unlike Pegasus, though, Mr. Ikari has a kid he’s supposed to be paying at least a modicum of attention to.
But, no, Mr. Ikari has more important things to do, so he just abandons his kid, then randomly summons him to pilot a mecha. While 14-year-old Shinji is trying his best to take on this difficult and terrifying task, his dad gives him no guidance and no support, just a few vague insults and a whole lot of neglect.
Shouichi Makise From Steins;Gate
Steins;Gate’s Shouichi Makise, also known as Dr. Nakabachi, is the father of a scientific genius named Kurisu Makise. Kurisu writes a groundbreaking paper on time travel, but instead of being proud of his daughter’s accomplishments, Shouichi tries to murder her so he can steal her paper and pass it off as his own.
It’s definitely hard to get worse than that, parenting wise.
Momiji’s Parents From Fruits Basket
Fruits Basket is one of those series with so many bad parents it’s hard to choose just one. If you’re talking about the manga, the answer is obvious: Ren Sohma is the absolute worst mother ever. But then again, Kazuma Sohma hooked up with his adopted son’s high school friend, and that’s pretty bad. But wait, there’s also Yuki’s mother, who basically sold her son to a sadistic cousin who whips him for fun. Those things are manga only, so what about the anime? It’s still hard to choose, but the award for the worst parent in Fruits Basket has to go to Momiji’s parents.
Momiji’s mother was so disgusted by her son (a boy afflicted by the zodiac curse so he turns into a rabbit when held by a member of the opposite sex), she had her memories erased so she wouldn’t remember Momiji existed. His father sucks pretty hard too. While he does provide for Momiji’s physical needs, his allegiance is clearly with his wife, and he goes out of his way to make sure the two of them never meet. He also hides the existence of their second child, Momo, destroying any chance the siblings could have at a normal relationship.
Saki Arima From Your Lie In April
Saki Arima of Your Lie in April is a well-known professional pianist, and the mother of the show’s protagonist, Kousei Arima. When Ms. Arima develops an unspecified terminal illness that makes it impossible for her to continue her musical career, she begins to live vicariously through Kousei. This means long, grueling practice sessions, and regular beatings whenever he makes a mistake.
After his mother dies, Kousei stops being able to hear music, and it takes him nearly the entire series for his talent to be a source of pleasure instead of trauma.
Hayate Ayasaki’s Parents From Hayate The Combat Butler
Hayate Ayasaki from Hayate the Combat Butler has parents who were wildly irresponsible, and they probably shouldn’t have had kids in the first place. His father refused to get a job under any circumstances, and his mother was a compulsive gambler. This meant that from the moment Hayate was old enough to tie his own shoes, he had no choice but to work to support his useless parents.
This child exploitation continued until his parents accumulated so much debt, they sold their child to the yakuza in order to pay it off. Hayate used to believe his parents would change, but he’s become convinced they’re a lost cause, and (intelligently) wants nothing to do with them.
Dario Brando From JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
Dario Brando is one of the first characters to appear in the sprawling tale that is Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, and he’s also one of the worst. Dario is the father of Dio, the villain of the series, and while Dio’s motivations can’t be entirely distilled to a simple “his dad sucks,” that’s about 90% of it. Dario not only verbally and physically abused Dio, he also forced his wife to work so hard that she died. For Dario, her death was a lucky break, because it meant he could force his son to sell her clothing for beer money.
Dio found his father’s behavior to be totally unforgivable, and he’s glad when his father dies. But hey, at least he cares enough about his son to send him to the Joestar family, where he proceeds to terrorize their child and kill their dog? Hey, no one said Dio was a good kid, just his father was terrible.
Aizawa From Sukisyo
If you haven’t seen Sukisyo, you don’t know how truly bizarre anime can get. This show features one of the most insane antagonists ever, in the form of Aizawa. Aizawa is the father of three test-tube babies, Kai, Shiina, and Kano. He gets the DNA for the kids by raping a man named Nanami, seducing Nanami’s husband, and stealing hair off of a small child’s head. He doesn’t like one of the kids, Shiina, so he ends up putting him up for adoption.
Only Kai appears in the anime proper, but the way Aizawa treats Kai is pretty abysmal. First of all, he forces the teenage boy to kidnap people, assist in human experimentation, and otherwise act like a reprehensible human being. Kai just wants to go to school and live a normal life, but Aizawa is only interested in using him. At the end of the series, Aizawa sets a building on fire, and locks Kai inside. While we do see Kai reappear in an omake, by the end of the actual series, it looks as if Aizawa burned his own son alive.
Masachika Kouda From March Comes In Like A Lion
While Mr. Kouda might not get physical with his son, he still not what you’d call parent of the year. He adopts Rei, the protagonist of March Comes in Like a Lion, after his entire family dies in an accident. He chooses Rei not so much out of compassion for the orphaned child, as for his fascination with Rei’s skill at shogi (Japanese chess.) Rei has little interest in shogi, but ends up playing it professionally in order to please his adoptive father, and ensure he has somewhere to live.
This sounds like a tense, but not terrible, relationship until you factor in Mr. Kouda’s other kids, Ayumu and Kyouko. Mr. Kouda previously taught his biological children to play shogi, and expected them to compete professionally. When Rei arrives on the scene, he starts ignoring his less-talented children, and blatantly favors Rei. This makes Ayumu depressed and withdrawn, Kyouko angry and rebellious, and Rei so guilty and tense he leaves the house at age 17. Mr. Kouda does not acknowledge his role in any of his children’s emotional problems.
Delia Ketchum From Pokémon
Delia can’t exactly be blamed for sending off her 10-year-old on a Pokémon journey. While this is an incredibly bad idea with potentially disastrous consequences, it is relatively normal in her fictive universe. That said, she has almost no input into what Ash is doing during said journey.
Other than occasional phone calls where she reminds him to change his underwear (important, sure, but kind of a low priority compared to finding out if he’s okay after being set on fire by a giant dragon), she’s content to stay at home doing… whatever it is she’s doing during her private time with Professor Oak.
Speaking of which, Professor Oak is pretty awful too. We don’t know how he treats his own children, which means he doesn’t qualify as a horrible parent, per se, but he’s pretty awful at the whole grandparenting thing. He isn’t senile, so he ought to be able to remember his own grandson’s name. The version of him in Pokémon: The Origin is the worst. Watch that show if you want to see an old man shout across his critically injured grandson’s bedside about all the cool stuff his rival is going to do while he recovers.