Posted by: AceRailgun | February 16, 2013

Daddy issues – A father complex

A while back I took a look at male leads and how boring they are usually only having the personality trait of dead parents but I never took the time to look at female leads as they almost always tend to be very easy to calculate and only ever have two unique traits. The first being the uncanny ability to love a guy that looks like a background character and the second is that they always have an ability of some kind. Being a god, having the ability to shoot lightning, the ability to read minds or all too often the ability to have huge breasts. 


It’s only after rewatching a portion of Stein;Gate in English (Great dub by the way) that I’ve noticed there is one other trait which often applies to the female leads and not the male lead because unlike the male leads who have dead parents or abandonment issues the females usually have parents alive and kicking. The problem is that ninety percent of the time they don’t live with these parents for whatever reason. Don’t believe me? Think I’m just making stuff up? How about this then, Christina from Steins;Gate has a father jealous of her scientific work. Maka from Soul Eater has an inferiority complex stemming from her mothers side and an almost tsudere relationship with her overbearing father. Rin from Usagi Drop has a father complex with the man who raised her.  Rikka from Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai has dead daddy problems and issues with her mother for no good reason. Sankarea is an anime based solely around daddy issues. I could go on but I think I’ve proven my point and I drew those examples from anime I hold more highly if I started picking from the lower section of my anime list then god only knows how much more of this I could find.


I’m curious as to why this is overdone so much because in all seriousness parents are hardly ever present in anime yet they hold so much influence over anime leads in some cases. Take the currently airing Kotoura-san for example, her mother mentally destroyed her as a child yet she is never even present to take credit for it. Or that girl Shinji from Evangelion, she has some serious daddy issue yet she barely ever sees him.


This trope has only really become big as of the last three or four year, before that anime parents were real people who if  necessary were part of the cast for reasons other then being a daddy issue. Don’t you think It’s even more noticeable lately in the harem style anime where nobody does anything but tease? You may not have noticed it but I’m sure you are starting to now.


  1. One thing I could come up with is that the author was trying to make a contrast. The main character usually starts with both his parents dead, however, the heroine still has a family, although at times, she has problems with them. In a way, they are trying to show that the main character had suffered much more then most of the heroines, but the lives of the heroines aren’t completely good either with their familial problems. At least, that’s what I thought.

    • Yep that sounds about right for the typical anime or story in general. Contrast seems to be important but 9/10 times the contrast is only between the male and female protagonist and not a contrast between other stories with the exact same set up. I guess us anime fans are just expected to take this as it comes and accept the same set up for every story.

      • Yup, what King Kai said. This is why I complain a lot (but don’t have the finesse to make an editorial about this subject) about death being a driving force behind (usually) a male protagonist. What a load. All those fellow young adult geeks saying “adding death will help increase a show’s quality by making the protagonist more identifiable” BULLCRAP! You can do it just fine without death.

        Ugh. The Iron Man 3 trailer where there’s a plane going out of control and some passengers fall out. Iron Man says the chances of saving them all are slim. Some geeks said it would help develop his character by experiencing failure and show the audience that Tony Stark isn’t the perfect hero many casual viewers and even Tony himself, think he is. BULLCRAP AGAIN! It’s been proven several times that he isn’t perfect. Oh, forget it. Death will forever be a plot point to “help” male leads grow stronger…or turn heel, or some other bollocks. I’ll have to live with it.

  2. I have a draft post sitting that’s been sitting around for a year about why parents don’t exist in anime. I think it allows the main characters to pretty much do what they want with minimal interference. If there were parents around, they wouldn’t be able to go out every night to save the world or make out with that hot girl/boy from class. As for the daddy issue thing, I think it stems from the desire of most guys in Japan to want to protect their girl and “rescue” them from parental tyranny.

    • I didn’t consider the rescuing angle at all but it totally makes sense since a lot of the harem style anime where daddy issues are most noticeable are the kind of anime the male viewer is expected to put themselves in the place of the male protagonist.

      As for the idea that characters get more freedom when parents aren’t around, well it is true but to some extent it doesn’t even matter. In Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai there is plenty of adult figures around the homes of both characters yet they manage to get out and about without much trouble late into the night. Not having parents is just lazy writing when you consider how Clannad or Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai treated the topic.

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