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21 Anime Characters with Big-Time Parent Issues

Updated November 12, 2020 16.8k votes 4.2k voters 170.1k views21 items

List RulesVote up the anime and manga characters with the worst parent issues.

Anime characters with parent issues are a dime a dozen, but the mommy and daddy issues these anime characters have are hard to rival. From abandonment issues to the tragic deaths of parents, it doesn't get much worse than the situations on this list.

It seems that in the collected world of anime heroes and villains, the governing rule is that functional parents simply can’t exist. Sure, heroes occasionally get mentors, but by and large, most anime and manga parents are either no good at the soccer mom game or are gone before they can really make a difference. This is not a landscape of Martha Kents. Main characters are either forced to watch their parents perish, leave, or simply never get written in at all.

If you thought Bruce Wayne had some parent issues, the tortured billionaire has nothing on these anime and manga characters who have some serious emotional complexity driving their relationships with their parents.

Spoilers ahead.

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  • Man, oh man, Shinji Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelio had it rough in the parents department. At just the tender age of 3, Shinji witnessed the death of his mother Yui during the "contact experiment" with Eva-01 that went horribly wrong. As if that wasn't traumatizing enough, he was abandoned by his father Gendo only a year later, and was forced to live with his teacher Misato.

    Although Misato is caring towards Shinji, his personal struggles plague him all his life, especially after age 11 when his father (now the head of NERV) calls on him to pilot Eva-01 and fight the angels that are attacking Earth. If coming face-to-face and being forced to obey your father who abandoned you as an infant isn't traumatizing, then nothing is.

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    Family Rejection Is A Theme In 'Fruits Basket'

    Tohru Honda’s life was shaped, in part, by his mother Kyoko’s teachings. Though she only appears in flashbacks, her conversations with Tohru have a profound impact. Kyoko was rejected by her parents at an early age and even disowned outright after she participated in a gang fight at school.

    Rin Sohma thought she had an idyllic life with her parents until she asked them if they were happy. That turned out to be a mistake, as the stress of maintaining the facade eventually took its toll. They became abusive and neglectful to the extent that Rin ended up hospitalized with a panic disorder.

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  • If your father is a rapist who took the life of your mother and is also the strongest man in the world that no one can stand up to, you might be Baki Hanma. The main character in Baki the Grappler, Baki struggles with father issues his whole life as he attempts to become strong enough earn his father's respect by pummeling the crap out of him. Baki's goal in life is not to become the strongest in the world, but merely to surpass his father- "If my father was the weakest man on the Earth, I would be satisfied with being the second weakest."

    Unfortunately for Baki, his father Yujiro is referred to as "the strongest creature on earth" who spills blood for sport and takes advantage of the fact that no one can touch him.

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  • 8

    Seto Kaiba’s New Dad Raised Him for Success, Then Resented It

    In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Seto Kaiba is raised by an adopted father, a powerful industry tycoon named Gozaburo Kaiba. Gozaburo essentially forced his adopted son to undergo an excruciating academic regimen, training him in an accelerated school program designed to get Seto in prime business condition.

    In this, Gozaburo is completely successful, because by the time he’s 16, Seto has seized control of his adopted father’s company in a hostile takeover that results in Gozaburo’s suicide in front of Seto’s very eyes.

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