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Anime with Big Dad Energy

Illustration for article titled Anime with Big Dad Energy
Screenshot: Funimation/Crunchyroll

2020 has been an interesting year- I have watched the most anime in this year than I probably have ever. There have been fantastic ones, horrible ones, ones that scarred, and ones that made me cry.

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Oh yeah, 2020 has also been a terrible year for my hopes and dreams. That is not anything new to the world, I know. I probably need to count my blessings. Sure, I bought my first house. I’ve been working a nice job as an intern at a mental health clinic and am inching ever closer to my goals.

There is one thing, however. Moving to a new place means starting things over from scratch. Now, this isn’t as hopeful as Re:Zero’s Rem monologue about “starting from zero” because this town has proven to be...less than ideal.

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So where do hopes and dreams come into play, you might be asking? The idea of the perfect life for me is to be working in the career field of my dreams, married to a loving wife and having beautiful children. Where I live now...that seems unlikely any time soon.

Rather than sulk around the house, make the mistake of trying to bang my head against the cement floor that is online dating, or have my family and friends remind me that I am only twenty-six and that it is okay not have a family yet, I decided that there is an adult way of handling this dread. That’s right! The escapism that is anime. Not just any anime of course, I’m talking about anime that have big dad energy (BDE).

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All kidding aside, I found this run of anime in recent months that have a central theme of incredibly wholesome parent/child or guardian/child bonds. If you’re looking to feel warm and fuzzy from the same, or just want some recommendations for great anime, I figured this collection would be appropriate. Don’t worry- I’m not crying much over how much I want to have a family. Honest.

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Screenshot: Funimation/Crunchyroll
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Sweetness & Lightning

Maybe one of the first “recent” anime that come to mind for people when they think of cute family anime, Sweetness & Lightning is a story about a widowed man just trying to do his best to make his little ball of sunshine happy. Stinolez recommended this one to me on the podcast we did together and it was a great watch. I think I cried once an episode on average because of the range of emotions it hits as we see the life of a struggling single father and the hope his young daughter brings him. More importantly, seeing the relationship he has with his daughter grow from cooking together was something that moved me greatly.

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Screenshot: Funimation/Crunchyroll

Somali & the Forest Spirit

Ah yes, the show that built my disdain for referring to children as “gremlins” or “brats” thanks to how people identified a small child’s behavior in a large city. I mentioned on an AniTAY Podcast that I found this anime as fascinating to see how the Golem grew as a guardian as it was to see Somali be adorable. There were little nuggets like the advice Golem got that “you learn as much as the child does as you go” which was something really profound that I had not heard to this point. I think there is a really gripping moment where the Golem considers abandoning Somali because he is afraid he is not a good enough guardian for her and he was afraid he would fail her. This is very emotional because it seems to be a rational fear I hear from many parents and one I’m sure I will grapple with.

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Screenshot: Funimation/Crunchyroll

Kakushigoto

Parents keep secrets from their children- some are with good reason while some have sillier reasons. Kakushigoto explores both of these as a single father does his best to keep his daughter happy while sheltering her from unpleasant memories of what happened to her mother...and also hiding the fact he draws ecchi manga. Unexpectedly, this series was a lot funnier than I anticipated, and the slice of life elements really give a good look into the worries of a father. Such decisions as moving his entire studio on a “vacation” just to secretly chaperone his daughter’s field trip or setting up entire contingency plans in case his daughter discovers his office are both hysterical and very wholesome. I am little bummed out the dub for this is only midway through, but I can wait on this great content.

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Screenshot: Funimation/Crunchyroll

DECA-DENCE

Hold on a second, I know this one is a little unorthodox. I want to do my best explaining this one without getting into spoilers, so bare with me. When Kaburagi first meets Natsume, he has all but given up on living his life. It is through this bright and cheery girl that he has reason for living rekindled and he fights and pushes himself to ensure she has the best life and that she can fulfil her dreams. While it isn’t explicit, I think he serves as a great guardian figure for Natsume and, like we will talk about with the next anime, I think that is epitomized by a pretty badass moment at the end of the series. Apologies for this one being a little vague, but if you’ve seen the anime, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t seen it yet, just hold tight for the upcoming AniTAY Review of it!

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Screenshot: Funimation/Crunchyroll

A Certain Scientific Accelerator

Somehow, this anime is my favorite example of guardianship on the whole list and yet it doesn’t fit the traditional sense of the bond at all. Technically speaking, the real powerhouse of this franchise when it comes to guardianship is Aiho Yomikawa- the tough as nails P.E. teacher who also works as a member of Anti-Skill (the Certain Magical /Certain Scientific counter-terrorism unit that specializes in angsty teenagers using their powers as espers to destroy the city). Aiho is a guardian of Last Order and Accelerator (and, later in the series, Misaka Worst) and uses her drive to protect children to dive headfirst into whatever insanities the city is throwing at Anti-Skill. In this particular anime, however, Accelerator has significant guardianship over Last Order, the adorable little Misaka clone that speaks in third person with her name repeated twice every time she speaks. Sure, it might be more appropriate to call her his ward, but things don’t get much bigger in “big dad energy” than destroying a demon that will explode and wipe out the hospital little Last Order is comfortably staying at.

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Screenshot: Funimation/Crunchyroll
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So there you have it, there are some anime that keep me feeling all warm and fuzzy on the inside and looking forward to the day I can be a good parent/guardian. I admittedly hope I don’t end up in the situation the fathers in this list do, but I would not be opposed to being a guardian one day, either.

My rambling aside, do you have any anime that you go to that give you that wholesome ray of sunshine?

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