Happy Mother’s Day! Mothers in Anime
Apparently it’s mother’s day in the U.S. and some other countries. So mom, if you see this, then I guess Happy Mother’s Day from another country?
A motherly relationship, whether the characters are actually related by blood or not, is one of my favorite types of character relationships – even more so after the conception of the character Aoi in my novel. The relationship is one that I don’t really know how to define, I guess a character that takes care of another, either in raising or with emotional issues? An advice giver? It’s a relationship that just “feels” motherly to me. There aren’t really any constraints. The relationship can “feel” that way to me even if they’re not related by blood, even if the age gap between them isn’t significant, even if the “daughter” character is completely capable of taking care of herself.
Unfortunately, parents are often missing/abroad/perpetually-at-work/dead in anime and manga, or are just furniture for the background and don’t have much involvement, likely because:
1. Most parents won’t let their children do the stupid shit we see so often, or
2. Since parents are a restraining force, stories targeted at a younger audience show a life that is free from the parents.
I’m always looking for examples to help me with accurately portraying the dynamic between Aoi and Flan, so if you have any anime/manga suggestions please send them to me!
Some examples of mother characters and/or motherly relationships from anime that I liked (imperfect list, since I have a bad memory and my anime harddrive went kaput):
Zetman – Akemi
Akemi was the reason I really liked Zetman when I first saw it. She took Jin in after his guardian died, and taught him about death, warmth and hope. The part where she took him in and the part at the end of the first episode where he found her alive in the hospital were both really emotional moments for me. Unfortunately he’s forbidden from seeing her after he decided to train to become Zet, since she might become a potential target for his enemies. Really sucks, now we rarely get to see her – and I’m pretty damn sure she’ll be targeted later anyways.
Haiyore! Nyaruko-san – Yoriko
This is a show that includes a silver-haired moe cthulu god, a RED HAIRED FUNNEL-WIELDING FIRE-USING HORNY LESBIAN (!!!!!!!!!!), A SUPER CUTE TRAP (!!!!!!!!!), and my favorite character ends up being the MOTHER. WHYYYYY?!?! I dunno, though she’s pretty badass with her forks. She just started appearing, so the relationship between her and her son aren’t shown often. I guess I like her because she gives off a cute-yet-mature calming feeling?
Mouretsu Pirates – Ririka
Ririka and Marika don’t seem that close, and Marika even calls her by her name instead of as mother most of the time. It seems to me that Ririka cares a lot about Marika in her own way, but isn’t able to express them in a normal manner. I suspect that having to work to make ends meet as a single parent raising a child (I assume the father didn’t return often considering how Marika didn’t know that he was a pirate) lead to the gap in between them. She still provides guidance and advice to Marika, teaching her to fire huge beam weapons (BADASS) and watching over her from a distance.
Puella Magic Madoka Magica – Junko
The late night talk between Madoka and Junko is one of the best scenes, IMO. Junko is a strong independent woman, and she taught Madoka that the world isn’t all candy and rainbows. It sucks, and sometimes you’re gonna have to do some sucky things to get through it. It’s very evident how much she cares about Madoka, and was rather heartbreaking when she had memories of Madoka erased.
The Precure franchise has many good episodes that center around the mother, but apart from that they’re usually gone from the series. Those episodes are golden though (Smile Precure just had a mother’s day episode but I didn’t watch it yet because I… sort of dropped/put the series on hold…). Hibiki’s mother in Suite Precure spent most of her time abroad, and quickly came back to watch her daughter’s piano performance. They were able to spend some time together before she had to leave again, and Hibiki put on a strong face and smile so that she wouldn’t worry about her. Before they had to separate, Hibiki asked to be selfish for a moment to hug and cry about how much she misses her mother. It was a very touching moment, and I wish I had a screenshot but URGH STUPID HARDDRIVE.
Heartcatch Precure’s Mother’s Day episode involved a girl in the same class as Tsubomi and Erika, who lost her mother at an early age and has to take care of her younger sister. She takes on both the roles of an older sister and a mother, which really puts a strain on her since she also misses their mother but has to be strong about it. In that episode she breaks down and rampages around as a Desertarian (the monster-of-the-week), and in her tantrum her sister begins to appreciate just how much she did for her.
Now it’s nearly midnight and I have an assignment due tomorrow that I haven’t started yet. Welp. Need to collect a bunch of reliable sources about arms sales and nuclear proliferation.