For those of you who understandably could not handle the direction Do You Love Your Mom And Her Two Hit Multi Attacks took with it’s fan-service (or perhaps if you liked it and want more badass mom content), I dug to the bottom of every corner in the anime-verse to find other good anime with badass mother characters for you all.
To be completely honest I really did not have a lot to choose from. Of course the fact that I tried to make this post go along with the theme of an article I wrote for Fanbyte about the Do You Love Your Mom… anime by finding anime moms who played roles not typical of mother characters made this even tougher. It’s not that I think stay-at-home moms like those from various slice-of-life anime or My Hero Academia are bad, I’m just looking for something that breaks the mold in a similar way the Do You Love Your Mom anime did.
Nonetheless I think I found a good variety of shows to highlight so that each of you can find at least one you will enjoy.
Pokemon Sun And Moon
There’s a lot the anime improved on from the video games it is based on. The portrayal of Lusamine, Lillie’s mother just might be the best improvement made for the anime adaptation.
A character who was a psychopathic villain in the games became completely re-written as a nuanced character with real struggles in the Pokemon Sun And Moon Anime. It’s true, she starts out very flawed, but flawed for a much more down-to-earth reason than her game counterpart… in fact her character arc ultimately challenges society’s expectations for mothers to be fully devoted to her child as well as the expectations for workers to be fully devoted to their work.
Despite the fact that Lusamine’s primary growth-point is that she needs to take time away from work to reconnect with her estranged young child, the child, Lillie also must learn that her mother does not hate her just because she spends time working. After an exceptionally well-written arc where parent and child come to understand one-another, Lusamine retains her job position and continues to be a crucial presence as a scientist and the director for the Ultra Guardian missions (basically the main cast become the Power Rangers and Lusamine is the one calling the shots from HQ).
Lusamine shows up for the first time in Sun And Moon episode 44, but I also highly recommend at least watching episodes 8, 14, 22, 27, and 30-32 first so you can understand crucial points of Lillie’s development referenced later. The realistically written mother-daughter dynamics are just as enjoyable to watch here as they were in the Pokemon XY Anime between Serena and her mother Grace… but with the added bonus of Lusamine being directly involved in other adventures later as well.
The Sun And Moon Anime as a whole is a slapstick comedic slice-of-life adventure-action anime that can be enjoyed even if you haven’t watched Pokemon before. If that genre description sounds wild that’s because it is. It’s a very different and experimental series and the already nice quality for this ambitious formula gets noticeably better after Lusamine is introduced (just skip episode 56, it’s the most boring filler). Make sure you don’t skip the best Ultra Guardians Arc, episodes 87-90.
The dub for this anime is available Dinsey XD and Netflix. There are no official subs due to licensing difficulties.
Fans of the drama around Lillie and Serena’s parents will also enjoy the primary conflict in Kuromokuro. Yukina Shirahane faces a lot of pressure to live up to her mother’s expectations… and who wouldn’t when your mother is the head of a major UN research institute? Yukina wants nothing to do with her mother, science or the UN, she just wants to look at waterfalls and her grades are really just average. It’s a very unique take on a situation very similar to Lillie in Pokemon Sun And Moon.
Her mother, Hiromi Shirahane is strict and a bit oblivious, but she ultimately cares for her daughter and she’s every bit as badass as she needs to be for being in charge of humanity’s only hope to fight off giant Mecha aliens… wait what?
This is an original Mecha Anime from P.A. Works where a UN Laboratory Director’s daughter who just wants to be a normal teenager turns out to be the chosen one: aka the only one capable of controlling a giant machine (Mecha) needed to fight off some aliens (along with another mysterious dude who’s been brought back to life after being frozen for 450 years). Hiromi does her best to keep her daughter safe as the one calling the shots from HQ, but this obviously turns out to be very difficult.
The mysterious dude, Kennosuke Tokisada Ouma early in the anime does say some very sexist things about the female characters, but this is usually portrayed as him being behind the times (by about 450 years). This is a rare Mecha anime where a girl gets to pilot the mecha… although she can only do it with the help of Kennosuke (and likewise, he cannot do it without her).
It’s a very fun action-packed Mecha Anime with a focus on character growth. There’s some backstory baggage between Yukina and her mother to unpack in the anime too, but I’m not going to spoil it. Available on Netflix.
Technically Bisca Mulan/Connell does not become a mother until the end of season four, but she’s every bit as badass as you could hope for in an anime-mom. She’s a full-fledged freelance wizard and nobody ever shames her for leaving her kid with a babysitter while she’s out working. Her fellow wizards are more than happy to assist in looking out for her young daughter and seeing this support is very wholesome.
As a minor character Bisca doesn’t get as much screen-time as the main characters, but we can see her fight using her sharpshooting gun magic during most of the major Fairy Tail Guild group battles. She is also among the characters who stick around after the number of members in Fairy Tail significantly drop at one point. Fairy Tail always does a fantastic job of fleshing out their minor characters and Bisca is no exception, we even get a whole episode dedicated to her and Erza reminiscing about the day she joined the guild.
Fairy Tail is an off-the-wall comedic action Shonen, technically very much so on the fanservicy side yet it rarely crosses the line to the point that it feels degrading until later seasons in my opinion. Some of the female characters are models or wanna-be models. However, dudes don’t often get away with doing anything without the girl’s consent without a punch to the face and/or some smack-talk behind his back (and these punishments are usually portrayed as justified). The cow character is annoying as all heck though. Some people might not be able to handle it and I give 80% of the blame to the darn cow. Even if you try to read the cow as a satire it can be a bit much.
It’s one of those anime where you will either love it or hate it. The power of friendship can conquer everything, although there are some creative battles too. Fairy Tail’s strong point however, is in the characters. The wizard guild is full of misfits and some of them are orphans who literally grew up in the guild (they even let in some kids who would not learn how to do magic and take jobs until years after they join). All the bad guys can be redeemed and the heroes are inspirational.
You can watch it on Funimation (dub) or Crunchyroll (sub).
Okay, so I had to cheat and include anime movies on this list.
Moro the wolf-god (the giant wolf in the picture above) may not be Mononoke’s biological mother, but adoptive moms count too! She’s the leader of the wolf-clan, at war with humanity for most of the movie because humans are destroying the forest, her home. Yet when she finds an abandoned human infant she takes it in and raises it as her own daughter, that human infant was Mononoke.
This movie is a must-watch for anime fans and non-weebs alike. It’s about a clash between ideals, protecting the environment and the danger of polarization. Mononoke is not the main character, the main character is a young man who seeks to find a peaceful solution to the conflict between two warring groups.
The movie is ahead of it’s time; perhaps the greatest achievement is it was somehow written with both of the groups being lead by women without ever allowing it to devolve into anything slightly reminiscent of a cat-fight. Lady Eboshi in particular is one of the best written characters in anime, after being initially lead to believe she would be the villain, we soon after learn that she has goals and ideals equally as noble as Mononoke. The fight between Lady Eboshi and Princess Mononoke is written with the same level of dramatic respect as any climactic rival or villain fights in Shonen anime, if not more.
Moro also plays a big role in the film as the leader of Mononoke’s clan, an active fighter and a caring guardian for her adoptive daughter.
GKIDS has exclusive rights to distribution which means the only way you can watch it is by buying DVDs (totally worth it although it is inconvenient for a first-watch) or you can occasionally see it in indie movie theaters.
Junko, Madoka’s mother is no fighter or army commander, but it’s pretty cool to see her advice have a significant affect on the plot and Madoka’s development as a character. Even if that advice is elicited without Madoka ever telling her about being a Magical Girl or fighting monsters.
For sure Madoka needs the advice because the anime gets very dark. See here for more details if you need it.
Anime I haven’t watched (yet)
Within the slice-of-life genre, drama genre and apparently Dragonball many anime on this list by Blake Zahari look very promising (I have seen Wolf Children though and can confirm this is an awesome movie about motherhood). If any of you want to mention a cool anime mom you’ve found in any genre feel free to share them in the comments!
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