They say it takes a village to raise a child. Though there are cases where that whole village ends up being one person. There are families that, due to one circumstance or another, rely on one parent or guardian to keep things together. Single-parent families can be seen in all sorts of media, be it Disney killing off one parent or another in their classic films or more modern shows bringing up more common reasons like divorce and separation.
Anime has also touched on the topic of single parents, be it in comedies or dramas, shonen adventure or family fare, in modern settings or fantasy worlds. Here are a few anime examples of shows about solo moms, dads, and guardians in general.
Japan does like its puns. The title is a reference to its protagonist, Kakushi Gotō, and on his ‘drawing job’ (kaku shigoto). After his wife disappeared in a coastline accident, Kakushi’s been supporting himself and his 10yr old daughter Hime by running a manga company, G-PRO, and producing pornographic manga for it. It’s not something he takes pride in and, fearing his daughter would hate him if she found out, goes to extreme lengths to keep it a secret from her.
Based on a manga by Kōji Kumeta, it was adapted into a 12-episode anime series and feature-length film by Ajia-do Animation Works. The film is essentially an abridged retelling of the series and is exclusive to Funimation. While the full series, after previously being on Funimation AnimeLab, can be found in full on Crunchyroll.
It’s that anime about the guy with the baby from J-Stars Victory Vsthe big 3D follow up to Jump Ultimate Stars. If fans are after something more shonen than slice-of-life, this show will have them covered. Sure, on the face of it, it sounds like a grounded family drama; high school student Tatsumi Oga adopts an abandoned baby boy and tries to raise him while attending class. The difference is that the baby, Beel, is the son of the great demon king.
Tatsumi’s adoption of Beel is also sealed via a cursed mark on his right hand. It gives Tatsumi the power to protect his baby against any other threats. Yet it also draws Tatsumi further into the dark side each time he uses it. Should he avoid conflict to save his soul? Or damn himself to protect his baby? Ryuhei Tamura’s manga originally appeared in pages of Weekly Shonen Jump before getting a 60-episode anime series on Crunchyroll.
5 If It’s for My Daughter, I’d Even Defeat a Demon Lord
The title sums it up, really. If anything, the big surprise is that it’s a regular fantasy story instead of an isekai. Originally a light novel by Chirolu, the story follows an adventurer called Dale. As young as he is, he’s developed a reputation for dispatching demons and other beasts. Then, one day, he finds a devil girl called Latina almost starved to death in the woods.
Unable to leave her behind, he adopts her as his daughter, hiding her horns with ribbons. From then on, Latina does her best to adapt to life among the humans, making friends while dealing with discrimination. It’s perhaps as slice-of-life as a fantasy story can get. The anime ran for 12 episodes and can be found on Crunchyroll.
4 Somali and the Forest Spirit
If It’s for My Daughter sounds good, but what if the roles were reversed, and it was about a human child adopted by a fantasy creature? That’s basically what Yako Gureishi did with his manga Somali and the Forest Spirit. Its world is run by goblins, harpies, oni, and other figures from folklore, while humans are left on the brink of extinction at the bottom of the food chain.
It’s in this world that Golem, the spirit of the woods, meets an abandoned human girl called Somali. He can’t leave her alone without protection, yet he only has one more year left to live. So, he gives her a horned headdress to disguise her as a demon and searches for other humans to raise her before he dies. Over the course of their journey, the two bond and learn more about themselves and each other. The manga was adapted into a 12-episode anime by Satelight and Hornets and can be seen on Crunchyroll.
3 Sweetness & Lightning
If fantasy is a little too out there, Sweetness & Lightning should bring fans back down to Earth. like Kakushigoto, it’s about a single dad raising his daughter after his wife has passed away. Only instead of having a job he’d prefer to keep under wraps, Kōhei Inuzuka has an ordinary job as a teacher to support his child Tsumugi.
The issue is that he relies mainly on ready meals to keep his family fed. But after seeing how happy Tsumugi is with home-cooked food, he learns how to cook from Kotori, the daughter of celebrity chef Megumi Īda. As a result, he grows closer to Tsumugi, Tsumugi gains a surrogate big sister in Kotori, and Kotori gets a stand-in parent for her frequently absent mother. Gido Amagakure’s story started off as a manga before reaching Crunchyroll as a 12-episode anime.
2 Bunny Drop
Sweetness & Lightning was a family drama aimed at the seinen (older male) audience. So, how about a series aimed at the josei (older female) crowd? Yumi Unitas Bunny Drop follows Daikichi Kawachi, a slobby 30yr old whose life gets turned upside down when he learns his recently passed grandfather had an illegitimate daughter called Rin. She’s six years old, can’t read, and is treated like an outcast by the rest of the family.
Feeling bad for her, Daikichi adopts her as his own daughter, cleans up his lifestyle, and does his best to raise her. The anime focuses on the first half of the original manga, where it follows events from Daikichi’s perspective; enrolling Rin in school, asking his co-workers for parenting advice, and other issues based on Unita’s own experiences. All 11 episodes can be found on Crunchyroll. That service is looking to be the top place for these family dramas, but there’s one film that has escaped its grasp.
1 Wolf Children
Mamoru Hosodas Wolf Children started off as an anime film and then got expanded to novels and a manga. Streaming enthusiasts will have to check it out on Funimation or bite the bullet and find the DVD/Blu-ray release from 2013. The film is about Hana, a college student who fell for a young man who happened to be a werewolf. They have two children together; a girl called Yuki and a boy called Ame.
Things take a turn when their dad is killed in wolf form while out hunting for food. Left with no other option, Hana does her best to raise her kids alone. She has to adapt to their wolf sides as well as their human ones and the different paths the two may take in life as they grow up. It plays out like a modern take on a classic fairy tale, complete with allegories that really clicked with audiences worldwide. The film is strange and gloomy, yet sweet at the same time.
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