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  1. #1
    dizzcity is offline Senior Member Long Time Member
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    Default Discussion: "Parenthood" in manga

    This is just something that I've been thinking about off and on for quite some time. In most shounen or seinen manga series, the characters are treated as individuals, having little or nothing to do with their parents. Mitsuru Adachi's series are pretty much the only exception to this that I can recall offhand. Parents in shoujo and josei series usually have more influence over the story, but much of their role revolves around either being a source of conflict (repressive/forbidding parents), comedy (Haruhi's father in Ouran High comes to mind), or the cutesy let's-take-care-of-a-baby type (Aishiteruze Baby, Daa Daa Daa, etc.).

    So, my question is: What do you think of the way that parenthood is portrayed in manga/anime? Is it accurate or realistic? Are there any examples of manga/anime which you think portrays the nature of parenthood really well or explores the parent-child relationship deeply?

    Open for discussion, all opinions welcome.

    -Dizzy-
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  2. #2
    Redeyephantom is offline Senior Member Regular
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    I believe that parenthood in manga is determined by what happens in the manga. Sometimes the parents are dead before the story begins, sometimes they play the strict role in shoujo, and they could be the bad guy, if the mangaka decides for it to be.

    If there was something to be portrayed however, it would be the protagonist's individualism. A lot of manga I've read involves things that causes the protagonist to be more independent and rely on others then the parent, who is ussually unreliable and unable to give support.

  3. #3
    rabidfuzzybunny is offline Senior Member Long Time Member
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    Yeah, parenthood seems mostly dependant on the setting that the writer needs for the story to work.

    If the story is mainly about children or teens, and the parents are unnecessary or a problem that could get in the way of the story moving forward, the writer can contrive some way to get rid of them. Like having both parents out of the country working or on vacation, leaving their child behind so they can continue attending school.

    Many stories have parents treating first or second year Middle School students more like they were mature and responsible High School students. Which is made more believable because the characters are created to look and act older than they are supposed to be.

  4. #4
    Digital_Eon's Avatar
    Digital_Eon is offline Super Moderator Community Builder
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    Most manga that I've read feature children without parental figures - they're either dead, in America, or always working late or something like that. I actually have read very few manga that I feel portray the role of parents accurately... since the romance/adventure/etc. is usually the main focus of the plot, the parents don't have the big role that they would usually have, and therefore end up playing an unrealistic one (such as leaving children completely on their own at the age of fifteen). People just don't want to read about parents, I guess. ^^;;

    That said, I have read a few manga that I feel have good portrayals of parents. The most obvious is probably Aka-chan to Boku, where the father is an important character in the lives of the brothers, and also has his own struggles and growth to become a better parent. I'm not a huge fan of the manga, but his importance to the characters and the story was something that I really liked (and especially because the children are young).

    I also liked the parental figures in Nana and Sunadokei (er, the small part of it that's been scanlated). They're not positive, but they provide conflict without being in the stereotypical oppressive roles. Hachiko's mother (in Nana) is also a warm figure in a contrast to the other Nana's... the family lives are another example of that. I also confess that I like the father figure in Kekkaishi. ^_^ He may not appear very often, but he really cares about his kids, and that's probably one reason that the boys have actually grown up with fairly good personalities instead of delinquents, which appear fairly often in shounen manga. Yes, the kids are still treated as individuals (although I'd be surprised if that wasn't true in Nana; they are adults, after all), but I don't think the parents are all that unrealistic in how they've affected their children's lives.
    ~Digital_Eon~




  5. #5
    pseudorandom is offline Senior Member Always Around
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    I can't help but compare parents in manga to those in YA novels in English: people to be gotten out of the way so the kids can start having stories of their own. There are always exceptions, of course, though often enough its to bring in the parents as a source of conflict as obsticles.

    It's one reason I like Yotsuba&! so much -- an actual father-child relationship that's the central relationship of the story.
    Today is always the most enjoyable day. Just ask Yotsuba.

  6. #6
    lews_therin_tel is offline Senior Member Long Time Member
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    Welcome to the NHK has passable parents for the characters.

    What about Monster and 20th Century Boys? Especially 20CB is centered on a father-daughter relatioship which was all quite charming.

  7. #7
    jamie1990 is offline Senior Member Always Around
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    ^ don't you mean uncle-daughter?
    An accurate portrayal of caring, decent parents throughout the story would often get in the way of the fantastic nature of many manga. I say throughout the story because quite a few manga manage to create a pair of nice, realistic parent only to have them killed off early on or only show them in a flashback (Vinland Saga). I place emphasis on caring and decent, because there are also a fair few which manga to realisticly present distant or cold parents (Eden).

    offhand I can think of one that does all of this pretty well, and that would be Cannon God Exaxxion. I'm not talking about Hoichi's parents though, but his girlfriend's. I suppose Kenichi Sonada was able to do it with an above average level of realism because while she is a main character, she does play a more passive role in the story, so her actions being restricted by her caring parents doesn't matter very much.

    The other kind you might get in order to avoid the orphan cliche, or the contrived-ness of parents who are constantly away from home/at work would be single parents. And that can work pretty well.

  8. #8
    lews_therin_tel is offline Senior Member Long Time Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamie1990 View Post
    ^ don't you mean uncle-daughter?
    How in the fifty thousand incarnations of Jesus could I do that mistake? I think itäs a sign that it's rereading time. Though he does take care of her like a duaghter so... I forgive myself.

  9. #9
    dizzcity is offline Senior Member Long Time Member
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    Errr... isn't it supposed to be uncle-niece? ^_^

    But yeah, it seems as though very few manga portray a good parent-child relationship, and even then, most show it from the eyes of the kid. I wonder if there's any good manga which retalks about parenthood from the viewpoint of the parent... Hotman and Jinbe are two, I suppose, but Hotman has an entire family getting involved, and Jinbe has a romance to it. Still, though... I like those two because they've managed to show some aspect of the worries of the parent. But isn't there a manga which focuses exclusively on that? There must be at least one, right? There are so many themes that can be covered within parenthood... the passing down of moral/social values, family traditions and inheritances, the work/family balance, protection and rebellion, sacrificial love, etc.

    ... (arguably, Rurouni Kenshin OVA had a little bit of that too... Kenji's rebellion against his father in trying to learn the Hiten Mitsurugi, because of Kenshin always seeming to abandon Kaoru for his travels to atone, but still...).

    -Dizzy-
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  10. #10
    lews_therin_tel is offline Senior Member Long Time Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by dizzcity View Post
    ... (arguably, Rurouni Kenshin OVA had a little bit of that too... Kenji's rebellion against his father in trying to learn the Hiten Mitsurugi, because of Kenshin always seeming to abandon Kaoru for his travels to atone, but still...).
    That's like... Five minutes of the anime. It doesn't exactly explore it and Yahiko saves the day fast enough.

    What about Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind? The father dies early, but the realtionship between him and Nausicaa is quite believable (and I'm talking about the manga of course).

    But I can't really think of a story that focuses on the topic. It always ends up being a footnote in the story.

 

 
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