Can a character be brilliantly crafted yet utterly fail at fatherhood? Absolutely. Anime is rife with examples of men who are heroes in the eyes of the world but fall woefully short when it comes to being a dad.
Whether they neglect their children or even subject them to physical harm for their own selfish ambitions, these fathers leave much to be desired.
In this article, we’ll count down ten of the most disastrous dads in anime whose impact on their offspring is anything but positive.
10. Ging Freecs
|Anime Series||Hunter x Hunter|
Ging Freecs, father to the series’ protagonist Gon Freecs, is a man whose ambitions knew no bounds—except, apparently, when it came to parenting.
From the moment Gon came into the world, Ging set his sights on becoming the world’s greatest hunter, leaving his newborn son and partner to fend for themselves.
Ging’s choice to follow his dreams rather than be there for his son could have led Gon down a dangerous path. It’s a clear sign of Ging’s selfishness, as he puts his ambitions above the needs of his own flesh and blood.
Remarkably, Gon and Ging do cross paths at the end of the first season, reuniting without harboring any resentment for the years lost.
Yet, the absence of even a single message or attempt to connect with his son from Ging’s end leaves a bitter impression that’s hard to shake off.
9. Son Goku
|Anime Series||Dragon Ball|
Son Goku, the main character of the Dragon Ball series, is a dad to Gohan and Goten. While raising Gohan, Goku was often absent, either busy fighting powerful enemies or being dead.
This left Gohan mostly in the care of Piccolo, who acted as his guardian for much of his life.
Even the author of Dragon Ball, Akira Toriyama, called Goku a “Disaster Father” and also revealed that Gohan sees him as a bad example of how to be a father.
Goku may be one of the strongest characters in anime, but when it comes to being a parent, he falls short. Despite his absence and the risks he exposed Gohan to, his son never held a grudge against him.
This could be due to Gohan’s Saiyan genes, which gave him a natural inclination to fight from a young age and not care much about family bonding. Eventually, Gohan became a professor and followed his own dreams.
8. Dario Brando
|Anime Series||Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures|
Dario Brando, father to Dio Brando, the notorious protagonist of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, is a prime example of how not to parent.
His constant abuse towards Dio from a young age played a significant role in shaping his villainous personality.
Far from a role model, Dario was a drunkard and a thief who pushed his wife to work until her untimely death.
These negative traits didn’t just affect him; they trickled down to Dio, perpetuating a cycle of destructive behavior into the next generation.
7. Van Hohenheim
|Anime Series||Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood|
Hohenheim, the father of Edward and Alphonse, the main characters in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, left his family when his sons were still young.
His goal was to undo the damage he had inflicted upon the world, a noble aim but one that left his children to fend for themselves.
In Hohenheim’s absence, Edward and Alphonse lost their mother and attempted to bring her back using alchemy.
This ill-fated experiment not only failed to revive their mother but also cost them their bodies. All of this could have been avoided had they had a father figure to guide them.
Hohenheim does return towards the end of the series and faces the anger of his son Edward.
While he takes responsibility for his actions, it doesn’t change the fact that his absence led to irreversible damage in his children’s lives.
6. Gendo Akari
|Anime Series||Neon Genesis Evengelion|
Gendo Ikari, father of Shinji Ikari, the central character in Neon Genesis Evangelion, is a man whose neglect has had severe consequences on his son’s mental health.
From a young age, Gendo paid little attention to Shinji, focusing instead on his own obsessions.
After the death of his wife in a lab experiment, Gendo became fixated on bringing her back. Her soul was eventually fused with Eva Unit-001, a mecha that Shinji was coerced into piloting by his father.
Despite witnessing the toll it took on Shinji’s mental well-being, Gendo continued to exploit his son in his quest to resurrect his wife.
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|Anime Series||Naruto Series|
Rasa, the father of Gaara, a supporting character in the Naruto series, took a drastic step that set his son on a perilous path.
Unlike Naruto’s parents, who had no choice but to seal part of the Nine-Tails inside their son, Rasa intentionally sealed a tailed beast into Gaara at birth.
After this act, Rasa severed all ties with Gaara and even sent assassins after him, deeming him an unsatisfactory Jinchuriki (a host for a tailed beast).
As expected, Gaara grew up to be a cold person who didn’t even hesitate to kill anyone he didn’t like. It was after Gaara met Naruto that he began to change.
Rasa met his end at the hands of Orochimaru but was later resurrected during the Great Ninja War.
Upon his resurrection, Rasa faced Gaara, who had since become the Kazekage (village leader).
After being defeated by his son, Rasa finally acknowledged that he hadn’t made a mistake in sealing such a powerful beast inside Gaara after all.
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4. Endeavor (Enji Todoroki)
|Anime Series||My Hero Academia|
Enji Todoroki, father to Shoto Todoroki, a supporting character in My Hero Academia, is a man driven by his own insecurities and ambitions.
His desire to be the #1 hero led him to push his children, particularly Shoto, to their limits.
Shoto inherited quirks from both parents, but instead of celebrating this, Enji subjected him to grueling training, robbing him of a normal childhood.
This harsh upbringing led Shoto to harbor resentment against his father, even vowing never to use the fire powers he inherited from him.
Enji’s obsession with his own status blinded him to the emotional toll his actions took on his family.
But his failings weren’t limited to fatherhood; he was also a terrible husband.
His relentless drive led him to mentally abuse his wife, especially when she tried to protect Shoto from his extreme training regimen.
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3. Vinsmoke Judge
|Anime Series||One Piece|
Vinsmoke Judge, the father of one of One Piece’s main characters, Vinsmoke Sanji, had a single-minded focus on creating a powerful army of children.
Sanji was one of the genetically-engineered quintuplets born into the Vinsmoke family, but unlike his siblings, he was born without any superpowers.
This led to relentless bullying from his brothers and complete neglect from his father.
Judge’s fixation on building a formidable family army blinded him to the needs of his powerless son to the point where he even locked Sanji in a cell, causing him emotional trauma.
Sanji eventually escaped his family with the help of his sister and found a new life with his crewmates.
When he confronted his family years later during the Whole Cake Island arc, he held no grudges, having matured enough to understand the complexities of the world.
To this day, Vinsmoke Judge has never apologized to Sanji.
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2. Grisha Yeager
|Anime Series||Attack on Titan|
Grisha Yeager, father to Eren Yeager, the protagonist of Attack on Titan, is a complex figure whose actions have had far-reaching consequences.
Before Eren, Grisha had another son, Zeke, whom he burdened with immense responsibilities, leaving emotional scars that lasted a lifetime.
When Grisha later established a family within the safety of the walls, Eren enjoyed a seemingly caring father. However, this idyllic life shattered when the walls fell and hidden truths began to emerge.
Grisha’s next actions were even more shocking: he forced Eren to eat him, making his son the inheritor of two of the most potent Titans—the Founding Titan and the Attack Titan.
This led to Eren facing discrimination and eventually becoming the series’ antagonist.
Grisha’s intentions may have been to save his people, but his actions only succeeded in creating a monster that brought about the world’s destruction.
In the end, Grisha failed not just as a father to Eren but also to Zeke, making him one of the most tragically flawed fathers in anime history.
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1. Shou Tucker
|Anime Series||Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood|
Shou Tucker, a supporting character in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, is perhaps the most reviled figure in anime.
His desperate act to retain his alchemist license, which permitted him to conduct human experiments, was as horrifying as it gets.
Faced with the loss of his license, Shou made an unthinkable choice: he used his own daughter, Nina, in a grotesque experiment, fusing her with his dog to create a “chimera” in a bid to impress the government.
Despite the immorality of his actions, he faced no immediate repercussions. It wasn’t until Scar executed him, along with the chimera Nina, that he faced any form of justice.
Shou Tucker may very well be the worst father in anime history.
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And there you have it—the top 10 worst fathers in anime, each more deplorable than the last.