Anime moms are the unsung heroes of just about every anime. They live with the dread of knowing their child is a Main Character™ and that their time may be cut unfortunately short. Not to mention that Dead Mother Syndrome frequently bolsters a character’s tragic backstory. So let’s face it, without these amazing women, we wouldn’t have most of the anime we know and love. This Mother’s Day, let’s thank some of our favorite anime moms and mother figures who have given the world to their children — despite the odds stacking against them from the opening sequence on.
Sanae Furukawa – CLANNAD
Sanae Furukawa from CLANNAD is the epitome of a supportive, energetic mother. She opened a bakery when her only daughter Nagisa became ill, giving up her position as a middle school teacher. She can’t actually bake, though, and a lot of her creations don’t sell. When her husband Akio mentions this, unaware she’s around, she often tears up and runs away. Akio then chases after her, shoving bread into his mouth and yelling about how much he loves it.
The two of them have a strong, loving relationship and they both care deeply for Nagisa. They’ll do anything to ensure she’s happy, so when Nagisa starts dating Tomoya, Sanae is nothing but smiles and support. She helps Nagisa through her pregnancy and even takes care of their daughter when Nagisa’s illness gets worse.
Though she can sometimes be strict, Sanae loves her family and will do everything she can for them. She deserves to be highlighted for her efforts as a mother. When I first watched CLANNAD, Sanae struck me as the kind of parent I wanted to be and that still holds true today. (Hayden Mosely)
Osono – KIKI’S DELIVERY SERVICE
In KIKI’S DELIVERY SERVICE, a young witch named Kiki leaves home to train for a year. She visits a distant town by the sea and meets Osono, a mother-to-be who runs a bakery with her husband. When Osono finds out that she has nowhere to stay for the night, she offers Kiki the room in her attic. Even though she and her husband have more than enough on their plate with the bakery and a baby on the way, Osono helps Kiki without a second thought. She gives her a place to sleep, makes her breakfast, and even helps get Kiki’s delivery service off the ground.
Osono is a wonderful second mother to Kiki and does everything she can to make Kiki feel at home during her year of training. She takes care of Kiki when she’s sick and only asks that she mind the store once in a while in return. She’s not only a great mom, she’s also a great friend. Osono gives her solid business advice and even helps boost Kiki’s self-confidence. When Kiki is invited to a party, she panics because she only has her purple witch’s dress to wear. Although her own mother has told her that the dress is pretty, Kiki still thinks it’s ugly and plain. But when Osono tells her the dress is beautiful and makes her look mysterious, Kiki finally sees how pretty it really is.
Osono is a great mentor and friend. She supports Kiki before she even gets to know her and helps her make new friends. Osono is one of those anime moms who definitely deserves some recognition this Mother’s Day! (Summer Buffin)
Kushina Uzamaki – NARUTO
I don’t consider myself easily moved by works of fiction, but I still get goosebumps every time I watch Kushina meet Naruto. On some level, fans expected the fourth Hokage, Minato, to be Naruto’s father. So when he showed up during Naruto’s fight against Pain and made the formal announcement, no one was genuinely surprised. Kushina’s moment, however, surprised everyone; and it was made all the more sweeter that Masashi Kishimoto, the creator of NARUTO, absolutely nailed Kushina’s irreplaceable role as a mother.
To me, Kushina represents everything a mother could hope to be. She’s steadfast in her decisions and, just like a mother bear, is tenacious when protecting her family. Above all else, Kushina’s best quality is that she loves her family unconditionally. It might seem like a given for a mother to love their family, but it’s something that people often take for granted. Kishimoto displays it several times in the four brief episodes Kushina appears in to really drive this message home. During this time Kushina fights a literal demon spirit (who is infinitely stronger than her), sacrifices her life around 3-4 times, and saves her child’s life from said demon. Oh, and by the way, she was only a mom for about an hour or so.
Kushina’s not your average mom, but she’s a terrific reminder of what make mothers so special. Her fortitude, loyalty, and tenacity definitely make her a character worth celebrating. (Matthew Karban)
Sachiko Fujinuma – ERASED
Sachiko Fujinuma is a wonderful and realistically badass anime mom. She is a smart, understanding, single mother that extends her kindness to not just her son, but to anyone else that needs her. ERASED revolves around her son, 29-year-old Satoru. He suddenly gains the ability to go back in time and change history in order to prevent the actions of a kidnapper/murderer from his childhood. In both the original timeline and the timelines he alters, Sachiko is a great mother and an even greater observer. She seems to know and understand almost everything (thus making Satoru constantly think of her as a yokai/demon).
Sachiko’s sharp eye and intelligence relate back to her former job as a news announcer. Though after going through her own hardships and divorcing her husband, she ends up working as a store clerk and raising Satoru alone. Yet, she never lets the hardships or secrets Satoru keeps from her stop her from always putting him first and making sure he is always okay. In fact, her sharp eye and quick thinking end up helping him despite his attempts to keep her from his affairs.
Her intuition and love for her son aren’t the only things that make her amazing. Sachiko helps anyone that needs it, including an abused girl Satoru knows. Not only does she let the girl stay with her and Satoru as a runaway, but she even confronts her abuser. This anime mom is so strong and loving, she is the best yokai anyone could ask for. (Samantha Herrera)
Pinako Rockbell – FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST
Unlike too many other anime maternal figures, FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST’s Pinako Rockbell had the misfortune of outliving her child. When Pinako’s son and his wife died on the battlefield, she became the primary guardian of their daughter, Winry. And when Trisha Elric tragically passed, she took in Ed and Al as if they were her own too.
Anyone familiar with the series can agree that Pinako’s far from the traditional mothering sort. She’s not exactly the kind of grandma who will bake you cookies or knit you a sweater. Regardless, she was a strong source of support for her young wards. Whether they needed guidance or a reminder that home wasn’t just four walls and a roof, Pinako was there. And if anyone wanted to come after the Elrics or Winry, they had to get through the Pantheress of Resembool first. After the brothers’ failed attempt at human transmutation, Pinako defended them from the authorities and got them back on their feet —literally and figuratively in Ed’s case.
While she’ll never be a replacement for their mothers, Pinako’s guidance and care got them through the toughest moments of their young lives. If that doesn’t earn her a spot on the list, I don’t know what does. (Kaitie Kwiatkowski)
Three Cheers for Anime Moms
In the shadows of their colorful children, anime moms just don’t get the credit they deserve. They have a strength that usually doesn’t come with flashy powers. Yet, anime moms protect and love their children with everything they have. So while you’re picking out flowers for that wonderful mom in your life, take a minute to remember all the anime women who made your favorite shows possible. With any luck, they somehow made it past episode one.
Feature image courtesy of Disney.