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A Father To His Men: Anime & Manga

  • The Ur Example of this in anime is of course, the Gundam saga's Captain Bright Noa. One of the Universal Century's most recurring main characters, Bright is world-famous for both the fatherly atmosphere he projects towards those under his charge, as well as for smacking the fail out of the more angsty ones.
    • However he utterly fails to raise his own son, apparently, if we are to believe Hathaway's Flash. Being a career military man left him separated from his actual family for most of his life. (Though being based on the substantially altered novelization of CCA, Hathaway's Flash is semi-canonical at best.)
    • An antagonistic example is Vice Admiral Dozle Zabi, who actually does a badass Last Stand in order to get everyone in Solomon out to safety, from his wife and baby girl to the rookies. Quite the contrast to his ogre-like appearance.
    • Also from the Zekes, Rear Admiral Yuri Kellarny, who honestly and earnestly cares for his men despite being loud, obnoxious, and pissing off Ginias because he thinks it's fun. Most exemplified in episode 9 The Front Line.
    • Also, AEUG leader Blex Forer. He dies mid-story, though.
    • Suberoa Zinnerman from Gundam Unicorn is this and particularly and especially to Marida, who he was willing to launch a near-suicidal assault on the Nahael Argama whilst it was in Earth orbit for after she was captured by the EFSF.
    • Gundam Wing has its share:
      • Before his departure from the military, Zechs Merquise treats most of his men well and get incredible respect and devotion in return, but saying "fatherly" might be a stretch (especially seeing as he's only 19 years old). Lucrezia Noin probably counts a little more, seeing as she's a pilot instructor and often takes the role of the firm but caring mother figure - so much so that she becomes Team Mom (one of them, anyway) to the Gundam Pilots after a Heel-Face Turn.
      • Lady Une becomes one at the end of the series and in The Movie, resolving her Split Personality conflict by combining the competent military side with the peaceful, loving side.
      • Despite pulling the strings, OZ's commander Treize Khushrenada follows his subordinates rather closely and covers for them where possible (particularly Zechs and Noin), and knows the name of everyone to die under his command. When Wufei asks him how many people have died for him, Treize promptly responses that as of the previous day it was 99,822 and tells Une to give him a list of the 187 who have died in the current day's battle. He's also old enough to be a father. It's hinted he learned this from his predecessor, Chilias Catalonia.
    • Mwu La Flaga is a unique example of this. In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED he was the only experienced soldier and Ace Pilot above the Archangel; as such, he had a fatherly attitude toward her crew of teenagers to young adults. As Neo Roanoke in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny, he again displayed a fatherly attitude to his subordinates (one of the few Char Clones to do so), namely the Extended team under his command.
  • At first played straight, then horrifically and utterly subverted with Griffith and his Band of the Hawk of Berserk. Yes, he did genuinely cared for the people in his army, even going as far as to personally get to know them himself. However, after finding a dead child he'd grown attached to and suffering a Heroic BSOD (Which lead him to sell himself for one night to a perverted Baron for money), he realized he had to emotionally distance from his troops, essentially reaching the point where he saw them more as tools than people. Well, except for Guts, that is.
  • Yang Wen-li of Legend of Galactic Heroes embodies this trope in all but appearance (being in his early 30s and having a surprisingly delicate appearance is somewhat at odds with the classic visual perception of this archetype). Several of his own mentors, such as Alexander Bucock and Sidney Sitolet, also are examples of this trope in action (and have the wizened appearance that customarily goes with it).
  • Captain Bruno J. Global, of Macross, and thus Robotech especially to Misa Hayase. Not just to his immediate bridge crew, but also to various fighter pilots he happens to know despite the isolation of command. In the novelization of Robotech, when the Bridge Bunnies start dating aliens, he's frustrated that they're not actually his daughters so that he can set a curfew or anything.
  • Maj. Andrei Kalinin is this to Sousuke in Full Metal Panic!, while Richard Mardukas seems to be the hardass version to everybody else, although in a twist he is particularly so toward Tessa, who is technically his superior but seems to respond to him more as a father figure.
    • These cases are more justified, though; Mardukas was best friends with Tessa's father, and Kalinin legally adopted Sosuke.
  • The pirate Whitebeard is like this to his men in One Piece. He explicitly refers to his crewmen as his sons, and they in turn call him "Oyaji" (which can mean father). Whitebeard is well-known to go to any length to avenge the death of any of his crew. When one of Whitebeard's crewmen is tricked into turning on him, Whitebeard's response is to call the man a fool, provide a Cooldown Hug, and tell his "foolish son" he still loves him.
    • While Whitebeard may be the most explicit example, Luffy's dedication to his crew and his friends is this trope in spades. He has done things for them that include but are not limited to climbing a mountain with bare hands and feet in the middle of a snowstorm, being frozen solid, and...oh, yes, declaring war on the entire world's law enforcement. And that's barely touching on how many times he's been beaten up, bitten, burned, poisoned, sliced, slashed, or otherwise put at death's door for the sake of his friends.
    • A very warped version of this is none other than the villainous Arlong. His only good quality is that he's as attached to his men as Luffy is to his own; because of that, he takes at least four different levels of Unstoppable Rage, each for his three defeated Elite Mooks and one when Luffy uses a fallen Mook as a shield to his bite attack.
    • On the Marines' side is Captain T-Bone, who is willing to tear apart his clothing to provide bandages for a train car full of injured soldiers. The extent to which he goes creeps some of the soldiers out, such as a bandage for a small bug bite. However, they are still loyal to him.
    • "Big Mom" Charlotte Linlin's men calls her mama but she averts the hell out of this trope by randomly eating one of her henchmen for no reason.
    • Donquixote Doflamingo, one of the Seven Warlords of the Sea and, pre-Time Skip, the one about whom the least was known; one of his earliest appearances was giving a ruthless You Have Failed Me treatment to a subordinate who made the mistake of pressing Luffy's Berserk Button. But post-Time Skip, when more of his backstory is revealed (including the fact that he's The Don of a worldwide Mafia), he fits this trope to a T, and it's shown that all of his closest subordinates care for him enough to die for him.
  • Alexander Anderson, of Hellsing, has a sternly parental relationship with the younger members of Iscariot (at least some of whom he actually raised in the orphanage he works at) that becomes readily apparent in later volumes. Before going into his final fight with Alucard, he orders the subordinate members of the Iscariot advance guard to go back home to the Vatican, but they disobey, staying behind to help him get to the front of Alucard's soul army at the cost of many of their own lives.
  • In Galaxy Angel, Colonel Volcott is Forte's father figure, having taken her into his care from an early age.
  • Yuma Ansecto in Rave Master took in war orphans who grew up to form La Résistance. They call him "Daddy."
  • Bleach:
    • Juushirou Ukitake is known for the great concern and strong emotional attachment he shows to his subordinates, and generally displays the most "fatherly" attitude of all the captains. He also feels deep personal guilt if one of his subordinates is hurt or killed. Even after many years, he was still unable to replace his fallen lieutenant Kaien Shiba until both he and Rukia were able to heal enough for Rukia to become his lieutenant during the 17 month time-skip.
    • Subverted: Aizen was very much this to his subordinates, especially towards Hinamori, Renji and Kira. Then he revealed he had been a Magnificent Bastard all along.
    • After the Soul Society arc, it's revealed that Byakuya's squad was incredibly proud of the fact that he had lived by the same law-obeying standards he preached to his men. When brutally defeated in the final arc, he admits to Ichigo just how much shame he feels that he did not have the strength to save his squad or even spare his squad's loved ones the grief of losing them. Later, when Kirinji asks him if he's well enough to regain his arrogance, Byakuya admits he's not and that he's got a very long way to go before he ever has the strength to regain his former arrogance.
    • Tier Harribel is like this to her Amazon Brigade.
  • To become a Hokage in Naruto, one must care deeply for everyone in the village. Hiruzen Sarutobi loved everyone in his village so much, he gladly died for them. This is what makes the Uchiha Massacre even more devastating for him personally. He basically had to off the entire clan to save the village. When he saw what Orochimaru did to his men, sacrificing them to raise the previous Hokages, he cried and berated his old student, rightly claiming that Orochimaru didn't learn anything.
  • Luck Gandor may not be the most moral of men, but damn if he doesn't care for his mooks. If you ever happen to work under him rest assured that, should you fall in the next mafia turf squabble (or even on your lunch break, really), he will honor your service to him and pay his respects to you — then he will hunt down the men responsible for your death and he will make them pay. If they're lucky, he'll personally beat them to death with a chair. If they're lucky.
  • Misato Katsuragi tries to be this. Her success is more than slightly undermined by her own personal issues but at least she puts the effort in... which is rather more than can be said for Gendo...
  • Balalaika in Black Lagoon is a rather warped version of this. She actually was the commanding officer of her men when they were part of the Soviet military, and now that they're...no longer in the military, Balalaika's concern for her subordinates are her Pet the Dog moments. If you attack any of this Magnificent Bitch's men, you will be DEAD.
    • Note this extends to her part-time employees as well, most notably the Lagoon Company. She might be utterly ruthless, but her recurring Pet the Dog trait is her unswerving loyalty to her comrades, regardless of duration.
  • Princess Kushana is quite close to her Third Army and always has a little trouble coping with casualties.
  • Although she can be harsh, Sister Kate of Chrono Crusade genuinely cares for all of the exorcists under her command and often treats them as her children. In fact, she's generally portrayed as being harsh towards Rosette because she does care for her and is concerned for her.
  • General Tiedoll in D.Gray-Man. Kanda doesn't appreciate it at all.
  • Villainous example: Mad Scientist Jail Scaglietti from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. Despite being the Big Bad and showing quite the thing for destruction, he regards the Number Cyborgs as his masterpieces and shows quite the care or them. Even to the Heel-Face Turn-ed ones.
  • Lieutenant Filicia Heideman is A Mother To Her Women, and a vicious one if pushed. She's not above commiting minor (and major) treasonous acts for their well-being.
  • Captain Tsubasa has Hikaru Matsuyama, both during his time in the Furano Junior High team, and in the national team. It's thanks to him and this quality of his that the national team doesn't crumble after the humiliating Curb-Stomp Battle at the hands of the Real Japan 7 team, the expulsion of the regulars, and the brutal Training from Hell from Coach Gamo in the World Youth Saga.
    • Being the captain of Japan and the titular hero, Tsubasa also displays this quality, albeit not as proeminently as Matsuyama.
  • Professor Zorndyke from Blue Submarine No. 6 applies in every interpretation of this trope. The literal creator of an entire army and race of chimeras, whose appearances range from adorable to nightmarish, Zorndyke is looked upon more as a father than a military power by his children. This feeling is mutual in that he cares for all his children and teaches them how to speak, read, and often prays for their safety. This relationship is often shown through his interactions with his son Zerg. As the series goes on we see that Zerg does everything in an effort to please his father and make him proud (He also never refers to him as anything else but "Papa"). Probably the crowning moment of this trope was at the end of the series were all of Zorndyke's children carried their father's body into the sea for burial. The moment is truly saddening and tear jerking, even more so when Verg appears, exhausted and dying from his own wounds, who upon seeing his father's shrouded body cradles him and cries like an child, screaming for his Papa.
  • Marciano of Coyote Ragtime Show is a considered a mother to her Quirky Miniboss Squad, the 12 Sisters, who refer to her as such. Since she and the Sisters are all Ridiculously Human Robots, they're as close to mother and daughters as they can be.
  • Meta Knight in the Kirby anime is this to Sword and Blade. He saved their lives, they serve him out of gratitude, and they tell people how great of a person he is and how he always looks out for them.
  • Major General Olivier Mira Armstrong from Fullmetal Alchemist. She and Buccaneer agree to a 24-hour time limit for him to search for the scouts lost in Sloth's tunnel, and the door is to be sealed even if they don't come back. It takes them over 24 hours to return since they douse the light to avoid getting attacked by Pride, but there's a door waiting for them because she gave the guy in charge of sealing it a broken watch and he knew what it meant. Also, in order to send his support team, she has no problem with shoving her superior into wet cement (and telling her men she'll take all the blame if anyone else ever finds out).
    • Mind, she stabs said General to death first, and there's also the whole plan to infiltrate the genocide conspiracy she'd just pumped him for information about.
      • It's worth noting that Olivier is a Social Darwinist, with a streak of General Ripper and only shows this tendency toward living or probably living soldiers. If the soldier is dead, he'll get last priority. "He's dead with a smile, so be it. We've got other pressing matters at hand."
    • Easily her equal in this trope is Roy Mustang. He once endangered an entire operation to rescue two of his most loyal subordinates from certain death, even though he's the one who ordered the operation and if his activity is known, explaining it will be difficult and probably ruin the "ruthless careerist" persona he employs as cover. (For this, his personal aide - one of the two he rescued - calls him an idiot. But she's allowed.) There's a reason his old unit from the war comes back to help in the finale - as one of them says in a flashback, he went out of his way to protect them from harm, and they credit him with being the reason they all survived.
    • Don't forget Brigadier General Hughes. He's like a doting father-figure (or brother, depending) to the entire military, particularly Roy, Ed and Al, as well as a (somewhat nauseatingly) devoted father to his daughter, Elysia. Rest in peace, Maes Hughes. The Meaningful Funeral proves just how much everyone really loves him.
      • Though, mind, the only actual subordinates of his we see are Brosh, Ross, and Schezka, who find him terrifying, and a couple of people who think he's kind of annoying. So he was very hands-off about the nurturing thing.
      • If he was nice all the time, he wouldn't have been able to join the army in the first place. And sometimes being assertive is part of his job.
    • Ling Yao has many shades of this, though he's a prospective heir to the throne of his country rather than a military officer. He strongly believes that a king is nothing without his people and absolutely despises anyone who sees their subordinates as expendable. NEVER tell him to leave behind an injured comrade, or that doing so would be worth it, not even if you are said comrade; Doing so will only make him pissed at you.
    • Mustang and Hughes both learned this style of leadership from their commander in the Ishbalan Civil War, Colonel (later Brigadier-General) Basque Grand. A seven-foot tall Genius Bruiser, Grand led from the front, regularly risked his own neck to spare his men's lives, and did everything in his power, both militarily and diplomatically to end the war earlier. Years later, Mustang and Hughes still refer to him as "Old Man Grand" and seem quite shocked and saddened to hear of his death.
  • Code Geass has Andreas Darlton, a Britannian general and part of Princess Cornelia's military staff. He's a Reasonable Authority Figure and the first Britannian to give Suzaku a fair chance despite his race, and even supports the young man's being knighted after he proves himself. The trope is also literal: Darlton adopted five orphaned soldiers, serving as both their commander and father figure, training them up to become the elite soldiers known as the Glaston Knights (who are, in turn, fiercely loyal to their "father").
    • Cornelia herself is a Cool Big Sister for her men, especially her bodyguard. He has a really hard time convincing her to run away and let him buy her time. Seriously if you watch this episode alone, it's impossible to figure Cornelia is the Big Bad.
  • Doctor Franken Stein from Soul Eater has a few screws loose, but his students love him, and he cares for them more than he lets on.
  • The plot of Dorohedoro begins when the central character, Kaiman, kills a magic user. He does this every day, and in fairly large amounts, but this one was working for En, a major player in the Magic World, and he is very angry to find out someone's picking off his men. Later chapters show that En regularly treats his employees to various special events.
  • Several of the Guild Masters display this trait in Fairy Tail:
    • Master Makarov treats his guild like his family, even referring to them as "my children" (one of them is his biological grandson to boot), and has gone Papa Wolf (along with one instance of attempted Heroic Sacrifice) when they were attacked.
    • Master Bob of Blue Pegasus seems to have a similarly fatherly relationship with his guild, offering concerned advice to its members.
    • Obaba of Lamia Scale acts like a grouchy old lady; but since very few people can compel mages as powerful as Jura and Lyon to do something, it's likely that they hold a lot of affection for her as well.
  • Claymore's Miria is this (well, a mother to her women and girls), to the point of being able to draw in recruits to her cause with just a few sentences, and beating herself up to the point of tears when her followers get killed (which she takes every personal risk possible to prevent).
  • Dan Roana is a female example from Blade And Soul. She gets a lot of respect from her underlings because she looks out for them and usually has their best interests in mind. She tells Alka about it in episode 3, stating that they largely formed the group because they had no one else to rely on after they or their friends/relatives were attacked by Jin Varrel and Palam.
  • Miho Nishizumi in Girls und Panzer lives this trope. She was kicked off her old school's Tankery team for abandoning her tank to save some drowning team mates. At her new school, when the Tankery elective is revived, she shows in a lot of ways that she cares about every one of her team mates...and they respond by being willing to dare and do the impossible for her sake.


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