Mostly an anime trope: One good way to show how sweet and caring a mother is, is to depict her with her hair tied in a loose plait or ponytail and put on her shoulder. For some reason, this detail immediately tells the audience, "Hey, this mom has to be nice and gentle!"
This can be explained by the fact that mothers have less time to spend on their appearance than other women. Since the makers of a show probably don't want to make their characters ugly, one way to demonstrate motherhood is to give her a low-maintenance hairstyle. Housewives
(most likely to be the mothers of young children) also need a hairstyle that's going to stay out of the way when they're doing housework and cleaning up. This may or may not come with an apron to further emphasize their motherhood. Since the hair is only tied up loosely, it creates a soft, relaxed, gentle appearance.
of Long Hair Is Feminine
, Expository Hairstyle
Compare Ojou Ringlets
, Regal Ringlets
and Girlish Pigtails
Contrast Braids of Action
, Tomboyish Ponytail
, Tomboyish Sidetails
, and Prim and Proper Bun
Anime & Manga
- Trisha Elric, the mother of the two protagonists of Fullmetal Alchemist, depicted above. In the epilogue, Winry sports a similar plait, but not on the shoulder.
- Ranma ˝: Kasumi Tendo often wears her hair this way, along with an apron. While she may only be the eldest daughter of the family, she handles the domestic duties of the Tendo household. It becomes even more the case when it's revealed that she's filling in for their deceased mother.
- In Bleach, Ikumi switches to one when her son shows up and she is in "sweet pampering mother" mode. In normal situations, however…
- The protagonists' mother Mrs. Takakura from Mawaru-Penguindrum.
- Eren's mother Carla from Attack on Titan.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The Different Story: During her down-time, Mami is once shown wearing her hair this way (normally she has Mega Twin Tails). Fitting, given her current relationship with Kyouko as a surrogate parental-figure Magical Girl mentor.
- Zael's mother in The Last Story wears a braided side plait.
- Dragon Quest V's Bianca trades her Girlish Pigtails for one of these upon reaching adulthood. Might be another hint at how your hero's really supposed to pick her for his bride.
- Louise in "Fire Emblem Elibe", who took care of her husband's apprentice from childhood (and reminded them both that they had to do things other than study).
- Barrett from "Rune Factory 4", has his hair in a long braided side plait, as to show he's good with kids,(has some of his own and a teacher), when he fell asleep one day in class his students braided his hair. When he woke up, seeing this he decided to keep it! Awww!
- Higurashi no Naku Koro ni: Akasaka's wife, Yukie, has one of these, and quite an impressive one.
- In Matsuribayashi, Takano's mother has a smaller variant.
- Natsumi's mother in the manga-only Onisarashi arc is a textbook example... until she looses her plait as she starts to go insane. Or rather, as we see her go insane through Natsumi's eyes.
- Keiichi's mom also sports one in the live action adaptation.
- Natsuhi Ushiromiya has a sort of high ponytail variant in Umineko no Naku Koro ni. She is more stern than most examples but she does treasure her family.
- Natsuhi Ebata has this with her loose twin braids variant in School Days. She's very kind to her adoptive or rather, her own biological daughter whom she abandoned many years ago to Hayato Ashikaga before she married him daughter, Inori, which further emphasis this.
- In Kanon, Akiko Minase also wears her hair in such a fashion.
- Nei'kalsa of Drowtales is shown with this, which serves to emphasize her role as a mother figure to Sarnel (who's actually her brother). Especially since Word of God clarifies that she's pregnant in that scene so will soon be a mother for real.