Post Reply Why do Shonen protagonists never have their father around?
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Posted 1/28/15
So, as most of you may know, many protagonists in shonen manga/anime usually don't have their father around, at least at the beginning of the series. It can be seen in most of the mainstream anime like Naruto, One Piece, Dragonball, Fairy Tail, (excluding Hunter x Hunter since the plot of the series was for the protagonist to actually find his father), etc. Why do you think that is? Would love to hear your own theories as to why
Zodai 
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Posted 1/28/15 , edited 1/29/15
Most Shonen stories are often about empowerment. Having your dad boss you around isn't very well attributed to that goal, so it's often cut out, where they give some reason for them not being there. (Though in Naruto's case his father plays a larger role than normal.)

Aside from that, it just depends on how much room there is - having a character's parents be in the picture is an additional two characters that need fleshing out, or at least need to be made not-boring. This is why characters such as Ichigo's father in Bleach, or Keima's mother in The World God Only Knows are so outlandishly absurd in their respective departments - they aren't relevant to the plot, but it's a better solution than simply making them out-of-the-picture, since the setting or circumstances just don't allow for it. (Keima likely wouldn't be able to survive two weeks living alone, and if Ichigo lived alone his sisters would basically be absolutely alone for the entirety of his adventures.)

This is why characters with the dead/missing parents often don't have any younger siblings, as they're trying to create a situation where you can believe things turned out the way they did despite the character's parents being gone. If they had a younger sibling to take care of as well, that might as well be their whole character arc, because you're not going to have the room for another one.

It's something I've noticed myself - even as a writer I've noticed myself cutting a character's parents out of the picture because they aren't the focus, and having them around would create too many unanswered questions as to why they get to go around doing all this dangerous stuff. The role a parent has can create another burden in terms of moving the plot forward, and the usual reaction to this from a writing perspective is usually to just cut them out of the story.
xxJing 
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Posted 1/28/15
Well the pain of loss is usually attributed to growth of character. That is why pretty much all action battle shonens have at least 1 missing parent.

Happy people apparently make less interesting protagonists when fighting is concerned.

Tsuna from Kateikyo Hitman Reborn had both parents from what I remember.

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Posted 1/28/15
For me, its always been about their mothers.
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Posted 1/29/15

Zodai wrote:

Most Shonen stories are often about empowerment...


Excellent and well thought post, I agree! In most shonen if the parents are present they would probably be considered bad parents and a common plot hole would be why child protective services of some way or form were not called.
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Posted 1/29/15

xMoBxPALADIN wrote:

So, as most of you may know, many protagonists in shonen manga/anime usually don't have their father around, at least at the beginning of the series. It can be seen in most of the mainstream anime like Naruto, One Piece, Dragonball, Fairy Tail, (excluding Hunter x Hunter since the plot of the series was for the protagonist to actually find his father), etc. Why do you think that is? Would love to hear your own theories as to why


Its not just shonen. If you took anime as fact, the population of Japan is parentless.

I think its because the main characters are always kids who need to become heroes which would be harder to do if their parents were around telling them to be careful and be in bed by 8...
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Posted 1/29/15
Manga probably agrees with Disney; It's just not cool to have two parents.
Posted 1/29/15 , edited 1/29/15
The story doesn't call for a father figure. (It's a simple explanation... but it's the best one I can come up with).


Stories like Bleach, Parasyte, Death Note and HunterxHunter call for a father figure character because it's important to the story elements.
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Posted 1/29/15
It's just the way things are.
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