Fathers of Animation Appreciation Post (Happy Father’s Day!)
In March I put out a post in honour of Mother's Day in the UK, today it's Father's Day and so I'm doing the same post again; this time with the best dad's in animation. As I try to keep the dad jokes to a minimum, let's get started!
I tried to not have too many crossovers from the The Mother's day post, but there are a couple, forgive me!
Professor Utonium - The Powerpuff Girls
Professor Utonium became Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup's father - aka the Powerpuff Girls - when he created them in his lab by mixing sugar, spice and everything nice. Utonium devotes his life to science and his girls, who thanks to his science experiment gone wrong keep the town of Townsville safe from monsters and evil-doers. He always makes sure that they are home by bedtime though! Like many of the entries in this list; Prof. Utonium goes through a few re-designs throughout the years; however his core attribute of being a good father is always present.
Tatsuo Kusakabe - My Neighbour Totoro
Raising two young girls (partly) alone is no easy feat, not to mention when you've got to move your entire family's life to the countryside, deal with forest spirits and keep your kids happy - all whilst your wife is sick in hospital. Despite these setbacks, Tatsuo Kusakabe never falters when it comes to raising his daughters Mei and Satsuki. In multiple scenes we can see him being a caring, patient and doting father whether it's riding bikes with the girls, working from home just so he can watch over youngest daughter Mei or reassuring his kids by scaring away any ghosts that might be scaring them.
Marlin - Finding Nemo
Being a parent is never easy, especially when you've got to do it all yourself. Who can blame Marlin for being slightly neurotic after losing his wife and other children in a shark attack! At the start of the film, Marlin is very hesitant at letting son Nemo grow up too fast, he believes that his slightly smaller fin will hold him back and that just staying at home forever is the way to stay safe. After navigating the entire ocean to rescue Nemo who is taken by a scuba diver, Marlin gains a new respect for other creatures of the sea and begins to trust his son's abilities more. All it took was a 1275 mile long trip across the globe.
Gru - Despicable Me
All minions aside, the Despicable Me series is a good film series! A series that portrays a wholesome father-daughter relationship. Although super villian Gru originally had the idea to use sisters Margo, Edith and Agnes in an evil scheme when adopting them; the girls soon grow on him and he too becomes a doting and respected father. Gru initially has his own approach to parenting allowing the girls to use deactivated bombs as beds and giving them a new dog set up when they first arrive, but eventually learns the ways of a good dad.
Splinter / Hamato Yoshi - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Similar to Gru, Master Splinter never intended to become a father until he found 4 turtle sons in the sewers. Splinter chooses to take the turtles in and even train them in the art of Ninjutsu. He raises his 4 adopted sons Leonardo, Donatello, Michaelangelo and Raphael with a firm but fair hand and although there are many different iterations of Splinter; each one clearly loves and respects his sons. The training doesn't end when the 4 hit their teenage years though as each version of the series shows; the four still have a lot to learn when it comes to being Ninjas and to life itself.
Charles Finster - Rugrats
As mentioned earlier, being a single parent isn't easy. However, Charles Finster sure makes it look that way. It's never fully explained how Chuckie loses his mother however it's assumed from not only the series but also the Rugrats Go To Paris movie that she had recently passed away. Charles is an exceptional dad to Chuckie regardless of this emotional baggage and is always on hand to help his son face whatever is scaring him at the time. This support continues in the follow up series to Rugrats, All Grown Up! Where we see an aged Charles now having to deal with the ups and downs of pre-teen Chuckie. Who is still nervous of everything.
Mr. Ping - Kung Fu Panda
Like Master Splinter, Mr. Ping became an accidental father when he found baby panda Po rummaging for food behind his noodle restaurant. Also like Splinter and the Turtles relationship; difference in species doesn't affect their father/son bond. So much so that it isn't until the 2nd film in the series that Po even questions that his father isn't really Mr. Ping... the goose. Despite Ping's initial resistance towards Po joining the Furious Five, he eventually supports his son's decision and even re-brands his entire restaurant around Po and the Famous Five. What a supportive father indeed.
Uncle Iroh - Avatar The Last Airbender
Just as important as birth fathers are father figures, and there is no better example of this than Uncle Iroh and his nephew Zuko in Avatar The Last Airbender. If you've seen the show you already know that Zuko's actual father; Firelord Ozai is a terrible person, especially to Zuko who he disfigures leaving him with the large scar on his eye after Zuko speaks out against him as a child. Uncle Iroh steps in as the father figure in Zuko's life after he joins him on his global search for the Avatar, teaching him patience, how to control his anger and the importance of tea along the way. Although Zuko initially becomes angered by his "lazy" uncle, he too comes to respect Iroh as the wise old man he is.
Maurice - Beauty and the Beast
As far as Disney dads go, there were a plethora to chose from. I landed on Maurice; Belle's father in Beauty and the Beast due to his bumbling dad nature and sweetness towards his daughter. The best example of his kind nature is when Belle asks her father if he thinks that she is odd, to which he replies "My daughter? Odd? Where would anyone ever get an idea like that?". After Maurice is imprisoned by the Beast and Belle takes her father's place in the castle prison, Maurice doesn't waste a second alerting the town for help, despite how crazy he came across. Sadly, it is his bumbling dad nature that causes him to trust true villain Gaston, who inevitably turns the whole town against him. But really? Who can stay mad at this goofy old guy?!
Grug Crood - The Croods
Who doesn't love a protective father? Their teenage daughters mostly! In The Croods, caveman family the Croods take one day at a time, just trying to survive in probably one of the most dangerous times for the human species. When teenage daughter Eep meets fellow teenager Guy, Grug does not like it one bit. Throughout the film though, we see Grug open up to his family, learn to accept change and finally trust his daughter. This means that instead of the family just surviving every day, they begin living and experiencing life. Grug will always be protective of his family but at least by the end of the movie, he has learnt just how tightly to hold the reigns.
Goofy - A Goofy Movie
If you think your family is embarrassing, you should try being Max Goof! His dad is LITERALLY Goofy and as you'd expect, almost nothing they set out to do goes to plan. This includes a family fishing trip in A Goofy Movie and Max's induction at college in it's sequel An Extremely Goofy Movie. Despite his quirks and questionable road trip stops, Goofy is a good dad who just wants to spend time with his teenage son, who coincidentally just wants to spend time away from his dad. Towards the end of the film though, Max and Goofy bond during an incredible on-stage experience which allows Goofy to actually be cool for once. Family tensions solved... that is until the film's sequel!
Did I miss anyone off my list? Who are your favourite animated dads? If you'd like to see the Mother's Day edition of this post, you can find it here! For more animation lists from me, see what else I have to offer on this site as well as nerdoutwordout.com.
Happy Father's Day!