Oh dear. This post is being delivered far latter that I have originally planned for… NO, I have not at all forgotten the mother’s day. Apologies to all mothers out there and I still love you mum!
Excuses aside, I originally created this post anticipating the would-have-been upcoming Mother’s Day. It is my special cover featuring some of the (famous) manga-mums whom would have represented the real mothers in our modern societies in some ways or other.
If you can think of any other manga-mums whom I have not managed to cover here, do comment and let us know 🙂
A typical housewife – Mrs Tamako Nobi in Doremo
Ah~ where can I start? since Mrs Nobi reminds me so much of my mum (in a good way)!! 🙂
Mrs Nobi was any typical housewife who looked after her family as well as the household budget. She would easily lose her temper whenever her son, Nobita ignored her request for assistance on household errands or made mistakes which he always did unfortunately. Typically, Mrs nobi’s temper explode like a fire when Nobita returned home with low (or “normaly” a zero) grades on his school reports.
Oh dear… it really does feel like as if I am talking about my mother here behind her back! Ok. The truth is, I do adore my lovely mum, as much as Nobita to his mother, and vice versa.
The series, Doremo, was hugely popular amongst the young school children (including the once-innocent me!), mostly because Nobita (who was about the same age as the young readers) could always turn to his dear friend Doremo for comfort and useful support whenever after he was being bullied at school or yelled at at home…. I suppose it was every child’s dream to have a great pal like Doremo by his/ her side 24/7? 🙂
Mrs Misae Nohara of Crayon Shin-chan
There is a detailed description on Mrs Nohara in Wikipedia. Amongst all, it was the list of “agreements” between her and shin-chan that brought a lot of tears of laughters to readers. For instance, NEVER wear mama’s panties on Shin-chan’s head! DO NOT play with the “little brother” during meals!! DO NOT imitate anime characters whist in the train!!! CANNOT tell people about mama’s panties!!! NEVER show off and shake around with shin-chan’s “Mr. Elephant”!!!!!…. and the list went on and on.
To some, Mrs Nohara appeared to be a poor mother of a monster child from hell, hence successfully captured sympathies from the innocent/ ignorant public….. including my adorable mother who was appalled upon hearing about the series, Crayon Shin-chan! “Imagine YOU being that monster child of mine?” she mocked.
Mrs Chiharu Hodas of Yonin gurashi
In quite a large contrast to the above, a lighter tone for child-caring and motherhood was applied in Yonin gurashi, in which Chiharu was a mother of two being engaged in her daily routine of household errands and child-caring activities, i.e. normal but busy and hectic at the same time.
In the series, the readers do not get to see a mother “fighting” with monster children but instead we see a young mother who was satisfied with her life as a wife and a mother. Occasionally, Chiharu would reflect on her days of being single or being absorbed in thoughts after she visited her group of friends some of whom were still single and/or working…. but she was soon pulled back to reality as soon as her little ones jumped into the scene : )
I guess I like this series for the same reasons that I do not normally in other cases – Everyone was happy (or satisfied) and contented; the so-called-problems could be easily dealt with. This series seems to suggest a peaceful and harmony living in any ordinary family – The kids were naughty but in an adorable sense, whilst husband was just a normal average but a lovable man who was supportive and helpful to his wife in child-caring, household errands and etc…. It would have been, in some ways, a dream-comes-true to many young housewives of our modern societies these days, wouldn’t it?
I sometimes ponder if the message of the series is in fact about those who would manage to live happy and comfortable lives, so long they could master the skills of being contented….
Mothers of extreme parenting?
In an article published in Bulletin of the Graduate School of Social and Cultural Studies*, Prof. Midori Kusaka suggested that conflicts and relationships between mothers and daughters were often reflected in the works of Year 24 Group, in which the key themes often evolved around the protagonists living against the burdens of expectations from their parents and/or the societies.
Hagio Mato’s Iguana no Musume is often used as a classic example to showcase a tense mother-daughter relationship. In one of her interviews, Hagio Mato explained her relationship with her mother and how it influenced her stories:
“…. Throughout my entire career, my mother has scolded me, telling me to ‘Stop doing this awful work.’ I had been thinking for a long time about creating a story that would express this lack of understanding between a mother and a daughter. But the only stories I could think of was just me bitching about my mother (laughs)…. One day it occurred to me that my mother sees me this way because she doesn’t see her daughter as a human being. So, I made the daughter an iguana…”
This sort of difficult relationships with parents are now often employed as “plot devices” in mainstream shoujo manga, for instance the male protagonist grew up alone in a rich family in absence of one/ both of his parents, thus leading to his absurd or childish behaviour to the female protagonist, etc.
I remember picking up a lot of shoujo series from the 80’s and 90’s in which the manga-mums were often depicted as the villains who created troubles and barriers for the protagonists during the course of pursuing romance. The most remarkably “wicked” manga-mum that I can still remember to date is Kasumi (heroine)’s mother from Tsumi ni Nureta Futari. (NB. There are few more plain-evil manga-mums out there… but that’s another topic for later ^^ )
Anyhow, I do feel sorry for the manga-mums who fell in the traps of shoujo manga plot devices, thus being picked on as being the “wicked” ones in the series… I mean, what kind of a parent is that, say leaving her “babies” behind whilst on the run from heavy debts?! (Yes, I am staring at you, Mrs Makino of Hana yori Dango : )… or a controlling mother who displays only a cold attitude towards her son, and wants to dictate her children’s lives for the sake of preserving the family’s reputation, aka Mrs Domyoji of Hana yori Dango….?!
Oh well, never mind~ Surely your protagonist sons and daughters still love you in the end. : )
PS. If only I have had time, I would have also loved to cover othe great manga mums, such as Sumireko, a single mother from Sekai de Ichiban Yasashii Ongaku and the young mother, whose son was affected by autism, from Hikari to Tomo ni…. On top of that, there was also the ecstatic Mrs Irie of Itazura na Kiss, as well as the eccentric Mrs Moriya of Lunatic Zatsugidan…….
Oh well, perhaps next time. ^^
* Bulletin of the Graduate School of Social and Cultural Studies, Kyushu University. Vol.4 (1998), pp.21-34