Best and Worst Moms in Shoujo Manga

Coming up this Sunday in the United States is Mother’s Day. It’s a holiday where we recognize all that mothers do for their children and show our appreciation in some way, usually with a gift and a meal out.

As I pondered the role of moms, I came up with several good and bad examples of mothers in shoujo manga. Every character is affected by the role of their parents, and moms especially make a big difference when it comes to character development. Whether by her life examples, or her complete absence, a mom can change the life of her child forever.

In no particular order, these are the best examples of moms I’ve read in shoujo manga:

Best Shoujo Manga Moms

Best Moms

  1. Sawako Kuronuma’s Mom – Yuko Kuronuma, Kimi ni Todoke – Sawako’s mom is very supportive of her daughter and encourages her to build friendships and relationships. She’s happily married to Sawako’s dad, and they provide a loving home for Sawako. An average mom that you just don’t see a lot in shoujo manga.
  2. Yuki Cross’s Mom – Juri Kuran, Vampire Knight – Juri is the mom that sacrifices all for her child. She gives up her own life to cast a spell to protect Yuki from being destroyed by other ancient vampires.
  3. Daisuke Niwa’s Mom – Emiko Niwa, D N Angel – Emiko is one of my favorite manga moms. She loves her son’s alternate personality like her own child. She supports Daisuke in his difficult transitions from childhood into adulthood. She loves her husband and makes a safe home for Daisuke in his absence.
  4. Tohru Honda’s Mom – Kyoko Honda, Fruits Basket – Kyoko is a favorite mom for a lot of shoujo manga fans. The images we get of Kyoko in the story show her faults as well as her strengths. She helps save Tohru’s friend Arisa Uotani. Although she forgets about Tohru in her grief, she realizes she still has her daughter to take care of. She bonds with Kyo when he feels rejected by other adults. She really is a wonderful mom.
  5. Jennifer Kajiwara – Luna’s Mom, Amazing Agent Luna – Jennifer comes across as cold and clinical, but really has a soft side. She’s what I would call a bad-ass mom. She’s smart and athletic, and can take out all the bad guys. She’s there to protect her daughter when the going gets lethal.
  6. Shiharu, Love so Life – Although Shiharu is not really a mom yet, she sure does an amazing job with the twins Akane and Aoi. The kids love her like a mom, and she’s an excellent nurturer. I hope that she and Matsunaga get to make their own babies some day.
  7. Moms of Alices in Gakuen Alice – Luca’s Mom, Hotaru’s Mom, Mikan’s Mom – Despite the unique abilities of their children, these moms do their utmost to protect their children.

With the Light

One of the best portrayed moms in josei manga that we get an intimate understanding of is Sachiko Azuma from With the Light.  Her struggle to provide for the needs of her autistic child touched many moms and readers.

The worst mom I’ve read in a josei manga would be Rin’s mother, Masako, from Usagi Drop. She doesn’t care about what happens to her child and wants no responsibility for it.

In no particular order , these are the worst examples of moms I’ve read in shoujo manga:

Worst Shoujo Moms

Worst Moms

  1. Soichiro Arima’s Mom – Ryoko, Kare Kano – Ryoko wins a worst mom award because she would leave her small child at home alone without food for days at a time. Ryoko would also beat Soichiro and wouldn’t treat him if he had a fever. She was hoping he would die. He almost did.
  2. Iwatsuru Rihito’s Mom, Shinobi Life – When Iwatsuru was a child, his mom would lock him in cabinets when she had guys over. Sometimes she would leave the house for days and Iwatsuru would go hungry. The one time he finds a kitten, his mom ties it  up in a plastic bag and throws it in the river. She would also break anything he got attached to.
  3. Shinogu  Narita’s biological mom – Yuko Tanizaki, Hot Gimmick – Yuko was a drug addict who was married to an alcoholic gambler that beat Shinogu. Thankfully when she dies, Shinogu gets a better home.
  4. Yura Onizuka’s Mom – Yukari Shirai, Honey Hunt – This mom disgusted me when she hooks up with her daughter’s first crush. She neglected her daughter in favor of her career, and then files for divorce when her husband’s mistress gets pregnant. Meanwhile she’s having a relationship with Yura’s crush.
  5. Aya Mikage’s Mom, Ceres Celestial Legend – Most Horrible Mom award goes to Mrs. Mikage for attempting to kill her own daughter when she realizes that her husband dies because of Ceres.
  6. Kyoko Mogami’s Mom, Skip Beat – Although we don’t know the whole story, we do know Kyoko’s mom and dad were never in the picture. Kyoko’s mom always left Kyoko home alone, and she ended up being taken care of by Sho’s family growing up.
  7. Moms of Sohma Children in Fruits Basket – Kyo’s Mom, Yuki’s Mom, Akito’s Mom, Momiji’s Mom, Rin’s Mom, Fruits Basket – The Sohma moms are weak women. Afraid of their children, or cruel to their children, most of them are selfish women who do not care about their child’s emotional needs.

Manga moms tend to be on the extremes. They are either admirable women, or your worst nightmare. If you have some others in mind for this list, feel free to share in the comments below. Arigatou!

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Super mom and teacher until the kids go to bed, then romance manga addict and writer until the caffeine wears out! Specializes in the shoujo and josei genre of manga and anime.
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  • Great list! I haven’t read most of the manga yet, but I definitely agree with Yukari Shirai from Honey Hunt… I just started reading this manga yesterday and I really despise her character, lol. I also totally forgot about Soichiro Arima’s mom in Kare, Kano since I read the series a couple years ago. Wow, she sounds horrible!

    • Kare Kano was the first manga series I picked up. That was my first manga mom I encountered, so her neglectful, abusive nature left a horrible impression. It made me feel really bad for Soichiro, and so glad he had his aunt and uncle in present time.

  • Best mother has to be Mrs. Irie in Itazura na Kiss – she’s such a fun character and really supportive of Kotoko and Naoki. As for worst mother, I agree with your choice of Kyoko’s mother, as well as Nana Osaki’s mother in Nana because she abandoned her daughter for some guy.

    • Mrs. Irie was a consideration of mine. But I didn’t think she was the best mother or worst. She’s more likely to be the most annoying mother. Personally I can’t stand nosy parents who want to meddle in their children’s lives as closely as she does. I think Naoki was exasperated with her. She is Naoki’s mom. Although her intentions are good, her actions are not healthy.

      Alas, I know it’s a crime, but I haven’t read through Nana, I’ve only seen the live movies. Nana is considered a josei title, so Nana Osaki’s mom would be right there next to Rin’s from Usagi Drop.

  • Nice! I was really hoping to see Kyoko from FB up on the Best Moms list and you didn’t disappoint. Watching her story (I picked up the anime first) and knowing what a kickass mom she was to Tohru made me LOVE her fiercely even though she wasn’t there anymore. She was such a presence in Tohru’s life and a fantastic contrast to the terrible mothers in the Sohma family.

  • At first I was happy because I didn’t know the worst moms on this list, but then I suddenly remembered the parents from Fruits Basket. Yeah, they can be a handful.

  • Fun article! Also really reminded me of how much I loathe Yukari Shirai from Honey Hunt.

    You should do the Best and Worst Grandparents in Shoujo too – I am sure there is plenty of material there as well. 🙂

    • You’re right. I actually started a list of dads for further development. There were some ones that stuck out as I was compiling the list of moms. But grandparents would be another great list! Thanks!

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