Opinion: Kotetsu isn’t a bad parent

Since there’s a small uproar about Kotetsu making this list of bad anime parents on ANN, I wanted to add my own two cents to the mix. This was supposed to be a part of the post I’m writing on Kotetsu, but I’m not gonna post that until next episode has aired.

This topic is brought up every now and then and many people diss Kotetsu for being a bad parent and never seeing his daughter. Personally, I disagree. He keeps constantly in touch with Kaede and tries to be a part of her life even though his work always gets in the way. Also, I think there’s a little cultural clash going on here. I can speak only from my own experience of the time I lived in Japan, but it’s still fairly common that fathers have to stay away from their families because of work. It’s not because they’re bad parents, it’s the Japanese work culture, and they’re still providing for the family. Coming from a Western background I had some trouble coming to terms with this and how for example the mother of my host family was fine with her husband working abroad for months at a time (in fact, I only met him once during my stay). Kotetsu is living in a situation that the original target audience – 40 year-old males – he was designed to appeal to is familiar with. He obviously cares about his daughter very much, but his work as a hero is also important to him, and it’s his way to provide for her and keep her and the world she lives in safe. All the times Kotetsu has missed the meeting with Kaede have been because of situations beyond his control. It doesn’t justify that he’s had to let her down so many times, and it’s hard for Kaede to understand why her father keeps doing it when he can’t tell her about his job. But Kotetsu tries his best with what chances he has and you can tell he wants to see his daughter more often.

This was also mentioned in the partially cut out section of the interview where producer Tamura talked about Kotetsu’s brother. The bits we could read said that Kotetsu fears Kaede might be attacked by people holding a grudge against him, and having her live with him would put her in direct danger. He wants Kaede to stay away from all the hero business.

I think that the person who compiled the list has failed to understand Kotetsu’s character. Not to mention putting him on a list of “parents you’d call the child services on” is sending a totally wrong message. Would you like to have had child services called on your parents when they had to work hard to provide for the family when you were a child? There’s no indication that Kotetsu’s actually making a lot of money despite his popularity having gone up after teaming up with Barnaby.

This is my personal opinion and you are free to disagree with me. My thinking may be a bit more mature since I fall into the original target audience age-wise, and even though I don’t have children of my own, most of my friends and all my siblings have children. Parents sometimes have to make hard compromises for the good of their children, decisions that may be difficult for the children to understand but those decisions don’t make them bad parents.


5 comments on “Opinion: Kotetsu isn’t a bad parent

  1. I think he was misplaced too. Kotetsu may not be the most fantastic father, but Kaede is obviously the most important thing in his life even if he doesn’t always show that. I personally think his issues about being a hero, and possibly something to do with his wife’s death, are also factors in his reluctance to see Kaede, since we know he chooses not to use vacation time and isn’t being called to fight crime every time he tries to go home.
    Also worth noting I think is in the OP, the photo of his wife and baby Kaede has a rural town background, instead of a city apartment. I wonder if he’d visit more if he had a wife to go back to as well…?

  2. Honestly, I think Kotetsu is a good father precisely BECAUSE he tries to keep Kaede out of harm’s way. Of course it’s easy for us to say that having them live apart is an example of bad parenting, but we only get *part* of the story – we don’t know how likely it is that someone would connect the dots were Kaede to live in the city, we don’t know whether cases of heroes’ relatives being used to hurt them have happened before, we don’t know how Tomoe fared as the wife of a hero (was she targeted at one point?), we don’t know whether it’s even possible to unite a hero lifestyle and raising a daughter together.

    I would even like to argue that having Kaede live with her grandmother is an example of good parenting: Kaede has someone she can rely on 24/7, who doesn’t have to run out at odd moments because he’s been called in to work. While having Kotetsu keep his job quiet is a bit sketchy, everything else in the situation at hand I see as entirely valid. Tomoe died when Kaede was very young, and given his job and his (highly likely, given his job and the fact that Kotetsu seems to be modelled on Japanese societal modes) lack of childrearing skills, Kotetsu didn’t really have much of a choice, did he? He could have quit being a hero, of course, but that would have left him with little to no income – again, not the best circumstances to raise a daughter in. Having his mother take care of his daughter is only the responsible thing to do.

    And I agree with your assessment of Kotetsu’s and Kaede’s lack of meetings – every time he broke a promise with her it was due to circumstances beyond his control, and given how important the job of a hero is within the context of Sternbild, I’d rather have Kotetsu break his promises. Meet your daughter, or have someone potentially die because you weren’t there to save them – I would choose the latter, too.

  3. This is a delicate matter, which concerns me, because my father abandoned me when I was 4 (the same age as Barbaby!).
    Who writes and draws these stupid rankings do not have the slightest idea what it means to have an absent father and really puts his mouth in matters that not concern him/her.
    Kotetsu did not leave her daughter because is not a good parent, but exactly the opposite: he has entrusted her to his mother to defend her from evil and corrupt that he faces every day.
    As long as she is so young, is the best choice that a parent could do.
    He is like a soldier to honor the country is forced to stay away from his family. Kotestu suffers much because he is forced to lie to his daughter, and although she does not know his true identity, he fights every day to become cool, as well as Kaede deserves.
    Expressing an opinion as clear when we did not know how things will evolve in the future (there are still 10 episodes) seems risky and of bad taste.
    If only I’d had a father like Kotetsu!!!!

  4. I am definitely against this. Whoever wrote that should really watch TnB and understand more of Kotetsu’s character before judging. I mean, does Kotetsu loves everyone else in the city just as much as he loves his own daughter?!! Seriously, I think the character in the 8th rank is worser. lol. But i cant say cause I dont know the character well enough to judge. ^^;;

  5. I know I’m late to this party but I wanted to add in my two cents. Honestly, I think Kotetsu is kind of a crappy father. He’s certainly not the WORST, and he’s not a bad PERSON, but he’s a crappy Dad right now. My parents divorced when I was three, and I rarely got to see my dad growing up. I also remember a LOT of phone calls “I’m sorry, sweetie, Daddy can’t come see you tonight, I have to work…” And it’s awful to have that feeling that you’re not important enough, which is the way Kaede is seeing it. She has a father who is never around and breaks almost every promise he’s ever made to her, and he doesn’t understand where she’s coming from at all. We all know Kaede isn’t operating with all the facts, but she’s ten years old – whether or not she’s operating with all the facts isn’t important. She sees things the way she sees things and it breaks her heart. However, we Also see things from Kotetsu’s point of view, things that are beyond his control keeping him from his daughter which ALSO breaks HIS heart, because Kaede is the light of his life, and it made me slightly more sympathetic to my father’s past situation (he went into work for himself a few years ago and I’ve seen much more of him now than I did when I was younger. I’m 25 now, for the record.)

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