"What the Hell?" Dad

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You've got your cool dad. You've got your Abusive Dad. And then you've got... this guy. He views his son (this is almost Always Male) as an equal and in no real need of monitoring, instruction, or the rest of the whole parenting game. Can border on its own form of abuse. The child ranges from prepubescent to simply not meeting one's cultural definition of adulthood.

Can lead to "Well Done, Son" Guy.

Examples of "What the Hell?" Dad include:

Anime & Manga

  • Rare female example: Ash's mom from Pokémon. Actually, any parent in Pokemon, considering that there are probably millions of kids all over the world wandering around the countryside fighting dangerous animals with other dangerous animals.
    • Considering sending kids out on a Pokemon journey at ten years old is an integral part of Pokemon-verse society, this is really more an example of Values Dissonance than the parents being examples of this trope. After all, most, if not all, of the parents in the show dote on their children quite a bit whenever they actually get a chance to do so.
  • To the extent that she's a mother figure for Shinji, Misato in Neon Genesis Evangelion.
  • Son Goku, full stop. With both Gohan and Goten.
  • Pretty much any parent on Digimon.
  • On Fullmetal Alchemist, after Disappeared Dad Hohenheim comes back to see his kids (who are only 15 and 14), he figures they've taken care of themselves long enough that it doesn't really matter if he takes up a fathering role. And so he leaves again!
    • Then again his kids are Edward and Alphonse Elric.
    • Anime Hohenheim was pathetic and low in pretty much every arena possible. Al really wanted him to stay, but he didn't listen. His Wangst reaches really annoying levels when you find out just how much of an asshole he is.
    • Manga Hohenheim, on the other hand, met Ed and got summarily rejected, left again. Met Al much, much later and achieved an okay relationship with him with large amounts of communication and lots of comic relief, but in this case he treated both his teenage sons as at-least-equal combatants in the world-saving endeavor that he left them to work on in the first place. Very awkward about the whole father thing.
      • Of course, given what happened to him last time he accepted a fatherly role...
        • Ed wouldn't really make a philosopher's stone!
  • Bleach: Isshin and Ryuuken are both very aloof fathers in their own different ways with Isshin doing it via the Obfuscating Stupidity method and Ryuuken through The Snark Knight routine. With the latter, Ryuuken makes it clear that he does not view his son as an equal in any way, shape or form but he still fits the trope. They even debate who the worst father is in chapter 241, and the moment comes across as oddly depressing.
  • This is almost how the de Blois family relationship works out in Gosick, with Albert being so obsessed with preparing for World War II that Grevil is an easily intimidated (mostly) ineffectual police inspector and Victorique's own upbringing being as it is, considering he only sees her as a tool for what's to come.
  • Patrick Zala in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED treats his son Athrun as though he were any other subordinate. Given that Patrick is a paranoid and genocidal General Ripper this is not a good thing. By the end he's attempted to personally execute Athrun for treason.
    • Flit Asuno from Gundam AGE, once a sweet kid has grown up into a borderline Expy of Patrick. He expects his son, Asem, to behave and conduct himself as an adult and soldier at all times, regardless of how it effects him.
      • And he's not really any better towards his grandson.
  • Gambino from Berserk. Apart from being a full-blown douchebag to Guts as well as his teacher in being a mercenary, Gambino didn't do much in the way of parenting toward his adopted son. He even sent the kid onto the battlefield before he started his official training at the tender age of four, fully expecting Guts to not get his ass killed.

Comic Books

  • Magneto is this to both his children.



Live Action TV

  • Degrassi the Next Generation has several, since Adults Are Useless:
    • Toby's dad has a disturbing punishment for him and JT for watching porn.
    • Craig's dad is abusive. Naturally Joey goes to the opposite extreme.
    • Tracker, somewhat justified by the fact that Tracker is Sean's brother, not his father. But that doesn't explain why Tracker lets Sean stay in Toronto when he moved to Alberta. Indeed, Sean in general follows the Rule of Cool.
    • Peter's dad.
  • John Winchester from Supernatural trained his sons from an early age to kill the demon that murdered their mother, and didn't really do much else in the way of parenting. He left that to oldest son Dean, treating Dean more like a grown hunter than a child.

Newspaper Comics

  • Granddad from The Boondocks. Riley hangs around known criminals, Huey has a massive weapons stockpile, and Granddad doesn't care. Though he does beat them when they do something bad.

Video Games

  • Dr. Light, justified in that Rock and Blues are, you know, robots. But his feminine robots don't fight.
  • The King of All Cosmos kicks off the first Katamari Damacy by going on a drunken bender and knocking all the stars out of the sky. He then sends his tiny son to clean up the mess for him, placing completely arbitrary conditions on his rolling. Don't roll a big enough katamari before his patience runs out? Punishment time!

Western Animation

  • Dr. Rusty Venture on The Venture Bros. He even hires Sgt. Hatred (a known pedophile) as a bodyguard, and when it's revealed Hatred has a nickname for Hank, Rusty simply says "You're sleeping with him, aren't you?"
    • Rusty's own dad, Dr. Jonas Venture Sr., has become worse and worse as more of Rusty's childhood is shown. In season one, he was shown to have been a mildly negligent Insufferable Genius, but by this point, he seems to have been an emotionally manipulative, near-scociopath who knowingly placed his son in danger on a daily basis...and was also negligent.
  • All the South Park parents are portrayed as this.
  • Peter to Chris on Family Guy, to the point of Incest Subtext. But it's Family Guy, so Incest Subtext is par for the course.
  • Fire Lord Ozai from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Yes, his son survived what he put him through, with Uncle's help, and yes, his daughter was a highly competent Complete Monster, but he did not do the parenting thing, and sent them both into great danger very casually. Azula at least he trained personally.
  • Archer, to the most ludicrous degree with the wee baby shamus, who's still an infant.
    • Though to be fair, Archer isn't actually his father.