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We tend to think about grandmothers as sweet elderly women who like to take care of little children. They also make the best cookies, or perhaps teach some home-oriented, useful skill whenever you ask. Or maybe they mediate between your parents and you. But is that all that is there to say about grandmothers? Of course not, and much less if we are talking about anime grandmothers. So let’s see which type of great grannies we can find!
Warning: we have some spoilers here and there. Proceed with caution.
10. Kazusa Takatori from Shounen Maid
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Apr 8, 2016 to Jul 1, 2016
Kazusa is the grandmother of the protagonist, Chihiro. This old lady was introduced to us in an unusual way. Kazusa loves to go to the local park to chase cats. She does everything in her power to get close to them, but they always escape. Yet, when Kazusa realizes she is being observed by Chihiro, she straightens up and tries to appear as the respected granny.
This particular relationship between grandmother and grandson is curious, as Kazusa didn’t get along well with Chihiro’s mother nor with his uncle. That is why she conceals her identity from Chihiro at first. However, Chihiro is not like the cats; even when he uncovers the difficulties of the family relationships, he continues to get along well with Kazusa. They use to get together in the park, talking casually about daily life things. Thus, we can assume Kazusa is a rather easy going grandmother.
9. Sui Shijima from Hanasaku Iroha (Blossoms for tomorrow)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Apr 3 to Sep 25, 2011
Meet the grandmother of Hanasaku Iroha’s protagonist, Ohana. She is the owner of the Taisho period inn Kissuisou where Ohana is sent to live. Sui Shijima is always wearing kimonos and a very stern look. Although her hair is rather short and fashionable, her posture and voice command obedience.
We can expect, as Ohana is a straightforward girl with a deep sense of justice, that Ohana does not get very well with her severe grandmother in the beginning. Sui Shijima made her work to pay for her stay at the inn, and they talked frequently. Ohana wants some things to change but her grandmother is quite old-fashioned. Nevertheless, Sui Shijima is concerned about her staff and believes her granddaughter will be able to handle the inn in the future. It’s just that Sui does not convey her feelings so easily.
8. Hitoha Miyamizu from Kimi no na wa (Your name)
- Episodes: 1 movie
- Aired: Aug 26, 2016
This affable looking and plump woman is the grandmother of one of the protagonists of the movie, Mitsuha Miyamizu. Hitoha functions as the head of the sacred shinto Shrine in a small town among the mountains. She teaches Mitsuha all the duties of a miko, including how to make sake with spitted rice (that would be Kuchikamisake). Hitoha is also shown to be knowledgeable on Kumihimo, a traditional Japanese braid making technique.
Hitoha raised Mitsuha and her sister Yotsuha when their mother passed away. Although Mitsuha doesn’t precisely like the traditional town and the duties of a miko, Hitoha tries her best to make the experience meaningful for her. She is always by her granddaughters side when she is needed! Hitoha is also shown to be wise, as she tells Mitsuha (hinting towards her encounters with Taki): “Treasure the experience. Dreams fade away after you wake up.”
7. Sakae Jinnouchi from Summer Wars
- Episodes: 1 movie
- Aired: Aug 1, 2009
Imagine you are a computer genius who manages a whole cyber world. Suddenly, you get confronted by reality: a friend from your high-school invites you to her great-grandmother’s birthday party in a small provincial town… and introduces you as her fiancee to her family! To add the cherry to the cake, there are several cyber attacks unleashed. Confused? Not more than Kenji Koiso, our protagonist.
The thing with the famous great-grandmother Sakae is that, when the cyber attacks wreck havoc in the real world, she makes use of her connections to help control the situation. Taking into account that the cyber attacks disabled her heart monitor and provoked her to an early death, we see how Sakae remained calm during the stressful ordeals. Sakae simply arranged some things during the few hours she had left and requested Kenji to look after the family. She also requests her family to re-incorporate the outcasted Wabisuke, which prompts the clan to join the cause to try to stop the Summer Wars. She was a selfless and composed force of good during the entire movie.
6. Marnie from Omoide no Marnie (When Marnie was there)
- Episodes: 1 movie
- Aired: Jul 19, 2014
This enchanting movie tells us the story of Anna, an orphan girl who travels to an old town by the sea during her summer vacations. She discovers a mysterious girl called Marnie, who appears and disappears as if she was made of dreams. Anna and Marnie will forge a strong relationship, meanwhile some friends help the orphan girl to uncover her past. In the end, it turns out that Marnie is the spirit of Anna’s deceased grandmother, who finally makes her see that she was deeply loved by her true family.
What can we say about a ghost grandmother that poses as a child? Studio Ghibli makes a masterpiece of every production they make, especially in the way they portray the characters so naturally. There is love and yearning between Anna and Marnie throughout the whole movie. The freshness and innocence of their adventures, plus the final moving revelation, make this unusual grandmother an unforgettable character.
5. Claire Skyheart from Dimension W
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jan 10 to Mar 27, 2016
Here we have an interesting grandmother with long hair and pretty features. But just looking once at her face makes us realize this lady rules with a cold, iron gaze. Claire Skyheart is the Chief Operations Officer of New Tesla Corporation’s Central 47, which means she is the leader of a delicate operation to find illegal devices. You know how technology can be misused, so someone has to do something about it.
Claire Skyheart could pass as too cold if not for her interactions with her granddaughter Shiora, as shown in Dimension W. This lady is also awfully clever. An expert on covert operations, she knows how to get information from people (even from her innocent granddaughter). For a lady with no peculiar magical powers, she is pretty much a bad-ass!
4. Chi-Chi from Dragon Ball GT
- Episodes: 64
- Aired: Feb 7, 1996 to Nov 19, 1997
Chi-Chi is perhaps one of the most recognizable female characters from the list. We met her as a little child and have news about her in every Dragon Ball anime season. Chi-Chi is the princess of the Fire mountain and wife of Goku, the protagonist. She bears him two children (Gohan and Goten), and eventually her first son will bear Pan, the her granddaughter.
Throughout the Dragon Ball series, Chi-Chi is a tough warrior concerned about her family’s well-being. In this part, she is in her fifties and mostly hangs out with Videl and Bulma. Nevertheless, Chi-Chi keeps watching mainly over her two sons and being slightly more easygoing with Pan. Although she wanted her granddaughter to be more girly, but you know… Saiyan blood always takes over.
3. Chiyo from Naruto Shippuden
- Episodes: Unknown
- Aired: Feb 15, 2007 to present
This old lady is the grandmother of Sasori of the Red Sand, but is often called Honoured Grandmother by everyone who knows her. She is a venom and puppet expert from the village of Sunagakure. Chiyo has pretty bad-ass credentials. She was in the Second Shinobi World War and she sealed the one tailed Shukaku inside Gaara. You simply can not cross such a formidable grandmother easily.
Chiyo retired from public life and passed her time relaxing with her brother, while also taking care of her grandson Sasori. To help him deal with the loss of his parents, she trained him in the art of puppets. Sasori developed incredible ninjutsu abilities thanks to Chiyo. The only flaw of this grandmother is that she chose to ignore the signs of dark intentions in Sasori.
2. Gloriosa from One Piece
- Episodes: Unknown
- Aired: Oct 20, 1999 to present
Meet Elder Nyon, former Empress of the Kuja tribe. This women-only tribe lives in the Amazon Lily, an empire located in the Maiden Island. Of course, they have their very own Pirate crew, the Kuja Pirates! These women train from their youths to become tough warriors and adventurers.
In her youth, Gloriosa travelled the world far and wide in order to cure her “love disease”. Unlike other members of the tribe who died due to this illness, Gloriosa came back to the Island and became a wise Empress. She also found and trained the Gorgon sisters, one of whom is the current Kuja Empress and considered the most beautiful and powerful woman in the world: Boa Hancock. Although Gloriosa has a solitary life style, she is always by the side of the Gorgon sisters when they need her and functions as an adviser for Hancock. Despite that, their relationship is not the best, they keep close to each other. They share a lot in common after all, being powerful adventurers on oceans crossed mostly by men!
1. Cologne from Ranma ½
- Episodes: 161
- Aired: Apr 15, 1989 to Sep 25, 1992
Meet the leader of the Chinese Amazons, who live close to the Jusenkyo lakes! The people Cologne leads are very important in the Ranma ½ anime, as various techniques the characters learn have been perfected by them. Her great-granddaughter is Shampoo, who is in love with Ranma and follows him to Japan to destroy him, but later, upon discovering that he is male, to make him marry her. Thus, Cologne also moves to Japan, opening a Chinese food restaurant called the Cat Cafe with Shampoo.
Cologne is the coolest and most powerful grandma you will find on this list. She has a good sense of humour and enjoys observing the battles and general comical difficulties the younger cast of Ranma has to go through. Despite her minute size, Cologne will always have wise advice and artful tricks for training Shampoo and the others. Besides being a great martial artist, Cologne also knows a lot about Chinese herbs, cooking, and magical artifacts. If you wanted everything that makes for a great grandmother in one pocket size combo, look no further! We have Cologne!
And there you have them! Ten diverse grandmother characters! There is one for every taste, don’t you think so? But do tell us if your favorite granny was among the list. If not, please share your favorite anime grandmother with us in the comments. See you soon!