The term “Dadcore'' has been around for almost a decade, a word that originally referred to a person’s fashion preference is now being thrown around with a much wider definition. Gen Z has re-popularized the term and now uses it as a way to describe things that Gen X and Millennials enjoy. Dadcore describes a whole generation’s life aesthetic or way of living, from the music to the wardrobe and now anime!? Join us and find out what are the top 10 anime that give us the most Dadcore vibes!
10. Detroit Metal City
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Aug 8, 2008 - Oct 28, 2008
More than for fashion, Gen Z uses “Dadcore” to refer to rock music their parents enjoy. In some definitions, the ‘core’ in Dadcore comes from “hardcore” music and there’s no anime that describes that better than Detroit Metal City. The protagonist, Negishi, is a pretty chill musician with a metalhead alter ego. Krauser II, a very successful lead singer of a metal band, has to keep his real identity hidden from his friends and family who know him better as the calm, countryman Negishi. Now, this anime was not as mainstream popular as the others on this list, so if your dad knows what DMC is about, then you might have one of the most hardcore otaku dads in town.
9. Neon Genesis Evangelion
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Oct 4, 1995 - Mar 27, 1996
Evangelion mesmerized a new generation of otaku when it was added to Netflix in 2019. It’s possible that this anime was one of the responsible series to bring back the term “Dadcore” for Gen Z and it’s possible that it will have the same effect when Evangelion rolls back up in a re-run inside the metaverse for Gen Beta. Evangelion will be known for centuries as one of the best Dadcore icons in anime. The entire aesthetics of the anime just screams Dadcore, but there’s something about the main character that resonates with the entire ‘Dadcore generation’. Shinji and his mental/emotional breakdowns will forever be the most accurate definition of a Millennial’s mental health, and his discombobulated relationship with his father will be the best depiction of the entire Millennial generation’s relationship with their parents.
8. Yuu☆Yuu☆Hakusho (Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files)
- Episodes: 112
- Aired: Oct 10, 1992 - Jan 7, 1995
Yu Yu Hakusho was one of the best anime from the early 90s so it’s very probable your dad saw this gem. We honestly don’t know how it still holds up its popularity today, with no new spin-offs, sequels, or anime remakes, but it’s probably because it’s that good a perfect Dadcore anime. Fashion still has a strong influence on Dadcore, and Yu Yu Hakusho has a lot to say about that. The main cast of anime characters in Yu Yu Hakusho has a mix of 80s to 00s hairstyles that capture some of the most questionable trends of their time, like the ultra-shiny slick back, the ‘bad guy’ pompadour, and the bright and voluminous ‘scene kid’ and ‘emo’ hairdo. Although it’s improbable this singular anime had any real influence on fashion trends “back in the day” one thing is for sure, watching Yu Yu Hakusho will give you all the correct vibes for you to understand what a Dadcore anime really is.
7. Initial D First Stage
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Apr 19, 1998 - Dec 6, 1998
Not that we’re encouraging you to do it, but if you have one of those “car dads” and ever happen to go check his wallet, there’s a 50/50 chance you’ll find an Initial D registered license card right behind his Blockbuster membership card. The anime and the arcade game for Initial D were a big staple for otaku that also had a passion for cars and street racing. Unfortunately, nowadays arcade culture has died down worldwide, so it will be extremely rare to find a machine running Initial D. If you want to give your dad a sense of nostalgia in a good way, offer to watch Initial D together, and let him escape to his childhood while he explains to you all about the cars in the series and how it influenced him into the car hobby. Soon you will be both jamming to the beat of “Deja Vu” having the ultimate Dadcore anime experience.
6. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure
- Episodes: 6
- Aired: Nov 19, 1993 - Nov 18, 1994
That’s right, the JoJo series that most of you know and love today is much, much older than you’d think, in this case, we’re highlighting the original animated OVA that aired in 1993. The JoJo franchise actually started as manga early in 1989, being older than some of your parents! And nothing says Dadcore more than a show that’s passed down through generations and still retains a strong male fan base. Although an anime like Jojo may seem like the complete opposite of the “stylistically conservative” Dadcore lifestyle, the content of the show and its memes are something that’s always present in conversations with “the bois'' on game nights and Discord servers, pastimes we can already associate with midlife age dads.
5. Sword Art Online
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Jul 8, 2012 - Dec 23, 2012
It’s not a mistake that SAO is on the list of Dadcore anime, as it’s almost been 10 years since it was released. Although SAO is the newest anime series on the list and is still fresh in the memories of teenagers to young adults, it absolutely classifies as a Dadcore series; this is how they all start. The release of SAO opened the way to the success of Isekai anime (even though it’s not Isekai itself) and created a landmark in the history of anime. An extremely popular and successful anime franchise that literally everyone saw, and that a whole generation can relate to is what makes this series Dadcore. Soon enough, the young adults of today will be telling the tale of Kirito to their kids, and they will be growing as cultured future otaku just like their parents.
- Episodes: 220
- Aired: Oct 3, 2002 - Feb 8, 2007
All those cringe-worthy ninja moves that your dad pretends to do, they’re all thanks to Naruto. If your dad is a little peculiar about his knowledge of Japanese culture, and only seems to focus on the ninja aspects of it, or if your family dog is named Itachi (or worse, you’re named Sakura) we’re sure this anime series has some level of accountability. Naruto has influenced Dadcore a lot, especially Millennials and older Gen Z’ers who aren’t afraid to go out in public with their Akatsuki drip or to explode their car speakers with rap music that includes Naruto, somehow.
3. One Piece
- Episodes: 1020+
- Aired: Oct 20, 1999 - Ongoing
“Why try something new if this feels way more comfortable?” In Dadcore origins, people chose to wear “dad” clothes for comfort and functionality, even if it meant not being “in” with the latest fashion trend. That same thing can be said about One Piece, the comfy place for most older anime fans. Nothing will make an otaku father more proud than his son asking “where to download One Piece?” for the first time, just like he asked his own father 40 years prior. And then nothing will be more Dadcore than handing him the family heirloom, a link to the same torrent his great grandfather used to download One Piece from back in 1999.
- Episodes: 276
- Aired: Apr 1, 1997 - Nov 14, 2002
Pokemon is incredibly popular, even with the children of today, so having a “Pokemom” or “Pokedad” must be an incredible flex. Pokemon is debatable equally Dadcore as it is “Momcore”, as the ‘modern geeky fast fashion’ is plastered with Pokemon tees, dresses, and other attire that you can find anywhere for all genders alike. Even invading our homes with recent housing furniture for those Millennials lucky enough to afford housing. Initially intended to be only a kid's show, our beloved pocket monsters never left our hearts, and grew together with us since the late 90s. Now, in our adulthood, we can embarrass our children by singing our hearts out to the tune of “Gotta catch ‘em all”.
1. Dragon Ball Z
- Episodes: 291
- Aired: Apr 26, 1989 - Jan 31, 1996
Nothing is more Dadcore than Dragon Ball Z. The absolute king of late 1900s anime can be none other than the franchise Dragon Ball, surviving generation after generation with undying fame. Like Pokemon, DBZ is one of the largest influences in anime and the whole Dadcore aesthetic. From toys to tattoos, we’re sure DBZ is still present in your dad’s life one way or another and you’ll be proud to continue passing down this legacy to your own children someday. From 1984 to the present, the Dragon Ball franchise has connected generations and ethnicities around the world with their manga, games, anime, music, merchandise, etc. Every generation of dads from Gen X on will always hold on dearly to their memories of DBZ, and will always happily tell the tale of Goku, the little Saiyan boy from the planet Vegeta.
In the future, it would be interesting for Dadcore to become a trend or a ‘movement’ that’s adopted by younger generations on purpose, as other aesthetically popular ‘movements’ like Cottagecore. If you’re a young reader, do you agree that this list screams Dadcore? Or if you’re a dad yourself, what shows would you include here?