It's Father's Day, a time to acknowledge, admire, and appreciate the paternal figures in one's life. And as it happens, the Mega Man franchise is chock-full of such figures. In fact, just about anyone with "Dr." in their names pretty much counts! So join us as we look back at the future, the far future, the very far future, and waaaaaay off into the future, as well as the alternate reality of fatherhood in the Mega Man games. Dr. Light - You really can't even have the list without this guy. The creator of the original Mega Man, Dr. Light has created numerous robots over the years, including all of the Robot Masters from the first NES Mega Man game and its remake, Powered Up, plus those in the recently-released Mega Man 9.
Of course, it is to Rock and Roll that he is presented most as a father-like figure, guiding his robotic "children" through their lives of trials and tribulations. However, not every father gets along so well with their children, and the case of Dr. Light and his first humanoid robot, Proto Man, is no different. While Dr. Light shares a special closeness with Rock and Roll, his relationship with Proto Man is much more distant, though it seems Light desperately wishes they could at least reconcile enough for him to help his oldest robot son. Perhaps someday, Proto Man will come around.
In addition, there are fathers who do not get to see their sons enter the world, and so it was with Dr. Light and his last creation, Mega Man X. While X searches for his rightful place in the world and fights for his creator's dream of a world where humans and robots, or Reploids if you prefer, can exist in peace, Dr. Light is at the very least there in spirit as he watches over his final, and perhaps greatest, creation.
Dr. Wily - Whereas Dr. Light acts as a concerned, loving parent to his robotic children, Dr. Wily is largely the exact opposite. Perhaps best likened to a military father, he orders his creations around, with but a few being favorites. Though somewhat accepting of their repeated failures (after all, he keeps bringing a number of them back), he ultimately tends to use his creations as tools, means towards an end.
Then again, many of the robots who serve under Wily were not created by his own hand, but rather captured and reprogrammed to do his bidding, making him more akin to a kidnapper and captor than a father figure.
In the case of Bass, the two largely get along as well as one might expect from a rebellious young teenage son and his cranky father. Meanwhile, Zero barely knows his creator at all, only receiving orders from the shadows and the depths of his own mind. All in all, it seems that none of Wily's robots are particularly close to him or see him as much of a paternal figure, whether loyal to him or not.
Dr. Cossack - Unlike the other doctors of his day, Dr. Cossack was a father in the natural, biological sense, as well as the creator of a number of Robot Masters himself. And when the time came that Dr. Wily kidnapped his only daughter, Dr. Cossack was ready to take up the fight himself, alongside his creations, to face Mega Man and ensure Kalinka's safe return.
Fortunately, Proto Man was able to rescue Cossack's daughter and ensure her safe return, foiling Dr. Wily's blackmailing plans and preventing the two combatants from destroying one-another. His gratitude for being reunited with what appeared to be his only immediate family saw a friendship forged that would benefit Mega Man in the future.
Dr. Cain - Dr. Cain marks a father of a different sort from those seen in the Classic series, and brings with him an interesting dynamic. In some ways, he could be seen as like an adoptive father to Mega Man X, who he unearths and introduces into the world, assisting when he is able.
But in addition to that, he is also the creator of Sigma, who was to be the greatest Maverick Hunter of them all, if not the greatest Reploid. And yet, despite this, it would almost seem that Sigma, who held a certain respect for his creator, was frustrated, perhaps even jealous to a degree, that despite all his potential, Dr. Cain still apparently held Mega Man X as the superior model, even though he had been created around a century prior.
In Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X, however, when Sigma decided to find the ultimate potential of the Reploid race, he launched an attack that would certainly put an end to his "father's" comparisons of the two forever. Nonetheless, it was the humble adoptive son that would put an end to the grandiose schemes of Dr. Cain's creation.
Barrel Caskett - In a world covered by endless water, Barrel Caskett finds himself pulling double-duty as a father figure. Not only did he sire a daughter in Matilda, who would go on to become a mother herself, but he took up the role again in a fashion for young Roll when both Matilda and her husband, Banner, went missing. Of course, even though Roll seems to have grown up without knowing any parentage but Barrel, she would still call him "Gramps."
The same would be said of young MegaMan Volnutt, who Barrel found during a dig many years ago and subsequently adopted.
Banner/Joe - Some fathers walk away from their children while they are still young, but in the case of Banner, it wasn't exactly by choice. Joined by his wife Matilda, they set off to discover the Mother Lode, but in a tragic turn, the two mysteriously disappeared after attempting to trek deep into the Forbidden Island.
Around 14 years later, young Roll would once more meet her father, but by that time, she did not recognize him, and he had suffered a loss of memory which prevented him from doing the same. Fortunately for him, he found a new family which helped him, including another child he could be a father figure to in return under the name of "Joe."
Tadashi Hikari - Tadashi Hikari is a father in two different senses. In the more traditional sense, he had a son in Yuichiro Hikari, who would go on to be the father of Lan and Hub Hikari.
However, whatever relationship he might have had with his son was overshadowed by his creation of Alpha, which in essence makes him the "father" of the first Internet created by SciLab. It would later be deemed too dangerous and sealed away, making way for the net we know in the Battle Network series and beyond.
Lord Wily - Unlike his Classic series counterpart, Lord Wily-- or Dr. Wily if you prefer-- is actually more of a father in the traditional sense, rather than simply being a creator. Across the continuities of the games and the anime, he has played father to three children: Dr. Regal, who is his natural-born son in the games, but adopted in the anime; Baryl, who is Regal's adopted stepbrother in both continuities following the disappearance of his own father; and Ms. Yuri, who only in the anime was adopted by Lord Wily following an encounter with Duo, just as Regal was in the same series.
Of course, as the saying goes, "like father, like son." In the case of Dr. Regal, he turned to a life of villainy after being raised by Wily. Baryl and Yuri, however, manage to come through in the end.
Yuichiro Hikari - Yuichiro best exemplifies a father who will do anything to protect or save his son. When young Hub fell to the heart condition HBD, the elder Hikari managed to graft his son's DNA and Soul to a NetNavi form, thus resulting in MegaMan.EXE.
Unfortunately for Hub's twin brother, Lan, Yuichiro is also a very busy man. Despite being a loving father and husband, he tends to rarely be around, but those rare moments together become all the more valuable as a result.
Dr. Froid - Dr. Froid is another example of a father who will go to great length's in order to insure the safety of his child. However, in Froid's case, he had to make a deal with the devil as the WWW kidnapped his young son, holding him hostage to make the elder Froid do as they demanded. As a result, he and his Navi, IceMan, went on to freeze the water works of Dentown. Fortunately, thanks to the efforts of Lan and MegaMan, father and son were reunited.
Kelvin Stelar - Some fathers are like heroes to their sons, and that is what Kelvin Stelar was to his son, Geo. Much like Banner above, he disappeared while his offspring was still young, though not as young as Roll had been. His disappearance came as a result of being captured by beings from the planet FM, after he tried to form a peaceful Brother Band with them.
Though Geo misses his dad terribly, it is the inspiration given by his father's words as relayed to him by Kelvin's wife, Hope, his friend Aaron Boreal, and Omega-Xis that help Geo rise to the challenge of being there for his friends and being the hero the world needs.
Mr. Platz - The father of class president Luna Platz, Mr. Platz and his wife only want what they think is best for their daughter-- to the point of ignoring Luna's own feelings and desires. Finally having enough after an encounter with them in front of Geo and Sonia Strumm, she takes off on her own, which is when the FM-ian Ophuica, who allows her to exact revenge on her parents (and everyone else) in the form of Queen Ophiuca.
Geo and Omega-Xis, as MegaMan, come to their rescue and defeat Queen Ophiuca, returning Luna back to normal. She and her parents then make up, with their coming to understand that she should not be treated as though she were a mere possession. They realize their folly in trying to take her away from her friends, and all it took was her turning into a giant snake-thing to do it.
Keiji Inafune - And of course, what list of Mega Man fathers would be complete without the man widely regarded as The Father of Mega Man himself?
Though Inafune did not actually create the original Mega Man, he came on board as a staff artist during development, creating the look and art for many of the other characters and environments that Mega Man would face. He would eventually rise in rank, and essentially take control of the series, spinning the franchise off into ever-varying directions such as the darker world of Mega Man X, the 3D exploration adventure of MegaMan Legends, and the somewhat more contemporary-yet-futuristically wired world of MegaMan Battle Network, as well as overseeing the even darker, bloodier world of dystopia and depression of Mega Man Zero.
And of course, those latter two were spin-offs which begat their own spin-offs in the wireless world of MegaMan Star Force and the henshin-happy Mega Man ZX titles.
We would also be remiss in not mentioning that the concept of Battle Network came about as a result of Inafune wishing to create a game that he could play together with his own flesh-and-blood offspring.
Inafune himself has since risen through the ranks to ever-greater roles in the company; he is now akin to Capcom's version of Shigeru Miyamoto. But even so, he still likes to get involved firsthand with the worlds of his most famous creation, going back to the drawing board (literally) to create the first female Robot Master, Splash Woman, for Mega Man 9.
In addition, his other works give their own nods to the Blue Bomber, with MegaMan.EXE and Mega Man Zero appearing in Onimusha Blade Warriors, A more realistic Mega Man X costume is also available for the heroes of Lost Planet and Dead Rising, with the latter also featuring a veritable mountain of Servbot merchandise.
Perhaps the greatest sign of his dedication to Mega Man is his repeated statements in interviews that if Capcom won't greenlight the funding of a third MegaMan Legends game, then perhaps he'll do it himself.