Daikichi, a 30 year old bachelor, is puttering through life when it gets turned upside down with an unexpected “inheritence” from his late grandfather.
This is a review of the first 4 volumes of the manga, and the 11 episode anime series (viewable at Crunchyroll) which covers the same time span.
Because nobody else in the family wants to take in the forlorn 6 year old Rin, Daikichi volunteers to take care of the little girl, who is essentially his aunt. What follows is one of the sweetest stories I’ve ever seen or read, where Daikichi gets a crash course in being a single working father.
I’ve not ever seen another anime like this. Oh sure, the orphan protagonist or one-parent-died-young protagonist is ubiquitous in anime/manga (I don’t understand why this is so popular; I guess it’s an easy sympathy set up). But to tell the story from the parent’s point of view, with all the hardships of going with it–juggling work schedule, finding a day care/school, getting sick, is extremely rare. Probably because that’s not really the core audience of anime watchers.
I love this because it’s just the daily life of the two as they try to make things work. It’s not cloying, or ridiculously sacchariney sentimental. It’s not slapsticky (although there are some cutely funny moments). It’s just very sweet. Parenting is hard. Parenting is even harder when it’s just one parent. I suppose it does romanticize parenting, at least parenting little girls, as Rin is fairly mature for her age and doesn’t throw tantrums and helps out as much as she can around the house (I’m sure at least one of my friends is hoping for this…). Rin’s best friend Kouki is much more of a handful to his divorced mother as he runs around wildly, not listening to her, mouthing off to Daikichi, etc.
I’m not sure which one I like more of these two formats. I may have to give the edge to the anime. I think the anime shows more of Kouki and Daikichi’s cousins Haruko and Reina Sometimes Reina and Kouki can be quite annoying, although they are more realistic children, which is probably the point, so viewers don’t get ideas of all kids being like Rin. I think the anime also shows a little more of Rin’s mother who left the raising of Rin to the grandfather, and later Daikichi, and why she is the way she is.
The color palette of the anime is also quite nice, being sort of… watercolorish. Not exactly pastelly, but there’s a very soft appearance to the anime. Blues and oranges are used quite frequently throughout, which is a nice color contrast.
Before I go on, if you want to stop here, that’s fine. Highly recommend both the anime and volumes 1 through 4 of the manga.
Now as to the reason why I’m only covering the first four volumes of the manga:
MAJOR SPOILERS FOLLOW!!
The manga is basically ruined because starting with volume 5, the manga jumps ahead ten years. Which would be fine, if it was showing Daikichi raising a teenage girl, which is probably a nightmare to many parents. Instead though, in the final volume (vol. 8), the manga-ka decided to set it up that Rin and Daikichi end up together which is absolutely disgusting and weird.
Now, I don’t know the details, because once these rumors started, I was horrified and vowed only to buy up through v. 4 until I heard otherwise. But once v.8 got scanlated (i.e. translated by fans and put online for free reading, which is illegal, but in this case, I’m glad that people did do it so I wasn’t reading this blind), the rumors were confirmed by readers, which really made me sad.
I mean, here was this absolutely lovely story of father and daughter, complete bereft of any innuendo, and then suddenly it takes a hard right turn into Wrongville. Never mind all the idiots on the forums who think Japan is this “open-minded” country that allows marriage of parents to their adopted children (it’s not, I looked it up, and that’s not open-mindedness, btw, that’s just creepy). I just don’t understand what the manga-ka was thinking. Was this her original intention? Or is this something her publisher/editor made her do? I’m not sure.
I mean, if they wanted romance, there is plenty of romantic tension between Daikichi and Kouki’s mother who is a very pretty, young single mother.
It makes me sad that this oft not-covered scenario in manga was doing so well, when it just became another weird, creepy manga story (way too many of those as it is, thanks Japan).