First Impressions Lightning Round – Gakuen Babysitters | Kokkoku | Ryuuou no Oshigoto! | Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san

Gakuen Babysitters

Winter 2018 is just jam-packed with cuteness, isn’t it? I suppose Gakuen Babysitters is a bit of an outlier though. It’s not a CGDCT anime and babysitting is a rare subject matter in general. I can see someone getting cynical towards the marketable combination of bishounen protagonists and toddlers but I personally really enjoyed this show’s first episode.

Simply put, I think this looks super charming. Off the bat, I find Ryuuichi and Kotarou to be pretty likable. The former is modest and compassionate while the latter is impressively accepting of the fact that his brother now has to divide his attention between him and five other kids. The other characters seem pretty likable as well; I particularly like Hayato, a calm classmate of Ryuuichi who has the questionable tactic of hitting his little brother, Taka, in the head when the latter is too rowdy.

One thing that really stood out to me was how dark the set-up was. It seems a bit extreme to kill Ryuuichi and Kotarou’s parents in a plane crash and have that be the circumstance that leads Ryuuichi into becoming a volunteer babysitter. At the same time though, I’m interested in how this show is a story about healing. The brothers seem aware that their situation is a bit strange and yet they’re thankful that they have a new home. The bond they develop with their caretaker, Youko, is quite interesting. Youko lost her own family to the same plane crash and while she’s clearly stern and busy, she’s nevertheless touched by the boys’ appreciation.

Overall, I’m liking the anime version of Gakuen Babysitters so I’ll be keeping a close eye on it.

Kokkoku

Kokkoku has been garnering some attention but honestly, I wasn’t really hooked by it.

I’m a little wary with how mean-spirited this show seems to be. It fits with the dysfunctional characterization of Juri’s family but once it resorted to violence and the supernatural to drive the plot and spouted some philosophy about time traveling, I felt a bit out of touch to it. I can’t say I was really invested when it was revealed that there are other people who can enter this paused dimension either. In general, I thought this show just seemed odd and perhaps too reliant on edge to appear meaningful.

I’ll watch a little bit more if I have the time but right now, I can’t imagine sticking with this show for a whole season.

Ryuuou no Oshigoto!

One thing’s for sure: this is not a preferable alternative to 3-gatsu no Lion.

It’s not like I didn’t enjoy Ryuuou no Oshigoto!. The premise of a 9-year-old girl learning shogi from a teenage prodigy was as amusing as I had hoped it’d be. What irks me is just how painfully obvious that the show is based on a light novel. Male protagonist who is overpowered in some way? Check. Tons of girls to fawn over said protagonist? Check. Uncomfortable underage fanservice because anime needs that for some reason? Check.

To be fair, Yaichi is actually alright as far as LN protagonists go and I will admit that Ai is pretty darn adorable (could’ve done without the shower scene though…). I just love how odd Ai is; able to learn shogi at an alarming speed and also managed to run away from home and track down Yaichi’s whereabouts (not concerning at all). I don’t know if these two is enough to carry the show (there are other tropes/characters after all) but I’ll admit that they do make for a decent duo.

I might give the show another shot but only if time will allow it.

Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san

And the cuteness continues with Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san. There’s only one cute girl this around and the cute thing she’s doing is trolling the hell out of the poor unfortunate soul who sits next to her in class. It’s a simple premise but it’s one that’s executed really well in this show.

I just can’t get over what a glorious troll Takagi-san is. Whether she’s a mastermind or just that good at improvising, it’s amazing how she’s always one step ahead of Nishikata. I feel torn for the boy because it would be satisfying to see him win for once but I also just want to see him constantly lose to Takagi. Also apparent is how the two are interested in each other romantically. Takagi clearly teases Nishikata because she likes him as a person and while Nishikata doesn’t want to admit it, he does get very flustered around Takagi. It’ll be interesting to see how these two grow closer as the teasing continues.

Having read a bit of the manga, it’s interesting to hear Yuki Kaji and Rie Takahashi play Nishikata and Takagi respectively. I’ll admit that the actors do make the characters sound a lot older than I imagined but as I got used to it, I quite like their performances. Kaji does a solid job conveying his character’s paranoia and flustered reactions without getting too hammy. Takahashi, meanwhile, sounds so smug when voicing Takagi; I really buy it when the character is reveling in her victories.

I might or might not blog about Takagi-san depending on how clever it gets but regardless, I’ll be keeping a close eye on this one.

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