Kakushigoto begins with Hime Goto (Rie Takahashi), a young girl who, upon turning 18, inherits the key to her father’s workplace (which does’t speak well about what happens to him…). As the show rewinds to her childhood, it’s revealed that Hime’s father, Kakushi (Hiroshi Kamiya), drew ecchi manga for a living and tried to hide that profession from her so that she wouldn’t get embarrassed or ridiculed for it.
There’s a bit of a conceit to the whole setup. I find it hard to believe that Kakushi apparently succeeded in deceiving his daughter for eighteen whole years. One would think she’d eventually have an inkling of an idea (pun not intended) by that point, especially during her teenage years. I am however willing to give some benefit of the doubt as this could create a compelling frame for the story to function in. You could switch back and forth between Hime’s childhood and her coming of age and compare and contrast her view of her father growing up and her view of him now that the cat is finally out of the bag. Surely she’ll feel a bit conflicted; as understandable as Kakushi’s intentions are, he did still deceive her.
Whether or not that’s what the show is going for is a mystery for now as after that opening scene, the premiere focuses solely on Kakushi raising Hime. More specifically, the hijinks that occurred in that period of time.
I do largely find Kakushigoto funny. In particular, there’s a lot of fun wordplay in this show, right down its title. Kakushigoto is Japanese for “secret” and Kakushi’s full name is Kakushi Goto. Hime’s name is equally cheeky as her name is Japanese for “princess”, befitting her character’s innocence and importance to her father. During the B part of the premiere, Kakushi looks for ways to become more famous and get recognized as a “mango” which is a pun on “manga” and “bungo”, the latter of which is generally used to refer to classic Japanese literature and authors. I’m not sure if that’s actually a term commonly used in Japan (and as a weeb, I’m used to mango being a mispelling) but it makes for some fun dialogue here.
The one aspect of comedy that can feel a bit grating is Kakushi and his over the top paranoia and anxiety about his secret. There are some really solid bits utilizing his personality such as the flashback where his teacher reveals to him that she’s a huge fan of his work or when he realizes that becoming a “mango” will only make it easier for Hime to find about his job. I just would’ve preferred it if this quality of his was dialed back at a bit and I want to see more of his more contemplative and fatherly traits that do show up on occasion in the premiere.
I got no complaints about Hime however. Honestly, I think she’s a funnier and more charming character than her dad. What I like about her character is that she’s innocent enough to merit Kakushi’s concerns and yet seems a little bit smart for her age. For example, you have a scene where Kakushi’s new editor pays him a visit and wears a shirt based one of his manga. Kakushi forces him to do various poses to hide the art and Hime’s young brain makes some leaps in logic on what those posts inform her of the editor’s character. Conversely, in the B-part, Hime and her friends are adventuring around town and stumble into a Starbucks. While her friends aren’t familiar with the place and make some wild interpretations of it, Hime knows that it’s a Starbucks and doesn’t freak out like everyone else.
The idea that Hime is smarter than she lets on does make me go back to wondering how she never found about her father’s job until she comes of age. It’d be nice if the story expresses some awareness about that. Then again, so long as the story is good, I guess that’s something I can look the other way on.
OP: “Chiisana Hibi” by flumpool
ED: “Kimi wa Tenneniro” by Eiichi Ootaki
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Watch Kakushigoto on Funimation