Kakushigoto‘s story alternates between the past and present. In the present, you see Hime Goto (Rie Takahashi), a young girl who, upon turning 18, inherits a key to a storehouse belonging to her father, Kakushi (Hirohi Kamiya). There, she discovers various materials that reveal to her that her father drew ecchi manga for a living. Flashbacks set eight years prior depict Hime’s childhood as well as Kakushi and his many escapades in keeping his profession a secret from his daughter, in fear that she’ll get embarrassed or ridiculed for it.
At its heart, Kakushigoto is a gag comedy and slice of life anime. In fact, the show largely only cuts to Hime’s young adulthood as opener or closer for a given episode thereby using this side of the story rather sparingly. It’s a pity as the show is frankly much more interesting whenever it cuts to the present. Watching Hime wrap her head around something she was completely oblivious for her entire life and whether or not that affects her opinion of her father is truly riveting material, so much so that I kept wanting for the show to cut back to it more often. Instead, the majority of Kakushigoto’s overall run time is dedicated towards various hijinks that happened in Hime’s childhood.
The problem with this narrative choice is that it makes the show feel obnoxiously aimless. There is a sense of time passing throughout the show and some events bear continuity with previous ones. But when you sit down and think about the story as a whole, you realize that a lot of what happens in the show isn’t all that important in the long-term. All the various hijinks that occur are just that, hijinks. Aimlessness is of course par for the course with the slice of life genre but because Kakushigoto‘s framing establishes a sort of endpoint for the story to reach, this attribute becomes problematic. Overtime, the show feels sluggish and meandering and the events that take place a slight waste of time. There are a few more legitimate plot threads sprinkled here and there such as the details regarding the maternal side of Hime’s family though and what happened to Kakushi by the time Hime turns 18. Unfortunately, these are explored very sparingly and haphazardly address at the very end of the series.
This isn’t to say that the events set in Hime’s childhood isn’t entertaining. There are plenty of charm and laughs to be found here thanks to the show’s characters. Kakushi can get a little too over the top but for the most part, he’s a fun and likable character. He’s a caring and doting father, sometimes comically to a fault at times. There’s also an amusing dichotomy where he’s an ambitious and proud mangaka but is also self-conscious and fears an increase in fame will increase the odds of Hime finding out about his work. Meanwhile, you have Hime is simply adorable. She’s soft-spoken and yet very energetic at the same time. Her character also walks a fine line between being smart and mature for her age and being very innocent and imaginative which creates a fun unpredictability to any time she’s close to finding out the truth about her father. About the only disappointing thing about the Goto family is that the show squarely focuses on one year of their time together. The intervening years end up getting skimmed over in the series finale. It would’ve been great to see these in greater detail.
The supporting cast deserves some recognition as well. You have Kakushi’s four assistants who contribute towards some fun workplace humor while also dealing with the great lengths Kakushi takes in keeping his job a secret. Another subset worth mentioning are the various women who fall in love with Kakushi for one reason or another. This includes Hime’s hotheaded homeroom teacher who happens to also be a huge fan of Kakushi’s manga. The show’s cast isn’t without its duds, Kakushi’s editor Tomaruin (Natsuki Hanae) is particularly obnoxious, but for the most part, they are a charming bunch of characters.
Was Kakushigoto fun to watch? I won’t deny that the comedy hits its mark more often than it misses. There’s plenty of charm and laughs to be found here. But at the same time, I can’t shrug off how aimless the show gets and how often I wanted it to cut back to the far more interesting B story. Honestly, there are a few times where I was bored watching this series and should I ever rewatch it, I’d probably press the Fast Forward button multiple times to get to the funniest parts or the stuff that actually matters. In the end, Kakushigoto is a gag comedy that I wish was more focused with its story. I cautiously recommend giving the show a few episodes. Stick with it if you don’t mind the structure and find the characters entertaining enough. Skip it if you find yourself bored at any point.
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Watch Kakushigoto on Funimation