“It’s Called Responsibility” – Aishiteruze Baby (anime) – 7/10 Candy Canes

Family life is a bit like a runny peach pie – not perfect but who’s complaining? ~Robert Brault

Genre: Slice-of-Life/Drama

Review Status: Complete (26 Episodes/26 Episodes)

Licensed: This anime is not licensed in the US, but the manga is.

Art/Animation: Light and sketch-like, but with harder lines and more definite character designs than Bunny Drop. Somewhat of a cross between Bunny Drop and shoujo manga designs (which makes sense- it is a shoujo anime!). The colors are bright and vibrant, and the animation is very good and smooth.

Summary: Katakura Kippei is in every way a high school playboy. Spending his days flirting with any female he can see, responsibility is the last thing on his mind. Life takes an unexpected turn for him as one day he returns home to find himself with the fulltime task of caring for his 5 year old cousin. Kippei’s aunt Miyako had disappeared, appearing to have abandoned his cousin, Yuzuyu. With Kippei’s lack of responsibility and knowledge of childcare and Yuzuyu’s injured heart with the disappearance of her mother, their time together is in for a bumpy ride. Based on the manga by Maki Youko. (MAL.net)

Review: When you’ve been abandoned by your mother and left with relatives you’ve never met, what will life like for you?

This anime takes a hard look at the darker side of it. Kippei discovers that none of his family members want to deal with Yuzuyu- his parents claim they’re too busy, his sister doesn’t want her to drag her style and personal life down, and the gradparents are too old- and everyone feels that he needs a sharp dose of reality and responsibility because of his philandering ways.

Yuzuyu feels the brunt of this- Kippei, not her aunt or mom, is who makes her lunch (rather awkwardly and badly), which gets her made fun of for only having onigiri. He’s the one who picks her up, which gets her shunned for not having a mom. And some girls get jealous of her, which gets ber bullied again and really hurts her self-confidence. She also expresses her pain by acting out inappropriately.

Kippei himself has to learn to deal with this. He’s schooled by Yuzuyu’s teachers about appropriate lunches, has to juggle leaving early at school to pick her up with school projects, and must take care of her basic physical and emotional needs. Kippei has no idea about how to do it.

So while he learns how to deal with a young, troubled girl, he also ends up caught asking help from a classmate of his. Kokoro and Yuzuyu end up connecting fairly well- both have emotional issues and insecurities, and that helps Kippei understand them in turn. They become a little of their family of their own- until Yuzuyu’s mother comes back into the picture.

This anime had me on a lot of emotional downs- it always seemed more depressing to watch this anime than joyful, as their hardships kept coming and their triumphs over them seemed more minor. I also will admit that I didn’t fully understand some of their emotional issues, especially when it came to Kokoro. And some of those issues seem pushed to the wayside and left unresolved, which was a major disappointment. Unfortunately, the ending that this had also left me a little wanting- it seemed rather abrupt. But it didn’t fail to deliver on the emotion.

Overall, this anime has more drama and deals with heavier issues than your usual slice-of-life.

Recommended: 12+ due to some of the playboy antics that Kipei pulls (making out with girls between classes, not being faithful to one girl) and the heavier issues that pop up (the mother having depression, one of the girls having an eating disorder, various bullying issues that happen throughout).

Other titles you might enjoy: Bunny Drop (manga)
Yotsuba&! (manga)
Seirei no Moribito (anime and light novel)
Saturn Apartments (manga)
Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms (manga)
Grave of the Fireflies (anime)


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