The first few episodes lets the audience know about the situation of the protagonists, Ryuichi and Kotarou. Their parents died and with no place to be called home. Morinomiya Academy’s chairwoman decides to give Ryuichi a home along with free schooling in exchange for taking on the role of a caretaker. Now I have to admit, such a premise sounds like a potential moody story for tearjerking moments. However, the show really isn’t but instead formulated into a heartwarming lighthearted story. Ryuichi is really someone that’s kind hearted and has a bottom to earth type of personality. The show chronicles his life as a babysitter as he learns the ins and outs. While I can’t say there’s anything exceptional about him, it’s shown that Ryuichi is an incredibly helpful individual and puts others before himself. You’d think that after losing their parents, he would venture down a path of depression. No. Here, this guy makes a huge comeback after life knocks him down and it’s inspirational. Sometimes though, I feel like his personality is too friendly and can get him into unintentional trouble. Similarly, his brother sees the joy of life. While Koutarou is nowhere near as mature, he’s definitely a kid who is growing up in the right way.
As I’m watching more and more of Gakuen Babysitters, I realized that the show really tried to make us experience something. The realism of being responsible is part of growing up and this show really feels like one to capitalize that. Besides just the Kashima brothers, we also meet other caretakers at the school. Most of their circumstances are in a better position and they have more experience than Ryuichi. Despite that, they get along fairly well with him because of his gentle personality. On the other hand, Ryuichi does meet someone at school with an underwhelming impression of him. Her name is Maria Inomata and it won’t take for viewers to quickly realize her blunt personality. Compared to others, Inomata is someone that is hard to get along with. She is extremely serious and dedicated to studying (as she claims as one of the most important things in life). However, she also gets involved with the kids at the caretaker after unusual circumstances and shows a much more caring side. The easy picture to look at is Ryuichi’s influence on her. She begins to realize that life is more than just about studying but also being responsible. Watching her development is one of the dynamics of this show as it shows how people can change. Similarly, Ryuichi learns a lot from his daycare duties and if I were his parent, I’d be damn proud of him.
Featuring a cast of younger characters, Gakuen Babysitters does its best to create an atmosphere of innocence and youth. The kids in this show are very young and behaves in ways you can easily guess. Some of the things they say can be misunderstood or brutally honest. Because of their age, you can expect a lot of shenanigans in their daily lives. Characters such as Taka, Kirin, and even Koutarou can cause trouble despite being unintentional. It’s such traits that make them kids. Despite that, I find this cast to be very charming and realistic. Their attachment to their older siblings and parents is also heartwarming to watch once you understand them more.
Similar to the manga, the anime adaptation follows more of a slice of life storytelling so you really shouldn’t expect a complicated story. Every day is an adventure of its own. Because the show takes place at school, you can also expect some drama to develop between the older characters. A prime example is Inomata as feelings are developed about Ryuichi. While this show isn’t a love story, it gets more and more obvious. While I can’t say the show is really well written in that respect, it does capture the feel of what school life is like for girls of her age. At the caretaker center, Ryuichi’s bonds with others is perhaps a key selling point of the show. He is able to earn the trust of the kids and other caretakers. However, the story itself still needs a lot of work. I’ve read the manga and as a 12 episode TV anime adaptation, it felt like a lot was missing. There’s also some uncomfortable moments in this show that ventures into controversial territory. (I’m looking at you Tomoya Yagi) The overall tone of the show can also be a bit dull once you realize it’s not the type of anime for you. It’s a blend of slice of life and shoujo so be aware of what’s ahead.
Adapted by Brain’s Base, this show is an example of a realistic slice of life. While the raw visual quality isn’t overly impressive, every character in the show can be relatable and their character designs is an example of that. The kids are adorably charming and their character expressions is exactly how they should behave. Character chemistry is imperative to capture the mood of the show and thankfully, Brain’s Base and the director is able to meet such expectations. Some characters’ designs definitely stand out more than others such as the school chairwoman and her signature hair. To say the least, the artwork gets the job done and not be overlooked.
To portray such a younger cast takes skill and thankfully, the VA skillfully does just that. From crying to the happy moments, every child in this anime make us believe that they are real. The students at the school all have their own personalities as the VA easily fits into their shoes. The only character that I have a problem with in this anime is Yuki. She’s the annoying type of school girl that I can’t stand and seems to be just there to make everything looks more than silly than it is. Compared to other characters, she isn’t likable and sometimes, I find the kids to be more mature than she is because of her personality. On the other hand, the theme songs in this anime is definitely appealing to watch with its pure innocence. The catchy and lighthearted tone of the soundtrack is also easy to get used to.