Season Aired: Winter 2018
Number of Episodes: 12
Genres: Slice of Life, School, Comedy
Studio: Brain’s Base
Thoughts: Gakuen Babysitters takes place in an elite academy and follows the story of two brothers – middle schooler Ryuuichi Kashima, and his toddler brother Kotarou Kashima. The siblings lose their parents to a plane crash and are taken in by the eccentric chairwoman of the academy. In a true “give and take” fashion, Ryuuichi is expected to work part-time in the school’s Babysitter Club. The show is a shoujo slice-of-life that’s relaxed in nature with a few conflicts that are usually resolved within the episode. The main part of the story is focused on Ryuuichi as he tries to balance school life with looking after the six children (his brother included) in the daycare centre.
There were many slice-of-life anime that aired this season but this was my favourite. I was surprised by how often I felt emotional, even ugly cried a little. A big part of the charm to this story is the raw emotion portrayed through everyday mundane activities and mishaps. One particularly painful moment was at the beginning of the season when Kotarou becomes mildly ill with a fever and Ryuuichi reflexively attempts to phone his dad, momentarily forgetting about his father’s death. Despite the heavy tragic undertones, the show isn’t all doom and gloom. It’s balanced out by the cute comic relief provided by the toddlers that’ll leave you giggling in joy. Some of the greatest laughs come from the supporting characters, especially the dads.
However, the story doesn’t mislead you into believing that children are a bunch of angels. There are some sobering moments that convey the weight of responsibility when it comes to kids. One that stands out to me is when little Kirin tries to jump from a balcony on a broomstick because she desperately wanted to be a witch. There’s something to be said about her determination but thankfully, Ryuuichi prevents the worst outcome in the nick of time.
The other kids – Takuma and Kazuma (twins), Kotarou (quiet and observant), Midori (infant), and Taka (my absolute favourite ball of energy) are all very unique with their own distinct personalities. Watching them interact with each other is a huge entertainment factor in the show. We’re also introduced to other supporting characters generally found around Ryuuichi, like Hayato Kamitani (Taka’s older brother), and Usaida Yoshihito, who is the other adult employee at the daycare. While I liked Hayato’s cold indifference paired with his occasional compassion, I disliked Usaida. He is careless and absent-minded, which results in many dangerous situations for the kids. Remember Kirin almost jumping off? Yup. That was Usaida’s fault. He could’ve prevented it instead of waiting around until Ryuuichi intervened.
Aside from that, I like everyone else – the two main girls, the random classmates that provide some amusement with their screen time, and especially the butler, Saikawa. I want to give this dude a shout out for his strong cooking skills and dry sense of humour. He made me chuckle a lot.
There’s a hint of a love triangle between Ryuuichi, the tsundere Maria Inomata, and the shy Ushimaru Yuki. I liked Maria’s stern personality and felt she would’ve complemented Ryuuichi better than the gentle Yuki. It’s more captivating to see couples who have vastly different personalities from each other. Yuki and Ryuuichi would be a bit bland and boring. I was glad to see the girls not portrayed as obvious rivals, but instead they later appear to form an awkward friendship. Cheers for girl power and a dose of maturity!
The soft, pastel art style of the anime complements the themes of loss, relationships and finding oneself. I was surprised to find that the children were voiced by adults – they did such an excellent job! The opening song “Endless Happy World” is a delightful tune sung by Daisuke Ono who also voices the expressionless Saikawa in the anime. Hyorotto Danshi sings the ending song “Oshiete Yo” which didn’t stand out as much but the kids do a cute dance in it that I eventually taught myself to do. It’s actually pretty fun so I recommend everyone to try it.
The anime’s ending was rather appropriate since it even had Kotarou smiling and that’s a hard thing to do. The manga for Gakuen Babysitters is still ongoing and I really hope the anime gets a second season. I’d like to see Ryuuichi’s character and romance develop more.
Overall: The story line is fun and it stands out because there aren’t many anime that are centered around toddlers. If you’re not a fan of children like I am, I’d still urge you to give this anime a chance. After seeing the ending, I felt my heart sink to the point where I considered adopting a few kids. Yes, you’ll get attached. I think this is a wholesome and enjoyable story that’ll kindle your inner child no matter your age.
The anime will be rated based on the anime rating system used by Japanese anime critics. There are 5 categories, each with the top score of 10, and then a final multiplier of 2.
Voice Acting: 10
FINAL SCORE: 78