Season aired: Spring 2020
Number of episodes: 12
Genres: Slice-of-life, Drama, Comedy
Thoughts: Sporting a unique art style and an adorable premise, Kakushigoto immediately caught my eye with its story of a single father raising his young daughter, Hime, while desperately hiding his occupation from her: a mangaka whose most famous manga is rife with dirty jokes. As the title of the anime literally is a pun on the single father’s name, Kakushi Gotou, the dad jokes, shenanigans, and colorful characters in this series never stop to remind you how important and emotional parenthood is along with the struggles that accompany it.
Anyone who follows my articles and reviews likely wouldn’t be surprised at how much I enjoyed the series based on the premise. However, one added enjoyment I did have was watching it with my roommate, a fluent Japanese-American. There are a lot of puns sprinkled throughout every episode, and I honestly would’ve missed all of them if it wasn’t for my roommate laughing and explaining how each of them worked. The most obvious one is the word “kakushigoto,” which means “secrets” in Japanese, while Kakushi Gotou is a genuine Japanese first and last name. As a result, if any viewer does have the luxury of a friend that can understand Japanese, I highly recommend watching it with them to enjoy the entire glossary of jokes because that’s exactly what this series is about!
Kakushigoto flew out every week with new and recurring jokes that never grew old. From old anime references to realistic and funny misunderstandings children have with their parents, the anime makes good use of Kakushi’s silly mangaka situation while keeping the story grounded in reality. It is also an effective yet lighthearted look into the mangaka life as he bonds with his assistants, hits writer’s blocks, procrastinates on his chapters, and gets into constant arguments with an annoying but persistent editor.
However, the heart of the series unquestionably goes to the bond that Kakushi has with his daughter, Hime. With a deceased wife from the very beginning, Kakushi dedicated his entire life to the safe upbringing of his only child. While all the cute father and daughter moments and Kakushi’s desperation to hide his occupation lights up the screen, it is the deeply emotional segments that hit me the most. Kakushi is a wise man and a good father. He makes points that I think many parents forget: your kids have their own opinions; your kids are not here just to listen to you; your kids are people you should work together with to make a family happy and stable. Kakushi understands that more than anything, so despite his unique circumstance of raising a daughter as a single father, his relationship with his daughter is loving beyond degree.
This juxtaposition between extreme comedy and heart-wrenching moments could potentially sink the series, but Kakushigoto manages to weave them together with expert storytelling and direction. A completely irrelevant joke would often result in a trigger of memories inside Kakushi that helps set the stage for something a lot more solemn and deep. It works extraordinarily well, and I can even say that it is a good piece to teach future writers how to combine tragedy and non-sarcastic comedy together.
I must praise Hiroshi Kamiya’s voice acting ability that he lends to the titular protagonist. Most of the series is narrated from Kakushi’s point of view, so as a result, a lot of the transitions between howling in laughter to crying in feelings depends on his ability to immerse the viewers into the show. Hiroshi Kamiya shows off his range once more by doing exactly that, and I often find myself rewatching scenes just so I could pinpoint exactly when the tone changes during his narration. He could overreact and scream in one second and speak softly and kindly in the next. It’s a testament to his skills in his own occupation, and it’s incredibly satisfying to hear in a series that’s so silly yet so emotional at the same time.
The soundtrack also does its part in lending to the atmosphere and another reason why the transitions work so well. Even during the happy moments, there’s something melancholic that tinges the instrument and the tone of the music. It’s like a reminder that, as beautiful as raising a child is, it can also be incredibly hard for both the child and parent, especially when you’re going about it alone.
Ultimately, that’s what this series is trying to say. Single parenthood is a type of journey that not many people experience. It’s one often tinged with sorrow, loneliness, and stress, and many people can sympathize with single parents. Yet, at the end of the day, nothing is more important than the laughter and joy of your child, and this series illustrates the beauty of that by putting in as much laughter as it does the tears. Kakushigoto is a beautiful series and one I think well worth watching.
Voice acting: 8
FINAL SCORE: 82