「その3」 (Part 3)
There’s definitely a lot of cute going around this season, and Gakuen Babysitters is a big part of that wave.
At first glance, Gakuen Babysitters appears somewhat similar to Miira no Kaikata. Both of these shows tread on their kawaii factor, and rather successfully too. But there’s more separating them than the difference between toddlers and tiny mummies, important though that may be (I think it makes this series a bit more relatable if nothing else). Where Miira seems to worry mostly about cuteness for its own sake, there’s an undercurrent of something a little more edgy with Gakuen Babysitters I think.
As we get a little deeper into this story, we’re starting to wade a little deeper into the cast as well. Having met the surly valedictorian last week (it’s not every character that’s tsundere towards babies), a few more new faces make an appearance. There’s this girl, Ushimaru Yuki (Hondo Kaede, who also plays Midori). Yuki seems to have a crush on Ryuuichi, while the others girls in the class are more focused on a couple of boys from the A.P. class – #1 rank Yagi Tomoya (Someya Toshiyuki) and #2 rank Nezu Chuukichi (Ota Motohiro). As for the guys in their own class, they’re considered savages not worthy of a second glance.
There’s no crucible for bringing romantic intent to the fore than Valentine’s Day, of course, chocolate being thicker than water. But in this school the gifting of chocolate on Valentine’s Day (though not, oddly, any other day) is forbidden – something wet blanket Inomata naturally takes it on herself to enforce. But Yagi isn’t especially interested in chocolate from these girls – no, his nosebleeds come from poking Kotarou’s cheeks. Apparently Yagi-kun really, really likes kids – so much so that Nezu follows him to the daycare to make sure he doesn’t actually sign up for the club (both for his own protection and that of the children, it seems). Meanwhile Yuki sees Ryuu (actually Kotarou) give some chocolate to Inomata and takes it entirely the wrong way.
The whole business with Yagi is a bit uncomfortable to be honest – I don’t think it’s intended to be taken seriously as such, but I do think it’s supposed to be uncomfortable (if that makes any sense). In fact that’s very much a theme this week, which we see repeating itself when Usaida-san takes the children (in a kind of rolling kiddie corral) for a walk over to where Ryuu’s P.E. class is freezing their tama off. First Usaida terrifies the children with scary stories about being kidnapped (and for good measure, eaten), then the boys in the gym class start chasing them around intending to use them as heat packs, and finally a real creeper shows up.
Except not – though he certainly looks like one. This is the twins’ father, Mamizuka Kousuke-san, and his rather Adachi Mitsuru-esque getup is actually a means of hiding him from the prying eyes of adoring fans, since he’s a successful actor. He’s come to spend some time with his sons, but given that it’s his first day off in six months they’d just as soon spend the day with Ryuuichi and Usaida in the daycare. Takuma is basically cool either way, but of course timid Kazuma wants nothing to do with this scary man he “doesn’t know well” – and neither one of the boys is interested in calling Kousuke “Papa”.
As much as this is played for a joke, this is a real thing – small children who don’t see much of their fathers are often quite afraid of them, and when that sort of bonding doesn’t happen at this age it’s very hard to make up for it later. That’s the theme of this episode, I think, and a big part of Gakuen Babysitters‘ larger one – little children are adorable and family bonds are precious, but we’re not living in a perfect world and that doesn’t protect us from the bad things that are out there waiting for us. Appreciate what you have when you have it and treasure the people around you, and keep your eyes and ears open. Like I said – there’s something a little more edgy to this series than you might think…