「その6」 (Part 9)
I think it’s an interesting question Gakuen Babysitters seems to be asking sometimes – is it a problem to love someone too much? One might suppose that’s an easy question to answer, but I don’t think it is – and certainly not in the case of the two main characters here. As positive as this show is generally speaking, it does intend for stuff like this to be pondered – not for us to judge the characters, but to try and view them as they really air with the benefit of emotional detachment.
To be sure, there are contrasting models of the sibling relationship on display here, and in effect two main sibling pairs, not just Kotarou and Ryuuichi. They’re often contrasted with each other, but rarely bookended so elegantly as they were this week. I’ve made it clear which relationship I find healthier, but that’s not to say I consider it perfect by any means – and the problem with Ryuu and Kotarou’s bond is prominently featured in this week’s first chapter. It finds the daycare brigade headed to the beach – the nice part being that a few of the moms (and Usaida) have come along to make sure the boys have some time to play in the water.
This is a solid segment all around – I think it does a good job of capturing the conflicting reactions the two dominant personality types among the toddlers display to being at the ocean (which, to be fair, can be very frightening when you’re tiny). And the bit with Inomata-san and the swimsuit was nicely played (I especially liked the absence of stock anime reactions from Ryuu and Hayato). But the real point of this is what happens between Kotarou and Ryuuichi. First, Ryuu is unable to escape for any fun of his own because he’s afraid to leave Kotarou behind. Then, when he does slip away to swim with Hayato while the little ones are napping, Kotarou wakes up and freaks out when he sees his brother out in the water.
I noted the same thing Mamizuka-okaasan did here – this was actually the first time I’d heard Kotarou cry (and he’s had reason to). Kotarou is a stoic little fellow, but his attachment to his brother is incredibly tight – and that cuts both ways, as Ryuuichi’s response here shows. I was with Hayato when he noted that Kotarou being too clingy might not be the problem. This level of neuroses and separation anxiety definitely goes beyond what’s healthy – these two boys needs to learn to be apart for a while. But given what they’ve been through, can anyone really judge them harshly? Maybe it’s just too soon for that – they do have a problem, but trying to fix it before either of them is ready might just make it worse.
The B-part takes us inside the (in my view) even more dysfunctional sibling relationship between Hayato and Taka. Taka has defaced a signed baseball Hayato was fond of as a way of lashing out at being ignored. It’s a typical bratty move from Taka, but Hayato’s response seems out of character – rather than whack Taka on the head (we see another example of where he learned that child-rearing method) he simply takes off, leaving Taka behind. And of course, this upsets Taka even more than the usual abuse would.
There’s a whole lot of interesting stuff going here… I would make note of Morinomiya-san’s approach to dealing with Kotarou and Taka, which we’ve seen once before – she doesn’t talk down to them. In fact she treats them almost like adults, which – in my admittedly limited experience – is something most small children rather like. She also elegantly teaches Taka a lesson about why what he did to Hayato was wrong, and why he should apologize. Morinomiya has the benefit of a ton of experience Hayato and Ryuuichi do not, to be sure, but her approach here seems to be a happy medium – and she manages to elicit a sincere apology from Taka, which elicits a thus-far unheard of apology from Hayato to his brother. I wouldn’t expect 15 year-old boys to be parenting experts, but it’s nice to see that these two have others around them to learn from.