「Piece of Cake」
Buddy Daddies is off to a strong start. The story follows a pair of assassins who unwittingly take up the responsibility of raising a toddler. This first episode does a great job at setting up the story and already looks promising.
A high-action car chase opens the episode, revealing our pair of characters. Rei (Uchiyama Kouki) is the cooler, brooding, perhaps even depressed assassin and Kazuki (Toyonaga Toshiyuki) is the more expressive, responsible character who takes on the job of role-playing whenever they have a mission. When they finally apprehend their target, their interrogation session is interrupted by a call from Miri (Kino Hina)’s kindergarten teacher asking Kazuki to pick her up because she’s got a fever. The two butt heads in front of their target making the whole situation less ‘intense’ than it should be. Yet, without a second thought, they assassinate their target for interrupting their argument and keep up their antics as they drive off to pick up their ‘daughter’.
So, how do professional murderers get custody of a little girl? Well, that’s what the rest of the episode sets up and it does so with a lot of spunk, humor, and even more action. Months earlier, around Christmas, they’re tasked with a mission to infiltrate and assassinate the head honcho at a Christmas party. While they’re setting up the job, Miri is making her way through the busiest of Tokyo’s districts on her own trying to find her ‘papa’. With some help and luck, the toddler comes face to face with Kazuki dressed as Santa. His cover gets blown, the mission blows wide open, and Miri gets compromised at which point Kazuki jumps to her rescue by claiming he’s the dad she’s been looking for. Little did he know, he actually was.
There’s a lot to look forward to with this series. Even with his expressive, honest, and down-to-earth manner, Kazuki leaves us wanting to know more about his past. Flashbacks of his family and hints of his willingness to provide for them remind us that he might not have always been Rei’s roommate and partner. The episode focuses heavily on his character making it likely that he and Miri will be at the center of the story. Mature themes are also included in the series ensuring that viewers know that having a child established as one of the main characters won’t deter from navigating topics like murder, gambling, recreational sex, and more.
This story, though, is very familiar. Where else have we seen professional murderers take on the duty of raising a kid? At first glance, this entire plot feels redundant but there are unique differences between Spy x Family and this story that are worth highlighting. First off, Miri’s guardians aren’t living undercover or lying to each other. Second, both her guardians are men, roommates, living under the same roof. Third, Miri has no special powers. Lastly, there is the no bigger mission or reason forcing them to remain together unlike Spy X Family. In both cases though, a child is being put in harm’s way because of their guardians’ jobs. Someone might want to call child services on these families. But in all honesty, I’m quite appreciative of how progressive the story feels at the moment. Kazuki is taking on responsibilities that were stereotypically labeled as a ‘woman’s role’ with managing his housemate, setting boundaries, delegating, cooking, and cleaning. So it all feels really refreshing.
It’s a little too early to tell whether or not premiering right after the success of Spy x Family will be a good or bad thing for Buddy Daddies. But as a fan of Spy x Family, I think this series might be able to capitalize on the sentiment that its predecessor has taken the time to cultivate over the last few months with its viewers. I can vouch only for myself but I know this series is going to be just the thing I need to fill in that soft spot I opened up for Anya Forger. I mean how can it not with a face like that?
What do you think? How likely are you to make space for Buddy Daddies this season?