After losing both parents in a fatal plane crash, teenager Ryuuichi Kashima must adjust to his new life as the guardian of his younger brother Kotarou. Although Ryuuichi is able to maintain a friendly and kindhearted demeanor, Kotarou is a reserved toddler still too young to understand the reality of the situation. At their parents' funeral, they are approached by Youko Morinomiya, the stern chairman of an elite academy, who decides to take them under her care.
However, there is one condition Ryuuichi must fulfill in exchange for a roof over their heads and enrolment in the school—he must become the school's babysitter. In an effort to support the female teachers at the academy, a babysitter's club was established to look after their infant children; unfortunately, the club is severely short-staffed, so now not only is Ryuuichi responsible for his little brother, but also a handful of toddlers who possess dynamic personalities.
We’ve all been through a phrase where we were once a kid and behaved exactly as one. It’s human nature and God gave us a life to be part of society. What does that mean for a show like Gakuen Babysitters? The real question here if you ever felt experienced the feel of responsibility. No, I’m not talking about doing the chores and helping around the house. I’m talking about taking care of someone else in your life, perhaps a stranger or someone much younger than you are. Welcome to the world of Gakuen Babysitters.
I should say right off the bat that the show is
exactly what it looks like. Translated as “School Babysitters”, the series is about taking responsibility and being able to take care of kids. I’ve never took the task of caretaking before so watching this show felt like a refreshing experience to me. As a reader of the manga, this anime does what it has to do get its message across and that’s to deliver an experience about taking responsibility.
The first few episodes lets the audience know about the situation of the protagonists, Ryuichi and Kotarou. Their parents died and with no place to be called home. Morinomiya Academy’s chairwoman decides to give Ryuichi a home along with free schooling in exchange for taking on the role of a caretaker. Now I have to admit, such a premise sounds like a potential moody story for tearjerking moments. However, the show really isn’t but instead formulated into a heartwarming lighthearted story. Ryuichi is really someone that’s kind hearted and has a bottom to earth type of personality. The show chronicles his life as a babysitter as he learns the ins and outs. While I can’t say there’s anything exceptional about him, it’s shown that Ryuichi is an incredibly helpful individual and puts others before himself. You’d think that after losing their parents, he would venture down a path of depression. No. Here, this guy makes a huge comeback after life knocks him down and it’s inspirational. Sometimes though, I feel like his personality is too friendly and can get him into unintentional trouble. Similarly, his brother sees the joy of life. While Koutarou is nowhere near as mature, he’s definitely a kid who is growing up in the right way.
As I’m watching more and more of Gakuen Babysitters, I realized that the show really tried to make us experience something. The realism of being responsible is part of growing up and this show really feels like one to capitalize that. Besides just the Kashima brothers, we also meet other caretakers at the school. Most of their circumstances are in a better position and they have more experience than Ryuichi. Despite that, they get along fairly well with him because of his gentle personality. On the other hand, Ryuichi does meet someone at school with an underwhelming impression of him. Her name is Maria Inomata and it won’t take for viewers to quickly realize her blunt personality. Compared to others, Inomata is someone that is hard to get along with. She is extremely serious and dedicated to studying (as she claims as one of the most important things in life). However, she also gets involved with the kids at the caretaker after unusual circumstances and shows a much more caring side. The easy picture to look at is Ryuichi’s influence on her. She begins to realize that life is more than just about studying but also being responsible. Watching her development is one of the dynamics of this show as it shows how people can change. Similarly, Ryuichi learns a lot from his daycare duties and if I were his parent, I’d be damn proud of him.
Featuring a cast of younger characters, Gakuen Babysitters does its best to create an atmosphere of innocence and youth. The kids in this show are very young and behaves in ways you can easily guess. Some of the things they say can be misunderstood or brutally honest. Because of their age, you can expect a lot of shenanigans in their daily lives. Characters such as Taka, Kirin, and even Koutarou can cause trouble despite being unintentional. It’s such traits that make them kids. Despite that, I find this cast to be very charming and realistic. Their attachment to their older siblings and parents is also heartwarming to watch once you understand them more.
Similar to the manga, the anime adaptation follows more of a slice of life storytelling so you really shouldn’t expect a complicated story. Every day is an adventure of its own. Because the show takes place at school, you can also expect some drama to develop between the older characters. A prime example is Inomata as feelings are developed about Ryuichi. While this show isn’t a love story, it gets more and more obvious. While I can’t say the show is really well written in that respect, it does capture the feel of what school life is like for girls of her age. At the caretaker center, Ryuichi’s bonds with others is perhaps a key selling point of the show. He is able to earn the trust of the kids and other caretakers. However, the story itself still needs a lot of work. I’ve read the manga and as a 12 episode TV anime adaptation, it felt like a lot was missing. There’s also some uncomfortable moments in this show that ventures into controversial territory. (I’m looking at you Tomoya Yagi) The overall tone of the show can also be a bit dull once you realize it’s not the type of anime for you. It’s a blend of slice of life and shoujo so be aware of what’s ahead.
Adapted by Brain’s Base, this show is an example of a realistic slice of life. While the raw visual quality isn’t overly impressive, every character in the show can be relatable and their character designs is an example of that. The kids are adorably charming and their character expressions is exactly how they should behave. Character chemistry is imperative to capture the mood of the show and thankfully, Brain’s Base and the director is able to meet such expectations. Some characters’ designs definitely stand out more than others such as the school chairwoman and her signature hair. To say the least, the artwork gets the job done and not be overlooked.
To portray such a younger cast takes skill and thankfully, the VA skillfully does just that. From crying to the happy moments, every child in this anime make us believe that they are real. The students at the school all have their own personalities as the VA easily fits into their shoes. The only character that I have a problem with in this anime is Yuki. She’s the annoying type of school girl that I can’t stand and seems to be just there to make everything looks more than it s. Compared to other characters, she isn’t likable and sometimes, I find the kids to be more mature than she is because of her personality. On the other hand, the theme songs in this anime is definitely appealing to watch with its pure innocence. The catchy and lighthearted tone of the soundtrack is also easy to get used to.
After watching Gakuen Babysitters, I can easily say that the show can be recommendable to almost everyone. It’s probably targeted to a more specific demographic but anyone should be able to watch this with an easy and open mind. From its daily slice of life adventures to the charming character chemistry, this is a show that tells what heartwarming is really about.
I don't write reviews often (or at all) but thought I'd leave one for Gakuen Babysitters. I spent 2 years in Japan working with kids aged 0-3 and this show brought back so many memories. It really is quite spot-on with the behaviour and stereotypes of the Japanese toddlers. Rules and regulations are far more relaxed in Japan compared to, say, North America, so this anime gave a fairly accurate portrayal of what life is like in a Japanese daycare. Mind, the head teacher sleeping so much may be a slight exaggeration.. XD
While a bit biased due to my own past
experiences, this show does offer a refreshing take on the SoL genre. Would recommend to anyone in childcare, lots of entertaining quirks and relative topics.
A trend I find with children in anime is that they're always painted 'cute'. Small human beings surrounded by glittery and sparkly effects who do cute things so that the audience falls in love with the tiny people characters. It's not often that I see children portrayed as what they actually are, monsters, and it's even stranger to see a more realistic representation portrayed in a shoujo series of all things, a genre where virtually everything is depicted a lot more flowery than they actually are.
Kashima Ryuuichi and his little brother Kotaro have met with the unfortunate fate of becoming orphans after their parents passing
due to a plane crash. It is then that the boy is contacted by the headmistress of the high school that he will be attending, and told that from that day forward, he will live with her with room and board all taken care of, but in exchange, he must spend his spare time at the babysitters club, a daycare center at school dedicated to the teachers' children while their mothers work.
The show is pretty standard for what one can expect from a shoujo-style slice of life. The story is very lax in nature with the only real high points being slight bumps that get resolved in the episode, thus leading to the show's mostly episodic nature with very few connecting points. The episodes are based around Ryuuichi and his relationships with both the people he meets at school and the children in the daycare center, without really much weight to them since the show ends up going back to the status quo and resetting all but a few plot elements that don't get touched very much in the later episodes.
But there are some points that I found irritating, mainly the fact that the parents of our two main protagonists ARE DEAD. It is the story of a four year old and a fifteen year old entering a stage in their life with their parents just recently deceased. Yes, this is a happy go lucky slice of life show, but you cannot ignore this looming fact. They do touch on this point a fair bit in the early episodes, but it felt like it was played off and largely ignored in sacrifice to showcase Ryuuichi playing with kids, which does not feel right considering how heavy of a topic this is.
Another more glaring problem is the romantic subplot. There are two girls in this show that seem to have an interest for Ryuuichi, and everything about their interactions with him feels so unsatisfying, as these scenes feature either a tsundere who does the classic tsundere thing of being a bitch before regretting it later because that's apparently how people work, and a super shy girl who very clearly has a crush on the guy, but never gets the time of day because the show's not about her, but we still have to know she exists anyway. The subplot eats up a surprising amount of the show's time and while none of the runtime is really lost since the episodic episodes featuring the children are wrapped up well enough to not warrant me yelling at Brain's Base for wasting time, I can't help but feel cheated because they set up the potential romance only to have it not go anywhere because audiences apparently like unresolved plot points/ideas.
Overall, Gakuen Babysitters is pretty much a show that's what you get on the box. It's a show about a guy babysitting kids with the occasional funny thing happening cause it's a slice of life comedy show that entertains. It wraps itself neatly at the end to show how far the two brothers have come, as a sort of recap episode to show the fruits of the labor the entire runtime has built up to, but largely what you're going to be seeing here are "School babysitters". Babysitters who babysit at school.
+/- Pretty much what you'd expect with the title of the series
+ Has some heartwarming moments
- Romance goes nowhere, so why even include it in the first place
Ryuuichi is about as interesting as sandpaper. He cares very much for his little brother (to be to an obsessive degree for various reasons), and is extremely passive, being far too nice to everyone and not getting upset in the slightest. Honestly there's not much to say about this guy cause weirdly enough, he's not involved with the plot all that much despite being the protagonist and the story beyond the first few episodes doesn't do much to shed light on the reality of him now being an orphan despite a few choice moments. Kotaro is sort of an off-branch of his character since the two in the show are basically inseparable, and Kotaro on his own doesn't really have any traits of his own either cause the kid is usually silent with this perpetual bored expression that makes me question whether or not he knows what's even going on in his life.
Then there're the kids. Who, if you know what kids really are like, will probably be reflective in your experience with them. Simply put; they're loud, they're jerks, they do whatever the hell they want, and they can be cute. Sometimes. As the core of the show's existence, the six children featured in the show each take turns and sometimes altogether being the show's focus (some more than others), taking the protagonist and various members of the side cast along with them on their little adventures doing what children do. The brat, the girl, the twins, Kotaro, and the baby; I have my own gripes with each of the kids, as their actual characters are something of personal preference, but I have to say they did a good job at showing their audience what snot-nosed brats children are actually like most of the time. So I guess they did get the important thing right.
The rest of the cast involving recurring characters like Kamitami Hayato and Yoshihito Usaida, two characters who are commonly seen around Ryuuichi, the childrens' parents, and other members of the side cast all weirdly enough have more personality than our main protagonist in that they fill in the gaps to enrich the world surrounding Ryuuichi with people who're more experienced with the other kids in the series, being family members and other people who simply have been around the children longer to be able to handle the little headaches much easier. The outliers to this rule are Inomata Maria and Ushimaru Yuki, both of whom are the girls that seem to catch Ryuuichi's fancy, but don't do anything about it cause even if you try, romance isn't wanted in this story.
+ Realistic depictions of toddler behavior
+ Amusing sidecast (for the most part)
- MC's not very interesting
Produced by Brain's Base, Gakuen Babysitters focuses more on the light aesthetic with very few points of animation to take note of. The show itself is very consistent with its art quality, vying for a simple style with pastel colors that emulate the show's normally cheery and bright nature cause the show isn't a slice of life shoujo for nothing.
Comedy is relegated primarily to very simple comedic faces that at times don't even feel like a real anime comedy cause nothing's exaggerated which I guess by extension makes it less intrusive on the situation as a whole. Though I do question what kind of comedy can be derived from a family who disciplines their members with a sharp blow to the head. I mean it's kinda funny, but it got kind of stale after the twentieth time they did it, which doesn't help when the Kamitami family has the most irritating child in the entire series as one of its members.
+ Consistent quality
+ Soothing and simple style
Both Daisuke Ono's "Endless Happy World" and Hyorotto Danshi's "Oshiete yo", which is sung by the VAs of Ryuuichi and Hayato are both mellow songs that emulate the slice of life/happy go lucky tune that the show sings to featuring the day to day lives of looking after children who spend half their time drowning in their own imaginations playing.
Suffice to say, they're not really the most memorable tracks, but they do their job in emulating the feeling the audience is supposed to get when watching this series cause everything about these songs is meant to create the feeling of children having fun more than anything else. Personally though, I'm not much of a fan and I found them to be kind of generic and nothing really noteworthy.
Honestly, I watched this show more for the novelty of the idea more so than any interest in the show itself. I sat there looking at 'Gakuen Babysitters' and thought to myself what the actual hell they could do with a show as literally titled as this. The show pretty much met my expectation on what I thought it was going to do, but kind of killed them at the same time cause the show's attempt at a romantic subplot was one of those things that shouldn't have been there, but surprise surprise, was there because why not. I was actively upset at Yuki's lack of involvement in the plot because she kept showing up in the series with nothing of value to add with every appearance. Which is sad because they try to mix her into everything by the end of the series and every fiber of my being was asking "Why didn't you do this earlier?"
But I think the one part of the show that irked me the most was Taka, Hayato's little brother and quite possibly the worst character in this entire show. Simply put, he's a brat. An annoying kid that spends the entire show trying to get his way and shove his way into everything without any acknowledgment for anyone else's thoughts or feelings. I don't like him because not only is he an annoying character, but he reminds me of a member of my own family who is the exact same way, and that's not a fun comparison to think about when you're watching an episode of anime on Sunday night to relax dreading the coming week.
But all in all, Gakuen Babysitters is a show that I felt was...alright, I guess. I don't think it helps that I'm not much of a shoujo fan, and the shoujo-style of storytelling isn't my favorite, so I think my enjoyment of the show would've been skewed from the beginning. If you're a fan of the shoujo genre and you got some time to kill, this would be a fun show to watch if you're trying to fill in time. Just be prepared to turn down your volume at times cause like a real group of children, the kids in this show can get pretty loud, and Taka's voice is like cheese graters, so here's your early warning.
The story is about two young...well one High School Student Ryuuichi and his VERY young brother Kotaro. These two brothers end up losing their parents in a plane crash and are sent to live with the Chairwoman of a high school. The reason being is that her Son and Daughter in Law were also in said plane crash and felt like it was necessary to take these two into her home.
Of course the catch is for Ryuuichi to live in the house he must become part of the "Babysitters Club" in his High School. So basically the babysitters club is a club where the
teachers leave their young kids who are not able to attend Pre or Elementary school yet. It's actually a pretty cool thing because it shows a development of Ryuuichi being accustomed to high school life, and Kotaro breaking out of his shyness being surrounded by kids his age and not being with his brother constantly.
Along the way we get some awesome characters introduced in the show. Of course we get the kids in the Club, but we also get to meet the person in charge of the club when Ryuuichi is in class, the kids parents and Ryuuichi's classmates as well. The development and story over time in this series was really well done. At time you find yourself holding back tears, and other times you find yourself rooting for certain characters to come over there fear of doing something, for example just playing with the children.
The art and animation were not anything special. Not the worst thing in this word since there's no action or over the top scenes. Considering this was a more relaxing anime the animation did not have to be top tier to enjoy it.
The sound was pretty average as well. I enjoyed the ending more then the opening, but that's not saying much since overall the ending was "meh"
The characters were super enjoyable. From the teachers down to the Ryuuichi's classmates this was one awesome cast of characters. Even the kids were super enjoyable. When it came to the High school kids you could really relate to most of them especially if you have young siblings, or even issues when it comes to handling small children. I was constantly comparing myself to Inomata. While she enjoyed being with the children it was hard for her to control them or even understand them without making them cry or be hurt in the end. However over time she was able to better her self while spending more time with Ryuuichi and the kids.
I found myself waiting patiently every Sunday afternoon so I could watch this anime. That is how much I enjoyed it.
Overall this was a unexpectedly great anime. Even with the score it has now i feel like it super underrated and definitely overlooked. I think the title of the anime plays a huge role in that. I would highly recommend this anime to anyone who would like a break from anything serious or over the top and just enjoy a very conditional slice of life anime.