Kippei Katakura is a 17-year-old playboy who spends his time chasing girls, careless of their feelings. But when his 5-year-old cousin Yuzuyu comes to live with his family after her mother's sudden disappearance, Kippei is put in charge of taking care of her. As Kippei gets to know Yuzuyu and starts to understand how she feels, he also begins to realize that all girls were like Yuzuyu once...
The story of a young man having a new familial responsibility, foisted upon him, is not a new concept. However Aishiteruze Baby (a Shoujo, Slice of Life, Romance, Drama) is one of the earlier ones that follow this (now) tried and true formula.
Just like in several other shoujo manga, set in a high school; we have Kippei, a student who happens to be a bit of a playboy. Yet instead of being the usual love interest of our mediocre female protagonist, the story forgoes all of that and sticks him in the main driving seat. Sleeping through class and flirting with all the girls who
approach him. This is until, due to some family matters, he is stuck looking after his 5 year old cousin Yuzuyu. From here the story takes shape, as each volume focuses on newly introduced side-characters and a different issue to do with a variety of themes like: obsession, separation, depression and seeking happiness. Providing the reader with a different feel for every volume, but this also means that you'll specifically enjoy reading certain volumes more than others. I am personally not fond of the 1st volume's story.
However what make the whole experience worthwhile, are the characters Kippei & Yuzuru and seeing how their forced relationship develops over time, into something truly genuine. With an irresponsible teen like Kippei discovering what it means to be responsible, as he takes on the parental role in looking after the adorable Yuzuru. Giving the reader a nice warm feeling, with plenty of cute and dramatic moments, of character development for the pair. And seeing how each volume focuses on a certain/set of side-character(s), they also get a fair amount of depth added to their character. Though not all of them seem good enough to become recurring characters.
But what seems "good enough" to the mangaka, is the artwork. As nothing about it screams "gorgeous" or "meticulous". Just "good enough". With its fine characters designs and a decent level of detail put into them, all tacked together in panels and speech bubbles arranged in a serviceable manner. Nothing special, just typical shoujo.
Overall Aishiteruze Baby proved to be a very enjoyable shoujo manga to read. As a guy into my typical shounen battle manga and seinen thrillers, I am glad that this is my first endeavour into shoujo manga. As I found this story to be very heart-warming, full of some fairly universal social issues and the everyday troubles of looking after a kid. The story never really felt dragged out and it flowed at a steady pace. There’s a decent amount of humour, romance and drama and none of these elements seemed overbearing, which can be somewhat of a double-edged sword, as some of the issues do seem rather trivial. Making it a very casual and heartfelt read.
This was, quite possibly, the first manga I ever read from start to finish. When I was finished with it it was easily my favourite manga (at that time it was defaulty my favourite) but still today, after reading just a little bit more manga this is still my favourite.
Story: A womanizing idiot has to take care of his 5 year old cousin. It's a frightening concept at first, but it's done amazingly well. The characters fit in perfectly well and the story proceeds at a very nice pace. There are a few side-stories and a few mini-arcs that are a little
bit annoying, I found myself drifting off a couple times, but the storyarcs always wrapped up quite nicely. I found myself hating the ending the first time I read it, but after a couple weeks I wasn't as angry as I was the first time.
Art: I'm not a huge fan of the artwork. The faces in this just really tended to bug me. They're just so....bland and stretchy and they just really bugged me. However they were also easy to get used to. It was a much different style than what I was comfortable with, but that's always a good thing.
Character: I honestly don't remember the characters really changing all too much. Except for Kokoro. Kippei is usually useless, he's loveable but he's so completely oblivious to everything that the manga really needs something to pull it all together. And that comes completely from Kokoro. She really is the emotional center of this anime. Her relationship with Kippei and Yuzuyu are absolutely beautifully done, and they really are a reason to read this.
As a male reader I do enjoy blood and guts and swearing and anything else violent and rowdy. With that being said, give me a nice romance story with a happy ending and i'll be completely happy. This is a very beautiful manga, it's heartwarming, but not to the point of being overly corny and stupid. It's definitely something worth reading.
Babysitting. Some of us might have done it, whether it’s one of those odd jobs or it’s being stuck with a younger sibling. Especially when you only want to focus on yourself, something prevalent in just about any age group (but especially during adolescence), having someone else to tend to can be one of the most irksome things to deal with. So let me ask you this—what if you were in high school, enjoying a selfish lifestyle that you’re arguably allowed to have (to an extent), only to have a child dumped on you? This is how Aishiteruze Baby starts, introducing us to the prospect
of Kippei having to care for his five year old cousin, Yuzuyu. The manga is already chock full of issues that must be handled not only delicately but tactfully to create a successful story. Aishiteruze Baby takes this weight upon its shoulders.
One thing that is evident about Aishiteruze Baby is that it’s not a typical shoujo, yet despite all of the realistic issues the manga handles, it sometimes treats itself like one. Although it does put a fairly down-to-earth spin on things, the attempt to mix comedy and drama comes across awkward at best, forming a sort of identity crisis. In fact, it almost gives off a nonchalant tone when things are anything but. The true charm of AiBaby lies in the undeniably sweet relationship between the main characters.
The fashion in which this story is told could be described as a double-edged sword. Every volume focuses on another person’s problems and how they overcome them in the end while also juggling the main story. This ensures that the drama never overstays its leave while developing characters on the way, but there’s a juvenile tone to the storytelling. I found the drama to be half-baked at best, even overbearing for my tastes. Yes, the drama is often underdeveloped and resolved far too quickly to be seen as serious and realistic. Although it’s heartwarming on one side, on the other I just don’t care enough about this new character’s issues to enjoy the outcome—to really feel for them. In fact, it even feels melodramatic for that very reason. On the other end of the spectrum, the most developed arcs include the main characters and they are, by far, the most enjoyable. These arcs are like a speck of yellow in a gray room.
Although the plot could be considered sloppy, Aishiteruze Baby fares better when it comes to charm. There is an inexplicably sweet, warm atmosphere that stays consistent throughout the story, providing a much needed breath of fresh air. This feeling is only reinforced by the art style; while it’s not much different from most shoujo styles, it fits the overall tone of the manga well. The paneling is decent at best but the strongest point of the art is the character designs, which reinforce the overall personality of the character nicely and stand out just enough. Yuzuyu’s appearance is enough to invoke a warm feeling. She’s particularly adorable and her varying hairstyles and outfits only add more humanity to this little girl. The growth of Kippei’s personality shows through the art and Kokoro is drawn in an elegant yet practical way. The art flows nicely and doesn’t hinder the story in any way.
One thing to mention is that there was an ambitious attempt to cater to each character. While scattered, the story features everyone’s side of things, making it a bit easier to sympathize or at least understand some characters. It showed that everyone does, in fact, have things they’re trying to overcome. This gives an eye-opener that many manga don’t consider—though caring is another issue. The attempt to do this was overdone, with some characters getting more screen time than they deserved. Other characters get a rushed explanation of their past when it could serve to have them viewed positively and maturely for a change.
With that said, the strongest point is the maturation of the Kippei and the interaction between the mains. The characters come across bland but their actions were anything but. Dialogue and development aside, the chemistry between the characters could stir hearts on its own. The main three characters Kippei, Kokoro, and Yuzuyu have their place and use it well; romantic relationships are surprisingly refreshing, straightforward, and realistic. They don’t suffer from the cliché complications that many manga overuse, leaving me fairly content. Yuzuyu and Kippei’s interactions are sweeter than sugar and the topic of a foster parent is well handled. Although they’re merely caricatures on one end of the spectrum, their communications were enough to weave a secure, heartwarming atmosphere.
Though overall superficial and varying in quality, one thing that can be said about Aishiteruze Baby is that it brings on some simple warm feelings that are uplifting to experience. Perhaps it’s the adorable and delicate portrayal of important relationships or perhaps it’s just the down-to-earth, relaxing vibe. No matter what it is, most of my enjoyment came from these moments and the most annoying times were when this atmosphere was interrupted by subpar melodrama. This manga is not about drama but instead it’s about the things in between; when this philosophy is taken away, it feels unsatisfying.
So what is Aishiteruze Baby? It’s a simple feel good manga that is a bit too ambitious. Its strength remains in the cute hugs, tender slice-of-life happenings, and endearing relationships. If you look beyond the manga’s flaws, a sweet, heart-warming story remains—no more, no less.
It was such a shame that I just read this wonderful series. Oh well, I'm really glad I'd come to encounter this one.
It was about Kippei, a good-looking boy, whose as expected, is a womanizer. He's slacking days came to an end when Yuzuyu, his little cousin, move to their house. He was in-charge to take good care of the kid. From then on there would be a gradual change in kippei's personality. He came to understand more about the woman's heart and he became thoroughly attached with Yazuyu. It was such a heart-warming manga. I really admire the development in-terms of Kippei's personality.
You can never go wrong with this one.