Kanau Yukimura is nine years old, and she's meeting her father for the first time. However, he turns out to be an otaku! The two of them start living together in the same apartment, next to a lot of interesting neighbors. Unsurprisingly, things don't always go smoothly for these two...
It may be pretentious to give this manga a 10 out of 10..
At first you think well Otaku and a sudden daughter appearance would make for a wacky fun time! It's much more than that. I wanted to read this manga mostly because I was looking for something like Bunny Drop. It has a bit more of a Love Hina feel to it though. The ending was also not what I expected from this type of story line either it's actually a pretty harsh realization for the main character Kouta. So no more semi spoilers.
The story is pretty innocent as a normal everyday girl is
brought into the world of Otaku. He makes some mistakes as all of these sort of stories do. It doesn't really become too serious until Kaunu's friend blurts out a secret that wasn't meant to be said.
Also I mentioned Bunny Drop before so if anyone has read that story before be prepared to have it retold in the relationship of 2 side characters. - Mind Explosion
Perhaps in response to those ever declining birth rates we keep hearing about, which in the world of manga have caused more all girls schools to go co-ed then one can shake a stick at, the ‘noughties’ saw a spike in the popularity of the ‘Sudden Daughter Appearance’ genre to cater for all those people who think that having kids is best left as a theoretical exercise (e.g. Usagi Drop, My Girl, Aishiteruze Baby, Listen to me Girls I’m Your Father, No Reservations (yes I know it’s a Hollywood film) etc). Invariably these series follow the same paths of character development with the inexperienced and/or
incompetent father level grinding to unlock his final form of ‘responsible and intuitive parent’ and the precocious daughter growing to understand and trust her new dad. I came into Otaku no Musume-san expecting this same progression I’d witnessed so many times before to unfold and if truth be told it didn’t really disappoint me on that front. In terms of plot Otaku no Musume-san has a lot in common with its contemporaries, whilst it develops in a more roundabout sort of way, overall it basically unfolds the way you would expect it too. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not worth the read, especially if, like me, you’re a sap for this kind of thing and are looking for something more after reading the other better known series. However what Otaku no Musume-san lacks in concept originality it more than makes up for in execution. While ticking all the ‘sudden daughter appearance’ boxes of protagonist cathartic clichés, the series has a completely different tone from its predecessors. Otaku no Musume-san is markedly more absurd and light hearted, in both art and story, with a greater focus on ridiculous character driven comedy than slice of life. Therefore unlike a more serious series like My Girl you’re more likely to laugh then be left with warm fuzzy feelings of endearment. Kanau (the daughter) is also a fair bit older than the standard which changes the dynamic between the protagonists quite a bit. There are a number of areas where Otaku no Musume-san stands out from the crowd and for the sake of brevity (for those who can’t be bother to finish reading my review) they can be summed up as the ‘Kramer Effect’ of memorable supporting characters and the plethora of otaku insider jokes which perhaps for some will strike a little too close to home (making you both laugh and feel awkward at the same time).
The story of Otaku no Musume-san follows the character of Kanau who after meeting her father for the first time at nine years of age discovers that he is not the responsible well-adjusted suit toting corporate salary-man she’d hoped for, but rather a doujinshi artist with an otaku power level well over 9000. Due to complicated circumstances Kanau must live with Musume forcing both of them to be initiated into the otaku and real worlds.
The art style for the series isn’t really spectacular but it definitely comes together well to suit the script. Given the greater emphasis on comedy expect constant departures from the base art style to a more simplistic but exaggerated range of character expressions and designs. Background art is however spartan with the characters largely dominating the panels.
However where this series really shines is in its creation and generous use of supporting characters. Many ‘sudden daughter appearance’ series only focus on the relationship between the father and daughter, however by setting the series in a small apartment block (which actually has a greater resemblance to a share-house) occupied by a range of supporting characters with big personalities a far wider breadth of character interactions occur. From hyperbole representations of fandom devotees to a “villain” with all the hallmarks of a nineteenth century-esque melodrama, these supporting characters receive ample development and interact well with both Kanau and Musume.
As suggested before the comedy of the series relies quite heavily on an insider knowledge of otaku sub-culture. Many of the series long running jokes are references to other well-known manga or anime series and for those who haven’t seen much from the 90’s and 00’s they may go over your head. Additionally the occupations and interests of the protagonist and many of the supporting character require at least a cursory knowledge of manga tropes and clichés for many of the situations and jokes to be fully appreciated. Basically this series, like Genshiken, is best read by those with a well-stocked database of otaku references, or at least those who won’t freak out in regards to things like bishoujo figurines, crossplay, hug pillows featuring your waifu or the very existence of lo**cons. That said if you’re new to anime and manga you may very well relate to the non-otaku Kanau giving you a different angle on the story.
Therefore although not breaking any new ground in terms of story concept, the execution Otaku no Musume-san takes to the, by now well done, sudden daughter appearance genre definitely makes it worth the read.
Responsibility, when thrust upon you as sudden as lightning, could be at times life-changing indeed, and reflects how much you have to improve yourself for the sake of accomplishing a goal, or in the case of Otaku no Musume, sacrificing your desires in exchange of a lifetime commitment, that is, taking care of a child of your own blood. Given the success of Usagi Drop, many manga with child upbringing themes followed suit (e.g. Papakiki, Aishiteruze Baby), considering the many situations that'll happen when your responsibility as an adult takes precedence over others, and what do you know, they became popular too, and so is
the same with this manga.
Otaku no Musume is a manga by author Sutahiro and was completed in 2011 with 63 chapters and 11 volumes in all. At first glance, Otaku no Musume would remind any reader of Usagi Drop, which is pretty popular especially among slice-of-life fans, because of its similar themes. Funny thing is, Otaku no Musume takes parenting to new heights as it somehow combines the themes in Usagi Drop coupled with adult characters that resemble those of Genshiken. Yes, almost all adults here are otaku, and when there's a young kid suddenly mixed in among the crazy tenants, its sure is gonna be one hell of a chaotic household!
The story follows Kanau Yukimura, an innocent and cute 9-year old girl who is meeting her father for the first time in her life, after her mother sent her to him after being neck deep in debt. Turns out her father, Kouta Morisaki, is one hardcore otaku, with his apartment room filled with anime figures and hentai doujins. Not to mention that the apartment named Higansou is filled with otaku tenants too, ranging from the long-nosed lolicon Chihiro (Kanau's nemesis!), mangakas Haruka and Sousuke-sensei, the lovely highschool landlady Taeko, to the Nagatos, the 'invisible' hikikomori (shut-in) family of four. You just can't help but laugh at the situation that poor Kanau is in itself, adding to that Kouta's world having turned upside down because first of all, he doesn't even know that he had a child from his former love interest in high school.
The story at first follows the usual gamut of otaku comedy, slapstick, and of course references, with an even funnier omake at the end of each volume, however what sets this apart from the usual run-of-the-mill comedy is that it has its own serious side, and it is delivered in that it approaches the failures of bearing responsibility at a realistically parental level, at times even in-your-face. Plot twists abound with each revelation, and the manga ends at quite a plot twist that no one even expects, and the foreshadowing of the events preceding the ending are very subtle yet so intricate (with the exception of one minor flaw in it), it's almost unbelievable, and to date it is one of my favorite endings for a comedy manga.
The characters have been well developed thanks to well-executed flashbacks and of course dealing with the real world thanks to Kanau's intervention. Most important of these is having Kouta come to grips with his world totally changing with the arrival of Kanau, and somehow accepting all of the responsibility as a father in the end as he grows attached to a daughter he hasn't even seen before. The other tenants of Higansou, having become attached to Kanau as time goes on, have opened up to her despite their hikikomori tendencies, and at times tell about their interesting backstories. Likewise even Kanau has somehow accepted the people around here to the point that she even goes together with them to Comiket twice a year, watch anime and say her opinion on it, and cosplaying too.
I could say little of the art though, apart from me noticing that it's inconsistent at times especially when they are viewed at a different angle. Other than that, it depicts their actions accurately especially during slapstick moments, along with their hilarious expressions.
All in all, it's been quite an enjoyable experience with Otaku no Musume for me, having laughed my lungs out in the middle of the night, and got teary-eyed when it almost reached the end. Having said this, It'll be justifiable if I place Kanau among the ranks of Kaga Rin and Ushio Okazaki as one of the child characters in anime and manga that tugged at my heartstrings, and for me, at the very least, giving myself pointers for my probable future as a parent.
I came across this manga by chance really, was just scrolling along when I saw it.
The synopsis is at it is, an elementary school girl goes to look for her father, who never knew that she existed and there starts their story!
Art of manga is pretty decent and classic for a slice of life manga, so nothing much to discuss. But what kept me going was its story. While I shall not spoil it, it is fair to say that the story starts off light-hearted and ultimately end as something touching.
As it progresses, the character built-up was very well done and so was
their individual back-story, which was really great since there weren't many characters to begin with.
Also, it is definitely a must read if you want something that will make you feel. Keeping it funny and light-hearted at the same time making you feel for the main character, Stu-Hiro made an amazing balance throughout manga.