"Every story must come to an end, and because there is an end, it's beautiful and precious"- Section chief.
On the first glance, Chichi to Hige-Gorilla to Watashi seems like any other 4-koma manga with plenty of comedy due to its wacky characters and fun interactions. This is partially true, as it's primarily a Slice of Life series with a tinge of melancholy, comedy and romance. Family oriented manga are pretty common these days, yet it just manages to gain that extra stride by doing a great job in certain aspects.
As the synopsis says, the manga mainly revolves around a ragtag family, each having their own quirks and personalities. A major part of the comedy comes from the interactions of Michiru, the tomboy kid, and her uncle, Kouji. Her father, Souichi also sometimes joins their daily hijinks and generally, this humour works pretty well most of the time. Comedy is always a subjective factor so it may not be funny for every reader, nevertheless Michiru's antics are always a joy to watch.
Surprisingly, the plot offers plenty of depth, underneath this light-hearted tone. The author particularly does a great job in adding symbolisms, foreshadowing and parallels, which are able to bring new layers to the story. A particular example is how the season of winter is used as a theme of "progress", from grief to joy. Themes like growing up, coming to terms with grief of the past, overcoming personal trauma and fears, are addressed frequently in the manga.
The manga also offers quite a bit of romance, and it's quite satisfying to see the slow and steady approach of its romantic developments. The adults actually make sure to talk to each other about their problems, which gives little scope for misunderstandings or unnecessary conflicts. In a specific case, for one of the main couples, romance is used as the main driving force for the characters to overcome their personal insecurities.
Characters form one of the strongest aspects of this manga. Michiru remains a focal point, to maintain the jovial and cheerful tone of the series. However, her presence also acts as the progression factor for some other characters. A particular example is how Souichi tries to maintain the status quo when various memories of his deceased wife resurfaces due to his daughter, but at the same time slowly learns to move on to find happiness for her. This applies to other characters too, like Kouji who learns to grow independent later on after coming across another character, with Michiru being the key again.
Side characters offer their fair share of emotional and relatable stories, sometimes they are a hit or miss in their execution, but some of them still manages to make a strong impression on the readers. Maybe it could have been slightly better if one or two side characters received a bit more spotlight once the story shifted its focus.
One slight problem with this manga is how the ending can feel a bit abrupt, even though it managed to give a more or less satisfying conclusion for almost all of the characters. The transition to the ending scenes can feel a bit too fast for this kind of manga, and maybe another volume as buildup could have been better for the series overall.
Being a 4-koma styled manga, the art style is quite simplistic. Some emotional panels have little to no backgrounds drawn along with minimum dialogues, to portray the feeling of grief and isolation experienced by the characters, in such moments. Overall, this style works quite well to convey the ideas and maintain the mood of the manga.
Chichi to Hige-Gorilla to Watashi is an honest, straightforward Slice of Life series with a simple storyline, yet manages to deliver an emotional punch due to its likeable cast of characters and the relatable themes associated with it.