Anime Review

Anime Hajime Review: Gakuen Babysitters

Original Run: January 7, 2018 - March 25, 2018
Number of Episodes: 12
Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life
Based on the Series Created By: Hari Tokeino

***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Gakuen Babysitters. Reader discretion is advised.***

Series Synopsis

Ryuichi Kashima (voiced by Kotaro Nishiyama) has always taken care of his infant brother Kotaro Kashima (voiced by Nozomi Furuki). The boys’ parents’ adventurous side usually kept them away from home.

Then the unimaginable happened.

On one of their adventures, Ryuichi and Kotaro’s parents, sadly, passed away. Now the two brothers only have each other, and nowhere to go.

Fortunately, Ryuichi and Kotaro get an offer to stay at the prestigious Morinomiya Academy. The only condition is, Ryuichi must join the fleeting babysitters club at the Morinomiya Daycare. Happy to have a place for his younger brother to live, Ryuichi accepts the terms.

After years of experience with Kotaro, Ryuichi quickly adjusts to watching over this hyper-energetic group of toddlers.

Thanks to Ryuichi’s hardworking and cheerful attitude, as well as a little help from the kids, the babysitters club soon becomes the talk of the school. From there, it is anyone’s guess as to what kind of trouble this group of children and their caretakers may get into.

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Series Positives

The theme of this review will be simple. Gakuen Babysitters was absolutely fantastic.

From beginning to end, this series went at one-hundred-percent. You are going to know within the opening moments of this show whether you will enjoy it or not. Then again, with a title like Gakuen Babysitters, odds are, some people may have already made assumptions about this series. If you are one of those who are thinking about skipping this one, I seriously urge you to at least give the first episode a try.

I’m willing to bet, you might be in for a pleasant surprise.

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More than anything, Gakuen Babysitters was adorable. This series didn’t hesitate to illustrate that. Although Gakuen Babysitters was unapologetic with its cuteness, it never went overboard. Everything may have been at a high level, but everything was always at the right level.

To put it another way. This show had reasons for being cute other than for the sake of being cute.

Naturally, I am mostly referring to the children of the Morinomiya Daycare. I have plenty of things I could say about these kids; all of which only added to their adorableness. However, their actual appearances weren’t their most enduring traits. Granted, having a bunch of little chibi rugrats running around certainly left an impression. Nevertheless, that isn’t what I’m going to remember most about this group.

The kids of Morinomiya were kids; like really little kids. None of them had a filter. Each of them said what was on their minds. They had a crude, often problematic form of cause-and-effect logic. Everything needed to be fair regardless of practicality. Their sense of helpfulness sometimes did more harm than good. They would cry, kick, and scream for something they “wanted,” when clearly they wanted something else. The list can go on.

Through and through, these were toddlers.

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One of the best aspects of Gakuen Babysitters was that it never over-simplified childcare.

I’ve lost count of how many shows have had the perfect child. These are the kids who are articulate, resourceful, and sometimes the smartest characters in a series. For the people watching over these types of children, you couldn’t imagine an easier job. Caretakers wouldn’t need to worry about things like changing diapers, unintelligible gibberish, selfishness, or any of the stuff actual kids do.

Gakuen Babysitters never did that.

This series made it a point to say that taking care of one child, let alone multiple, was work. There is very little rest, you must pay full attention at every given moment, you need to find a balance between kind and stern, and there may be days when things simply don’t go right. To do childcare at all takes a special type of person; and an even rarer type of person to do it right.

And that was Gakuen Babysitters’ true power.

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The older characters of this show, Ryuichi Kashima and his group, were the glue that held everything together. This series had a decent mix of people who liked kids, had difficulties with kids, and people who knew how to take care of kids. It was that last group in particular that resulted in some of the best characters of Gakuen Babysitters.

Of course, Ryuichi was a phenomenal protagonist as well as a great older brother for Kotaro. Ryuichi always wanted to be at the daycare whenever he was there, and he had an admirable sense of responsibility. The only thing he lacked was experience with watching over a group of kids. That is where Yoshihito Usaida (voiced by Tomoaki Maeno) came in.

Yoshihito was the main caretaker and advisor of the babysitter club. Most of the time, Yoshihito came off as lazy, and could often be found asleep on the job. There were even a few instances where he should have been paying a lot more attention. Attentiveness was one area where Ryuichi had Yoshihito beat. That notwithstanding, Yoshihito knew the kids under his care.

There were plenty of moments when Yoshihito went out of his way to look after the children. He was usually one step ahead of Ryuichi when it came to interpreting what the kids were thinking about. Yoshihito did care, and it was incredibly heartwarming whenever that side of him came out.

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With all that said, if you are looking for experience, you couldn’t get more than Yoko Morinomiya (voiced by Tomoko Miyadera), the Chairwoman of Morinomiya Academy. Ms. Morinomiya, in the blink of an eye, rose to become the best character of Gakuen Babysitters.

Did Ms. Morinomiya get as much screen time as Ryuichi, Kotaro, or any of the other members of the main group? No, she didn’t. However, whenever she was on screen, the Chairwoman showed that she had her students and her subordinates’ best interest in mind. Despite possessing a cold, intimidating presence, Ms. Morinomiya knew how to bring the best out of people.

Without giving too much away, my favorite moment with Ms. Morinomiya was when she effortlessly prevented one of the toddlers from hurting themselves while they pursued an impossible fantasy, all without crushing said toddler’s dream. Ms. Morinomiya knew how to enforce the rules and not ruin a child’s sense of wonder.

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There were a lot more moments with a ton more characters that I could talk about. I didn’t even scratch the surface. Gakuen Babysitters never went long before doing something that was either funny, cute, silly, or, if you can believe it, dramatic.

If you think this show was only sunshine and rainbows, that just wasn’t the case. This series wasn’t what I would describe as tragic, but there were some pretty sad moments. After all, Ryuichi and Kotaro’s parents did die suddenly. That was no passing detail. That was something the two brothers had to come to terms with.

Gakuen Babysitters was one of those shows that successfully had both lighthearted and serious elements. One did not compromise the other. If anything, these two extremes complemented each another, thus resulting in a series that was beyond brilliant.

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Series Negatives

This section will not be long. There wasn’t much I would consider wrong with this series. The only problem Gakuen Babysitters really had was that it was way too short.

I’m not saying this series was rushed because it wasn’t. I’m not saying this show was overcrowded because it wasn’t. I’m not even saying Gakuen Babysitters was poorly paced. That couldn’t be further from the truth. However, there was one area that definitely felt underutilized.

Throughout this show, you get to know Ryuichi and several of the other high school characters. This series focused on how the babysitter club affected the teenagers’ lives. To some degree, the toddlers of the daycare grew important to everyone in this series. It was all very meaningful and very nice.

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That said, we never had a lot of time with the kids themselves. To be fair, we got to know Kotaro and his best friend Taka Kamitani (voiced by Yuko Sanpei). The rest, though, Takuma Mamizuka, Kazuma Mamizuka, Kirin Kumatsuka, and Midori Sawatori (voiced by Ayaka Saito, Atsumi Tanezaki, Konomi Kohara, and Kaede Hondo), were mostly secondary.

Side note: Little Midori was probably the cutest thing in this already adorable show.

Not to give Gakuen Babysitters too much of a hard time, all the toddlers had at least one moment to call their own. Unfortunately, whenever the kids had their scenes, you could feel how underused they were in this series.

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This show had a ton of excellent aspects, and some of the best involved the children in some way. That is why it was a bit of a shame that there wasn’t even one episode solely dedicated to the adventures of the toddlers.

Keep in mind, that did not ruin this series. Hell, I don’t even know whether or not it would have elevated Gakuen Babysitters in a significant way. I’m only saying that if I had a choice for more, that would have been it.

Will this series get a second season? That’s hard to say. I definitely think this show could pull one off. On the other hand, Gakuen Babysitters was self-contained enough to where it doesn’t need a continuation.

Personally, I couldn’t be more satisfied with this series, and I think you will feel the same.

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Final Thoughts

Yes. Absolutely yes.

This show was outstanding.

Everything about this one was simply right. Relaxing: check. Funny: check. Touching, meaningful, and fun: checks all around. The characters were great, and it didn’t matter how long they may or may not have been on screen. This series made sure to illustrate the hard work that goes into childcare, as well as the rewarding nature that comes along with it.

Think of everything that should go into a laid-back show, and this one probably had it.

At the time of this review, there is still half a year left in 2018, but I have a feeling this series may be in contention to be one of the best.

Gakuen Babysitters is one I recommend entirely.

But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? What would be your advice concerning Gakuen Babysitters? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.

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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.

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