REVIEW: ‘The Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting,’ Episode 1 – “The Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting”

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The Yakuza's Guide to Babysitting Episode 1

The Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting is a slice-of-life anime produced by Gaina and feel. Kirishima Tooru, also known as the Demon of Sakuragi, is the right-hand man of the Sakuragi crime family. While he is known for reliably getting his jobs done, he is notorious for going overboard when the violence starts. Now, however, he is being assigned what may be his most challenging task yet. He has to babysit his boss’s daughter Yaeka in The Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting Episode 1.

When I was first told the title of this anime, I figured I was in for a slapstick comedy about a yakuza enforcer who bumbles his way through his interactions with a young girl while shielding her from her dad’s business. While these elements do exist to an extent, there is a far more grounded feel to this series’ opening story than I expected. This largely stems from how the show opts to present young Yaeka to the audience.

Rather than an energetic child who will keep Kirishima running in circles, The Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting Episode 1 opts to present Yaeka as a far more reserved and quiet child. Given that she has just come to live with her dad for the first time, only to be shuffled off into the hands of a complete stranger, it is understandable why she seems so timid towards those around her. This dower personality on the part of Yaeka makes an all-out comedy story out of the question.

The show further surprised me when it showed how Kirishima responds to Yaeka’s personality. Given his initial reveal as a violent hothead, I expected him to be ill-suited for the role of caretaker for a young girl. Rather than struggle to adapt to his new charge, Kirishima can deftly adopt an approach that is as good as one could ask of a first-time babysitter.

Yaeka’s somber personality and Kirishima’s earnest approach toward her allow The Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting Episode 1 to present its story’s emotional core in a way that makes both characters to be extremely endearing. With just a pinch of goofy fumbling about to keep this introductory story from getting too series, the show is able to establish a wonderful, heartfelt tone for the series as it moves forward.

The visual design complements the surprisingly grounded nature of the story well. The character designs work with the setting and style of the show’s narrative. This effort towards making the visuals fit the series focus is perhaps most clearly represented by what the show chooses not to show.

While there are a couple of moments of violence in The Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting Episode 1, the viewer sees little of it. Cutting around most of the action, the series is able to keep its focus on Kirishima and Yaeka’s interactions as well as keeping the fact that Kirishima is really a brutal yakuza enforcer from inhibiting the audience’s ability to like him.

When all is said and done, The Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting Episode 1 is off to a strong start. With far more emotion than I expected from the opening episode, I’m curious to see where this series goes from here as it further explores Kirishima and Yaeka’s continuing interactions.

The Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting Episode 1 is streaming now on Crunchyroll.


The Yakuza's Guide to Babysitting Episode 1
  • 8/10
    Rating - 8/10
8/10

TL;DR

When all is said and done, The Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting Episode 1 is off to a strong start. With far more emotion than I expected from the opening episode, I’m curious to see where this series goes from here as it further explores Kirishima and Yaeka’s continuing interactions.

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