Let's get the bad stuff out first: animation really borders horrible at times. Frames do not flow smoothly, especially in slow motion scenes; faces getting weird, especially the side profile, etc. But other than this (which I can handle), there is not much complaint at all.
Aishiteruze Baby is about the story of a playboy Kippei taking care of his young cousin Yuzuyu after she lost her father and her mother decided to abondon her. It is about the feelings and insecurities of a young child after being tossed away. It then stretches out to discuss the issues of family violence, miscommunication and other issues with a larger cast of people in the community of Kippei and Yuzu. The romance between Kippei and Kokoro also developes strongly along the way.
This is a very authentic and touching about love in a very pure sense, dealing mainly with familial love, and a little romance. The drama is intense, dealing with very real yet unpalatable issues of life that we do not want to look at. What is so special about this series is that it is able to portray rather accurately the mentality of its characters, especially Yuzuyu. She behaves like a 5 year old, regarding the things that upset her or make her happy. This makes her a very cute character, much more so than most squeally, high pitched pretend kawaii characters around.
Both OP and ED are quite nice IMO, though they may not be for everyone. The bgm has an outstanding piano piece and electric guitar piece, though they may be used a little too often, without variation. The episodes end before I even know it, even on my second run. The conclusion differs from that of the manga, but it ended brilliantly nonetheless. Most commendable.
Overall a very strong drama and romance anime. Anyone who wants an anime that is realistic yet cute, is heart rending yet leaves you feeling good and warm afterwards, Aishiteruze Baby is a must. Highly recommended.
Last updated Thursday, January 14 2010. Created Thursday, January 14 2010.
Here's another one I watched a while back but failed to comment on. I rewatched it so I can give a proper review.
Art, Animation & Character Designs
The artwork didn't appeal to me at all.... at least for the first half dozen episodes. Well, let me clarify, the backgrounds and foregrounds were average, nothing different there. It's the character designs that I could get over for a while. I think it was the eyes that did it. They seemed overly huge.... not that big eyes on uncommon in anime, but they just seemed awkward here. But then, after about a dozen episodes, I grew to not even notice it.
The OP was a nice soft pop piece with female vocals. It wasn't too bad although I'm not into this genre of music. But it seemed to work well with the opening animation sequence.
Series and Episode Story
At first, I had a hard time believing the premise of this series. I was thinking how it wasn't plausible that a teenager can be given the task of parenting a 5 year old. But then, that thought was quickly shot down since 1) it's an anime... anything can happen. 2) It really can happen because I have a friend that had to take care of his baby sister like a parent back when he was only 16. With all that said, I grew to love this series and appreciate the sometimes serious aspects and moments found throughout the episodes. The dynamics beteen Kippei and Yuzuyu were at times heartwarming and cute.
Overall, it was a good drama. At times, it got a bit melodramatic, but what anime isn't without flaws? A good buy here.
Last updated Sunday, May 10 2009. Created Sunday, May 10 2009.
Aishiteruze Baby has both light hearted and serious moments to take in. Besides handling the abandonment of Yuzuyu, Keppei and his family get involved in the personal problems of other characters that affect them in some form or another. Issues such as parental abuse, teen angsts, and loneliness make for some of the serious themes to be found in this series. There are also the light hearted moments that Yuzuyu and Keppei share together that make for this show's more touching moments and the personal growth of Keppei's character as he becomes more responsible as the series progresses. The show takes its time with developing the characters and allowing you to get a sense of how they act and respond to what takes place in their everyday lives.
What worked against Aishiteruze Baby for me however was the addition of melodrama at a number of points in the series. Some plot developments like the whole bit with Keppei's crush felt forced to create pointless conflict or to make you feel sympathetic with the character's problems. Like Ileenka, I felt the reasons behind Yuzuyu's abandonment by her mother seemed absurd when we are introduced to her character later in the series. I even felt that the ending to the parental abuse problem was wrapped up too easily.
Despite this major flaw, Aishiteruze Baby is still worthwhile for the touching bond between Keppei and Yuzuyu as well as the slow-moving slice-of-life plot developments that take place.
Last updated Sunday, March 08 2009. Created Sunday, March 08 2009.
Usagi Drop, Haibane Renmei, Uta Kata, Asatte no Houkou, Binbou Shimai Monogatari, Piano, Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto]
[Score: 84% = Buy-. Other recommended Silent Drama anime:
The Art was the first attribute I liked: Despite their huge sparkling eyes most characters are shown less flashy and more reasonably proportioned than in most other anime, in a style more like Kareshi Kanojo no Jijoo; then again Kippei is a classical bishounen, even with his minimalistic visual design. But I have a lot of problems with the Animation: The usual inconsistent walking, and certain shots about characters turning their head which appear to have not enough incremental frames. Plus Kokoro looks really awful in a number of scenes.
The subdued Music works very well: The nursery rhyme-like OP song is appropriate for a children's theme and seems to grow on me the more I listen to it; the lullaby-like ED song is almost hypnotizing ("nen nen sai sai nen ne nasai..."). Several dramatic scenes are highlighted by minimalistic yet exciting instrumental patterns - I clearly underestimated the music for quite a while. Then again, some of the seiyuu require the audience to become accustomed to their performance with an almost soundless voice, most notably those for the quiet characters Kokoro and Satsuki. I like Yuzuyu's voice which isn't as unnerving as one might expect according to her age.
One specific feature of this series needs to be mentioned: Every episode continues for a while after the trailer, showing one 'bridge' scene into the next episode - a cliffhanger instead of a spoilerish preview. This mechanism links the episodes together very well.
As for the Story: Just when everyday issues seem to be under control, episodes 8, 10 and 11 show a significant rise in the drama department - the story is getting even more interesting from here on. The first half of the series covers how Kippei learns to take care of Yuzuyu, and how this influences his whole environment.
But as if Kippei and Kokoro didn't have enough problems of their own, half-way through the show several new characters appear, unloading their own problems on our characters and causing a big impact on Yuzuyu - the narrator doesn't turn a blind eye on the ugly sides of every day life, including various kinds of violence against children. From episode 14 on the series is very high on drama and nearly no 'fun' to watch any more - there are just too many sad and cruel things happening in a short time with almost no relief in between. And instead of focusing on the lead 'triangle' the series fills in two side stories (one about another of Yuzuyu's friend at preschool, the other about her 14-year-old cousin Miki) plus one filler episode about Kippei's brother Satsuki, almost losing the focus on the main problems in the process.
Fortunately with episode 23 we get back to the original story line and a thrilling and heart-rending finale with assorted comical relief scenes, plus a satisfying yet surprising ending. The last four episodes made up for everything I didn't like about the second half of this series.
All in all a great experience for me - a story that successfully managed to be sad without too much violence, romantic without fan-service, and cute without silliness. If you want a serious story about family problems from the point of view of the involved child as well as the 16-year-old 'parent', you get a high quality release here.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
And if you want to know what happens after the anime ends, then read the manga which contains material for about 13 more episodes.
Last updated Saturday, April 07 2012. Created Tuesday, January 24 2006.
This anime does not really contain a lot of plot. Basically just tells about a 16 year old boy, Kippei who is supposed to look after his 5 year old cousin, Yuzuyu until her useless git of a mother comes back and get her. The big minus about this anime is the character design of Yuzuyu's mother. The writer portrayed the mother as someone who has lost all confidence of raising her one and only daughter after the sudden death of her husband. So this mother one day left her daughter all alone in the house while she went on a disappearing act. There were many times the Katakura family had tried to talk her into taking Yuzuyu back, because obviously being close to the mother is the only thing a 5 year old wants. But the writer made the mother into such a selfish, insensitive dumb git that I couldn't stand it. Her excuse for not taking Yuzuyu back 'yet' is stupid, too.
It has very nice art and animation, though. However, I find the art deteriorating towards the end of the series, around episode 22-26. Kokoro's side profile's face isn't even proportionate anymore. The pace of the anime is something to get used to, because it can get so incredibly slow at times. In the beginning I had absolutely no patience in watching this anime, because most of the scenes seem to be 'stuck' and proceeded too slowly. I also feel that the characters are supposed to respond more quickly, because sometimes their actions and response are really too slow to be real.
The characters in the anime are only averagely interesting. The most interesting character by far had to be Satsuki. The music can really grow on you, too. The little girl is super-cute. You will be hearing a lot of "Kippei oniii-channnn!!" from her in the series, and it is rather adorable. This isn't really a series with the "funnies". There are definitely no LOLs here. But if you're looking for something new, which is a diversion from the usual fast-paced anime, give this a whirl.
Last updated Thursday, October 13 2005. Created Monday, October 03 2005.
Having watched all of the episodes, I have to share that this is really a great series. But I have to alert you that this is very much a drama of the heart, with hints of high school romance mixed in. While at first appearing to be very light hearted and appropriate for all ages, there are some darker elements and serious issues that get mixed into the story line, which should probably keep this series to an age group of 12+, but this something that is definitely well worth the watching.
Kippei is a carefree irresponsible high school playboy who has his life turned upside down and changed by the sudden appearance of his five-year-old cousin, Yuzuyu. It appears that Yuzuyu's single mom was having a very rough time raising the little five-year-old alone, so she chooses to disappear, leaving her child with her sister's family. Kippei's parents, older sister and younger brother all decide that it is to be Kippei's responsibility to look after Yuzuyu. At first, he is put off, but Yuzuyu's quiet charm and innocence quickly win him over. And when it seems that all Kippei has to do is drop off and pick up Yuzuyu from kindergarten, he decides to put his all into the task of trying to being Yuzuyu's mom, even if it means trying to learn how to cook (with all of the disasters that come with it.) Despite Kippei’s best intentions, he does make a number of mistakes, some of which result in a shower of tears from his little Yuzuyu, but through his experiences, he learns to be more responsible and earns Yuzuyu's trust and affection.
In one episode, Yuzuyu has the day off from kindergarten, so she decides that she will bring Kippei a lunch of her homemade rice balls (as he is always making lunch for her.) So off she goes, with the lunch box and map in hand (but with Kippei's older sister sneaking behind, in a disguise watching over her.) But when Yuzuyu suddenly appears at Kippei's high school, asking to see her "Kippei-onii-chan", the secret of Kippei being a big-brother/parent to his little cousin is out, which causes a number of different of problems.
When Kippeis classmates find out about the cute Yuzuyu-chan, they all go a bit crazy. Some of the boys decide that they want to be a parent too and ask if they can borrow Yuzuyu for an afternoon. And the girls stop referring to Kippei as an irresponsible carefree playboy, and begin referring to him that responsible and reliable cute-boy. Some girls even try to show a special interest in him, but Kippei is not so easily charmed and appears to only hold a special interest in one of his cute classmates, a girl named Kokoro.
A number of troublesome and difficult issues are brought up and woven into the story line. One of Kippei's classmates has a secret crush on him, and begins to cause trouble for and scare Yuzuyu. Later in the story, Yuzuyu's mother makes an appearance and the story of her difficulties, fears and doubts is told. One of Yuzuyu's classmates is victim of parental abuse, which causes her to worry and fear for her friend, until Kippei-onii-chan steps in and helps out. Then a tough fourteen-year-old cousin, Miki appears and wants to take Yuzuyu away to her home. Actually, she is a troubled teenager intent on running away from home, and she wants Yuzuyu to take her place in her family, not that Kippei is going to let it happen.
This is a very fun and real story of a special relationship between a sixteen-year-old boy and five-year-old girl. This series is very skillful in using and quickly switching perspectives between the two main characters to allow the viewer to see the world through their eyes, with a focus on what they consider most important at that moment. But it is the special relationship that develops between the Yuzuyu and Kippei, which serves as the constant thread that ties everything together in a very fun and entertaining story.
But I want to alert you that the editors of this series have decided to slip in an additional 1 minute of the story line (which if you miss, will have you wondering) between the end of the closing credits and start of the preview of the next episode, so please look for it.
If you can accept a quiet, slower moving and dramatic story about the relationship a very little one and her older brother, then this series is a very fun and heartfelt anime watch.
Last updated Sunday, May 10 2009. Created Saturday, July 31 2004.
|Official Japanese Series Web Site
|Wikipedia Entry for the Series