All of my reviews contain spoilers for the reviewed material. This is your only warning. My fathers secret was that he drew for a living. Billing itself as a fatherdaughter tale of love and laughter Kakushigoto is the anime iteration of the latest from Kouji Kumeta best known for Sayonara Zetsubousensei. Kumetas bestknown series was often drenched in a sardonic black humor. SZS those who have seen or read it may remember made a running gag out of the main characters desire to off himself. If the bulk of your knowledge of Kumetalike minecomes from SZS you can feel free to chuck out much of your preconceived notions about the man and his work. Kakushigoto stands as a work that reckons with the frayed edges of the slice of life genre. It is sometimes melancholy and at times strikingly sincere. This places it within a broad continuum of recent anime that seek to develop simple situational comedies into fullyrealized threedimensional portraits of their characters lives. The good and bad the tragic and the funny. 880 And Kakushigotos core is still comedicand well get to that in a bitbut its impossible to talk about the series without mentioning the frame story that bookends most episodes and finally concludes in its last. In the main body of the series Hime Goto is an 11year old space case who lives with Kakushi Goto her father a comedy manga artist and widower. 880 This Kakushigoto is primarily a domestic/work comedy about Kakushis goofy overprotectiveness and his desire to hide the fact that hes a mangaka from his daughter. In the marginal spaces of the frame story Hime has just turned 18 and something has happened to her father. The tone is significantly darker more melancholic and until the finale ambiguous. These segments and the finale have a feeling of wistful blue nostalgia. A sensation bolstered by the brilliant choice of Eichii Ohtakis Kimi wa Tennenshoku as the series ED. That contrast informs the entirety of Kakushigoto and is arguably its entire raison darte. Anyone whos familiar with critical work focusing on anime as an artistic space in recent years has heard this line before. It is the endless everyday coming to an end and a surprisingly thoughtful consideration of what comes after. Its also quite transparently grounded in Kumetas own experiences or if its not the man is such a remarkable fabulist that it might as well be. However before its a personal reflection of Kumetas inner thoughts or a comment on the state of the artform or the world or anything that heady Kakushigoto is a fairly simple situational comedy. It must be emphasized that for all its applicability Kakushigoto does spend the bulk of its time trying to make you laugh. The trying to make you cry comes only intermittently and only works as well as it does because much of the comedy is so good. In particular Kakushigoto likes to derive humor from basic miscommunications. Everything from Starbucks orders being misinterpreted as magic spells by Hime and some of her friends in the first episode to Kakushi mistakenly thinking his manga is being axed in the penultimate episode this is where a lot of Kakushigotos juice comes from. Its good stuff and this kind of Thought You Meant X But You Really Meant Y affair is so common to human relationships that its also instantly relatable. If theres a misstep in this part of the show its that for something thats otherwise by turns clever and familiar it does spend a good chunk of time especially early on lobbing airballs in the form of lazy unfunny stereotype humor. This is Kakushigoto at its weakest and its to the shows credit that it drops away almost entirely in the second half of the series. Elsewhere and on a more positive note it drives down strange plot and characterization detours. For example: through no effort or desire of his own Kakushi develops what is essentially a harem by the halfway point of the series. Several young women all of whom are minor supporting characters in their own right pop up from time to time to vye for Kakushis affections. Its never particularly relevant and Kakushi never even catches on but it is funny just by dint of being ambiently puzzling. What do Himes teacher and her rivals see in a 30something widower mangaka? Who knows thats part of why its funny. 880 Theres also a fair amount of manga industry inside baseball leveraged as humor. In particular the character of Kakushis editor Tomaruin is a riot just by dint of being a massively unhelpful jerk without even slightly meaning to. Of course all this in context. Kakushigotos other halfthat frame storyis where it really truly shines. Kakushigotos premise of a man who writes comedy manga for a living trying to hide it from his daughter may seem fairly silly at first. However it becomes clear as the show nears its conclusion that this is grounded in a very real anxiety. Artists especially those who do not work in the serious arts struggle with this all the time. During the time skip between the main body of the show and its finale Kakushi is forced to quit his job as a mangaka concluding his mangawithinamanga Tights In The Wind after a severalyearslong successful run. He ends up doing manual hard jobs as his household money runs dry. All this for his little girl. We learn that what happened to Kakushi is an act of cosmic black humor. While working as a forklift operator a massive pallet stacked the ceiling with Jump magazines tumbles down on top of him. The exmangaka literally crushed by his chosen medium. On the nose? Slightly but we can forgive that. 880 When he awakes in the second half of the finale hes amnesiac believing himself to still be a working mangaka. What ends up restoring his memories is his manuscripts brought to him by his daughter. The two things that are truly important to him you see. Its perhaps oversimplifying to say that Kakushigotos core thesis is that you shouldnt be ashamed of your art. If only because thats an easy thing to say and a very different thing to put in practice. It may be more accurate to say that the series is a bestcase scenario for always pushing forward to the future and keeping what you love close to you. In this context the finale makes perfect wonderful sense. Kakushi loves his daughter and he loves being a mangaka. Thus the show closes on him pitching a new comedy series to his editor both so he can pay off his debts and so he can resume his real passion in work. Kakushigoto is here kind enough to foreground its subtext: Tomaruin suggests writing a series about an artist who draws dirty manga and goes out of his way to hide it from his young daughter. Who would read that? is Kakushis bemused response. A question I think we all by now know the answer to. 880 Its hard to sayand ultimately irrelevantif some distant cousin of this conversation occurred in reality. Kakushigoto is clearly the fruits of a very long career in an often punishing and illrespected medium. It is one could argue a surprisingly eloquent defense of that very career. When it crushes you you weather the storm and stand again. And if youre lucky your passion may one day inspire theirs. The series second to last scene is Hime sketching out a shoujo manga that she plans to hide from her dad. For a while at least. 880 880 If you enjoy my work you may wish to follow me on Twitter to get updates about my work and learn how you can support me. And if you liked this review why not check out some of my others here on Anilist?
78 /100
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