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Aishiteruze Baby Review

by: therik
January 12, 2009

story 4.5/10

Aishiteruze Baby screenshot

I'm almost twenty-four now, and I've recently found that my paternal instincts are becoming more and more prevalent. It was therefore with something of an open mind that I approached Aishiteruze Baby, a shoujo anime which chronicles the life of high school student Katakura Kippei and Yuzuyu, the adorable 5-year old girl who is thrust into his care by circumstance. Kippei is portrayed as something of a flirty, playboy-style character. As I began watching, therefore, I expected the main focus to be on his coming to terms with responsibility and learning to love the dependent sprog rather than hate her for eating into his free time and getting in the way of his relationships. Eventually, he would learn lessons about himself, the likes of which can only be taught by a starry-eyed five-year-old. I was wrong, however. Very wrong. Far from being a flawed human being, it turns out that Kippei is actually pretty close to perfect. As well as being handsome, tough and cool, he's also gentle and an almost-ideal parent from day one.

Having turned down this opportunity for character development, Aishiteruze Baby has to find something else to fill its 26 episodes. This is perhaps why the show takes the surprising step of exploring some fairly serious issues, amongst which are abandonment, stalking, child abuse, suicide and loneliness. It all sounds quite dark, but the series maintains its light-heartedness and humour throughout. Unfortunately, this is at the expense of confronting these issues in any meaningful way. Rather than scrutinising them with a child's innocence, the show handles them with kid gloves, thus failing once again to make the most of its interesting premise. The problems are quickly blown over and there is nary a situation, it seems, which cannot be defused and patched up by a superficial intervention and trite word of wisdom from the obstinately perfect Kippei. Suicidal thoughts and deep-rooted psychological issues clear up as quickly and easily as the common cold.

That isn't to say that Aishiteruze Baby contains nothing worthwhile. It is sweet throughout and touching on occasion. However - aside from the endearing naïveté of Yuzuyu and a remarkably slow-paced romance between Kippei and the show's love interest, Kokoro - there isn't a whole lot of substance here and the series has a tendency to drag as a result. Anyone expecting to find much more than the admittedly enjoyable fluff is likely to be disappointed.

animation 4/10

The animation is really nothing special. It doesn't attempt to be, and perhaps it doesn't need to be. It's quite difficult, however, to shake off the feeling that this is something of a low-budget job. The character designs aren't particularly exciting or memorable and certain elements, rainfall for example, harm any realistic edge that the series may have wanted to maintain. It's hard to add to the mood of a scene when the viewer's mind is focused on how fake the weather looks. Furthermore, as is to be expected, the show brims with archetypal shoujo devices, which detract from certain scenes more than they add to it.

sound 8/10

Although I didn't enjoy the OP and ED tracks at all, the soundtrack as a whole is strong. As well as the typical use of piano pieces to create romantic mood, the soundtrack boldly - and very successfully - introduces other elements; electric guitars, percussion and the likes. This serves to add a climactic second layer of dynamism to the background music which really helps bring out vivid emotions in the longer romantic scenes.

The voices are also decent on the whole, and Yuzuyu's is particularly good. Rather than sounding like a grown woman trying to put on as high-pitched a voice as possible, Yuzuyu actually sounds like a five-year-old girl. This is essential in terms of suspension of disbelief and allows the character to display the necessary range of feelings and emotions.

characters 7/10

As far as characters go, Aishiteruze Baby offers something of a mixed bag. While Kippei is a fantastic human being, he is not a fantastic character as - aside from a slight stupidity which generates a few comic moments - he is more or less free of weaknesses, making it a real challenge to empathise with him. Kokoro is somewhat more interesting, offering reticence and pride but not falling into the trap of being a textbook tsundere. A feat all too rarely achieved by female anime characters.

Yuzuyu, however, is undoubtedly the star of the show. Her character is immensely well written, and she behaves like the infant she is. Her bewilderment at being abandoned and tendency to blame herself for the difficulties suffered by those around her are movingly childlike, and make her far cuter than any over-the-top kawaii stereotype could ever hope to be. The fact that all the children in the series are written to act exactly like children is a masterstroke in characterisation, and perhaps enough to redeem the fact that almost all secondary characters are crushingly two-dimensional.

overall 6/10

I found this series difficult to love, but perhaps even more difficult to hate. In spite of missing opportunities to turn itself into a memorable and must-watch series, Aishiteruze Baby offers a constant flow of lightweight, feelgood drama, which is bound to appeal to the shoujo demographic, and may find some fans outside of this as well. However, its failure to truly explore the darkness which it toys with and its hesitance to offer profound conflicts between the main characters is sure to put other viewers off. All in all, so long as you expect nothing more than a fluffy and occasionally touching series, I feel I can recommend this show.

Anime Info

Whenever Kippei is at school, he has one thing on his mind: girls. From skipping class to cheesy lines, he'll do anything it takes to reel the ladies in, though he never seems to find the right person. But the bachelor lifestyle is soon to change when young Yuzuyu enters the picture. This five-year-old cutie has been abandoned by her mother, and is to be taken care of by none other than Kippei! Unfortunately for the both of them, Kippei has no experience raising a child, so the learning curve will be quite steep...


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About the Author

therik's avatar

therik

When it comes to anime, I tend to be a fan of comedy, shoujo, romance or anything else that will put a smile on my face. However, I'll review pretty much anything. Whether you like or dislike my reviews, I'm always glad to receive feedback, and I'm always happy to get into intelligent discussions.

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comments

TheAngelofDeath avatar TheAngelofDeath
Dec 20, 2013

I'm not sure I completely agree with this. I do believe that the story doesn't have to be solely based on "coming to terms with responsibility and learning to love the dependent sprog rather than hate her for eating into his free time and getting in the way of his relationships." to me that in general limits the Anime as a whole. It would prevent you from getting any good story out of both the main characters, the side characters, and anyone else as well if you focused too much on that kind of relationship. Kippei is announced as a kid who loves to hit on girls and hang out with them a lot. but is never announced as a completely irresonsible, untrustworthy deliquent like kid who disobeys his parents at every given turn. He is nice and caring which puts him in a perfect position to become a good parent. If you watch closely he doesn't start off as a "good parent" he starts off as a "good person" Just because he was a good person though does not make him a "good parent" imediately. They even address the issue of "what it means to be a good parent" later on in the series. With all the developments that go on between him his friends the little girl and all those around him help shape him into being a good parent. And maybe if we look at this a bit closer we can see that being a "good parent" is not about how others see you as as. But rather the child who you are supporting/raising see's you as. In her eyes he was the near perfect parent that she can love and adore. And maybe its because she always see's him that way and is always smiling it's lead you into thinking that he is "perfect" which he isn't. It's the child that sees him as near "perfect"

I also see that someone (or a few) people think that the little girl is annoying and they couldn't watch it because of this. Well first off not every little girl in the world is always going to be cute, adorable, and perfect as you would "want" to imagine her to be. They can be very annoying at times and very hard to deal with. But thats the reality and I believe that the person voicing Yuzuyu is almost near perfect in her voice acting her attitude and her reactions to simple things. I was completely blown away by it when I watched it. Its so strikingly similiar to a real little girl is almost scary!

Some people believe this Anime wasn't done realistically, and I would strongly disagree. These problems are so similiar to so many different problems I've seen in real life between other parents and their childs before. I think this was done very fantasically. To those who disagree I would only have to say "open your minds a little more" No offense really. 

I understand that you think that this Anime is very "light-hearted" which it is at first. But I strongly suggest that you rewatch this Anime a second or even a third time and relook over all the little story's suggestions, and references this Anime gives to real life situations. You will find that their is little to no "Light-Heartness" about it. Best example (Spoilers don't read past this if you dont' want to see) When they encountered the mother who hit her child over and over again and abused him. I doubtfully find anything about this or the way the main characters reacted to this to be "Light-Hearted" Thats just my opinion though based on an enourmous variety of other Animes that I've seen with the same/similiar situations as that one.

Overall I think the Anime deserves an 8 and a 6 just doesn't make any sense to me at all. I like how your trying to deeply read into it, but your reading into it in a way that doesn't work with the overall plot of the Anime and or what its intending to be. In my opinion you made this review to state what you "wanted this Anime to be like" and stating reasons why it didn't fit what you wanted it to be like. I suggest rewatching this Anime and looking at it from a different point of view and you will find that you will see this Anime in a whole different light.

--Cheers!--

Deadmatter avatar Deadmatter
Oct 16, 2012

I enjoyed this anime BUT there was one thing that i just COULD NOT STAND! and that special something was "drum roll" the freakin kid crying all the time.... OH MY GOODNESS its the most annoying sound in any anime that ive ever seen.

Also i agree with the 6/10, good review

kibo avatar kibo
Jun 8, 2012

Everyone is beeing harsh! The plot is very good. Things like that happens in the real world, and it's hard to support a child who is depressed.. They're hard to read, they blames themselves, wondering what they did wrong.. Psykologicly and pedagogics I thought this was really great. Allthough it's never okay that a mother hits her child, and maybe they should have gone more into that, but they are not the main characters, that's why I think it's okay. And the suicide thing.. She never wanted to take suicide, she just wanted someone to talk to, know that someone cared about her. I can relate to her and I don't think they overdid it, and I don't think they made to little of it.. That's just what I thought.  I'm only 18 though hehe..The animation is old, and their faces is wierd from the side sometimes, but it has a great charm to it, and it doesn't annoy you to watch.. like older animes does xD  I agree with the music! Ending song en OP was terrible and the lyrics UGH, but the background music was really great. It gfits well with the scene and the music doesn't repeat.Me as Concidered this an old anime I give this 8/10.

MaatiSan avatar MaatiSan
Apr 30, 2012

usagi drop is about the same thing but done more realistically and just better overall.  

LotsOfLaugh avatar LotsOfLaugh
Jan 9, 2012

I hated this anime dropped it after the first 10mins....

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