Babysitting manga style

April 25, 2006 at 3:08 pm 3 comments

Aishiteruze Baby by Yoko Maki

Viz has rated this one "T for Teen" (ages 13 and up) since it contains "mature situations."  You wouldn't think so from the description, but yes, it actually does.

I initially put this on my "to buy" list without knowing anything about it because of the cover.  It's wonderfully cluttered, which I don't see often with manga so it caught my eye.  I had a chance to preview it before it came out and ended up really liking it.  I also watched a bit of the anime and though it follows the story of the manga closely (the episodes I watched did, anyway) I didn't like it as much.  The art style doesn't translate as well to animation and the voice acting seemed flat to me.  The pacing was pretty slow as well, and after waiting through Yuzuyu's second crying jag I decided to stick with the manga.  That's just my own opinion, of course. :)

From the back of volume one:

Kippei Katakura is a 17-year-old playboy who spends his time chasing girls, careless of their feelings. But when his 5-year-old cousin Yuzuyu comes to live with his family after her mother's sudden disappearance, Kippei is put in charge of taking care of her. As Kippei gets to know Yuzuyu and starts to understand how she feels, he also begins to realize that all girls were like Yuzuyu once…

Kippei has a lot to figure out, like what to make for Yuzuyu's lunch and how to drop her off at kindergarten while still getting to high school on time. Kippei is enjoying his time with Yuzuyu, but not everyone is happy about it. The girls at school miss their quality time with Kippei, and one decides to play dirty to get him back.

The first part of the book is Kippei and Yuzuyu getting to know each other and Kippei adjusting to his new role as mommy.  And yes, figuring out what to put in a little girl's bento.  His expression of horror after realizing that one giant rice ball is not a good lunch for a preschooler was very amusing, and watching Yuzuyu valiantly defend her rice ball was equally touching.  The plots that come up as the series goes on move past the day to day stuff and onto topics like Yuzuyu's abandonment issues, bullying and suicide, teen pregnancy and even the lasting negative effects a flasher can have on the mind of a teenage girl.  :)  The heart of the story, though, is the bond that grows between Kippei and Yuzuyu as he tries to keep her happy and secure while they wonder when or if her mother will ever come back.

(There are seven volumes in this series.  Volume two is coming out in early June.)

Baby & Me by Marimo Ragawa

This is being serialized in Shojo Beat and one of the two that I liked the most when I read the first few issues.  (The other being Absolute BoyfriendBaby & Me is also rated "T for Teen" and contains adult situations.  I'm not so sure about that this time, but if nothing else I suppose you wouldn't want the kiddies to pick up any bad babysitting habits.  This volume has many of them.

Young Takuya has it tough. After his mother passed away it has been his job to take care of his baby brother, Minoru while their father, Harumi, works the long hours of a Japanese "salaryman."

Takuya must sacrifice the playtime usually associated with childhood for the responsibilities of an adult. Cooking, cleaning, sewing and scolding are all now an integral part of the young boy's life.

"All work and no play" has Takuya incredibly frustrated and resentful of his little brother. Will Takuya find it in his heart to love the brother who is causing him so much grief?!

Takuya isn't just "young" he's only ten, which makes watching him take on so many responsibilites even sadder.  He's struggling to adjust after the death of his mother and now has to take care of a baby he doesn't understand, and who has no idea of the burden he is.  Little Minoru is lonely, though, and doesn't get why his mommy isn't there for him anymore.  The two brothers slowly come to know each other better and Takuya starts to really understand Minoru, who in turn develops a serious case of hero worship for his big brother.  Aww. 

There's a preview for it here.  Volume 2 is coming out in early July and it looks like Takuya and Minoru have to deal with the complications involved with being popular with the ladies.  heh.

I know there's not much point to this since it would ruin the premise of the book, but I found myself wondering why his father couldn't just hire a babysitter for a couple of hours after school a few days of the week.  Do they not have the money?  Are there no babysitters in Japan?  Is it okay to just leave little children alone like that?  ….  Okay, I just had to say it and I feel better now.  :)

Here are a few babysitting tips, inspired by today's manga:

  • When walking outside with the baby, don't leave him behind, especially on purpose.
  • Don't smack babies.
  • When babysitting, it's important to stay with the baby.  If you have to go shopping, wait until he wakes up and take him with you.  Don't just leave him alone. 
  • Babies and markers are not a good mix.  Consider yourself lucky if they don't draw all over themselves before drawing on the walls if they get a hold of one.  (Cathy flashes back to a picture of her nephew with a marker goatee and giggles…)
  • Five year-olds need supervision too.  If they suddenly decide to go wandering outside the house or school, at least try to find out where they're going first. 
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Entry filed under: manga.

On a lighter note, more about the anime that I might as well go back to naming Demonstrating poor impulse control

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. TangognaT » Black Cat and Naruto  |  April 26, 2006 at 12:22 am

    […] If you want some thematic manga reviews, Cathy looks at two titles that belog to the babysitting manga genre, Aishiteruze Baby and Baby & Me. She also includes a helpful list of manga babysitting tips. […]

    Reply
  • 2. akane2040  |  April 27, 2006 at 1:38 am

    In reference to Aishiteruze Baby…have you seen the anime? It’s cute! (And it’s also how I got hooked onto the series.) I was so EXCITED when I found out Viz liscenced (did I spell that correctly?) the manga… I am in eager anticipation of volume two…
    Yaha!!
    -R.

    Reply
  • 3. pajcat  |  April 27, 2006 at 7:01 am

    I watched the first four episodes of the anime, I think. It looked cute, I just didn’t like it as much when I was watching it. Which is good, I suppose. I don’t need to be starting another series right now! I absolutely love the manga though. And I… read ahead to the end of the series. Ahem. I’m still buying it as it comes out, though, for sure! Viz is definitely getting the good stuff right now.

    Reply

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