The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Listen to Me, Girls, I Am Your Father!

Title: Listen to Me, Girls, I Am Your Father! aka Papa no Iu Koto wo Kikinasai!
Genre: Comedy/Drama
Company: Feel
Format: 12 episodes
Date: 10 Jan 2012 – 28 Mar 2012

Synopsis: Segawa Yuuta is a college freshman who lives alone in an apartment and is adjusting to life at the Tama University of Literature. One day, his sister Yuri who recently got married, decides to drop by his place to ask a favor: she wants him to look after her three daughters, while she and her husband go on a trip. All seems fine and Yuuta was willing to help out, until tragedy strikes and he and the girls are left alone. Now faced with a heavy responsibility of looking after them, can the 18-year old Yuuta competently juggle his life both as a college student and father figure of the family?

The Highlights
Disclaimer: This is not a hentai series; I repeat: this is not a hentai series.
Family themes: Under-explored; focuses more on the frilly issues instead.
Tone: Sentimental at times, but hardly emotional for most parts.
Cast: Likable but needs more character depth; Sora should give Yuuta a break.
In short: More exploration on family issues, less “walking into mishap” clichés.

Feel is a production studio I approach with caution. After all, this is the one that produced Mayo Chiki!, Yosuga no Sora and Kiss×sis, all of which were disappointments, more known for their excessive fanservice than anything else. Next in line for the production studio is PapaKiki, a series that I was not particularly keen on watching at first. But it turned out to be better than I thought, and although it’s not as great as it could have been, the above-average storyline and quirky setup render the series watchable and, occasionally, enjoyable.

The titular “Papa” refers to male protagonist Yuuta, an ordinary male college student with a not-so-usual lifestyle since he takes care of three young girls due to unforeseen circumstances. A theme that revolves around a household comprising a male teenager taking on the responsibilities of a father isn’t something one would see often, and furthermore, it has the potential to be a sentimental story of how he has to make ends meet while juggling school and household matters. PapaKiki does just that; however, rather than focusing more on issues close to heart like coping with the loss of loved ones or the sacrifices needed to keep the family going, it explores more petty issues such as deciding on who should do the laundry or where the changing room should be. The potential is wasted, and a lot of time could have been spent on tackling more substantial themes.

PapaKiki also doesn’t fully utilize its material. There are a number of instances that could’ve been poignant, like the flashback exploring Yuuta’s initial disapproval towards his sister’s marriage with a man who has children, the major plot twist at the end of episode 2 and the climatic revelation of the truth to Hina towards the end of the series. Yet, they aren’t as heartfelt as they could’ve been because of poor execution. Rather than addressing them and exploring the emotional rollercoaster ride the characters go through, the show conveniently glosses over them just to keep the plot going and subsequently coming off as underwhelming.

PapaKiki is an example of a series that can do a lot with what it has on its plate, yet it doesn’t and hence lacks an emotive punch. It’s not a bad show: most of the characters are likable, some scenes are quite sentimental and there isn’t too much copious fanservice to spoil the ambiance. Feel has taken a positive step in the right direction by making an anime with potential that mirrors Usagi Drop, and quite honestly, I was hoping that it would be just as amazing, which was perhaps an unrealistic expectation. At one point, I thought this would be a sleeper hit but choosing to delve within its comfort zone of trivial issues proved to be a disappointment. This perhaps goes to show that having all the right ingredients for a great anime isn’t enough; there’s also the question of how to make full use of them.

The Rating: 5

Reviewed by: AC

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