Listen Girls, I'm Your Father
Yuta is just a normal university student trying to do his best in a small apartment. His sister married a guy with two young girls, and they had another child two years ago. They go on vacation, leaving Yuta to watch the girls. Disaster strikes and they never return. The family discusses how to deal with the situation, but no one wants to take all three girls. In order to keep them together, Yuta volunteers to take them all in.
Yuta struggles to make ends meet, and it's tough with four people crammed into a small apartment. But in the end it's family that matters most, and he has to do his best to keep it together.
"Listen to me Girls, I'm Your Father" is the release name, although the Japanese "Papa no Iu Koto o Kikinasai!" is probably better translated to "Listen to your Father". The Japanese title is often shortened to Papakiki, which is how I'll refer to it here because this review sounds incoherent using the English title.
After the first or second episode I wondered what possessed me to start watching this show. What am I, a masochist? While it seems like Papakiki might be a family based drama, there's a lot that keeps it from truly being one. I was especially disheartened by fan service, which is inappropriate for a whole slew of reasons. Yet by the end I didn't actually hate this anime, which is a bit of a miracle.
The premise is simple, but pretty heavy topic. The goal of this anime being a light hearted watch means the show mostly glosses over the whole parent death topic. It brings it up from time to time, but generally skips over it a short time later. I found that pretty hard to accept actually. If you're expecting this show to be a touching family drama, don't. It never really gets deep enough to be that.
Most of the characters are pretty generic, and some are downright annoying. Yuta's classmate who likes little girls way too much needed to go away. The girls aren't especially strong either. The youngest drove me nuts with her obnoxious cute talking, the middle one didn't seem necessary, and the oldest unfortunately has a crush on Yuta. I really didn't like the crush part, but it's unclear if that's going anywhere, or will simply be a harmless phase.
The show gets interesting in how other characters interact with the girls. Yuta's friend Koichi for instance, occasionally acts like a big brother to the middle girl. The character who really grabbed me was Yuta's love interest Raika. She's beautiful with a stoic composure making her seem aloof. She is however kind hearted, even if she doesn't show emotion. That's more of an anime archetype so I wrote her off as plot fodder, but her relationship with the girls really made her character. The oldest of the girls, Sora; is jealous of Raika, but Raika finds Sora absolutely adorable. Sora can't cook, so Raika spends time teaching her. There's an odd rival/mother/friend chemistry between the two that has the potential to become really good material in the future. It doesn't quite get that far at this point, but good for what it is.
This title appeared destined for a drama storm around the end, but it never really has one. The biggest struggle deals with the simple topic of exhaustion. Everyone tries their best, but the reality of physical limitations starts to cast doubts on the situation working long term. Even if well intended, you can't skip meals, and cut sleep forever to make a schedule work. It may not be flamboyant melodrama typical of anime, but I like how the show comes down to a very down to earth problem which is easy to relate to.
I'm not going to pretend I loved this show, but me rating this as average is not something I would have expected when I started this series. I still find the fan service highly objectionable, and the bath scene every other episode very unnecessary. The light hearted orientation gimps touching family drama from ever forming, which is probably what most expect from this show, and why I think many will put down Papakiki. It's more generic than it ought to be considering the setup. Since it mostly has its heart in the right spot, I'd say it's not a bad watch overall.
Miu: Now my house is smaller, so all the fun is packed together.
Sora: Girls are made of secrets.
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