Y’know, this series actually looks pretty cute. A dude raising three young girls to the best of his ability—that’s different! It would’ve been great if it wasn’t bogged down by questionable themes and a lot of emotional constipation. If only…
Something interesting that I discovered upon researching this anime is that the light novel source was written by the same person who did, lo and behold, Mayoi Neko Overrun!, which I re-watched recently. I found the similarities between the series pretty ironic, prominently with the amount of sexual fan service and enthusiastic weirdo characters. However, Papakiki, as I will now refer to this series whose name is too long, is far more serious in tone. This is most evidenced by the fact that characters actually die, and the consequences of such are not taken lightly.
Some may read that and go, “Hey! Spoilers!” Well yes, while technically this is true, it’s also disclosed in the series’s synopsis. A clumsy dude is in college trying to live his best life. Unfortunately for all involved, his sister and brother-in-law die from a plane crash, leaving his three nieces without a home. He takes it upon himself to take the nieces in with him, despite his family’s strong disapproval. But through the power of big speeches, they begrudgingly agree, for the sake of not separating the three girls. Or something.
This is dragged out all the way up through the end of episode two, so the synopsis actually describes up to episode three—quite a stretch. I couldn’t help but prepare myself for the inevitable death scene… only to find out it’s almost glossed over. By the way, they died, and then we cut straight to the funeral. No first discovery, no initial torment. They essentially skip what could have been a very visceral moment that the audience could empathize/sympathize with. Any other mention is only taken with some moody head turns or hesitant conversations. A total loss in opportunity for emotional fortitude.
At the same time, this is almost expected given the author’s previous work (that I’ve seen). I went into this with minimal expectations, given that my previous score for this was 6/10 and, as stated previously, this dude did Mayoi Neko Overrun!. And while I did not “re-finish” this series (got through 7 episodes), I don’t think it’s terrible. Passable might be the best adjective. I do appreciate the premise of bringing familial bonds into the picture, and for the most part the series handles it amicably… ignoring the very palpable but generally minimal incestual pedophile vibes. This isn’t for show either, as the oldest niece, aged fourteen, has romantic feelings for the male lead, her uncle. Jury’s still out on the middle child, aged ten, though she seems more of the mischievous cupid figure than a victim of romantic musings. As one would expect from a three-year-old, she has little bearing in any of this, though it does not stop the series from the ever-so-occasional shot of her in the nude, her hair large enough to cover any sensitive area. Concerning.
What about the series outside of this, though? What about the parts where the male lead is just a clumsy college student? Well, they hardly show him at school at all, instead having him deal with guardian-related duties to compensate for having those to guard. Thankfully(?), we have the members of a really odd club to fill the void, including an odd female character with a distinct lack of social skills (rings similar to the cat girl from Neko Overrun) that the male lead has feelings for. There’s also the club president, who is a stereotypical representation of a disgusting otaku who probably preys on little girls, which the series plays off for laughs. Seems satirical, but given this author, I wonder about that. They serve their role in creating (or aiding) in episode-specific conflicts and little more, with those conflicts usually pertaining to the three girls or their well-being. I suppose “slice-of-life” is definitely appropriate; it’s a slice of just about anything, with comedy and drama rearing themselves whenever the story feels it convenient. Again, kind of like Mayoi Neko Overrun!, only more grounded in reality.
I once put that this series has “bullshit resolutions” to it, which I don’t entirely agree with anymore. They’re convenient, though most are simply, “Well hey, this dude’s trying, so let’s give him a break.” That doesn’t seem so unreasonable to me. I like to think people are willing to compromise with difficult situations, dependent on severity. This anime just happens to take advantage of it on occasion. Regardless, there wasn’t too much that seemed off about the situations.
What ultimately doesn’t help Papakiki‘s case is that “papa” himself is booooooooring. Yeah, same male lead archetype that’s good at heart, hard-working when need-be, and often flustered by anything regarding emotions. Wow, real interesting. One slight commendation can be made in placing them in a situation where they actually do things, as he’s shown trying to process all that raising three kids comes with. He works, he makes sacrifices, he plays with them, and he tries what he can to raise them. Great, he’s got that down pat. Otherwise, same character we always see. Would it kill authors to make a male lead be witty or something?
This got a little messy, kind of like the series itself. Ah well, I hope people get the gist of it. A series that, while including some valiant positions, also includes a lot of various niche, potentially problematic messaging that gives it a bit of a pervy feel. For emphasis, watch the OP for this series and tell me if you feel comfortable calling this “wholesome.” (I would link it, but I can’t find it on Youtube.) Like a Frankenstein’s monster of trying to tell a story of parental responsibility and exploiting that same position for weeb points. It’s certainly something else.
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