Papa no Iu Koto o Kikinasai! – 02 Review
Papa no Iu Koto o Kikinasai! – Episode 02
As I sat down to watch this, I was prepared for another episode of generic harem-loli-incest-comedy. Wow, was I ever surprised! PapaKiki had transformed into a banal and half-assed attempt at sappy family drama. It was almost like watching a completely different series, and the change doesn’t seem to have improved PapaKiki one bit.
The episode opens with a replay of Yuuta (main guy) walking in on Sora (eldest sister) while she is changing in the bathroom. Then the show makes a complete U-turn, switches genres, and focuses on cutesy family dynamics between the sisters and their interactions with “uncle” Yuuta. We get to see them in every day action – eating snacks, playing video games, reheating leftovers for lunch, and Sora putting Hina (youngest sister) down for a nap. The fact that Sora has a crush on Yuuta is tediously re-stated and reinforced by her near constant blushing and embarrassment during their every interaction. Miu (middle sister) takes advantage of her sister’s weakness and uses it to mess with her (in normal sibling-meanness fashion) – during lunch, she asks Yuuta awkward questions about his love life and drops little hints that Sora likes him, making Sora very flustered and uncomfortable.
Yuuta falls asleep on the couch and has a sentimental dream/flashback about being raised by Yuri (his sister) after his parents’ deaths. He remembers taking a bath with his sister, falling asleep and floating blissfully into the vast cosmos of being on the receiving end of maternal affection, all to the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”. Meanwhile, Sora is putting a blanket over him, and the half-asleep Yuuta has a moment of dreamily confusing his past experiences with his sister and the present moment with his niece.
Shingo (the girls’ dad) barges in, discovers Yuuta asleep, but doesn’t recognize him because the girls have obviously played a prank and drawn all over Yuuta’s face and put a wig on him. Shingo flips, and proceeds to whoop Yuuta’s ass but Yuri jumps in and clears up the misunderstanding. Later at the dinner table the whole family is laughing and joking about the matter and Yuri drops the bomb on Yuuta – today’s babysitting was a “trial run” of sorts and that Yuri expects Yuuta to watch the girls while she and Shingo are away for a week-long business trip. Yuri apparently feels completely comfortable signing her little brother up for a week of babysitting because she simply (and probably correctly) assumes that Yuuta is a loser and doesn’t have anything else going on. Then the girls get in on it and whine a lot and somehow the whole thing is justified because of the girls’ cheesy wish that Yuri and Shingo could take a trip together to make up for the honeymoon they never got around to having.
Everything is happy and perfect, Yuri and Shingo leave town, and there’s another 10 minutes of watching the sisters and Yuuta do totally normal, cute, boring, everyday stuff. There is one scene worth noting – Yuuta takes the sisters outside to watch a meteor shower and in an over the top family values moment, the four proceed to sing an excruciatingly long and absolutely heinous version of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”. I only mention the scene in order to warn the viewer that they should fast forward through this scene if possible. Everything is happy and cheesy and perfect – unicorns and rainbows and filial piety abound (along with a tiny bit of loli-fan-service) – and while the four are sleeping, there is a news flash that Yuri and Shingo’s plane has crashed.
Then we jump forward to the memorial service (aka funeral) for Shingo and Yuri, after which the extended family is making decisions about what to do with the trio of girls. The family has decided to separate the sisters, apparently not out of heartlessness but due to the logistical nightmare of trying to put them all under one roof. Yuuta starts having flashbacks about when his own parents died and Yuri insisted that she and Yuuta would not be parted, volunteering to raise him by herself. The girls start crying and pleading not to be separated, and Yuuta dramatically offers to take them all into his one-room apartment. Despite protests (which are totally reasonable) from the other family members – things like reminding Yuuta that he is only biologically related to one out of the three girls – Yuuta stands his ground and proclaims that, “Family has to stay together.”
I wasn’t thrilled at the prospect of watching another loli-incest-harem anime, but after seeing Episode 02, I think I would have preferred the former over this week’s onslaught of cheese.
My main issue with the episode is that the vast majority of it was just watching the sisters and Yuuta do really boring things in a very sappy way. I’m sure that the point of it was to develop and give insight on the character’s personalities and their interpersonal dynamics, but it wasn’t done very well or very efficiently. Something like 15 out of 22 minutes was used to show that the sisters are cute and have a totally normal life. Really? The character’s (stereo-)types were already well established in Episode 01 – Hina is the moe-blob 3-year-old with a grating voice who serves the purpose of adding cuteness and a tangible/biological link between Yuuta and the girls; Miu is the mischievous, spunky, and overly mature 10-yr-old who exists primarily to make the show more comedic and drive the relationship between Yuuta and Sora; and Sora is a developing adolescent with a crush on her oniisan (or ojisan, same difference as far as the stereotype is concerned) and her role is ultimately that of providing loli-fan-service. We knew all that already.
The only “new” character development in the episode was Sora’s occasional maturity regarding domestic matters, like cleaning and taking care of Hina. While the possibility does exist that Sora will become a developed and dynamic main character, I’m convinced that the only reason this side of her was shown was in order to “legitimize” her as a potential romantic partner for Yuuta. Subtle things, like Yuuta’s half-asleep moment of counter-transference, Yuuta and Sora talking on the stairs after the younger girls have gone to bed, and Sora’s insistence on doing household chores – all add up to set the stage for a season full of “playing house”. They’ll be playing house, with Yuuta as Daddy (which was established in this episode) and Sora as Mommy. It’s not too farfetched, really. My understanding is that the eldest sibling often takes on a parent role for younger children, and extending those parental actions to the role of “partner” to the opposite-sex parent (when the same-sex parent is absent) is pretty common. For example, when the eldest child is a boy and there’s no dad around, the boy will step up (consciously or not) and start fulfilling some of the traditional Dad/Husband roles for Mom – like being in charge of children’s discipline, handling the family’s finances, rubbing Mom’s shoulders after a long day, or lending an ear when Mom needs to vent about her work/life troubles and stresses.
Anyways, please take all that with a grain of salt. I’ll have to admit that I’m an only child. And, on top of that, I am *not* a family psychologist. All I’m getting at is that I think the characterization of Sora as a potentially mature, motherly, house-wife-y sort of girl is going to play a large role in the episodes to come. Frankly, Sora as “Mommy” may be the only leg she has to stand on in order to compete with Raika for Yuuta’s affections. I’m not sure if anyone else noticed, but it doesn’t seem like Yuuta is romantically interested in Sora at all. Sure, he was shocked to see her mostly nude in the bathroom, but who wouldn’t be? Yuuta is interested in his age-appropriate, big-tittied, kinky senpai – Oda Raika.
The other problems I have with episode are fairly straightforward. I didn’t think the animation was as good as the first episode. It’s hard to say for sure if the drop in quality will be permanent, since this episode was mostly indoors and was focused on characterization, but I will say that all the cool light-tricks I especially liked in Episode 01 were largely absent. I also didn’t like how changing genres is as easy for PapaKiki as changing lanes, or changing clothes. And, I didn’t like how most of the episode had an exaggerated and unnaturally happy/cute feeling going on – even though I’m sure it was employed in order to maximize the emotional impact of Yuri and Shingo’s death later on, I found it to be over done. And, as a side note, I noticed that the news flash about the plane crash only said that Yuri and Shingo were missing, and *not* mangled-bodies-found-totally-irrefutably-and-undebatably-dead.
The only thing that really stood out for me about this episode of PapaKiki (and did last week also) was the continued “believability” of the characters. Other than the fact that Miu should probably be 12 instead of 10, I feel like all of the characters act in very realistic, situational, and age appropriate ways. For example, Yuuta’s passionate feelings about family staying together are obviously due to his experience of having lost his own parents, and Sora’s crush on Yuuta (and her subsequent embarrassment) seems really normal and is played well. The interactions between the girls are realistic, the objections the extended family had towards Yuuta taking in three girls were completely reasonable, and I even think that Yuri dumping a week’s worth of babysitting on Yuuta was totally believable (even though it was pretty sudden and inconsiderate). PapaKiki is special among anime in this regard, and it has a huge positive effect on my own interest in and the overall watchability of the series so far.
So, where is PapaKiki going? Well, obviously, the three girls are going to move in with Yuuta. And, obviously, there’s going to be some sparks between Raika and Sora. If the OP animation sequence is any indicator, one can only assume that the ecchi content will resume, and that’s going to be tricky. How will PapaKiki go about straddling the line between a happy, family values oriented show and the typical loli-harem-ecchi-hell? I’ve got no clue how they are going to be able to pull that off. If the show continues to have consistent believability, it may end up being really interesting. But who knows? So far, many of the themes that PapaKiki has touched upon are huge, and exploring them in the context of an anime could end up being revolutionary. Unfortunately, I’m just not convinced that PapaKiki is going to be the kind of series that can handle such potent (and often controversial) subject matter in an intelligent and thought-provoking way. I suppose I could be proven wrong at any moment… However, at this point I feel confident enough in telling the loli-fan-service and incest-harem fans to stick around, and advise all those interested in sensitive, cute, and savvy representations of non-traditional family drama to go re-watch Usagi Drop. Yuuta’s no sweetheart like Daikichi, and Sora is nothing like Rin-chan, so if that’s what you were expecting, flee for your lives.
Episode Rating: 4.5/10