Papa no Iu Koto o Kikinasai! – 12 Review
Papa no Iu Koto o Kikinasai! – Episode 12
PapaKiki is truly a strange series. In this really mind boggling way, it somehow manages to throw a messy mix of genres together and come out with something that is relatively decent. That being said, if you absolutely hate family drama and really over-the-top moe little girls, then PapaKiki would probably be your worst nightmare. But, if you’re into that sort of thing, then this might just be the series you’ve been waiting for.
Release-Date: Winter Season 2012
Number of Episodes: 12
Synopsis: College student Yūta Segawa is suddenly given custody of his older sister’s three daughters, aged 14, 10, and 3. They’re now stuck living together in a 10 square meter apartment. Meanwhile Raika, the object of his affection, has a fondness of cuteness, and his unexpected arrivals may finally offer an opportunity for them to get together.
I’ve honestly seen very few series that inspired such an inconsistent reaction in me like PapaKiki has done. One episode I would be loving it and the next I’d be rolling my eyes and drowning in a melodramatic cheese-fest. I think this may be one of those animes that’s best viewed all in one sitting – I’ve got a feeling that doing so would minimize the roller coaster effect that it can have.
Before I give the wrong impression and somehow come across as having hated it, let me say that PapaKiki has some real strengths that make it stand out from the pack. I’m a big fan of continuity within a series, and PapaKiki does the continuity thing really well… In a sort of strange and unexpected way. PapaKiki is also an unexpectedly realistic show, if one can manage to make the leap of faith that the nearly-outlandish premise requires.
The main characters are surprisingly well-developed, and they are well equipped with believable backgrounds and motivations. For example, Yuuta’s sudden decision to adopt all three girls seemed crazy, but as the series progressed it revealed more about Yuuta’s experience of being raised by his sister and the values that she instilled in him as a child. PapaKiki handles this well – it isn’t just slapped on at the end or briefly mentioned in one episode – through her (minimal) screen time, and each character’s memories of her, Yuuta’s sister is portrayed as the sort of character who would leave such a profound imprint on Yuuta’s future ideas and choices regarding family. The girls are decent characters too. Far from being simply moe-blobs, each one of them really has a distinct personality and acts very consistently within their own characterization. Sure, they are still extremely moe, but I appreciated that the series made the effort to show that each girl had her own feelings and coping mechanisms to deal with the tragedy of losing her parents.
The supporting characters were my favorites in the show. The SS Club crew was brilliant. Even the pervy lolicon club president – he was gross and amazingly annoying, but somehow managed to stay charming (but if he had been on screen more, he probably would have lost that little bit of charm). Raika was by far my favorite character in the show, and I wish we could have seen more of her. She was so close to being a generic stereotype main female character, but somehow managed to evade getting pigeonholed. Strong, beautiful, talented, incredibly weird, and kind of kinky, complete with a heaving bosom… but she never fell into the trap of being a typical tsundere or harem member. PapaKiki would have gained at least a whole point on its rating if there could have been more Raika and less Hina (the youngest of the sisters)… and less singing of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. Yes, yes, I understand that the Twinkle Twinkle part was really important for the continuity of the family-values themes, but it was just soooo grating to listen to.
There were a few things that were left hanging in the end (like Sora’s unresolved crush on Yuuta and the unresolved Raika and Yuuta relationship) but even though they played major parts in the story, leaving them unaddressed didn’t detract much from the larger message of the show. I had a bit of an issue with the last episode’s explanation of where they stood with the rest of their family. Essentially, Yuuta kidnapped the girls, which was sort of okay since the one Aunt knew what was going on, I suppose. But that’s not really the sort of thing that would be okay for very long – if nothing else, social services or another aunt and uncle would step in and break up the party. At least the family could have helped out financially before the very end, right? Well, it probably wouldn’t have bothered me as much if the rest of the show hadn’t generally done such a good job with tying up loose ends and explaining what was going on in each character’s head, but in all actuality there probably just wasn’t enough time to go deeply into the drama with the extended family. Oh, most importantly: they never found out for sure that the girls’ parents were dead. Last I checked, they had only been declared missing and their bodies hadn’t been found or anything. I was just so sure throughout the whole show that the parents would come back in the last episode and save the day… but they didn’t.
The main problem I had with PapaKiki was how much it felt like a rollercoaster. Don’t get me wrong – it worked well enough, but something about it felt kind of jarring. There were some real tearjerker moments throughout the series, mainly centered on Hina not understanding that her parents were dead and the various harsh practical realities of their situation. Watching the girls choose between buying sweets to eat on the spot or buying vegetables to make meals for a week, seeing how exhausted they all were from working so hard and trying to keep up appearances for each other, things like that were done incredibly well in the show. Very few animes have made me cringe with pity and sympathy as often as I did watching this one. So there were all these really dramatic moments with lots of wailing and crying, but in between all of those moments were really lighthearted and cute things. It wasn’t in the way that a heavy drama usually does it though, like inserting some comedy here and there to break up the viewer’s snot-blowing… It was somehow different, and ended up making me wonder if the creators really knew what genre they were aiming towards. After finishing the series, I can say that it is undoubtedly a family drama, but throughout, I found myself wondering, “Is this a college slice-of-life?” “Is this a harem-rom-com?” “Is this a family values show?” “Is this loli-ecchi?”
And before I wrap up, I would like to address the ecchi factor. I was fairly convinced that PapaKiki would just be a loli-harem-incest-fest in really poor taste. It wasn’t at all, but the first episode (or two) really gave off that vibe. While there continued to be a few panty-shots and a little fan-service here and there, the incest feeling was all but dropped by the third episode. Maybe the drama was just so overwhelming that any potential “sexiness” that may have been found in the underage girls had been lost? I think it had more to do with Yuuta’s unswerving non-attraction to his nieces, which was something I really appreciated. Now, I’ve got no problem with loli-incest-fan-service in general, but I had some serious doubts about how well it would work with a series that was purportedly about non-traditional family values.
That being said, I had to have a look at the manga since I had heard so many conflicting things about it out there on the interwebs. I make absolutely no claim to having any sort of grasp on how all these various anime series and their related video games and dating sims and posters and figures and etc etc all relate to each other. I’ll probably never be geeky enough to really delve into the myriad multi-verses of anime spin-offs and merchandise (even though I did buy a full set of Moyashimon figures, but that’s another story for another day). Anyways, I found various different manga associated with PapaKiki, of all levels of maturity ratings. Obviously, I poked through them all for a bit, but couldn’t help spending a little extra time on the “mature content” ones (all in the name if research, mind you). Ooooh boy! I’m no prude, but this was some pretty “mature” stuff. There were nipples all over the place (but all of the underage girl-parts were censored to at least some extent) and other things I probably shouldn’t mention here. That’s fine and dandy, but it made me really wonder about PapaKiki… The anime made a clear and distinct choice to really focus on the heart-warming family-drama stuff, despite the suggestive nature of nearly all the related merchandise. Curious.
PapaKiki is a decent watch, and probably really enjoyable for viewers who like tons of heart-wrenching family-drama stuff. It’s not on the same level as Usagi Drop, but in the end it covered a lot of similar themes and sometimes even exceeded it in depth and sheer emotional pull. There’s a bit of loli-fan-service, but it’s not overwhelming and mostly disappears after the first couple of episodes. It has consistently good animation that’s bold and colorful, with a lot of attention to details. The only thing that keeps it from being really good is this vague messiness throughout the series, which is in some way uncomfortably realistic. If you like cute kids and are a little burned out by generic anime tropes, it’s worth a shot. PapaKiki is definitely different, and it may even surprise you along the way.