Aishiteruze Baby

September 7, 2007

I’m sure every high school kid at that age wants to enjoy their youth. Like hanging out with their buddies, getting a boyfriend/girlfriend and wear the trendiest fashion clothes or have the latest gadgets/gizmos. So what happens to all that if ‘parenthood’ comes early for him/her? Will you stop doing those things you love or will you carry on and don’t give a damn (soooorry) or will you try to juggle them both?
 
Don’t worry, Aishiteruze Baby isn’t an anime about young teenagers who get pregnant during their high school years. In this 26 episode series filled with slice of life lessons, drama, a little romance and comedy, you’ll get to see the main protagonist, Kippei Katakura, whose normal high school life gets a dramatic turn when he is entrusted into taking care of his 5 year old cousin, Yuzuyu Sakashita.
 
But here is the funny thing about Kippei. You see, Kippei is the high school playboy and would not miss the chance to flirt with any girls he sees. In addition, Kippei himself is quite lanky and good looking, thus it’s no wonder most of the girls don’t mind flirting around with him too. They also think that he isn’t serious in having a serious relationship. But if you think Kippei is the perverted kind of guy, then think again. Good thing is he isn’t like those desperate perverted losers who can’t seem to control their sexual urges and outrage that poor girl’s modesty. No doubt he likes to flirt, he is quite the easy-going type and at times I notice that he can be quite densed.
 
So as seen in the first episode Kippei comes back home to his surprise to find that his big sister, Reiko, had turned into a 5 year old kid! Of course, Reiko is the dominant and controlling type of gal and wouldn’t hesitate to give her bro a whack on the head or some other kind of beating/abuse. So the Katakura family had a meeting as they told Kippei about Yuzuyu and how her single parent mom, Miyako, had disappeared. The funny part is that the family members decide to hand Yuzuyu under Kippei’s care. What the? Don’t they know Kippei’s a playboy? But even if it’s to turn him into a more responsible guy, shouldn’t they at least share the burden of taking care of Yuzuyu? Yeah, something about what Reiko said about having a responsibility and a normal life.
 
Well, let’s see. I’m sure their grandpa and grandma are too old to take responsible of Yuzuyu because they may have a hard time keeping up with the energetic little girl and may even hurt themselves. I’m guessing their dad and mom are busy with their work so they can’t dedicate their time for Yuzuyu. Then they have a younger 12 year old brother, Satsuki, who looks and sounds emotionless, claims that he isn’t good with children in his typical monotonous ominous sounding voice. Okay, at least he’s honest in a way. I suppose it’s better than saying I don’t want to share the responsibility of taking care of a 5 year old. What about Reiko herself? I’m sure this cosmetologist doesn’t want the perception of other people to think of her as old because they might misinterpret the situation that Yuzuyu’s her child. So all that’s left is Kippei. Too bad boy. Before he knows what hit him, he has to take care of his 5 year old cousin. But the ironic thing is that though they entrust Yuzuyu to Kippei, Reiko is always ‘concern’ about what Kippei would do to Yuzuyu and keeps an eye on them sometimes. So like I said, if you want something done, better do it yourself. I guess in this way if something wrong happens to Yuzuyu, they have somebody to point their finger at. Just speculating.
 
Yuzuyu on the other hand though she knows that her mom is missing, she looks like she’s handling the whole thing pretty well. I mean, any 5 year old kid who’s quite close to his/her mother would cry inconsolably asking for his/her mom. But for Yuzuyu, she seems bubbly though deep down in her heart she still misses her mom. Thus, Yuzuyu has to live under the roof of the Katakura household. Not only that, she sleeps in Kippei’s bedroom too! I though at least bedtime she would go sleep in Reiko’s room but nope. I suppose they took the meaning of entrusting Yuzuyu totally to Kippei seriously. But don’t worry, Kippei isn’t a pervert as mentioned nor he has lolita fetish. He’s a good guy.
 
By the way, I happen to notice something about Yuzuyu’s voice acting. The way her voice sound, it’s like an authentic 5 year old kid as compared to your typical and usual grown up female voice who’s trying to make a high pitched squeaky and childish voice. Yup, and I was right, Yuzuyu’s voice actress, Miyu Tsuzuruhara, is actually only 10 years old around the time this anime was created. Now isn’t that refreshing? Plus, don’t you think Yuzuyu herself look so cuuuuuuute and adorable? Okay, so maybe her big innocent eyes did the trick.
 
Thus, over the course of the series, you’ll get to see how Kippei and Yuzuyu interact with each other so much so that a bond is created between them. Yeah, Kippei is like Yuzuyu’s mother-cum-father-cum-brother-cum-friend. All in one. You’ll also notice how Kippei’s character gradually changes over time, not that he’s being that different from the beginning, but you’ll see that he has become more mature and responsible by the end of the series. Plus, in order not to make this entire series a Kippei-Yuzuyu show, there are other characters thrown in which will bring some tension and test the relationship between Kippei and Yuzuyu. What? People who don’t want Kippei and Yuzuyu to be together? You might be surprised.
 
Since Yuzuyu has started living with the Katakuras, she has to transfer to a new kindergarten near their home, Asou Kindergarten. So once again it’s Kippei’s job to send Yuzuyu there and pick her up once it’s over. Man, it’s gonna be a busy schedule since he himself has to attend school. Yuzuyu has her first heartbreak when she overhears her kindergarten teachers talking about her dead father and recently gone missing mother. Because of that, Yuzuyu runs away from the kindergarten. When news of Yuzuyu had run away reached Kippei, he has to search all over the place for her. Firstly, he’s concern about her. Secondly, she’s his responsibility and if something happens to her, Kippei knows that he’s gonna get something worse than divince retribution. Okay, just kidding on the last part. Anyway Kippei finally finds Yuzuyu crying alone at the playground. As the series progresses, you’ll notice that this playground becomes some sort of their ‘refuge’ and meeting place. Kippei tries to comfort Yuzuyu and finds out something about Yuzuyu thinks her mom went missing because she’s mad at her for not finishing her onigiri. I guess those playboy charms come in handy (just kidding) as Kippei manages to comfort Yuzuyu and promises to make some onigiri for her lunch tomorrow, making Yuzuyu all smiles again. And that’s just the start of a beautiful erm… friendship?
 
So episode 2 sees Kippei making Yuzuyu’s onigiri’s lunch. Of course everybody else has their doubts but since Kippei put his heart and sould into it, no doubt it looks awkward but the taste isn’t compromised. Because of the weird looking onigiri, 1 of Yuzuyu’s kindy pals, Ken, made fun of it before Yuzuyu slaps him! Natural reaction is that he cried like a baby. Which kid wouldn’t. Of course Yuzuyu’s keeping silent about the whole thing but is acting strangely when Kippei walks her home. But soon Yuzuyu confesses what she has done but Kippei understands and comforts her once more with words of encouragement.
 
Since Yuzuyu’s back to her genki self in episode 3, her relationship with Kippei seems to be jealousy of a chubby female named Kyoko Onda is stalking them. Not like the 2 notices her but to cut things short, Kyoko thinks Yuzuyu is a competitor for Kippei! And she’s planning to do something onto that little girl. Oh the horror! But before that, let me just introduce the other notable characters first. In Yuzuyu’s class, there’s this stuck-up, obnoxious, b*tchy little girl, Marika (so young already like that. Haih…), who doesn’t like Yuzuyu much at first. That’s because she got jealous when she saw how handsome Kippei is and wants to be his bride! She even tells her mom that she wants to have a brother like him tomorrow! So mostly Marika may say some nasty things to Yuzuyu just to take her jealousy out on her but as the series progresses, they along with Ken, become like good friends. Remember how a girl magnet Kippei is. Yeah, it seems that nearly all the girls in school has fallen for his charms except the quiet and lonely looking Kokoro Tokunaga and her close (and sometimes busybody) girl pals, Aki Kagami and Mai Motoki, who’re in the same class with Kippei. You probably could’ve guessed that Kokoro and Kippei will become an item somewhere in the series due to the way they show things, though at first Kokoro doesn’t portray any love interests towards Kippei. Hmm… Maybe Kippei prefers to play hard to get.
 
Yuzuyu wants a new set of crayons in episode 4 so much so she tries to steal but is stopped by Kippei in time. Why? Because that fat ugly stalker girl (sorry but I prefer calling her this than her name) confronts Yuzuzyu at the park and throws away her old set of crayons. Poor Yuzuyu. Since Yuzuyu’s keeping silent about it, Kippei can’t help wonder something’s wrong with her but don’t know what’s really bothering her. Thus in episode 5, because Kippei got stopped by some grandma asking for directions and good ol’ Kippei has to oblige, Yuzuyu is waiting at the kindergarten when she sees a guy which looks like Kippei and rushes towards him. But after she found out it wasn’t him, she tries to go back to the kindergarten but instead meets that fat ugly stalker girl. Yuzuyu’s paralyzed in fear as fat ugly stalker girl is gonna slap her when Kippei shows up in time and asks her if she’s seen anybody who’s bothering Yuzuyu (what dense guy). Of course fat ugly stalker girl backs off and goes away. Next day in school, Kippei gets help by Kokoro (surprise surprise) who tells him the person who may be bothering Yuzuyu. Eventually Kippei confronts fat ugly stalker girl and tells her to leave Yuzuyu alone. Even though she confessed that she loved him, Kippei just thanked her for her feelings as she promised she won’t bother Yuzuyu again. Soon they parted ways and that’s the last you’ll see of her. Yipee! I was hoping to read between the lines what Kippei said and meant was "Get out of here! Don’t show your face ever again!". Haha. Just kidding. And to show his gratitiude to Kokoro, Kippei hugs her from behind. Erm… Can he do that? Well, I suppose he still didn’t get rid of his playboy attitude.
 
It’s Marika’s turn to poke a little fire in Yuzuyu’s life in episode 6 as she mentions why Yuzuyu’s kindy uniform is different from the rest. Though Kippei and Reiko soon notices about this and went shopping with Yuzuyu to get her a new uniform, it seems Yuzuyu is quite fond of her old one as they find out that this old uniform was bought by her mom and since mummy is lost, Yuzuyu thinks that wearing her uniform would make it easier for her to look for Yuzuyu, especially that trademark yellow hat she’s always wearing. But in the end, Yuzuyu manages to banish the ghost of her past (with a little help from Kippei’s persuasion) as she puts on her new uniform the next day and becomes to her bubbly self once again. Episode 7 is Yuzuyu’s sports day and it’s quite funny and ironic to see the family members who initially declined to follow Kippei this coming Sunday at first, but changed their mind when they find out that Kippei’s accompanying Yuzuyu to her school sports festival. So some weird games as everybody has their fun and Reiko is even recording the whole event on her camcorder. In the end everybody had a good time and enjoyed themselves. Yeah, especially Marika who still wants to get a piece of Kippei but somehow flunked at the final race.
 
Looks like Miyako’s still around as Yuzuyu receives a letter from her in episode 8. Miyako is walking around in some town and while she’s doing so, she spots a teddy bear in a shop which brings back memories of her and Yuzuyu. While Yuzuyu reads the letter which says how her mom won’t see her until she becomes much stronger, Yuzuyu silently prays for her mom to return. She’s really hoping for her to come back because she’s afraid she’ll forget how she look like. Poor girl. Meanwhile Kippei actually asks Kokoro to be his girlfriend. Well, Kokoro didn’t really give an answer but it didn’t seem like she rejected him either. As usual her concerned buddies moved in before Kippei could ask anymore questions. Soon another drama unfolds. Kippei finds out why Kokoro has always looked so lonely. That’s because Kokoro’s dad is getting remarried again since Kokoro’s mom has passed away. Because of that, Kokoro has to move and live alone in some apartment because she may be seen as ‘intruding’ her dad, though her father would still send her some money to support herself. This case also got. Not only that, Kokoro’s dad seems to think that since she’s always been doing things alone, she would be better off living by herself. What the?
 
So episode 9 though still has that Kippei-Yuzuyu moments (what’s with Kippei’s family members still trying to criticize his cooking. It doesn’t taste that bad doesn’t it?), it takes a little breather as it focuses more on Kokoro as she moves in to her new apartment. Kippei and Yuzuyu bumps into Kokoro right outside her new apartment when they’re returning from shopping and wants to help her unpack and unload her stuffs. But Kokoro just tells them to go away as she walks back into her apartment. Next day, Kippei’s supposed to pick up Yuzuyu from kindy but overslept (what the? He’s missing lessons and the teachers couldn’t be bothered with Kippei missing?). As he comes back to class to take his bag, he meets Kokoro sitting alone and the 2 chat. So some sad story about Kokoro’s past. Bla bla bla. It’s a little disheartening to see Kokoro breaking down. Before you know it, Kippei locked lips with Kokoro! And I suppose she likes it because she didn’t slap him or pushed him away but obliges him. At the same time, Yuzuyu is waiting at the kindy for Kippei when some stranger appears to pick her up.
 
Lucky it’s no stranger. In episode 10, it’s acutally Kippei’s mom who came to pick Yuzuyu since Kippei’s so busy doing you know what lah. So when Kippei gets back, he gets some lecture from Reiko. See, it’s easy to point the finger at him, right? But the main thing about this episode is that Yuzuyu feels a little jealous after coming to know that Kippei may be want to be with his girlfriend Kokoro more than her now. Yeah, a lot of spacing out from the little girl. I guess Kokoro really does like Kippei as she confess to him that she feels calm around him and even lets Kippei’s hand go under her shirt! WOAH! He could’ve got even creative than that if not for her buddies who showed up. Well, Kokoro gives the green light for Kippei to be his girlfriend but with 1 condition. That is, to love and look only at her and no other girls. That’s gonna be hard but he’ll manage. Later Yuzuyu and Kokoro met at the playground and Yuzuyu confirms Kokoro’s relationship with Kippei. Because of that, the next day Yuzuyu doesn’t want to get between them and decides to walk home alone.
 
Due to that, Yuzuyu gets lost in episode 11. And the Katakuras are getting worried so much so they all go out to search for her in the middle of the night. Kokoro even lends a helping in finding Yuzuyu. Finally Kippei manages to find Yuzuyu alone at the playground and have their usual chat. Good thing nothing happened to Yuzuyu as they head back. In a way Kokoro ‘breaks up’ with Kippei because she thinks the person he needs right now is Yuzuyu. Is she admitting defeat to a little girl? Don’t worry, it won’t stay that way for long. Like time heals all wounds, you’ll notice that Kippei and Kokoro’s relationship will gradually get back on track. I felt that episode 12 is a filler episode because since it’s Yuzuyu’s day off, Kippei’s mom suggests her to make and bring a bento for Kippei at school. Of course they can’t let her really go alone as Reiko watches her from behind as she follows her. As usual Yuzuyu gets lost but manages to find her way to Kippei’s school. Once there, everybody’s surprised and in shock to know that this is the cute little girl that Kippei’s been taking care of. I guess this also scores with the other girls. Yeah, it increases the credibility of a playboy. Kippei has a taste of Yuzuyu’s hand-made onigiris and loves it, making Yuzuyu quite happy.
 
Miyako did make a brief comeback in episode 13 but since she didn’t want her little baby to know her presence, she’s just watching for afar. It must be heartbreaking for a mother to see her child playing so happy and she can’t do anything about it. Because so, the kindergarten teachers notice a strange person watching over the kids and thinks it’s a stalker or kidnapper. You know, Kippei isn’t just a hunk and a hit with school girls but with the kindergarten teachers as well. Yeah, they really like him too. I suppose they’re using this opportunity to get close to him and in a way ‘recruits’ him to investigate that mysterious female stalker. Eventually Kippei bumps into her and realizes that she’s his aunt Miyako. So they had some chat like how Miyako doesn’t want Kippei to tell anybody about her presence, especially Yuzuyu as she’s just here to watch her and some story about how she hit Yuzuyu before after her husband passed away and she doesn’t want it to happen again. Also, she plans to work and get some money so that she could raise Yuzuyu properly. With that, Kippei says that he’ll wait for her return, like how Yuzuyu has always. After they’ve parted, it seems Kippei wants to let Yuzuyu have a look at his mom as he rushes and brings Yuzuyu along with him. I’m not sure how Kippei knew the train Miyako was taking but all in good timing, the train that Miyako’s in passed the crossings Kippei and Yuzuyu stood waiting and for the first time the eyes of the mother and daughter met. I thought Miyako said not to let Yuzuyu know about her presence. Maybe Kippei couldn’t resist it, couldn’t he? I wonder how this will emotionally affect Yuzuyu now that she has seen her mom.
 
It seems in episode 14, a girl named Nattsu wants to flirt with Kippei but gets a surprised that Kippei isn’t really interrested in her. Well yeah, at first it seems to piss off Kokoro because Nattsu is hugging Kippei and the likes. But eventually, Nattsu backs down and accepts the fact that Kippei has become more responsible. And there’s 1 part where Kippei and Kokoro hugged each other so openly right in front of their classmates! Woah. Besides that, Yuzuyu seems to have a soft spot on another kid, Shouta, who’s in the same kindergarten but a different class. Uh-huh, they’re having quite some fun there in kindergarten especially playing with the drinking water fountain. Remember people, don’t waste water.
 
No doubt Shouta seems to be quite a happy looking kid, but her mom seems to be totally opposite. In episode 15, it’s parent’s day and we see Shouta’s mom is the gloomy kind of lady and seems to get angry at Shouta for every little thing he does even though it’s not his fault. Makes you feel like you want to slap her in the face. But you can’t blame her, she’s under a lot of stress as her husband is unemployed and people are talking behind her back. So Kippei and Reiko comes to Yuzuyu’s kindergarten and her class put on some dance. But the shocking part is that when Shouta showed his mom some origami thing he made, the other moms laughed and this made Shouta’s mom angry that her son is doing something silly. With that she slaps Shouta and Yuzuyu saw it! Yuzuyu cries in horror as Kippei and Reiko tries to calm the situation but instead, Shouta’s mom chides back at Kippei like saying how he’s taking this babysitting thing as a game. If your’ve noticed, Shouta does have some bruise marks over his body but he lied and says that he just fell down.
 
Thus Kippei decides to have a little chat with Shouta’s mom in episode 16 as he visits her apartment. It’s ironic to have a teenager telling her stuffs but Kippei does make some sense as he himself has been taking care of Yuzuyu. Later when Shouta’s mom came back from grocery shopping, Shouta rushes out and decides to help her but dropped the groceries. His mom snapped and slapped him. Unfortunately, Shouta fell down the stairs. In her horror, she then began to realize what she’s doing. So lots of flashbacks as we see how Shouta’s mom became a woman full of hatred. Something like how Shouta’s always crying when he was a baby and the other people criticized her upbringing ways. I guess in a way this accident made her realize how much she still loves her boy. Though in the end the doctor said Shouta is okay and nothing serious, later Shouta tells Yuzuyu that he and his family are gonna move to the countryside so that they could start all over again. Though Yuzuyu’s sad but they promise to keep in touch with each other.
 
After that sad Shouta story which ended well, episode 17 is another short filler episode because it’s the summer vacation and Kippei is taking Yuzuyu to the pools. Yup, you’ll get to see the girls in their swimsuits. Unfortunately, Yuzuyu doesn’t like pools very much as she’s putting up her I-don’t-wanna-go attitude. Anyway, Kippei manages to bring Yuzuyu there. It seems Kokoro and her pals are at the pools too. It’s quite funny to hear Kippei gowing gah-gah and making that funny noise when he saw Kippei in her swimsuit. Is it because he’s surprised or is he lovin’ it? So Kippei tries to give swimming lessons but Yuzuyu is still protesting to it. Kippei finds out her fear of pools was because she fell into 1 while she was younger and because of that water entered her nose and was quite painful. These events can be quite traumatic for a little kid. Then there’s this funny part where 2 guys are gonna hit on Kokoro. She then asks Yuzuyu to come to her and claims that Yuzuyu’s her daughter. Those guys then backed off as they don’t wanna mess with a married woman. Hahaha. That should work. So Yuzuyu and Kokoro had a little chat and the former is thinking that if Kippei and Kokoro could be together, then she don’t have to go through the torment of those swimming lessons. But Kokoro told Yuzuyu how her mummy would be proud if she could go underwater. With that, Yuzuyu doesn’t fear the pool anymore and heads straight into the pool. Kippei must be wondering what happened. At the end of the day, Kippei and Yuzuyu heads home only to find a red haired girl pointing a water gun at Kippei. Yuzuyu recognizes her as her cousin, Miki Sakashita. Miki claims that she’s here to take Yuzuyu home. Oh the plot thickens.
 
Back at the Katakuras home, Miki tells them that her parents sent her here to pick Yuzuyu home at the start of episode 18. I’m not sure how Miki’s related to them but Reiko eventually quips her as an outsider ;). While discussing about Yuzuyu, Reiko wonders why Miki has come by herself. And Miki is the tough girl type. Yeah, she’s got some burn marks on her wrist and she wields some sort of a chain which she claims is just used as part of her key chain. Of course Kippei confiscates it since such dangerous things are not allowed in the house. Not only that, since the family isn’t gonna hand over Yuzuyu to her just like that, Miki’s planning to stay at their place until they do. Okay, I’m not sure if Miki has fallen for Kippei’s charms because that night she’s on top of him while Kippei’s asleep. Gasp! Nope, just toying with him. Of course Yuzuyu tells Miki that Kippei’s got Kokoro as his girlfriend and Miki wants to see her herself.
 
The next day, Miki’s parents arrived at the Karakura’s doorstep and it’s like they barged in to find Miki. Miki’s dad proceeds to slap her in front of everybody. Poor Yuzuyu. Another slapping incident. Miki’s dad furious that Miki came here on her on but soon Miki ran away in tears. Kippei goes after her. Of course Miki’s dad realized that it’s just wrong to barge in and raise his voice in someone else’s house so he apologized and received some lecturing from Reiko. Kippei finds Miki sitting defectedly at the playground. The 2 chat as we find Miki is actually running away from home and that the burn marks on her hand are done by herself to see what it’s like hurting someone else. Huh? I mean some flashback in school whereby she gets bullied by her classmates, who’re asking her to try dying! What the? Those sadist! I think Miki should try getting the Jigoku Tsuushin and get Enma Ai. Yuzuyu soon arrives and chats with Miki as Kippei heads of to buy some ice cream. Miki then said some words a 5 year old shouldn’t hear. She’s saying that she doesn’t want to go home and that she wants to die! Gasp! Because of that, she intends bringing back Yuzuyu as a replacement of herself to her parents. I wonder if Yuzuyu understood all that.
 
To cut things short, Miki plans to kidnap Yuzuyu in episode 19. Oh great. Now what is this delinquent up to. But before all that, we see a flashback of Miki and he she came to be a bad apple. Back then her hair was her original black colour and she was your typical happy and do-your-best student who wants to make her parents proud. Then of course all that changed when her classmates give her that try dying line. But mainly the rest of this episode is filled with nothing much ado as we see Kippei, Yuzuyu and Miki doing some summer chores and stuffs as Miki ponder about things. In the end when Miki decides to go ahead with her kidnapping plan, she enters Kippei’s room to find and take back her confiscated chain and tells Yuzuyu to come with her because she’s gonna bring Yuzuyu to her mother.
 
Of course that’s just a lie. In episode 20, Miki brings Yuzuyu back to her family but Miki saw from outside how happy her family is without her. This got Miki to think that they don’t need a substitute Miki. Little Yuzuyu asks where’s her mom as Miki confesses that she had lied to her and that Yuzuyu doesn’t need her mom because she’s got Kippei before breaking down. Yuzuyu feels something wrong and wants to go home. Meanwhile, Kippei notices Miki’s chain is missing and concludes that she may have already taken Yuzuyu along with her. The Katakuras soon receive a phone call from Miki asking Kippei to come get Yuzuyu as they’re waiting atop some building. So more flashbacks from Miki as we see back then she saw how a teacher beat up a student mercilessly for cheating on an exam. When Miki approached the teacher and questioned his method, he retaliated by ignoring her like putting her seat in 1 corner and left her name out of the attendance list. It’s like Miki never existed. Soon everyone starts ignoring her too. Miki couldn’t tell her parents her miserable life and it’s no wonder her parents got mad everytime something goes wrong and Miki didn’t tell them what really happened as she’s keeping silent. That’s when she dyed her hair red and got herself a chain as her protection.
 
Back to reality, Kippei arrives as Yuzuyu rushes to his side. Miki now is unstable as she’s starting to climb the building fence. Oh no. She’s gonna jump! She feels so lonely that no one cares of her existance that she thinks it’s okay to die. Poor Yuzuyu. Another thing a 5 year old shouldn’t witness. But thanks to Kippei’s words (and charms ;p), Miki aborted her plan but breaks down once again. Soon Kippei brings Miki back to her own home and tells her to smile instead of getting mad everytime her parents gets furious. Well it seems to work and with that a teary Miki confesses her wrongdoings and everything to them seeing they too are hurt by the fact that Miki tried to commit suicide. In the end, the family reconciles. But another good thing is that Yuzuyu mentions that she doesn’t understand what’s going on all this while (even when Miki tried to kill herself), but she’s glad everything turned out okay. Phew.
 
So after Miki’s story arc, it’s back to Kokoro’s in episode 21. Besides that funny part where tough girl Reiko gets freaked out because of a cockroach in the house (Kippei to the rescue once again), Kokoro is a little pissed because Kippei forgot to call her at all during the whole of summer. I can understand her feelings. Of course Kippei tries to make it up because he was busy with other girls like Yuzuyu and Miki. Also some art club guy wants Kokoro to model for him but Kokoro says she’ll think about it. It’s so obvious that guy has a crush on Kokoro. Anyway, Miki makes a brief appearance as she comes by the Katakuras. Her has is back to her original black and she’s happier now. Kippei and Yuzuyu then decides to accompany Miki to the train station as she’s heading back. On their way, Miki spots Kokoro and recognizes her. Yeah, a few episodes ago, Miki spots Kippei kissing his girlfriend in the infirmary. So Miki decides to follow her.
 
At some park, Kokoro and that art club guy had a little chat. Not only Miki’s spying from behind the bushes but Aki and Mai as well! The art club guy confesses he likes Kokoro but she gave him 2 rejections. One for his feelings and the other to be his model. Uh-huh. Kokoro tells him straight in the face that she likes Kippei. Luckily he’s understanding and so he let bygones by bygones. After the 2 parted, Miki follows Kokoro a little while when Kokoro dropped some card and Miki picked it up and returned it to her. They didn’t really have a conversation. After thanking Miki, Miki rejoins Kippei and Yuzuyu to the train station as she said her goodbye. In the train, Miki’s thinking how Kippei, Yuzuyu and Kokoro’s honesty made her happy. Yeah, Kippei and Yuzuyu once again spot Miki in the passing train as their on the bridge. Miki’s happy facial expression seems hilariously weird when she saw that swallow flying by. Ugh. On the way back, Aki and Mai decides to make things interesting as they tell Kippei that he’s got a love rival now from the art department as a plan so that Kippei won’t neglect Kokoro and give his full attention to her. But that Kippei guy is densed.
 
Episode 22 is Satsuki’s episode. I suppose they want to at least give this guy a little spotlight or else viewers may have forgotten about him and think he’s just a side character. Anyway, Kippei’s sick so Satsuki has to temporarily do Kippei’s chores like sending and picking up Yuzuyu. Why, that Marika girl now is in love with Satsuki too! I guess this girl’s heart sways everytime she sees a good looking guy. But in this episode, Satsuki’s classmate, Ayumi Kubota, has a secret crush on him but can’t say it. Typical. Furthermore, Ayumi’s quite pretty and is doing a modelling job as part time after school. Ayumi can’t confess in fear of rejection by Satsuki because she heard rumours from her pals that Satsuki may not like tall girls (yes, she’s taller than him) and girls who have long hair. Ayumi has a chance to be with Satsuki 1 evening as the 2 are paired to do some clean up. But due to Ayumi’s modelling, she arrived late and it seems Satsuki has finished even her part and gives her the log book so that she could hand it to the teacher in charge. Ayumi can’t take all the credit though Satsuki doesn’t mind it as she goes to find Satsuki so that she could return the log book to him and finds him playing with Yuzuyu at the playground. Ayumi confesses she like Satsuki but that guy’s like a zombie with no reaction or surprise to her words. Though he didn’t give an answer but I guess Ayumi’s glad that at least Satsuki’s her friend and doesn’t mind her being tall and all that (though he’s not sure what that is all about). You can look at Satsuki in 2 ways. Either he’s very ‘chin chai’ or casual about everything or just don’t give a damn.
 
Kippei’s cured of his sickness and is back on track or else Satsuki may take away another episode from him. So okay no more Ayumi but in episode 23, more of those lovey-dovey Kippei-Kokoro moments. And they’re doing it right in front of their classmates! Have they got no shame? Besides I think everybody enjoyed it. So Kippei and Kokoro’s relationship starts to mend as they trade their bentos. Also Kokoro heads back to her old house to get some stuff when she saw her father tending to his garden and the 2 had a little chat. Something about her late mom but I can’t quite remember. But mainly here, a kindy girl named Namiko is giving Yuzuyu a hard time as she’s disturbing and annoying her. So much so Yuzuyu storms out of the classroom and Marika soon follows. I wonder why the kindergarten teacher didn’t stop them and just let them leave. So outside Marika has her funny way of renewing her friendship with Yuzuyu. Yeah, Marika’s saying that would Yuzuyu be her friend even though she is stuck up, a show off and get mad easily, and Yuzuyu honestly answered yes to all of them. Haha. So weird but they’re friends.
 
Kokoro is feeling down in episode 24 which is affecting her emotionally. Because of this, Kippei too feels sad that he can’t do anything. So Reiko suggests that he writes a letter to convey his feelings. He left the letter in Kokoro’s mailbox that night but the next day Kokoro didn’t turn up at school. We see Kokoro looking through pictures of her mom and she’s breaking down everytime she looks at it. The next night, Kippei gets an idea about some magic mirror from Yuzuyu as he heads over to Kokoro’s place and talk things with her. A lot of talk, drama, you know that stuff. Until Kippei shows her the mirror in which Kokoro saw herself crying. Kippei tells her that it’s okay to cry and with that, Kokoro doesn’t hold back anymore. I guess you could say Kokoro’s free from her past and in the end as expected the 2 lock lips. Looks like they’re a couple now. The next day, Kokoro writes a thank you letter back to Kippei and she seems to have a happier expression now.
 
You know Yuzuyu’s spending and enjoying lots of time with Kippei when she’s starting to forget how her mummy looks like in episode 25. Also, since Yuzuyu’s growing, her little pyjamas ripped. No, she didn’t turn into an Incredible Hulk. She’s just outgrowned it. Besides, Kippei accidentally had a hand in it when he tugged the sleeves. While Kippei shops for a new one, Yuzuyu insists that she wants to wear the one which her mother made and still thinks she can fit in her torn pyjamas. Reiko thinks that if her pyjamas can be replaced, does it mean the same thing for Yuzuyu’s mom? Kippei then tries to repair it but sewing isn’t his forte as he has a little chat with Kokoro at school. Kippei than feigns stomach pains so that Kokoro have to go pick Yuzuyu up. And that Marika is still all over Kippei but gets frustrated when she sees that ‘dark girl’ instead. Even the kindergarten teachers are in no mood because they saw Kokoro as Kippei’s girlfriend so they’re feeling quite ‘depressed’. At the playground, Kokoro and Yuzuyu chat about the latter’s mom. In the end, Yuzuyu gets teary when she mentions that she already forgot how her mom looked like. I hope that there are pictures of her back home. Say, shouldn’t there be any? What’s this? Reiko taking an airplane trip to somewhere.
 
So the final episode 26 starts off with Kokoro and Yuzuyu continuing about their chat on sadness, lonliness and such as they walk back to Kippei’s home. Upon arrival, of course this is the first time everyone has seen Kippei’s girlfriend and are quite ‘surprised’ to see her. Yeah, Kokoro must be thinking that Kippei’s family must be weird, since they’re acting a little weird, much to Kippei’s embarrassment. And if Reiko’s here, I couldn’t imagine what would happen because in the earlier episodes, she couldn’t believe that Kippei has a girlfriend of his own. Speaking of which, it seems Reiko is paying a visit to where Miyako currently lives. I’m not sure about how she got the address about the last letter she received (ages ago) from her was somewhere in this area. Anyway Miyako seems surprised to see Reiko at her doorstep. As expected, some chat why Reiko can’t come to pick up and raise Yuzuyu, bla bla bla. Perhaps in a way you could say she’s irresponsible for leaving her daughter just like that but she has a reasons. Miyako also kept a record in a book the number of days she went by without crying. I was wondering what’s the implication of that. Maybe it’s to keep track of her getting stronger or something. More flashbacks and explanations. But Miyako says once she’s ready to face Yuzuyu without crying, she’ll come back for her.
 
Meanwhile Kokoro makes an oversized neck pendant for Yuzuyu with a picture of Yuzuyu and her mom together. In that way, she won’t forget how her mom looks like. But it looks kinda a bulky. Also, Yuzuyu decides to wear her new pyjamas but requests Kippei not to throw the old fixed one. For memories, I’d say. Finally, since it’s quite late, Kokoro has to sleepover. Yup, Kippei’s in the same bed as Yuzuyu and Kokoro. Don’t worry, he isn’t a pervert in the first place. Plus, he’s got permission from his mom. So some last words like don’t be sad, don’t lose hope, and don’t forget that you’re not alone as we see all the characters having a good night sleep or being happy with their family or what they’re doing. Satsuki and Ayumi chatting over the internet? Well, that’s a start. Miki and her family are having a good meal together. So is Shouta and her mom. Goodnight everybody. Sweet dreams. I suppose for now Yuzuyu’s gonna be with Kippei a little longer.
 
Overall, I just felt that this anime was just okay and average. Don’t get me wrong that this is a bad series. I kinda notice that the flow of the story at times could be draggy and slow so much so I’m yawning more than I should. Yup, in short, I felt a little bored while watching the series. But thank goodness, I managed to finish it. Even the storyline or suspense isn’t that shocking or surprising. No doubt like the part where Miki tries to commit suicide or those slapping parts, but I didn’t feel the impact of it and it was just the spur of the moment and brief little surprise. Even the comical part I felt this way.
 
The drawing, art and animation too is average. No doubt there are good looking bishies and some of the girls look pretty and cute like Ayumi. Yes, I think Ayumi is pretty cute. Got a problem with that? And I seem to notice that the young mothers look more like high school teenage girls. The elderly men too don’t look to old. Perhaps the producers want to convey the meaning of youth here. And there’s something about the way the drawing is so much so that I feel that the characters look-a-like and similar in a way but can’t put my finger on it. Is it the eyes? The nose? The mouth? Dunno.
 
As for the voice acting, there’s nothing spectacular about it. Just plain normal. But again, I felt that there’s something missing in the voice acting of the characters so much so it felt like it’s ‘monotonous’. Both the opening and ending songs are sung by Yo Hitoto and the ballad sounds kinda ‘sleepy’. No, it’s not a boring song nor a lullaby that puts you to sleep (okay maybe the latter one might work), but I guess it’s rather fitting for this series. You don’t expect it to be a rock song with some loud beating drums or screeming voices, don’t you? And when the end credits roll, don’t go away just yet because there’s a little more at the end of it, albeit a short one and not much, just before the next episode preview.
 
Besides the main characters, I felt that the other characters didn’t do much nor do they have any impact on the series. Even so, it’s just for a little while for that particular story arc. But I’m glad the way things turned out especially between Kippei, Kokoro and Yuzuyu. Especially Yuzuyu who’s still her bubbly self after witnessing and experiencing so many ‘unfortunate’ events. I hope she continues to be like this till she grows up. Besides, Yuzuyu’s changed quite abit since she came to the Katakuras, for instance, her stubborness of not wanting to change to something new.
 
But something about Kippei still bugs me. I noticed that at times during school hours, he likes to take a nap. What’s wrong with that? Of course there’s something wrong skipping classes just to catch 40 winks. But the thing is, he can actually sleep on the stairways! Yes. As though the school is like his own house or something. Don’t the students who pass by trip or trample on him? Maybe the girls think he’s too handsome and try not to wake him up from his beauty sleep. As for the teachers, probably they don’t bother with him since they don’t place much hope on him. Just kidding.
 
I’m sure after watching the series I myself have learned a lesson or two. It’s about responsibility and in this case we see how a person matures after he/she is thrust into such a situation. Of course there are those who really don’t care but that’s not the point. There are painful times that we are being separated from our loved ones but being with other family and friends, you don’t need to feel lonely as you have the support of everyone.
 
Since I’ve watched this series, I’m still not pretty sure that I’m ready to face such a situation yet. Maybe I don’t have Kippei’s good looks or charms so it may be hard for me to get around (yeah right). But as usual, I’ll try my utmost and best and do whatever I can. How typical of me. But I’m sure I’ll manage just fine. And thank goodness that all my cousins and relatives are grown up. Hehehe. Wait a minute. Unless they have kids, which means… there’s a possibility…