manga Uncategorized

The Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting Vol 1 by Tsukiya

A must read if you like Barakamon and Bunny Drop

Meet Kirishima, a cool looking guy with some very violent tendencies. Once he was lost and now, he is found. No, he didn’t discover God, especially not the Christian one, but he found refuge in a yakuza family where he works as a “cleanup guy”. He is very good at his “job”, but not perfect. There are things that he does that always royally piss off his boss. One such thing is his relentless self-abandonment. Kirishima charges head first and doesn’t worry too much about the latent consequences of his actions, most of which are cost related. There is also the factor of putting himself in too much danger, which could end up in an untimely death.

So how does the wise boss of the yakuza handle his punishment? Does he scar him, bleed him, cut off a finger or two? Well, if you read the title, you probably know that’s not the case. He tells him that his new and very important job is to babysit his daughter. He needs to take this job with the utmost seriousness or else, his head will roll…

The daughter herself is named Yaeka, cute and a bit small for her age, which seems like she’s in the second grade. With just one of her looks towards Kirishima, you can tell she is definitely not enthusiastic about this set up. Kirishima and Sugihara, who is his closest comrade in the yakuza family, speculate that the kid is like an ice queen, very reluctant to talk to others. But her aunt tells them that isn’t really the case. She’s always been happy, but a bit reserved, liking to keep things to herself. Yaeka did get worse after her mother’s accident which left her mother in a coma. Kirishima’s job in a sense is to soften her up a bit and help her trust people once again.

From then on, they are almost always by each other’s side. Kirishima even subs in for her dad one day. That is the first time he makes her smile. Gradually they will start to get closer. While it was Kirishima’s job to soften her up a bit and help her open up again to the people closest to her, she is doing the same thing for him. The best example being, when Sugihara and Kirishima needed to take care of some idiots who were posing as them, Kirishima thought about beating the fake him to a pulp. But just as he was about to start beating this person to the inch of his life, he remembered little Yaeka and he let him go. To quote the almost always bud of the joke Sugihara “Hell is starting to freeze over”. He is also displaying a lot of empathy. His main motivation as to why he joined and stayed with the yakuza is that he thinks this is the best way he can help others. Yaeka start changing as well. Kirishima helps her open up to others and start sharing things about herself, from small things like her favorite food (which are egg rolls in case you wondered) to greater things. But the biggest influence he had was in the way he helped her reshape the opinion she had of her mother. Since Yaeka doesn’t remember her and is too small to understand what a coma is, she starts to resent her mother. She wishes her mother would be like the rest, that Yaeka would squeeze her hand and she would wake up and do all kinds of things with her. But in Yaeka’s words “All she does is sleep and I hate her”. Kirishima tells her a lot more about her mother. This moved poor little Yae-chan to tears, and made her determined to accompany her father to the hospital more often.

There is still a lot more to be discovered about the characters I feel like. They say that the mother was in an accident, but since it’s a Yakuza family, there is a chance it was a arrange hit. We still don’t know much about Kirishima’s past. We only get a few flashes of his younger self, looking full of malice and covered in blood. We also meet a character named Ayumu Hanada, who appears at first to be some homeless kid, but is just someone who ran away from home. Yaeka takes in the cat Ayumu was taking care off. Wouldn’t be surprised if Ayumu is from another yakuza family.

Finally, the art is really top notch. It has this very appealing aesthetic quality. Every single character is draw with extreme detail. Not only are the faces distinct, but so is everything else about every single one of them. Its super easy to remember each one of them. I don’t think I saw a single panel that didn’t look super crisp, like there was something lacking or something too much. Its surgically clean and precise and yet so beautiful. There is a lot of effort put into getting three dimensions both in the exterior and interior. You can see the author understanding the gravity of certain scenes and really going all out. You get backgrounds in every panel, never a blank space left behind.

It’s a very cute manga, which reminds me of both Barakamon and Bunny Drop. While it is a bit formulaic, the formula works perfectly well, which with such flawless art makes it a must read.


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