I know I’m not perfect. I do and say things that I wouldn’t want my children to, but I try to give them the best life I can with everything I have. Up until maybe two years ago, neither of them knew I made music–even though they were oftentimes the inspiration for my tracks (and have appeared on albums of mine since the original Songs For… back in 2013). I recently caught an anime that delves into this dynamic of wanting to give your offspring the best life possible while still keeping parts of yourself hidden (for better or worse).
The slice-of-life series Kakushigoto follows a widower and his tween daughter.
There’ve been a few series like this. So the premise of a man taking care of a child mostly on his own isn’t exactly the first of its kind. We’ve had shows such as Hinamatsuri (another series near and dear to me), Sweetness and Lightning and Barakamon. The twist with Kakushigoto (and starting point for much of the humor in the series), though, is unique: the father is an author of in-universe ecchi manga such as “Balls of Fury” and “Tights in the Wind” (think Shimoneta meets DBZ). Wanting to separate his work from his home life, father Kakushi goes through great–and not-so-great–lengths to keep his daughter Hime from knowing his secret.
From wearing business suits to being in cahoots with Hime’s teacher to running drills with his staff in the event Hime were to stumble upon his production studio, Kakushi stops at nothing to make sure that his manga work and daddy work never overlap. It’s a thought-out and funny series with the laughs are both at the expense of and because of the characters. Each character is realistic enough that you could see this situation playing out in reality. Heck, I’m living proof that artists sometimes want to keep their creative lives and personal lives separate. The series also delves into some industry talk, discussing difficulties manga artists face with editors, publishing and the transition from hard copies to things being done digitally more often than not.
As the story progresses, we get flashforwards that give the family comedy a dark turn with a few mysteries that adult Hime must unravel (including, of course, what happened to her father over the years). Without giving much away (this is a series anime fans deserve to check out unspoiled), it’s one that is equal parts coming-of-age realization and heartwarming family drama. Kakushigoto is less a story about a pervy mangaka hiding from his daughter and more about the sacrifices parents make to keep their children happy. In fact, it’s a story that gets you in your feels as much as it’ll have you laughing at the absurdity. As a widower, Kakushi often goes above and beyond to give Hime happiness, sometimes exceeding his limits just to make sure she’s taken care of.
That’s something I can relate to, even as something of a stern disciplinarian.
As a father, I know firsthand that you want to give your children the world, even if you can only realistically afford to give them a city or a state. You desire the best for your children, even when it conflicts with what you’ve got to do to give them the best. With a good support system–even one that enables some of your “sins”–a parent can often achieve the impossible. Even though it’s cliche, the phrase “it takes a village to raise a child” is closer to truth than not. And that’s where Kakushigoto shines, in showing no one goes at life alone and makes it out alive. Sure, it’s “cool” to be the lone wolf and act as if everything’s all figured out. In reality, though, families–whether by blood or by relation–are there to help.
Kakushigoto is streaming subbed and dubbed on FunimationNow.
TL;DR: Kakushigoto is a touching and very funny anime that delves into what happens when a creative tries to compartmentalize his life for his child’s sake.