"Bwaza!" Baby and Me
is a Shoujo Slice of Life
manga by Marimo Ragawa, which ran from 1991 to 1997. It was translated into English in its entirety by VIZ Media
. An anime adaptation was made as well, but it has not received an official English translation.
The series concerns a boy named Takuya and his brother Minoru. As their mother has just died
and their father works long hours to support the family, Takuya finds himself tasked with constantly looking after his little brother. Initially, Takuya is resentful towards Minoru, but over time he learns to accept his responsibility. After that, the two are nigh inseparable, and the rest of the series follows their day-to-day activities as they learn more about themselves, their parents, their friends and neighbors, and the world around them.
Not to be confused with the similarly named
and themed Korean film Baby and I
, which also features a young man caring for an abandoned child. Also compare Aishiteruze Baby
Baby and Me provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents: One of the many one-shot characters Takuya encounters has this in their backstory.
- Action Mom: Moriguchi’s mom is a cop.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Inverted; Takuya is noticeably less “pretty” in the anime.
- A Day in the Limelight : Aside from one short chapter, the entirety of Volume 13 is based around Harumi meeting Yukako.
- Adult Fear: The story arc about Harumi and Yukako meeting deals with all sorts of struggles that adults deal with or at least think about. From Yukako feeling the need to move in with Harumi due to her own home not being safe to unplanned pregnancy, among other things.
- Most of the series is told from the kids' point of view, but there are several cases where what their parents are experiencing is very clearly shown. In one story arc, Takuya and Minoru run away from home, and Harumi goes all over town trying to find them. In another arc, Takuya, Minoru, and Moriguchi, one of Takuya's classmates, are kidnapped by bank robbers. Moriguchi's parents find out and are very clearly worried. And also rather angry. There also the final story arc, where Minoru is hit by a car and very nearly dies. Takuya and Harumi are both shown as more upset than they are seen as anywhere else in the series.
- Adults Are Useless: Averted. The adults in this series, while practicing Hands-Off Parenting, are really quite supportive of their children, who often turn to them for help when it's needed.
- Air-Vent Passageway: Minoru escapes through one of these in the bank robber arc.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parent: Moriguchi feels this way about his dad.
- Animated Adaptation: The anime.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Many of the characters in this series have siblings, and most of the younger siblings get on the older kids’ nerves at least once over the course of the story. Even Takuya feels this way about Minoru sometimes.
- Anti-Villain: The robbers in the bank robber arc.
- Art Evolution: In early volumes a lot of the artwork looks like unfinished sketches; it is noticeably cleaner and more detailed in later volumes .
- Babies Make Everything Better: What ultimately brings Harumi and Yukako together for real is her pregnancy with Takuya.
- Baby Talk: The younger children in the series to varying degrees. In the English translation Minoru has “Bwaza!” as a catchphrase.
- Badly Battered Babysitter: Minoru is occasionally a real handful for Takuya to deal with.
- Big Brother Instinct: Takuya towards Minoru.
- Big Brother Worship: Minoru is very fond of the ground on which Takuya walks.
- But I Can't Be Pregnant!: Yukako’s initial reaction when she suffers morning sickness soon after sleeping with Harumi in the backstory.
- Camp Gay: The trio of transvestites in the robber arc.
- Camp Straight: Moriguchi’s dad.
- Character Development: Several characters get this. It’s most noticeable in the first volume with Takuya, where he largely outgrows his initial resentment of watching over Minoru.
- Chick Magnet: It seems to run in the Enoki family; even the three year old isn’t immune! Recently-widowed Harumi Ignores the Fanservice, Takuya is Oblivious to Love, and Minoru, who’s stuck in a Type 3 Love Triangle, is fully aware of Ichika and Hiroko’s affections for him and is freaked out a bit by it.
- Childhood Marriage Promise: Subverted and played for laughs. Minoru will agree to marry anyone who asks him. He has no idea what the meaning of “Minoru, will you marry me?” is.
- Christmas Episode: Ichika and Ma Bo try to get their whole family together for Christmas dinner.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Both Hiro and Ichika are this to Minoru.
- Comic-Book Time: Averted. The manga takes place over about a year, and over the course of the series the characters do age accordingly.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Moriguchi’s dad looks like a wimp next to his police officer wife and an idiot compared to his intellectually-inclined son…but don’t threaten his son.
- Cuteness Proximity: When Minoru escapes the bank robbers via an air vent, he encounters a trio of transvestites who have this reaction to him. Minoru is not amused.
- Does Not Like Men: Yukako once felt this way, due to a belief that All Men Are Perverts. She does have reason for believing such; someone HAD been taking nude photos of her, and the only person she could turn to for help once asked her for a one-night stand, although she did eventually realize not all men were that way.
- Dream Sequence: In one chapter, Minoru has a dream about his mother after Takuya reads him a bedtime story.
- DVD Commentary: The author’s notes interspersed throughout the chapters have this sort of feel. Sometimes they relate to the chapter and the process of creating it. Sometimes they go on wild tangents and discuss Ragawa’s pet rabbit.
- Embarrassing Old Photo: The photo of a pretty woman Moriguchi finds and wonders about is of Moriguchi’s dad, who was a crossdresser at the time the photo was taken. Moriguchi's mom apparently did not approve, and neither of Moriguchi's parents is thrilled that he found the photo.
- Even Evil Has Standards: The bank robbers seem to have no qualms about stealing, kidnapping small children, etc., but as the arc goes on it becomes increasingly obvious that actual murder is not something they’re quite willing to stoop to. The leader’s rather harsh method of getting information they need out of Takuya is met with disapproval by his slightly-more scrupulous teammates.
- Fainting: When Moriguchi’s mother learns her son was one of the children abducted by the bank robbers, she immediately faints. She then snaps out of it and goes to arrest the bank robbers.
- Family Unfriendly Disney Death : The immediate aftermath of Minoru’s car accident is rather bloody, and the scenes of him in the hospital aren’t much better.
- Flatline: Minoru. But only for a few seconds.
- Free-Range Children
- Gayngst: The female bank robber, who isn't really female.
- Gratuitous English: In the opening theme of the anime. “Be Bad Boy!”
- Happily Married: Most of the married couples in the series are this.
- Heroic Bastard: Actually averted, as Harumi and Yukako got married before Takuya was born, but Takuya is still incredibly upset when he learns he was conceived out of wedlock and no one told him.
- House Husband: Moriguchi’s dad.
- Identical Stranger: In one chapter, the Enokis make a trip to America, and meet a young boy who takes an instant disliking to all of them because Harumi bears too strong a resemblance to the boy’s own estranged father.
- Infant Immortality: Disney Death notwithstanding.
- Innocent Cohabitation: Harumi and Yukako started out this way, as Yukako's home had become too dangerous for her to live there. The cohabitation wasn't innocent for long.
- It's All My Fault: Takuya, who blames himself for Minoru’s near-fatal accident, as the two had had an argument immediately before. Harumi also has this reaction.
- Loads and Loads of Characters
- Love Triangle: Type 3 Puppy Love variant Played for Laughs. Poor Minoru’s never going to catch a break from Hiroko and Ichika.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Moriguchi’s parents have this dynamic.
- Missing Mom: Yukako dies before the series starts, making her this to Takuya and Minoru.
- Mistaken for Cheating: Moriguchi thinks his father might be cheating on his mother when he finds a photo of a beautiful young woman. This turns out to not be the case at all.
- Mood Whiplash: Towards the end of the series; the chapter dealing with the aftermath of Minoru’s car accident is noticeably darker than anything previously seen in the series and lacks any humor whatsoever, whereas previous Baby & Me chapters usually manage to be somewhat funny even when dealing with dark subject matter.
- No Export for You: While the manga is released in its entirety stateside, the anime is not.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: Yukako and the grandparents all show up when Minoru is near death in the final arc.
- Out of Body Experience: The golfer is actually an astral projection of a man in a coma.
- Phenotype Stereotype: Americans are shown with blond hair and blue eyes.
- Potty Failure: Occasionally one of the really little kids in the story will wet the bed.
- Raised by Grandparents: One of Takuya's classmates claims to live with her grandparents because her father and mother are famous and are overseas. Actually, it turns out that her grandparents are really her parents, and she's embarrassed about their age, so she lies.
- Rescue Romance: Possibly Yukako and Harumi; the reason she moved in with him was some pervert was taking nude photos of her and she was scared for her life. In a much lighter example, Hiro falls in love with Minoru because he tried to protect her from what he thought was a vicious dog.
- Salaryman: Harumi
- Slice of Life
- Taking the Bullet: Subverted. It looks like the lead bank robber is going to shoot Takuya, and one of the other bank robbers dives in front of Takuya to try and save him. The lead bank robber was just trying to scare Takuya, and actually shot the ceiling instead.
- Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour: Megumi commits “reverse sexual harassment” against her male classmates in order to make a point that sexual harassment can be done by anybody to anybody. She’s eleven.
- True Companions: Takuya and his friends.
- The bank robbers as well.
- Unsettling Gender-Reveal: Twice in the bank robber arc. The female bank robber is not actually female. Neither is the young woman in the photograph Moriguchi wonders about his dad having. In the latter case, the woman in the photo is Moriguchi’s dad.
- Yakuza: One of the many side characters has this as his backstory.