Manga: Gakuen Babysitters
The Morinomiya Daycarenote Gakuen Babysitters
is a Slice of Life shoujo
centering on the new lives of the two Kashima brothers, the teenage Ryuuichi and toddler Kotarou. It is penned and illustrated by Hari Tokeino of Onii-chan to Issho
Beginning in the aftermath of a plane crash that kills both of their parents, the two brothers are adopted by Youko Morinomiya, the stern and affluent chairman of Morinomiya Secondary School who also lost her son and daughter-in-law in the same accident. The Chairman follows the concept of "give-and-take" to heart. Upon first meeting, she wastes no time in setting the conditions for her care; in return for her legal guardianship, Ryuuichi must invest most of his non-school-related time working in the school's daycare, where Kotarou will also be staying at during the day.
The Morinomiya Daycare Center was initially established to tend to the faculty's children while they are busy with their jobs during the day. However, the school's budget does not cover its operation, and the attempts to start a babysitting club amongst the students fell flat, leaving a single graduate from the school, Yoshihito Usaida, to manage it by himself. With Ryuuichi's arrival as the new caregiver, he restarts the Babysitting Club as its first member. Along with Kotarou, Ryuuichi is now caring daily for five other children: Taka, Kirin, Takuma, Kazuma, and Midori. Eventually he receives help from Taka's brother, Hayato Kamitani, and the school's infamous Ice Queen
The series proceeds with the daily antics the Kotarou and the other toddlers as they grow from their experiences, as well as both brothers' assimilation into their new school and family life.
This series provides examples of:
- Aloof Big Brother: Kamitani. He takes care of Taka when he should, but he treats him rather gruffly most of the time and usually treats him like an annoyance.
- Always Identical Twins: Kazuma and Takuma. You can easily tell them apart through their facial expressions and general temperament, however.
- Ambiguously Human: Played for laughs with Saikawa. When Ryuuichi the others were trying to guess what kind of house he lives in, Kamitani expected him to live in a coffin (like a vampire), while Usaida believes him to come from some sort of manufacturing company. In one omake, he agreed to go for a drink with Usaida, and was mistaken as a mannequin by the store patrons because he didn't move at all.
- And You Were There: In one chapter, Kotaro has a dream where he's taken in by the princess of the cat people. Aside form the princess, everyone in the fantasy world are versions of people he already knows with animal ears and tails.
- Animal Theme Naming: Many of the major characters have names based off various animals, which is often lampshaded directly in the dialogue or alluded to through images.
- The Kashima family name is based on the deer. Ryuuichi's is based on the dragon, while Kotarou's is based on the tiger.
- The Kamitani family name is based on the wolf. Taka's name literally means hawk, while Hayato is an alternate reading for falcon.
- Inomata's is based on the boar.
- Usaida's family name is based on the rabbit.
- Kirin's is based on the giraffe.
- The chairman's name, Youko, is based on the sheep.
- Combined with Theme Twin Naming, both Kazuma and Takuma's names are based on the horse.
- Animation Anatomy Aging: The series provides a typical example of this trope, though this is most notable in the toddlers, who are practically chibi, huge-eyed, chubby-cheeked, and about an eighth of the size of the rest of the cast.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Taka, which more often than not, brings him quite a few slaps or punches in the head by Kamitani.
- Ascended Extra: Yuki starts escaping her status as a Running Gag once she actually has a rival for Ryuuichi's affections.
- Attractive Bent-Gender: When the babysitters were force to cross-dress, a dressed-up Ryuuichi actually manages to attract Inui who, not knowing "her" true identity, tried to confess to "her". Due to unforeseen circumstances, Ryuuichi never manages to reveal the truth to Inui. Until Chapter 43.
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: The Kamitani siblings constantly call each other "idiots" — Hayato always hits his younger brother if the latter starts being unreasonable, while Taka responds by calling his brother names. But, as shown in chapter 6, Taka loves his older brother, while Hayato admits that he doesn't hate Taka.
- Baby Talk: All the children have varying degrees of competency in conversational speech, though Kirin's is the most prominent with the mispronunciation of many of her words. In an attempt at Woolseyism, all the translators so far have translated this into the Elmuh Fudd Syndwome.
- Beach Episode: Chapter twelve has the Babysitting Club, the children of the daycare, and their mothers go to the beach. Aside from one small scene with Inomata and her new swimsuit (with Ryuuichi and Kamitani reacting pretty much how you'd expect them to), this isn't done for fan service. Rather, they take the opportunity to explore Ryuuichi's insecurities about the trust and care between him and his brother by using his current and past visits to the beach along with Kotarou as a devices.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Although extremely rare, Ryuuichi can be stern with the babies. Like in chapter 38 after they locked Usaida out of the babysitting club room.
- Big Brother Instinct: Ryuuichi for Kotarou. Kamitani more-or-less states that Ryuuichi dotes on his little brother a little too much, and the rest of the guys outright refer to it as a complex in jest.
- Big Damn Heroes: Kamitani has done this twice. Once when he stopped a cat from eating the chicks the kids were taking care of, another time in Kotaro's dream, where he was a dog spirit who saved Kotaro from being turned into a cat spirit.
- Big Fancy House: Ryuuichi and Kotarou's new home with Chairman Morinomiya.
- Bishie Sparkle: Lampshaded with Yagi. Kirin eventually calls him "sparkly onii-chan."
- Brick Joke: After mistakenly believing Kotarou to have experienced his first love and needlessly preparing red beans and rice (see The Other Wiki on sekihan), Saikawa promises Ryuuichi that he would prepare sekihan as well for when Ryuuichi actually does experience his first love. A few chapters later, he does prepare the dish when Ryuuichi receives a love letter in his locker.
- Also, there's a chapter where Nezu's little brothers are stuck in the pushes with their heads sticking out for almost the entirety of the chapter. The chapter ends with Saikawa saying that there were two butts in the bushes that day.
- Chekhov's Gunman: The mean, overworking, high-school chemistry teacher mentioned in Chapter 14 is revealed to be Kamitani's father in Chapter 25, where his face is also revealed.
- Class Trip: In one chapter, Morinomiya goes on a school trip to the mountains. Usaida and the rest of the daycare come along as well.
- Clueless Chick Magnet: Both Ryuuichi and Kamitani the two most fawned over males within their class, and neither have picked up on it, even when a girl attempts to hand chocolates to Kamitani directly (he rejects the chocolate simply because he dislikes sweets). Though they hold no real negative feelings toward either, the rest of the males in the class are none too pleased with the excess attention they receive. Inversely, their classmate, Yuki Ushimaru, is the Dude Magnet of the class, but she only has eyes for Ryuuichi.
- Comically Missing the Point: In the Beach Episode, Kamitani-sensei attempts to get the boys to compliment Inomata when she returns in her new swimsuit, implying that they should say something to her. Kamitani responds with his usual bluntness ("Oh, it's a swimsuit."). While Ryuuichi initially appears to avert this by saying that the swimsuit is cute, it becomes apparent that he's literally complimenting the swimsuit, rather than her, when he makes an addendum commenting on the matching pattern with Kirin's floatie.
- Cry Cute: Inomata does this near the end of her introductory chapter as she unleashes the stress and worries over her constant studying.
- Deadpan Snarker: Saikawa, particularly this lovely bit during a phonecall.
Taka: *breathes heavily into the phone, having unexpected Saikawa to pick up, rather than Ryuuichi*
Kamitani: Talk, you idiot! State who you are! What are you, a pervert? . . . *takes the phone* Ah, I'm sorry. It's me.
Saikawa: If you're asking about my underwear, it's black today.
- A Day in the Limelight: Saikawa gets his own chapter when he has to take care of Kotarou while Ryuuichi is out with his friends.
- Death Is a Sad Thing: The last part of the first chapter revolves around Ryuuichi finally allowing the reality of his parents' deaths to sink in, with the realization that he and Kotarou may now only have each other. As he sits in the pediatric hospital crying, Chairman Morinomiya arrives to comfort him, revealing that her initial interest in him started at the funeral for the plane crash victims, when she noticed that like her, they were the only ones not crying, out of subconscious denial of what had happened. She then tells him that even though their loved ones are gone, they do not have to cope with their deaths alone.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Inomata slowly opens up with others as she interacts with Ryuuichi and the children of the daycare.
- The Diaper Change: Midori is the one baby in the daycare, so she occasionally acts as a source for jokes on this topic. Chapter 31 even implies that Midori is completely aware that invoking this gets her attention since they have to change her.
- Disappeared Dad: Both of the Kamitani siblings are estranged from their father ever since their parents divorced. Though emotionally distant, they are still physically close, since their father is one of the teachers in the school.
- Elevator School: Morinomiya has a middle school section and a high school section.
- Everyone Can See It: The fact that Ushimaru and Inomata have feelings for Ryuuichi.
- Everyone Has Standards: Chairman Morinomiya, who usually has Ryuuichi wake up as early as 5 AM so he can remain punctual, states this about herself when posed with the option of waking him for his meal while he is ill, claiming "even [she's] not that much of a demon".
- Eyes Always Shut: Saikawa, most likely to make him seem more like a butler. This is lampshaded in Chapter 24 when someone asks him why he is closing his eyes while they are about to take a group photo, to which he responds by claiming it is a habit. The story jokes about it even further when a speech bubble covers Saikawa's face in the shot (and later a thumb when the actual physical photo is produced), while the twins' father has a shocked look on his face upon looking at Saikawa's face.
- Extreme Doormat: Despite being hypercompetent in almost everything, Saikawa's sole purpose of existence is to dutifully serve the chairman and, by extension, the Kashima siblings. When he was assigned to take care of the toddlers in place of Usaida, he actually bowed down to the kids because "dealing with children" is one of the few things he's not really an expert at.
- The Faceless: Yutaka, Midori's father, usually appears with an overgrown full beard and a hat, obscuring his eyes and the shape of his face. When he "appears" clean-shaven in the Volume 5 extras, he's only seen from behind, and when Midori cries due to not being able to recognize him, her mother is forced to cover his still unseen face with a Santa mask to get her to stop.
- Facial Dialogue: Saikawa, after taking care of Kotarou for an extended period of time, actually managed to understand his gestures and utterances!
- Festival Episode: Taka and Kamitani invite Ryuuichi and Kotarou to a summer festival, in a chapter focusing Taka's lost possession and how Kamitani would choose to deal with the situation as his brother.
- Friend to All Children : Ryuuichi. In Chapter 31, he manages to calm down Kamitani's crying baby cousin just by hugging him.
- Happily Married : Every kids' parents except for Taka's are shown to be very loving towards their spouses and children.
- Inelegant Blubbering: In the case of the toddlers, this series wastes no time in showing the reader that children crying is loud, none too pretty, and an annoyance to everyone nearby. Special mention goes to Taka when his older brother begins to completely ignore him, who not only lets out the waterworks in the most undignified matter, but also has his speech impaired while he talks.
- Insane Troll Logic: Taka has a rather comedic one in chapter six.
Kamitani: It's not really like or hate when it comes to you.
Not like or hate—not like—hate
Taka: I HATE YOU TOO!
- I Uh You Too: Taka, who's asleep, mumbles a "I love you, aniki," while Kamitani is carrying him back from the zoo in Chapter 6. The latter begrudgingly mumbles a "I don't really hate you, either" in response.
- I Was Quite a Looker: Chairman Morinomiya, who is depicted as an exaggerated caricature of a cranky, old lady in the present, was once an adorable little girl.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
- Chairman Morinomiya, despite coming off as a cold old woman, she has shown many instances to be very kind and caring toward her adoptive wards. Even during times where she would vent about her busy schedule, she's willing to reschedule her business matters after receiving an invite from Kotarou for a play.
- Kamitani, especially in regards to his baby brother. He's harsh, violent and impatient. However, he will show a more kind and brotherly side of him ... once in a while.
- Kids Are Cruel: Completely averted. Ryuu's new school is wonderful, he's well-liked by his classmates, he quickly makes friends outside of the babysitting club, and the students are very sensitive about his situation. In fact, his close relationship with his little brother is something they see in a positive light, whereas in darker works he'd often get ridiculed for it. Though they do make comments on how they think the brothers are too close.
- Lazy Bum: Usaida, who's often seen sleeping on the job whenever he gets the chance, even when Ryuuichi and Kamitani are gone. He does his job well enough and has his moments, but the only child he takes care of with more-than-minimal effort most of the time is Midori. So much so that Midori's first words was his name, much to the ire of the child's mother.
- Light Feminine Dark Feminine: Ushimaru and Inomata, who both have a crush on Ryuuichi and are best friends with each other. Ushimaru, who is a meek and shy Dude Magnet, is the light feminine, while Inomata, a Tsundere Ice Queen is the dark one.
- Living Prop: Since she's unable to communicate with other outside of baby noises, Midori usually serves this role unless a chapter is related to her or she's part of a joke.
- Lolicon/Shotacon : Yagi Tomoya. A completely harmless one, though. The worst he's going to do is to pinch the kids chubby cheeks (...with a massive nosebleed).
- Love Triangle: A Type 3 involving Ryuuichi, Ushimaru, and Inomata. Ryuuichi is the one that is pined for.
- Massive Numbered Siblings: The Nezu siblings amount to six, and they all look extremely similar.
- My God, What Have I Done?: The Chairwoman has a comedic variant when she realizes that she unknowingly uprooted the strawberry plants Ryuuichi and Kotaro had grown together.
- NEET: Discussed and joked about during one early chapter. While playing house with Kirin, Usaida plays the role of Ryuuichi and Kirin's eldest son, an unrepentant NEET who shows no shame in begging his father for money and asking when his mother will finish with dinner. As Ryuuichi states and how the audience thinks, the role suits Usaida a little ''too'' perfectly.
- Never My Fault: Taka. Later subverted when the Chairwoman makes him realize how he may have hurt his older brother by ruining the autographed baseball. He promptly goes My God, What Have I Done?.
- No Name Given: Many chapters pass after Inomata's introduction before her given name is revealed to be Maria. The Chairman's full name, Youko Morinomiya, was given this treatment as well until it was revealed in Chapter 6 in a conversation about her resemblance to sheep, which is one of the characters in her given name.
- Nosebleed: This happens to Yagi whenever he's around a toddler, apparently because he loves their chubby little cheeks. It's still creepy, though.
- Not So Above It All: Inomata, who often states how childish some action is or how its against the rules, usually relents later in the chapter. In the case of childish things, she is either "forced" to do it by simply being asked or by tries it out in secret, such as pretending to ride a broom like a witch when she thinks no one is looking.
- Not So Stoic: Calling toddlers stoic is a bit of a stretch, but in comparison to his fellow toddlers, Kotarou is normally quite calm and rather unflappable. This is acknowledged in-universe, as any time he does cry, other characters are quick to note that such an action is very unusual of him.
- Oblivious to Love: Ryuuichi is unfamiliar with how love is supposed to feel since he's never had a crush. As such, he's unaware of the feelings of romantic attraction that Ushimaru and Inomata feel toward him, which he ignited due to inadvertently using social cues that people who are aware of love would recognize as implications.
- Overprotective Dad: Kirin's father, taken to a comedic extreme due to the fact they're, you know, toddlers. Her mother had enough foresight to ask the male babysitters to dress up as girls, but Usaida's disguise were not enough to fool him, prompting him to question the motives of the male babysitters and accuse the young boys of being "beasts" that are after his daughter.
- Parental Abandonment: Both parents of the Kashima siblings are dead before the story begins due to a plane crash.
- Polar Opposite Twins: Takuma and Kazuma are this in terms of temperament. Takuma is always cheerful and energetic, and Kazuma is a perpetual crybaby.
- Precocious Crush : Kotarou gives a lot of hints that he has a crush on his nii-chan, like getting sad when Ryuuichi was going to kiss the twins, or getting depressed when Usaida interrupts his 'alone time with nii-cha' (it's just Ryuuichi reading him a story book). Usaida lampshades both occasions, saying how Ryuuichi shouldn't 'cheat' in the first case and apologizing for ruining their 'lovey-dovey' moment in the latter. Both him and Kamitani also showed concern about the brothers' relationship. Ryuuichi being Ryuuichi, he doesn't get it at all.
- The Quiet One: Kotarou's defining character trait, who speaks the least out of all the children in the daycare aside from Midori, who's only a baby and has yet to learn how to speak. When he does speak, it's usually blunts statements or times when he's particularly emotional. Otherwise, he communicates with nods, head shakes, and non-intelligible "ung" noises.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: The Chairwoman seems really tough at first, but it turns out that she genuinely cares for the children and Ryuuichi. She takes it upon herself to take care of him when he gets sick, and even lets Kotaro help.
- Reflective Eyes: In Chapter 20, this effect is done on both Takuma and Kazuma when they are reunited.
- Running Gag: Kotarou referring to Chairman Morinomiya as Fluffy due to her hair, as well as associating anything with a fluffy appearance or texture to Chairman Morinomiya.
- School Festival: Even though the Babysitting Club is not exactly a "club" in a traditional sense, the kids beg Ryuuichi to allow them to participate in the festivities, too, culminating in a vegetable-themed cafe.
- School Play: While Kirin's mother is working on the school play and leaves Kirin in Ryuuichi's extended care, Ryuuichi and Kirin decide on doing their own play with the rest of the daycare for their parents.
- School Swimsuit: Inomata initially wears one during the Beach Episode, before the mothers' convince and help her pick out a new swimsuit.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Ryuuichi and Kamitani forms this dynamic. Ryuuichi, a Nice Guy who is somewhat of a pushover and a Friend to All Children, is the sensitive guy. By contrasts, Kamitani is a stoic Jerk with a Heart of Gold who, outside his babysitting duties, is the star of the baseball team and is considered "manly" by his fans.
- Shrinking Violet : The twins' father. A trait he passed on to Kazuma.
- Sick Episode:
- Ryuuichi falls ill during summer vacation in one chapter, leaving him in the care of Chairman Morinomiya and Kotarou.
- Kazuma gets sick in the onset of Chapter 20, and the rest of the chapter explores how both of the twins react when they are separated.
- Sleepyhead: Usaida, who can sleep anywhere at anytime and was once referred to by Ryuuichi's classmates as "the guy who's always sleeping."
- Shout-Out: In Chapter 11, Taka leads the kids in an attack on Inui, yelling out as he waves his toy sword, "It appeared!"
- Sneeze Cut:
- Usaida sees Ryuuichi and Kotarou making an invitation for the chairwoman, and thinks "You better come, you cheapskate old hag" — cue the chairwoman sneezing so hard, she blows off someone else's wig
- When Usaida is sick and Ryuuichi, who is about to attend classes, asks the kids if they will be fine with just Saikawa, they easily state taht they'll be totally fine even without Usaida. A bedridden Usaida sneezes in his futon in the next frame.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: Saikawa is very adept in this, often surprising Ryuuichi.
- The Stoic:
- Kotaro is the most quiet and reserved of all of the toddlers.
- Kamitani's facial expression rarely deviates from his default irritated look.
Ryuuichi: You look calm, Kamitani. Aren't you cold?
Kamitani: I am cold. I'm freezing to death.
Classmate: Then show it!
- Stoic Spectacles: As a proper butler, Saikawa always maintains a reserved expression, even when telling or being told a joke. Ryuuichi finds him mysterious because of this.
- Strong Family Resemblance:
- Kamitani looks so much like his mother, Shizuka, to the point where one might say he's like a male version of her. This is lampshaded by both Ryuuichi and Usaida when Shizuka muses over who Kamitani takes after in personality.
- Also, when Kamitani has to cross dress along with the rest of the bay sitting club, Taka apparently mistakes him for his mother and calls him mama.
- Also, Tsugumi, Kamitani's baby cousin, is noted to look exactly like a baby version of Kamitani, complete with Death Glare.
- All six of the Nezu siblings look like giant or miniature-sized versions of each other, which is lampshaded when Kamitani, in a rare moment of snark, refers to theme as clones. Even the lone girl amongst the six simply looks like pigtails were attached.
- Tears of Fear: Kazuma often displays the comedic variant of this trope as a default expression.
- Theme Naming: Aside from the Animal Theme Naming (see above) for the main characters, the Nezu siblings are based on various magnitudes of luck.
- Those Two Guys: Usokawa and Ketsukuma from, who are the two male classmates of Ryuuichi and Kamitani that are seen the most and basically serve as as commentary for the other, more mundane aspects of the two boys lives respectively, outside of the babysitting club and their statuses as Chick Magnets (the latter in which every male in the class jealously chimes in on).
- Transfer Student Uniforms: This is subverted when Ryuuichi begins to attend Morinomiya as a 3rd-year middle school student and is presented with his new uniform. He initially attempts to be practical by opting to continue to wear his old uniform since he'll only remain in the middle school section for less than a year. However, Chairman Morinomiya counters with the fact that he's now part of her school in possible defiance of the trope, since it's vaguely implied she's aware of the kind of impression another school's uniform would give off to everyone in the student body.
- Tsundere: Inomata in almost every social situation she lands herself in.
- Twin Telepathy: The twins have this for one moment in Kazuma's Sick Episode in Chapter 20, solely for a joke.
- What, Exactly, Is His Job?: Ryuuichi is confused as to whether Saikawa is the chairman's butler or secretary. He responds by telling Ryuuichi to refer to him however he prefers.
- When She Smiles: Even the Chairman is susceptible to this trope. This actually happens quite a few times, but most of the time it consists of a slight, vague grin. However, even that is enough to reveal more about her character past her strict front.
- You Are Not Alone: The Aesop of the first chapter.
- Woman in Black: Kirin's mother Kumatsuka-sensei almost always appear in black, and can be very scary as well, especially when she's training her drama students.
- Would Hurt a Child: Kamitani would always immediately resort to violence when someone annoys him. This includes the children (especially his brother) if they get too rambunctious.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: For the most part, the author's hair color choices are normal. However, if the official color art is to be believed, Ryuuichi has dark-redish hair, Taka's is blue, and Usaida's is... magenta. Huh.