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Manga / Baby and Me

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Baby and Me (Aka-chan to Boku) is a Shoujo Slice of Life manga by Marimo Ragawa, which ran in Hana to Yume from 1991 to 1997. It was translated into English in its entirety by VIZ Media. It received an anime adaptation that aired from 1996 to 1997 for 35 episodes, but the anime didn't receive an official English translation until 2022.

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:

  • 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 Worship: Minoru is very fond of the ground on which Takuya walks.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Minoru wets himself after hearing a scary story during school in Chapter 21.
  • But I Can't Be Pregnant!: Yukako’s initial reaction when she suffers morning sickness soon after sleeping with Harumi in the backstory.
  • 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.
  • Child Care and Babysitting Stories: One of the oldest anime examples as its premise is that 11-year-old Takuya is left to care for his baby brother after the death of their mother and with their father being constantly busy with work it proves to be a difficult task for Takuya. He's stressed out by having to multitask between doing house chores and caring for Minoru at such a young age, but he still loves him regardless.
  • 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. To be sure, Minoru is by no means among the brighter characters in the series and he seems to be slightly less intelligent even by toddler standards.
  • 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.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: This is very in-universe but Yukako seems extremely different in the flashback arc where we find out about how she and Harumi met, whenever she appears by flashback or in spirit she seems very cheerful and firm but supportive, in the mini-arc she is rather skittish and paranoid.
  • 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.
  • Faint in Shock: 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 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.
  • From Roommates to Romance: Harumi and Yukako started out this way, as Yukako's home had become too dangerous for her to live there. The living arrangement wasn't platonic for long.
  • Gayngst: The female bank robber, who isn't really female.
  • Gratuitous English: In the opening theme of the anime. “Be Bad Boy!”
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. The main charatcers are horrified when he disappears literally before their eyes though Takuya stumbles upon a news-article announcing the golfer's recent victory.
  • Phenotype Stereotype: Americans are shown with blond hair and blue eyes.
  • Potty Emergency: Minoru has a small one in Chapter 21, Potty Dance and all.
  • Potty Failure: Occasionally one of the really little kids in the story will wet the bed and/or their pants.
  • 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.
  • The Runaway: In one story arc, Takuya and Minoru run away from home, and Harumi goes all over town trying to find them.
  • 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. Ichika can come off as a little creepy at times though most of the time she just seems bizarre, Minoru and Takuya despite their attractive appearances and kind, cheery natures can be terrifying when they are angry, even the dad and the teachers are scared of them.
  • 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.
    • Other characters are surprised to learn Gon has a sister; everyone had been assuming Hiro was his little ''brother''.
  • Yakuza: One of the many side characters has this as his backstory.