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Manga / Dad, the Beard Gorilla and I

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Kusahara Souichi's wife Miyuki has recently passed away and, being unable to juggle his work and raise his daughter Michiru on his own, he invites his younger brother Kouji to move in with the family to help out with the housework. Michiru is initially suspicious towards her uncle, whom she nicknames "Beard Gorilla", but as they spend more time together, they quickly form a close, sibling-like bond.

Dad, the Beard Gorilla and I (original Japanese title Chichi to Hige-Gorilla to Watashi) is a Seinen comedic 4-Koma manga by Koike Sadaji that revolves around the wacky hijinks that the family gets into as they make do with this strange new living arrangement, and deal with other issues such as grief and romance along the way. The story covers a period of 2-3 years, in which Michiru goes from kindergarten to her first year of elementary school.

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The manga was published from Feb 4, 2011 to Nov 5, 2018 at the Manga Kurabu magazine under publisher Takeshobo.


This manga contains examples of :

  • Adorkable: The main reason Tsukasa endears herself to Michiru due to their mutual love for the children's cartoon Sergeant Ruckus, and it happened to be the topic that brought Shouichi into her life.
  • Alpha Bitch: Fuwari is a subversion. While she gives a bad first impression during her introduction (she's a known heiress of a famous company, who needlessly antagonizes Michiru, has a pair of goons who acts as her Yes-Man, and tries to get other classmates obey her whims in exchange of snacks), but she turns out to be quite nice, and she becomes a part of Michiru's group of friends.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When Kouji visits his future father-in-law to ask him for his daughter's hand in marriange, the latter gives the following reasons to object to his proposal:
    "I bet you don't even have a proper job. I bet you get stopped by the police all the time. And I bet you never grew a single bonsai."
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  • Big Little Brother: Despite being younger, Kouji is bigger and taller than Souichi, and would often protect his older brother from bullies.
  • Birds of a Feather: The attraction between Souichi and Tsukasa springs from their numerous similarities. They share a similar temperament, have the same favourite colours, and appreciates the same kinds of hobbies and entertainment. They eventually get married.
  • Butt-Monkey: Satou is The Friend Nobody Likes, whose role in the manga simply emphasize how much of an unpopular Sore Loser he is. Even the author seems to dislike him and, in the cast list, never fails to describe Satou as an unimportant nobody, if he doesn't outright forget about him.
  • Camera Fiend: While Hino's favourite object of observation is Souichi, he has his camera ready to take pictures of everything he finds interesting, including Yukari's new haircut and Tsukasa's snowmen.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Shouichi comes to realize that when Michiru enters elementary school, he has no reason to visit Ms. Nishihara at the kindergarten anymore... though not for lack of trying. His first and only attempt is immediately foiled by Ms. Majima, who tells him that he has no business being there.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: Souichi can't stand alcohol, so he drinks frozen Yakult instead. A sip of alcohol is enough to knock him out and give him hangover the next daynote .
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Souichi and his eventual wife Miyuki live in the same neighborhood as kids and would often play together. Although Miyuki would move away at some point, they would reunite after 10 years at college, and begin their romance.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: The weirdest character in the manga is by far Souichi's section chief. This guy is the type who would wait on all fours to save a spot for the group's sakura viewing outing, suggest putting background music for corporate meetings, crouch at tables when he's thinking, and generally acting strange. Despite his far-out manners, however, his hobbies and interests are surprisingly mundane.
  • Creepy Child: Parodied with Kozue, a classmate and friend of Michiru's. She's the kind of girl that revels on the wonders of the animal kingdom... that is, the wonders outside and inside of said animals...
  • A Day in the Limelight: Even though the main characters of the manga are Michiru, her dad, and her uncle, plenty of other characters are given their own strips to develop their characters, despite their arcs having nothing to do with the main trio's lives. For example, Watanabe's relationship with his girlfriend is the main focus of Chapter 57.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Section Chief of Souichiro's office has No Name Given, and everyone just calls him by his title.
  • Face of a Thug: Mr. Onigawa, one of Michiru's teachers, always makes a bad first impression to students and parents alike because of his scary-looking face. Kids run away from him whenever he tries to reprimand them since his expression seems to be stuck in a Perpetual Frown.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Satou. He's a lazy, obnoxious and entitled guy who constantly complains about his lack of popularity, and resents those with more success than himself, despite never putting any effort to fix his flaws. Most of his colleagues try to avoid hanging out with him unless necessary.
  • Frozen Face: The Section Chief has literally only one facial expression, which is definitely not due to him being The Stoic. His mouth actually remains shut when he is talking, or even shouting.
  • Foreshadowing: Tsukasa's first encounter with Souichi mirrors his first reunion with Miyuki, i.e. by running into him while riding on wheels. This gives a subtle hint that Souichi would ultimately end up with Tsukasa instead of Yukari.
  • Generation Xerox: Michiru looks almost exactly like her mother Miyuki. Their personalities are almost exactly the same too.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Watanabe's girlfriend Marie styles her hair in braided pigtails. This, coupled with her diminutive size, cause the people that meet her to think that she's a middle schooler.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Played for laughs with Satou, the perpetually dateless guy from Souichi's office, who would pester those who has a more successful love life than he does, especially Watanabe.
  • Has Two Daddies: Humorously discussed in chapter 14. Michiru lives with her father and uncle after her mother's passing, and one of her classmates remarks that she pretty much has two dads. Michiru vehemently denies this, saying that she only has one father, while her uncle is "just a homeless gorilla with a beard". Of course, both guardians already know from the start that their arrangement is only temporary, and they'll go back on their separate ways if either gets (re)married.
  • Hidden Depths: Despite being a Yonkoma, the cast members of this manga are surprisingly well-rounded. And even the silliest characters can provide good insights from time to time:
    • Kouji may seem like a Dumb Muscle Manchild at first, but even though he can be quite immature, he's actually a responsible and dependable adult. After moving in with his brother, he quickly proves to be a great help in the household (especially cooking); and while his bond with his niece is more sibling-like than guardianship, Kouji is able to provide much more for Michiru's well-being than just be her playmate. He also likes collecting vinyl records, which Miss Suzuhara considers surprisingly elegant.
    • The Section Chief may be a Cloud Cuckoo Lander, but he averts being a Pointy-Haired Boss by giving surprisingly deep consultation advice to his subordinates. He's also big on self-improvement, and encourages his younger colleagues to do likewise.
      "People easily confuse 'things that are better for me' with 'things that are easier for me'. And that's not necessarily a good thing. Please be careful, okay?"
    • Yukari's appearance and her initial comment about wanting to pursue Souichi due to his managerial position may suggest that she's a selfish, materialistic and/or power-hungry man-eater, and some of her male coworkers certainly think that she's an easy girlfriend. However, she turns out to be quite timid, childish and reserved.
    • Tsukasa's detached persona belies a gentle and motherly nature that's adorned with plenty of childlike interests.
    • Hino, outside of his ridiculous obsession with Souichi, is actually a diligent worker, a good listener and an understanding character with a genuine interest in others. He is a good friend to both Yukari and Tsukasa, and they seem to be quite comfortable opening up about their feelings to him.
    • Miss Majima, the head teacher at Michiru's kindergarten, to Kouji's surprise, is a certified licensed teacher with all that it entails, all in spite of her silly behavior.
  • Hypocritical Humour:
    • When discussing about each other's hobbies, Majima-sensei encourages Nishihara-sensei (whose hobby is bonsai) to pursue more feminine hobbies, such as nail art or crafting beads. When Nishihara asks the former if that is what Majima likes to do, she says that such activities are too troublesome. She immediately realises this and gets depressed.
    • Nishihara's dad henpecks Kouji for not ever growing a bonsai, and his daughter herself chides him because he hasn't been able either.
  • In Love with Love: Said word for word by Tsukasa when describing Yukari to Hino. She says that Yukari is happiest when she is in a state of "being in love", and the reason she wants to pursue Souichiro in the first place is because he's easy to love, and is unlikely to cause her major heartbreak.
  • Irony:
    • Tsukasa wins over Souichi's affections in spite of being the girl who was least trying to court him.
    • Kouji knows more about homemaking than either Souichi and the late Miyuki in spite of being single. He's a better cook than both of them combined.
    • Yukari has a reputation of a selfish and prim young woman who discriminates, in spite of being the absolute contrary to either of those things.
  • Lethal Chef: A lot. Kouji is pretty much the only adult in the family who is any good at cooking. Souichi often burns his food or get the ingredients mixed up. His wife is no good at cooking either, and her lack of cooking skills is probably inherited from her father, whose attempt at making pancakes ended up almost burning him and the kitchen.
  • Like Parent, Like Spouse: While Michiru is too young to be looking for romance, she says that she prefers boys who are plain and laid back like her dad. Of her two male classmates she's close with, she definitely prefers to hang out with the meek and gentle Daichi than the loud and rough Yuta. At one point, she even dreams of marrying a man who looks almost exactly her dad.
  • Loony Fan: Hino is a self-proclaimed president of the "Let's observe Mr. Kusahara" club, of which he's the only member. He knows the most random and trivial details about Souichi's activities and habits (such as the number of ties he owns, his favorite menu from the office cafetaria, the order by which he eats his food, etc.), which everyone else finds disturbing.
  • Love Triangle: This eventually develops between Souichi, Yukari and Tsukasa. Yukari wants to pursue Souichi, who is oblivious to her affections, while he and Tsukasa slowly grow closer to one another thanks to their numerous Commonality Connections, and the latter ends up getting a crush on him too. The whole thing is resolved without much drama when Yukari admits that her attraction to Souichi is quite shallow, and allows Tsukasa to pursue a relationship with the man she loves.
  • Loving Bully: In spite of his dislike of Shouichi, it's shown that Miyuki's father cares a great deal about him because both Shouichi and Michiru are all that's left of his beloved Miyuki.
  • Ma'am Shock: Gender-inverted. After being called "beard gorilla" for so long, Kouji is stung when Michiru calls him "uncle" for the first time, because it reminds him of the age gap between the two. Subverted, however, since he's fine having the other kids calling him uncle.
  • Matchmaker Crush: Yukari's attempts to woo Souichi is supported by both Hino and Tsukasa, who tries their best to find (or create) opportunities for the two to be together. At one point, Hino admits to Tsukasa that he actually likes Yukari, while Tsukasa eventually finds herself falling in love with Souichi.
  • Mellow Fellow: Comes in many different flavours.
    • Being a laid back introvert, Souichi rarely express strong emotions.
    • Similarly, Daichi is very placid, and rarely gets mad when Yuuta messes with him, nor does he get overly pleased with himself when people praise him or his work. Most of the time, Michiru reacts on his behalf.
    • Nishihara's dad is lazy and soft-spoken, and while he's an Overprotective Dad, he's more passive-aggressive in his hostility towards his future son-in-law than Miyuki's dad, who is outright antagonistic in expressing his dislike towards Souichi.
  • My Beloved Smother:
    • As a child, Souichi has a poor constitution, so his mother never allowed him to do anything that might be too strenuous for him. She doesn't seem to think too highly of him either, and considers him a weak burden who can't do anything without being helped by others.
    • Yukari's mother is overbearing and is incapable of seeing the positive sides of her daughter.
  • New Old Flame: After getting back from a date with Nishihara, Kouji bumps into his ex-girlfriend, Saori, who is only introduced at that point. Kouji worries that Saori might want to get back together with him, which would complicate his plans to court Nishihara. As it turns out, Saori simply wants to tell Kouji that she's getting married to give him closure. Unfortunately, Nishihara spots the two together, and assumes that they are dating, causing her to avoid Kouji for a while afterwards. The issue gets resolved without much drama however, and Saori quietly disappears from the plot.
  • Nice Guy: With the possible exception of Satou, most members of the cast are decent people. However several characters stand out as being nice.
    • From what little we see of him, Watanabe is shown to be a caring and considerate guy. His favorite activities include visiting a fishing place to chat with the old men there and ask them how they're doing. He shows concern for his overworked girlfriend's health, to the latter's annoyance, and apologises first to her when their disagreement turned into an argument (even though he was the one getting hurt by the ordeal).
    • The section chief is always looking out for his subordinates, and would offer them advice about life, and allows them to consult to him about their problems. During Hanami events, he is always the first to arrive at the location to save a spot for the rest of the team. Even outside work, he would give assistance to people in need whenever he meets them.
  • Not So Different: Despite Miyuki's father not liking Souchi (whom he presumably dislikes for taking away his precious daughter), the two have plenty of similarities, such as their incapability to cook pancakes, and their dislike of horror films.
  • Not So Stoic: The manga does a good job in showing that even the most reserved and unforthcoming people have an emotional side:
    • Tsukasa may seem like an Emotionless Girl at first, but she does have her own quirky interests and fears, and would react accordingly when she's faced with those triggers.
    • Likewise, Watanabe is very a very low-key and aloof, but he gets flustered whenever the subject of his girlfriend is brought up.
  • Nothing Personal: Nishihara's dad dislikes Kouji solely because his daughter likes him, not because he actually knows anything about Kouji. Since Nishihara's mom approves of Kouji, her dad's flimsy opinion of Kouji is quickly shut down.
  • Odd Friendship: Yukari and Tsukasa are good friends, but their personalities clash with one another's.
  • Older Than They Look: Marie, Watanabe's girlfriend, looks like a middle schooler despite being an adult. She is also studying in a Tailoring School (i.e. a student). This causes a lot of misunderstanding when he tries to describe her to the others.
  • One of the Boys: Michiru is a Tomboy and plays most often with two boys: Yuuta and Daichi. When Kouji asks her why she doesn't play with other girls, Michiru explains that most girls in the school won't play Sgt. Ruckus with them. That being said, she does have a female friend, Kozue, so she's a downplayed example of this trope.
  • One of the Kids: The relationship between Michiru and her uncle is more Like Brother and Sister than guardian and child. He also has no qualms playing with the other kindergartners when he comes to pick up Michiru. Despite this, between the two brothers, Kouji is actually the more dependable adult, especially when it comes to cooking.
  • Opposites Attract: Souichi and his late wife Miyuki are pretty much opposites in terms of personality. Souichi is calm, unassuming and extremely laid back. Miyuki is fierce, determined and wild.
  • Pair the Spares: After Souichi gets a Relationship Upgrade with Tsukasa, Hino tells Yukari that he's available and that he's not a terrible boyfriend material. They don't explicitly end up together, and Yukari isn't totally against the idea. It helps that the two has already quite a good rapport even before Souichi even notices either girls.
  • Posthumous Character: Miyuki has died in a car accident before the story begins, and we only learn about her through flashbacks and her husband's anecdotes about her.
  • Ridiculously Average Guy: Satou is probably the most ordinary of Souichi's colleague, having absolutely no hobbies or interests, and only goes through life to waste the passing time. Even the author finds him quite forgettable, and later flanderizes him to become more obnoxious and resentful of others more successful than he is.
  • Second Love: Souichi is a widower still grieving the death of his wife, who, until her passing, was his first and only love. He doesn't think he'll remarry any time soon, but over the years he eventually falls in love with another woman from work, whom he marries by the end of the story.
  • Stalker Without a Crush: One of Souichi's colleagues, Hino, knows way too much about him than appropriate. He has a complete photo collection of his manager, including his childhood pictures (somehow), and continues to follow Souichi around to take more pictures whenever the latter does anything even slightly out of ordinary. However, he denies that his obsession is anything more than respect for his superior, and he is actually willing to share the data he has on Souichiro to Yukari to help her pursue him.
  • Those Two Guys: Satou and Watanabe are initially introduced as simply the "other employees" in Souichi's office, and their names aren't even revealed until a few chapters after their actual appearance. However, Watanabe is later given more and more spotlight, while Satou gets flanderized into an obnoxious comic relief who can't get a date and constantly pesters Watanabe for having a girlfriend.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak: Michiru is a brazen Tomboy who likes to roleplay as Sgt. Ruckus and wrestles with the guys. But as she grows up, she starts developing a taste for more feminine clothes, like blouses.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Souichi loves frozen Yakult so much that it is pretty much the only thing (outside his family and hobbies) that can evoke a strong emotional reaction out of him. He sulks when Kouji drinks his Yakult without permission, and has a massive meltdown when he discovers that the Yakult prices has gone up by 5 yen per bottle.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Most of the main characters have a rather odd phobia.
    • Michiru is afraid of dogs, even smaller ones like poodles. She also finds the Hina Dolls' faces scary, and almost refuses to go to school when her kindergarten sets up the dolls for Hinamatsuri in chapter 26. The chapter ends with Souichi saying that he hopes for Michiru to take the dolls as her dowry when she gets married some day, and she tearfully asks if she is stuck with them for life.
    • Nishihara-Sensei has a crippling fear of gorillas, and can't look at Kouji's face for more than a few minutes.
    • Souichi really can't stand ghosts and other horror stuff. This is caused by a haunted house prop falling on him when he was younger, while his brother pointed and laughed. After his wife's death in a car accident, a long time goes by before Souichi can stand the idea of driving in a car himself again.
    • Kouji is afraid of insects, especially spiders, and would Screams Like a Little Girl at the sight of one—to his own embarrassment.
    • Tsukasa is afraid of pigeons after getting swarmed by them when she was younger.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: Despite her gloomy appearance, Tsukasa is an excellent homemaker, being skilled in cooking, sewing, gardening, and arts and crafts. This gives her an advantage over Yukari, who has no such qualities.
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