When You’re More Invested in the B-Plot
No doubt none of you are surprised by the fact that I watched, enjoyed, and am now reviewing the Spring 2020 anime, Kakushigoto. It’s got a lot going for it, the father-daughter dynamic I love so much while based on a manga written by Kouji Kumeta (you probably know him for shows like The Eccentric Family or Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei). What’s not to like? What pitches itself as a comedy, however, quickly reveals something deeper going on that promises to tug at your heart strings, and that’s what I’d actually like to focus on today.
Before I do that, I will hit on the fact that the emotional portion of the story is a minority of Kakushigoto’s experience. Most of the episode is spent with Gotou frantically trying to hide his job as a lewd manga artist from his young daughter, Hime. Usually that’s a pretty funny time, but the thing that gets the hooks in you is the few minutes set aside at the end of each episode. An older Hime goes through her father’s locked away and hidden things, while reflecting on the events of the episode. It’s heavily implied in these scenes that something happened to separate Hime and Gotou, but just what exactly happened?
That is the question that Kakushigoto hopes you’ll stick around to find out, and if you do, you’ll be rewarded with a solid story that is sure to warm your heart. One of the fears that many had, myself included, was that the anime would fail to deliver on this secondary plot. It gives you just enough that it builds on itself, while holding back its biggest reveals until the final episode.
The result of all this is the show’s main story, the comedy surrounding Gotou hiding his true self from Hime, all the better. In truth, the comedy ranges from not very funny at all to decently funny, but having this perspective lens to look back on those scenarios is made all the more satisfying by the conclusion. However, I should note that almost everybody hated the editor character and he gets a whole episode at one point, which is maybe the only time the main story is genuinely dreadful to watch.
Still, on the whole, Kakushigoto is a great experience. One of my main complaints when it comes to comedy anime is the fact that they lack substance. The more serious side of the story in its b-plot allowed for more personal investment in the narrative while doing the more obvious things I’ve mentioned, like piquing my interest.
In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn if many folks primarily watched the show for this secondary story. Usually when a story goes for something like this the A and B plots eventually switch or converge, which is what occurs here, but that movement is so small until the final episode that you’d almost think that it wouldn’t work. This kind of thing runs the risk of the other plot overshadowing things or becoming stale, and while I just said I wouldn’t be surprised if this were the main reason so many watched, you’d be hard pressed to say that this took away from the show’s other elements.
Instead, when it finally does converge, the series becomes all the more memorable. Even looking outside of the show, it’s interesting to note that the manga this is based on hasn’t even concluded yet, but the author has stated, this will be the cannon ending for the series. That knowledge was out before the show even finished which added to how memorable this conclusion will be, at least for myself.
Still, this show may not be for you and it’s not exactly difficult to see why. The first being the comedy angle. People often claim Japanese comedies are “just the same joke over and over again”, and one could claim that here. However, that would be missing the point in almost every instance. Additionally, the show’s slice of life nature and slow pacing for the secondary story, which is more interesting, is a known turnoff for many in the community.
All said, I hope you will consider giving Kakugshigoto a shot or revisiting it if you dropped it without seeing the potential in the story early on. This managed to be more than the cutesy fluff most of the father-daughter shows end up being while still maintaining a light and fun atmosphere throughout. If I had any complaints, it’d be the editor character and not much else.
What are your thoughts on Kakushigoto? I’d love to hear what you thought of the series, especially the ending, in the comments below. If you enjoy my writing and want to support me, please consider becoming a Patreon supporter or making a one-time donation by utilizing the corresponding buttons below. Finally, thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you again soon!