Cuteness, like beauty, is subjective. Some people prefer cuteness in the form of kittens and puppies. Others are more partial to fantasy-based creatures, such as the Chocobo from the Final Fantasy series, and still others fall in love with watching the innocent high jinks of young children.
I myself do not fall into the last category, but to those who do, I present School Babysitters. Produced by Brain’s Base, the studio that brought us Durarara!!; Kiss Him, Not Me; and Blood Lad, the series aired from January to March of 2018.
While little kids can be cute to look at, they can also be annoying and exhausting to deal with as far as I’m concerned, so I was a bit worried I wouldn’t enjoy it as much as other anime I had reviewed in the past. Once I got into it, though, I saw that there was a lot to love.
The story follows a pair of brothers, Ryūichi and Kotaro Kashima, who are taken in by the chairwoman of their new school following the death of their parents in a plane crash. The catch, however, is that Ryūichi must become a member of the school’s understaffed Babysitter’s Club and help look after the children who attend it. With a premise like that, one would fully expect childish slapstick humor and adorable little faces, and School Babysitters has both in spades. But there are also genuinely tender moments that tug at your heartstrings in a way few series can.
The teens in the show are just as entertaining to watch as the toddlers are. The oblivious yet loving and good-natured Ryūichi, the sleepy yet earnest and hard-working Usaida, and the stoic yet ill-tempered Hayato are all a blast to watch from start to finish. Whether they’re interacting with each other as classmates or with the little kids as caretakers, you’ll find it hard not to be entertained by their constant chemistry and clashes. And the parents of all the kids are just as colorful as the kids themselves, too.
As entertaining as all of this sounds, it’s important to mention that School Babysitters isn’t always about sunshine and rainbows; it’s also about understanding just how emotional and heart-wrenching some of the characters’ backstories and struggles are. As viewers, we are put into the shoes of the characters as if their troubles were our own. It’s sad enough when we learn of Ryūichi and Kotaro’s losing their parents within the first five minutes of the first episode, but they’re not the only characters with personal trauma. For these reasons, School Babysitters is not an anime I would recommend for those who are looking for cuteness and comedy but don’t want to invest a great deal of emotional energy. It also might not be the best watch for those who dislike small children in general, but considering that the toddlers in the babysitting club are the primary source of humor, that goes without saying—and I enjoyed it even though I’m not a fan of little kids.
In the end, the comedy far outweighs the tragedy in School Babysitters, and it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re willing to put your heart into it.