Gakuen Babysitters Ep. 2: Setting the perfect example

Right off the bat, the chairwoman storms into the brothers’ bedroom at 5am in the morning to scream at Ryuichi. She’s setting a great example of a stable and balanced adult living out her golden years. There’s nothing quite like being a nasty, old battering ram who withholds affection 90% of the time. Luckily, if you just litter the episode with enough cute nonsense, the audience will be too distracted to focus on the adults’ terrible behavior.

When she leaves, Ryuichi tears up once he puts on his new school uniform. After all, it fits perfectly so it must mean that the chairwoman cares. This is also enough to convince the kid that the chairwoman isn’t a cheapskate. He even eagerly defends her against Yoshihito. But remember, the latter doesn’t get paid for overtime. Also, instead of hiring qualified babysitters, the chairwoman picks out a kid who has nowhere to go and tells him that he has to spend all his free time with the Babysitters Club. Is this even the best childcare that the teachers can afford? Or is this the only option because they don’t get paid enough in their profession?

Ryuichi tries to go to class, but he looks behind him to find that all the kids (minus the baby) have followed him. Turns out Yoshihito fell asleep. Sounds like the school should hire someone else, but maybe Yoshihito is all that they are willing to shell out for. Hayato starts screaming at the children, ’cause that’s the sensible thing to do. But you can’t blame the kid. He must’ve learned this from behavior from someone who raised him.

As if Ryuichi didn’t have it bad enough, a stick in the mud shows up and begins scolding him. Meet… eh, I don’t care what her name is. You can already predict her character arc. She’s the uptight class rep who will no doubt soften up around the kids. As a result, she’ll even get a crush on the main character because he’s such a sensitive, responsible boy. Yawn.

When Ryuichi and Hayato finally manage to get all the children back to the daycare room, they find Yoshihito snoozing with the baby. Hayato quickly hits the guy on the head in front of all the children. Great. More violence in front of the kids.

The mean girl shows up with one of the children’s bento box. All of a sudden, Yoshihito gets a message on his phone, so he fakes a stomach illness. This pretty much means the mean girl has to stay behind and help out. Welp, since studying all the time is bad, let’s get you started on how to raise children! You already know how it’s gonna go. The kids start out hating her, but she cries, so they cry, then everyone becomes friends. Double yawn.

Ryuichi continues being a one-dimensional saint. His life is hard as hell, but he doesn’t have a single selfish bone in his body: “Being with these kids has been a lot of fun for both my brother and me.” God, he’s so boring. The only difference between this show and a trashy anime is the subject matter. The characters here are just as poorly characterized as some of the more harshly judged shows this season. People are just easily fooled by the cute children and the illusion of quality because babysitting is seen as something selfless and noble.

Let’s take a brief intermission to highlight all those golden moments of violence in front of the children.

Here, have even more violence in front of the children!

So in the second half of the episode, Ryuichi takes all of the kids to the zoo. Yoshihito wants to get weekend pay, but the chairwoman refuses. Yep, not a cheapskate. She actually gives Ryuichi a bunch of money to spend at his discretion (not really because she expects an expense report afterwards). She likely knows that the kid would try and compensate Yoshihito, so you could argue that she indirectly pays the man his much desired weekend pay. Yes, you could argue that. I’m not going to.

When Hayato drops his brother off, he also adds that he doesn’t especially like his brother. Mmm, nice.

At one point, Ryuichi and his brother notice a happy nuclear family spending time together, and it’s a bittersweet moment. It’s the only bittersweet moment in the entire episode. Again, we’re not allowed to see Ryuichi exhibit even the slightest bit of selfishness. So let’s move on.

Even though Taka claims to hate his older brother, he really just wants Hayato’s love and affection. After all, who else has he got? His mother works all the time and the dad is… where are any of the dads in this anime? Oh right… Taka eventually runs off on his own, because he thinks he sees his brother in the crowd. Naturally, he’s mistaken and starts crying. Out of nowhere, Hayato shows up with some sage toxic masculinity. Nice.

And you can top it off with even more violence.

We then see exactly where Hayato gets his behavior from. People are going to complain that I’m taking this show too seriously, but as I said on Twitter, this is precisely the problem with this sort of fiction. Because this show has a light-hearted tone — because I’m supposedly not supposed to take it seriously — it is arguably more capable of normalizing this nasty childrearing practice of using violence to discipline children.

When the sleepy Taka mumbles that he loves his brother, Hayato responds by calling him an idiot. Ah, what a heart-warming ending! I can’t wait to have my own kid so I can slap him upside the head for not being man enough in my eyes. My mom did the same to me, and look how great I turned out!

Some food for thought.

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