First Look: Kakushigoto

Alternative title(s): Kakushigoto: My Dad’s Secret Ambition
Manga Adaptation by Ajia-do Animation Works
Streaming on Funimation

Premise

Kakushi Goto is a loving father of a young daughter. He tries his best to give her a good life despite the loss of her mother at some point in the past. However, the one thing he doesn’t want for her is to discover his embarrassing secret: he’s actually a famous author of ecchi manga.

Marlin’s verdict: Hidden Charm

To be honest, I was entirely too tired when I watched the first half of this show. After really not clicking with it, I decided to rest on it and finish the second act later. While it still wasn’t the most hilarious thing I ever saw, there’s a definite charm to this show. It’s honestly a little jarring to go from Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, where anything and everything was on the table, to this saccharine world where we don’t even see how smutty the manga Kakushi works on is, let alone seeing the other characters exploited. Considering he’s even voiced by Hiroshi Kamiya and has basically the same body, it’s almost like the author has decided to set his character in an alternate world where everyone isn’t terrible and he actually has some measure of happiness. I think I’ll give the show another episode at least, though just like Kaguya-sama, the show is going to have to find really interesting ways to play with its major conceit to make sure it doesn’t grow stale.

Artemis’ verdict: Unexpected

Given the synopsis of this show, I went in with extremely low expectations, fully ready to experience something… well, pervy, for lack of a better word. What I wasn’t ready for was how sincerely wholesome and heartwarming Kakushigoto would be. And as a comedy, it’s genuinely funny! Imagine my shock. Think actually, unironically funny here – not dark, not cynical, not even slapstick, but honest-to-god, sweetly funny. The focus is very much not Goto’s manga itself, but rather on his job as a manga artist and the fact that he’s trying desperately to shelter his young daughter from this fact, purely because he doesn’t want her to think of her own father as vulgar or an unfit parent. Better yet, the characters are all truly likeable in an unaffected, down-to-earth kind of way. Goto’s just a regular guy doing his job (and apparently doing it pretty well at that), but his daughter is always what comes first. Meanwhile, Hime herself is a polite and delightfully grounded elementary school kid who likewise just wants the best for her father – she doesn’t know or even seem to really care what he does for a living so long as he’s happy.

If that all sounds refreshingly natural, that’s because it is. Sure, there’s some pretty outlandish antics going on – mostly as a result of Goto’s improbable and unnecessary attempts to cover up what exactly he does for a job – but on the whole, I was pleasantly surprised by the bright and cheery atmosphere of the show. This is complemented extremely well by the art style, which is crisp and colourful, and simplistic enough to almost come across as child-like if it wasn’t for its obvious high quality. I don’t know if there’s going to be enough material here to warrant (I assume) a full cour of twenty-odd-minute episodes, but I’m more than happy to continue watching to find out. Maybe it’s because my expectations were so thoroughly subverted, but thus far, Kakushigoto is my favourite premiere of this season.

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