First Look: Buddy Daddies

buddy daddies 01-1

Anime original by P.A. Works
Streaming on Crunchyroll

Premise

Kazuki Kurusu and Rei Suwa are assassins who live and work together, a deadly combo despite being polar opposites in personality. However, their lives take a sudden turn when, while working a job on Christmas Eve, they unexpectedly cross paths with a young girl named Miri who is searching for her father – who just so happens to be connected to the mob boss they’re contracted to kill.

buddy daddies 01-2

Artemis’ verdict: … Is That Really You, P.A. Works??

If you held a gun to my head (see what I did there?) and asked me to tell you what studio produced this series, I might have gone with Wit (something about the color palette and saturation), but I definitely wouldn’t have picked P.A. Works. Magical realism and monologue-driven melodrama, never heard of it – Buddy Daddies is more like what Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting should have been. It’s dumb, it’s violent, it has the potential to be heartwarming (if it plays its cards right), and no, it’s surprisingly not a shameless rip-off of Spy x Family.

Granted, found family/‘dad anime’ has been growing a lot more common over recent seasons, and Buddy Daddies is absolutely capitalizing on that subgenre popularity, but so far at least, it’s doing so fairly competently. I do wish this premiere had been even more silly and over-the-top, but as long as the show manages to find just the right balance of bloody action combined with idiotic (but still touching) assassin roommates-slash-parent comedy, I think this has the potential to do well.

buddy daddies 01-3

Jel’s verdict: Criminally Disappointing

I love the idea of two dads doing crimes with their adorable daughter, and yet somehow I did not love this. For the premise to work, I think the “Buddies” need to be likable and have good chemistry. I did not feel that watching the episode, in fact, I found it funny that they’re supposed to be criminals with hearts of gold but they’re kind of just… murderers? There’s not much background on who they’re killing or why, so I guess we’re supposed to assume they were bad dudes who deserved to be gunned down in cold blood?

To be clear, I’m not making some kind of moral stand against violence here. I loved P.A. Works’ own Akiba Maid War last season, which was way more bloody than this. It is also well documented on this very blog that I love comedies about lovable dirtbags who are often serial killers. I just don’t think, in this case, the violence serves any purpose. There’s no attempt to use the absurdity (or gravity) of their extreme profession. In fact, it might actually be making things worse. Think about it: what would this episode be if the main couple had normal jobs? If this was just two dads running a cafe, struggling to make ends meet, but they really love their daughter and do their best to keep her happy… yeah, I would probably have liked that more.

Sure, that sounds like a more boring premise, but it comes back to the age old problem of needing more than a good concept to make a good anime. You need to understand the strengths of the idea and play into them. It’s still too early to say whether or not that will be the case with Buddy Daddies. Maybe things will get better now that the family is together, and we can get a better idea of what the show will truly be. I’m willing to give it another episode and find out, but so far I’m not impressed.

buddy daddies 01-4

Iro’s verdict: S’alright

Buddy Daddies is by no means bad, but it’s put in an unenviable position by airing the season immediately after Spy x Family, which has a similar but more specifically interesting premise. The weak link here is perhaps the child herself, who (at least in the first episode) is simply a pure little angel who I’m sure will serve as a comical contrast to her new respectively high-energy and low-energy daddies. She does not appear to have any genuine personality beyond this narrative role, which doesn’t exactly fill me with enthusiasm for any following episodes. Still, the show looks and sounds good, and the season’s looking dire. Perhaps I’ll eat crow in a few weeks.

Gee’s verdict: We Have Spy x Family at Home

All the requisite parts are here for a zany family comedy with a twist. And yet, I can’t help but feel something is missing. Maybe it’s that the personal dynamic isn’t super well established. At least one episode in, there isn’t a ton of natural chemistry between Kazuki and Rei. And that’s not just because they don’t get along, there’s tons of great character dynamics in fiction where the characters involved are constantly bickering. It’s more I don’t really get any obvious indication why these two compliment each other. As for Miri, the baby child who has entered their life, I think my main problem with her is she doesn’t really feel like a proper character. She’s a collection of personality traits designed to make her adorable and precocious, but there isn’t really a strong sense of why she’s like that yet. Anya from Spy x Family can be very cute, but also she’s kind of a bratty shitheel who’s desperate to maintain her newfound life as the child of a spy and an assassin. Those aspects of her story motivate her actions, all while retaining the truth that she’s a small child with a small child’s mentality.

It doesn’t help it’s also the first P.A. Works anime after the rollicking good time that was Akiba Maid War. Put simply, Buddy Dadies is obviously billed as a comedy, but I wouldn’t say it’s very funny. Mizuki and Rei’s antics are fine but not necessarily going to burn the house down. Miri might have a chance if they lean really hard into her childlike naivete in the face of the literal murder happening in front of her. We’ll see. Which is all to say, Buddy Daddies probably doesn’t deserve to be criticized for not being as good or funny as the things it’s succeeding, but it’s going to have its work cut out for it to stand out in the pack.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.