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‘Kakushigoto’ Teaches a Beautiful Lesson About Treasuring Small Happiness

Kakushigoto may pen itself as a comedy, but it shares a heartfelt message on the ephemeral nature of life.

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Kakushigoto

Those were the days. The days we fussed over the stupidest little things. The days we thought a little embarrassment was the end of the world. The days we spent filling with nonsensical happiness. Those were the days. Those were the day… Few shows capture that longing and melancholy for those shining halcyon days than Kakushigoto.

Mr. Kakushi Gotou is a prominent manga artist who draws low-brow comedy series for a living and is too embarrassed by it to let his elementary school-age daughter, Hime, find out. As a single father he strives to create the illusion that he is a fine, upstanding member of society with a standard salaryman job, a farcical scheme his jaded assistants are openly exasperated by but secretly love to go along with.

Kakushi’s desperate attempts to keep his profession a “kakushi goto” (Japanese for “secret job”) lead to hilarious predicaments like him trying to hold a book signing right next door to the kids center his daughter was playing at, or him trying to pass his publisher’s end-of-year party as that of a “normal” company’s. It’s the kind of slapstick humor that hits all the frenetic notes to stand on its own. Show a random viewer some of these clips and you couldn’t fault them for thinking that’s the purpose of the show.

Kakushigoto

But that’s not what Kakushigoto is about, even if that comedy comprises maybe 90% of its content. That’s because the remaining 10% exerts such an overwhelming force that it transforms the series into a profound lesson on the ephemeral nature of life.

The last few minutes of almost every Kakushigoto episode is dedicated to showing a glimpse of the future, and it’s practically an entirely different show. Here’s what we know at this late point in the story: Hime is 18 years old when she finally learns of her father’s raunchy profession. We also know, however, that Kakushi is gone. Whether he passed away, went missing, left, or some combination can be inferred from various evidence but the cold, hard fact of the matter is that Hime’s father is no longer part of her life, and that’s affected her.

The grade-schooler Hime was oddly mature for her age, hiding her emotions and desires as to not worry those around her, especially her doting father. We see signs of that Hime in the present but as she shuffles through the old belongings of her father she begins to bear her emotions plain on her face and even break down. It’s a stark contrast to the cheery child we’re used to seeing for the majority of the show and that sobering knowledge begins to color your perception of what used to be mindless comedy. Those dazzling days are numbered and they won’t last forever, just like how nothing truly does.

The brilliant part of Kakushigoto, though, is how despite that awareness a gloomy shadow isn’t cast over the whole show. Instead, the oftentimes maniacal proceedings of Kakushi take on a sense of meaning. His shenanigans are absurd and his reasoning for them equally so, but Kakushi and everyone around him are genuinely enjoying life. We’ve been forced to recognize that each and every one of these silly moments of small happiness won’t happen again, and that makes them all the more precious. And if even the many silly escapades are precious, then the few subdued moments Kakushi shares with Hime — whether at the dinner table or just brushing their teeth together — are downright beautiful as he is constantly reminded of the gift life has bestowed upon him.

Kakushigoto Hime

It can sometimes be easy to take for granted instances of small happiness in life. Insignificant or not, those moments are unique and won’t ever be repeated in quite the same way.  It can be difficult to appreciate what we have until it is gone and all we’re left with is memories to reminisce on. The time may come when you want to return to the glory days just as Hime surely does as she rummages through the old house she once lived in. That’s why it’s important to take the time to cherish what we have right now, in this moment. After all, anime can be rewatched but days long past can’t be relived.

Watch Kakushigoto on Funimation

Heralding from the rustic, old town of Los Angeles, California; Matthew now resides in Boston where he diligently researches the cure for cancer. In reality, though, he just wants to play games and watch anime, and likes talking about them way too much. A Nintendo/Sony hybrid fan with a soft-spot for RPG’s, he finds little beats sinking hours into an immersive game world.

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Anime

Anime Ichiban 33: Coming into Maturity

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Anime Ichiban welcomes our anime waifu overlords, old and new. Join Matt and Kyle this episode as they discuss the return of the Goddess of Anime, Haruhi Suzumiya herself, then hop on over to the new virutal sensation that’s finally sweeping English-speaking nations: Hololive Vtubers!

For this episode of Anime Ichiban, the SHITSUMON! topic will have the duo diving into recently released Aggretsuko Season 3 and The Great Pretender and explore how the two shows work with mature themes.

TIMESTAMPS

0:00 – Introductions and what we’ve been up to
23:33 – The Return of Haruhi Suzumiya(‘s light novels)
37:23 – The Debut of Generation 1 of Hololive English Vtubers
53:07 – Minor news roundup: (Shenmue anime announced; Fate/Stay Night Heaven’s Feel Part 3 movie debuts to huge success; KyoAni fire updates)
58:35 – SHITSUMON! How does anime portray mature themes in its storytelling?

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Anime

Anime Ichiban 32: The Art of Following a Formula

Corporate shakeups and Galapagos Syndrome spell omens of a changing global landscape for the anime industry.

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diary of our days at breakwater

Corporate shakeups and Galapagos Syndrome spell omens of a changing global landscape for the anime industry and that the crew digs into along with how a series can effectively perform within its genre conventions.

TIMESTAMPS

0:00 – Introductions
12:28 – Legacy piracy site KissAnime shuts down
28:45 – AT&T reportedly looking to sell Crunchyroll
43:27 – Galapagos Syndrome: Is anime in danger of losing its global identity?
58:41 – News Reel
1:02:20 – SHITSUMON! How do shows perform effectively and still entertain in genres whose formulae are already well known and expected?

TRACKS

Intro – “Cagayake! GIRLS” by Houkago Tea Time (K-ON! opening theme)
Outro – “Tsuri no sekai e” by Umino High School Breakwater Club (Our Diary at the Breakwater ending theme)

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Anime

‘One Piece: Stampede’ is an All-Star Behemoth Buckling Under Predictability

Does One Piece: Stampede sail all the way to Laugh Tale, or remain anchored in an East Blue of mediocrity?

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As the fourteenth film in Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece saga, One Piece: Stampede was released in 2019 to critical and financial success. As a big-budget commemoration of the anime’s 20th anniversary, Stampede has lots to live up to, from successfully stamping a momentous two decades, to satiating the hype of a passionate global fanbase. Does it sail all the way to Laugh Tale, or remain anchored in an East Blue of mediocrity?

It’s party time at the Pirate Fest!

The Pirate Fest, a grand gathering of the sea’s most infamous individuals, is underway! At the festival, the Straw Hats compete with their Worst Generation rivals to retrieve a treasure of Gol D. Roger. But behind the scenes, festival organiser Buena Festa and legendary pirate Douglas Bullet are scheming something sinister.

Cutting to the chase, One Piece: Stampede soon kicks into an all-out battle against said Douglas Bullet, with Luffy working with friend and foe alike to fell his opponent.

Much like Dragon Ball Super: Broly, also animated by Toei Animation, each frame of One Piece: Stampede is a treasure to behold. Fluid animation and colors spell eye-candy magic, and the odd bit of 3D animation isn’t (too) visually jarring.

One Piece: Stampede nails its mission statement of lightning-paced popcorn entertainment to a tee. Goofy shonen films don’t have to transcend ‘awesome action and silly superpowers’. Rather than shooting for the moon and coming up short, Stampede settles for smashing the sky. With white-knuckle fights and satisfying character moments conveyed with a zippy pace, One Piece: Stampede assuredly brings what fans want. And whilst not as developed or memorable as other film baddies (One Piece: Strong World’s Shiki or One Piece: Z’s titular Z), Douglas Bullet is terrifyingly tough enough to tick the boxes.

Playing It Safe

Whilst the ‘playing it safe’ ethos of One Piece: Stampede succeeds on the surface, the imaginative innovation of One Piece: Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island is missing, and the excess of characters prevents the possibility of channeling the simplicity of One Piece: Dead End Adventure. Stampede works as anniversary celebratory bombast but isn’t the series’ smartest, and with the core of the film occurring in a single spot and under dull skies, location fatigue rears its head.

For some, the draw of One Piece: Stampede is its constant character cameos. From the instantly recognizable to the deep cuts, it’s a fun gimmick for fans, although the absence of big names like Kuzan and Jinbei are noticeable. Some cameos fall on the side of groan inducing-ly forced, shoehorning a requisite Zoro fight, or overtly shouting to audiences “Remember them?!” Having no effect on the story, these cameos are clunky and break narrative immersion.

Far from the worst of One Piece’s wildly varied films, Stampede is what it needs to be. It lacks the creative spirit of One Piece’s heights and is dampened by its inconsistent cameo execution, but it’s a fine anniversary celebration for one of manga and anime’s, if not the world’s, best works of fiction. For the uninitiated, it’ll be like an avant-garde acid trip, but for those clued-into Luffy’s antics, it’s a barrage of ballistic glee!

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