I really shouldn’t think so much about stuff like why a series like Yuzuki-san Chi no Yonkyoudai. never seems to find much of an audience. But I do. This is such a good show, and so deserving of an audience. I can’t help but think that if the cast were sisters instead of brothers, mainstream anime fans would be all over it. But the sort fan who’d make a show about boys popular typically doesn’t want this sort of show about boys, and the sort of fan who’d make this sort of show popular doesn’t want a show about boys, period. It’s a no-win situation, really.
The situations and emotions here ring very true, despite some obvious concessions to dramatic imperative. The plotlines have rotated pretty reliably so far, so I figured it was probably time for a Gakuto episode. He’s such an adorable little thing, impossible not to love. There’s something uniquely sad about a very young child who’s too mature for their age, which I think is one of the reasons Koujirou-san has bonded with Gaku so closely. I thought when Gakuto was stressing over a terrible secret it might be something like having wet the bed or something, but that would be much too kodomo-poi for him.
I don’t think there’s necessarily a right or wrong about this situation, which makes it impossible to expect a six year-old to deconstruct it. On some level it’s wrong enough to withhold information about the visitation day that even Gaku knows it. But his impulse is understandable. He sees Hayato working himself to the bone (as Japanese teachers do) and doesn’t want to do anything to add to his burden. It gets complicated when Waka involves himself, and even more so when Koujirou overhears them. Lying to his brother is one thing, but the idea of having accomplices really makes Gakuto uncomfortable (which shows he has good sense).
Koujirou is a cool old dude, that’s for sure. He respects Gakuto enough to let him do things his way, though he does make sure this is what he really wants. On some level it’s fine for Koujirou to be the observer for both Waka and Gaku – he is connected – but damn, are Hayato and Saki going to be pissed at him when they find out (as I assume they will). What really stirs the pot is Minato and Uta following Koujirou’s example and accidentally eavesdropping. They both freak out (more memorable direction from Hongou Mitsuru) but Uta seems pretty certain about what they should (and shouldn’t) do.
Minato is really caught between a rock and a hard place. Again, it’s not so easy to say what the right course of action is here. His impulse too seems spot-on – he knows what what visitation day meant to him when he was in first grade, and assumes Gaku will regret it if he follows through on his plan. But as Mikoto points out, Gakuto is a lot like Hayato. Which means he’s not like Minato, really (I should note for the record that I think Hayato is usually pretty mean to Minato, by the way). Should he respect Gakuto’s choice, as Koujirou did, or should he take responsibility as the big brother and intervene?
Basically you have a bunch of people trying to do the right thing who’re invariably going to cause a big mess in the process. And it seems to me that a lot of family life is about just that. Gakuto thinks he knows what’s best for Hayato and it’s probably not what Hayato would want. Minato thinks he knows what’s best for Gakuto and it’s probably not what Gakuto would want. In the end Gaku will be pissed at Minato, Hayato will be pissed at Gaku, and Hayato and Saki will be seriously pissed at Koujirou (who was just trying to help). That’s a very realistic sort of twelve-car pileup where complicated family dynamics are concerned.