Of all the shows being unjustly ignored this season, Yuzuki-san Chi no Yonkyoudai. is probably the one where it pisses me off the most. Because, basically, the gap between quality and attention (at least as far as I can tell) is the greatest. And it’s not just that this series is really good either – it’s incredibly consistent. I don’t think there’s been a mediocre episode in the bunch. It’s such a breath of fresh air to see an anime where characters openly express their emotions to each other, but of course because they’re guys and this isn’t a BL, there’s no commercial niche for it.
This was a nice little arc, because it managed to involve all the brothers and pretty much every major cast member besides, even introducing a couple new ones. As I noted last week, 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.” Nobody is trying to screw everybody here. Gakuto is trying to help Hayato, Minato is trying to help Gakuto, Grandpa is trying to help everybody. And yes, it did indeed all culminate in a big mess.
Underlying all this is the fact that Hayato is really asking too much of himself. Being a JHS teacher in Japan is brutal in terms of hours, and he’s trying to raise three kids when he’s basically still a kid himself. And because he’s Hayato he’s not about to short-shrift his teaching duties. When he’s unable to help a student who asked for aid because he was struggling with history, Hayato agonizes over it until his colleague Akiyama-sensei (Ichiki Mitsuhiro) suggests history manga as a study tool (a very good bit of advice).
Meanwhile, Minato – as ever the cat smart enough to think his way into trouble but not out of it – decides he’s going to cut class and attend Gaku’s observation himself. That’s probably better than narcing to Hayato but still problematic, even after he ropes Uta into giving their math teacher a fake story about his going home sick. Mikoto figures out something is going on and in his irritatingly calm manner manages to wedge his way into the equation. And a good thing for Minato too, and Mikoto is much cooler under pressure and a better liar.
In the end, Hayato finds out – because the math teacher had to use the can, and ran into him. And then another teacher spills the beans about the observation day, and the jig is truly up. Of course Gakuto was wrong to deprive Hayato of the choice to experience this, but really – can you blame him, as hard as Hayato works himself? And I actually think Minato took the best option, trying to support Gakuto without expressly going against his wishes. Of course Gakuto winds up with a full gallery of supporters, but because he’s a little adult he feels guilty about having caused so much trouble for everyone.
In the real world, of course, people aren’t always as nice as Akiyama-sensei (turns out he’s a bro), and things would probably have gotten a lot more sticky for the oldest three brothers. But because the emotions here are so on-point the sense of realism remains high. All of these people are indeed always trying to do the right thing, even if they don’t know what the right thing is. And it’s hard not to root for people like that.