I almost missed this title entirely.
I’m not sure when Kaiten Books was established, but I hadn’t heard of them or this series before I saw people posting snapshots of the manga on Instagram. I was curious about this new manga publisher, and I thought the premise of this series sounded cute, so I decided to give it a try.
Let’s see what Tsukiya’s The Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting – and Kaiten Books – have to offer.
Kirishima is a loyal servant of the Sakuragi crime family, acting as the boss’ deadly right-hand man. While he’s unbeatable in a fight and does a great job keeping the men in line, he’s also reckless and tends to resort to violence far too quickly, even for a member of the yakuza. Deciding that what Sakuragi really needs is to learn some responsibility, the boss decides to assign him the task of protecting and taking care of his young daughter, Yaeka.
Kirishima is surprised to be given a job that he’s so unsuited for, but he takes his duty to the family seriously and resolves to do his best. Yaeka, meanwhile, had been living with her aunt until recently and feels shy and uncertain around her father and his underlings. She doesn’t seem to take to Kirishima at first, but he soon proves to be kinder and more empathetic than either of them expected.
I’m going to have to thank all of those people who were posting about this series online for letting me know about it, since this manga is freakin’ adorable!
Yaeka has got to be one of the cutest manga kids out there. It takes a little while for her to warm up to Kirishima, as he’s a complete stranger who has no idea how to do any of the things her aunt used to do for her, but she soon sees and appreciates all of the ways he tries to make her happy. It isn’t long before she starts talking to him normally and the too are getting along like good friends.
Kirishima might not know how to do Yaeka’s hair or make her favourite foods, but he sees how lonely she is and how she wants to be closer to her dad. These are things that he can help her with, so Kirishima steps in to attend events her family members can’t go to and encourages Yaeka to reach out to her father. In a particularly moving scene, he also explains the tragic situation of her mother, who has been in a coma for years following a terrible accident, in a way that Yaeka can finally understand. It seems that the other people in her life were trying to shield her from pain by not discussing her mother with her, but this only led to confusion and made Yaeka feel even more hurt. Kirishima’s method of explaining her mother’s coma involves framing the situation like a fairytale, but hearing this somewhat whimsical version of events really helps Yaeka. For a guy who used to spend all of his time gleefully cracking skulls, Kirishima is pretty good with handling emotional stuff, and he never hesitates to do something if it will make Yaeka smile. He soon becomes like a member of Yaeka’s family and I found their relationship to be very endearing.
Most of the manga doesn’t revolve around emotional family drama, though. The touching moments surrounding Yaeka’s mother and Kirishima’s discovery of his own softer side are the heart of this story, but there are also plenty of silly gags and little mis-adventures to keep things light and entertaining. I got a good laugh every time Kirishima let his scary yakuza side show, like when he terrified a cheating carnival huckster in order to get Yaeka the stuffed rabbit she wanted. For such a sweet guy, he sure can cause some damage when he wants to!
If anyone is wondering about the level of violence in this manga, it is kept pretty minimal. There is some blood, as Kirishima still gets into a few scrapes, but most of the fighting happens off screen. We usually only see the aftermath of his brawls and it’s presented in a comical, rather than graphic, manner.
For my first foray into Kaiten Books catalogue, I have to say that I’m impressed. The Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting was a cute and fun manga, but it also packed an emotional punch and I can’t wait to see more.
I was also impressed with the production design of the physical book, which features colour pages and embossed lettering on the cover. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for future releases from Kaiten Books.
Final Score: 8 out of 10
For more information on this manga, visit Kaiten Books website.
What did you think of this manga? Let me know in the comments!
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