The Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting is a charming new comedy anime set in the Summer 2022 anime season, starring the tough yakuza enforcer Kirishima Toru and his new mission to babysit Yaeka, the boss’s young daughter, while learning something along the way. Toru is already responding well to the mission, and he even admits his weaknesses at one point.
So far, Toru is making good progress as a sort of Loid Forger-style foster father, but yakuza has not forgotten Yaeka’s actual father, Sakuragi Kazuhiko. He may be the powerful and imposing boss of the Sakuragi crime family, but this is a comedy anime, not a true crime story. That yakuza thinks it’s appropriate to soften Kazuhiko’s character as well, and it’s a good look for him.
How a character can become Gap Moe
The overall story of The Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting is an example of the “gap moe” trend in anime/manga, and this fact is even reflected in the title of this anime. The Japanese term “moe” can describe any fictional character or even animal with serious cuteness factor, something or someone that fans can adore and consider precious and worthy of protection. Examples are many, from Demon Hunter‘s Nezuko Kamado too My hero academy‘s Eri, but moe isn’t always that simple.
The Gap Moe trend, for example, describes the cuteness of a character that’s tough or scary on the outside, but warm, cuddly, and more traditional moe on the inside. It’s all about the contrast or gap between the character’s appearance and their actual personality, and concepts like “gentle giant” or tsundere are roughly similar. Even entire anime shows can feel like Gap Moe with their setting, tone, and premise The Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting be an example.
It is above all Kirishima Toru himself who embodies the Gap Moe concept yakuza, a creepy, violent gangster who must put his criminal lifestyle aside to become a warm, caring babysitter for little Yaeka and embrace the healthier side of life. This trend extends to his friends and fellow gangsters, like his blond pal Kei, who eventually ended up having his long blond hair tied back in girly pigtails. Even the imposing Kazuhiko is joining the gap-moe trend, being a hardcore crime boss on the outside and a doting parent on the inside. Kazuhiko plays it cool as a slightly hot-headed Kuudere, but there’s no denying that he is biologically so yakuza‘s Best Dad, and he’s showing that side of himself more and more. He’d rather not have people point it out lest it jeopardize his reputation as a no-nonsense kingpin, but it’s true nonetheless.
How this might affect Sakuragi Kazuhiko’s character arc
As expected, the Gap Moe trend will have the biggest impact on Toru himself as he has the most room for character development and is still adjusting to being a babysitter while Kazuhiko is adjusting to being a parent. Even so, Kazuhiko has some room to grow and change as a Gap Moe character, and over time, the yakuza Anime could further soften his character and emphasize him not as a creepy kingpin but as a family man who splits his attentions into very different things. Sometimes he will order attacks on rivals or oversee smuggling operations. At other times, he happily accepts a crayon drawing from his daughter and visits his hospitalized wife, Miyuki, with the family for emotional support. If the anime itself is Gap Moe, then such antics are more amusing than weird, and so far it’s working.
The anime could push this even further. Kazuhiko is already changing, like in Episode 3 when Yaeka convinced her angry father to forgive two of his men for accidentally breaking an antique pot. Of course, earlier Kazuhiko would have made his subordinates pay dearly, but not this time. Yaeka is a more expressive and confident child who is cared for by Toru, and Yaeka’s newfound confidence and generosity in turn influences her father. Kazuhiko wanted to teach Toru a benevolent lesson with this babysitting act, but the best teachers learn something by teaching others. This might be the key to preventing Kazuhiko from being just a static supporting character. He’s got all the Gap Moe ingredients and now it’s time to make something out of it.