The charming new seinen anime series The Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting, based on the ongoing manga series of the same name, has kicked off the Summer 2022 anime season on a wholesome note. The main character of the show is Kirishima Toru, a reckless, impulsive criminal who likes to make his own rules. But not any longer.
This post contains spoilers for Episode 1 of ‘The Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting’
He now has a new mission: to babysit the boss’s seven-year-old daughter, Sakuragi Yaeka, in order to teach Toru some humility and responsibility. Toru accepts the position, but he’s in over his head, and none of his elite abilities can help him. That makes him eerily similar to Spy x Family’s star, Westalis spy Twilight/Loid Forger.
Kirishima Toru, a tough mobster turned wholesome babysitter, is one of the Summer 2022 season’s best dads. He’s another character who shows that a Best Dad or Mom doesn’t have to be a biological parent to be a great guardian for a child who needs them.
Kirishima and Spy x Family’s Loid Forger. already rank among 2022’s best anime dads even if they are not their biological fathers. And both men are eager to make up for the lost time, even if they are unsure how.
Kirishima begins a character arc remarkably similar to Loid’s in Episode 1 of The Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting, with Kirishima being a single man who focuses entirely on his somewhat unsavory career, only to be placed in charge of an innocent child who requires his assistance. Sakuragi Yaeka is the new Anya Forger, minus the telepathy — a young girl who will test Toru in unexpected ways. Yaeka isn’t a troublemaker or an antagonist kid, but this new challenge intentionally puts Kirishima out of his element, and Kirishima can’t use any of his mobster skills or experience here.
Instead, this forces Kirishima to grow and adapt as a person, embracing a completely new side of himself in order to properly meet the challenge. That’s exactly what Loid Forger did in Spy x Family, quickly picking up new skills as a new foster father, and Kirishima is doing the same. They must figure it out as they go, making them the ultimate underdogs, which anime fans adore.
This “new foster father” paradigm not only challenges Toru and Loid Forger in amusing ways but also establishes them as gap moe characters. When a character’s outward persona or appearance contrasts sharply with their true nature in a positive way, it is said to be “tough on the outside and soft on the inside.” This makes gap moe characters similar to tsundere anime characters, though some differences may exist.
Loid Forger is a cold, serious Westalis assassin who is used to putting duty first, but now that he has the young Anya Forger in his care and the lovely Yor Forger as his paperwork wife, Loid has softened as a family man, even though he continues his Westalis spy work in secret. He’s a stone-cold James Bond and a lovable Best Dad rolled into one, and the contrast makes him a gap moe character. Kirishima Toru from The Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting does the same, transitioning from a vicious, reckless criminal thug to a tender and caring foster father who secretly admits that he’s afraid of failure here.
Kirishima does not accept the babysitting job simply to avoid punishment for refusing. He genuinely wants to protect Yaeka and make her happy, and he was distraught in Episode 1 because he was afraid Yaeka would reject him as her babysitter/guardian. This soft, vulnerable side of Kirishima’s character fills the gap moe, and fans can now root for him in the same way they do Loid Forger. They can empathize with him as an action star trying to find a new side to himself, and the gap moe is leading the way.
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