I love kids. Throughout my life, I have been surrounded by kids. I have a brother who is 6 years younger than me (currently 12 years old) and he is more fun to hang out with than anyone else I know. He’s super-smart and cool, but still totally a kid and plays actually like he’s much younger than he is (maybe my fault for encouraging him, lol.) I don’t want to take credit away from my parents, but I practically raised both of my little brothers. No, I didn’t feed them and put them through school, but I taught them everything that they know. My brothers and I are unbelievably close (i say unbelievably because I’ve never met other siblings who even compared) and they pretty much count on me for guidance and have adopted most of their interests from me.
Having little brothers has always meant that I was dealing with a lot of little kids, since they of course had friends. And yeah, a lot of those kids were fucking brats and pains in the ass, but almost all of them, cool or not, found themselves looking up to me and wanting to hang out with me. This has been especially true at parties. Whenever the friends of my parents throw a big party wherein people are encouraged to bring their kids, I have always ended up being the sort of ring-leader for the children, even when there were other kids my age there who were pre-occupied with other things.
The reason is simply that I treat the kids with a respect that other adults don’t give them. Adults are quick to treat kids like a separate kind of being that they don’t understand. They talk in baby talk, or as they grow older use either a really soft tone or harsh tone depending on the situation and never attempt to converse with them or get on their level. I’ve always talked to children like I would any other kind of person. I put myself on equal grounds with them. I let them know that I don’t expect them to treat me differently than I treat them, and that I am not going to ignore them and pretend that they aren’t in the room like adults tend to do. I play like a kid – I love to pretend, I love to have fights with toy weapons, I like to be energetic and have fun. Over the years more of the kids I’ve encountered are interested in video games, too, so I will sometimes play with them. There was a particular kid who is the son of my parents’ best friends who pretty much worshiped me after we beat Halo and Halo 2 on co-op together a few years back.
So when I see kids truly being kids, I’m always sort of delighted. Hanamaru may be more focused on little girls who I haven’t had as much experience with (the boys it showed in this episode acted just like I’d expect, though) but it was still a total joy to watch them all interact. Even more impressive, though, was the cast of adult characters, who struck me as very real and have all been portrayed in a surprisingly adult manner. It cracked me up how the show firmly stated it’s main characters dis’interest’ in children by actually making him somewhat perverted (I saw you watching the skirt of that girl on the street you cheeky bastard!) and the show really wants to be able to make jokes about Anzu being in love with Tsuchi without it having to be dirty in any way. I felt that everyone in the show was superbly written, especially Anzu’s mom, who was exactly the kind of wife I would want to raise my child with.
My favorite character in the show so far was Hii-chan, who I found bloody hilarious, in no small part due to Takagaki Ayahi‘s voice acting. She at first seems like the usual kind of robot girl, but there’s more to her. She just seems to have a better grasp of her surroundings in general than her friends. Probably due to all that reading she appears to be doing, lol.
I have one question. How old are Japanese kindergartners? I know that the ridiculously tiny bodies are just an anime thing, but I also can’t help but notice that the girls are all wearing diapers. However, the boys are wearing shorts. Is it just so that you won’t see the girls’ underwear under their skirts? Is this a real practice in Japan? Just how guilty does this show feel to it’s creators, anyway? In any case, I had a ton of fun with this show, and I look forward to more vicarious child-rearing through it.