The spring 2020 anime season marches on, though there are unfortunate reports of series we’re waiting to see getting delayed due to production issues related to the virus. As anime fans, I believe all we can do is wait patiently and be ready to support the studios we love as best we can. One new series I’m liking very much is Kakushigoto: Hidden Things (alternate title Kakushigoto: My Dad’s Secret Ambition), a genius series about a father and his daughter and “hidden things.” It’s based on a manga by Koji Kumeta, the creator of such genius series as Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (“Goodbye Mr. Despair”) and Joshiraku, so you know it’ll be good.
“What’s your secret?” That’s the question posed by a girl named Hime, age 18, who has been handed the key to a storeroom filled with the “secret” — 隠し事 kakushigoto in Japanese — that her father has kept from her all her life. She opens the door to find a room filled with pages of manga that her father had drawn over the course of his career. Now Hime knew the truth: all her life, her father’s job had been a famous manga artist — 書く仕事 kaku shigoto, or “drawing work” — but he had worked hard to keep this from his daughter. If the above pun isn’t enough for you, the father’s name adds a third layer: 後藤可久士 Gotō Kakushi, or Kakushi Gotō in Western name order.
Kakushigoto is an Adorable Father and Daughter Story
The main story is set in the past, when Hina is nine years old. Despite being famous enough to be recognized for his semi-ecchi manga Balls of Fury, Kakushi’s main goal is to make sure that his newborn daughter never finds out what her father does for a living. This proves a challenge, as everywhere he goes people recognize his name and ask for his autograph. When his daughter’s teacher finds out who he is, she says, “I think being a manga artist is a distinguished occupation. Why do you keep your job a secret from Hina-chan?” But because his manga is an off-color comic about “balls,” he’s determined to hide his secret from her.
Anyone who’s watched Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, a popular manga and anime about a suicidal teacher named Itoshiki Nozomu who is so pessimistic about life that he tries to hang himself in the show’s opening scene, only to be interrupted by a bizarrely optimistic girl with the Kafka-esque name of Kafuka, will be ready for a show that’s deeper than it appears at first. And just as expected, the show is filled with characters and themes that are challenging to understand, starting off with the triple pun built into the series. I find I generally watch anime to turn off my brain and relax, but works by this creator always end up stimulating my brain as it works overtime to comprehend the levels of the jokes and themes presented. Perhaps because of this, Kakushigoto is a show best watched in Japanese with subtitles, rather than in dubbed form…if any licensor would even bother attempting to make a dub of this series.
Visually, the show is gorgeous. While Zetsubou Sensei featured clothing designs from the early 20th century (despite having jokes about cell phones and the Internet), Kakushigoto has a more modern feel to it, seeming to me to take some visual cues from modern Japanese artist Seizo Watase. In any event, it’s a quality, wholesome show that we hope you’ll consider watching.
What do you think of the Kakushigoto anime? Will you be giving it a try? Tell us in the comments below or hit us up on Twitter!
J-List wants to support you as we all work through the current challenges. So through next week, we’re offering an awesome DHL shipping sale, with 20% of the cost of shipping of orders shipping from Japan picked up by us. This means you can get an order sent to you with lightning speed (often in 24-36 hours) and save money, or preorder that sexy Okaa-san Online swimsuit figure (or whatever you want) and save on shipping when it comes in. (Unfortunately this is only available for the U.S. and Canada currently, since we haven’t started DHL shipments to other countries yet.) See this post for details on which countries have stopped accepting outside mail during the crisis.