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Kids are…great. For people who want them, that is. Little bundles of joy and chaos that take up time but give return a sense of meaning and purpose. Sure, they can be rude and a big handful sometimes, but that is true of every kid. However, they probably should not be a goal for people who work in the murder business.
Buddy Daddies focuses on two 20-somethings named Rei and Kazuki who live and work together. They also just happen to be assassins. One day, while doing a relatively normal job, all things go awry when a young girl hops into the elevator with Kazuki and jeopardizes the mission. The two kind of end up killing the girl’s father on said mission, and as a result take her in while they figure out what to do, that is, if they can figure out what to do.
To be completely honest, this is not a show I went into with high expectations. It has a solid art style and interesting hook, but nothing about it felt like it was going to keep me hooked. Yet, coming out the other side of the metaphorical tunnel, my perspective has changed quite a bit. That being said, let’s talk about Buddy Daddies.
So…It’s Just Spy x Family?
No. Well, mostly no. There is definitely some worthwhile comparison and analysis in the odd three member family structure, as well as the immediateness with which these seemingly unrelated worlds have now collided at the beginning of their respective stories. It might even be worth discussing how both series deconstruct the traditional nuclear family model in their storytelling, but that would be a whole other post.
However, that is about where the fair comparisons come to an end, because the situations and character dynamics are a fair bit different. Whereas Spy x Family explores the dynamics of living under Cold War era government hysteria, Buddy Daddies has a lot more laid back of an atmosphere, even despite Kazuki and Rei both being killers. The two seem to spend most of their time in Rei’s apartment waiting for jobs, at least before Miri.
Miri being their “daughter” creates something of an obstacle for the two. Rather tan safely being able to complete their missions, they are forced to raise and look after a small child who otherwise has absolutely no idea what is going on.
The Assassins Dilemma
If it was not apparent already, Miri creates a bit of a complication in Kazuki and Rei’s ability to do their jobs. Not only does it make Miri less safe since she could theoretically be targeted at any time if their connection was known, but also leaves the two of them compromised and less safe as well. There is also the matter of raising the daughter of a man they killed and having to dodge questions about her family, at least until later episodes.
While this moral conundrum is certainly not lost on our main characters, it also never feels sufficiently addressed either. The show carefully skirt around addressing any fault or conclusion the same way Kazuki and Rei have to dance around the subject with Miri. Rather than taking time to talk about it, Buddy Daddies chooses to bring it up and then immediately change the subject.
The series does seem a lot more focused on its comedic aspects, so at least in that regard it is understandable that they would stray away from getting to heavy. Still, there are far too many of said heavier moments interwoven in the show already for it to simply be ignored. It seems the writers were either afraid of commitment or simply did not have enough time to properly address it in a 12 episode time frame.
Sound and Style of Killing
It feels fair to say that P.A. Works has a decent track record when it comes to making solid looking shows. Not only is the animation good when it needs to be, like during the show’s somewhat frequent action sequences, the character designs also look fantastic. Katsumi Enami utilizes a lot of his previous work on manga such as Baccano in order to create some fantastic looking characters. idk about anyone else, but Kazuki is my new favorite male wife.
As far as its sound, Buddy Daddies also draws on James Bond-esk thrillers for the music, utilizing a lot of jazz-sounding tracks with big horns and even bigger melodic moments. The opening and ending, meanwhile, sound like fairly normal for the times j-rock and j-pop, respectively. Not bad, but nothing I have personally been clambering to hear a lot.
Realistically, this is not a show I would have sought out on my own. However, outside of complaints about the story structure and pacing, there is not a ton worth hating on. The great comedic dynamics between Kazuki, Rei, and Miri, the queer-coded-ness of two guys raising a daughter together, Even Rei’s storyline with his father ends up being pretty interesting. So yeah, give it a watch, its a good enough time.
How do you all feel about Buddy Daddies? Let me know in the comments.
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