The first four volumes of this series gave me the impression that it was an amusing bit of fluff showing how a bachelor copes with adopting his grandfather’s six-year-old love child. It did have a very “how to” vibe with its look at what a single father’s lot is like in modern Japan, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing and the characters were likeable enough to make it all go down sweetly enough. Then vol. 5 arrives and pretty much everything you knew about this series is thrown out the window. Daikichi is still Rin’s guardian, but the series has jumped ten years forward in time, so now it’s all about how a single father manages a teenage daughter in high school. It’s an approach that has a lot of potential to explore, but so far things have become a lot less interesting.
That’s because the central idea of what it takes to be a single parent in modern Japan has mostly been abandoned in exchange for a lot of generic relationship drama between the cast. Rin has grown up into a self-assured and confident teenager with a great relationship with Daikichi, and while that’s a great thing for them, her status with childhood friend Kouki and his with Nitani-san aren’t enough to compensate. The romantic entanglements the characters find themselves in follow along predictable lines as no one is willing to commit to anything, because if they did that would mean the end of the story. I’m not ready to give up on this series yet, but this volume has left me with the distinct feeling that the shark has been jumped.