HomeAnimeANIME REVIEW | "Tadaima, Okaeri" Does Bare Minimum For Same-Sex Parenthood

ANIME REVIEW | "Tadaima, Okaeri" Does Bare Minimum For Same-Sex Parenthood

ANIME REVIEW | "Tadaima, Okaeri" Does Bare Minimum For Same-Sex Parenthood

It can be frustrating when a series with a good idea fumbles with its execution. When I first got word about Tadaima, Okaeri, it looked like the kind of series most people have been waiting for. After all, it’s still rare to see same-sex parents in animation, much less be the main focus of the narrative. Unfortunately, not only does Tadaima, Okaeri fail to properly spotlight gay parenting, it throws in a bunch of other things that result in it being straight-up weird.

That weirdness is the universe that Tadaima, Okaeri takes place in: the Omegaverse. In this world, humanity is split into three classes: Alpha, Omega, and Beta. Alphas are strong humans who can impregnate others, Omega people are weaker and can get pregnant, and Betas are basically people without a second gender. And it’s in this class system where the show puts a lot of this focus on.

The main couple in the series is the Fujiyoshis. Hiromu (Atsushi Tamaru) is the main father, who is an Alpha. Masaki (Toshiyuki Morikawa) is the Omega, and due to this class, is often discriminated against in society. They are the proud parents of two children: a son named Hikari (Atsumi Tanezaki) and a daughter named Hinata (Konomi Kohara). Together, they experience fatherhood the best they can, even with the hurdles that are in the way.

Not only do the Fujiyoshis experience discrimination in the outside world, they also face it within their own families. Hiromu’s father expresses his frustrations over his son marrying someone below their class. In fact, he goes so far as to disown him for a while, disavowing both the relationship and the children that they have. However, with enough push & shove — on top of the big heart Hikari has — Masaki and Hiromu find ways to change minds and melt icy hearts.

All of this on paper sounds like a very good show. But there’s a problem with Tadaima, Okaeri: its handling of discrimination. It would be one thing if this was a show where a gay couple would overcome the odds and prove that they were as strong as straight parents. (As a friend to quite a few gay & lesbian parents, I can even go so far as to say that the amount of love they put into their family puts many straight couples to shame!) Unfortunately, the anime lives in a fairytale world with fake problems, rather than showcase real ones most same-sex parents still face in the world today.

Every time the whole Alpha/Omega thing is thrown around, I can’t help but sigh frustratingly. Here was an opportunity to tell a story that could’ve been a game-changer for LGBTQ-focused entertainment. Instead, they play it way too safe with the Fujiyoshis, crafting scenarios and situations that feel way too fantastical and extremely half-assed. Because of this, it throws the genuinely sweet moments of Tadaima, Okaeri off-balance.

Granted, the writing is better when the anime is focused on Masaki and Hiromu being dads. It’s because of Hikari and his toddler ways that there’s a legit soul found in this anime. Whether it’s giving his grandpa an earful for not accepting Masaki, or when it comes time for him to accomplish his first solo errand, Hikari and his antics shine as bright as any star. These father & son moments are legit wonderful to watch, and show just how much potential this anime truly has.

Alas, it comes crashing down when we’re reminded of the whole class system. Even adding in the uncle-like characters such as the Omega Hirai (Taku Yashiro) and the Beta Matsuo (Kousuke Toriumi) adds very little more sweetness to the series. As they grow closer, it should feel warmhearted. Instead, it kind of comes off as a bit forced. Only when they get to play babysitter for Hikari does their involvement bring some nice fuzzy moments.

Even worse is when Masaki has to go home for something, and must obtain a letter from his uncle. There, he runs into his cousin Kazuhiko (Junta Terashima), who was originally going to be his fiancé. It then goes back-and-forth between the two, before Hiromu and even Hikari step in to try to make things right. But instead of creating a character-building moment, it instead results in a half-assed solution that makes me roll my eyes.

And that, dear readers, is an action I felt like I was doing far too often while watching Tadaima, Okaeri. I should be feeling endeared every time I see the Fujiyoshis acting like a loving family. To a certain extent, I will admit it’s cute watching them. But whenever the whole Alpha/Omega thing either pops in my brain or is shoved in my face by this anime, I am forced to think of what could’ve been with this series.

A shame, seeing as how Studio DEEN has been recently with LGBTQ+ or BL series as of late. It got off on the wrong foot with the cringe-y Super Lovers, but they managed to craft a truly sweet and beautiful story via Sasaki and Miyano. Sadly, this show feels like a step backwards for the progress DEEN had made, making it seem like they’re back to square one when it comes to this genre of storytelling. (It also doesn’t help that the animation itself is a downgrade from Sasaki and Miyano, with characters acting stiff and storybook-ish.)

We’re coming to the end of Pride Month, and it’s sad that I can’t recommend this series. A story about same-sex parents should’ve been a no-brainer, as this kind of story is lacking not just in anime, but also Japanese entertainment as a whole. It’s true that Japan hasn’t progressed as fast when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights, but it has been getting better year-by-year. I know that one show can’t make a difference, but it could have certain viewers see this kind of parenting in a unique and positive light.

But no. Tadaima, Okaeri had to go and be weird. The whole Omegaverse thing is a turnoff, as it does far more damage to the narrative than any good. What could’ve been a solid tale about gay parents overcoming the odds is instead twisted into a too-safe story filled with fake problems. Not only does this do a whole disservice to LGBTQ+ storytelling; it feels downright demeaning. Even with the sweet and fatherly moments, there’s no amount of precious family time that can rescue Tadaima, Okaeri from the weird and cowardly world it resides in.

Voice Acting:
Final Grade (not an average):

Tadaima, Okaeri can be viewed on Crunchyroll, and has been licensed by Crunchyroll. Episodes 1-12 were observed for review. Promotional consideration provided by Crunchyroll.

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The J-POP king of America, Evan has been bringing the hottest sounds of the Land of the Rising Sun to the English-speaking public since his college radio days. He's also an expert in the gaming, anime, & manga realms, never afraid to get critical when the times call for it. Born & bred in Boston, he achieved his biggest dream yet by making the big move to Tokyo, Japan in Summer 2023! For personal inquiries, contact Evan at evan@b3crew.com. For press/band inquiries, write to us at thebastards@bostonbastardbrigade.com. (Drawing by AFLM of Wicked Anime)