While the title may make you cringe, the actual story will warm your heart.
What They Say:
Whoever said little girls grow up in the most delightful ways wasn’t Yuta Segawa! But since his sister Yuri raised Yuta by herself after their own parents’ deaths, what kind of brother would Yuta be if he didn’t take in her three children when Yuri and her husband disappear? Of course, the fact that Yuta’s a nineteen-year-old college student, living in a tiny apartment, with three girls, two of whom aren’t related by blood, is bound to cause some issues…
Especially when the eldest girl, Sora, is harboring a secret crush on him and would be quite happy if Yuta’s social life revolved around the “family,” while middle sister Miu is starting to make noises about “older men” as well. Did we mention that it’s a really, really small apartment? Add Raika, the girl Yuta actually likes, as a smoldering fuse and the question isn’t if Yuta’s home sweet home is a powderkeg, but when it’s going to explode and how often!
Contains episodes 1-13.
The audio presentation for this release is similar to the DVD release in that we still sadly only have a Japanese language track, but we get it in stereo once again but done with the lossless DTS-HD MA codec. That helps to bring things up a little but, but not too much as the show is essentially one big dialogue fest as there’s no real action/drama material here that causes things to go big or overblown. The series works a good mood overall with the mix though between some of the music cues and ambient sounds, but the net result we get here is a series that’s all about the characters talking to each other and enjoying each others presence. The mix uses the forward soundstage about as well as you’d expect as there’s some minor placement here and there but nothing all that important and very little in terms of depth when you get down to it. In the end though, dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in early 2012, the transfer for this twelve episode TV series plus OVA is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The series is spread across two discs in a nine and four format with a decent bit of space to work with. I had originally watched this simulcast in HD and then watched the standard definition DVD and enjoyed it for what it was, but the show has such beautiful colors to it that it really needs a high definition transfer. And it pays off here. Animated by studio feel, there’s a lot to like with the look of the series as it has some great colors, very appealing backgrounds that aren’t overdone so as to be too moody or distracting. The characters have a good bit of detail to them with the various outfits they wear and the houses and other settings all feel like they’re well detailed and animated. Everything just has a greater sense of definition here and the colors pop very well throughout, especially when there are so many beautiful moments for backgrounds and color definition for character designs that shows the budget put into the show itself. This is how the show was meant to be seen.
The packaging for this release comes in a standard sized Blu-ray case that has both discs against the interior walls. The front cover artwork is appealing as it gives us the three main girls of the series as they’re set against a bright if lightly cloudy sky while Yuta is right in the middle of it all. The logo is along the lower left, a welcome change from the DVD edition, and it has a nice bit of color that doesn’t quite belong with the look of the cover itself but helps to stand out against it. The back cover works with a lot of white and blue to provide a good bright and engaging look. Shots from the show are along both the top and bottom and we get another good shot of the main trio in an illustration form in the middle. The premise has a lot to cover and does it well enough, even if it feels just a bit too wordy. The production credits are laid out clearly as are the extras while the technical grid provides all the key information in a clear and easy to read form. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menu design for this release is pretty good with a kind of silly side to it in a way. Both discs use different pieces of beautiful full color artwork that has the main girls together – the second with Yuta involved – that has such a great look to it with its detail, color and designs that you really do just have to enjoy the quality put into them. The navigation side of it is kept to the left where we get a couple of crosscut lines with the series original Japanese named across it while in between we have the episodes broken down by name and title. With the few extras on the second disc, navigation is simple and easy to access with no problems either during initial load-up or during playback as a pop-up menu.
The only extras included in this release are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the light novel series by Tomohiro Matsu which began in 2009 and has fifteen volumes to its name so far, Listen To Me Girls, I Am Your Father is a twelve episode series and OVA that deals with what could be really, really awkward or cringe inducing material, but makes it very sweet and enjoyable. The original work has produced a lot of light novels in a short period of time and Matsu has also written a number of manga spinoff series that deal with all sorts of characters and situations that haven’t accumulated into a lot of compiled material yet. The show also had a PSP game come out for it after the series ended, extending its reach just a bit more. With a title like this, it’s easy to see the appeal among a segment of fans, both in Japan and out, but it truly surprised me with the angles it took.
The show revolves around several characters and has a good bit of history to it. The primary character really is Yuuta Segawa, a first year college student who is doing his best there, making some friends and enjoying that new world that he’s entered. He’s had a difficult life in that he lost his parents when he was a young boy and he ended up being raised by his older sister Yuri. Yuuta has grown up well and adjusted and Yuri has been living her life for some time as well away from him, though keeping in contact. She’s married to an older man and has a three year old daughter herself named Hina. Her husband, who is a fair bit older than her, also had some kids coming into the marriage from two other women. The eldest is fourteen year old Sora followed by ten year old Miu, a child he had with a foreign woman which is why she’s blonde and just a touch different in her looks. Yuuta’s met them all a few times but it’s been a few years since he saw them last.
Yuuta’s time at college has him meeting some amusing people, a group that comprises the Sightseeing Club. There are quirky characters in there to be sure, but the one that you really gravitate towards is Raika, a busty young woman who has an off kilter sense of humor and approach to life that makes her feel cold in a way but is filled with a huge amount of warmth for those that she’s interested in. At one point in the series we learn that there were a lot of people interested in her as a first year student, but she rebuffed them all. Now as a second year, nobody tries to pursue her but she’s taken a real interest in Yuuta for reasons that, because of how love works, is pretty hard to explain. If possible at all. Yuuta isn’t sure what to make of her and she’s not exactly obvious, but there are some very, very fun bits between the two as it progresses.
The first two episodes introduce us to some of these elements as we see how his sister lives, the college life and the club and the people there. Where things change is when Yuri “tricks” Yuuta into coming to spend some time with his nieces for a bit and have a good family time. The trick of it is that when he gets there, he discovers that his sister and her husband are going on a plane trip that’s doubling as an overdue honeymoon as well and they want him to watch the kids for the week. With it being his break, it works out well enough and after some awkward moments, it does go pretty well and they get along quite good. The only real quirk to it is that the eldest, Sora, has a bit of an idolized crush on him due to some past events when they met a few years prior and it’s only grown ever since. While that’s a big part of her personality here, it doesn’t come across in a really bad way.
The crux of the series comes from after that, which is when the plane goes down and the parents die. Yuuta sees the girls being separated in a post-funeral event and has some serious and understandable flashbacks to how his sister protected him and raised him, which gives him the courage to take on the same role for all three of them. It’s not easy and there are certainly a lot of things glossed over here. While the rest of the family isn’t all that keen on it for a few reasons, they allow him to try it. But they don’t offer any support either emotionally or financially, of which there should be some one would think due to insurance, accidental death issues and just the obvious need that the other relatives would have to do to ensure the kids would be alright. Especially since he moves the three of them into his tiny college apartment. But by allowing for some money or other means of help coming in, it would eliminate the tension and the fun that the newly formed family has to work through.
The bulk of the series revolves around the way the four now have to live with each other. From dealing with the meager budget, the small space, coming up with meals and the closeness issues that come up. Miu knows Sora is interested in Yuuta and she plays that up a bit in some fun ways. Hina gets to be quite popular in the shopping district and there’s just a lot of fun in seeing how they all adapt. Some of it is awkward because of the small space, especially the sleeping arrangements, but also because of just how small it is everything that happens in the bathroom is plainly obvious to everyone in the apartment. The show works through some really good stuff with all of them and we see over several weeks of downtime and school time as Yuuta works numerous jobs to provide for them how they get along. It’s all just a lot of fun as they’re all also coping with the loss of some very important people to them.
While they are the main focus, and there is some resolution to it in the season that does bring everything to a sense of closure, or rather a chapter closing and a new one starting, there’s some other stuff in here that made me really happy. The use of the Sightseeing Club was a lot of fun as the two guys in it bring some different things to the table, but I really like that Raika and the two of them spend time with Yuuta and the girls. Raika in particular is really quite drawn to all of the girls in different ways and you can see just how good of a new family can be built here over time. With the way the show never really puts an emphasis or real indication that Yuuta likes Sora in a more adult way, you never really feel there’s a competition. It’s more between Raika and Sora than anything else and it’s just so easy to see Raika and Yuuta together.
I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this series when the simulcast hit a few years ago when I watched it, but the show won me over episode after episode and made it one of the more enjoyable series of 2012 for me. Watching it on DVD previously and now again on Blu-ray, it all comes down to the same thing that gets reinforced with me. It’s just a fun and enjoyable show that really leaves me wanting more stories and adventures in the life of these characters. I want to see where they go, how they grow up and I really want more with Yuuta and Raika. There’s a lot of material out there and it’s a fun story with characters that I connected with far more than I really expected to. The show avoids a lot of the pitfalls that most things like this do with the older character and younger character with a quasi-incestuous relationship (that isn’t in the slightest, just the implied aspect of it) but it’s far more innocent here than one might guess. And that proves to be a real strength and not a weakness. This is just a great little show and now one made a whole lot better by getting a proper and necessary high definition release to show off the quality of the animation and color design.
Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: A-
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: September 9th, 2014
Running Time: 325 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.