• English Title: Daycare Pickup
  • Japanese Title: Sensei wa Butchozura Shite Yatte Kuru
  • Main Characters: Yutaka Kaji, Akihito Yura
  • Author: Haiji Kurusu
  • Genre: Yaoi; M/M Romance
  • Format: Manga
  • Publisher: Hanaoto Comics
  • Where Purchase: Ebook Renta
  • Content Warnings: Homophobia
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Spoilery Synopsis

 

Daycare Pickup is a spin off story from Haiji Kurusu’s other work Dirty Daddy Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing. In that story, Yura appears as Tatsumi’s work mate and friend. I don’t know too much about that story, but in Daycare Pickup, Yura is nursing a broken heart stemming from an unrequited love he has for Tatsumi.

The story doesn’t waste time and jumps right into the conflict between Kaji and Yura. Kaji is a teacher at Kanata (Yura’s nephew) daycare center, and Yura is tasked with picking him up every day because his sister works crazy hours.

We learn Yura doesn’t like Kaji because he’s unfriendly to the adults. Kaji never smiles at the parents or other teachers and is blunt to the point of rudeness; something he immediately demonstrates when he points out Yura’s feelings for Tatsumi (who had come to the daycare center with his boyfriend to pick up boyfriend’s child) and basically calls him a loser.

Yura rightly gets pissed and tells him to fuck off and stops picking Kanata up for a while to avoid being around Kaji.

Their next meeting pretty much goes the same way with Kaji—again—calling Yura out for the way he is handling his unrequited love for Tatsumi. However, during this interaction, Kaji hits a nerve that triggers a terrible memory of something Yura’s ex-boyfriend said to him, causing him to once again tell Kaji to fuck off and then storm away.

Unfortunately, Kanata falls ill. In a panic, Yura contacts Kaji for help who comes to the rescue and is actually nice for once. The reprieve is short lived, though, because the next time they meet, Kaji is—once again—talking shit about Yura to his face.

This interaction triggers more bad memories of Yura’s ex who called him creepy for wanting to have a real relationship instead of just being sex friends. Yura admits this traumatized him so badly that he hesitated to pursue Tatsumi because he didn’t want his friend’s feelings to sour on him, so he kept them to himself and didn’t pursue a relationship. He realized he’s to blame for losing Tatsumi and that it really was time for him to move on from it.

So, now that Yura’s unrequited love has been handled, it’s time for Kaji to romance Yura, which involves him—in true seme dictatorial fashion—ordering Yura to answer his phone when he calls him and then telling them when they’re going to meet next when he finally does. Yura, of course, gets excited despite himself and starts getting his hopes up.

While out together, Yura and Kaji run into Yura’s ex-boyfriend who pops off with some pretty disgusting homophobic bullshit. Kaji essentially tells him to fuck off, but Yura is devastated. He and Kaji get into an argument where Yura basically points out Kaji was heterosexual and, thus, has never been in a homosexual relationship before and that he shouldn’t pursue him (Yura) if he can’t fully commit to the role.

Yura goes home. Kaji shows up a few hours later and they hash things out, have sex, and commit to being a couple.

This last two chapters of this manga focus on the difficulty Yura has expressing his feelings to Kaji. Thanks to Tatsumi’s interference, Yura realizes how important it is he open up to Kaji and tell him how he feels, even though Kaji may already know.

 

My Impression

 

The story was okay. It’s a nice, interesting read that hits the yaoi romance tropes people seem to like. I was most impressed with how Yura’s traumatic experience with his ex-boyfriend informs his approach to relationships and found that to be fairly believable and understandable.

I also liked that the characters seemed to have lives outside of their relationship. For so many yaoi titles, the main characters seem to exist only for each other and you hardly ever hear about their jobs, goals, families, etc. Yura works, babysits for his sister, and hangs out with friends. Kaji plays soccer and tends the farm on his grandparent’s land in his spare time.

The art is good and the sex scenes are okay. One problem is the author doesn’t really indicate how old Kaji is. In fact, it seems like they have gone out of their way to obscure his age. He looks like a college student and still lives with his parents, so he may be in his early 20s.

Of course, I had a few problems with the story. The pacing of the relationship development bothered me. It felt like Yura went from pining for Tatsumi to being horny for Kaji overnight. I guess it wouldn’t be so bad if Yura hadn’t said in the story that he was done with relationships for a while, meaning he was going to take a break and get himself together.

However, the moment Kaji said they should hang out, Yura started developing feelings for him. To me, it didn’t seem like Kaji didn’t do anything to make Yura think they would be anything more than friends. Kaji smiled at him once and told him he was cute. I guess that was enough to make Yura feel special, since Kaji doesn’t smile at anyone else beside the kids in his care, but I feel that just show how low Yura’s standards are.

And speaking of Kaji’s personality, it’s never explained why he was the way he was. So, I guess we are to assume that’s just what he’s like. Okay but it felt, I don’t know, shallow. Like he was just that way for plot reasons. I think what might have helped this was a scene showing Kaji being rude to at least one other person instead of just hinting at it.

However, Kaji does seem to have changed a bit after his argument with Yura following the confrontation with the ex-boyfriend. Yura brings up a good point that Kaji needs to think before he speaks and shows Kaji how hurt he is by his careless words. I think that got through to Kaji because he’s not as terrible at the end of the story as he was in the beginning.

And speaking of the ex-boyfriend. My biggest gripe with this story is the scene with the ex. Yura’s ex just appears as Yura and Kaji are walking down the street. Kaji has his arm around Yura, so the ex takes it to mean they’re romantically involved. He feigns sympathy with Kaji telling him it must be hard to have a gay man chasing after him, and then he starts going off on how he was only pretending to be gay and that he was actually disgusted being with Yura.

I don’t have a problem with this scene per se because it served as a good vehicle for the scenes between Kaji and Yura afterwards. But it feels forced. Like, why would the ex-boyfriend randomly go off like that in the middle of the street? He saw Yura with a new beau and got insanely jealous and wanted to destroy it? Did he just want to be homophobic on main? Did seeing Yura stir up some unwanted feelings he wanted to eliminate?

I’m stuck speculating about the ex’s motives because the story gave no hint whatsoever as to what they may be. The author literally just dropped the ex from out of nowhere into the story to further the plot.

And this is my general problem with this manga. Yura had a decent character arc, but the supporting characters felt very one-dimensional. The story relied heavily on subtext, which was good in some places—such as when Yura confronted Kaji about whether he could truly be attracted to him because he was straight—but leaves a lot to be desired in others.

All in all, Daycare Pickup is a decent read if you’re looking for something quick, easy, and without a lot a of depth. The mangaka included a bonus panel showing Kanata and his friend Ritsu (from Dirty Daddy Wolf) as teenagers, which was really cute. So, if you’re a fan of Dirty Daddy Wolf, it may be worth picking up this title just to get that treat.