Isaku Senagaki is a girl with some issues. As though losing her parents at the age of five due to a car accident wasn’t bad enough, Isaku now must go live with her grandfather, who just so happens to be the boss of the Yakuza (the Japanese Mafia). Determined to live as normal a life as possible outside of this rather large and prodigiously scary shadow, she applies for and gets accepted to a high school an hour away from her Yakuza-leading gramps. However, as is typically the case, once you’re in, you’re IN, and her bodyguard from the age of five, Keiya Utou, enrolls in her class, determined to protect Isaku from the “wolves” in her class (i.e. boys). Now I can hear you asking yourselves, “How did a 26-year-old member of the mafia get permission to do this?” The answer is bribery, of course. Apparently, if you give a couple yen to the right people, you, too, can go to a high school and blend right in with NOBODY seemingly noticing or caring there’s a grown man in their midst. Isaku of course is mortified at this development; not only is her yakuza bodyguard in school with her, going full guard dog mode by scaring off two boys in her class, but she also must find a way to come to grips with her romantic feelings. Yes, dear readers, Isaku has a seemingly one-sided crush on Keiya. Let the shenanigans begin.
Do you guys remember the anime The Yakuza’s Guide To Babysitting—a heartwarming tale about a yakuza tough guy being forced to babysit the relative of a yakzua boss? That was sweet and heartwarming, a nice little slice-of-life story. Watching A Girl and Her Guard Dog, it’s like someone said “Hey, you know what? Let’s just take that story and make it uncomfortable for viewers to watch!” I mean, as I sat up watching this one with my pen in hand taking notes, I was just looking at my screen like, “Okay, this is like Usagi Drop meets Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting…in all the worst ways possible.” In fact, when we first see Isaku, her resemblance to Rin from Usagi Drop is uncanny—the girl is even carrying a stuffed bunny!
You know, I had a feeling this show was going to be…interesting…to review when it was offered up by our editing staff…and nobody grabbed it. My feelings were confirmed when I was told about the…problematic nature of the manga, and the direction it takes later. I’m not going to spoil it as I believe in judging a show on its own merits outside of the source material, when at all possible, but it goes without saying my feelings about this one did NOT improve upon learning where this show would potentially go.
For example, there’s a scene in this episode where Keiya spoons in bed with Isaku, arms wrapped around her from behind. She CLEARLY tells him to stop, he says no, lays there for a beat, tells her how cute she is, and then leaves. Umm, what the heck? Dude, you are a grown man…that is a girl you saw grow up from the age of FIVE. You have NO BUSINESS in her bed like that! And when she says, “Let me go,” you should’ve IMMEDIATELY let go! Bombastic Side Eye! Criminal Offensive Side Eye!
I will give this show props for one thing though—the animation looks good. After the swoopy 8K Resolution Tour De Force that was The Girl I Like Forgot Her Glasses, it’s nice getting back to a show with good, old-fashioned animation stylings. I really like the character designs as well. If this anime weren’t so dawg-gone creepy, it would be a joy to watch for thirteen episodes.
So where does that leave us with A Girl and Her Guard Dog? My friends, I don’t think I can seriously recommend this one, even without the knowledge about the source material. Just the idea that the anime will potentially go in a direction that will make many people prodigiously uncomfortable at the very least is enough to tell me to give it a pass. With the controversy surrounding this anime and the source material, I can only say that if you are willing to turn off certain parts of your brain and just watch this anime as it is…then go for it, and I hope you enjoy it. But on my end, this is a big NO from me, dawg.
A Girl and Her Guard Dog is available to stream on Crunchyroll.