“What’s your secret?”
Kakushigoto is an anime that comes with a lot of promise, and given the times, we really need promising shows to transport us to different places or to intrigue us and tickle our curiosity and humour. Kakushigoto is a mysterious, hilarious, and heartwarming story that we, halfway through, can’t wait to see how it turns out! What are the major elements of the show and what makes Kakushigoto stand out?
The series’ major players are the main characters Goto Kakushi and his daughter Hime. The show presents itself in a disjointed fashion when it comes to the timeline and chronology and we’re given the juxtaposition of Hime’s childhood with shots of an older Hime in the present coming to grips with the secrets left by her presumably-deceased parents. Except, the end of the introductory part of the first episode has Goto’s voice calling out to Hime from an unknown place. Kakushigoto is centered on the theme of secrecy, which is the very fabric of the entire series, but it is much more layered than that so, let’s get into the juicy details!
The Pandora Allegory
The myth of Pandora’s Box is a well-known story that finds itself in common use as a metaphor to describe actions which result in unforeseen and unfortunate consequences. In the myth, the first woman, Pandora, opens a jar said to contain various evils. Having opened this jar, Pandora unleashes all manner of evil upon the world, but she manages to close the jar before the final evil escaped: hope.
Kakushigoto first introduces us to Hime on her 18th birthday and she is on her way to a small house in Kamakura she refers to as a “Pandora’s Box”, and this metaphor continues throughout Kakushigoto as an important theme for Hime as a character. The “Pandora’s Box” turns out to be the building where her father used to do and keep his mangaka work hidden from Hime’s view.
Towards the end of the second episode, Hime reveals a set of boxes labelled with numbers from 8 to 16. The boxes were left by Hime’s mother and the numbers correspond to ages and the contents of each box are to be revealed only when Hime reaches the relevant age; however, the contents are supposedly things that Hime will need at that particular point in her life. The end of the second episode follows with older Hime finding a similar set of boxes in the “Pandora’s Box”, noting them to be just like the ones from her childhood in Nakameguro. The timeframes being juxtaposed with each other is an interesting plot device that builds a sense of mystery and tension with regards to the circumstances surrounding the current Hime.
Secrecy is the central theme in Kakushigoto and as the central theme, it is evident in many parts of the show overall. The entire premise hinges on Goto Kakushi’s veiling of his occupation from the eyes of his daughter. As a result of keeping a secret of this nature, Goto Kakushi lives what is akin to a double-life, committing everything to ensuring that Hime never finds out what he does for a living. The secrecy element of Kakushigoto is also the aspect upon which the show’s basic humour is based, but the characters and interactions also have a humorous quality to them. A fun thing to think about is the show’s title “Kakushigoto” and how it can be interpreted as “kakushi goto” (as in, a secret) and “kaku shigoto” (as in, the occupation where one draws) and finally, the main character’s name, Goto Kakushi.
Kakushigoto’s greatest gift lies in its texture. The story is humorous enough to be lighthearted, at times cute enough to be heartwarming, and yet it also manages to feel enigmatic and even cold, like one timeline misses the other, like older Hime almost regrets having to find out about her dad’s work. This is where Kakushigoto shines; because it becomes a story that is less about the comedic aspect of a father getting up to all sorts of wacky things because he doesn’t want his daughter finding out what he does, and more about the nature of the relationship this father has with his child, especially as she grows up with one parent mysteriously out of the picture.
Kakushigoto might come out to be one of 2020’s standout slice of life titles for many reasons. In addition to the three major elements that make the show so good, it is neatly wrapped up in gorgeous animation and an enjoyable soundtrack that elevates the entire series. Halfway in, we’re hooked and excited for how things really pan out. We recommend this great watch and don’t worry; we won’t tell anyone.