Tadaima, Okaeri – Episode 1

By: Toni Sun Prickett April 8, 20240 Comments
Hiromu caresses Masaki from behind. Masaki seems slightly uncomfortable

What’s it about? Omega househusband Masaki and his salaryman Alpha Hiromu moved to the suburbs to raise their new baby, Hikari. Their coupling is unusual, given their mixed status, but they are determined to make a quiet and comfortable life for themselves.

I didn’t know much about Omegaverse. Almost everything I knew about it was gleaned secondhand, as part of giddy half-whispered half-shouted conversations on car rides to and from conventions. I gathered certain vague concepts. Something about werewolf fanfiction? Very kinky power play? And was that…self-lubricating buttholes?!

So, having been assigned this review, I did what any self respecting anime reviewer would do. 

“Hey roomie! Wanna watch the MPREG Omegaverse BL with me?”

“Oh boy, do I?!”

I asked for help.

Masaki and Hiromu in pajamas in bed together
“In bed together, but they’re NOT fucking?! What’s the point?!” –My roommate

(Enjoy this review interspersed with my drunk roommate’s commentary on captions for pictures.)

After bribing my roommate with a hard seltzer, I had a partner-in-crime to watch this mess with. While I knew that it was going to be a domestic slice-of-life series, I thought it had to have at least something else going on–why else would it include omegaverse at all? I kept waiting and hoping that something crazy would happen.

Spoiler alert: It never did. The show, in fact, is completely devoid of any drama, or even anything that could be remotely described as a “problem.” The show seems determined to do the impossible: to take the Omegaverse and make it normal, sexless, and, above all, boring.

The show revolves around the most mundane same-sex(?) family one will ever meet. This is, in fact, emphasized throughout the show. The main character, the omega househusband Masaki, describes them as a “white-collar worker, a househusband, and our soon-to be two-year-old son…a pretty normal family.” 

The top of a Christmas tree with a star and two bells underneath, with the star labelled with the face of their baby
“At least the bells look a bit like balls!”

There is so much that could potentially be done with this premise, so many questions it raises. What are the pressures that push a queer person like Masaki to identify with and try to assimilate as much as possible into “normal?” How does a person who is a “househusband” fit in with and build community with other stay-at-home parents, who are likely women? What ways do heteronormativity and gender essentialism infiltrate relationships that are so clearly modeled on heteropatriarchal dynamics? 

This show is interested in precisely none of that. Dispensing with these questions altogether, the show seemingly handwaves them away through its very Omegaverse premise–in the Omegaverse, after all, these kind of arrangements are totally normal! In fact, at times the Omegaverse conceit seems like it was just there to be an excuse to have cutie patootie moments with a gay family.

Their baby looking at the Christmas tree
“Please let him start a Christmas tree fire! We need an actual problem!”

I say this knowing full well that the Omegaverse aspect is supposed to drive the plot. The “drama,” if it could be even called that, is that they are a mixed-status couple, with Masaki being Omega and Hiromu being Alpha. I could get into this as some kind of metaphor for race, class, or caste, if it was well developed through worldbuilding and actual drama. It, of course, is not. All we get is some implications that life in the big city was much harder for them than in the suburb; and scene of Masaki experiencing some “microaggressions” from Hiromu’s underlings, until they remember that Hiromu is both an alpha and their boss and they quickly shut up. It is infinitely frustrating to me how this show is more interested in poorly exploring completely made up nonsense in an utterly hollow world than it is in actually seriously considering the real lives of actual gay people. (someone out there license the My Brother’s Husband TV drama, I’m begging you! Now that‘s a story about domesticity and queerness!)

I would love to be able to recommend this show as a fantasy of domestic life for queer people, but it doesn’t even really function as that. Its portrait of queer domestic life has all of the depth of a Hallmark greeting card: you see them setting up Christmas ornaments, napping together, and generally having a completely frictionless life. The most upsetting incident in the episode is when their baby cries because his favorite ornament broke. It feels like when a coworker comes up to me and shows me pictures of their newborn, and I am obligated to tell them the baby is the cutest I’ve ever seen. (No he’s not, Patricia. Sorry not sorry.)

Chibi versions of the main three characters
“I feel like I’m watching Cocomelon”

I know I’ve barely said a word in this review about the characters, and that is because there is almost nothing to say. They are sweetness personified. They say nothing but kind words to each other, play with their little son, who is of course sooooo pwecious, and have cute chaste kisses. Speaking of which, none of these kisses are actually animated, because what did you expect? This is Studio Deen! You think they’re made of money?

If you want to say “awwwww a cute widdle baby!!” go ahead and watch this show. I will be over in the corner sulking while rereading my Tagame Gengoroh collection for the 20th time.

About the Author : Toni Sun Prickett

Toni Sun Prickett (they/them) is a Contributing Editor at Anime Feminist, and a multidisciplinary artist and educator located in New York, New York. They bring a queer abolitionist perspective shaped by their years of organizing and teaching in NYC to anime criticism. Outside of anime writing, they are a musician blending EDM and saxophone performance, and their hobbies include raving, voguing, and music production. They run the AniFem tiktok and their writing can be found at poetpedagogue.medium.com. They are on X, Instagram, and Bluesky @poetpedagogue.

Read more articles from Toni Sun Prickett

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