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The Spring 2024 Anime Preview Guide
Tadaima, Okaeri

How would you rate episode 1 of
Tadaima, Okaeri ?
Community score: 3.5

What is this?


Masaki Fujiyoshi is a stay-at-home husband who has no self-confidence. His husband Hiromu is an elite salaryman, and they have a two-year-old son, Hikari. Together, they overcome life's joy and sadness, and become more of a family everyday.

Tadaima, Okaeri is based on the manga series by Ichi Ichikawa. The anime series is streaming on Crunchyroll on Mondays.

How was the first episode?

Nicholas Dupree

The fact that this show is (probably) the first professional omegaverse anime released will likely garner the most attention, but I don't want to harp on it too much. Firstly because, while I've been aware of the rise of the trope in fandom spaces for a while, I've never really engaged with it beyond figuring out why some of my friends keep making jokes about “knotting” on Twitter. Mostly, I don't want to focus on it because being omegaverse is tertiary to the show's main goal: being incessantly, immaculately cute.

Pretty much every scene and sequence in this episode is there to present this cute, perfectly functional family that Hiromu and Masaki have built. They take naps with their son. They have breakfast together. They decorate the family Christmas tree. They sneak in some cuddles when the kid is dozing. It's all very cute, but also pretty rote. Hiromu and Masaki are perfectly in love and don't seem to squabble about anything more intense than Hiromu getting too caught up in taking baby videos, so there's not much energy to their dynamic. There's certainly something to be said about seeing happily married gay men raising a child, presented with all the unobjectionable cuteness that happy straight couples get by default in media but there's also not much to this episode because there's no real throughline besides "lookit this adorable family!" Outside of Hikari getting upset and crying a little, the only conflict is the vague suggestion that an Alpha marrying an Omega is frowned upon.

That part is where the show loses me. I don't think every piece of media featuring gay characters needs to tackle the travails of societal homophobia, and if this show wants to posit a world where there's no deeply entrenched pushback against two men being married and having kids, more power to it. The confusing thing is that it tries to retain that element by abstracting it into an entirely fictional set of secondary sexual alignments. Characters balk or cringe when they find out Hiromu's married “outside his type” or make comments about a celebrity ruining her image by dating an Omega, in what is meant to be an allegory for real-life prejudice and microaggressions. So we end up in a world that has a fake, wolf-mythos-based form of sexual prejudice to replace homophobia, which is a whole lot harder to cotton to, especially if you're somebody who doesn't know what these distinctions mean.

It all coalesces into a show that's not bad but feels just a little too tucked into its own niche for me to connect with. The characters are nice and pleasant, but not interesting. Hikari is cute but doesn't have a strong enough personality to carry all the screen time he's given. What little dramatic conflict exists is nigh-inscrutable if you aren't familiar with a very particular subspace (badum-tish) of online writing. If none of those roadblocks prevent you from going “d'awwwwww”, then this will probably work, but it's not quite what I'm looking for.

Richard Eisenbeis

Cards on the table: I'm not one for the Omegaverse. Not only is it not aimed at me (a straight male), but the entire concept rubs me the wrong way as well. Part of it is how it uses the same basic societal ideas as incel culture (that there are Alpha's and Beta's, etc.). Part of it is the simple fact that humans are not wolves—and even the idea that wolves have such a pack structure has been debunked for years. (TL;DR: The original study was done on wolves in captivity—i.e., in the wolf equivalent of a prison. Wild wolves show no such dominance hierarchy.)

However, despite all this, I will say there is one thing about Tadaima, Okaeri that rings depressingly true: Even in a world where gay romance is accepted and men can even bring babies to term, humans will still find some dumbass reason to be prejudiced against each other. It just seems to be our nature—and that sucks.

As for the content of the anime itself, I found it… well, boring, if you want me to be blunt about it. It's just a straight-up slice of life centered around a loving couple with a toddler. The kid does cute things, the parents react. Kid does something to show he's starting to understand the world around him and the parents react. Other than a few mentions of the “scandal” of an Alpha and an Omega being a married couple, that's all there is to this show. Maybe it's that I don't have any children myself but I struggled to connect with the characters.

Still, I'm not going to stand here and pretend that this show is some kind of an abomination. The plot makes sense and so do the character motivations. The animation is perfectly watchable and the voice actors do their job well. It's simply not for me—and that's perfectly fine.

James Beckett

This is just going to out me for being increasingly out of touch with the goings on of online fandoms and all that stuff, because I have only ever been just vaguely aware of what “omegaverse” even means, and I was only just recently (read: Maybe an hour ago) informed that it is not specifically a kinky romance subgenre that revolves specifically around werewolves. I knew absolutely nothing about Tadaima, Okaeri before watching this premiere today, so my first reaction was, “Oh, isn't that nice? A slice-of-life romance featuring a gay couple and their adopted baby! It's about damn time.” Then, once we got all the mentions of “omegas” and “alphas” and all that, I immediately thought, “Oh, okay, so I guess this is about gay werewolves? That's certainly a new one.”

You can imagine my surprise and disappointment, then, when I got to the end of the episode and realized that nobody, not even that cute little kid, was going to transform into a half-man, half-wolf hybrid and go on a bloody rampage. Instead, outside of the whole societally enforced alpha/omega thing and the fact that omega guys can carry a baby with as much gusto as anyone, Tadaima, Okaeri is shockingly, almost aggressively mild. The most conflict we get here is a little bit of how Masaki is treated differently for being an omega—but it barely amounts to anything more than a slightly awkward work encounter. The rest of the show is just Masaki and his husband Hiro just… living their lives. They fawn over their cute baby, they snuggle and flirt, and they go about their day-to-day.

My problems with Tadaima, Okaeri are, then, twofold. For one, while I know plenty of folks appreciate getting to kick back with a show that presents a virtually conflict-free zone for them, it's never worked for me. This goes doubly so for romance stories because happy couples are just boring as hell to watch on screen. Call me old fashioned but the joy of a good romance story is in seeing two people realize how much they love each other while overcoming some sort of adversity together. While I'm sure the whole alpha/omega divide is going to be a thing in future episodes, the treacly vibes and meandering pace of this premiere make it clear that compelling conflict is not going to be the cornerstone of this series.

Also, I'm not going to lie, I'm a little disappointed that this show of all things ended up being my first proper exposure to what I had always assumed was a weird and wild subgenre. Like, the show already had the temerity to deny me my scruffy gay wolf-boys; what is the point of playing around with such an esoteric and specific subgenre if you're just going to make it feel like any other mild romance? Shouldn't there be, like, some biting and rough dominance stuff happening?

If it hasn't been clear enough, yet, I didn't hate Tadaima, Okaeri. I simply exist far beyond any target demographic that the show could be trying to appeal to. To be honest, I have to assume anyone reading this will have automatically known whether or not this show would be for them when they read “omegaverse” in the very first sentence of the review. Either that or you're still just vaguely confused—like me. Well, heed my warning, fellow ignoramuses: There are no sexy werewolves, here.

Rebecca Silverman

Is this the first omegaverse manga to get an anime adaptation? I'm not sure, but I certainly can't remember ever seeing another one, and based on the omegaverse I've read, this feels like it was an excellent choice. If you're not familiar with the term, "omegaverse" is a subgenre of romance fiction (typically BL, but not always) based on the debunked "alpha wolf" theory. In omegaverse stories, along with regular genders, people are also categorized as alphas, betas, and omegas, and omegas can bear children regardless of biology. There's more to it than that (lots of garbage about pheromones, for one thing), but for this preview, the main thing you need to know is that alphas can mark omegas to form a permanent bond and that people with male bodies can get pregnant.

That's the story of the married couple Hiro and Masaki. They have a son, Hikari, whom Masaki bore, and they're working on navigating parenthood and married life in a variation of the omegaverse world where people look askance at people who get together outside of their "groups," which is frankly nothing I've encountered in the subgenre before. There seems to be an in-world prejudice against omegas like Masaki, and the implication is that the family has just moved to the suburbs to start over fresh. Both are leery of other people's reactions and intentions (especially Masaki), but mostly, they're just a happy couple with a cute toddler.

It's a very gentle episode. We get glimpses of Masaki's pain and worries about his position as a gay man who bore a child, but mostly, he's just invested in making sure that his son is happy and healthy and trying to take each day as it comes. His husband Hiro is much more open with his emotions, throwing himself into everything he feels, and the two play off of each other very nicely. The omegaverse elements are handled with impressive subtlety – at about the 19-minute mark, we get a glimpse of a healed bite mark on the back of Masaki's neck, implying that he and Hiro are bonded mates, and he remarks that he carried Hikari for ten months, but other than that, this could be any BL story about a married couple with a child. That makes it easy for non-omegaverse viewers to get into, and I appreciate that. (As a side note, Japanese women aren't pregnant for longer than other nationalities; it's just a difference in how they count the months.)

This will be too boring for some people. It's all about focusing on how precious Hikari is and how much his parents love each other, and plot points are things like waking up from a nap or Hikari accidentally knocking the star off the Christmas tree and having a meltdown. The colors are so muted as to appear washed out, and the weird BL anime trend of floating pastel shapes is alive and well. But if you're in the mood for something adorable and sweet and the omegaverse trappings aren't an issue, this could be a lovely way to ease into Mondays this season.

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