Updated: Mar 13, 2018
TW: Discussion of pedophilia
School Babysitters is one of the cutest, most heartfelt shows of the Winter 2018 season. It focuses on Ryuichi, a middle school student who earns room and board by working at his school's daycare center. It's a great combination of madcap adventures and actual character development, and is over all an adorable show - one which I've been watching every week as it comes out.
That said, there's one massive problem with this anime, and that's Ryuuichi's classmate, Tomoya Yagi. At first blush, Yagi seems like an okay guy. He's a friendly, popular teenage boy who's nice to kids and nice to his friends. But Yagi has a major problem - he's literally a pedophile.
Though he claims to love children "the way that normal people do," Yagi's actions make it pretty clear that there's nothing normal about it. When Yagi spends time around toddlers and babies, he gets excessively excited to the point where it bothers everyone, even the baby loving Ryuuichi. Not only that, but he gets nosebleeds when he touches their cheeks - and as any long time anime viewer knows, nosebleeds are visual shorthand for sexual arousal.
The children are understandably creeped out by Yagi's lurid affection, as are the adults and teenagers in charge of caring for them. Despite this, he's still allowed to spend as much time with the kids as he wants to. His attraction to babies and toddlers is written off as a mild character flaw worth joking about - no different, really, than Usaida's tendency to fall asleep on the floor.
Pedophilia isn't cute, and it isn't fodder for lighthearted fun. Childhood sexual abuse can cause an array of mental health symptoms, including depression, anxiety, anger, self-harm, unexplained fear of particular people or places, sexual acting out, nightmares, and more - but while most people are horrified by it in theory, little is done to address the problem in real life. While School Babysitters is unlikely to depict Yagi actually abusing the children, the fact that viewers even have to think about it severely detracts from the warm and cheerful tone of the series, and it implies that pedophilia isn't really a such big deal.
If the series follows the manga, viewers can expect to learn more about Yagi's lonely home life, forcing viewers to empathize with a character whose blatant attraction to children is never adequately dealt with. Yagi's character does nothing but detract from the series and trivialize a serious issue, and School Babysitters would be much better off without him.