by Marlan Moore | staff editor
While attending his grandfather’s funeral, Daikichi meets Rin, his grandfather’s illegitimate six-year-old daughter. The family has no idea what to do with the girl, especially since they don’t know who the mother is. Unable to accept his family’s wishes to put Rin up for adoption, Daikichi takes it upon himself to take care of the girl.
Usagi Drop’s not your typical slice-of-life comedy, and is more down to earth than most anime I’ve seen. All the character personalities are realistic, as are their circumstances. Daikichi seems like an average 30-year-old dude with a day job. The situation he put himself in is overwhelming, but not so much so that it feels exaggerated. He’s obviously capable enough to take care of Rin, but he’s completely inexperienced as a parent.
It’s this inexperience that really lends itself to making Usagi Drop genuinely interesting. More than anything, this is Daikichi’s story. It shows him grow from being a man who only knows to care for himself, to being someone that willingly makes sacrifices in order to do what’s best for another human being. Basically, he learns to be a father. The moments where Daikichi deals with Rin’s first day of school, learns how to buy clothes, and freaks out when Rin gets sick are the heart of Usagi Drop, and give the show its unique charm.
As great as Daikichi’s journey is, it’s the children in the story that really stand out. None of them are overly annoying, overly cute, or overly smart. They’re all realistically portrayed. Rin, for example, is savvy for her age, but not so much that she comes off as an indie movie stereotype. Her best friend, Kouki, is a typical over-active boy. He doesn’t do anything so outlandish it’s unrealistic, but crazy enough that he’s very representative of real kids his age. He won’t be climbing telephone poles or trying some Bart Simpson-esque prank, but he will pretend he’s a ninja and run off to play in the mud when no one’s looking.
All this realism, however, can be a double-edged sword. I sometimes found myself looking for more from the story. I wanted more drama or more comedy, but Usagi Drop refused. Instead, it continued at its same relaxed pace through all 11 episodes.
Speaking of, it’s also sad that it’s only 11 episodes. Although the series ends on a good note, it left me wanting to know more about what happens next. At least it didn’t end on a cliffhanger, but there were some threads that were left dangling. The characters are also so real that I wanted to know what happened next. I wanted to watch Rin grow up, and to see Daikichi become older and wiser.
Usagi Drop is a charming ode to parenthood unlike any other on the anime scene.
The entire series is available on Blu-Ray/DVD from NIS America, and streaming on Crunchyroll.