Usagi Drop: An Anime Series Review
Number of Episodes: 11
Genre: Slice of life
Source Material: Josei manga by Yumi Unita
It has come to my attention that although I describe myself as an anime otaku in my profile, I have yet to write anything about anime on this blog! :O In an attempt to rectify this situation, I've decided to start with a series review of an anime I quite enjoyed titled Usagi Drop. This review will be a simple one--I'm not going to provide the names of the director, studio, voice actors, etc. All of that information is readily available on the net and honestly, I've personally never paid a lot of attention to those things anyway. Instead, I'll focus on the plot, the characters, and the overall impressions of the anime in the hopes that if you're looking for something new to watch, you might be persuaded to give this anime the 3-episode test!
**May Contain Spoilers**
Disclaimer: Please note this is a review for the anime only.
The Story: Usagi Drop is a very straightforward anime that follows the every day lives of a 30 year old man named Daikichi and a 6 year old girl named Rin. Daikichi and Rin first meet at Daikichi's grandfather's funeral, and much to Daikichi's shock, Rin is actually his aunt--the illegitimate child of his 70-something year old (now deceased) grandfather and a 20-something year old maid (who is nowhere to be found). Daikichi's family members are very cold to Rin, whom they see as a humiliation to the family name and want to put her in a home for orphans, but Daikichi sees a loneliness and maturity in Rin that makes him do a remarkable thing--he offers to take Rin in to live with him, despite having no experience raising children (he is still single, in fact). Thus begins the incredibly sweet, funny, and touching journey of Daikichi and Rin's life together.
As Daikichi and Rin get used to the idea of living together, we are treated with a spectacularly believable and sweet story about the difficulties and joys of parenting. Daikichi, a first time "parent," has little idea of what he needs to do beyond the basics of providing food, shelter, and clothing to his house guest, but as the days go by, we get to see him grow into an emotionally invested parent who tries very hard to make Rin happy. Small things, like watching Daikichi's first attempt to do Rin's hair (turning out a pair of lopsided ponytails) and watching him freak out when he realizes that he has missed the deadline for enrolling Rin in school, keep Usagi Drop down to earth and provides us with an endearing kind of humor. Rin, too, spends some time adjusting to life with Daikichi. Wise beyond her years and fiercely independent, Rin is shy and hesitant at first but learns to trust Daikichi and to start depending on him. She is a child when all things are said and done, and it is incredibly easy to sympathize with her when she wets her bed, and afraid of punishment, tries to tell Daikichi that "it's sweat!" and to adore her when she makes Daikichi pinky promise that he'll come pick her up after school.
Usagi Drop is perhaps one of the truest interpretations of the "slice of life" genre that I have seen in recent years. Quite literally, in the short 11 episode run of the anime, we simply see Daikichi and Rin living their lives from day to day. If a simple plot like that worries you, don't let it! It's done so well and beautifully here that you will be surprised at how quickly the episodes goes by.
The Characters: There are a few supporting characters that play a small part in Usagi Drop, but by and large, Daikichi and Rin steal the show away. They are simple characters whom we can relate to--imperfect in many ways, but good people who are trying to find a way to
Rin too, is a compelling character to watch, with her wise-beyond-her-years ways complimented by her childhood innocence. Rin is blunt, outspoken, but really, she is just a little girl who wants to be loved. She finds the love she seeks in Daikichi, and honestly, it's a beautiful thing. It's hard not to fall in love with Rin's sweetness, her curiosity, and her relationship with Daikichi.
Overall Impressions: I know I probably sound like a broken tape recorder now, but if I had to describe Usagi Drop in 3 words, I would say that it is simple, sweet, and endearing. It's a show about love--about the beautiful relationship between a father and his child and how parenting is a sacrifice and a rewarding experience all at the same time.The plot of Usagi Drop might be simple, but the characters, especially Rin and Daikichi, carry the show on their shoulders. Tenderness prevails throughout all the 11 episodes and as Daikichi watches Rin grow up, we sense his incredible pride in her and his desire to protect her from the hardships of life for as long as he can.