The Summer 2011 lineup didn’t start out with a bang, and is rather lackluster compared to the past season. However, every dark cloud has a silver lining. And a glimmer of hope appeared in the second title that I picked up.
Usagi Drop (or Bunny Drop) is not an unfamiliar title to some manga readers. The series is an adaptation of a josei (for women whose ages range between 15 to 44) manga, which ended last April 8, 2011, with nine volumes, fifty-six chapters in total. The anime adaptation is set for eleven episodes. For those who have read the manga, they will most likely know where the series will go. As for those who have not, (like myself) we are now plunged into the story of family that is Usagi Drop.
The series starts out with the death of Kawachi Daikichi’s grandfather. Daikichi is a thirty year old bachelor and, to some extent, a workaholic. As he arrives at his grandfather’s house, he encounters a little girl wearing mourning clothes at the front yard. According to Daikichi’s mother, she is the illegitimate daughter of Daikichi’s grandfather. She is named Rin, after the favorite flower of her father, the rindou (bell flower).
All of Daikichi’s family members refuse to accept the responsibility of taking care of Rin, saying that they should just turn her in to a childcare facility, since they could not find her mother. Since no one else was considering the idea that the girl was worse enough as she is, Daikichi took it upon himself and took Rin home with him.
This was the first title that I liked from the Summer lineup. It is a refreshing take on the Slice of Life genre, from which, I am a sucker for. When we hear the genre Slice of Life, it can easily be associated with an anime with a premise which goes something like, a cut-from-the-world male protagonist living his life until he encounters a girl that changes his way of life and thus falls for her, all the while befriending other girls, forming himself a harem. I have nothing against something like that (I mean, Clannad really is something like that, but I did enjoy it) but once in a while I do pause and think, is this really what you would call a “slice of life”?
Of course, Usagi Drop is only one of many titles who made a different take on Slice of Life (AnoHana and Welcome to the NHK!) some I presume are still unknown to me, but the way they present this really got to me. I love the realism of the characters, as well as how they portrayed the situation they are in.
Take Rin for example. She, at a very young age, experienced a death within her immediate and for that matter, only family. Some of us are lucky to have not yet felt what this young girl has gone through. At an age wherein we should not be even aware of what death is, and how it must feel to lose someone dear to us, Rin took it all in one blow. Even to the point where she gains a fear of someone close to her dying and leaving her alone. However she manages to smile that smile of hers, thanks to Daikichi.
Daikichi is something else though. He, out of his own free will, took custody of a girl that he just recently knew was his blood relative. Because of that, he made the decision of quitting his workaholic lifestyle, and instead wished to be demoted to a job that would not require him to take an overtime shift, just so he can be early enough to pick Rin up at a nursery that is seemingly worlds apart from his office. Despite that, at the end of the day, Daikichi smiles as well.
After three episodes so far, I have not seen any downside to this series. However, I do worry that within only eleven episodes, something may go wrong. Here’s hoping that the series will stay as it is for the remainder of the season. A good watch.
So Usagi Drop makes it to my lineup. I would definitely recommend that you pick it up if you haven’t already. If you have, please share your thoughts on how the series felt to you.