Raising a child isn't easy, and every parent or guardian knows just how taxing all of the daily tasks can be, the sacrifices that need to be made in terms of work and social life, and the almost constant stream of considerations and worries. The truth is that looking after children is one of the biggest causes of stress and grey hairs (or hair loss), amongst adults, but given that the majority of people in the world are (or will be), parents, it's a little odd that such a major topic is still a rarity in anime.
The again, who wants to watch a show about
the trials and tribulations of raising children, especially when the steady diet of fanservice, explosions, brainless muscular heroes, top heavy heroines, nonsensical plots, pseudo-psychology, quantum-hokum, etc, are apparently what passes for entertainment these days. It's a sad fact that in a medium where literally any story can be told, the ones that may actually cast anime in a positive light are constantly overlooked or ignored completely.
Which is why Usagi Drop is such a rarity.
Adapted from the josei manga by Unita Yumi, the story begins with Kawachi Daikichi, a 30 year old salesman who has returned home to attend a family funeral. During his stay he finds out that his deceased grandfather had an illegitimate daughter called Kaga Rin. Nobody knows who the girl's mother is, so the family begin arguing over who will raise her until Daikichi, who has become increasingly annoyed and disgusted by their behaviour, asks Rin if she wants to live with him.
Usagi Drop is one of those uncommon adaptations where the anime has tried to stay true to the source material, and while that does place a number of limitations on it, the series also manages to retain the charm of the manga. The story develops at a measured pace that can sometimes feel a little slow, and there's a surprising lack of over the top melodrama that is so often a hallmark of shows like this. The plot takes a much more mature approach to the issue of parenting than one might initially expect, and while certain problems that Daikichi is faced with are specific to Japanese society, the overall theme is one that will resonate with anyone who has raised children.
Which is also the reason why some viewers may not enjoy this anime, but we'll get to that in a bit.
In addition to the story, the artwork also tries to stay as true as possible to the source material. The characters are depicted in a stylized form, and the rather simplistic approach to emotions is surprisingly expressive. The design is focused on showing each person as an individual not only facially, but also in their build, posture, and even their movements. The animation is fluid, if a little utilitarian at times, and it's clear that attention has been paid to each character's physical traits and personalities. In addition to this each episode is preceded and concluded by short, but rather charming scenes that are notable for the watercolour style palette that is used in them. The dichotomy between these scenes and the style and colouration used in the main body of the narrative adds a nice, almost picture book touch to proceedings.
Between these shorts and the story proper lie the opening and ending sequences, both of which are designed with children's paintings in mind. The opening theme, "Sweet Drop" by Puffy AmiYumi (yes, they of Teen Titans and Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi fame), is a surprisingly well suited J-pop song that's very much in keeping with Rin's character. In contrast to this the ending theme, "High High High" by Kasarinchu (a pop duo consisting of a beatboxer and a guitarist/singer), is more reflective of the overall atmosphere of the series.
As for the background music, Usagi Drop features a variety of tracks that are generally quite mellow or upbeat, but every so often the score is punctuated by a slow, simple piano piece to highlight the more sensitive moments of the story.
Now it's a trite thing to say that good acting can bring any type of story to life and give it the feeling of something new and different, but in this case it's actually a true statement. The simple yet natural script allows the seiyuu far more room to express themselves than one might expect, and with little in the way of manufactured melodrama, all of the cast (especially the child actors), are able to deliver some truly worthwhile performances.
The most interesting character in Usagi Drop is, without a doubt, Kawachi Daikichi. Part of the reason for this is because much of the story is told from his perspective, but he's also one of the most defined adult male leads in anime to date. From the start he is shown to be a complete individual with his own thoughts, habits and values, and rather than trying to develop him, the narrative is more focused on evolving him through his relationship with Rin, and the problems, worries and sacrifices he works through in order to be a good parent.
On the other hand Rin is very much how one would expect a child of her age to be - inquisitive, precocious, and somewhat withdrawn around people she doesn't know well. As with Daikichi, she doesn't really develop as a character, but instead what the viewer is shown is a little girl who is slowly coming to terms with her new life and coming out of her shell. Now this is surprising as it's a clear message about how resilient children actually are and how they are able to cope as long as they know they have the support of the adults who care for them.
Speaking of support, aside from the two leads there are a surprising number of well written characters in Usagi Drop, both adults and children, and it's their presence in the story that really rounds out the whole thing. The particularly strong friendship between Nitani Kouki and Rin for example, or the slightly befuddled attraction between Daikichi and Kouki's mother Yukari, all add to the overall charm of the series. In addition to this, one of the things that really stands out about Usagi Drop is the lack of angst where relationships are concerned. While there are events like the death of Daikichi's grandfather, these don't cast a pall over the narrative, and this allows for some interesting interactions and dynamics to emerge, the prime example of this being the bond that develops between the two lead characters.
Usagi Drop is a simple, straightforward and charming tale about what it means to be a parent, and while the story and characters are presented in an ideal form, this doesn't really detract from one's enjoyment of the show. It goes without saying that anyone who has experience of raising children will be able to relate more readily to a number of the themes in the show, but it should be pointed out that the plot is simple enough to allow anyone to enjoy it.
Which brings us back to why some people won't like this series.
Aside from the sometimes slow pace, the main theme of the show is one that many younger fans (and even a few older ones), may not like, especially if their penchant is for action, heavy melodrama, etc. On the surface it can seem as though Usagi Drop is nothing more than another lighthearted slice of life drama that's only different from the likes of Aishiteruze Baby because a full fledged adult is cast in the role of parent instead of a teenaged playboy, but there's more to the show than that.
The simple fact is that this anime is one of those rare titles that doesn't use the word "mature" as a marker for violence, gore, sexual content, etc, and this makes it almost unique when one considers the shows that have been released this past year. The emphasis on realism, albeit in an idealized form, may also be a factor as there are a few people out there who want pure fantasy and escapism.
Whatever your opinion or taste, one thing remains true - Usagi Drop is clearly aimed at a more mature audience than the norm. The fact that it doesn't demean the creators with pointless gore, violence or fanservice, or insult the viewer's intelligence by explaining everything that happens, are what sets it apart from many other slice of life shows out there.
I’m happy. Why? Well, because this show did so much right that it’s tough not to be. Usagi Drop stayed true to the essence of the manga (before the timeskip) and didn’t stray far, if at all, from the original story progression. It captured splendidly the little nuances of an abnormal parent-child reality.
Our lives are full of insignificancies. Waking up irritable and half alert, washing your teeth, brushing your face, fumbling to find your valuables, grocery shopping without a list. The shit we wade through daily but clean up and forget soon after. These are experiences almost all can relate
to but never share with one another because it’s stuff not worth sharing. Then of course, spliced in between those bits of irrelevance are the undoubtedly meaningful moments to be remembered. And we want to save those precious moments by documenting them. It’s in our nature to try and preserve the best times of our lives in some form or another. So when something like Usagi Drop comes along that personifies ‘life’, in both the boring and the beautiful, we’re able to really connect with the characters and their story on a more personal level.
Rin is modest, caring, independent, and responsible. She’s very mature but then not without those traits which you find ever-present in kids around her age. Joyful, curious, and downright adorable! In terms of lovability, she’s on par with Ushio in my book. You just want to squeeze those little cheeks and embrace her till she dies of asphyxiation. She’s that HNNNGGable. Needless to say, her expressions are genuine signs of love and appreciation, even for something like a poor attempt at tying pigtails. How she feels shows on her face clear as a sunny day. And the window through which we get to see all these sides of her is Daikichi.
Daikichi’s a very straightforward guy, both in personality and appearance. On top of that, he’s nurturing, compassionate, and protective. A little awkward at times but it comes with the job. Not to say I don’t like my dad, I love him, but Daikichi is the kind of father I wished I’d had growing up. He juggles his new responsibilities well with work and still manages to maintain a good relationship with everyone around him. Standing in as a guardian for your past grandfather’s illegitimate kid probably isn’t easy so I think he deserves a break here and there for his goofups. Watching Daikichi is a true breath of fresh air what with all the high school/university kids hogging most of the attention in anime. What you get is a middle aged guy just trying to do his best to provide for himself and his new little house warmer.
TWO little house warmers considering the frequency of Kouki’s visits. He and his mother are two more people you’ll find to be endearing as they interact with Rin and Daikichi. Aside from his apparent cheekiness, Kouki’s a good kid and it shows in his submissive yet protective behavior towards Rin. Looking at their close friendship and the overt chemistry between Yukari and Kawachi, it’s quite easy to envision them becoming a family in the near future. In fact, beyond the show’s conclusion you could say they’re already family.
And because of the relatively fluid art and animation, we’re able to see how they become so close. Soft watercolour-esque scenes start out each episode before the opening song rolls. It’s really a nice way of preceding the bulk of the episode. Character designs are markedly simplistic but there’s no need to fuss over it. With some added touches of realism, it’s nice knowing they do change clothes each day and night and that Daikichi does grow a stubble if he doesn’t shave every day like any other grown man. The backgrounds are subtle yet detailed; from pavement cracks to packaged market meat, everything in view is easy on the oculars.
To supplement the animation is the writing which shines through in the dialogue. Ayu and Tsuchida’s performance as the voices of Rin and Daikichi leave little more to be asked for. Thanks to them and all the other seiyuus, the talking that goes on in the show becomes one of its strengths. For example, in one episode, Daikichi and Harumi, Reina’s mom, have a serious discussion about Harumi’s marital problems which is eavesdropped on by Rin. But noticing this, Reina takes her aside and shows her how she copes when mom and dad don’t get along. Not something seen every day, you get both the child and parent’s perspectives of when things aren’t going so smoothly at home. Really, kids are keen in times like that and it’s great to see that the anime picks up on this detail. And it’s not only those I’ve listed who have depth of character but everyone has their own charm about them and grows, if just a little, in their own way in the span of only a year.
Now soundwise, the piano melodies and environmental acoustics fit well with whatever present surroundings were onscreen. The opening/ending songs are two very cheery jingles. Catchy it was but not enough to my taste to warrant a replay every week. Though, I would’ve never known that the group who did the opening is the same group who did the Teen Titans theme song (one of my favorites) had I not looked it up. Nostalgia, woo! From their tower they can see that all together, the music worked in pacing the way scenes played out.
Usagi Drop was an engagingly heartfelt tale of an atypical family living and learning how to adjust to their odd circumstances and the intricacies it affords. It handled themes like the importance of family values and the trials of child raising with great consideration for its audiences.
Despite its title I advise against dropping this anime because sitting down to watch Rin and Daikichi go through child/parenthood is an experience to be cherished. And I, for one, certainly have.
I have watched every single slice-of-life anime since 2005 and Usagi Drop still manages to easily stand out. A good amount of slice of life shows focus on pumping high school girls full of moe and or filling their daily lives with excessive drama and irrationally difficult people. Usagi Drop, however, portrays itself in stark contrast; unforced, un-contrived, and totally natural, the show manages to make its characters and events truly heartwarming without having to resort to overcoming some out-of-place difficulty or killing off characters.
Now more than half-way into the season at episode 6, all the characters have managed to display a definite depth of
personality and emotion that most other shows never achieve. Daikichi, his mom, his sister, Rin, Haruko, and even the controversial Masako all refuse to be classified down into silly anime stereotypes. Though they each have their own problems in life, they all manage to radiate a heartwarming and real aura. In their actions and words the mature audience can easily spot a heartfelt kindness and the tender je ne sais quoi of life. The characters are, in fact, more than just characters in some story.
And although Usagi Drop still holds an intrinsically touching storyline, it delivers it in pleasant harmony with its characters, its art, and its background music. The audience is transported into the somewhat daunting life of a single Japanese salary-man and sudden father. Yet despite this bleakness, we see the world of Daikichi and Rin as a place filled warmth and a firm sense of family. The chorus of music in the background, neither harkening doom nor hollering gloom, is instead a duet of simplicity, playfulness, and nostalgia. The environmental BGM seeks to neither to overshadow nor contradict the characters, but instead augment gentle Daikichi's kindness, precocious Rin's sweetness, energetic Gotou's friendliness, etc.
Next, the opening theme, Sweet Drops by Puffy, is a touch of crayon magic mixed with a well-performed song that perfectly captures the pure and innocent love so subtly themed throughout the show. This show is quickly leaving the realm of simple afternoon entertainment and entering the realm of heartwarming artwork.
To be Frank, I was skeptical about committing to watching Usagi Drop having read all the manga. Adaptations are great and all, but boy oh boy the source material (manga) didnt sit well with me, almost leading me to drop the show entirely.
Now, I can safely say I'm glad to have watched this amazing experience.
So how do I describe and score Usagi Drop? Well, this happens to be one of those shows where numbers just won't do, and an in-depth analysis is quite frankly overkill. I can talk all I want about what it's about; the premise, the execution, pacing, but none of
this will do justice. But heck, I'll give it a shot just for you.
We follow our Main "protagonist" Karachi Daikichi, a single 30 year old man whose grandfather has recently passed away. At his grandfather's funeral, he meets his grandfather's daughter, Kaga Rin; age 6.
Hmm.... Ok... So this little girl is his....
Moving along, Both the two meet and under the rather dreary atmosphere of mourning adults, Daikichi takes Rin under his wing and thus begins Daikichi's new life as a parent.
Pretty basic premise... Meh, not really. Transition into parenting/parenthood is a topic RARELY touched on in anime. Why? Doesn't sell... Anyways, the story focuses heavily on Daikichi's and Rin's new life, how they adapt, perceive, and going about the day. Now, remember, Daikichi has been a single 30 year old working and drinking constantly, having only to care and feed for one person. Let's add another expense to deduct from your income... Don't forget, kids have soccer (football) games and stuff. Better to make some time in my already dreadfully unflexible schedule..
Get the picture? Good, but ultimately, the story only moves forward with each new experience both Rin and Daikichi undergo. With that, we see that as time goes on, they change and develop.
As far as pacing goes, it's relatively slow paced... Then again, with an awkward number of 11 episodes, this seems appropriate. Each episode never seems rushed.. Scratch that, each scene never seems rushed. The story isn't overly complex, so holes aren't an issue. All in all, the only word to describe the story is simple, and that isn't such a bad thing.
Fans could give this a 10, those without a heart could name it plotless. Depending on what you're expecting, it could go either way.
This was a surprise considering Production I.G touched this one up. If we look at Production IG's other works, we see something completely different from what you see here. Please be aware, this is a pleasant surprise. Thumbs up on this one.
The show comes off as.. Rather childish, but it isn't that big of a deal considering that kids are involved in the story after all. In fact, the art is rather fitting, and in those few moments throughout the show, I stared in awe at the magnificently drawn and animated scenes. This might be a surprise because the art is so simplistic. Character design, lighting, the background. Nothing held extraordinary detail except, again, in those few moments of high interest and excitement, although "excitement" isn't so appropriate to describe this.
I must compliment the pastel, water color-y (forgive me as I am uneducated in accurate art terminology) scenes through out the series. It's very different than what many people are probably used to seeing on the current market.
That being said, because of how boldly the art is presented, the different art style showing off as strongly as it does might end up being a miss for many.
So how do I sum up the art? Like the story. Simple, but sweet, with a touch of magnificent sprinkled in. It isn't Shinkai breathtaking, but it's pretty dang close in many scenes.
Character voices are appropriate for the whole cast. I might have a problem with only one character, but she's completely overlook able in comparison to everyone else. The sound track was well done, though Unmemorable. Heck, everything was done satisfactorily here as the pleasant background music compliments the "feel good" atmosphere. The music even addresses the more dramatic scenes with ease. The OP and ED are nothing too special, but very fitting to the theme of Bunny Drop.
Now, this may seem like a slice of life show, and it is, but the abnormal time frame this series has is rather stressing to many viewers for many reasons. For example, many short series fail to develop their characters since, like in life, time is limited, so rushed plots and such can hurt the cast as a whole.
Thankfully, Usagi Drop nails that instinctive preconception to the ground. With only two main characters and very well planned out execution and pacing, there is a feeling of satisfaction by watching Rin and Daikichi grow. Heck, we even see there is more to the support roles than what we are presented prior to the next time they make an appearance. The show addresses how Daikichi feels and grows quite clearly, which then leads the viewer to imply a few thing about Rin. While Rin arguably is very static, we must realize that she is a 6 year old. A child whose mind is still in development. Realistic? Appropriate? Do you have a problem with this ideally perfect little girl? Stuff your whining and refresh your perspectives.
By the end of the show, I came to realize what a delight It was to watch Daikichi & Rin grow as characters as a whole.
A rare delight and one of the best shows of 2011. It's hard to explain why this anime was so successful. The story is a heartwarming one, packed with many little lessons on ethics and such. Perhaps our reaction to the characters and their interactions came off as hilarious. Going into the show, you might find plenty of the characters relatable even. Perhaps this caused me to reflect on my childhood and outlook for my future. Usagi Drop offers something for everyone to relate to and enjoy.
Hopefully this gave you enough insight as to whether or no you should pick up Usagi drop. Be aware, the intended audience is a more older one, not really specifically targeting teens or younger audiences of the sort. Still, the show is appropriate for a broad audience. If you're looking for action, harem, a complex plot, you'll find none of that here. What exists before you is a really simple but sweet treasure that can be watched without being disappointed. I encourage you to give this show a shot at becoming what could be one of your favorites of all time. My only issue with this show is that it was given a measly and awkward 11 episodes.
Final thoughts? It was far from perfect, but Usagi Drop did so many things right that it doesn't even matter.
Secretly funded by the Japanese government to combat declining birth rates, project "USAGI DROP" targeted a very specific, generally non-reproductive demographic of the Japanese population: the otaku. At the core of the project was a 11 episode television series that was specifically designed to thoroughly rouse hibernating paternal instincts. Researchers noted a 41% increase in the desire to have children in males in their 20s to 30s who watched a single episode of Usagi Drop. Researchers also noted that of that 41%, 77% of those males explicitly stated that they wanted daughters. One of the biggest advantages project USAGI DROP had over its predecessor, project
MINDLESS ECCHI is that it instilled the desire to propagate in its viewers rather than the desire to merely fornicate. Researchers of the project also documented what later became termed as the "Usagi Drop effect;" after watching an episode of Usagi Drop, viewers would often ramble off a list of random names before being able to engage in proper conversation. After a conducting several widespread interviews, researchers discovered that these ramblings were the external symptoms of an internal debate that was common among all viewers of Usagi Drop; the viewers consistently tried to decide what name they wanted to bestow on their offspring after watching an episode of Usagi Drop. After these very promising test results, the Japanese Government gave the project the green light and the anime aired in the Summer of 2011. They are expecting great returns in nine months.
Since there is only one episode of this out and I can't speak for the whole thing, of course, but I do want people to know that this one, so far, is definitely worth watching and why I think in the future it will be well worth your time.
FIRST RESPONSE (Literally minutes after finishing my first watch through of the first episode. I actually posted it as a comment then copied and pasted it here because I thought it fit well.)
Wow, simply beautiful and intriguing, this episode alone could stand on it's own. I know
there's going to be more and that awesome but in retrospect it may not, hopefully will though, live up to what this has episode portrayed and what I expect to be the standard for the rest of this anime's duration. Overall it's a great set up to what could have a wonderful, touching, deep, story with vivid and evolving characters to bout. But that's to be seen; for now, my hopes are high.
Now for the review portion of this review.
STORY: I don't want to say much into this regard as there has been only ONE episode but I can say confidently that it will be good...if not played out, but good never the less. I say this only because I have seen these types of anime before and if the birth mother is ever out of the picture to start then, naturally, she will re-enter the frame. But as a famous quote states, it's not the path you take but it's how you walk it. Ok that's not famous (I actually just made it up) but you get the picture. I read some complaints about how you don't know enough of the story and how people are feeling lost. My only response to that is...IT'S THE FIRST EPISODE! Give it time. If they revealed all at the start why would you watch it? Suspense is key to good ratings and they know this. I think they did a great job, but I'll talk about that later. Moving right along,
ART: Now I'm no art major nor do I claim or want, no offense, to be one. As a person who can only draw stick figures, anything that has any sembalnce of resembalnce to reality is good (that's a tongue twister), does that make this anime good? Yes, to me at lest. I have seen plenty of anime and have come across ones that even I don't care for but the art style here really seems to flow with the feel of this show. It's calm and smooth. It's dull and faded. It's bright and happy. It's perfect, in my none expert's opinion. The art will add a level of feeling to the show that mere story or characters could bring (not saying those aren't equally as important). And so we're off to the next one,
SOUND: ...? Um...Hmu.....I...no that's n...it's...I...well its sound. I have never really understood this one. The again I watch streaming anime so the sound quality is not on par all the time. But, I expect it's more for the action animes, the one with a lot going on and what not, but for this anime I am at a lose for words (I know! Me! Well actually you don't do you? O well) Lets just say the voice acting is stellar, as usual (SUBS NOT DUBS), anyway, the music all fits well, nothing played that seemed out of place or that distracted me in anyway from the anime and the goings ons. Moving ons,
CHARACTERS: Oh My God! (I know who types that out anymore?) That's just how excited I am to see how these characters will progress! The first episode did an amazing job at setting up each important character. Not letting on to much into anyone's past but giving enough background information so that you can feel a certain level of understanding towards most of them. Lets go down the list:
Rin. Quiet and reserved, never went out of here way to defend or react to anything that happened, with one exception. She only had about 4 or 5 lines but actions speak louder then words (who said that? Hold up one second...to Google! Well I heard that Mark Twain said it, also that some old German writer coined it, also that a 5 year old said it as his first words. That was a pointless expedition, lets return to the review, shall we). The one exception that I mentioned earlier...um spoiler I guess...is when Daikichi asks if she wants to live with him and she runs to his side. Can't wait to see what changes she bring to Daikichi and herself.
Daikichi. I was having troubles trying to pinpoint his specific character. At first I thought he was a loner and not socially aware, someone who throws them self into there work, that's how I justified a social loner getting a phone call in the beginning. But he acts and reacts to well in a social setting. So I moved to, not a social loner, but a self proclaimed loner, no matter what, I can tell he is a loner in some form or another. He was always segregated just a little bit from the group, even though they are his family, like sitting away from the table, actually noticing and paying attention to Rin, simple things that are both in his personality and his manner of speech. Cant wait to see how he changes, as fore-mentioned in the paragraph above.
Haruko. I don't know why but I feel like she will become an important character later in the show (god I hope I'm not wrong here). I cant say much about her character as she had little lines and even less air time but her presence made an impact on me, though that was probably because her child was quiet prominent. I'm going to go out on a limb and say she will, most likely, be Daikichi's love interest; however, if they are related disregard all of this. I say this because there was no indication that she was related to Daikichi. I know she has a child but there was not the slightest inkling of mention to a husband. Though it troubles me why she was, at all, at the funeral. Also, Daikichi was caught starring at her. This is what probably peaked my interests. For know just note I said this and disregard it if I'm wrong.
In summary (of the character portion) Rin is quiet, Daikichi a loner, and Haruko possibly a insectual love interest, all show great promise and I cant stress enough how much I can't wait to see their growth.
I have high hopes, very high hopes. Don't let me down Usagi Drop.
P.S. Rin has the most adult face I have ever seen on an anime child. There normally so bubbly and cute but hers is stern, beautiful and elegant and reminds me of some other female (adult) character I've seen somewhere...can't quiet place it though. Also, disregard the ratings I just thought I had to rate it and it wont let me change it back to nothing so I set them to all 10's in expectation of my high hopes being fulfilled.
There really isn't that much to say about Usagi Drop.It's a feel-good story about a man rediscovering/ or discovering for the first time on the true joys of life through the child rearing of his adoptive daughter, Rin. There isn't anything groundbreaking or particularly unique with the plot but it will definitely pull on your heartstrings and you'll come out out of the series with a simile on your face
The art-style of Usagi Drop is something that follows the original art-style from the manga faithfully and to put it bluntly its unique. Its a style of art different to the trends of modern anime but
it has an innocent and whimsical joy that seems to capture the essence of the show . Though beware if you are something who judges an anime but this aspect can be hit or miss. 5/10
The Voice-Acting in this is spot-on for Rin, the voice-actor in the Japanese Dub did a fantastic job in capturing the lovable innocence whilst also not giving her that annoying vocal pitch that children tend to have in anime. The other voice-actors were decent, nothing really stood out and they did their jobs. The OP and the ED are adorable, especially that Opening which captures the innocent joy and love between the two main characters. 8/10
This is where i think the anime shines. On a technical viewpoint, Usagi Drop is not the an artistic wonder but the characters that have been created and terrific. You feel like all of these characters are real, that their personalities and actions can all be attributed to something someone in that demographic would do. Rin, in my opinion is the stand out character, she mixes in that innocent joy without the grating annoyance of anime children. She simply is a joy to watch 10/10
If you can't already tell from my review that I love this anime, then well let me state it a secondary time. I love this anime, I had a great time watching it and its one of the few that I could be bothered to a) Marathon and b) Repeat Watch. Usagi Drop is not a technical masterpiece, don't watch it for stunning animation, deep philosophical story line or jaw-dropping sound; you watch this for its fleshed out characters and for those moments of just heart-tweaking joy. 9/10
God. I suppose this was best time in my life for me to watch this series. I just went through a lot of stress with family and this really helped me understand some of the things that go on when you're a parent, even a single parent. I'm not gonna say the cliche stuff like "It's never easy being a parent." and I can't say anything from experience, as I am not a father or legal guardian. But I was raised by a single mother without a father in my life until 7 years ago.
This review is going to differ from my other reviews in
the fact that I can't really find anything that was wrong with the series. It was cute and it was heart warming. There was no action, that wasn't what the writer was going for, and that might push a few people away because a lot of people watch anime for an unrealistic story that goes away from what happens in reality. This series provides that realism that is missing in so many other series that I have seen. It is really nice to see a realistic series once in a while. The animation really fit the feel of the series.
But onto the other aspect that I loved. The characters. Mostly Rin. I loved Rin because i could relate to her. And she has made it up in the list of my favorite fiction characters for that reason. I also loved the Daikichi on the main fact that he took this 6 year old girl, whom he had never met before, into his home and raised her as a daughter. There are other characters I liked. Nitani reminding me of my own mother and Kouski reminding me of a few childhood friends.
This series really it hit it in the heart for me. It didn't cry, but I related to a lot of the things that happened in the series.
If you want to watch a heart warming series. Watch this one. It doesn't have action, it's not overplayed. And all the characters feel more or less original and human.
This is definitely a slice of life anime, yet something is different about it. The style both in the art and story telling is breathtakingly simple. It is the story of a 30 year old man who takes on the task of raising a child. A 6 year old girl no less. The child of his grandfather, his illegitimate child.
Usagi drop presents us with a very simple yet complicated issue which plagues society daily. How does one deal with a child? How would you raise her and what do you teach her? How do you share memories with them that you do not both
have? Children are smart, they can make a connection if you mention the simplest things, and there is nothing you can hide from them. How do you calm her heart, when she notices that her life is different from her peers? What can you do? This show does not answer these questions, it just makes you wonder about them. The simple story is sweet and heart felt with every event. One can relate to this child as we've all felt the same way when we were children. Will he really be back to pick me up? will i just be abandoned (in this case, again)? What is death? Just like anyone else in the world but a child's especially, trust must be earned and this is made more complicated in a society where it has become customary to trust no one.
The art style is simple again just like the story and fits the feel of the show perfectly. The section before the opening theme in every episode is done in a way that feels as though the line art was handed to a child to fill in the colors with her marker set, giving that section a very strong reminiscent feeling.
The music, consisting primarily of piano solos sometimes accompanied by strings, kicks in at the perfect times fading in and out seamlessly. They are not grand scores but are beautiful nonetheless. At key moments the director sometimes chooses to have the music go silent, leaving only the key background noises and the voices of the characters, and he uses this to great effect. It can be said the music is as light as a child's emotions, void of the heavy ideals of a grown up, easily carried away by the breeze of the moment.
Over all this is a very sentimental show, and completely character driven. By it's nature it is very VERY slow paced, however it would not have the same effect otherwise and i would not have it any other way. As long as you do not mind a slow paced show i recommend this to anyone who likes emotional ones.
From the point of view of a debonair bachelor looking in, parenthood just looks like a never ending abyss of sacrifices fraught with concerns on the wellbeing of your offspring. Seeing as I can barely look after myself, I especially look up to those single parents who manage to balance work with tending to their kid (especially a young one) even if it means growing a few grey hairs. While the transition between free life and parenthood encumbers a person's pursuits, it is exceedingly difficult when it's a swift one. Usagi Drop captures the realistic issues of parenthood from the plights of Daikichi, a 30
year old bachelor, who makes the tough decision to take a young girl, Rin under his wing.
In the first episode we are introduced to Rin, the illegitimate daughter of Daikichi's grandfather...Wait, that makes Rin Daikichi's... aunt right? Moving on...
So Daikichi attends his grandfather's funeral where he is introduced to little Rin, a seemingly milquetoast and withdrawn girl. The family are in the midst of discussing who should look after Rin, reluctant to do it themselves. Just imagine that. An innocent 6 year old shunned out by her own family members basically due to her existence. As the nice guy Daikichi is, his annoyance meter on his relatives eventually reach skyhigh levels and he loudly proclaims that Rin come live at his house. And starts the daily life of Daikichi and his aunt, with Daikichi exploring the natural happenings that come with raising a kid such as finding a preschool and shorting his work hours to accompany for pick ups and drop offs, hanging out wet bed sheets and what happens when Rin catches a cold, which is substantially hard on Daikichi, a single parent who has to skip work to attend to her. Rin also slowly breaks out from her shy cocoon and comes to turns with her situation, eventually becoming a great companion of Daikichi and being extremely cute at times. As for animetised adaptions of real life, there are elements of drama in the show, but it didn't seem artificial like some shows that utilize tons of melodrama to squeeze feels out of you, but genuine and well...REAL.
As for the art, Usagi Drop does an exceedingly good job of capturing the essence of the show, reflecting that of a child's picture book. The OP and ED also mirror this. The OST was soothing overall, particularly the flute, and prominent during the dramatic moments in the show. The animation was also very fluid. As much as I adored how the show encapsulates realism, this would be considered a double-edged sword. For views looking to anime for escapism, your enjoyment of this show would vary but for those browsing for a bona fide and heatwarming slice-of-life, look no further, this is perfect.
UD is a parenting manual. It is an anime that deals with the issues of raising a kid and how you must pretty much sacrifice everything for it. There are no boobs or giant robots here; this is so much slice of life it is practically bleeding.
30-year-old bachelor Daikichi decides to adopt his recently deceased grandfather's love child Rin as a way of flipping the bird to his snotty relatives. Domestic bliss ensues.
The story started off very powerfully and was very cunningly adept at tugging on heartstrings the way it portrayed a neglected but very sweet child building a trusting family relationship
with an adult who was clueless about parenting but nevertheless grew to be quite good at it. Then, somehow, each succeeding episode focused more on making a point about how wonderful/terrible parenting is rather than telling a story. Much like real life, the plot shows random stuff happening within the span of a year without much cohesion. While this is not a bad thing per se, the story would have benefited from some sort of conflict and climax. A plot, in short, is missing.
Daikichi is a stoic character taking everything in stride with admirable patience. He is a lovely character to watch as he faces the terrors being a parent: from arranging for daycare to discovering a pool of piss on his bed. His spontaneous act of reckless kindness at the beginning slowly forms into a bond of responsibility with his adopted daughter. His interactions with the other characters make him realise things he had never before thought of. Very solid character development.
Rin is the adopted daughter. Simply put, she is a fictional character. The only way a kid her age could be as cute, polite and sweet is to shoot it full of Valium. Leaving this detail aside, she also has excellent character development. Little by little she is shown to come out of her shell and finally come to trust her substitute parent completely.
Masako is Rin’s biological mother who dumped her. Refreshingly, Masako is not portrayed like a filthy demon from hell but as a real individual. She made her choice and we see her dealing with the consequences. Still, I expected her part to be slightly more important.
Rin’s classmate Kouki & his single mom are pretty much permanent fixtures in Daikichi and Rin’s life. They are a form of mirror to our protagonists, so similar in their single parent family structure yet so very different in character and dynamics.
The rest of the characters are also very realistic. Slice of life up to 11.
Excellent animation. Realistic backgrounds, awesome details, very fluid motion. The studio worked their asses off on this one. Also, as a neat bonus, the first minute or so is done in soft watercolour-y style.
Discreet. It underlines the emotional parts and fulfils its function simply and cleanly.
OP & ED: truth be told, they annoyed the hell out of me so I skipped them every single time.
This is tricky. While I've enjoyed this show, its realistic characters and its window into Japan's family ties it ultimately failed to move me. The first three or four episodes were dynamite but then it fizzed out. Too much moral lecturing on the virtue of sacrifice, too little structured plot. I am glad I watched this but I don't feel the need to keep this or watch it again.
I fell in love with a 6-year old. Please don't call the cops.
A 30 years old man "adopts" a six year old girl out of pity and has to live with the consequences of suddenly becoming a "father". That is technically all there is to it, but it is more than enough to work with. After all, the life of a child is full of events, a lot is changing and on top of that, we have 2 characters who have their lives turned upside down from one day to the next. All this is shown through Daikichis eyes, which is the perspective I can
relate to a lot more. It also makes Usagi Drop as sweet as a candy cane. This is slice of life done right, a little bit of drama here and there but ultimately a ride of fuzzy feelings and smiles. The only downside is that it's way to short with only 11 episodes.
Despite being focussed on a cute little girl, the anime does not fall into "moe territory". It is cute and simplistic, but nowhere near the point where you could get the feeling it is forced. Being a story about children, Usagi Drop is bright and colorful, which fits this show very well. I also liked to see some normal looking adults for a change, you rarely have that in anime either.
The opening theme is kinda childish, fitting the anime well (fitting seems to be the major word of this review) and it is pretty catchy. Yet, it is not that great in my eyes, but as I mentioned in other reviews, this may just be a case of me having a very different taste in music. Pretty much the same goes for the ending. Something Usagi Drop really shines in though is the voices. Rin is voiced by an actual child, making her sound very convincing, but the others aren't bad either. Soundtrack is spare but never distracting.
The main selling point of this anime. Rin is the most adorable child you will ever see (spoiler: your child will not be this well-behaved) and it is pure joy seeing her grow from the shy little thing in episode one to the happy, normal kid in episode 11. Daikichi does a really good job being a father for her. His initial decision was pretty crazy from a realistic point of view, but he knows this as well and keeps improving to make Rins world a better place. The rest of the cast was okay, none of them stood out as special, but I guess that was not the point of Usagi Drop anyway.
I have a working day of about 8½ hours plus 1½-2 hours of driving. When I get home, I just wanna relax and have some fun. When I tuned into my daily dose of Rin, I felt at peace. It made me think that life is good. To watch a child grow up can really be all the joy you'll ever need and I think I can finally understand parents who give up everything for this one little thing.
Okay, that was very cheesy, I apologise.
Usagi Drop will give you a good feeling, wether you like children or not. As long as you don't mind the slice of life genre, you should definitely take a look at this.
Beautiful...a word often used in the realms of the arts, except of course in anime. Anime is often comical, action packed, suspenseful, mysterious, heart-warming...but it is rare when one can truly describe an anime as being beautiful.
Usagi Drop is that anime. A show that, from the very beginning, knows exactly what it is, and is completely unapologetic about it. It's the video game without any combat, the movie without the almost naked woman, the novel where the main character is not the most important. Usagi drop breaks down all boundaries by attempting to break none. Tension, real tension, over tiny bumps in the road, and
substantive emotional feedback in the most mundane circumstances is what makes Usagi Drop stand tall above all other slice of life anime, and most others for that matter.
Simplicity is the name of the game. Written out, the plot of Usagi drop would be an advanced kindergarten book, but that doesn't matter. No ridiculous plot twists, just an anime which attempts to shine a light on the inherit beauty of kindness, children, and life. But that is not to say the anime is too slow, rather it is paced perfectly throughout the episodes.
Nothing to say here. The art style was different, but it fit well with the theme of the anime.
The sound track, like the story is simple. The voices and acting is well executed and directed.
I will only address the two main characters here. Daikichi is written excellently, he is nonchalant about most everything, but is easily freaked out by new things that Rin does or new experiences with Rin. Like a real person, he isn't some hell spawn constantly begging for the audience to feel for him, he's just a guy living an almost normal life.
Rin is written like a child, and while it's strange to say, her, as a normal child, is incredibly refreshing. She isn't a target for emotional outpouring, she's just a child who behaves like a child. She's the weird combination of shy and outgoing that children tend to be.
Like the story, the characters are written without anything particularly impressive, if you don't count behaving like humans without seeming impossibly cool or outrageously clueless impressive in an anime.
Usagi Drop is just a good watch, and it is very easy to watch....I gave it a 10, so I obviously enjoyed everything...
"Usagi Drop" is perhaps the most perfect example of Slice of Life anime there is, it does the genre justice. For a short moment at least it makes you forget the complexity of life by promoting the simple aspects of life from a rather artistic point of view. If passing away some time in absolute relaxation is your motive then this is, without a doubt, just what you're looking for.
When thinking about relationships, it feels kind of uneasy to think too far ahead, or at least to the point where you have to think about having kids. Sometimes too much time passes by without us
realizing that we may have missed a bus. This anime is like a window to a life such as that.
Daikichi Kawachi is a single man in his early 30s. Circumstances made him decide to adopt a little girl named Rin. And the girl just happens to be his late grandfather's illegitimate child.
The life a person new to parenthood and a self independent child goes on at a lovely pace. Little things get them all worked-up, little moments bring smile. I don't think there's another anime that will take you so close to the emotions of the characters.
For such a classic slice of life anime I'll say it deserves a 9.6
Usagi Drop is a breath of fresh air for those who are a bit tired with the excessive amounts of fanservice, dull characters, and even duller plots that seem to plague the medium. For once we can have an anime that touches upon issues in a serious and honest manner, while having just about the right amount of lightheartedness and humor that prevents the series from getting too heavy. The result is a heartwarming, feel good tale that manages to allow viewers to empathize with the characters and perhaps the show as a whole to be adorable without feeling that they are being insulted.
Drop is pleasing to the eye, and the watercolor style art creates a pretty distinct effect-- it also looks different. It's not the most breathtaking artwork out there, but it's consistent and you never get a feeling of blockiness that tends to happen with the cheaper animated works. It also gives off kind of a nostalgic feeling that makes me feel like I'm watching a family oriented children's cartoon, but not in a bad way.
The visuals also go really well with the audio, most notably the opening song Sweet Drops. "Yay, everything is happy and cute" is the mood I get from it. Overall, it's very upbeat and optimistic
But while we have this atmosphere of idealism and happiness, the story itself isn't all just a happy world where nothing can go wrong. Indeed, the very premise is about a child by name of Rin who has no one that wants to take her in, and a lot of her family didn't even know she existed. It's a terrible thing for a child to feel unwanted, yet here we have the relatives playing hot potato with a child. On the other hand, taking care of a child isn't exactly something you can just do, and this is what the story will go on about. Answers aren't easy and clear cut.
Enter Dakachi; a man that is still single and has no idea of how to raise a child. Naturally the folks around him aren't exactly confident, but since he's the only one that will step up to the plate.
The anime takes us along with Dakachi and Rin, as well as their friends and family on a journey of growth. Dakachi must learn to raise Rin, and Rin must learn to recognize this man that just took her in. Naturally it's not exactly an easy process, and I really enjoyed how gradual the anime made the process. Never has an experience about the typically boring routine of people's lives been so entertaining.
Usagi Drop isn't the most exciting of animes, nor is the plot the most complex, but watching the characters gradually develop into people that are more able to handle the difficulties of life makes this an outstanding watch. It truly does justice to the term "Slice of Life".
So if you need something a bit different, but is also light and relaxing, I wholeheartedly recommend this. Perhaps it'll allow you to see anime in a better light, or even be able to share this with other folks without having them look at you funny.
I stumbled across this anime in the middle of the night, having only heard of the title and having no idea what I was in for. I ended up binge-watching all 11 episodes. Usagi Drop is a gently-paced exploration of childhood, parenthood, and what it means to be family. Never forced, never saccharine, and always heartfelt. This series is a gem.
I'll get my very few criticisms out of the way first: there are a couple of plot threads that seem very important that never get resolved. It doesn't really have a climax or a resolution; it just sort of wanders away at episode 11. My
only technical criticism is that very occasionally the sound mixing is a little off; there are a few points where Daikichi raises his voice and the mic couldn't handle it, and also some moments where the BGM seemed to be absorbing the dialogue.
The artwork is simple and charming, and the character design is diverse. I quickly fell in love with Daikichi's long face, wrinkles, choppy hair and bewildered expressions. Rin radiates cuteness, and I adore her little v-shaped smiles and her comical frowns. The anime is Miyazaki-like in its approach to character design and expression. It is human, in a way that makes you feel like these people exist.
I like the sound. The opening and ending songs are both very catchy. The BGM helps with the storytelling well, and there are plenty of scenes where it really shines.
As for the story, I can't say much without spoiling other than that both genuine laughter and tears both occurred for me during the first episode. It's been a while since something has moved me this way. The pacing and storytelling is excellent-- there were no points at which I was ever confused or bored. Slice-of-life anime isn't my genre, but this one really grabbed me.
Overall, Usagi Drop is one of the best series I have ever watched. 290-something minutes well spent. Pro-tip: watch past the end credits, there's a cute, short scene at the end of each episode!
(Secondary Pro-tip: preserve your innocence and stick to the anime. Don't even read a plot summary of the manga. Please... trust me.)
For someone who enjoys (too much) a good Slice of Life like me to this anime was enough 10 minutes to gain my attention and just a chapter to enter my heart.
A dramatic story that despite being quite simple is very adorable with an exact dose of comedy showing us how difficult but equally beautiful it is to raise a child alone.
What I liked quite a lot is the way Rin and Daikichi help each other to overcome the loneliness that both felt at the beginning of history to form a peculiar family.
Unlike other Slice of Life you do not need to resort to a
tragic ending to deliver a memorable story.
The soundtrack does not like instantly but as the episodes pass are those you enjoy listening to them, Opening "Sweet Drops" is just as adorable as the series and ending "High High High" reminds me of a song by a certain famous English group Of the 60s.
Art is the weak point of the anime, it is simple but I never felt that it would negatively affect the story.
About the characters is incredible the way they complement each other to get Rin from being someone shy and afraid of a sweet and extroverted girl.
If you like Slice of Life this is a story that will enter your heart almost immediately, I am sure you will enjoy it as much as I did and maybe even be something inspiring for the future.
This show is simply amazing. Honestly I don't think I've really enjoyed a slice of life like this in a long time. It's a simple story about a 30 year old man suddenly becoming the guardian of a 6 year old girl under some weird circumstances. His life gets turned upside down and things he never really had to think about are suddenly very important. I don't think any show has captured early parenthood like this show.
The best analogy I can use for this show is like eating a bag of Warheads. It starts off sour (sad, depressing), but then you get to
the sweet center, and everything becomes very lighthearted. Then you eat another, and the cycle continues. It's a very well written and well paced show. With only 11 episodes you wouldn't think they would cover so much, but with the well placed time skips it honestly works really well. I guess the one thing I can complain about is that it ends kinda abruptly. I kinda want to know what happens with Kukei's mom and Daikichi and Rin's mom, too. It's one of those GO READ THE MANGA HURRDURR type endings. Whether or not it was budget cuts or simply not being given an opportunity for more episodes, it still kinda sucks. Kinda like Noragami. Or Blood Lad. Or Zombie Loan. You know, this actually happens a lot.
Now THIS is where this show excels. It has this pastel color pallet that's kinda childish and soft, which really fits the tone of the show. The animation is great for what it is and I never looked at the show and said, "Well I know where they cut their budget!" Like some shows *COUGH COUGH BOKURA GA ITA COUGH COUGH*
I mean, there was this ONE instance where the audio for Daikichi's voice clipped because the actor screamed too loud into their mic, but other than that this show's sound is pretty nice. The music isn't too memorable but it fits the scenes ell enough. The opening song seriously reminded me of My Neighbor Totoro, honestly this entire show makes me want to go rewatch My Neighbor Totoro for the, like, millionth time.
Daikichi is literally the embodiment of a 30 year old Japanese man, at least from everything I've read. He has a demanding job that keeps him at work late, goes out drinking with his coworkers, lives alone, no girlfriend or any intent to start a family. Having Rin enter his life literally changes everything and it's very interesting to follow along his slow decent into parenthood. The ONLY complaint I have for ANY character in this show is Rin, because at times she doesn't seem like a 6 year old. This is kinda a common occurrence in most anime/manga/and media in general so I can't really complain. I guess you can say she's mature because of everything that she's gone through but idk man. I could swear she was 10 sometimes.
I had so much fun watching this show. I can't explain it, it's just so cute yet so heartbreaking I feel like I can go on and on about how wonderful this show is. I feel like everyone should watch this. Not just because it's so good but also to maybe appreciate your parents just a little bit more. I mean, this show tends to strain the sacrifices that parents make to raise their children, and it doesn't do it in such a way where it makes you feel like shit. Rather you feel more thoughtful than anything.
It certainly isn't perfect, but it comes damn close. This show is really fantastic, and short enough to finish on a slow boring day. If you haven't seen it, go watch it. Seriously, right now, it's on Crunchy Roll. Sit back, relax, and enjoy this simple little story about a 30 year old man taking care of his 6 year old Aunt.
Children are no easy task to take care of. They require a lot of attention and patience to deal with. As a child, I was reckless and very stubborn. I'm glad my parents dealt with me and loved me for who I am. Though when a family member dies, a person can change in a way to make them more secluded and feeling alone, but when someone reaches out to you with love and care, they can change back.
The story follows a girl named Rin and she was an unknown child belonging to an old man named Souichi and when he dies, she's left alone.
No one wanting to take her into their care knowing the problems a child may cause, she's left there not knowing what to do. Angry at their reactions Daikichi, a middle aged man, takes Rin into his care with open arms.
After the whole affair and Rin starts to live with him, the anime follows their daily lives and the bond that the two start to grow for each other. Over time they begin to have a real father-daughter bond and both love each other greatly. Showing a realistic approach to how children act in this anime, it's something everyone can relate to and genuine enjoy to watch a family grow and love each other.
Characters being a key role in any slice of life, this has one of the best character development and realism in each of them. They all have a realistic personality that anyone can relate to such as panicking when their child is ill for the first time, meeting new parents and wishing your kid to have a good day.
You're introduced to Rin, a girl who is quiet and shy towards the rest of the family at the start of the anime. Through the bonding with Daikichi and her new parent, she gets to be introduced to each family member along the way and truly starts to love each and one of them as real significant people in her life. She's a normal girl with trust issues at first and problems that every child goes through, such as wetting the bed. She's mature for her age, but still childish in many points.
Next we have Daikichi, he's a middle aged man who has no experience with children, but takes Rin into his home with open arms and learns as the time goes on. With the role of being a parent, he learns a lot about taking care of children and the habits of being one. He soon starts to focus on Rin and asks for a job position change so he can get off work earlier just to pick her up.
The art is something that really compliments the mood of the anime in a way that gives it a childish feeling, but also giving off a warm feeling through the entire anime. The scenery was always nice to look at and made it really nice with the light color palette that the anime has. All the characters are given really nice detail with their facial structure and nothing is overly emphasized.
The opening is a really cute song that supports the theme of family. The background music always fit each scene regardless if it was supposed to be a comedic scene or a serious scene. Along side the great characters you have wonderful voice actors to give them life and bring more to the table to offer. With Rin they used an actual kid as a voice actor which gave the anime a whole better sound to it rather than the usual adult voice actor.
Overall this is an anime that is very realistic to which anyone can relate to. The concept of family and learning parent hood is something that is often overlooked and rushed with people today. The character development is very true to their personality and lets them shine from start to end to make a heartfelt anime that any true slice of life fan would enjoy. I recommend this to anyone who's looking for something relaxing and adorable to watch!
Slice of life is generally a tricky genre to get right. When I say slice of life, I don't mean those dime-a-dozen high school comedies the industry has become oversaturated with as of late. Rather, I refer to series that find something meaningful to explore through the small conflicts of commonplace events. All too often, attempts at this genre come off as either excessive and unnatural or dull and listless. It stands to reason, then, that the best shows of this kind are the ones that introduce unfamiliar elements that make these characters' lives distinct from our own, while still staying in touch with the
little aspects of ordinary life that make people who they are. Bunny Drop is one such work, and it executes this beautifully. It's a small, unambitious story about ordinary people but it carries itself with a certain measure of refined dignity that's rarely seen in anime in general, let alone the slice of life genre. It has genuine insight into parenthood, but it never talks down to its audience and you don't have to be a parent to get behind the story. This is quite honestly one of the most accessible anime I've ever seen.
The staff of Production IG handled this show with the sort of nurturing care rarely seen in a slice of life anime, which usually tend to get the short end of the stick production-wise. Backgrounds are surprisingly detailed, colors are warm and rich, and even when the character models go into super-deformed mode (which happens often) movements are fluid and quality control remains excellent. Of particular note are the opening segments of each episode, which are animated in a soft crayon-esque style reminiscent of a children's storybook. That's to say nothing of the charming character designs. Every character is distinctive in an understated way that isn't too far-removed from reality. Family members really do resemble one another (which is especially great since this is a show about family), but not to the point that they could be called carbon copies. The children are cute without defaulting to an overly moe-fied style as Japanese animation is wont to do. This is a spectacular visual effort that sets the tone for the show perfectly.
The music is mostly comprised of low-key string pieces, and can best be described as charming for its gentle, sincere simplicity. It can get a bit repetitive, a good portion of the soundtrack is comprised of several different instrumentations of the same basic piece, but perhaps due to the series' short length it never wears out its welcome. I've seen longer anime get away with worse, so really I have no complaints.
There's one thing about anime voice acting in Japan that makes it perfectly suited to this kind of show, and that's their willingness to fill their child roles with real children. It does happen in the States occasionally (Aaron Dismuke as Alphonse Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist comes to mind immediately) but it's not nearly as common. Rin, her friend Kouki, her cousin Reina and several minor child characters are all played by age-appropriate voice actors, which makes them sound genuine as only real children can. Ayu Matsuura in particular does a great job as Rin, and I wouldn't be surprised to hear more from her in the years to come as she grows and matures into new roles. The adults sound pretty good too, at least to my ears. The lack of a dub does create a problem for some potential viewers, though, which is unfortunate because otherwise I'm fairly confident I can recommend this series to just about anyone.
Bunny Drop is first and foremost an emotional series. It's a pretty consistently upbeat series but it never goes too far into "flowery sunshine and rainbows" territory. This show works because of how true it is to the small, understated moments that a parent and child really do share every day. These moments never feel unnecessary because Daikichi is as new to Rin and to parenting as we are (unless, y'know, you're already a parent), so we get to discover these things as he does. Both Daikichi and Rin have time to develop in small, believable ways and build a realistic family relationship. Daikichi is always well-meaning, and you never doubt he's suited to raise Rin, but he does run into a lot of problems that he overcomes with believable difficulty. Rin, meanwhile, is a well-mannered girl who is in some ways wise beyond her years, but she still faces common everyday problems for a child her age like wetting the bed, and she confronts these problems as any child would, so even when she acts a bit old for her age you never forget she's six. The two of them complement each other sweetly but never come across as saccharine--no small feat. They're not particularly complex characters, but they're still charming and memorable, and feel like real people rather than archetypes.
Actually, "charming", "memorable" and "real" are good ways to describe the entire cast. From Daikichi's family to Rin's playmates, they all act remarkably true to the people we could really meet at these various stages in our lives. The show uses its surprisingly large cast to its full advantage, with every character acting as a foil to Daikichi and Rin in some way or another. For example, there's Daikichi's mother Sachiko, who's already been through everything Daikichi is going through right now, and his sister Kazumi, who's on the cusp of starting a family of her own. Both of them initially question Daikichi's decision, but after warming up to Rin and reflecting on their own lives we do see them change for the better in little ways. The lessons are simple but important ones, and they come across naturally through everyday interactions rather than being crammed down our throats.
If there's one character in this series who deserves special mention, though, it's Masako, the mother who abandoned Rin with her father. When Daikichi meets her, she's nothing like he expects her to be, and it turns out her reasons for leaving Rin are more complex than pure apathy. She's focused on her own career and not at all suited to being a mother, but despite her efforts to distance herself she can't help but care about Rin in her own way. She doesn't feel that she was ready to be a mother, and maybe she's right, but that doesn't make her a bad person. That the show managed to portray her in such a light is probably its greatest achievement, and the closest the series comes to delving into the dark side of parenthood. Her character arc is so good, in fact, that it casts the show's greatest flaw into sharp relief.
You see, Bunny Drop falls into a bit of a comfort zone, in that it's severely limited in its thematic and emotional spectrum. Not that it doesn't bring anything meaningful to the table, but the picture it paints of parenthood is a little too rosy to encompass the full experience. Daikichi never really messes up, the little mistakes he make and the details that slip through the cracks are quickly forgiven and forgotten, and many of the difficulties he and Rin might have to face are discussed but never actually portrayed, such as the possibility that Rin might be teased for her family circumstances. Am I being too cynical? Perhaps, but it's arcs like Masako's that prove that the show can strive for something more without sacrificing its purity and sincerity; Masako wasn't in the right, exactly, but what she did was still understandable, sympathetic even, and it shed light on some truths about parenthood that are rarely addressed. The show needed more material like that, but aside from that one arc and a pretty powerful opening episode (the scene where Daikichi takes Rin home is actually a great moment), Bunny Drop systematically dodged every opportunity to become something more. I mentioned Daikichi's mother earlier, and on a whole I didn't dislike her character, but one thing that bothered me was that even after she warmed up to Rin she never apologized for treating her so coldly early on. That's something the show would have been better for confronting rather than tiptoeing around it the way it did, and this series does quite a lot of tiptoeing in its short run.
What we're left with is a rather baffling creation. Bunny Drop is primarily a feel-good anime, but I can't write it off as meaningless fluff. It does have some genuine depth and weight to it, and it's true to life in its portrayal of the joys of family, but a limited scope does take its toll on the series. The final episode is just like every other episode: nothing particularly powerful, conclusive or poignant, life just goes on. Perhaps that's for the best, as I've had the ending to the source manga spoiled for me and it does not sound like a good direction to take the story, but even if the inconclusive ending we got was preferable that certainly doesn't make it good. Not that it's bad, mind you, it's certainly better than seeing it try for something conclusive only to fall flat on its face. Still, the series as a whole never really strives for greatness, and that's too bad. To be fair, maybe too much weightiness would have damaged the series' charming tone, so I can't fault it too much. Some anime just aren't meant to be great, and for what it is Bunny Drop is still undeniably good.
Bunny Drop is a gentle, extremely lovable look at parenting and family. It's not a grand or complex or particularly thought-provoking story, nor is it the peak of what slice of life anime can achieve, but it is sincere from start to finish, with hardly single beat that rings false in the entire show. Lack of a dub notwithstanding I think this is something even non-anime fans can enjoy. I recommend it wholeheartedly. Watch it, enjoy it, maybe you'll get more out of it than I did.