When 30-year-old Daikichi returns home for his grandfather's funeral he meets an unfamiliar child in the garden. His mother explains that Rin is his grandfather's illegitimate daughter by an unknown mother. The girl is an embarrassment to all his relatives and nobody wants to take her in because of the scandal. Annoyed by their attitude, Daikichi decides to take care of Rin himself, even though he is single and has no experience raising a child.
Usagi Drop was published in English as Bunny Drop by Yen Press from March 23, 2010 to April 22, 2014, which became a candidate for the 2011 Eisner Award in the Best U.S. Edition of International Material-Asia category.
Warning: Massive ending spoilers ahead. I'm very sorry but that 6 up there can't be properly explained without delving deep into spoiler territory.
I wish Usagi Drop had 2 separate entries, one being the start and one everything after the time-skip, starting in chapter 26. It's for one very simple reason. Usagi Drop is a prime example of how a great concept can still run off the rails badly. It's a masterclass in turning what starts as a warm, cute and fuzzy story into a catastrophic failure of a 'romantic' drama.
The gist of the premise is that Daikichi (a man who couldn't more obviously be unhappy and feeling unfulfilled unless he stuck a neon sign on his face) takes a 6 year old girl, Rin, into his house for the sole reason that everyone else either hates her or straight up doesn't care for her. And it's not hard to see where this goes. A man with no experience with children now has to take care of one with the comedic hijinks that ensue. During that time, we see Daikichi and Rin grow as characters as we learn more about them, who they are and their relationship. I'll be honest, the first part of Usagi Drop is one of the best and most enjoyable things I've ever read. It's just sweet enough to tug your heart strings and make you feel great but also sincere enough to show the problems Rin and Daikichi cope with. I was ready to give this a good solid 9, maybe even a 10!
Now, those of you who have seen the anime or the live-action movie might notice there's a considerable amount of material that wasn't adapted. There's a reason for that.
The great part about having one person both writing and illustrating a manga is that you have synergy. Who else can better convey their thoughts, mental images and general ideas to paper than the writer themselves? The problem that comes from it is that there's no second person to openly doubt your decisions and no manga is a better example than this. I'm not sure what Yumi Unita was thinking but I hope she realizes how poorly it worked out.
In chapter 26, we leap forward about 10 years. Rin is in high school and Daikichi is 40, having to deal with the appropriate issues. Already this brings up some headscratchers, such as how both of our protagonists still hang out with the exact same people they did 10 years ago with no new additions. One of two bigger problems is a shift in tone that is about as smooth and fluid as trying to walk while both your legs are asleep. Gone is the happy heartwarming slice of life, in comes an unnecessarily angsty and gloomy 'romantic' drama. Everything is a lot darker for no adequately explained reason other than some cardinal rule that anything involving teenage characters must be existential, dark or depressing.
No, the biggest problem of all is that the second part builds up to an almost gutpunchingly disturbing conclusion.
Part of the second part involves Rin dealing with her relationship with Daikichi getting more....complicated. Her feelings for him get out of the comfy wholesome foster parent/daughter zone and instead the considerably ickier kind. It's just as disturbing and just as well-executed as you'd expect. After an ass-pull 'but they're not really blood-related' card (on the level of SAO episode 14), Rin decides she wants to marry Daikichi and he goes along with it. Oh boy, where do we begin?
Let's start with the fact that at its very core, this is still creepily close to parental incest. For all intents and purposes, these 2 had a father/daughter relationship for the last 10 years and now she's genuinely in love with him. There's also a distinct lack of consequence shown. There's one character who's ever made aware of her attraction and, no joke, she encourages Rin to go along with it. But there's another layer of disturbing that you might not pick up on the first time. Hell, you might not pick up on it until a good while later. Namely, Daikichi just rolls with it. There's no real shock, no real contemplation to speak of, he listens to her and accepts it. On the surface, it's bad writing. Underneath, it's worse. Disregarding for a moment that this is quite clearly an action of impulse, since his feelings for Rin have always been parental and it was never really hinted that it was more. What we have is a man who's more concerned with the age difference than with the fact that he raised her as his daughter. A man who has no qualms doing so. A man who, I swear I wish I was making this up, is okay with her carrying his child and raising it. A man who's just plain given up on a proper relationship.
A man who by all rights shouldn't be in one because he isn't fit for one.
The first part of Usagi Drop is a 9 or a 10 for me without a doubt. It's well-crafted and heartwarming to see these 2 misfits grow on each other. The second part is disgusting in every way. The change of tone, the ending, how it plays out, the implications it carries, it's nothing short of insulting your readers.
If you want to read this, by all means do so. Sounding like a broken record but the first part is excellent. I highly suggest you finish chapter 24 and stop there. Because unless you're into poorly written, poorly executed semi-incest, there's just nothing for you there.read more
I have a feeling that most people who have given this series a high rating haven't finished it yet. I mean I went from giving it a 10 at the beginning a 6, almost 5 at the end. The reason for this is the time skip that happens all of a sudden at like chapter 27 or something. Should have stopped there. And I suggest you do if you want to believe the end is a little cliche but happy ending. I actually wouldn't have minded a tragedy ending, pretty much anything other than the way it ended.
Ok I'll leave the rest of the gripes to the end. The Story of Usagi Drop was terrific in the first arc. Daikichi was fumbling around in the dark as he tries to learn how to be a parent for the first time. He goes from dealing with Rin wetting the bed, to helping her out for a skip rope contest, to her loosing her first tooth. It was a heart warming and loving adventure and incredibly believable interaction between all of the characters. Some of my favorite scenes were between Kouiki and Daikichi as they had a great buddy buddy, almost father and son friendship.
The art stays consistently simple but cute. Almost an embodiment of the feeling the manga gives off. I have to admit though Daikichi's character design was probably my favorite.
Character line up here is superb. You have the adorable Rin, the loving but kind of clumsy Daikichi, the trouble making Kouki and a few other characters that actually have an interesting personality and development.
Enjoyment is an easy 10. That is for the first arc when Rin is a cute 6 year old munchkin:3 after the 10 year time skip, which comes out of no where and has no lead up at all, that is where it begins to go down hill ad where I suggest you stop and make up your own ending and future for the characters. From then on it's almost a predictable drama. At least the first arc had a feeling of discovery and adventure. The second arc was just...not a very enjoyable read. Sure it had some good parts. The downfall of Kouki was actually my favorite part of it since it was believable and a bit of a shock for the lighthearted series. But it all leads up to the akward and uncomfortable ending.
If you haven't finished but have started the second arc and aren't really enjoying it as much as the first, just go watch the anime and call it a day. If you have just started I suggest dropping it at the time skip. The following contains spoilers for the ending.
The ending was very uncomfortable for me to read. I found the fact of Rin liking Daikichi strange yet somewhat acceptable since it was just Rin's feelings and she may just be confusing them for other feelings. Also, it may just be a phase since she is growing up and seeing how all the "boys" in her class are not as dependable or cool as the "man" Daikichi. And that's what bugged me, she never really gave any of the "boys" a chance. She tried the date with one classmate, but it was obvious she had her mind made up the she wasn't going to enjoy it or pursue it. She simply closed everything off and had her sights set on Daikichi who has already gotten past the "boy" phase and is a real "man" already. The very ending is what made me so uncomfortable. I'll even pass on the huge age difference and just focus on the fact that Daikichi gave in so easily. 2 Years he needed to think and after two years of thinking if he should go out with the little girl who used to wet his bed, who he would wash in the bath and pick up form nursery, he ends up saying "so..should we get married?" Then Rin wants to bear his child??? I was actually incredible disappointed and rather disturbed at this. Having a child with the girls you raised as your child? No thank you. Maybe it's just me but that ending really f'd things up for me and I actually wish I never read past the first arc. I really thought even a tragedy ending for Daikichi would have worked better and Rin would move on and follow the teachings Daikichi shared with her. But nope just have a kid with your "kid" :D ........ :|
I find Usagi Drop to be two seperate manga. The pre-time skip that I loved, a lighthearted, fun, family oriented comedy and after the time skip where everything just nose dives. Maybe it's just the shock from finishing it just now, but I really don't reccomend reading past the time skip.read more
Never before have I read a manga that felt so different throughout the whole reading process. Really, if it were anime, I would think that after the first part the creators ran out of original material and decided to improvise from that point on to the very end. But of course, it is not so: ‘Usagi Drop’ is a manga created by one person, Yumi Unita, and surely as an author she has every right to do anything she considers necessary in terms of a story and plot development – but I have to admit, her vision is a rather strange one.
As you may know, ‘Usagi Drop’ is clearly divided into two parts – the first one covers the first four volumes (ch.01-24), while the second one consists of the later chapters. Well, first things first, so here’s the summary of the first part. It tells us a story of a 30-year-old Daikichi and 6-year-old Rin, who is the illegitimate father of Daikichi’s grandfather (and therefore Daikichi’s aunt) and who has been nearly abandoned by the family after her father’s(grandfather’s) death if not for Daikichi, who decided to take care of her. And so, the life full of hardships begins for a 30-year-old bachelor.
I can’t give enough accolades for the first part. It is cute, adorable, nice, soothing, mellow, but at the same time very realistic, philosophical, thought-provoking, melancholic, sometimes bitter. We get to see how Rin grows, but most importantly – how Daikichi’s viewpoint on life changes, how he approaches problems differently now that he has someone to take care of, how he sees many people in the other light, how he thinks of things he has never thought of before etc. To put it simply, it’s just wonderful and deserves the highest mark possible.
But then, the chapter 24 ends, and… Well, I don’t want to spoil you anything, but if you expect more of the same, then I suggest you stop reading right there. Because things take a sudden and unexpected turn and the closer to the end, the more drastic changes become.
While reading through the second part, I’ve been constantly wondering – ‘Is it really ‘Usagi Drop’ that I‘m reading?’ – the only thing that reminded me of it was the drawing style. You can argue that major changes aren’t always a bad thing. ‘Yes, the first part was wonderful, but the second one was awesome too, though in a completely different way’ – you can say. But that is not in our case – yes, the second part centers around Rin and her feelings, and that can be considered positive – but the execution of this idea was far from perfect. What I mean is that characters start to lack motivation in their actions, making the story incomprehensible at times. Really, if the first part was well thought-out, later for a while I couldn’t tell where the story goes, why certain characters make strange decisions, have awkward feelings, why the new storylines are introduced etc. – what was it all for?
To tell you the truth, a few chapters before the end I had no idea what a conclusion would be. But then I understood. I understood everything (well, maybe, not everything, but why the second part was necessary). Yes, there was a plot twist. And it was HUGE. As for me, I have a very broad interest in manga and I appreciate every genre, so I don’t mind mature stuff – and really, I didn’t find the end to be that disturbing – but it’s completely unexpected. You see, when you are reading Jiro Matsumoto or Shintaro Kago, you know what you’re going to find there – so you aren’t surprised when you encounter something weird. But here it comes as a complete shock, so be warned. Clearly, the manga shouldn’t have ended the way it did.
The additional volume softens things quite a bit - that is, it helps the reader to overcome the state of shock(if there was any, of course, as I'm sure many were prepared for something unexpected if they were reading on the Internet) - but really, it offers next to nothing important, as only one story happens after the actual manga end(and even in that story there is little new material). The rest are just backstories, which are nice, but not something significant. Still, I think that this volume is necessary, because it offers a smoother ending than the previous volume's abrupt one. Other than that, it has no real meaning.
In conclusion, I’d like to say that ‘Usagi Drop’ is a certainly unique manga in more ways than one – though personally I would be happy if after the unique first part we didn’t have a ‘uniquely strange’ second arc. Definitely, this manga is not for everyone and if you decided to read, be prepared for everything – there’s much more to it than it seems at the first glance.
All in all, ‘Usagi Drop’ can serve as a prime example of characters becoming independent from their creator – as long as they lived their own life how they wanted, everything was great. But unfortunately, mangaka didn’t allow them much freedom and forced them to do what she wanted to. And that’s a shame, really.read more
Usagi Drop is one of those manga I just randomly stumbled upon, read the description and put it on my read-it-later list. Months later when I remembered I actually had a list, I went back to read it. I regret putting it off for so long.
Usagi Drop follows Daikichi on his journey from being a bachelor to being a guardian for a little girl who is actually his half-aunt. When everyone else in the family makes excuses to not keep her or disapproves of little Rin, Daikichi takes custody, slightly disturbed by the shallowness of his relatives. The two start to grow accustomed to each other, going through trivial trials and any regular hardship of parenthood. It's really a coming-of-age story, telling how both Daikichi and Rin grow as people through their own father-daughter connection.
The art for Usagi Drop is nice and clean, not overwhelming. It's got a wispy feel to it and takes a nice rooting of usual josei style, only not overly elaborate for its genre. The scenery is always symmetrical and prim -- though the houses always feel a bit empty. (This may just be a cultural thing.) Daikichi himself if drawn to look thirty and Rin is drawn to look like a kid, none of this where the main characters look too young. That's a wonderful thing, so many manga characters follow that set design with the too-big eyes and the same heart-shaped face, boy or girl.
Character is important for this manga, as the chapters are more or less episodic. Daikichi is a very compassionate, calm individual, and it's fascinating to watch him change from a puzzled bachelor to the a more set-in-place guardian who now sort of knows what he's doing. Unlike some other manga where a new guardian has the responsibility of a child thrust upon him (My Girl, Otaku no Masamune-san), Daikichi chose this path and was the one who decided to take up raising Rin. And he has to cope, changing jobs, changing his schedule, all over re-doing his life. Daikichi also has fairly strong convictions but also understanding situations, frowning upon Rin's mother (who is a childish mangaka) for her abandonment, but also realizing that Rin's mother may have not been the best parent.
At the first of the manga, Rin didn't speak much at all, but as the manga progressed and she built a relationship with Daikichi as a father or older brother figure, she breaks out of her shells and makes a few friends, like the chatty cousin and an equally as antisocial boy (whose mother is Daikichi's romantic interest). Rin is intelligent, but lacks confidence and as Daikichi's influence endures, the more she flourishes.
I really enjoyed this manga and would recommend it to anyone looking for family-oriented fluff, trials and errors.
Now is the time of year when family members from both near and far gather to reconnect. This goes for anime family members as well. Check out this list of 15 of the most memorable anime families out there, who have gathered just in time for the holidays! Just remember, every anime is different...