Post Reply CATALOG SPOTLIGHT: Usagi Drop
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Posted 10/8/14 , edited 10/18/14
by moonhawk81

Usagi Drop is a straightforward slice-of-life anime series which details the efforts and experiences of 30-year-old bachelor Daikichi's first year as the guardian of 6-year-old Rin. The show, produced by Production I.G, is based upon a manga by Yumi Unita which was published by Shodensha from 2005-2011. The series aired on Fuji TV from July-September, 2011, and remains available for viewing on Crunchyroll. Those familiar with the manga will recall that the story arc covered a period of roughly a decade and saw decidedly pronounced changes in the relationship between Daikichi and Rin. The anime series eschews those long-term developments in favor of exploring the initial period of confused but earnest attempts by both characters to establish a new life together. To wit, the show exists as its own artistic achievement, related to yet distinct from its source material.



Usagi Drop opens with Daikichi learning of the death of his maternal grandfather. He journeys to his grandfather's house to join the rest of the family in mourning, only to discover that the old man left behind an illegitimate six-year-old daughter whose very existence was unknown by anyone else in the family. And as might be guessed, the family is scandalized. But Daikichi is also scandalized, and for a very different reason: the people he has known for his entire life as loving and compassionate are instead so contemptuous of this poor child that they will not even offer her food or bedding (and this in her own home!). It is Daikichi who provides Rin a few quiet words of support, and so it is in his presence that she lowers her guard, spurring his already growing protective interest in her.

Daikichi's frustration finally boils over when his uncle proposes placing Rin into an orphanage; unable to quietly demur any longer, he asks Rin directly if she will accept him as her guardian, and does so in full view of his stunned and disgusted family while pointedly ignoring them. Watch her freeze in place, and watch the subtle nuances of her reaction--the play of hope against fear. Then realize that this is the first time during the show that anyone has addressed her by name. Usagi Drop is built around a year's worth of such breathtakingly beautiful and poignant moments, which are realized quite naturally through very believable story-telling. How believable? Well, what do children eat? How does one size children's clothes? And how is a child registered for school? Daikichi is about to plunge headfirst into the unknown as he and Rin become their own little family.



Now, let me break the wall. I have watched and enjoyed anime for many years, and am primarily a fan of the slice-of-life genre. That said, I consider Usagi Drop to epitomize both the genre and, indeed, the medium itself. This show has an intensely honest emotional resonance that can uplift and devastate at the same time. The storylines are simple, direct but delicate, and beautiful. I was initially dissatisfied with the almost unfinished look of the animation, but--experiencing the character and story development as the series progressed--I began to consider it an artistic statement in and of itself about how a life being lived is always an unfinished process. And it is a testament to the show's presence that it invites such speculation. This series is its own statement about hope and love, and is a powerful one. [Much more so than the manga, which eventually progresses in some very disturbing directions. I personally consider this one of those rare instances in which a viewer is better off without exposure to the source material.] Usagi Drop is my favorite show, ever, and I invite and encourage you to experience its joy.
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Posted 10/18/14 , edited 10/18/14
I really liked this series. Unfortunately it ended at #11.
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Posted 10/18/14 , edited 10/18/14
I couldn't agree more!!! I also loved Time of Eve.
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Posted 10/18/14 , edited 10/18/14
Wow this announcement's right up my alley. Usagi drop AND Time of Eve were two of my favorite shows on here. It's a shame they both ended so quickly.
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Posted 10/18/14
I absolutely adore this anime. It's become one of my favorites, and I agree that it is the definition of the slice of life genre. This is anime that touched me deeply, at times I cried at others I laughed or even face palmed at something Daikichi does, as he's winging this whole raising a young girl thing and learning on the fly through trial and error and the occasional bit of advice from another character.

It's truly heartwarming.

I fall into deep, dark depression from time to time. When I do or I sense I am starting to or simply that I have had a rotten as all heck day, there were two things I'd reach for. I'd either read several chapters of Yotsuba! or watch a bunch of episodes of Minami-Ke (thank goodness there's four whole seasons and an OVA to watch!) Now, I have a third, Usagi Drop. Recently I watched some of the series while in a really bad place and, like Minami-Ke and Yotsuba! it took my mind off things and helped raise my mood a bit. Something I am very grateful.

I cannot wait to read the manga and do so hope there shall be a season 2 someday.
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Posted 10/19/14 , edited 10/19/14
Oh the anime stops before the creeping happens? That's good. I LOVED the original manga, until the point
I sort of adjusted to it after a while, but I was really blindsided by the turn of events in the manga.
I think I'll finally check out the anime. The simple drawings and subject matter of the manga look--from the screen shots--like they translated well.
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Posted 10/19/14

sjs_bebop wrote:

I really liked this series. Unfortunately it ended at #11.


Man, thank GOD it ended at 11. The creators of the anime were smart to end it where they did. Just a serious recommendation; don't read the manga past where the anime ended. It will ruin your cute ideal vision of the show completely.
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Posted 10/19/14 , edited 10/20/14

dormouse42 wrote:

I absolutely adore this anime. It's become one of my favorites, and I agree that it is the definition of the slice of life genre. This is anime that touched me deeply, at times I cried at others I laughed or even face palmed at something Daikichi does, as he's winging this whole raising a young girl thing and learning on the fly through trial and error and the occasional bit of advice from another character.

It's truly heartwarming.

I fall into deep, dark depression from time to time. When I do or I sense I am starting to or simply that I have had a rotten as all heck day, there were two things I'd reach for. I'd either read several chapters of Yotsuba! or watch a bunch of episodes of Minami-Ke (thank goodness there's four whole seasons and an OVA to watch!) Now, I have a third, Usagi Drop. Recently I watched some of the series while in a really bad place and, like Minami-Ke and Yotsuba! it took my mind off things and helped raise my mood a bit. Something I am very grateful.

I cannot wait to read the manga and do so hope there shall be a season 2 someday.


I also love Yotsuba&!--it's my favorite manga! I'll often pull down a volume when I need cheering up.


anntieem wrote:

Oh the anime stops before the creeping happens? That's good. I LOVED the original manga, until the point
I sort of adjusted to it after a while, but I was really blindsided by the turn of events in the manga.
I think I'll finally check out the anime. The simple drawings and subject matter of the manga look--from the screen shots--like they translated well.





TombstoneTT wrote:


sjs_bebop wrote:

I really liked this series. Unfortunately it ended at #11.


Man, thank GOD it ended at 11. The creators of the anime were smart to end it where they did. Just a serious recommendation; don't read the manga past where the anime ended. It will ruin your cute ideal vision of the show completely.


Yeah, the manga got pretty pervy further along. In the review I did on my profile, I used stronger language warning against finishing the manga itself--I was extremely disappointed in the direction it eventually went. None of which lessens the anime's charm or delicate beauty, which is why I specified viewing the show as its own artistic achievement. Glad to see some agreement!

Posted 10/19/14
Wow cool sounds interesting enough, I may check it out! =)
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