Usagi Drop Episode 1: Simple but Beautiful [First Impression]
The story starts off with a man named Kawachi Daikichi heading to a funeral where he sees a little girl he does not know. He quickly learns that his mother thinks its his grandfather’s daughter whose name is Rin. Later at the last day of the funeral gathering, he and his relatives discuss what to do with Rin. After they al decline, one of them suggests that perhaps they should send her to a facility. Feeling offended that his relatives would even suggest that, Daikichi steps up and asks Rin if she would like to go home with him.
Wow, I’m blown away by how soft and simple the animation and the pace of the episode was. It was simple, but effective, and the art was just gorgeous. Also the characters are definitely likable and interesting. Daikichi is extremely kind, especially to decide taking Rin in despite no parenting expirence whatsoever because one of his relatives crossed his line by suggesting sending her to a facility. We still aren’t sure who’s child she is, more so whether she really is Daikichi’s grandfather’s daughter which would make her his aunt. Rin is a good girl (from what we’ve seen so far, lets see how long she will keep up with the good behavior compared to Daikichi’s obnoxious niece, Reina), she’s very quiet, she doesn’t cause trouble, and instead of giving the usual flower, she went into the garden and pulled our Daikichi’s grandfather’s favorite and put them in instead. She has also proven (which you would see at the end of the episode AFTER the credits) that she knows how to cook better than Daikichi and didn’t make a huge fuss about how she’s hungry when she woke him up.
Now the big question remains whether this is the kind of show I can blog since the slow pace and the lack of activity makes it harder for me to talk about. While I absolutely LOVE the show already, as you can see this entry is considerably short compared to my usual ones, mainly because I don’t have much to talk about while some others may. I’ll give this one or two more episodes to decide whether I can do this and if I’m going to be sharing with any of the bloggers, it’s more likely that I will follow through all the way till the end.
Possibility of Blogging: Unsure
Possibility of Watching: Yes
Silvia’s turn! Ah, Usagi Drop. I was excited to see this adapted into an anime because I had recently read the first two volumes of the manga, the official English translations titled “Bunny Drop.” I was in my local library and they had the first two volumes sitting on a spotlight shelf, and my local library seems to ‘get’ manga so I picked them up and was pleasantly surprised. The manga since being translated into English is also up for an Eisner award, so Usagi Drop is a big deal even outside of Japan. Oh and a live-action movie will premier in Japan next month! So knowing how big of a deal this manga is in Japan and internationally, I was very interested to see how they would adapt the manga into an anime form.
I must say, to start, the opening and ending for this series are ridiculously cute, especially the opening. If the story itself doesn’t interest you, at least go watch the opening—the little bunny versions of Daikichi and Rin hopping around are just too adorable. In addition the art style of the opening and ending are child-like, whimsical, and beauitful. Talk about some gorgeous art.
So when the first episode opens, the animation is colored just like how the manga-ka, Yumi Unita, colors the full-color images for the series. It looks like an airbrush style to me. Anyway I was pretty surprised and impressed, as this kind of coloring for an anime is difficult to do and pretty costly because you almost have to go frame by frame. It didn’t stay past the opening, but it was beautiful while it lasted.
The characters and the style of artwork is a perfect copy of Unita-sensei’s style. I wondered if they would try to make everyone look a little “prettier” since Unita-sensei’s style is very simplistic but still full of impact and meaning. I was glad to see they stayed faithful to her style. Daikichi was never meant to be a bishounen anyway, he’s supposed to look like an average dude you would see and never remember. And I think that’s part of the beauty of the story of the manga (and anime).
As for the content, the first episode follows the manga pretty. We’re introduced to Daikichi as he is on his way to his maternal grandfather’s house and he narrates for us explaining that his grandfather passed away. When he arrives he sees a young girl in the front yard, and when he asks his mother about it she explains that the little girl is his grandfather’s illegitimate daughter. Damn grandpa, you were 79! Daikichi is shocked, as is the rest of the family—nobody really visited grandpa so they had no clue, and little Rin is already six years old. Makes you kind of sad to think that nobody had visited grandpa in so long.
So after the wake and funeral, the family sits around a long table and discuss what to do about Rin. Rin doesn’t talk to the family aside from Daikichi, but they look at the poor girl with shock and disgust so who is surprised that a scared six year old doesn’t say anything to them. The family members each go through why they can’t take Rin: I don’t have time; I can’t take care of her and the shop; there is something wrong with her because she doesn’t talk, is her development delayed?, etc. Daikichi gets frustrated and decides to take Rin himself, and thus the adventure starts and the first episode ends.
Admittedly I was disappointed in this scene. It was a pivotal moment in the manga (not to mention a Crowning Moment of Awesome for Daikichi) and it was completely changed. In the manga, the family goes on with all the same excuses, but Daikichi gets angry and tells them off before basically saying “Screw you guys I’m taking Rin!” (read: Silvia is paraphrasing). In the anime, he doesn’t seem nearly as angry and heated and he doesn’t tell off the family. He just asks Rin if she wants to go with him and that’s that. I wonder how this change will affect things moving forward, because in the manga when Daikichi starts realizing he has NO idea how to raise a child, he reflects on what he said to his family and feels that he can’t call any of them because he blew up at them. I’m sure the anime will find some reason for him to not contact any of his family, but it was one of my favorite moments in the manga and I just don’t understand why it was changed.
I will continue to follow this show and definitely blog it, if only to compare and contrast with the source material. It is also very cute to see Rin animated, and I’m excited for some of the shenanigans that I know are forthcoming. See you next week! <3