Posted by psgels on 15 September 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews




There was a time when Noitamina basically knew (and popularized) two genres: adult slice of life and experimental horror/adventure. Now, it did branch out to many other genres over the years, but it still retains true to the roots that originally made it big: slice of life series that don’t focus on the usual teenagers, but instead follow college students and adults in their daily lives. All these series have in common that their execution is ridiculously solid, and Usagi Drop is no exception to that rule.

This series chronicles the life of single parents, showing the challenges they face, but also the wonderful things they get back for it. The way this series has handled its themes are quite clever: at the center we have the main character Daikichi who ends up having to take care of his 9-year-old niece Rin. throughout the series, he runs into all kinds of people who are in similar situations, and because of that this series can show many different sides of the same coin.

Another major strength of this series is that it’s pretty much the most realistic series of the entire year so far. It doesn’t try unrealistically force its drama, and the things that Rin and Daikchi do throughout the series all feel wonderfully down to earth. Most of the show is really seeing the two of them live out their daily lives, and this is very well described and written.

The major flaw of this show probably is its lack of ambition. I know that this is a slice of life series and all, but even considering that this series does surprisingly little with the cards handed to it and the series feels incomplete. It introduces a romance, only to randomly abandon that later and also spends time on Rin’s mother without actually much interesting. It also only looks at children of nine years old; the older and younger ones get completely ignored. It would have been really nice to actually see this series evolve, but it chooses to just show one compact part of the lives of the main characters.

And that, it does undeniably well. I personally like my slice of life series with a bit more spice, but its themes alone make it more than worth watching with excellent acting and characterization that’ll make the cast endearing from start to finish.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Could have been a bit more ambitious and better balanced, but is still wonderfully down to earth slice of life to watch.
Characters: 8/10 – Excellent acting, great characterization, and they’re interesting to watch.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Very solid. Obviously it’s easy for a show with absolutely no action, but the lack of still frames and overall polish still is great to watch.
Setting: 9/10 – The realism is just wonderful. The backstory is very well detailed and the themes of parenthood are well explored: showing the challenges, without only focusing on the worst-case scenarios but instead on things happen to pretty much everyone with kids.

Suggestions:
Hataraki Man
Windy Tales
Showa Monogatari

11 Responses

  1. info600 says:

    Somehow, I can see your conflicted mind: You want the series to have some spice, yet you do not want the second half (which contain that…and more).

    Personally, I would welcome the second half just so its “complete” (and it’s still heartwarming if you have an open mind).

    BTW, Rin is Daikichi’s 6 (then 7) year old “aunt”, not niece.

  2. Karry says:

    “BTW, Rin is Daikichi’s 6 (then 7) year old “aunt”, not niece. ”

    Technically they are not related at all, innit ?

    And hey, look, 82,5% strike again ! Learn some other numbers !

  3. Kim says:

    The reason why some of the subplots brought up (Rin’s mother, Kouki’s mom) were left hanging is because the anime only adapted the first half of the manga. In the future they might adapt the rest of the manga.

    Personally I am not really interested in the 2nd half but it is only natural things might feel a little open ended when there is material still left to cover. You can’t really fault the anime for that. In the end they ended the series with a “life goes on” ending and that works perfectly for me.

  4. Kah says:

    Usagi drop just melts me! It’s been so pleasing to watch.

  5. Joojoobees says:

    I agree with “aunt”. She is his grandfather’s daughter.

    Psgels hit on what I think is the most important point about this series. It is utterly down-to-Earth. There is drama, but it is the kind of drama that anyone can experience — running late to pick your kid up, for example. There were no kidnappings, giant squid attacks, or melodramatic nonsense. More than the characters, certainly more than the plot, I think it was this grounded, tangible quality that made it easy to relate to. It had a lack of pretense that was quite endearing.

  6. ljnl says:

    –Spoiler–

    The manga ends with the chapter 56, in which Daikichi marries Rin.. Fuck you Japan, you can’t raise a child then marry her/him!

  7. Shirencel says:

    @Ijnl: . . .
    Definitely won’t read the manga now …

  8. Crayshen says:

    @ljnl

    Isn’t that the origin of all Japanese literature? :P

  9. Sean says:

    @Ijnl: why the hell not? Just them being consenting adults makes it fine art plus they love each other and aren’t so closely related as to produce deformed babies because of it.

  10. skimmm says:

    @ljnl

    spoiler!
    I’m not sure if it helps the situation or not, but Rin eventually finds out she’s not related to Daikichi at all, which made the whole concept a little less weird to me

  11. Indigo says:

    I love the anime because of the realistic heart warming feeling it gave me. When I read the manga; I wanted to kill myself

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  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 07:46 PM)
    With synecdoche it has the benefit of Hoffman’s performance and to get it you just have to “Feel it”.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 07:45 PM)
    Adaptation is one of those films with Nicholas Cage where you really wish he’d do more of, I wasn’t expecting that to go so off the rails near the end.
    Being John Malkovich, I dug the crazily creative premise.
    Anomalisa felt so human that the characters are puppets you can easily forget that.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 07:42 PM)
    @Bam: I really want to use Urotsukidouji as my reasoning for why more messed up stuff should be adapted, namely kara no shoujo but the industry will just never be that hardcore anymore.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 10:44 AM)
    In a world where Urotsukidoji gets 3 series of OVAs there is nothing you want to make that is too risqué or edgy that nobody would want to pick up. I get a small startup trying to push their fist film out, but most big Kickstarters are ran by bigname talents that already have a string of hits on their resume. C’mon, just have some faith in your work, it’s just crazy to ask for money upfront.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 10:37 AM)
    SuperMario: I assume you mean Charlie Kaufman’s new film, in which case he already did pretty much whatever he wanted. Have you seen Synecdoche, New York and Adaptation? Now I’m a big ran of the man, but this creative control card gets a bit overplayed. The Under the Dog producers claim the same thing, but looking at their trailer it doesn’t look like anything that Japanese studios don’t already greenlight.
  • SuperMario
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 09:01 AM)
    for me though, I only pay for projects that I’m certain to watch (and have to pay for it eventually), so I don’t see the point not to “helping” them out. It’s all the same for me.
  • SuperMario
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:58 AM)
    @Bam I think the core concept is 1) with Kickstarter, many projects that otherwise never could have made is get supported here and 2) creators have more artistic control over their project. Take Amonalisa for example, big studios was very hesitate to fund the film, because of the commercial failure of his first film, but he insisted to get crowdfund and we have one of the more creative animation output last year.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:53 AM)
    A lot of the tech stuff is things you will never use twice; like a smartphone microscope attachment. they’re usually pretty shifty with it too. Yeah I’m sure it takes the price of a house to make a video series about sexism in videogames- right? And it takes almost a million dollars to make a 4 level indie game with three guys- seems legit. Must be pretty nice to basically do business with zero chance of failure.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:47 AM)
    I just don’t get the core concept of why I should pay for someone else’s business endeavors? They’re going to reap the benefits, they usually have money, let them pay for it. I get it if it’s research, or some strange art project for the sake of the art, but movies, games and anime that are going to get a commercial release? I swear people are so easily bamboozled.
  • SuperMario
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:21 AM)
    @Kaiser:I have been supporting Kickstarter for a while, but not for games or movies, but for animation projects. I think it’s worth it. But like Bam, Aiden and K-Off said, sometimes it gets a bit muddy. For movies for example there are a lot of projects that was just ideas… and ideas alone are not enough.

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