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 Now, it did branch out to many other genres over the years, but it still retains true to the roots that originally made it big: slice of life series that don’t focus on the usual teenagers, but instead follow college students and adults in their daily lives.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. Avatar 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. Avatar 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. Avatar 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. Avatar Kah says:

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

  5. Avatar 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. Avatar 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. Avatar Shirencel says:

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

  8. Avatar Crayshen says:

    @ljnl

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

  9. Avatar 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. Avatar 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. Avatar 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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