Usagi Drop – 05

[HorribleSubs] Usagi Drop - 05 [720p].mkv_snapshot_00.15_[2011.08.04_12.41.59] [HorribleSubs] Usagi Drop - 05 [720p].mkv_snapshot_02.50_[2011.08.04_12.44.35] [HorribleSubs] Usagi Drop - 05 [720p].mkv_snapshot_03.28_[2011.08.04_12.45.12]
[HorribleSubs] Usagi Drop - 05 [720p].mkv_snapshot_04.25_[2011.08.04_12.46.38] [HorribleSubs] Usagi Drop - 05 [720p].mkv_snapshot_06.26_[2011.08.04_12.48.39] [HorribleSubs] Usagi Drop - 05 [720p].mkv_snapshot_08.41_[2011.08.04_12.50.54]

It’s pretty rare for a show to make me feel genuinely emotional this early on, without doing anything especially dramatic. Usagi Drop just gets it right, somehow – there’s a feeling of truth that pervades the material and gives seemingly mundane events weight.

[HorribleSubs] Usagi Drop - 05 [720p].mkv_snapshot_10.43_[2011.08.04_12.52.56]
The headline event of the week was the introduction of Masako, as voiced by Sakamoto Maaya.  In a relatively straightforward premise, Masako is one of the things that makes life complicated.  She’s a complex person, and her role in the story is complex.  I think that’s why it was so vital that a truly great seiyuu play her, and fortunately, they got the right one.
[HorribleSubs] Usagi Drop - 05 [720p].mkv_snapshot_13.32_[2011.08.04_12.55.45]
It’s easy to hate Masako for doing what she did – leaving a beautiful little girl behind to pursue a career.  Indeed, Daikichi is quite harsh to her in their meeting in the coffee shop, though I can’t blame him for the resentment he felt.  But it isn’t so easy, and in Sakamoto’s portrayal we can see that Masako is somewhat broken.  She’s oddly stiff and wooden, as if she’s locked her feelings away so deeply she’s afraid to let them surface.  She’s a mangaka, apparently successful at it enough to earn a living.  But it also comes through that she cares about Rin, though she actively tried to prevent herself from doing so.  I think she’s convinced herself the best thing she can do for Rin is stay out of her life. 
[HorribleSubs] Usagi Drop - 05 [720p].mkv_snapshot_14.34_[2011.08.04_12.56.47]
Here’s where the right and wrong of it gets sticky.  Masako says she’s fine with Daikichi caring for Rin.  In fact, she (quite sensibly from a practical standpoint) wants Rin to take Daikichi’s surname to avoid being ridiculed in school.  Daikichi’s mother heartily agrees, though she balks at Daikichi’s suggestion that he adopt Rin immediately.  His view is that Rin should decide, and so he presents this to her.  She refuses – initially to Daikichi’s chagrin – but when she explains that she wants to continue to be “Kuga Rin” because that was Grandpa’s name – and that Daikichi shouldn’t adopt her because Grandpa is her father – he sees the right of it, and even cries a little that Rin should be so thoughtful about it.
[HorribleSubs] Usagi Drop - 05 [720p].mkv_snapshot_15.06_[2011.08.04_12.57.19]
In many ways I think this is a story about Daikichi coming to know his Grandfather through Rin.  The most memorable moment of the episode for me was perhaps the moment in the restaurant when Daikichi and Masako first saw each other across the back of the booth – he saw Rin’s face, and she saw Grandpa’s.  That’s a profound thing in so many ways, and it says a lot about these characters.  It’s one of many moments in this series that catch deep poignancy in very small details.  I was deeply moved by the graduation scene in the nursery school for reasons I can’t even fully explain.  It was in all the little things – Daikichi fumbling with the cell phone camera.  Kouki’s restlessness and awkwardness during the children’s song.  Their goodbye waves at the end as the parents showed so much emotion – all of it was spot-on.
[HorribleSubs] Usagi Drop - 05 [720p].mkv_snapshot_15.53_[2011.08.04_12.58.06]
Less perfect for me was the postscript of the episode, which was the only moment that reflected the Achilles heel of this show for me.  I certainly felt the emotion of the moment when Daikichi talked about how even adults needed hugs, and Rin promised to hug him the next time he cried, and he wondered who was raising who.  But for the only time this ep and one of the few times this series I felt manipulated into that emotion instead of coming by it naturally.  I’d much rather watch the two of them make curry or brush their teeth, and leave the deep emotion unspoken.  This material is so powerful that it needs to be used in extreme moderation, like saffron in a paella – it’s exquisite, but too much overwhelms the balance of the dish.
[HorribleSubs] Usagi Drop - 05 [720p].mkv_snapshot_17.21_[2011.08.04_12.59.35]
I won’t quibble on that one small misstep, though, especially as it still had the intended impact on me.  Usagi Drop is a rare gem to be treasured, another fantastic jewel in NoitaminA’s crown.  It’s one of the true can’t-miss series of the Summer.

[HorribleSubs] Usagi Drop - 05 [720p].mkv_snapshot_18.08_[2011.08.04_13.00.22] [HorribleSubs] Usagi Drop - 05 [720p].mkv_snapshot_18.16_[2011.08.04_13.00.29] [HorribleSubs] Usagi Drop - 05 [720p].mkv_snapshot_19.09_[2011.08.04_13.01.34]
[HorribleSubs] Usagi Drop - 05 [720p].mkv_snapshot_19.14_[2011.08.04_13.01.39] [HorribleSubs] Usagi Drop - 05 [720p].mkv_snapshot_20.01_[2011.08.04_13.02.27] [HorribleSubs] Usagi Drop - 05 [720p].mkv_snapshot_22.20_[2011.08.04_13.05.16]


  1. N

    Playing aroudn with Image bubbles, aren't we? 😛

    Another great episode of Usagi Drop and Rin's young VA never ceases to amaze me… and I guess thats why she fits Rin so well: both seem to be smart little girls.

    I don't really feel that much resentment for Rin's mother. While she did abandon her daughter, at least she didn't abort (like many women today do) and she understands what her current status with Rin is, even tough that makes her seem like a very cold person.

    Well, looking forward to Daikichi and Rin in next episodes 😀

  2. Heh, I'm trying Windows Live Writer for composition, just for curiosities sake. Do we like the images with the rounded corners?

  3. N

    Well, I do think it looks neat.

  4. A

    The images look fine on their own, but when grouped together they look sorta weird.

    I'm not sure what to make of Masako really. She came across as being something of an airhead to me at first, though she seems self aware enough to realize that she is an air head, which makes her somewhat complex indeed.

    I do agree that the right thing was for her to stay away from Rin's life, since she's clearly incapable of taking care her.

    Still, I found it a bit hilarious how Daikichi 's mother kept going on and on about how horrible Rin's abandonment was, when she herself was among the group of relatives who wanted to send her to an orphanage.

    Don't throw stones when your house is made out of glass …

  5. M

    Such a fantastic series.

    I find myself not skipping the opening and loving it more every week.

    The animation is also fantastic, which can be overlooked in a series like this one but I believe it contributes more than one would first think to bringing all those little details to life and making them much more real and natural.

    As for the images, I agree with Arabesque: it doesn't feel quite right when grouped together. On a side note, I like how you keep on innovating and trying new things. Keep it up!

  6. l

    As with Murkel and Arabesque: Yea I agree, it does look weird grouped together.

    Anyway, I said before last episode that there isn't any excuse good enough for someone to just abandon their own daughter. However weird as it may be, it seem like I couldn't really hate Masako now that I meet her.

  7. I don't hate her, it's more feeling sorry for her than anything. Imagine being so insecure and unsure that you have to give up your own child.

    I get the point – rounded images are a no go for tables. Maybe I'll try them for the standalone images for a while, see how everybody likes it.

  8. i

    Well, Masako had the chance to regret abandoning Rin for 5 years, and I believe she's firmly decided on it, even if she had regrets (if any). She's not looking back on that…

    btw, either have the photos ALL grouped or scatter them all (that or have WAY more screenshots @ the bottom).

  9. S

    Masako certainly doesn't look like someone who's ready to take care of a child and I actually feel very sorry for her. I supposed this brings up the eternal debate of pro-life versus pro-choice as well.
    Daikichi is certainly one of a kind and my respect for him has increased again. It was awfully hard not to blame Masako for abandoning Rin and he handled the situation extremely well, focusing on what's best for Rin instead of playing the blame game.

Leave a Comment