Usagi Drop – 07

[HorribleSubs] Usagi Drop - 07 [720p].mkv_snapshot_00.03_[2011.08.18_12.07.06] [HorribleSubs] Usagi Drop - 07 [720p].mkv_snapshot_00.38_[2011.08.18_12.07.40] [HorribleSubs] Usagi Drop - 07 [720p].mkv_snapshot_03.23_[2011.08.18_12.10.25]
[HorribleSubs] Usagi Drop - 07 [720p].mkv_snapshot_05.10_[2011.08.18_12.12.13] [HorribleSubs] Usagi Drop - 07 [720p].mkv_snapshot_05.36_[2011.08.18_12.12.38] [HorribleSubs] Usagi Drop - 07 [720p].mkv_snapshot_05.44_[2011.08.18_12.12.46]

Usagi Drop is the unsung hero of the Summer season.  It continues to go about it’s business, quietly doing the emotional heavy lifting in its brilliant but understated way.  In all aspects – animation, pacing, character development – this is a series that surprises with it’s depth and dexterity in the absence of flash.

My concerns about the series have been pretty well put to rest.  I give full credit to Kamei Kanta and Production I.G. for understanding that restraint was the key element in making a successful adaptation of this story.  I’ve also been impressed with the visuals, which I think I’d dismissed too easily as “nice, but…”  True, this isn’t a jaw-droppingly expansive proposition live Seirei no Moribito or Ghost Hound were.  But in terms of the little details – the facial expressions, the background movements, the coloring – there’s some very special work going on here.  If you can get a read on what’s happening in an anime just by watching the faces, that’s a good sign – and they really tell the tale here.

That’s really a microcosm of how I feel about the series as a whole.  It sneaks up on you by caring about the little things and letting the events speak for themselves most of the time.  This episode, an exploration of Daikichi’s cousin Haruko and her struggles in her marriage, provided a lot of insight not just into her character, but on all the central relationships in the series.  I found this episode to be one of the saddest so far, though it wasn’t because of sweeping strings or extended emotional outbursts.  Sure, we briefly saw Haruko crying but for me, the saddest elements of the episode where listening to her talk as she was smiling.  In describing her situation she said she felt that Reina and herself were the “only family” in her household.  Everyone else was her enemy – including her husband.  Again, the worst part for me is that she was smiling as she said it – how many women find themselves in a similar emotional cage, I wonder, and never speak it aloud.

I could certainly relate to Haruko’s wish that she could be a girl forever – the responsibilities of adulthood are a heavy burden even without a child, and I can only imagine their mass when there is one.  And they come along with the slow breakdown of the bodies we all felt were invincible when we were kids.  Though Haruka ends up going home, is here situation really going to be any different?  Her husband came home from work at a decent hour once, but I suspect he’ll go back to his old ways soon enough – and it will still be his family’s house.  That Haruko says she needs to “not feel anything” in order to get through her situation, that says it all – and it broke my heart.  Dai-chan shows his GAR-ness yet again, of course, by offering himself as a resource for her whenever she needs it – just as he has for Kouki’s mum (though there are obvious ulterior motives there).

One very interesting moment in the episode happened when Kouki came over during breakfast, and Reina (nicely rebounding from her annoying introduction) and RIn were blithely discussing marriage, separation and divorce.  The music was light, the girls were laughing and the adults were embarrassed – but watch Kouki’s face during that scene, especially when the “D word” is mentioned.  In that small bit of detail the series gives you hints of what might have happened between Kouki’s parents, and a window into his vulnerable state of mind that belies his genki personality.  It could easily be overlooked but for me, it’s actually the most important part of the scene.  Of course this interplay also serves to force Daikichi to think about what being a parent means, and what being married means too – all things it’s easy enough not to worry too much about when you’re a single man in his 30’s.  Of course he has feelings for Yutari – the scene in the grocery store proved that if anyone still doubted it – but even to himself, he’s not comfortable thinking about what that might mean.  I suppose part of me was disappointed to hear that Gotou is still married and out of the running, as I rather like her – but Yutari is clearly the front-runner here.

Lastly, I love how Usagi Drops makes little changes in the ED animation to reflect events in the episode, and even more how they’re able to mine so much satisfaction out of the short postscripts that play out after.  A shopping trip with Kouki and Yutari is interesting in and of itself, but I adored the tiny scene for both its mood and dialogue.  Having two sisters I’ve lived that moment many times, and the natural alliance that forms between Daikichi and Kouki is timeless and universal.  One other small impact of Haruko’s visit is that it reminded us (and Daikichi) that he was the odd man out (literally), and so is Kouki.  It’s only natural that they should form a bond, and it’s nice to see that happening in such a believable and charming way.

[HorribleSubs] Usagi Drop - 07 [720p].mkv_snapshot_16.08_[2011.08.18_12.24.49] [HorribleSubs] Usagi Drop - 07 [720p].mkv_snapshot_18.30_[2011.08.18_12.27.27] [HorribleSubs] Usagi Drop - 07 [720p].mkv_snapshot_22.17_[2011.08.18_12.31.14]
[HorribleSubs] Usagi Drop - 07 [720p].mkv_snapshot_22.19_[2011.08.18_12.31.15] [HorribleSubs] Usagi Drop - 07 [720p].mkv_snapshot_22.44_[2011.08.18_12.31.40] [HorribleSubs] Usagi Drop - 07 [720p].mkv_snapshot_22.47_[2011.08.18_12.31.44]


  1. S

    Coping with marriage is tricky enough and when you throw in multiple generations living under the same roof, all hell breaks loose.
    I did notice a change in Kouki's facial expression but it didn't occur to me that it was because of the "D" word. It seems like he was just eyeballing the yummy onigiris and I got a good LOL out of it XD

  2. f

    I don't know if Kouki was really reacting to the 'D' word; not to say he didn't know what it meant and purposely ignored the conversation, in which ignoring it is somewhat odd given his feisty personality. It seemed to me he was concentrating on that rice ball rather than averting his eyes to the topic at hand (>.>).

  3. Nope, watch it again – the timing is exact. It's no coincidence.

  4. K

    I'm on the "not reacting" team. Totally coincides with him noticing the rice balls. Kouki looking ashamed is way out of character. He's what they used to call "simple."

  5. On the subject, I think we have to agree to disagree – I'm pretty confident about my read, but I could see where others might feel differently.

    However, I definitely don't think Kouki is simple. He's focused on hiding his feelings because he's a boy, but it's not the same thing. My 2 cents, anyway.

  6. K

    It was heart breaking for his cousin to tell him how hard it is for her in a house full of enemies and yet be resigned to her fate and go back home to that house.

    You ONLY get 1 life, it should not be spent unhappy in a house full of people that are so mean to you that you think of them as enemies.

  7. d

    Enzo, you did a great job with this Usagi Drop blog. I love this series and it's nice to see another individual cover the series and offer their own likes, and concerns.

    Your diction and prose is really sophisticated, with nice vocabulary words I don't normally see in anime blogs; yet, it is still very nice and easy to read and follow. You're a very talented writer because I recently took a college class that had me write a review on a book/movie and it was hard!

    Your introduction of Usagi Drop being the "unsung hero" made me smile :), because it's right on.

    I'm going to watch the episodes again because i really enjoy how the production studios handled this anime, incorporating the small troubles and commonplace problems that I and many others overlook. However, Daichiki and Rin are a great pair and they are able to bring smiles and gracious help to everybody.

  8. d

    Interesting observation about Kouki looking down when divorce is mentioned, that sailed right past me!

    And I felt the same way about the clothes shopping scene. Ah, male bonding.

  9. Nothing like shared suffering, Draggle!

    Debusseylover, thanks very much for commenting, and you're awfully nice to say what you did. Did you watch Hourou Musuko, by any chance? There's an awfully wonderful use of Debussey's Claide de Lune in the first episode.

  10. d

    Hmmm, if I'm not wrong I heard that half way through there is a time skip? Does that hold true or would that be seaosn 2?

  11. l


    I haven't read the manga, it true that there will be time skip but according to various comments; it quite likely the time skip will only occur at the end of the episode or next season?

    So the girl at work, Haruko and even Rin's mother is rejected for love interest. I suppose the only real possible target will be Kouki's mother.

  12. A

    Before this episode so would I have never thought it would get that far this season, but this episode is quite far ahead in the manga, so they might skip a lot of content to mange to either end it or reach the time skip at the least.

  13. I suspect we'll get the rumored time skip in the last episode. But that's just a guess.

    Haruko for romantic partner? She's a cousin, and their relationship seems more like siblings. Even if she weren't married I don't see that happening. I think it's Yukari or bust.

  14. m

    My eyes steamed a bit when Haruko declared she wanted to stay a girl forever too…and I am still at uni…sometimes its these little realities of life that stings the most.

    Also, Rin and Reina's under the blanket conference reminds me of when I was young, so cute~

  15. c

    Yes that scene I got my wish. The its not what you think, its my cousin scene.

  16. LOL, I had that with my cousin too, happy memories. Except I'm a boy and she's a girl, though we didn't think much of it at the time!

  17. d

    @Enzo: "Did you watch Hourou Musuko, by any chance?"

    I haven't watched Hourou Musuko yet, but I've heard good things about it. Lol, I love debussy and clair de lune is a nice piece, but I hate when people associate with twilight. Debussy's works should not be leveled with a vampire fantasy. D:<

  18. Much better usage in Hourou Musuko! If you like this series, I can't imagine you won't like that one.

  19. t

    I always felt like using clair de lune is "cheating" because that piece will bring tears to my eyes just if I listen to it,so it's bound to make any scene it's used in emotional without anything else having to be good,the music will do all the work.

    Oh right,this post was about Usagi Drop lol
    You brought up a point that I wanted to bring up:How real care has been put in animating the faces.
    Just a few days ago I was watching the director commentary of the girl who leapt through time and director Hosada insisted on the fact that animators that are truely able to convey an emotion in their drawings are a very valuable commodity,so I had this in mind when watching this.
    The other thing I really like about Usagi Drop is that even if there's Rin and her friends,like this episode showed it's an anime that deals with adults and adult problems,you just don't see that often in anime.
    And,yes,love the ED and I'm glad I can enjoy more of Gekidan Inu Curry 's work without it creeping me out.
    And lastly since the french editor decided to use the anime as an occasion to re edit the manga I couldn't resist and have read a bit ahead and really,there's some wonderful things after the timeskip that make me hope for a second season.

  20. You're the first person I remember telling me they liked the manga after the timeskip…

  21. i

    man, the stuff that went unsaid in the overall story, they can do some extreme deux ex machina…

    still, there's still lots of heartwarming moments (along with the winner moment with the first comment about the teenager Rin)


    …interesting little addition with Gotou-san's son, btw…

  22. J

    Huh. We basically agree. And we also highlighted the director too! Yes, there was definitely a great approach to this series, and well…I…I can hardly hate it. I really have trouble forming any sort of criticism about it. The only criticism I can say now is, "Just how shocking is the ending of the Manga?" Since that has provided the most controversy.

  23. Justin, I don't want to know! The manga is the manga and the anime the anime. Maybe I'll read it after the series is over but for now, it doesn't exist to me.

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