Usagi Drop – 09

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[HorribleSubs] Usagi Drop - 09 [720p].mkv_snapshot_03.47_[2011.09.01_12.54.18] [HorribleSubs] Usagi Drop - 09 [720p].mkv_snapshot_05.48_[2011.09.01_12.56.20] [HorribleSubs] Usagi Drop - 09 [720p].mkv_snapshot_08.58_[2011.09.01_12.59.29]

I love many animes, and it’s always a joy to watch a really great episode and feel good about the world.  But it’s unusual for me to actually feel gratitude after an episode, as I did here.  I really wanted to thank Production I.G. for the job they did with this ep.

There are several reasons for that.  First of all, it would have been easy to skip over or condense the material they covered here, on the pretext that it’s not “substantial” enough for the anime adaptation.  Yet, as I was reading through the early chapters of the manga (I’m trying to more or less stay a step behind the anime but with the order not exactly the same, that’s not exact) these little scenes were among my very favorites.  And thanks not just for including them, but for doing so faithfully, and perfectly capturing the spirit of the scenes from the manga.  Thanks, too for casting Matsuura Aya as Rin and Sakai Noa as Kouki.  These two very young seiyuu are doing an absolutely stupendous job, and some of the richness and authenticity of the material would be lost if the roles (especially Kouki) were played by adult women.

Most of all, though, it’s gratitude to I.G and especially mangaka Unita Yumi for the smart and sensitive way they portrayed Kouki in this episode.  Boys are struggling in school these days, in America and in Japan, falling behind girls academically and getting in more trouble, and dropping out in higher numbers.  It might seem overdramatic to place significance on what happens in first grade but the problem starts early and just gets worse.  Boys are generally hyperactive, action-oriented and driven to short attention spans as compared to girls, and there are far too many like Kouki’s teacher whose response is to yell at them and belittle them, rather than try and cater to their strengths in the same way they do for young girls.  In America, of course, the trend is now to classify being a boy as a disorder, and to prescribe Ritalin (or stronger medication) to try and cure a boy of being a boy.  While there are undoubtedly many boys (and some girls, and many adults) who legitimately suffer from ADD/HD and benefit from treatment both via medication and otherwise, for many others it’s simply an easy answer for impatient parents and teachers.

I’m also happy that Kouki is so much luckier than most boys in that he has – despite coming from a single-parent home – so many understanding people in his life.  Not just  the teacher who tried (and was succeeding before the ogress interrupted him) to settle Kouki down via much better methods, but especially Rin and Daikichi.  I’ve just got to accept than Rin is a one in a million child and move past it, because she really is a marvel of patience and understanding, and tough as an old boot.  Daikichi never snaps with Kouki himself – he starts to go, then catches himself (remembering his own childhood, no doubt) and becomes the father figure Kouki so desperately needs.  The both of them see past the challenges Kouki offers with his energy and restlessness to the good soul underneath, and they’re exactly what he needs in his life.  As I said – lucky.

So in effect, really, the entire episode was a day with Rin and Kouki and their parents taking shelter from a typhoon.  I’ve said from the beginning that I think Usagi Drop is at it’s best when it goes small, keeping it’s focus on the daily lives of it’s protagonists and avoiding going for the big drama.  If any ep proves (or disproves, if you feel differently) that theorem it would be this one.  For me, I could watch these four going about their normal lives forever with nary a complaint.  They’re all great individually, and they have great chemistry together.  Little manga moments that make you laugh – like the “Shinkansen is pooping!” pun – and feel, like when Daikichi asked Kouki if he loved his Mom – and both, like watching Rin try and get the hood of Kouki’s raincoat to stay up – formed the backbone of the episode.  You’ve a hard heart indeed if you aren’t rooting for this little “family” to come together, because they’re great when they do.  It’s easy to imagine a decade of preparing dinner, bathing, and watching TV and doing homework instead of just a night.

Things are never that simple, of course, either in anime or real life.  But it was nice to observe one perfect (if windy) day, anyway.  The ep did give a little picture of the challenges Kouki’s Mom has faced in bringing up a demanding son on her own.  It’s clear she feels a sense of responsibility and guilt that he doesn’t have a more “normal” childhood, and though we don’t know much about their back-story I’m betting there’s tragedy there.  Daikichi is clearly interested – he’s fallen not just for Yukari but for the idea of being Kouki’s Dad – and it’s a little frustrating not to see him act a little more boldly.  Especially when Rin made her indelicate but innocent (or was it?) suggestion that Kouki and Yukari spend the night!  He clearly doesn’t realize that he’s got a lot of appeal – the women at Rin’s school certainly flirted hard enough – and the whole single Dad thing is a big winner in the romance department.  But I think Daikichi also sees that Yukari is fragile, and has probably been hurt, and that’s making him skittish about moving more overtly.

Hard the believe there are only two more episodes left – what a shame.  Usagi Drop is an amazingly easy series to enjoy and it works on so many levels.  It’s all substance and can really make you feel the weight of the seemingly trivial things that make life memorable, and I’m going to miss it when it’s over.

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[HorribleSubs] Usagi Drop - 09 [720p].mkv_snapshot_20.10_[2011.09.01_13.11.16] [HorribleSubs] Usagi Drop - 09 [720p].mkv_snapshot_20.14_[2011.09.01_13.11.20] [HorribleSubs] Usagi Drop - 09 [720p].mkv_snapshot_22.48_[2011.09.01_13.14.31]


  1. i

    Kouki in Rin's cloths = funniest moment of the episode

    it curious how some of the stuff got streamlined into a single episode…

    still, Daikichi's (in)action would cost everyone later (and I can't see it done for Yukari's – nor Rin and Kouki's for that matter – sake)

  2. d

    Enzo, I can always count on your timely posts right after I watch Usagi Drop, haha :)

    I LOVE Usagi Drop. It would have to be my favorite show this season. It's short events in the beginning and after the ending are simple but cute.

    When Daikichi shielded Yukari from the rain, I was rooting for them to become a family so bad! XD

    I'm just *crossing my fingers,* hoping that Usagi Drop will end happily and beautifully.

  3. In this one instance, I'm rooting for an anime-original ending.

    I love this show too. I think Ikoku Meiro is just edging it by a tiny hair as my favorite of the season, but it's damn close.

  4. S

    I wanna smack Daikichi on the head for not making his move with Yukari already. I doubt we'll be getting an anime original ending with Daikichi x Yukari but one can hope right?
    I usually prefer mangas to animes especially for such genre, but I must say I.G has done an excellent job with Usagi Drop. The animation quality, soundtrack, pacing and most importantly casting have been nothing short of amazing.

  5. R

    for once, i'm in total agreement with Enzo about getting an anime original ending. but i really doubt that would happen.

    i've always compared all slice-of-life shows to the ARIA series, where you'll finish watching each episode with that WAFF feeling lingering in your body.
    initially i had thought that Yune would win me over with her doleful eyes and beautiful artwork, but in terms of story plot, Usagi Drop is the best show this season.
    there's just that bit more drama in Ikoku Meiro that makes it much "heavier". probably because Claude is almost always such a distrusting prick. HA!

  6. Roar Roar, can't agree on Claude – but thanks for the comment! I do think these are the two best series of the season, and most emotionally involving – but they certainly go about it in very different ways.

  7. M

    Great review, couldn't agree more on everything.

    One thing that caught my attention is Yukari's expression when she got into the taxi: isn't that sadness and guilt right there? As much as I would like an anime original ending with her and Daikichi ending up together I don't see it happening.

    I'm going to be really sad to see this anime end as well… but we'll always have the manga, right?

  8. l

    I have to give anime blogger respect. Currently I am unable to catch up to most of the anime for me to comment properly because of RL. And yet people like Enzo was able to watch it, cap it, post review about it before I even have time to watch it. Kudo to you.

  9. Shhh. The secret? I have no life! 😉

  10. d

    And still Enzo stands firm on his stand of not being an Otaku.
    @Enzo: What's the chance there will be a second cour? Is the anime near the manga end? As in how many volumes of manga has the anime covered?

  11. l

    I will catch up soon, although I do have several concerns. Should I comment even though the anime is after it's prime time, knowing that nobody will reply to me except perhaps Enzo. Or should I just comment on the anime without watching the show and enjoy the reply(while defying the logic of comment)

    Anyway, this show have brought both Daikichi and Kouki's mother one step further. The scene ,where she notice Daikichi got wet sheltering her, should be an indication of interest by Kouki's mother.

  12. @Ikaze – I don't know, she seemed very worried judging by her reaction to that.

    @DV – I think, as always, chances for another season depend mostly on DVD/BD sales and I don't think we know yet. Manga is in 3rd volume now, I believe, so it might be a year or so before it's far enough ahead for a 2nd season.

  13. s

    Kouki in Rin's clothes so funny, I really love scene when their having dinner together 😀

  14. l


    Weird, I thought she was just being shy and look downward. Is that guilt for tricking Daikichi into thinking he have a chance. Like perhaps she is someone mistress and she is content with it. She only close to Daikichi because he help her take care of Kouki while she can go out with her man.

  15. I don't know – I don't think we're supposed to know yet. She didn't look happy to me but it could have been shyness. Maybe she's shy because she likes Daikichi, maybe she's sad because she doesn't feel attracted to him and can't return his interest.

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