“The Way Back Home”
It’s nice to get a little reminder of just how great Usagi Drop is. And this extra episode especially reminds me of something else I’ve long felt, that the series is at its best when it focuses on Kouki and Nitani-san – they’re classic examples of supporting characters who make everything about an already good show that much better. One of the best subtexts in the series is the special and very natural bond that forms between Daikichi and Kouki, and between Yukari and Rin. It’s only natural, given the gap that each child has in their lives. Daikichi, after all, surely understands Kouki better than Rin in many ways – he’s a naturally good person who would take a protective interest in a child merely because it was right, and he feels some appreciation for Kouki’s protective attitude towards Rin (though it usually ends up being the reverse) but there’s genuine affection specific to the people involved.
So given all that, it was quite natural to see Daikichi roughhousing with Kouki on the way home from the matsuri, and Yukari step in and single Rin out for attention when she saw the jealousy in her eyes. These extra eps don’t offer much in terms of “plot” but they’re almost perfect slice-of-life snapshots, and this one was no exception. This isn’t the place for a manga discussion, of course, but I can’t help but have a wistful feeling watching the four of them together and seeing the wonderful chemistry they have. Goldfish and fireflies – can there be more idyllic symbols of a Japanese summer?