I started this review four months ago but for some reason didn’t finish it…
As you may know already, the genre of slice-of-life in anime is one of my favorites. It would be my absolute preferred but romance and comedy are a tiny bit better.
Slice-of-life anime is interesting. Even though it’s definitely not on the same level as a show with intense fighting or a complex story line, it’s a really good refresher from those kinds of shows, which I believe is sometimes a great thing. We can relax and watch different characters live their daily lives, and we can possibly even relate with their shenanigans.
Today’s show is probably one of my absolute favorite slice-of-life anime so far, and I don’t know how many shows can top this one.
Usagi Drop (2011) is a josei slice-of-life, originally a manga by Yumi Unita and adapted by Production I.G. (Psycho-Pass, Haikyuu!, Kimi ni Todoke).
You might be asking what “josei” is. From like five minutes of quickly researching what that means, josei literally means “woman”, “female”, “feminine” and “womanhood”. But when we look at it in anime/manga terms, my best explanation is that it’s supposed to be a story aimed for women around or in adulthood and interprets females’ points of views on different matters like their worldviews. To add on, it’s supposed to have a more realistic tone when it covers romance or parenthood. Honestly, that could be a horrible definition I just wrote, but if you want more, thorough information about this genre of Japanese media, you can check this article out by Honey’s Anime here.
A single 30-year-old man named Daikichi Kawachi lives a normal life and works a normal job.
After hearing that his grandfather passed away, he then comes back home to pay his respects. While reuniting with his family, he meets a little girl named Rin Kaga who he has never seen around his family before, only to find out that that girl is his grandfather’s illegitimate daughter.
If you are unfamiliar with what that means, basically Daikichi’s grandfather and the other person involved in making Rin were not married at the time of her birth. It’s a little confusing to me and I don’t want to get too into the legal stuff, but with my best attempt of explaining and with the context of this show, Rin is not treated the same way in Daikichi’s family as, for example, some child who has parents who are married. I’m starting to confuse myself but hopefully this next paragraph can help you understand more.
So because of this, she is considered an “embarrassment” and a “mistake” in the family. And with her father (Daikichi’s grandfather) now gone and her mother suddenly disappearing, it just gets worse for Rin and nobody else in the family is willing to take care of her. After seeing the disgusting attitude of his family, Daikichi ultimately decides to raise Rin, even though he has had no experience taking care of a child before.
Throughout this show, we see Daikichi now having something interesting come into his fairly boring life and him trying hard to take care of a child. The aspects of family, parenthood and happiness we also see in this show can be one that is very, very enjoyable.
Oh man, I love this show.
I can’t say I can relate to what’s going on in this anime since I don’t have a child. However, I believe that the concept of this show is something that actually happens in the real world, if I’m not mistaken.
A single parent having to raise a child by themselves and the amazing way that they can still get by and keep their kid and themselves happy without any help, I applaud those people. And seeing it in an anime and any type of entertainment in general, it gives us a slice of what happens in those kinds of parents’ lives and I find it really interesting and also heart-warming.
I’m getting a little bit off-topic from the anime but looking at the child’s side, I can’t imagine how they feel when they can’t see their parents anymore and blaming themselves for being separated. That is just horrible to see a child carry that much guilt, and they aren’t even teenagers yet!
Overall, it’s a nice, realistic story to experience.
Throughout the show, seeing Daikichi as a character was fascinating. At first, he had a stable life and job, with absolutely no intentions of raising a child. But, when he decides to take on the challenge of parenthood, starts spending time with Rin and even sacrificing time at work and his social life, he turns into a much different person than before. Being a person at the start who seemed like he rarely smiles or is visibly happy, with the help of Rin and meeting new people he can now relate with, he becomes someone who now enjoys life and being with family.
Rin on the other hand, she is just like every six-year-old child. Silly, energetic and likes to have fun.
To add on, the addition of a fellow parent Yukari Nitani and son Kouki, their relationship with Daikichi and Rin is a nice touch to parenthood, for example, depending on one another if someone happens to either child and willing to help each other out, since they’re both single parents.
Art + Animation
It’s a lot different from what we usually see in slice-of-life anime.
However, I believe that’s what makes it great. The simplicity of the character designs and the watercolor-esque art we sometimes see makes this show is similar to children’s picture books and is unique and enjoyable to watch. I liked it. Animations are pretty damn smooth as well.
Also, the funny faces Rin does makes me smile every time 🙂
Voice acting, it’s good. I liked it, especially the great interpretation of Rin, being an innocent and happy child.
The soundtrack we hear in the background is very, very, very relaxing. The calm instruments and music we hear definitely works out with the atmosphere with this show.
The opening, “Sweet Drops” by Puffy is very upbeat and happy.
Personally, I liked the ending, “High, High, High” by Kasarinchu a lot more since it’s so simple and beautiful with the guitar and the nice vocals.
However, both are really catchy 🙂
In conclusion, if you enjoy slice-of-life anime, I HIGHLY SUGGEST you watch this one. It’s filled with happiness and it’s heartwarming. Everything mends together really well, especially the story and characters and that’s why I gave this show a 10 on MyAnimeList. Even though I was a little sad when I finished it, it was a great show to experience overall.
Also, important thing to mention: if you do not want to be spoiled or even get the story ruined for you, please beware of manga spoilers. The anime does not include everything in the manga, and what’s in the manga later on might have a great impact on the enjoyment of this show. I heard about it and accidentally stumbled upon small, yet effective spoilers in the ending of the manga and it changed my view of this anime a little. Just try to avoid the discussions about the manga, if you decide to try out this show. That’s all.
MyAnimeList Page: https://myanimelist.net/anime/10162/Usagi_Drop
Thanks for reading!!! 😀