Why does it have to end?!: Usagi Drop
As I've ranted on about it multiple times, you may well know that Usagi Drop has probably been my favourite anime of this season due to its utterly pleasant demeanour, interesting themes and the simply watchable aura it emits. In case you're out of the loop, the series follows Daikichi - a thirty year old working man - who takes it upon himself to look after his own grandfather's illegitimate child, Rin. Putting the frankly weird origins of Rin aside, the show is primarily about Daikichi trying to do what he can to play happy families in order to do what's best for Rin, but is then also about how his own character progresses and what he discovers about himself and others as a result of entering the world of "parenthood".
Whilst Rin is certainly the centrepoint of the show, the quality of the series may be lost on a younger audience as the substance relates more to following Daikichi's perspective and the adventures that one can still encounter long after one's own childhood. In a sense I'm personally caught between the two possible age brackets here, but I think it's a show that can be enjoyed by anyone really - even if you're not able to relate or follow along with what's happening, as I say it feels nice to just sit back and watch. It's like what I said about Shinkai's 5CPS, even without particular defining turning-points or exciting events it's both possible and genius to create something entertaining out of everyday life.
I must say, watching Daikichi walk the path of fatherhood (including the trips and stumbles along the way) has provided some of the best character development I've ever come across. And all of this is communicated in just an eleven episode series! It's not that it's thrown in your face either, it's done well and subtly. Without wanting to resort to a cheesy stock phrase like "a heartwarming tale about a father's journey down the road of self-discovery", I just want to emphasise how refreshing it is to watch an anime like this that is properly character-centred.
That being said, there are specific events that do occur throughout the series that fall under the category of everyday life and yet also under the category of landmarks, these of course being the milestones in the progression/aging of a child which Rin must also go through. Although the culture is obviously different and as such certain rituals are a distance apart from what I knew over here when I was growing up, there are also a lot of similarities that struck home. The last couple of episodes in particular reeked of nostalgia; where Rin is starting to lose her baby teeth and competes in skipping (as shown above). As an anime, it does a surprisingly good job of recreating what it was like for these things to happen to you - after watching it I spent a good deal of time reminiscing about losing my teeth, and I'd totally forgotten that skipping was a legitimate activity (which I used to be quite good at, randomly).
It's this sort of little event scattered here-and-there that makes the show worth watching for someone like me. I'd imagine it could be both shocking and intriguing for someone in the older age bracket - hey, you could even show it to worrying prospective fathers. This is why I wouldn't say it would necessarily appeal to younger audiences, but then again this is a common theme that you find in many features aimed at children - just look at Disney's productions after all.
Even outside of the content though, Usagi Drop continues to excel. The art style is fairly unique and I must say that I'm a fan (although the splash of watercolour at the beginning of each episode, which was initially charming, seems a tad random now). I'm not usually able to state a feeling one way or the other on art style, unless I stop watching something because I outright hate it, so that is high praise indeed. The facial expressions of Daikichi and Rin are brilliantly hilarious and wonderfully cute respectively. Although I didn't initially pay much attention to the soundtrack (strange for me, I know), towards the end of the series it started getting through to me, and it was certainly striking. The piano solo version of the 'SWEET DROPS' OP was beautiful, and needless to say stayed with me for a while afterwards. The opening itself is marvelous as well, the combination of the cutesy song with the graphics was just so happy and fun; well in keeping with the rest of the show. I'll certainly be looking out for the release of the OST in the future.
To sum-up then, Usagi Drop is exquisite. Without being able to say it stands out at particular moments, I can certainly say it forms a wonderful whole. I'd recommend it to pretty much everyone, and it's perfect for family viewing as well. Make sure you check it out.
Rumour has it that there's quite a lot of source material to be working from, so if we're lucky we might get another series. Apparently there's even a timeskip to Rin in high school which might warrant some airtime. I must say that Usagi Drop has now probably jumped to the top of my list of shows that need another series.
Life P.S: I'm moving out this Sunday. Crazy. Hopefully I'll be able to get another post in between now and then, but if not then I don't know when the next one will pop-up. Just saying.