Warning, this review contains no major spoilers, but does explain the basic premise of the series. If you are yet to watch this anime, reading the review may affect your viewing experience.
Usagi Drop (UD) follows the story of Daikichi who becomes a guardian of Rin Kaga, a six-year old daughter of his grandfather and his housekeeper. This slice of life tale follows their everyday live with its own little quirks and merits.
The plot of this series is not deeply though provoking, it deals with issues of parenthood (or guardianship in this case) such as dividing time for work and family, taking care of your sick child and raising your kid with no mother. It’s worth to note that the story is told from a rather sunny perspective. ‘Adopting’ a child brings a lot of monetary and personal issues which Daikichi handles like a pro. I am willing to bet that if a person would be put in a similar situation in real life, they would be way over their head than our main protagonist. Ahem!
For a short series like UD there are quite a lot of characters. Besides Daikichi and Rin we are quickly introduced to a single mother Yukari Kitani and her son Kouki. They serve as counterbalance to the protagonists. Yukari is calm and collected and she fills the void of a motherly figure to Rin. Kouki is a loud, hyperactive child to whom Daikichi acts as a fatherly figure. Although not indicated, the show heavily implies that the four of them might become a happy family at some point in the future.
Besides the main cast there is plenty of supporting individuals. We have Daikichi’s family, his co-workers and other parents he meets during the course of the series. They do a good job of revealing interesting bits of information to the viewer or guide the story forward, but besides that are never fleshed out enough. My biggest gripe comes with Rin’s mother, Masako Yoshii. She’s a character so underdeveloped, it baffles me completely. I can understand that in Japan your work lets you make sacrifices, but walking away from your child with no rhyme or reason does raise questions about her motives. I was fascinated by the fact of an elderly man and a 20ish woman would conceive a child and how their relationship came to be. Unfortunately these crucial parts of the story are not explained and are left to the viewer’s imagination.
Usagi Drop has a very artistic art style, impeccably adapted from the manga. The crayon coloring on both background and characters is done with a lot of care and enriches the theme of a child’s innocence. The characters are distinguishable from one another while also looking and feeling unique. The gorgeous OP and ED are also worthy of appraise. Each ending sequence is unique because it changes its artwork to reflect on the episode’s events. There are a few recycled scenes which are barely noticeable. I salute Production I.G. for creating another visual marvel.
My final verdict is a solid 4/5. Despite its shortcomings, Usagi Drop offers a lot of heart to the viewer. Its stylized visuals and well-paced narrative will leave any slice of life fan satisfied. If you are not keen of anime about normal people doing normal things, I would still recommend checking it out. Chances are high it will end up as an entertaining watch.
This anime was a co-op watch with the user Jehowi. Want to know his opinion? You can read it here.