Natsu Reviews: Usagi Drops

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Wow some of you may end up getting anime whiplash as fast as I am switching genres here. Next we’re taking a look at the adorable anime Usagi Drop. This is technically a Josei (geared towards girls in their late teens/young adult) series. But I feel like labels like Seinen and Josei can be misleading. I know plenty of women who love Seinen series like Darker than Black, Psycho Pass, and Attack on Titan. So the same can be true for a Josei series with men. I just like to think of it as mature anime. Not to be confused with adult anime (hentai). This series definitely had more a mature feel to it as it dealt with situations a parent would have to go through that you may want to know about if you have or want to have a child. I feel like this series is relatable to parents, but you will still enjoy it none the less even if you are single with no kids. (Like this poor loser. SHUT UP BRAIN!!!)

Usagi Drops

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Click to view on Crunchyrill.com

Synopsis: The setup for this series is actually pretty simple. Daikichi Kawada’s grandfather passed away and when he goes to his grandfather’s house for the funeral he learns that his grandfather had a 6 year old girl no one in the family knew about, named Rin. When it seems like the family is about to abandon her he decided he will take care of and raise her.

The feels are real with this one. It definitely is more of a slice of life series, but there is so much I learned about parenting in Japan that I did not know before. I love learning new things when I watch anime. (Of course I don’t know how much is Japanese specific and how much is just parenting. I apologize for be over 30 with no kids! OTL)

Story: So the story centers around Daikichi and having to learn what it is like to be a parent/guardian to a young child. Even though it’s a pretty short series with just 11 episodes, the story is very heartwarming and cute. There is still enough story to really become invested in. I never felt like the story dragged on or became uncomfortable.

Rating: This is a definite 5 out of 5 Fire Dragon’s Roars. I was thoroughly impressed with how well done the story was, and how the pacing always seemed to fit just right. Each episode felt like it was just another part of their daily life and I never got the impression that I had missed out on anything.

Art: Admittedly the art was the only thing about Usagi Drop that wasn’t amazing. It was done well and after I finished the series I went to read the manga to pick up where the anime had left off because I wanted to know more, and I was happy to see that the art style didn’t change much at all from the anime version. If you’re looking for high quality art, this is not the show for you. But the use of tones and colors in this series is well done and definitely gives off that warm homely vibe.

Rating: I will give the art quality 4 out of 5 Fire Dragon’s Roars. For a show made in 2011 I would have liked to have seen a more contemporary style of art. But they did stay close to the original art style and the way it was done fit the series perfectly. I just think my artist’s eye has been spoiled too much with higher budget anime lately.

Sound: Okay here comes the big surprise for all of you… I loved the OP and ED for this series I ended up sitting through both on the very first episode and I was pleasantly surprised to find out later that the opening theme for this show was done by Puffy Ami Yumi, the same group that did the theme song for the original Teen Titans series. It was such a sweet and cute song that seemed a big contrast from the Titan’s theme. The soundtrack for it was amazing as well and always seemed to fit whatever scene that was happening at the time. My hat’s off to the composer, the sign of any good soundtrack is that it helps bring the scene to life in new ways, but doesn’t pull you out of the story, and then later it sticks with you. You simply cannot think remember the show without hearing the music in your head.

Rating: Obviously this has to be a 5 out of 5 Fire Dragon’s Roars. They got me to listen to the OP and ED for once and the music flowed well in the background. It wasn’t really heavy on sound effects, which is why I didn’t talk about any, it didn’t really need too many.

Characters: Daikichi is the character I feel you will relate to the most, which is good since he is the main character. How hard he tries to make sure that he takes care of Rin and that she isn’t sad is very endearing. I wish more people were like him. Rin is just tiny, human shaped, ball of adorable. Your heart will really go out to her and the tough time that she has had. Daichi’s family are not horrible people either, I feel I need to clarify that. Earlier when I said abandon, I meant they were thinking of finding a foster care for her. Even Rin’s mother (more in the manga than in the anime) is someone I can kind of relate with. One of the big themes in this show is about how much of your independence do you sacrifice for yourself when you have a child and is it worth doing. I think the characters in this series really do a good job of showing that throughout the series and give valid reasons for both sides of that choice. This isn’t a series meant to pressure you into having kids just because they’re adorable and heartwarming, and I think that really makes the characters in this series really shine.

Rating: 5 out of 5 Fire Dragon’s Roars. There are so many good characters in this series that I didn’t have a chance to talk about, that make the story even better.

Enjoyment: Unless you skimmed through this entire review (and shame on you) you can obviously tell I loved this series. It was so well done, but if you decide to jump into the manga afterwards you will be shocked to find that there is a 10 year time skip where the anime leaves off and suddenly Rin and her friends are in high school. I can understand why the anime leaves off here, even though seeing Rin and her friends in high school and having to deal with the teenage life was interesting I liked Rin more when she was a child. It’s just my opinion though.

Rating: I have already started telling friends that they need to watch the show. And I think an anime has done a good job when it makes me so interested in reading the manga. TO be honest, now that I have both watched and read this series there is very little different in the manga than the anime. They left out a chapter or 2, but that was mostly because those chapters had no relevance on the overall story. It’s definitely 5 out of 5 Fire Dragon’s Roars for Usagi Drop.

Dub/Sub: Sadly there is no dub available for this series. But the manga is available to order online through online retailers of manga. You should be able to find it for your kindle or whatever reading device you use.

Overall: This series was so good and so cute. Sadly I don’t think there is a dvd/bluray with officially translated English subs. I wish there was I would love to add this to my collection. But for now you can watch it on Crunchyroll, or anime on demand in the UK. The manga is available in English through Yen Press though, and Usagi Drop is only 10 volumes so it should be easy enough to add this to your collection. Holy crap! I just found out they did a live action movie adaptation in Japan too. Must find it!!!!!!

If you want to watch it and let me know what you think of it you can check it out here.

http://www.crunchyroll.com/usagi-drop

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