Welcome to another edition of MangaHermit! I know that the lot of you are psyching yourselves up for the New York Comic Con, but THAT momentous occasion isn’t until next week. Hopefully, today’s manga’s suggestion will tide you over till then…or make you hunger for the convention. Today we’ll be looking at Unita Yumi’s Usagi Drop, translated as Bunny Drop. Making its debut in 2005 Shodensha’s Feel Good magazine, it is a complete slice of life series that spans ten volumes.
Daikichi Kawachi is a thirty-year old bachelor who is called back home in order to pay his respects to his dearly departed grandfather. Once there, he learns two disturbing truths: he’s the spitting image of his grandpa in his younger days and that said grandfather has been raising six year old child that nobody in the family knew about. The family doesn’t know whether to be shamed or disgusted (or amazed) at little Rin and the actions of the patriarch. Nevertheless , the funeral continues on, up to the part when they decide the fate of the illegitimate child. Fed up with the family’s tactless handling of the girl, he decides to become her guardian.
The first half of the story plays out in the obvious fashion – a focus on Daikichi and Rin as they grow together to become a family. Family milestones such as planting commeration plants and buying Rin’s elementary school supplies together are treated as vignettes that help to show the growing familial bond between the two. The second part of the story fast forwards several years into the future where Rin is now a teenager and Daikichi is well, older. It is around this age that more info is revealed to Rin about her past, which influences the choices she makes at the conclusion of the series.
What can I say? Otaku no Musume San, My Girl – I guess the theme of unsociable males being thrown into parenthood by and watching them succeed just appeals to me. Or I’m subconsciously telling myself that this is what would happen if I don’t protect myself during sex. Subliminal messaging aside, Usagi Drop’s art isn’t really eye catching, a sad weak point. Unita has an art stlyle that makes her works unique and recognizable. There is something about the way Unita draws facial expressions that just seems to be at home in Usagi Drop, but that is the only artistic point. The rest of her art just doesn’t seems to resonate with the story in general. Usagi Drop’s real appeal comes from the ability to relate to the characters. Daikichi strikes a chord in everybody – when he first chooses to be Rin’s guardian he’s in way over his head. This aspect of his parenting is one that sticks with him throughout the entire series. It is that hapless portrayal that makes his character development so much more plausible. With Rin, we see the little girl underneath the mature demeanor once she is able to be herself.
Usagi Drop, aka Bunny Drop is being printed in English by Yen Press. Check out your local bookstore if you’re interested!