One would often confuse the term “kawaii” with “moe”. When you translate the words, they both could mean “cute” in some sort of way. But aren’t all cutesy shows moe by definition? This question would be very hard to solve, if it wasn’t for Usagi Drop as there is not a single trace of moe in this show.
Usagi Drop is basically the epitome of “kawaii”.
The trailer reveals a story about a relatively young adult who just finds out about an extramarital of his recently deceased grandfather. Nobody knew of this matter before the funeral – and as expected, no one in the family wants to be the guardian of this inappropriate love child. When the arguing reached its climax, Kawachi Daikichi took responsibility as a real adult and stopped the nonsensical argument. A child shouldn’t suffer from an adult’s unflattering problems. And from that day on, Kaga Rin lived together with Daikichi under the same roof.
That alone was enough to captivate us to a level of must-watch.
Usagi Drop is about our daily lives, put into a perspective of father and daughter relationship. Life consists of joys and tears, and as you grow up, you learn to appreciate the good sides and deal with the down sides. As a guardian, you walk the same path, because it’s your duty to make sure a child grows up into a splendid person. This path is being pursued by Rin and Daikichi. Rin learns to grow as a person, and ironically, Daikichi also learns a thing or two from someone much younger – he learns how sacrifice is insignificant in love.
In a show about love and fatherhood, it’s very important to match the art accordingly. I have to say that it’s been achieved in some sort of way, but sometimes only the bare minimum. For example, every time before the opening theme starts, there’s always a sequence colored carefully with water color. But after the theme ends, it returns to the traditionally digital colored animation. It’s disappointing, because these water colored scenes are always beautiful and animated with care.
Could it be an analogy to the perspective of a child and the difference between the adult world? Whatever it is, it sure left us in disappointment, especially because the overall animation is quite static. However in the scene which does involve movements, it should be noted that children move like they should be – lively, small and somewhat fragile. When Rin jumps the ropes, her hair flutters in a charming fashion. And when kids run, it gives the impression that they’re unbalanced, as if they just learned how to walk – in stark contrast to adults who walk very naturally and stiff.
These additions absolutely worked and only enforces our disappointment – it’s not like quality couldn’t be achieved, it’s more like a restraint due to time and financial reasons. It’s clear that the studio is testing the water to see if there’s a market for this kind of anime. Hopefully the feedback is positive, so production can be resumed.
Another thing that hit the spot is the use of genuine young voice actors. Usually, children are irrelevant or a subject of lust in other shows. That’s why adult voice actors would habitually play the role of young characters. In this case, it’s very vital to have Rin sound as a real adorable child, and not just some random fetish object. The result is very noticeable and truly earned our deepest respect. It should become a more frequent phenomena.
Usagi Drop is a very soothing anime. Nothing really dramatic happens, and that’s exactly what the writer wanted. It’s about us, people living a normal life. We, the people who have been and still are loved by our parents. It’s a show about us, who might become a parent, or in fact is one. Sometimes, external causes remind us who we are. In this case, it’s Usagi Drop – and what did it remind us of? That even though our daily lives are not particularly special, every single moment should be treasured. Be it good or bad, it’s a process of growing up.
A solid 85/100 for numerically inclined otaku.