Well, it’s over. Unita Yumi’s tale of a 30-year old man who took in his grandfather’s illegitimate daughter as his own has had it’s last chapter (56) translated into English. My favorite manga is over T-T
And I must say, what an amazing, amazing manga.
(This is my overall view of the manga. It will not be a review. Spoilers are present. You have been warned. Pictures are NOT mine. This is all MY opinion. If you disagree, by all means do. Just show some respect.)
From the beginning, the story won me over. The situation made for some very funny and cute occurrences, as well as some heartwarming instances and heart tugging drama. It was all splendidly told. The first part of the manga dealt with Daikichi’s struggle to raise a six year old Rin. The struggles he faces include all the usual things of parenthood, such as nursery school, bed wetting and figuring out how she thinks. Daikichi’s lifestyle had to change drastically to accommodate Rin’s needs, and this is where things get interesting. You begin to see who Daikichi truly is and how much he cares for Rin. Their parental relationship is, in short, extremely well done.
Speaking of Rin, she was (at first) the sole reason I kept reading, as she had a great personality and was almost overwhelmingly cute (and surprisingly, was sometimes drawn to be very pretty in the fashion that a women would). What was unique was that she cute, but not moe, which is something that isn’t normally done nowadays. She displayed the innocence and dependance one would expect a 6-year old girl to have, but she had a very mature personality in other aspects. After the time skip and second part of the manga, we see that maturity stay with Rin, and we slowly start to see her as a growing woman rather than the little girl we have grown used to. It almost gives you the perspective of a parent, seeing the changes and comparing them to how Rin was when she was younger.
However, soon we find out that Rin is in love with Daikichi. This is a huge plot-twist that was the turning point for this manga in a number of different ways. Aside from the obvious change in story, it either kept the reader’s interest or disgusted them to the point of dropping the manga altogether. While I understand the reasoning behind wanting to drop the manga because of this reason, I have to point something out. If Rin were actually the daughter of Daikichi’s Grandfather, they would be related only through him. The mother is different, so the blood relationship would only be about a small fraction. To give an extreme example, in Japan, it’s more accepting for cousins to get married than here in the US, where people would find the act to be taboo.
What I’m getting at is that what transpired is not so far out of the question or even disgusting. It’s a matter of subjective beliefs and ideals, and those ideals shape our perception of what is acceptable. It’s called “Slice-of-Life” because it deals with real-life things, and believe it or not, this kind of thing DOES happen. Besides, it’s a manga, and you can’t please everyone. Don’t condemn something just because you don’t agree with it, that doesn’t make it bad. Many who disliked the post-timeskip have argued that Unita-san had intended it to be a one volume manga, which she did say. They used that quote to bring evidence that everything after the timeskip was an afterthought, strengthening their argument against the ending.
However, her intending it to be a one volume manga could have occurred at any point during the creation of the manga, even before the first panel was drawn. Do we know for certain as to what point did she intend this to be a 9 volume manga? No one but Unita-san herself knows. That being said, I truly love this manga, from beginning to end. And for those of us who wanted the couple to work out, you can’t ask for more than marriage and having a child together. Well, maybe a kiss, but let’s not get greedy.
So, what do I think about the issue of Rin and Daikichi becoming a couple? Personally, I love it. Regardless if they were related or not, I feel that Rin was attracted to Daikichi from the very beginning, and that slowly built up over the time they spent together all the way to the moment she came to the realization. There really isn’t much more for me to say other than I approve of the couple. It shouldn’t matter if they were related or not, in my opinion. To me, Unita-san had intended this to happen from the start, right from when Rin refused to be officially adopted by Daikichi and call him “dad.” As some have said, the ending was a little rushed, but it was incredibly sweet. Daikichi’s wish finally came true: For Rin to find true happiness.
In conclusion, Usagi Drop surprised me as to how a such a simple story could win me over with its values, story, art, cuteness and overall feel. It’s been a long time since I’ve been so drawn to a manga, and it’s ending only serves to make me that much more of a fan. It’s attained the status of my favorite manga series, and you can bet that I will be collecting every volume of this masterpiece, as well as the eventual DVDs for the anime adaptation that’s currently airing (Episode 3’s impression is here). I will definitely be looking forward to more of Unita-san’s work.
tl;dr: I loved this manga. The ending was gorgeous. Don’t like it? I respect your opinion, but deal with mine.