Usagi Drop: Final Impression (Spoilers!)

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.

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14 responses to “Usagi Drop: Final Impression (Spoilers!)

  1. I do agree with you. There are too many people implying that the manga has gone downhill after the time-skip & sudden turn of events. I honestly enjoyed this manga from start to finish and find that the ending (although rushed) was perfect as is.

    My only problem was that it ended too quickly :). If we perhaps filled in all the gaps (time-skip period, other fillers, etc.) it would make this manga perfect long with the ending,

    • I’m happy you share the same opinion on their becoming a couple as I do ^^ . I don’t blame those for thinking it was wrong, as we were raised to believe that this kind of thing simply is not allowed. However, I just wish they could view this manga for what it is: A unique story about raising a child, coping with life and being true to yourself.

      I do agree that the ending was a bit rushed and that so much more could have been done with the story, such as stuff in-between or perhaps go beyond the start of their relationship, but all in all I’m very satisfied where it ended. All we have to wait for now is the extra volume..

  2. You share my sentiments about Usagi! I wrote a post recently about how I couldn’t put the manga down, and now I’m surprised to hear there’s an extra volume coming out! Excited.

    I had quite the open mind going into the time skip, so I too was delighted about the cast development in the later chapters. If anything, I’m eager to see how much or far the animation will deviate, or if it will stay faithful to the manga.

    And the idea that this was only supposed to be a single volume manga makes sense given the pacing of the time skip. Lots of the drama could have been condensed to allow for other stories. But then again, it’s why we love Usagi Drop the way it is, right?

    • I’m glad you share the same opinion about Usagi Drop as I do! I can’t wait for that extra volume.

      I do too hope that the anime will stay faithful to the manga (and so far it has).

      I wish more people could be as open-minded as you have been. Thank you for your reply ^^

  3. I’m sorry but I don’t agree with you, and is not because I have an obtuse view of the situation is just that I think that it doesn’t fits Daikichi’s character at all, I mean of course Rin would be attracted to him because of obvious reasons, but I don’t see why a father as Daikichi was accepting that kind of relationship, I mean as the character was build he would do the “correct thing” and send Rin away to college so she can see the world and would explained her that he would only see her as his daughter,

    To me Rin was a really insecure kid that didn’t wanted her life to change and rationalized here fears as “love” for Daikichi, in order to keep her lifestyle safe and stay under his protection forever, and I insist Daikichi sould have realized this and help her face her fears, instead of that we get an out of character Daikichi changing his mind and accepting Rin’s feelings and marrying her…… like Woddy Allen would….

    • You bring up an excellent point, and while I do respect your opinion, I still have to disagree with you. Daikichi wanted Rin to be happy, and because he knew from the very beginning, he knew that he would never be a father to her (as when Rin told him to stay as “Daikichi” as opposed to being an actual father). His main goal was to make her happy, and as long as it was her choice, it didn’t matter. However, Rin decided that she would be at her happiest with Daikichi. Rin changed a lot from when she realized her feelings to when she finally accepted it. She lied to herself for the longest time, and wanted things to stay the same.
      But when she told Daikichi, there was no going back. Her decision to move forward with how she felt change their relationship forever, despite Daikichi’s attempts to keep the status quo. The reasons for wanting to stay under his protection changed from when she was a child, which are now that of a woman seeking the protection of the one she loves. At the end, when she said that she wanted to make “the baby she will have” happy “Just like me”, Daikichi knew at that point he made the right choice, and his work was done as a guardian.

      Very, VERY few people think and have a constructive reason for their counter-arguements about this manga as you have, and for that I am happy you took the time to tell me how you felt about the ending. Thank you very much.

      • I agree with Manuel. It’s simply that I felt like 1. this change in relationships was a bit out of the blue. 2. that it would be hard for a ‘father’ to suddenly switch roles from a parent to a spouse, or even harder- to change his view on his ‘daughter’ from anything but ‘daughterly’.
        However, I like the line you wrote, “At the end, when she said that she wanted to make “the baby she will have” happy “Just like me”, Daikichi knew at that point he made the right choice, and his work was done as a guardian”. This makes me a bit more receptive to the idea of two people who are not related being able to enjoy a new type of relationship, despite having had a very different one before hand (going from a parent to a spouse). I hope that makes sense. haha
        In the end I don’t think I could pair Rin with anyone BUT Daikichi (and part of me wanted that to happen). At the same time, I really enjoyed the simple father-daughter relationship that they had (that so many manga/anime do not). So I have personally mixed feelings that I wanted Daikichi to remain the father figure, but I also enjoyed partially the concept of Rin falling in love with him (which is what happens). What doesn’t make me feel just /right/ about this ending is that Daikichi doesn’t really seem wanting to start a different kind of relationship with Rin. He seems uneasy and that this is something very difficult to be asked to do. If, say, Daikichi was questioning his feelings for Rin changing as she hit puberty or he was suddenly more attracted to her, then I would a bit more ok with the relationship they begin in the end of the manga. But we both know that father-attracted-to-daughter concept was canceled because of the fact that Daikichi, to the end, was still hoping to resume or start things with Kouki’s mother/ Daikichi’s role in Rin’s life never shifted (ie he never developed feelings for her- he remained steady and passive as a father/gaurdian role even as she developed).
        So what’s my opinion? It’s mixed at this point. I loved the story and concept. It was SO enjoyable. However somehow the ending makes me uncomfortable. Maybe if there was more accepting affection from Daikichi’s part?
        I enjoyed your review and thoughts. ‘u’

  4. I loved the manga as well and the ending was really sweet, although one really has to think about Daikichi’s feelings in the situation. I find it rather awkward that he did after all raise Rin as his daughter for 10 years. Despite being related or not, that parental love still stands strong. While maybe Rin could develop that love for Daikichi I find it rather rushed (despite the 2 year skip) that he could feel the same. The part where he says that he “couldn’t refuse Rin” was rather anti-climatic and a weird choice of words to accept her love.

    Either way though, I loved the way it was written and can’t help but love the awkwardly cute ending.

  5. Let’s see, I loved the manga, and hated the ending. It’s not the fact that they ended as a couple that I don’t accept, it’s the fact that we were not hinted at it by the author from the start. After the first timeskip, it truly feels like it’s a different person who is writing this. Overall rin’s feeling were way too rushed at the end and make kouki’s girlfriend arc seem pointless, was the script improvised?

    • I don’t think that she was improvising but it’s a matter of points of view. I like the couple since the begining but I didn’t know that until the last chapters… and, for me, it has all sense. Because she was so mature and Kouki… just didn’t fit in that… and I think that, since the begining, mangaka was preparing us for that final, but if you like the other couples it was obviously unexpected for you. I just can say that I always like the couple, so I like the final, and I think that’s the only reason for what people argue about this. However, it would be no problem if Rin and Kouki would end up together, but it would be less original.

  6. I’m very greatful to you! I’m greatful because I REALLY agree with everything! The thing that they are related or not doesn’t change the fact that they love each other, I found unnecesary that plot twist but I supouse that Unita just were preparing us for the final…

    I just finished manga and all that I have read (and I was prepared for that) was about the crap ending… And I’m like: “What? IT WAS ONE OF THE BEST ENDINGS THAT I EVER READ!!”

    And, you know, I practically don’t read shoujo or josei, I like shounen, shounen-ai and yaoi (sometimes)… but this plot cought me since the begining and, in the bottom of my heart, in spite of like Rin/Kouki relationship and wants that Daikichi finds a woman, I knew that if Daikichi and Rin ended up together I’ll be even more pleased. And that happens at least!

    Thanks, really, you made my day! 🙂

  7. I don’t like the ending because despite Rin looks really happy, by the other hand Daikichi is not more than uncomfortable: the way he look at her, His pose even more tired than he used to be, as he’s dealing with more stress than necessary. Actually I think he is doing everything she says just because he can’t find another way to make her happy at that time.

    Daikichi don’t want to break her heart and do not seem want to point out that Rin’s feelings will probably only come from fear of being alone and the immaturity that still remains in her. He

    He has reached the point where the happiness of which was for many years as his daughter is more important than his own. Like a parent who even can damage other people for the sake of their child. Or a Person with his lover, o maybe a brother to a sibling. That’s why I think that the love between them is what people call “true love”, but doesn’t mean the have estrictly end as a couple. They can continue their lives with the same devotion for each another, without having to make Daikichi uncomfortable ¿right?. The deep of the love doesn’t have to be measured with scales like “lover” “best friend” “partner”. Love is love; the only thing can set Love is the time and beliefs.

    He thought of her as a daughter, She thought of him as a companion. She’s completely happy, he’s happy for her.

    So since Daikichi can’t be completely happy too, I can’t like this ending.

    I hope for the extra volume maybe something short about how they understand each other’s feelings. Rin growing up and developing in a person who is not afraid that much to being alone (because she never will be), Maybe Daikichi finding a nice woman and feeling truly happy because Rin accepts the relation by heart.

    /I apologize if you haven’t understood something. I’m not a native english speaker.

  8. Hi,

    Good job with these whole explanations (and comparing screens) about usagi drop manga,
    (please excuse my poor english.. well I am french…)

    About the end of manga, first thing I have to say is : I LOVE IT
    from the beginning I already hope they stay together, I know it could be seem a little stange, but well I already read several mangas about couple with different of ages (? whoa my english sucks =_=)
    as “Jinbe” from Adachi Misturu (really good manga) and at first I was a little bit shocked but then I really love it, so now I don’t really surprised with that sort of couple (as long they become a “couple” then both are adults and mature)

    Secondly, as you say, Rin never thought of Daikichi as father, and it’s hardly the same for Daikichi, I think he thought of Rin first as a person and then as a child, I don’t know how say that… it isn’t as a normal relationship between a father/mother and a child, but a person who takes care of a little other person…

    I really love this manga (I even saw anime and live action movie) and I feel better now I could say what I want to say.. xD

    see you (maybe ^^)

  9. Este anime en lo personal me encanto, la historia es muy buena y a decir verdad el final fue por completo inesperado, a pesar de esto me encanto ¿por que? bueno es verdad que parece anormal el hecho de que Daikichi acabe siendo la pareja de Rin, pero si lo piensan un poco realmente ellos no tienen limitación legal para no poder quedar de esa manera, claro moralmente puede ser confuso dado que Daikichi desempeño el papel de padre durante 10 años. Pero Creo que no existe falta en ellos, Daikichi durante 10 años quiso y respeto mucho a Rin el jamas vio mas haya de una hija. Pero creo que aquí están juzgando mal, dado que la que se enamoro fue Rin, al final de cuentas ella fue la que con el paso de los años se enamoro de las cualidades de Daikichi, Daikichi en ningún momento cedió a la tentación y sostuvo firme su posición de padre, al final no pude negarse mas no por que que quisiera sino por que la única razón que impedía su relación realmente era de sangre y esa misma fue rota o mas expuesta por la madre de Rin, ya con ese aspecto expuesto a Daikichi no le quedaban excusas para negarse, el siempre fue malo en los aspectos amorosos despues de todo. Pese a verse expuesto sabia que Rin ahora no se detendria y no dejaria de amarlo. El ama mucho a Rin, y por ese motivo no queria ver a Rin llorar por desairarla, como ultimo recurso le pidio tiempo, creyendo que quiza con eso podria dejar de gustarle a Rin. Aunque por lo visto no funciono, durante esos 2 años no sabemos que pàso realmente, pero obviamente Rin trabajo mucho para que Daikichi la viera diferente. Ya al final sin mas que decir el termino por corresponder sus sentimientos, creo yo que no fue una indecision de su parte, obviamente lo penso mucho y considero que era lo mejor aun con algunas dudas el sabia que ambos serian felices de esa manera.

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