Usagi Drop is an interesting anime in that it has no action, no magic, no mechas, no schoolgirls, no butlers, no cute critters as mascots, and so much more. Seemingly devoid of the elements that many people associate with anime, it has somehow become a hit with the general anime fan. The plot is summarized by MyAnimeList below:
While attending his grandfather’s funeral, thirty-year-old bachelor Daikichi is surprised to discover that his grandfather had an illegitimate child with an unknown mother! The rest of his family, fearing the obligation and embarrassment, want nothing to do with the silent little girl, Rin. Sensing her imminent abandonment and outraged by his complacent family members, Daikichi decides to adopt her himself! …yet he may have underestimated the difficulty of balancing his work, family, and love life with his role as her guardian.
So what is it about a 30-year-old man and 6-year-old girl that makes the series so enjoyable? My take on it is that it’s just super happy, and who doesn’t like feeling happy? Take, for example, the first episode where the family was trying to decide on what to do with Rin. With no one wanting to take her in, it seemed inevitable that she would be abandoned at an orphanage or in a foster home. This is when Daikichi steps up to the plate and comes to the rescue by taking Rin in, and I’m sure everyone watching was glad that Rin wasn’t left to the wild.
While it doesn’t sound like a large feat, Daikichi essentially becomes a hero that many people can associate with. Usagi Drop glorifies the act of parenting so that everyone can appreciate what parents do for their children. With that said, it does lead to a problem with the series: it is overly plain. Things like a child wetting the bed and watching a tree grow just don’t come across as things that would grab your attention. This was offset with the mystery surrounding Rin’s mother and her reasons for leaving, but that was left unresolved, making the series feel empty. Sadly, the only other element that could’ve led to a more appealing story, the relationship between Daikichi and Yukari, is also left unresolved.
The animation is very detailed and of high quality, exactly what you would expect from Production I.G, but the style is not what you would find in most anime. It uses light colours and feels like a mixture of a children’s educational show and something out of a watercolour class for seniors. I can see people being split over the style, and it’s really up to you whether you like it or not.
Usagi Drop isn’t for everyone. It makes for a cute “feel good” series and I would definitely watch more of it, but a serious lack of substance lowers your expectations for any sort of conflict or a real ending. If you’re looking for a slice-of-life series to enjoy one afternoon, then Usagi Drop would be the perfect anime to watch. On the other hand, it’s best to avoid it if you want some jaw-dropping action or drama.