Hello travelers and welcome to my very first review! I have always found the idea of discussing your favorite hobbies a very enthralling one, and creating a review to look at them seemed appropriate. My reviews will be a bit more atypical by all means, but the general idea is to express why a theme within the show was such a hit or miss with myself. Today I will be going into one of my personal favorite anime series, Usagi Drop. This is a series I have a very personal attachment to and feel would make a good first post to get you guys acclimated to what kinda person I am. So, without further ado let us hop right into this journey.
Before I can realistically talk about the themes of a series, I think it best if I start off by telling you guys what Usagi Drop is more or less about. Usagi Drop is a simple premise and quite easy to grasp from the get go. The series follows the chronicles of 30-year-old or so, Daikichi Kawachi, and his newly adopted daughter, Rin Kaga. The show would be more fittingly described as a charming slice of life story that illustrates the basics of new parenting. We as an audience get to follow along with Daikichi and Rin as they not only foster a father/daughter relationship, but what goes into learning the many things needed to parent a child. Every episode tends to focus on one major idea that relates back to this idea in some way or form. Yes, you guessed it! The theme of the day is…..PARENTING!
Parenting is the most obvious theme present in Usagi Drop. So, why talk about it? Well, there are several reasons I can tell you that much you curious little readers. We all know the concept in itself is quite universal. No matter what town, city, state, providence, country, continent, or side of the world you reside on, one thing remains true. Parenting is a part of that culture. While yes there are minuscule differences depending on where you are at on how parenting should be executed and what not, the basics never diverge. Usagi Drop is no different in this regard. The series is a small look into the grand adventure that is parenting. And it has a very large consequential part to play in anyone’s life. The gravity of how important parenting is to our main leads in this series is nothing to scoff at. It is by far the most defining factor of all and it makes everything, and I mean everything that is Usagi Drop. People tend to think parenting is a one way street where the kid is the only person largely affected by the whole matter. Even with Usagi Drop most people usually only look at Daikichi’s influence on Rin and not the other way around. I want to explore on how multifaceted the influence of parenting is on not only the child, but the parent as well. However, before we can look at the after effects, we have to take a gander at how they were before.
Before they met!
Let us talk about sweet little Rin first. She is in a very interesting place when our story begins. Rin was born through what would be considered illegitimate ways. Her father slept with the housemaid and henceforth she was born! When we join the story all of this has already occurred and the viewer is at the funeral of the father. With this interesting dynamic in place, Rin is put in quite a difficult position. The majority of the family that is attending has just found out about her existence and now a decision has to be made. Most of the household has already decided to ostracize her as much as possible and votes for her to put in an orphanage/children’s home, away from the family. No one wants anything to do with her, and anyone who would think to take that step is too afraid of being treated in a similar fashion of separation. Rin is all alone at this point and has no one to support her.
Daikichi is a hard-working man in his early 30’s with no wife, children, or any future aspirations. To everyone he is a successful man just one step away from having it all. He, however, isn’t sitting that pretty. Despite doing well professionally, he doesn’t feel accomplished in life as a whole. He lives his days one at a time with little meaning and just does his societal duty. When we meet him in the series he is on his way to attending his grandfather’s(Rin’s father, so yes she is his aunt!) funeral. He was close enough to him for it to be a meaningful loss. Daikichi is part of the small number of people attending the memorial service who discovers Rin, yet doesn’t treat her like some abomination. Without much thought to it, Daikichi gets quite angry with all the talk of sending her away to a home, and claims to want to adopt her. He asks her straight out and gets a yes. Rin was something he wanted to add to his life unconsciously. And then the real journey began.
When Parenting takes hold!
The changes that happen to Rin once Daikichi adopts her are more than easy to notice. She is far more outgoing and the once reserved solitude she gave off becomes a person full of happiness. Rin was seeking the one thing any child would, love. The love and caring Daikichi gives Rin, more or less defines how she changes so much, so quickly. Although, it is less a change and more the real Rin that wouldn’t surface before due to fear. Daikichi’s parenting, while rough around the edges,(Well, I mean what parent doesn’t just wing it?) gives Rin a new place of belonging, just simply with his presence and guidance. She attends school and meets friends, including the spunky Kouki-kun, and really starts to socially bloom. Soon afterwards, Rin gets to truly meet the rest of the family, and so her small family life that consisted of only Daikichi, suddenly grows tenfold. All of this would not have been possible if not for Daikichi. His implementation of putting Rin first and foremost, truly shapes a future path of happiness for both. The parenting he puts in is well-meaning and always full of loads of love and effort. Rin becomes the best she can be because of the parenting of Daikichi, and yet she is not the only one who takes drastic changes in their lifestyle and values.
Daikichi to me is the one who is arguably the most affected by the transition into parenthood. This difference in the makeup of what his day-to-day life is forever altered once he takes that step. His work schedule, heck his entire life schedule takes a drastic turn. He moves to another department in his company so he can get off early to pick up Rin from school. So his late nights and long days of work are changed on their head completely. However, the biggest part of Daikichi that changes is his entire system of values. Before, all he cared about was working long days and being a productive member of society. He did his duty, but with no real concern put into it. Once Rin joins his life things are far from the same. His schedule has to align with hers and everything he does has to connect as well. It’s time-consuming and micromanaging on a whole other level. Nonetheless, Daikichi feels something he has never before. True accomplishment for making a place for his daughter. Although he thought of parenting as just a thing you do in hindsight, he soon discovers it as one of the most all-encompassing portions one can endeavor in life. And no true happiness can come like the moment when you realize you love parenting your child to happy days.
Parenting is Life!
So, the big factor that comes into play time and time again is parenting. The effect it has is one of many layers. It not only shapes the futures of the children we have, but ourselves as well. The parent must build their life around their child and if done in a way that is meaningful and correct will be more worthwhile than anything else in this world. On a somber note, recently my father passed away, and there is one thing I remember clearly from that day. While my mother was grieving, one thing was repeated from her over and over again. She was thanking my father for my brother, myself, and my sister. The children they parented together. I never really thought about it before because I always assumed my Mum was more vital to my life than her own. With those words out of her mouth I came to realize that parenting is a two-way street that enriches both sides equally. This fact is clearly evident in Usagi Drop throughout it’s 11 episode run. Daikichi and Rin were not the same people before they met. They brought something to each other’s life that can’t just be seen as something trivial. The most meaningful thing in their lives are each other and the bond they hold. Both characters have a scene I can always think of when I want to talk about how they directly affect each other. For Rin, it is the moment when she hugs Daikichi and tells him she will hold him when he needs to cry. It’s a sweet moment that shows how adept children truly are. She isn’t just some dense tiny person. She notices her parent going through trials and tribulations as well, and wants to help however she can. On the other hand, for Daikichi it is a moment he spends with the fellow parents of Rin’s classmates.He asks them a simple yet surprisingly deep question. He wants to know if they ever regret not having any time for themselves anymore due to their dedicated lives as parents. They all kinda laugh at the question and realize that they never really thought of the idea of parenting as a burden that changed their lives. In actuality, the step they took to become a parent and the road that followed is the thing they most cherish and enjoy and wouldn’t change for anything. This moment does a wonderful job illustrating that despite parenting being a taxing and hard part of life, that you don’t really think about it. You just do it, and in the end you are happy because you made your child happy.
What the Theme Meant to Me
It’s no secret that I chose this theme for discussion because of its direct connection to myself. Although I have already described what the show did with the theme and why it worked on several levels, I’d also like to share why it connected with myself so much. My largest goal in life isn’t one that is career based, but rather family based. The true end place on self-actualization I seek will be the day I am a parent. Not just a parent but one who has a strong link to their child. The way Usagi Drop depicts an unbreakable bond between parent and child isn’t an unrealistic one. While idealized a bit for storytelling purposes, in the overall vision it did a very solid job of nailing that purpose. The theme of parenting it creates isn’t one of fantasy, but one of possibility. If I can conjure up my own story just like that in my life then I know I will be a happy man….no a happy father.
Well that’s all folks! This hereby concludes my first thematic review of an anime. I certainly hope you enjoyed it at least a little bit. Any thoughts, comments, or concerns you have? Feel free to leave them in the comments below or at one of my other social media locations. Until next time….Safe travels my little wandering readers.
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