Bunny Drop

Bunny Drop

BUNNY DROP

Watched via Crunchyroll/BD

WHITNEY

CRYSTAL

PLOT: Daikichi unexpectedly ends up becoming a father, after taking in his newly-orphaned half-aunt, after his grandfather dies. Rin, who is only 6, is the illegitimate daughter of his late grandfather, and as such is alienated from the family, who wants nothing to do with the burden of raising another child. Daikichi can’t stand the thought of the poor girl ending up in an orphanage, and as such takes her in without any knowledge of how to raise a child. Bunny Drop mainly focuses on the many hurdles of being a single parent in Japan.

While the premise of the series is very simplistic, it is very refreshing to watch the growing bond between parent and child as Rin warms up to Daikichi and begins to trust him as her father. Daikichi ends up sacrificing his job, money, and dating/social life, in order to be the best father that he can. It sounds horribly cheesy, but watching Bunny Drop kind of restores your faith in humanity.

What I liked about the series was that the show focused on the mundane aspects of parenthood, which are commonly overlooked, and gave me a new perspective on what raising a child is like. The series even shows other single working parents and highlights different types of parent and child relationships.

This definitely isn’t a fast-paced show. Each episode highlights one or two adorable parent-child moments and not much else. The biggest plot device seems to be looking for Rin’s mother, which gets dragged out without much of a resolution.

I love that this show restores your faith in humanity by having completely unrealistic and unreasonable character interactions. I was moved, too, but the grad student in me gets all twitchy about it.

PLOT: Bunny Drop begins with the 30-year-old bachelor Daikichi attending his grandfather’s funeral. This predictable experience is turned upside-down by the presence of a 6-year-old girl, Rin, who is his grandfather’s illegitimate daughter with no known mother. No one in the family wants to take care of Rin because of her illegitimate status, so Daikichi impulsively decided that he will become Rin’s caretaker.

The rest of the series follows Daikichi and Rin as they live together and get used to each other. Daikichi has no idea of the sacrifices involved in raising a child, and it immediately impacts his life, as he has to change jobs in his company in order to have flexible enough hours for parenting. Daikichi continuously encounters new challenges when raising Rin, but he always receives support from those around him, including Rin, who’s an incredibly laid-back and self-sufficient child. The series also briefly looks at parents around Daikichi, whose struggles and successes he comes to appreciate more now that he’s raising Rin on his own.

The series follows a slice-of-life format, as each episode presents a new event, like Rin losing her teeth, and follows the main characters’ interactions. This format allows the series to focus on how Rin slowly comes to trust Daikichi and develops into a happy, outgoing child. There is a plot thread about Daikichi locating Rin’s real mother, but that doesn’t build to a huge climax or anything. Instead, it’s something we glance at briefly, but then we return to Daikichi raising Rin.

SETTING: What I like about this series is how universal the story is. While Daikichi lives in Japan, you really get the feeling that he could live in any large city. The problems he faces as a parent are the sort you might encounter in any country.

Just like the plot, the setting is simple and mundane (in a good way). Daikichi struggles with the hurdles of public transportation, work, and daycare throughout the series. Over the weekends Rin and Daikichi occasionally visit his mother (Rin’s half-sister) in another town and take the train. It really doesn’t get any more dramatic than that.

One aspect of the setting that I really enjoyed was the grandfather’s house. In Bunny Drop, in particular the manga, there is an emphasis on the plants that are grown at the grandfather’s house. Each family member gets their own shrub planted when they are born. It’s these little personal touches that really make the show heart-warming and enjoyable to watch.

SETTING: Daikichi lives in a pretty standard Japanese city, but his city feels realistically detailed. He works at a company where he’s initially a salesman, but he has to move to the shipping department instead for the standardized hours. He has to struggle to find a daycare that will take Rin that he can reach and not be late to work, and, when he enrolls her in a school, it’s within walking distance of his small house. Trains feature at times as transportation, especially when they go visit Daikichi’s parents, who live far enough away that Daikichi and Rin tend to stay the night when they visit. Bunny Drop has the same setting as most anime, but the series is rooted within that world enough that the setting feels integral to the anime and the characters’ development.

I think you’re totally right, the setting, plot, and characters all flow seamlessly together and fit quite naturally. Though it would be hard not to with how ordinary it all is.

CHARACTERS: Daikichi is your typical big-hearted, bumbling idiot. He has absolutely no idea how to raise a child, but his honest sincerity makes you love him all the more for it. His personality makes him easy for people to open up to, and as such we get the pleasure of meeting his co-workers and other single parents whom he confides in.

What makes things easier for Daikichi is that Rin is a perfect little angel. Honestly, you’d think the creators of this series had never met a kid before, and that’s strangely what makes the show so wonderful. What better than to fantasize about the possibility of raising the perfect little child, who instantly grows fond of you, despite all your many faults as a parent? It sure beats raising real kids.

I think Crystal is forgetting that there are some more realistic depictions of parenting, such as Daikichi’s sister, who drags her kid around with her while she’s having marital problems (essentially threatening separation). And of course there is Rin’s mother, who, once found, has no real desire to connect with her daughter. Then there is Yukari, another single parent, who after a divorce is forced to raise her son all on her own, which is no easy feat with him always running off and getting into trouble.

Really, I don’t think the series is trying to show a certain type of parenting as being better, or showing how these two are somehow better than the rest; I think if anything the relationship is idealized in order to highlight its “purity” and “perfectness,” to show that it shouldn’t have played out any other way, which for the anime at least, has a pleasantness to it. There is no doubt after watching Bunny Drop that Daikichi did the right thing by listening to his gut instincts and adopting Rin.

The central message of this show seems to be that, as a parent, if you care about your child and try to do the right thing, you’re doing it right. Even Rin’s absentee mother earns some respect from me, for doing what’s ultimately the best for Rin and clearly being concerned about her. Daikichi may have a fairly easy time with Rin, but all of the show’s parents deserve respect. They just mostly seem to like parenting a little too much, to the extent of losing their individuality.

CHARACTERS: As the hapless bachelor who ends up raising a kid, Daikichi’s incredibly likable. I admire him for standing up to his family to support Rin and then for following through with raising her, despite all of the difficulties he faces. He reacts a lot like I think I might with a kid, getting flustered at new situations before trying to find the option that’ll make Rin the happiest. He’s also adorably embarrassed when he interacts with another single parent that he likes, Yukari Nitani, and he’s very good at managing her wild son, Kouki.

As the central child, Rin’s also well-developed and easy to like, though I suspect that she could give future parents unrealistic expectations. She’s very quiet at first and has problems wetting the bed, but, once she trusts Daikichi, she’s very well-mannered and dependable. Heck, she can cook her own food! Kouki seems like the more realistic child, as he’s always running around being annoying, loud, and messy.

Furthermore, the parents in the show all selflessly give themselves over to parenthood. Towards the end of the show, there’s even a conversation where Daikichi’s friends all reassure him that they don’t need “me time” because time at their jobs and with their kids is “me time.” I don’t believe that all parents can or should feel this way, so it was unnerving for me to see this blanket opinion. Other than that, I like the various parents presented who all try their best for their kids, but please recognize that they’re not accurate depictions of parents.

I didn’t think of this until now, but when you say Bunny Drop is “wish fulfillment”, I never thought this could go both ways, meaning wish fulfillment for finding the “perfect” parents in addition to the “perfect” child. How great would it be to toss out your cruddy parents and get a new, attractive parent who is completely unconditionally devoted to you? The only thing that could make it better is if you could find some legitimate legal way to live with said parent for the rest of your lives and live off of them without working like a NEET. Oh wait, that happens, well, in the manga at least.

ART STYLE/ANIMATION: The manga style for Bunny Drop was very simple with sparse detailing and backgrounds. The anime sticks fairly closely to the manga format by keeping the frame fairly empty and limited to necessary details only. The color choices strongly reflect the watercolor vibe of the manga covers. Overall the series looks exactly like the manga would if animated. There aren’t any drawbacks to this style, but then again, it doesn’t make the anime any more worthwhile than the manga.

Honestly there isn’t much to say about the art style aside from it being very bland compared to most series made now days. The character designs feel very “josei”. Everyone is highly individualized, but nothing to write home about. As Crystal mentions, even Daikichi isn’t very attractive. Even angelic Rin has her quirky child moments, such as when she loses a tooth. I suppose the bland characterizations of the main cast makes it easier to empathize with them (using Scott McCloud’s logic on abstraction). Though in all honesty I think the production studio was just playing it safe and making what the fans wanted, an animated version of the manga.

ART STYLE/ANIMATION: Production I.G handled the animation for Bunny Drop, so it’s consistently beautiful to look at in the same way that Kimi ni Todoke is. The main colors are all pastel-ish and not too strong to carry over the soft, comforting feel from the manga. Additionally, the segment before the opening in each episode is animated and colored to look like watercolor, which strengthens the series’ nostalgic feel and helps manga readers make the transition to this medium. The opening’s even been designed to look like a picture made by children with paint and stamps, with bunnies representing Daikichi and Rin as they travel through the year.

The anime also did a good job of adapting the manga’s lanky, slightly-stylized character designs. The characters all look different in little ways, and I love the details put into Daikichi’s appearance. Interestingly, Daikichi’s not your traditionally good-looking anime guy, which makes him all the more endearing to watch as he interacts with Yukari and desperately hopes that a beautiful woman like her will find him attractive.

OVERALL: I’ve gotta chuckle at what Crystal said about audience. If I had to make a guess, this series is for lonely single business men and women who wish they had gotten married and had children, but for various reasons haven’t and are unlikely to. Though I don’t think I’ve actually ever met someone who has wished a well-behaved child would randomly fall into their lives. I guess to each his own. As a perpetual college student (unlikely to have children any time soon), who is certified to teach children, I have to admit I was hugely charmed by the antics of child-raising presented in Bunny Drop. Hmmm, I guess that means I almost fit into the category I listed above…

If you like children and slow-moving slice-of-life, you have to check this out. Otherwise, don’t bother. It should be pretty obvious to decide for yourself if you’re the kind of person who’ll enjoy the series. Oh! And above all, DO NOT READ THE MANGA! Okay, you can read the first half, but not the ending. Really, I read it, and it didn’t accomplish anything necessary to the plot (and had VERY unnecessary plot development instead). So save yourself by either watching the anime, or only parts of the manga.

OVERALL: I’m not really sure who the audience is for Bunny Drop. I don’t think that teens would be too interested in a bachelor raising a kid, and I don’t think Rin’s moe enough for this to have a strong appeal with the hardcore otaku crowd. And if you’re a parent who wants to get nostalgic about raising children, you might get really irritated with how easy Rin is to raise.

When it comes down to it, I think this show might be for people who want to be parents and want to be reassured that it’ll all be worth it. Or maybe you don’t want to be a parent but like the warm, fuzzy feelings that kids give you. This anime’s very good at focusing on the benefits of children, and it does show some of the challenges that come with them, but ultimately it’s too rose-colored to be a realistic portrayal of parenthood. I really enjoyed the experience, and this show is easily recommendable, but don’t go around thinking parenthood is like this. Like most anime, this series has wish fulfillment at its core.

FINAL SCORE: (7/10) FINAL SCORE: (8/10)
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7 thoughts on “Bunny Drop

  1. Aw, I have to say, I’m kind of disappointed. This is my favorite anime of all time. Basically it took a ridiculously sketchy plot (a 30 year old salaryman deciding to go take care of 6 year old girl who happens to be a love child) and turned it into something that made me enjoy watching it every week it came out (watched it streaming) and on my re-watch (watched it last year). It is an each to your own I guess, but this review really feels like you guys were looking for small things to nitpick, rather than liking it for what it is (mostly, the issue is it sounded like you were praising it, but then we get to the middle and it feels like, oh wait, there’s this little thing I had an issue with). Both of the ratings say you thought it was fine, but it didn’t read that way to me. But then again, that’s coming from someone who loved the anime :D

    Oh! And above all, DO NOT READ THE MANGA! Okay, you can read the first half, but not the ending.

    …I have 6 volumes of the Bunny Drop manga on my shelf. I have already heard of the “Ending” but I have not gotten to all the steps to know just how bad it is. And I have already heard the levels of bad (Bad as in bad, bad as in it’s just dumb, all of the bad)…but I’ve gotten this far…I can’t…turn back…now… I blame the anime for convincing me to find out what happens xD

    • Thanks for sharing your opinion. It’s great to hear that you had such a deep connection with the show. I did enjoy the series while watching it, and like you I really looked forward to watching the episodes as it came out. I guess what we are trying to emphasize is that the story has a potentially small audience and that it is an unrealistic depiction of raising children. We feel that it is important to let our readers know that. However, that doesn’t mean the show is “bad”, or that the show is somehow “less” than if it had managed to be more realistic. It just means it’s a quality that it has, which people may or may not be attracted to. I personally love slice-of-life and wish fulfillment type series. Bunny Drop is definitely the type of series to melt anyone’s heart.

      I don’t regret reading the ending. I still enjoyed seeing the conclusion the author came up with. I just feel as if my heart got broken at the same time. D: But even if you do read it, the memories of the first half will always be with you. :) -W

    • This is Crystal here!

      I really love this series, for the most part. Reading the manga through volume 4 continuously filled me with fluffy feelings, and the anime did, as well. Upon revisiting it for the column, though, the grad-student-y, analytical portion of my brain kicked on and wouldn’t let me ignore the problematic portions of it. It could be because I was viewing it through the lens of knowing the end of the manga (though I haven’t read it), or it could just be that I’m older and more attentive to problematic elements. Regardless, I couldn’t not write about them once I started to pay attention to them.

      The difficulty with analyzing things for problematic elements is that it’s hard to stop once you begin. Most of my favorite manga series are shoujo romances that have all sorts of problems, which I wrote about for my Master’s in English, and I can’t ignore those problems anymore. I still enjoy reading shoujo manga, but there will always be that voice that points out how the gender relations are a little bit creepy. Same goes for _Bunny Drop_ in this instance.

      • Agreed. As a fine artist I’m trained to question the value of a work by its cultural merit. Bunny Drop does little to advance culture as a whole, or the medium in any way. In fact it’s essentially the animated version of kitsch. Kitsch by definition leads us to shed a tear for the subject matter, and then another for ourselves to recognize how wonderful we personally are for being touched by it. Not saying Bunny Drop is bad, or not worth watching, but it’s definitely kitsch.

        -W

    • I’m a little surprised, too? Perhaps there’s a connection that has to do across gender lines – as a guy (and as a dad), I felt a pretty deep connection to this series.

      Oh, and as for Justin’s recommendation about the manga, I say DO read it! I’d love to hear what you think of the second half. Just be warned that it’s a bit strange (meaning most people, myself included, hated the ending), if not unexpected.

  2. Agreed. As a fine artist I’m trained to question the value of a work by its cultural merit. Bunny Drop does little to advance culture as a whole, or the medium in any way.

    …Wha? It definitely doesn’t do that, but…when I hear something like that, it definitely makes me think you’re holding every anime you review to this same standard, I suppose. =p

    • I hold my whole life sadly to these standards; that’s why grad school is such a killer. D: It gives you the academia blues. Which is where shows like BD come in handy actually. To heal my poor academia beaten mind.

      My goal with this blog is to get better at critiquing, to advance my skills in relation to writing about art, and to sharpen my mind for grad school. So I’ll admit, all of my reviews are driven to be as academic as possible. That said, academia is very limiting and not the end all be all. It just fits well with the mind set I have to adopt while doing my masters. Crystal has sadly already been scarred by the academia bug, and I fear she may always be a bit like that. ;)

      Ultimately we liked the series, and I hope that’s what people take away from our review and the two of you with your supportive comments. We may not have made that clear enough in our review, but I believe your comments have added perspective on that. Thanks for the intelligent discussion. :)

      -W

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