Usagi Drop Ep05

In the extreme heat of the Beijing summer, lounging around and watching a slow-paced anime like this one seems to really fit. (Plus, I'm avoiding the nightmare that is Someday's Dreamers 2, but that's another story all together.)

Mutual love!

This episode really cleared up what Rin and Daikichi meant to each other and how long we can expect to see them together. With the introduction of Rin's mother, it was really clear that Daikichi would be taking care of Rin for the extreme long-term, as the woman really seemed to not "all be there". The question of an adoption was raised, but Rin was against it and Daikichi wanted to go with her wishes. It was the typical type of episode, where a lot happened and a lot of information was presented, but it was truly slice-of-life at the end of it all.

I feel as though those don't have fillings.

The episode began on a weekend (or a holiday, I guess), where Rin was making rather large onigiri quite happily. She and Daikichi seem to already have a kind of rhythm, as Daikichi wasn't even astounded by her adventures in the kitchen; instead, he only helped her get a bowl down from a high shelf and headed off. Breakfast time was when Rin asked for her own kitchen knife, further pushing that she was the "womanly presence" in the house. (She got her knife near the end, by the way; it was a children's one that probably wasn't so sharp or something.) Her vigour in wanting to be helpful is quite cute, but only because she doesn't screw it up. I'd be pretty annoyed if a kid kept making a mess in the kitchen (and wasn't able to fully clean it up properly); Rin seems to be pretty capable in those aspects.

Rin's so pampered...

The ride to Daikichi's parents house showed glimpses of Daikichi's true intentions: he was going to have his parents watch Rin while he met with Rin's mother (whom he had called earlier). I'm pleased that Daikichi's mother continued to be so taken with Rin; after the scene at the funeral, I had been very wary about the family. I think the stress of a deceased relative on top of finding out such a "secret" is what caused the behaviour, since Daikichi's immediate family seems to have mellowed out since then. It's good for Rin to interact with more adults than just Daikichi. Plus, it's just cute to see her so loved.

I recall negative stereotypes about mangaka's looks...

Daikichi's visit to Rin's mother was certainly eventful; it turned out that the woman (Masako) was a mangaka. The more of her I learned, the more I disliked her. She had been the grandfather's maid and, coinciding with her pregnancy, had finally landed a big job. Judging by her words, I think she had wanted to abort the child, but the grandfather had convinced her to keep it. Still, I'm pro-choice and so I can't just give her brownie points on a "commendable decision". For one reason or another, she took the child back with her every night (since she lived in an apartment around the corner), even though she had many job-related things to do (including late-night outings). I can't agree with giving the kid such a life; I don't see how a permanent adoption wouldn't have been better for her. (Sad as it may be, babies get adopted almost instantly and so if she didn't want the child while pregnant, then there would have been a lot of interested couples.)


Masako's final suggestion - or rather, demand - to Daikichi was that he give Rin his last name. I can understand that theory; children can be rather cruel and Japanese ones notoriously so. Any extra detail like that would cause discrimination. However, the way she worded it was annoying, stating that it was cruel for Daikichi to leave the decision to Rin (as in, burdening a young child with heavy thoughts). She seems to have done much more cruel things to Rin, under the guise of "never being a mother". Point or not, I don't think she had the right to chastise or lecture. Daikichi handled her quite suavely; while not pointing blame, he soundly countered with the idea that he was thinking of what was best for Rin, and nothing else.

...many women don't change their names, you know~

With Daikichi's family behind the idea of changing Rin's name, he seriously thought about it and decided to propose an adoption so that he became the legal guardian. However, when he asked Rin about it later, she was quite against it (even spouting her now-trademark line, "My father is Granddad,"). I can understand Daikichi's feelings; he wanted to give Rin a proper home and that would be in danger without some sort of legal tie to her other than "relative". However, Rin announced that Daikichi was Daikichi (which made him over-joyous) and that she knew that house was going to be her home "forever". However much she really understood, the fact that both of them wanted to stay with each other was quite a happy scene.

Daikichi still lacks planning.

The episode ended with the graduation of the children from nursery, although I note that we never really saw the talent show mentioned last week. (Unless they sang the song sometime during their graduation, alongside the insert song.) The children had a prolonged goodbye with each other, although Rin and Kouki stood together, quite readily foreshadowing their coupling (as well as that of Daikichi and Kouki's mother). I look forward to seeing that plot development, because it feels a little too perfect in an otherwise mostly-realistic anime and I don't think it'll work out absolutely well. It's not like situations like that don't arise - a lot of the times, marriages like that are actually driven by convenience instead of true feelings, increasing the probability - but I don't think I'd like it too much if they began "pairing off" legitimately.

She's in a relationship already?!

Although the theme at the end of the episode was about getting ready for new stages in life, I'm sure it was Daikichi at the very end who called Masako to give her the update on Rin's (unchanged) surname. I don't know what to make of Masako's self-pitying indulgence; I'm sure she worries about Rin on some level, but not enough, and it's certainly not an excuse for her past actions. I wonder if she highly regrets the decisions she's made, although she didn't show many inclinations of that. Most likely, she genuinely looks down on herself for not being a mother, but chooses to not spiral into depression, thus coming off as uncaring. The boy that sat down next to her was also a revelation. Her boyfriend? I can't help but be interested in him and his story, if even for shallow reasons such as the fact that he looks a lot like Kyo from Fruits Basket (it's the hair and pants, seen from a distance...).

Daikichi looks more pro with his hair slicked back.

I watched this episode with Rho, who commented that she really liked the realistic and down-to-earth feel of it. I must agree; that's one of the reasons that I like this more than Aishiteruze Baby, which kind of OD'ed on the "cuteness". I wonder what'll happen next week, with elementary school beginning, but I hope that Masako doesn't begin becoming a super-recurring character for now. I can go a week or two without seeing her.