Granddad Is My Dad - Musings on Usagi Drop

I waited quite a while to do this review, so I hope I don't do it injustice. This anime isn't exactly fresh in my mind. However, the need to get it off my drive and into my archives eventually got me to writing.

This was another slice-of-life coming-of-age story, as many before it - the twist, however, was that it was a 30-year-old man that was coming of age, aided by the responsibilities of taking care of his new charge, a 6-year-old relative. Based on this simple premise, the story was very strong and realistic. Each episode was simple with its leading plot, and the characters drove forward the anime smoothly.

What a strangely slanted house.

The animation was very similar to Hourou Musuko, done in general pastel hews (though without the screen edges tapering off into whiteness). Despite this, there was great detail in most scenes; I was never left wanting to know more about what their house looked like, for example. This style of drawing doesn't attempt to be 3D, and there's a great allure to it. I also think the character design was done really well, especially the proportions - the extremely tall Daikichi towering over the tiny Rin was quite the symbolic piece. Overall, I preferred this over its contemporaries - like, for example, The iDOLM@STER and its strange proportions in certain moving scenes.

The children multiplied!

The story of this anime was very believable: 6-year-old Rin was the illegitimate child of 30-year-old Daikichi's grandfather, with the secret coming out at the grandfather's funeral when the family arrived to find the little girl in the house. The episodes followed Daikichi and Rin's life as they lived together, as he had chosen to take her in over sending her to an orphanage. While there was a little bit of a perfect feeling, such that no serious problem ever really came up, the anime focused on some very realistic problems, such as juggling single parenthood and a demanding full-time job. The comparison to Aishiteruze Baby came to me since the first episode, but I can honestly say that they're really nothing alike. That anime focused more on the coming-of-age of Kippei, whereas this one actually focused on Daikichi and Rin being together as a complete family.

Ah, Daikichi. So gangster.

Story Presentation
The story-telling within these 11 episodes was quite good; the pacing was realistic and the focus of each episode was simple. There was a single tying factor for all the scenes within the episode, and it didn't feel like it really dragged at any point. Often times, between episodes, a lot of time had passed and so many scenes/events had been omitted. However, despite this, the pace of the character-building was still very believable. Speaking of that, the way that Daikichi's parents (with his mother being Rin's half-sister) moved through various stages of their feelings about Rin, from the first episode to the last, was not only well done but also very intriguing. It was an extremely feel-good transition.

I wonder if they made those clothes themselves.

The characters were pretty well-rounded here, with the main characters being the most shaped and secondary characters introducing new facets of their persona when and as required. This caused characters to sometimes feel a little used; however, despite that the characters genuinely grew and had believable nicks in their personalities. Daikichi felt hollow at times, due to the lack of real emotions he often displayed (for example, there was never any real anger from him), but ultimately he probably fit exactly the trope of the anti-social adult that exists in modern Japan. Rin's maturity, highly unrealistic at times even when taking into consideration the details of her circumstances, really carried the show forward. A lot of story points possible in this anime would not have been in Aishiteruze Baby, simply because Yuzuyu would not have been able to pull it off. However, despite these points, the way that all the characters matured was very smooth; the passage of time never showed, but its effects always did.

I wanted a cleaner picture...

Final Words
The anime ended without any real fireworks, just as expected, and I was driven to pick up the manga (which is 56 chapters, with the anime finishing at the end of chapter 24). Word of warning: the remainder of the story is not to everyone's liking, and is different from the first 24chaps/11eps. Despite that, this review is based only on the anime, and I can't deny that it was mostly well performed. This anime gave me reality with a little bit sugar, doing well with its undeniable goal of making me feel happy after each episode.

Epic freak-out!

Scoring - [6/10]
The quick and sweet stories allowed me to watch one episode each week without needing to recall what had really happened. I felt infuriated that events weren't occurring fast enough at times, although isn't that really to the anime's benefit? I wanted more, more, more.