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Watch & Learn: USAGI DROP #1

Awwwwww...

Thankfully, this never got "tricky."
Thankfully, this never got "tricky."

Josei, huh? That’s the term for “women’s interest” in these circles, apparently. Once again, I’m a little vexed by how audiences are classified so strictly, here, but that’s not stopping for me enjoying USAGI DROP - - even if I’m a guy.

I’m certainly not averse to close-to-Earth dramas and I’ll certainly champion the notion that animation’s a medium that can handle stories of every genre and tone. However, from a purely logistical standpoint, I always wonder how worthwhile it is to lavish so many extra hours of rendering on a subject that can more easily be presented in live action. Animation lets you entertain the wildest flights of fancy without leaving the studio, but using that same “magic brush” to paint a breakfast table conversation seems somewhat akin to putting something like 50/50 out in 3D. Perfectly conceivable, of course, but is anything added to the experience if it’s not going to be a spectacle?

To whit, I could very, very easily picture USAGI DROP as some light live-action drama - - something that Rob Reiner or James L. Brooks might direct. Still, there was enough stylization and expressiveness in the art to warrant the ol’ pen and ink and, on a more basic level, this is simply an interesting and moving human drama; and that transcends a lot of concerns. Seriously, the concept of a guy adopting his much-younger aunt is something with universal appeal and I’m quite surprised that this hasn’t ever gotten adapted by Hollywood. More so than AKIRA, EVA or BEBOP, this is the manga/anime that wouldn’t require much retooling to hit those elusive “four quadrants.”

Color me charmed, but I don’t know how appropriate it would be for this column. For as much as I’d love to continue watching, the other edge of the show’s gentler hand is that there isn’t too much to speculate on or analyze. It’s not like there’s any use in me speculating if these two will go to the zoo in the second episode or something, you know?

Watch this episode "The Bellflower Girl " here and decide for yourself.

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of HYBRID BASTARDS! & UNIMAGINABLE. Order them on Amazon here & here. Follow him on Twitter: @tompinchuk

Black_Roseon Oct. 6, 2011 at 11:58 p.m.

I haven't finished watching the series but I like this so far. It's just what the industry needs, a rather mature look into the life of a man who has to deal with a kid being brought into his life. No stupid fanservice or ridiculously deformed characters to please dumb young males, this is exactly what I wanted.

arch4nonon Oct. 7, 2011 at 8:55 a.m.

The only thing preventing me from recommending Usagi Drop to other people is the cringeworthy wtf ending of the manga with turns an otherwise charming and heartwarming story completely upside down.

ChristinaAVon Oct. 7, 2011 at 1:08 p.m.

I love this show so much!

silnon Oct. 9, 2011 at 8:09 p.m.

For my money, Wandering Son eventually became a more meaty show than this, but just for sheer start-to-finish flawless heartwarming goodness, I can't think of anything that tops Usagi Drop. It never fell off the cliff, and it would have been so easy to do so.

colorbrandonon Oct. 10, 2011 at 7:18 a.m.

@arch4non said:

The only thing preventing me from recommending Usagi Drop to other people is the cringeworthy wtf ending of the manga with turns an otherwise charming and heartwarming story completely upside down.

There are many artfully chosen deviations from the manga in this anime, I want to believe the exclusion of the ending is one of many. It's also probably another reason why this will never penetrate the western market (but then again, not many anime series do). I would love to see a western adaptation to this though.

keiichimorisato98on Oct. 24, 2011 at 10:21 a.m.

hey i though josei was for adult males. this story and the characters i thought was directed to a primarily male audience because it was about a single dad trying to raise a young girl and this is their story kind of thing i think the reason a lot girls watch it is because of how cute and endearing the show is.

sickVisionz moderator on Oct. 24, 2011 at 11:33 a.m.

I'd hope Tom wouldn't personally drop this series just because he can't write much about it. It was definitely one of the better shows to come out this year.

Dig Deeper into Bunny Drop

Story of a man and a girl he decided to raise, who is illegitimate child of his grandpa

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