Episodic Reviews: Bunny Drop 10 & 11 (end)

When the Bunny Drop anime was announced to span for four Blu-Ray releases, I already figured without checking the full article that the series would go for around twelve episodes tops. And with the manga spanning a total of nine volumes, each with heavier amounts of text than your typical weekly anime, there’s bound to be some condensing going on.

For comparison’s sake, let’s look at The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya—a light novel series that spawned not only a manga, but a better known anime series as well. Its first “season” consisted of 14 episodes, hitting up the more major arcs of the original (still running) light novels, only to follow up with a less than astounding additional 14 episodes five years after season one. Cases of selective arcs are also apparent for shonen series as well—the Boo arc of Dragon Ball Z was always an “either or” thing when it came to videogame story modes. So I guess I’m not entirely surprised when I found that Bunny Drop finished its anime run after episode 11, corresponding to the final chapters of the manga before the “love it or hate it” post time-skip arc.

So what do we get in the final two episodes of the series? Do they do justice and serve as a sufficient enough series finale material? Well, I guess I shouldn’t be all too surprised at the level of mere whelming. Still, when I take into consideration things like Lucky Star or the first season of Haruhi Suzmiya, the humdrum yet satisfyingly heartwarming lives of Daikichi and Rin don’t exactly bring things home the I way I wanted it to do.

“I made fellow father friends.”

I get that being a parent means getting some kind of “in” with parents in the same year as your kid, but the inclusion of the random model and butcher just seemed well… random. In general, the whole concept of making “father friends” at your kid’s school seems somewhat artificial and bland. I mean, at least with someone like a goofy neighbor, you see them in a more informal environment, making for interesting stories, but I’ve never seen my parents get all that close with that many of my classmates’ parents back in the day. Maybe if they had more time to flesh out their character like they did with Kouki’s mom, but the way things stand… meh.

If anything, I would have liked to see more interaction with Daikichi and his co-workers. The brief glimpse of each co-worker’s family in their phones earlier in the series was heartwarming in a “working class hero” type of way that you don’t really get with the model and butcher. Not to mention Dai’s co-workers seem a million times cooler than these guys. Sure, Daikichi talks about how much his world’s expanded since Rin’s entered school, but from the perspective of the viewer, I’d rather see his view from work instead.

“It feels really weird telling kids not to do everything I did.”

We’ve gotten a handful of childhood backstories, including Daikichi, his sister and his mom. Child-raising seems to be a combination of winging it and raising the kid based on how you yourself were brought up as a kid. That said, the series could have worked better if they went the 20th Century Boys route and used flashbacks as a springboard of sorts to explain the mindset that most of us have long forgotten. If they did, maybe I wouldn’t hate Masako’s character so much. Though I guess that could also be blamed for a general lack of secondary character building.

Round off the rest of the episode with Daikichi tending for a sick Rin. Now, I get that having to tend to a sick child could come off as scary, especially for your first time, but with the number of newspaper comics I’ve read where being sick would be the theme for the week, I couldn’t help but think the rest of episode 10 was overdramatized. Though, I guess passing on the sickness to Kouki’s mom at the after-credits scene is a nice point to lead into the final episode.

“Don’t you think daisies are the friendliest flower?”

I’m usually against shipping in most forms since such involves the pairing of two incredibly unlikely people in a series, but seeing Daikichi and Yukari’s interactions together, I just can’t help but anticipate the daisy scene from You’ve Got Mail. Daikichi just screams the Tom Hanks of the anime world. Don’t wanna say the same for Yukari and Meg Ryan, though, since I kinda feel bad for typecast actresses.

I respect the fact that the series’ author didn’t go the more expected route between the two characters, but honestly… when everyone else is anticipating it but the author, then there’s something wrong. To not even delve any deeper between the Dai/Yukari relationship seemed more stubborn on the author’s part than asking too much from the viewers’ part.

… and then to have the story (get ready for it…) jump to a jump-rope little arc is just ridiculous… though I do like any and all settings taking place in parks during autumn, so there was that.

Similar to their parents, however, I’m just not all that big on the kids of the model and butcher. If anything, maybe the butcher’s kid had some promise for being a potential character, what with his spacey-ness at almost missing the school ceremony and his lack of a Maury-blood-test to prove that he’s related to his dad. Don’t really like the girl, though, which is odd since you’d expect the female author to be good at writing for her own gender, no matter the age.

“Any way you slice it, she’s gonna look like she got clocked.”

I’d love to see what the Japanese equivalent of the term “clocked” is. While seeing slang in subtitles is usually my alert that some liberties were taken in the translation, it feels completely in-character for Dai to use it. It also makes me want to assume that Dai spent a majority of his teenage years as a street-brawler when he wasn’t hanging out at the arcades playing Goblin City.

And uh… yeah, loose teeth. I feel like authors everywhere have used this as a sign of younger children growing up that this time around it just feels a bit stale. I woulda wanted more loquat tree talk, myself.

I don’t care who you are—sibling interaction is interesting to watch regardless of their age. The thought that someone other than your parents exists to have witnessed a majority of your life just fascinates me to no end, which I guess explains why I enjoy the Claire/Mitch interactions most on Modern Family. The series definitely could have benefit from more tsundere sister.

Finish off the episode with a final visit to the gramps’ grave and a semi-clip show and there you have it. Even for long-running shows, I’ve never really liked clip shows and figured a better way to end a series would be for the writers to portray what the series at its core stood for (which is why I can respect the last episodes of Pete & Pete and Teen Titans). Bunny Drop is the story of a guy in his thirties that essentially falls into the realm of parenthood after making a snap-decision of adopting his grandpa’s illegitimate daughter. The series without a doubt does an excellent job of amping the heartwarming factor up to an 11, but when it comes to bringing everything together, things felt a bit sloppy. It’s kinda like in high school when your closing paragraph is a sentence long—sure, it technically wraps everything up and there’s nothing more after it, so it’s clearly supposed to bring an end to things, but you don’t get a full sense of everything getting brought back for one last time and reminded just what each character has in common with each other.

In the case with Bunny Drop, it’s not exactly that clear-cut as to what its main themes were. Sure, Daikichi was the main character and his life changes once Rin’s introduced, but you were never given that clear of a picture of what his life was before she showed up. He wasn’t a blatant NEET, nor was he some kind of deadbeat son; he was just kinda a dude. The same can be said for most other adult characters in the series, really, which somewhat gives some cred to Yukari’s monologue about parenting, but still… it didn’t bring everything home like I wanted to. At most, maybe to a bus stop near home, but not home.

Episodic Reviews: Bunny Drop 08 & 09

I can accept English speaking students clearly attending Japanese school, English speaking fighters blatantly displaying kanji on their gi, and… hell, even English speaking aliens. But I’m pretty sure Bunny Drop’s one of those series that just has way too many cultural things to make any kind of sense if it were dubbed in English.

I remember reading Pokemon reviews online back in the day and coming across an episode that took place on Children’s Day, thinking how weird it was that outside the US there are other holidays out there—different days marked on their own calendars, different potential days off, different everything. Then the whole Porygon scandal came about and my slight jealousy became that much more uh… slight.

Unlike Children’s Day, though, I can completely see something like an O-Bon Festival working in America. I mean, I’m sure all other countries can agree that American children rank pretty high up there on the list of self-entitled little assholes. But a day to honor the deceased that isn’t overshadowed by (again) asshole kids asking for candy from complete strangers? Sure, I can dig that. Still, reality shows that such just doesn’t cut it outside of Japan and Japan Town, which is a drag.

… not that you could tell from the episode. Major negative points to the source material for not having Daikichi and Rin hit up a festival. Slight redemption to the anime for at least showing them taking off to one, though. And, of course, no redemption for Masako. Ever. She can do all the nice crap she wants, but at the end of the episode, she still comes off as an immature teen mom that just wants her chance at manga-ka stardom when she should be tending to her kid. For shame. Maybe even five shame.

Kudos to noitaminA for going the extra mile in each of the kids’ drawings, the following episode. You never really got a sense of just how well Rin drew in the manga, so it was good to be able to see bits and pieces of other kids’ drawings and then finally moving on to Rin’s. There’d without a doubt be some kind of drawing-on-refrigerator scene if the series took place in America.

“Aren’t you afraid of what the Great Urameshi will do to you?”

Kouki and Rin have a sort of Yusuke and Keiko type of dynamic… except I don’t want it to go any further than “Oh, isn’t that sweet of her.” Daikichi/Yukari 4ever, guys.

Totally random to have Puffy AmiYumi appear outside of the opening theme, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I can’t help but imagine their Cartoon Network selves ditching rtouring and growing up to become daycare workers.

When reading the manga, my stance on Kouki would have been pretty neutral if it weren’t for the crappy latter half of the series. Thankfully, there’s finally some kind of more solid proof that the anime doesn’t seem to mind meandering away from their source material for the sake of better character interactions.

I don’t remember every detail of the manga, but I do remember that there weren’t any (obvious) signs of a typhoon leading to Kouki chilling at Daikichi’s place until his hot young mom comes to pick him up.

It didn’t happen often, but I could relate to being the last kid picked up due to my parents’ jobs making for difficult scheduling times all around. It further sucked since I didn’t have a GameBoy until well into the Pokemon craze, so any lone wolf action wasn’t possible, either. Kouki not only has someone to play Keiko to his Yusuke, but he’s also got someone to geek out with Nintendo DS stuff with in Daikichi—not too shabby.

Still, it’s become obvious this episode that romance is more apparent in Daikichi’s future than Rin’s. Does it come off as predictable? Maybe, but the relationship between the two has been set up so perfectly that I don’t mind. Hurry up and make it happen, Dai-san!

Episodic Reviews: Bunny Drop 05, 06 & 07

I’m sure LOST wouldn’t have had nearly as many viewers if they all knew how the series was going to end. Having read the entirety of the manga, I wasn’t exactly excited in keeping up with the rest of Bunny Drop even if the episodes are still covering the better half of the series. That said, it was moreso because I didn’t have much to say about the last couple episodes than the fact that I had a midterm to study for that I haven’t been keeping up with my posts. Still, the episodes haven’t exactly dropped in quality yet, so I’ll continue cranking out reviews even if it means combining episodes so there’s more to read at once. I’m weird like that.

I will give credit to the author for making me hate Masako right off the bat. Even though technically, I can see myself getting more pissed at Daikichi’s grandpa for causing such a scandal, at least he comes off as likable. Masako, not so much. I mean, she’s a manga artist, so you know no good will come from her. Add to that her hipster bf and I practically want to chuck loquat pits at her face.

The series in general, while not having the most normal of beginnings, does come off as a slice-of-life type of anime more than anything else. Episode 6 in particular is a good example. I still can’t believe I actually sat through approximately 21 minutes of talk about growing trees and enjoyed it.

This week’s episode, on the other hand, was the one of enough substance to start up my posts again. I guess if the scandal concerning your gramps and his maid start dying down, it must only mean that a new scandal’s about to come your way.

I wonder what Haruko’s parents chose as her tree? I’m gonna make the obvious One Piece Nami reference and say orange. Though I’m kinda surprised I didn’t notice their similar character designs before.

While I’d hate the idea of keeping in-laws under the same roof as me, I’d feel too guilty if I sent them off to some kind of nursing home, so I guess I can see Haruko’s problem. Still, you’d think she had some girlfriends or something before having to resort to coming to her cousin’s place unannounced with her kid. If Bunny Drop were to take place in America, I feel like she’d be kicking it with Jennifer Aniston in her oddly big and somehow affordable loft by now.

But as interesting as the episode was, I honestly completely forgot that it even happened in the manga. Thinking about it now, though, I’m sure this was one of the last interesting things to happen before things start turning to crap. Maybe with an exception to jump-ropes, but even then, that got old pretty fast. Gonna reiterate my hoping that the anime takes enough liberties and adapts its own ending for the series because I really don’t like how things went down in the manga. I cannot repeat that enough.

Episodic Review: Bunny Drop 04

So I started reading the Bunny Drop manga after loving the anime so far. Long story short, I’m a good 20 or so chapters ahead of what’s being aired right now. I won’t spoil anything for you anime-only peeps, but  I will say I’ve reached something of an awkward point in the manga so far; my hopes remain high that the anime will adapt things in a more erm… “palatable” manner. Anyway, episode four:

“Daikichi isn’t my dad.”

Ooh, awkward. Kids can be pretty blunt. And it doesn’t help that they can’t exactly express what they want in a way that others will get, either.

It always annoyed me how in some comics and animations, you’d see something like handwriting or drawings that are supposed to be done by kids and yet they look crazy well done. Kudos to noitaminA and Production I.G. for actually getting it.

Ah, enter Kouki-kun and his conveniently divorced mom. The strange thing is that both the manga and anime hint at the possibility of either a Rin/Kouki thing going on as well as a Daikichi/Nitani thing going on, which could result in something really trashy if taken in the wrong direction. I vaguely remember classmate of mine in 8th grade reading a book that ended in the two teen characters getting together only to come home and find that their parents got married to each other. Yeah, girls in my 8th grade were weird.

Still, as weird as the whole clashing of “who’s allowed the relationship thing” is, it does work well in this context. Daikichi’s 30 year old mindset of how a relationship is supposed to work against Rin’s more natural 6 year old mindset of letting things happen without even knowing it suits their characters well.

Camaraderie in the work-place must be fun. The thought of multiple people working for the similar but slightly different reason of supporting their family regardless of how different they are from each other just intrigues me. Good to know at the least Daikichi isn’t stressing too much after his demotion.

Dunno how I feel about camaraderie after-hours, though. Have you seen people bring their kids to the bar section of restaurants. Yeah, it looks just as weird as it sounds. Eh, at least they had the decency of renting out a room.

And so the plot as to who Rin’s mother is continues. I love how Daikichi’s gramps couldn’t handle typing up his will, so he not only hand-writes one, but hides it in a secret compartment inside Rin’s health record book. He may have shacked up with someone young enough to be his granddaughter, but he still comes off as so lovable that I can overlook that. Slightly odd, though, is how his note defends Rin’s mother but ultimately just makes me hate her more (#teamDaikichi). Also, love the slightly smaller Rin in the flashback. It’s the details like this that keep me watching!

… as well as the heartwarmingly hilarious antics. In grade school, my girl classmates would always complain whenever their dad had to do their hair for them, but at least Rin seems to appreciate Daikichi’s efforts. I don’t remember anything about “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” being in the manga. Still, I’ve liked most rewrites the anime’s done so far, so I’m hoping for the best with whatever this leads to.

I would have personally saved Rin’s mom under a less formal name in my contacts list, but I guess Daikichi’s not the type for such things.

“Is a high school student an adult?”
“I guess that’s half an adult…”

We’re entering indentured servant territory with that line, but Daikichi’s delivery of it keeps it awesome. Really digging how competent his child-raising skills are even without any prior experience.

Looks like we’ll finally see Rin’s mom come next episode. I’ll try to keep the expletives to a minimum.


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