Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Anime Review: Bunny Drop

Wow, I finished watching this show two weeks ago and I'm still waiting on a couple more anime, all from the summer season, to finish up this week, talk about a wide spread of air dates, I've even started watching one or two fall shows by now! Part of the reason this show was one of the first to finish is because this was the second noitaminA title for the summer which are only 11 episodes, the perfect amount of time for a sweet, slice of life show about this one. Before I get to the actual review however one quick note, the final chapter of the original manga came out a week or two before the show aired and spoilers for the ending soon emerged and a lot of people were, unhappy with it. I believe all of the ANN forums have been spoiled by this point and the ending was enough to put people off from watching this show all together (I'll admit, I twitched when I read the spoilers, it's an ending that I don't particularly like in general). So for those people who have held off watching this show just in case, everything is fine here, the anime covers only the part of the manga pre-timeskip and is an adorable in a natural sort of way story that most slice of life fans would really enjoy.

Bunny Drop (Usagi Drop)
  
Summary: Daikichi is 32, a bacherlor and a bit of a workaholic but he's happy with his life and doesn't have any real ambitions or aspirations for it. So it's to his surprise, and the surprise of his family, when he ends up adopting Rin, his recently deceased grandfather's lovechild whom he only found out about when he went home for the funeral. Daikichi only plans on this being a temporary solution but soon he and Rin fall into a routine and Daikichi finds that he actually doesn't mind taking care of this sweet six year old.

The Good: Slice of life seems to fit the noitaminA timeslot the best, or at least doesn't feel rushed or cut short with so few episodes, and Bunny Drop felt perfectly paced, the perfect speed so that the emotion doesn't seem dragged out or cut short. The show also made me remember a lot of little details from my childhood (getting sick with the stomach flu, losing my first tooth) and it was interesting to see it from an adult's perspective, growing up stories are a dime a dozen but it's unusual to see it from the adult's perspective instead. There were also some scenes that were just between the adult characters when they were talking about their lives (balancing work and caring for their children, divorce, ect) and those scenes reminded me of why I was drawn to the noitaminA timeslot in the first place, to get that perspective on everyday issues that I normally can't find and I'm sad that fewer noitaminA shows are like that these days.

The Bad: Even though Rin does come off as a believable child it would have been nice to have one episode when she's having a bad day and seeing how Daikichi reacts to that. Rin, and even Kouki and Reina, feel a bit too perfect despite the story's best efforts so I wish the story had, in a way, admitted that and showed just how much harder this could have been for Daikichi if Rin wasn't the wonderful little girl she is. I also feel like the story missed opportunities for several different subplots, which admittedly would be more of a fault of the original manga than the anime, but I was expecting a little more out of the anime in the end.

The Audio: The show made the unusual decision of casting a ten year old voice actress for Rin, much like Wandering Son did earlier in the year, and I think it worked out spectacularly. Rin's voice was actually deeper than how an adult woman would have been, the girl acted well and sounded very natural for the entire show. I don't think Rin would have been as convincing a little girl otherwise so I'm very happy at this casting choice. The opening and closing songs were both cute, upbeat little numbers but it's the imagery used with them that stood out in my mind more so than the songs.

The Visuals: In a nice nod to the original manga art style (which has a watercolor look, a bit different from the smooth and subtlety shiny look of the anime) the first scene of every episode was drawn and colored the way the manga pages were and I've never seen an anime do that before. The ending credits also looked looked more like the manga art style in that way and they were evolving credits, the images were a little different each week to reflect what happened in the episode. I thought the visuals for the opening song were a strange choice, really more symbols than anything else, but strange imagery in the credits is a noitaminA tradition of sorts (and nothing will ever beat the prawn hand from Honey and Clover).

So for the third season in a row (and this technically applies to the upcoming fall season as well) it's the noitaminA series I care less about/dislike more that gets licensed and the one which I would buy and force my friends to watch in a heartbeat that doesn't have any current plans. I can kinda see one of the smaller US publishers getting this series (I can also see myself importing it from Australia or the UK if need be) but for the moment I'm going to try and read more of the original manga and support the series that way.

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