By the time Rin gets to be as old as Daikichi, she’ll be able to jump over tall trees and buildings effortlessly. At least that’s what we’re led to believe based on Daikichi’s only slightly over-the-top explanation of how ninjas trained by jumping over growing hemp trees every day. So did he really just mean that in a metaphorical way in that her hopes and dreams will exponentially grow as well?
The past two weeks of Usagi Drop have really been like a coin toss. Two weeks ago, we were left with some interesting tidbits about Rin’s mother’s background and what she does now. The episode left viewers with more serious undertones as Daikichi battled with the notion of whether Rin should use his surname or keep hers, as well as looking into how Rin feels about her biological family. This week, the atmosphere felt like it did a complete 180-degree turn and introduced us to more of the lighthearted side to the beginnings of Rin’s journey through elementary school life, her growing friendship with Kouki, and Daikichi’s continued support for Rin. It seems as though the characters are back into a groove once more and just living life as they should. Kouki himself, despite seeming like quite the troublemaker and slouch, is actually turning out to be a rather reliable and dependable companion to Rin.
It was interesting to see two weeks ago how Daikichi continues to recognize more of his surroundings after his circumstances have progressively changed. At the family restaurant where he was scheduled to meet Masako, we’re led to views of the surrounding tables occupied by small children and their mothers while the working men are nowhere to be seen. On the train ride just to get to the station, Daikichi notices a mother tickling her baby son with much glee. Taking a step back and going with the flow of life is something that this show does a great job in portraying, and it’s something that quite honestly is taken for granted by many of us who live in such a fast paced and concrete way of life.
Another thing this show does well is introduce its characters and immediately bring out their most defined traits, such as when Masako and Daikichi first meet. Her clumsy and almost nonchalant way of talking wasn’t as clumsy or nonchalant in person, but her mannerisms in having a serious discussion about her child along with all of those sweets she was devouring really amplified the aura of a person not necessarily fit for parenting. Also, I can’t remember how many times I’ve done the same thing where I’d suddenly hear the same voice but in stereo or in an echo just because you didn’t know they were near or right next to you. I’m sure it would be awkward to keep looking around in a restaurant of all places, but it just goes to show that you can’t rely too heavily on technology for situations like that; they could have saved minutes, too!
But really, Production I.G. has a penchant for capturing the heartwarming moments of life so effortlessly through shows like Usagi. The entire story this week revolving around growing plants and trees in dedication and commemoration to loved ones was something I’ve never really explored or been exposed to before, and it made me wonder if my own family had ever planted something in honor of me and my siblings! It was done tastefully and mixed well into Rin and Kouki’s adventures into school. And now that the two kids and Daikichi are looking a little more like a family this time around, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before Kouki’s mother makes more appearances.
I have to admit, the photographer side of me cheered for this scene. I know Nitani-san brought her camera out two episodes prior to capture Rin and Kouki’s nursery school graduation, but she also brought it with her to take photos of Rin and Kouki at their first day in elementary school. And she even upstaged Daikichi’s sub-par camera phone and put it down for its blurriness. Pro! Though I’m still laughing a bit from why people see the need to only bend their knees by one or two inches when taking a photo with a dSLR. The kids are half her height; she should squat! Or at least make Daikichi do it.
The pacing of the show remained at optimal levels, and the dynamics of the main characters began to shift a little. Quite the refreshing feel when we start to mix up character interactions instead of focusing primarily on Daikichi and Rin all the time. It was also pretty awesome to see how Kouki is just a spitting image of Daikichi’s mannerisms when he was Kouki’s age. For how smart and quick witted Rin is, I can’t wait for more of her side remarks and efforts to make sense of the two boys’ actions. And I’m still liking how we’re kept from seeing any next episode previews. It raises the value of waiting for next week’s episode a bit more, and that’s something I don’t mind given the more methodical pace of this show compared to the others this season.