Usagi Drop 08: Priorities

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What a week! As if the writers thought last week’s dualism was a great idea to execute, they do it once again this episode but with a strict focus on Masako. The story came together really well to weave her character into someone more emotionally complicated than her initial sweets-loving first appearance was made out to be. All that’s left is to see how long she can keep up with the choice she made and live with it.

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A strong episode from beginning to end, we got to witness the surrogate relationship of Rin and Daikichi from the third-person perspective of Masako and the distance she has to keep between her and her daughter. And boy, did it seem somewhat painful to me. Everyone has to set priorities at key moments in his or her life, and it was through Masako’s lingering doubts about her own priorities that put everything into retrospect. Her issue of choosing to walk the path of a successful manga artist for the sake of fame and fortune versus raising Rin as a mother seemed seemed believable despite the understandably logical path that many would choose (caring for Rin). In a sense, she was both right and wrong to stick around and push to be successful as a manga artist – right because she knew as much as anyone else that she was probably too immature and incompetent at the time; wrong because whether she was competent or not, the fact remains that she’s still the mother of her child.

Yet the most intriguing aspect of the dualism (and in my opinion, this episode) had to have been whether she was pushing herself to help forget her choice, or if she was striving for some righteous justification for it by taking on extra jobs; or both! Whether the choice, it was a little painful to think Masako can just work her butt off and think that life would straighten itself out eventually. No matter how hard she works or how many jobs she takes on to distract herself, the fact that she does not have Rin anymore is going to come back and haunt her.

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With Rin’s seventh birthday coming around full circle, we also got to see much of how she’s mentally grown. Daikichi’s worry of Rin’s initial phases of loneliness from when they first lived together were completely thrown out the window primarily when he noticed how Rin took the news of Granddad’s favorite bellflowers disappearing from his front yard. Her rationale of how she understood that some ‘backup’ flowers were still being grown and cared for back and Daikichi’s house helped to justify her positive handling of an otherwise perceptually negative situation.

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I’m even starting to like Kouki’s screen time even more now. He provides some comedy relief between Daikichi and Rin at great times, like showing off his rather interesting cicada shells to them on their way to daycare/work.

Besides showing how much more mature Rin is nowadays, we got a healthy does of Masako and her own struggles to be the best she can at her profession instead of being the mother she knows she can’t be anymore (or at least at this point in time). If she gets more screen time these next few episodes, it’s definitely going to be interesting to see just how far she’ll go until she mentally breaks, or if she’ll actually stick to her plans. It would also give us more time to see Daikichi and Rin from the eyes of someone other than the viewer who already knows their lifestyle.

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Next week: more day in the lives of Kouki and Rin at compulsory education? Pfft, who wants to watch that when you’ve Nitani in a kimono for the upcoming Bon festival! You’d definitely be more excited about that if you were in Daikichi’s shoes.

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