By Yumi Unita. Released in Japan as "Usagi Drop" by Shodensha, serialization ongoing in the magazine Feel Young. Released in North America by Yen Press.
The second volume of Bunny Drop reminds you that parenting is a never-ending process of trying to remember 80,000 little things. Just when Daikichi feels he's got it together with cooking and nursery school, he finds he has to get Rin into a good primary school, and find out what sort of hobbies she likes so she can have some good well-rounded activities. Heck, he can't even remember to bring a camera to her graduation!
Still, Daikichi is in general a nice, dependable, rock solid sort of dad, bumbling on the surface but usually understanding what needs to be done fairly quickly. In a way, he's almost idealized, but then this is a manga written for the magazine Feel Young, which is marketed towards young women in their mid to late 20s. Just as titles like Margaret and ShoComi feature either cutie-pie nice guys or sexy jerks with hearts of gold, Daikichi represents a fantasy figure for the Feel Young reader. He's more realistic, of course, not being devastatingly handsome, and awkward around women, but he's got the makings of a great husband and father.
Not that Rin isn't a major part of this volume as well. After dealing with major life-changing tragedies last volume, she's settled in to being far more of a typical young girl here. And just as we follow Daikichi working out what parents have to deal with when raising kids, we see Rin dealing with what kids have to go through - peer pressure, popularity based on looks, and of course wanting to grow up as fast as possible. (And frankly, I thought Rin's tricked out hairstyle Daikichi gave her was great. Also love the Sukeban Deka ref.)
The main plot point in this volume, besides the usual 'single dad raising little girl' stuff, is finding and meeting Rin's mom. Who proves to be a less than likeable person, but then this is a long-running series, and I'm sure we'll see her again. Daikichi comes into the meeting with her with some expectations that are pretty much shattered, and his thought processes while Rin's mother is talking are the funniest part of the book, in a darkly cruel way. Sometimes young people aren't ready to be parents, and the combination of selfishness and self-hatred we see from Masako underlines that. Clearly we're going to see more of her, but in the meantime she does inspire Daikichi to make the decision to be a permanent parent, and not just take care of Rin 'for the time being'.
This is a slow-moving series, so the twice-a-year release from Yen, while financially sensible, can be frustrating. I was expecting there to be a romance starting between Daikichi and the divorced mom he's bonding with, but that's clearly not the focus of this series if it ever does happen. Instead, it's simply a sweet manga about a nice guy and his cute girl, filled with sweet moments. Which is fine with me.