Saturday, April 2, 2011

Bunny Drop Volume 3

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.

We're up to Volume 3, and I continue to be impressed with how the author balances the various aspects of Daikichi's life. Most of it revolves around Rin, as you would imagine, but we also continue to see him at work, where he deals with an over-amorous coworker, to school, where he struggles far less, mostly as Rin turns out to be a fantastic kid. We also return to Rin's birth mother, Masako, and though she's still not very sympathetic, we do at least see a bit of her determination in becoming a mangaka.

Bunny Drop runs in a magazine for young women, Feel Young, and many of the issues are ones that the readers are either dealing with right now or can expect to deal with once they marry. It's emphasized over and over how many things you have to think of as a parent, things that Daikichi tries to keep up with. Talking with the other fathers at the office, he realizes that he and Rin don't have health insurance, and that's something else he has to add on to his list of things to do. We also see him looking back at his own childhood, and realizing that a lot of things that happened as a kid make more sense to him looking back as an adult.

Romance is still not the series' emphasis. Sure, Kouki's mom is cute, with that combination of attractive and exhausted that always brings the guys running (I'm not sure if she has bedroom eyes or if she's simply flat-out tired all the time - I suspect both), but any interaction revolves around the children, as you would expect. In fact, Daikichi actually uses Rin as a 'weapon' to get rid of his clingy female colleague, who spots a single guy that she can use to work her way up the corporate ladder and tries asking him out. The whole thing makes Daikichi uncomfortable, so he mentions Rin, and WHOOOSH, she's gone. This depresses him, as he notes he'd likely get the same reaction if it was someone he actually cared about.

Speaking of Kouki, I really sympathized with him in the chapter that shows him and Rin at school. Rin's teacher is the sort of 'tries his best and good at heart' sort, but Kouki gets the type I used to have as a child, who are very much of the 'why are you causing problems for everyone' school of teaching. It can be very hard when a child is pigeonholed, and Kouki, who is naturally rambunctious and loud, is already being thought of as a troublemaker. And once again, it's Rin who is able to bring out the best in him, smacking him down so easily that everyone stares at her, including Kouki's teacher, in awe. Part of it is meant, naturally, so show Kouki has a bit of a childhood crush, but I think it's also a small example of how children's learning experiences can be very different depending on how they're taught.

This is a very slice-of-life series, with the pacing remaining at a steady walk, and with no hideous or unforeseen events happening. At one point we think Rin and Kouki may be in trouble, but it turns out the creepy guy greeting them is merely their next-door neighbor (and I note they are praised there for doing the right thing, even if he wasn't a threat, which is smart.) There isn't quite as much heartwarming as the first two volumes, but it's settled into a general sweetness all around that is impossible to resist. And if Daikichi and Rin seem a little idealized, well, no one ever said stories just have to be about people having horrible things happen to them.

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