Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Usagi Drop or What to Expect When You're Not Expecting

Pretty much the reaction I'm expecting to get
from my regular Tabletop Gaming readers.
Hope you like the Warhammer 40K joke.
So those of you that have been long time readers of this blog know that I'm an Anime fan.  For those of you that are unaware of that fact I direct you to the High School Tankery post.  I am part of a community on Google+ devoted to that particular subject.  As of late (for some weeks, maybe months now) I've been posting Anime Reviews in that particular community.  The problem is that there is no way to save when you post directly to Google+, so if I get interrupted while writing.  In such a way that forces me to leave the computer and there's a sudden power outage.  All of the hard work I've put into writing that review is gone forever and I have to start over.  From a technical standpoint writing those reviews on my blog is a more efficient way of going about things.  Since Blogger automatically saves what I write at very regular intervals.

Now some of you who have been long time devoted readers of this blog, may be looking at this as a departure from what Stories and Other Such Distractions is about.  In a way you are correct.  Though in another way you wrong.  When I first created this blog I set out with two goals in mind.  Number One to never bring politics into it.  The way I see it there's enough manure being shovelled around by both sides of the spectrum on the inter webs as it is.  Number Two is that this would be a blog about the various things that I enjoy.  It was never meant to be exclusively about Tabletop Roleplaying Games.  It was meant to be inclusively about them.  That's part of the reason that I chose the name Stories and Other Such Distractions.  As a lot of my interests are related to storytelling in some for or another (Movies, Anime, Literature, Tabletop Roleplaying, etc.) while the distractions part was largely meant to be a way to allow myself a little wiggle room.  In terms of topics that I could post about here.  I've been a little bad at keeping with this second policy, but I'm getting better.  I've started posting some actual play reports of Board/Wargames.  I figured that this early into the New Year was a great way to expand further.  Think of it as a New Years resolution.  If any of my readers still aren't happy about it, there is a simple solution.  Skip the Anime Reviews!  Are they gone?  Alright for those of you still here, with that little bit of housekeeping out of the way.  Let's get on with the review!

Usagi Drop (For those you want to skip the Housekeeping section)

Usagi Drop's main characters Rin and Daikichi, you'll be
seeing a lot more of these two.
Let me set the scene a little for you here.  An elderly male relative of yours has died and you've gone back to your hometown for the funeral.  Shortly after you arrive, you discover that the old man had an illegitimate six-year old child that nobody in you family knew about!  What do you do?  That is the exact dilemma that the protagonist of Usagi Drop Daikichi faces at the start of the series.  This being a traditional East Asian culture the girl Rin is shunned by the rest of the family.  Seen as a disgrace to their name and just generally treated like dirt.  She's someone to shunt off to a foster home and never be mentioned again.  At least that's how it looks like things will go until the bachelor Daikichi decides to become the girl's (she's technically his Aunt when I think about it) legal guardian.  

What follows is a cute and heartwarming story as the two try to adapt to the odd situation they find themselves in.  I honestly would recommend showing this to anyone who is considering being a parent.  (Including non-anime fans if you can convince them to sit down and watch it).  Watching this made me realize that a lot more goes into parenting than seems apparent at first glance.  In my personal experience a lot of people rush into having children without really weighing the consequences.  Then again most of the people I personally know (and not through my parents) who have kids.  Were in High School when they made the decision.  (I live in what is essentially the Teenage Pregnancy capital of my Province).  When you first hear people talking about having kids, they start thinking about how wonderful it will be.  The first thought is never "How is this going to affect my career?" or "What are the living arrangements going to be like?" 

Much like the questions that it asks about parenthood.  Usagi Drop's character are very realistic.  I'm sure that everyone has met a precocious six year old at least once in their life.  That would fit Rin to a tee, if you're anything like me she'll quickly become one of your favourite characters.  She's very endearing and cute.  Her precociousness and energy serves as a great contrast to Daikichi's laid-back generic, serious salaryman personality.  There are also a number of other characters that I'm sure you'll recognize from your own lives, not just Anime.  Hands up, who doesn't know an elderly woman who's face lights up whenever her grandkid stops by?  The characters are largely what drives the story as there are no real outside threats to speak of.  Unless you count having to find a temporary daycare, when you're running late for work an outside threat.  

Overall I really enjoyed this Anime, it was cute, heartwarming and sometimes brought a smile to my face.  It also made me question certain things about real life, something I don't often find in Anime.  It was very mature in handling its subject matter of a bachelor suddenly finding themselves saddled with single-parenthood.  (As opposed to some American Hollywood movies).  If you liked the moments in Kobayashi's Dragon Maid, where Kobayashi acted like a parent to Kanna.  Minus the trying to parody Anime tropes then I think you'll like this one.  It doesn't have an English Dub hate to break it to you.  It's not likely to get one either since this is a more obscure series.  Overall I give it a 8 out of 10.  I hope you found this review useful and I apologize for the house-keeping portion taking up about half the post.  It won't happen next time, just think of it as the growing pains of transferring to a new medium.  Until next time have a good day.