Usagi Drop, episode 5: Unlike mother, like daughter

Daikichi meets Rin’s mom, and takes another step at becoming a father-like figure to Rin.

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Hugging a rabbit makes everything better

I’m a little amazed at how Usagi Drop can take a simple scene and infuse it with so much soul. We hear Rin sobbing like a little puppy in the middle of the night, which wakes Daikichi. He reassures her and invites her to sleep next to him, and Rin responds by looking over, grabs her stuffed rabbit, and stops crying. Heck, what do you need parents for when you have a stuffed rabbit? The scene was cute, touching and funny all at the same time. But it makes an even greater impression when we learn that the reason she cries in the middle of the night, is because her mother used to leave her alone in the middle of the night to go to meetings with her editor, in her efforts to become a successful mangaka.

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But how else can you raise a troll?

Daikichi finally tracks down Rin’s mother, Masako, and meets someone who probably never should’ve been a mother. An aspiring mangaka, she was on the verge of a breakthrough when she found that she was pregnant. Which leaves her resentful. The way she talks about Souichro and her responsibilities as a single mother makes me think that Rin isn’t Souichiro’s daughter (if you’ve read the manga, please don’t spoil things). If Rin was Souichiro’s, I would think that she would’ve been able to balance her work duties better without doing things like leaving her in the middle of the night. Rin probably would’ve just been with Souichiro the whole time. Plus, she never refers to Souichiro as Rin’s dad.

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And such a cute child at that!

The other thing that stood out to me was not necessarily Masako’s poor mothering instincts, but how she resented Rin, because it interfered with her chances at becoming a mangaka, and eventually chose herself over Rin. Contrast that with what we learned about Daikichi’s mother a couple episodes back. How she also disliked being unable to do all the things she wanted to do, because she was a mother, but chose to make the sacrifices for her kids. And also to the discussion about sacrifice Daikichi had with Goutou. The decisions that these adults make remind me of the lyrics of a Cartel song:

7 years old, got his bat in his hand / He’s looking for his father and he doesn’t understand / ‘Cause dad’s too busy, got some deals on the way / His son sits alone as the children play
And he’s 18 he couldn’t wait to move out / His parents wonder what all the rush is about / They never bothered with his dreams / Only thinking of theirs / Wonders why he doesn’t call and why he doesn’t care

I’m not a parent, so I don’t know. But I think perhaps the most important quality of a parent is their willingness to think of their kids before them.

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Noooo, not the onion toothpaste

The moments between Daikichi and Rin all seem so… versatile. They grow closer through mundane activities like bathing, brushing teeth, cooking curry with a kids knife, but each of those scenes have so much heart and warmth in them. In a lot of ways, Rin is a perfect kid, she’s smart, responsible, well-behaved, but in many ways she’s still susceptible to all the stuff that kids are susceptible to – fear, peer pressure – and it’s really nice to see how Daikichi responds to all those situations and learns more about himself in the process.

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Yeah, she's a mangaka

13 Replies to “Usagi Drop, episode 5: Unlike mother, like daughter”

  1. The moments between Daikichi and Rin all seem so… versatile… In a lot of ways, Rin is a perfect kid… and it’s really nice to see how Daikichi responds to all those situations and learns more about himself in the process.

    It does seem to be the strength of this show, doesn’t it, the way it presents such scenes in a realistic, but not sentimental way. Rin, however, does seem a little too perfect, so it’ll be interesting seeing how they both deal with things during her more ‘difficult’ moments as she grows up. Overall, though, I’m loving the warmth and the gentle drama in this show so far, and looking forward to seeing and reading more about it.

    1. Yeah, it’s just a very satisfying show to watch right now. It also helps that I can empathize with how these people are thinking. To me, the thoughts that run in Daikichi’s head, all seem very, very real.

  2. You know, it’s hard for the mom sometimes, because unlike the father, having a child really does change everything for you – career paths, dreams and ambitions, people treat you different – and it’s not uncommon for a mother to resent her child especially when it wasn’t a planned pregnancy. I’m not saying this makes it okay but I can sort of understand a mother choosing herself over her child.

    (Not that I would because, as you know, I have fantastic mother instincts.)

    1. To be fair, I think that stuff does change for the father as well. Of course, certainly not to the same level as the mother, because there’s no physical effects.

      To be fair to Masako, perhaps the most decent thing she did was realize she was an unfit mother and allowing Rin to live with someone else. Mothers are human too, and she might choose herself over her child from time to time, but when she always does so, she needs to realize that she’s doing so at the cost of potentially destroying her child’s upbringing. Unfortunately, most of the selfish moms never realize that.

  3. Mixed opinions on Masako, really.

    I didn’t like her since she put herself over her child, but E Minor from MS gave a good point.

    ” “She loves Rin. She just loves herself more.” I think this makes sense. Young people like Masako are just a little more self-absorbed than someone like Daikichi and I’m not trying to be judgmental. I’m the same way; I don’t want children at the moment because I know a kid would interfere with the life I currently want to live. ”

    Giving Rin to Daikichi was a good decision, but her behaviour/actions makes it look like she’s passing the buck to me.

    1. Yeah, I don’t want to vilify her too much. She recognized that she was lacking as a mother, and that it was better to leave her with Souichiro, rather than ruin her upbringing with crappy mothering. But then again, she sort of lucked out that Rin ended up with Daikichi. She didn’t exactly think about it too well. What if Rin ended up being passed around from household to household like… Natsume was when he was a kid?

  4. I’m not a parent, so I don’t know. But I think perhaps the most important quality of a parent is their willingness to think of their kids before them.

    “A child’s dream is their parent’s dream!!!” – Akio Furukawa, Clannad

  5. I tend to feel as sorry for Masako as be angry with her. It’s obvious enough that she’s not emotionally suited to being a parent – you could make a case she actually did the mature thing by recognizing that and letting Grandpa care for Rin.

  6. I’m so sad that my super-late comment is now finally (and rightly) buried under a tonne of other earlier comments and will probably never be read.

    KONO SABISHISA WA NANDAROU!!?

    /crappy comment ~~( ´ ? ` )

    1. lol, there’s always next week (I don’t want to spoil you, but maybe what I should say is there’s always the week after next week 😉 )

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