Usagi Drop EP 11 [Finale] – The First Step

Summary:

Did I read right? Final episode?! Indeed. As Summer is finally winding down to a close, so also are the marvelous series of the season (not to mention my own biological clock, which as of late has been doing a great job at keeping me in bed until 10AM  (  > .<) Even more surprising is the early close to our favorite fluffy-slice-of-faux-parenting-life series, Usagi Drop, with only eleven total episodes. Nonetheless, the finale doesn’t disappoint—fan-service ladies?

If you still remember from last episode (I know, long time ago) Kouki’s mom (Nitani Yukari) came down with the flu just after Rin recovered. Continuing on that note, the crew is shopping, though Rin is worried for possibly having passed her illness on to the single mother, prompting the purchase of Yukari’s favorite pudding. Subsequently, Daikichi visits Kouki’s apartment to drop off the *special* items when Yukari herself answers the door (still hot!).


Meanwhile, Rin is practicing for the school’s jump rope competition; Time at the park perfect suited for Daikchi to mingle with his fellow ‘over-the-hillers’. Of course, spending the morning painfully forced to watch poor technique, Daikchi-sama can’t help but disclose some sage wisdom with avid padawan Kouki. And with the sudden loose-tooth epidemic (goodbye perfect smiles), Daikichi is one step behind—seeing he hasn’t yet bought Rin the essential cute tooth carrying container!

The following day, Daikichi and Rin pay a visit to Granny’s to show off some teeth (and an impressive ‘203’ backwards jump-roping record). During the visit, Daikichi actually begins to think seriously about the sacrifices made since adopting Rin into his care. On one side, Kazumi is finally getting married, however her husband persists on having kids, despite her unwillingness to give up her ‘party’ lifestyle. In contrast, his adult friends agree that becoming a parent is one of the most rewarding decisions they have made. Most importantly, Nitani-san insists that her time spent with Kouki is essentially considered her own. With no further convincing necessary, the episode concludes full-circle with a menagerie of flashback-type sequences leading up to a final dreamy, hand-and-hand walk off into the sunset.

Impressions:


Taking a step back with the series concluded, it’s amazing to consider how incredibly far the series has come since day one (or rather, episode one). Especially in the humor department, the series began very very dry, coupled with a nearly overpowering serious overtone. Yet as the series gained momentum, the first subtle and later blatant moments of humor became a common element of each new episode. Although lacking in fan-service (unless you count the few bare-back shower scenes), the series became a notable forerunner of the Summer season with its relatable slice-of-life feel. I don’t know about you, but my parental confidence (for the future) has soared ^^

Unfortunately, Daikchi and Yukari never ‘exchange the rings’, and likewise neither do Kouki and Rin (there is still time for these two ^^). However, one possible take on the situation is that instead, Daikichi has made definite progress in his role as a parent—developing a strong friendship with like-minded parents. Though not as hot as Mi-chan and not as . . . dense as Nabe-chin, Daikichi holds his own important place as the jump-roping sage (and level-headed dad). As for Yukari, she has made her place in the series as the ‘angelic figure’, and her balanced formal/informality with Daikichi plays wonderfully as a mixed motherly/ romantic personality.

I know there have been circulating rumors, according to the manga-readers, that hint at some extravagant conclusions. Although I didn’t get the chance to read it, I would have to expect some revisions were made during the conversion from manga to anime series as the anime plot was very much balanced and mild throughout. Overall, the series did a fantastic job at returning full-circle to the series’ roots—the Kawachi family returns to the grave, once again, in formal dress to commemorate Ojisan; the challenge of parenthood has been becalmed; and Dakichi’s dream of walking alongside Rin is finally realized.