Bunny Drop, Vol. 4

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.

Another volume of Bunny Drop, and another volume where we see Daikichi struggle with the joys and stresses of being a single dad. What’s more, life doesn’t stop just because you’re having difficulty keeping up. Will he be able to cope on his own?

I thought the start of the book was easily the strongest, with two chapters dealing with Daikichi’s cousin Haruko leaving her home for a bit and taking her daughter over to live with him and Rin. Daikichi is not generally a talkative and inquisitive person, so while we see him thinking about the awkwardness this creates, or wondering about what Haruko is going through, there’s very little actually said. The author’s strengths are frequently in the unsaid and absent, and although Haruko does reunite with her husband here, we get the feeling that her struggles will continue.

Honestly, Daikichi seems to have it pretty easy by now, even if he may not be aware of it. Rin’s a good kid who generally does what she’s told (we once again see Kouki’s still unnamed mother stressing out about getting constant meetings with the teacher), and even a bad cold doesn’t really put her down that much. She does get a few faults, such as her lack of physical ability… but even that’s dealt with here with the jump rope training, and she manages to overcome it a bit in a nice, heartwarming moment.

I will admit that the heartwarming moments are nice, but I could do with some forward plot motion. Rin’s mother wasn’t in this volume at all, and I’ve come to suspect that any potential romance between Daikichi and Kouki’s mother will mostly be hypothetical. What this means is that we get a volume that is, after the first two chapters, more ‘adorable kid raised by goofy yet nice dad’ stories. It’s perfect for Feel Young, the josei magazine it runs in, and likely worked better in monthly installments, but I admit I am starting to get weary of it.

That said, once again I get the feeling that I am not the audience for this series, and that forward movement of the plot is not the point. ‘The day passes, something else happens’ is a very common genre in Japan, especially in manga with children, and even though Daikichi is our viewpoint character here, that’s exactly what we get. We sympathize with him, grow frustrated sometimes, but mostly we’re watching Rin grow up alongside him. And while Rin may not have quite enough faults, she’s certainly cute as a button. Let’s see if Volume 5 can bring something new to the table, though.

(No spoilers in the comments, by the way. They will be deleted.)

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  1. I think I am the target audience with this manga, but I still felt a little bored with this volume. At this point they really are integrated as a family, so the real drama has to come from somewhere else. Like Rin’s mom. The day-to-day stuff is cute and fun… but Yotsuba&! already fills that quota for me.

  2. I really like slice-of-life stories, so this just works for me ^^. Having read to the end (no spoilers, don’t worry), I look forward to seeing what you make of the following volumes, as well as what VIZ will do with them.

  3. I’m another one who really likes the day to day stuff. I was hoping they wouldn’t move too quickly on the Rin’s mom plot. The one thing that really really bothered me about this volume was the loooong drawn ouut dialogue. Aaaaarg. By the end of the volume I was sooo annoyed I was glaaad it was over. I even checked to see if there was a new translator, but it was the credits match the first volume. It just felt dumbed down to me (I also kind of feel that way about their Yotsuba translation) and I don’t remember the first three being that way.


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