Bunny Drop, Vol. 10

By Yumi Unita. Released in Japan as “Usagi Drop” by Shodensha, serialized in the magazine Feel Young. Released in North America by Yen Press.

Yen Press very helpfully published an interview with Yumi Unita at the end of this final volume of Bunny Drop. In it she states that she had planned what happened in Bunny Drop from the start, and that she wanted to contrast it with the manga she was writing for rival publisher Takeshobo, Yoningurashi. A quick Google search led me to learn that Yoningurashi, aka The Four of Us, was a series about a couple raising two young children. And suddenly a lot of what happened in Bunny Drop makes more sense. Or more accurately, what didn’t happen.


See, I had expectations when I started reading Bunny Drop, before *those* spoilers came out. I expected what we got for the first four volumes, aka Daikichi’s learning how to be a parent and raising Rin in adorably heartwarming ways. But I also expected that he’d end up hooking up with Kouki’s mother, and that they’d raise Rin and Kouski as a family. Sure, I expected Rin and Kouki to hook up later in life, but honestly, I’ve been reading about ‘but we’re not really siblings’ love since the days of Marmalade Boy, so it didn’t really bother me.

Of course, we did not get that. Instead, Unita contrasted Bunny Drop with her other series by subverting every expectation we had. And I’ve got to hand it to her, it certainly worked, though in the end I’m still left with a feeling of massive frustration. This is not helped by the stories in this last volume, which go back and fill in some blanks from earlier in Rin’s life. We see heartwarming and amusing parenting as Daikichi tries to explain ‘why we don’t always kill bugs’ to young Rin. We get a tortuous ship teasing scene between Daikichi and Kouki’s mother after Kouki gets in an accident and Daikichi has to take care of things, where by the end you are screaming at the two of them to just kiss already. (Spoilers: they don’t.) We get some backstory explaining how Rin’s mother ended up with her manga assistant/lover, and how Kouki fell into delinquency (and then out of it) in middle school. Honestly, they’re all well-written and pretty fun.

And then we get a final story showing Rin and Daikichi, who have now been a couple for several months. And really, seriously, nothing has changed. I approve of Unita not showing us their sex life, but honestly without that you’re left wondering why any of this happened at all. (Things are not helped by adding a girl who not only Kouki but also the reader had forgotten, and seeing about hooking him up with her at the VERY last minute.) Unita noted that she tried to avoid Rin’s inner monologue in the ‘pre-timeskip’ period, and avoid Daikichi’s afterwards, but honestly all this has done is made us wonder about how any of this came about, particularly with Daikichi, whose love for Rin and desire to let her do this seems to come down to ‘well, OK, I guess.’

So in the end I liked individual parts of this story, but am very dissatisfied with how it came together as a whole. Particularly as there was a story that was being made really obvious and heartwarming that wasn’t told here. Now, part of that may be me as a reader projecting out on what wasn’t really intended, but given the general negative reception Bunny Drop has had post-timeskip, I don’t really think it’s just me. I’d suggest someone write some fixfics, but I’m not sure the series has enough of a fandom. In the end, Bunny Drop was an interesting, fascinating, and uniquely annoying series that amazingly I still think is worth reading anyway, provided your dentist doesn’t mind the loss of enamel you’ll have from grinding your teeth.

Bunny Drop, Vol. 9

By Yumi Unita. Released in Japan as “Usagi Drop” by Shodensha, serialized in the magazine Feel Young. Released in North America by Yen Press.

You may finally discuss Bunny Drop in the comments. But be polite.

And so here we are. I’d mentioned when reviewing the previous volume of Bunny Drop that there was a certain discomfort with where it was going, even if there wasn’t really anything objectionable besides the basic concept. That feeling continues and is magnified in this volume, which could almost be described as “Yeah, it went there.” It does its best to try to show the thought patterns of the people this decision impacts – though Rin, as always, is harder to read and understand than the others. But in the end, was this trip really necessary? Let’s find out.


For most of the volume, the basic conflict is not so much “Rin is in love with Daikichi” – that was dealt with by Vol. 8, mostly. The conflict is that Rin seems to be perfectly content to never deal with this and live in her happy family cocoon forever, denying her own feelings so that things can be the same. And big props to Kouki for pointing out how selfish this is. Honestly, Kouki’s development has probably been written better than Rin’s as this series has gone along – he’s still very much in love with her, and knows that love can’t happen, but is determined to be sure that Rin is happy. What she’s doing now isn’t getting her that way. So, because he’s that sort of person, he simply tells Daikichi everything.

Yumi Unita’s art has always been best when showing feelings of awkward discomfort, and really excels here in the middle part of the book, as Daikichi has to deal with Rin’s feelings, and Rin has to deal with Daikichi knowing about it, and – inevitably – the destruction of their cozy parent-child relationship. I liked that she ended up going to her mother – whose character development has also been good but is mostly off-screen. The mother, of course, is there to provide the “”out” the story needs – Rin isn’t really Soichiro’s daughter, she’s an adopted daughter. Meaning she and Daikichi aren’t related by blood. Which is fine, except, y’know, he’s still raised her as a parent since she was six. Sigh.

Daikichi says to Rin he’s going to wait two years, possibly thinking that Rin might get over this. But of course she does not. Through most of the post-timeskip series we’ve had trouble reading Rin, but right at the end it’s Daikichi who becomes difficult, as his acceptance of Rin’s love and agreement to marry her seems to come less from romantic feelings and more “well, a father can’t say no to his daughter”. Which provides all sorts of deeply wrong reactions. Particularly when Rin brings up children right at the end.

There is a certain odd dilemma with this series. When it began, everyone was enchanted by its warm and loving take on parenting and adopted families, and recommending it to libraries and such. Then the spoiler hit, and suddenly the entire fandom took a darker turn. The anime solved this problem by simply ignoring the timeskip altogether. The difficulty is that if readers had known the manga was going to go down this direction, I don’t think any of them would have bought the series. Most people still reading have a sense of “Well, better see this through to the end, since I’ve invested so much time in it.” Which is not what one really wants from a heartwarming manga series. Bunny Drop could be very well-written, and thoughtful, and have nice art, and I’ve analyzed it more than most other series. But I don’t think I’ve ever felt quite as uncomfortable with an ending as I am with this one.

Of course, there’s Vol. 10 in April of next year. But I hear that’s mostly side-stories from when Rin was a kid. We shall see. (What, drop the series? Nah.)

Bunny Drop, Vol. 8

By Yumi Unita. Released in Japan as “Usagi Drop” by Shodensha, serialized in the magazine Feel Young. Released in North America by Yen Press.

This review contains spoilers for this volume. Please avoid discussing future Bunny Drop volumes in the comments.

So, right around the time Bunny Drop 3 was released in North America, you may have noticed a very quiet panic on the part of those following the Japanese release, as many fans tried to freak out while simultaneously not spoiling anything. Which is sort of impossible. I mean, what do you say? “You know that series on heartwarming parenting you read? Aaaaagh! But I can’t say why.” You know, the mind can only go to a few obvious places. I haven’t seen Vol. 9 yet, which should be out here in late summer, but I have a sneaking suspicion I know how things are going to turn out. Let’s delve.


When we last left Rin, she was pondering her future. And more importantly, pondering a future without Daikichi in it. Meanwhile, the two relationships that the reader had maybe hoped might happen – Rin and Kouki, and Daikichi and Kouki’s mom – are both torpedoed big time, and indeed Kouki’s mother is getting remarried to someone else in this volume. Kouki is trying to handle this with aplomb, but only partly succeeding – this time, rather than throw a fit, he simply flees to Rin’s house. But this is the typical reaction of a son. Rin doesn’t have to deal with something like that – Daikichi’s social life is still as empty as ever – but she’s still pondering her future.

She’s also getting into fights with Daikichi, and chafing rather uncomfortably at his continued parenting of her. It’s clear that she wants to be free of that role. They get into a fight regarding her contact with her mother (which is quietly resolved here, with Rin basically settling things in her heart) and her mother’s new baby, something she kept from Daikichi as she knew he’d freak out. Which he does. These two still clearly love each other deeply, but Rin is growing up, and they are moving into previously untouched arenas.

Which brings us to Rin’s own love life. Honestly, Rin’s realization of who she loves isn’t as interesting to me as Rin’s complete horror when trying to date someone else. Her attempted date with Yasuhara is the best part of the book to me, a trainwreck that she doesn’t want but can’t quite get out of. Rin is so passive much of the time that it’s great to see her struggling, and her facial expressions here are a stitch. But of course, Rin has realized who she’s in love with. And is dealing with that fact that it’s, well, impossible. And by the end of the volume, Kouki is pretty sure about it too, and (confronted once again with a problem he can’t really do much about) he flees.

The topic is being handled maturely, and it’s not meant to be saucy or titillating. But with all its ups and downs, what the reader takes away from Bunny Drop 8 is “Oh crap, Rin’s in love with her adopted father!” (Anna Russell voice) She’s his aunt, by the way. A story that began with an unconventional family forming looks like it may end (Vol. 9 is the final ‘story’ volume, though there is a Vol. 10 with short stories from across Rin’s life) with yet another unconventional family. And I’m pretty sure we all feel more uncomfortable about it than the author intended. But let’s see what the next book brings.