Hey everyone! Samurai here, and it’s time for us to continue on down the bunny trail with Episode 4 of “Usagi Drop”! In our last episode, Daikichi takes Rin to his parents house while he searches his grandfathers old house for clues about Rin’s mom. He discovers a modem tucked away behind a giant chest of drawers. When he asks Rin if anyone in the home ever used a computer, our little cutie states that the maid, a woman named Misako had a computer. If you recall, Masako is listed in the Mother Child Health Book as Rin’s mom, with no other contact information clearly evident. We also find out that Rin is scared of death, and thus has started to wet the bed, but after some reassurance from Daikichi, her fears are eased. Now Rin is in a full-time nursery school and making friends, but there’s still many questions that remain regarding Misako, the chief one being “Why?” Will we get closer to the truth in this episode? And who is this pretty lady talking to Daikichi? Let’s jump into Episode 4: “Letter”.
Okay, so the episode starts with Rin attempting to jump rope during recess in her new nursery school. [Heaven knows I been there…I don’t think I learned to jump rope until the 4th grade. True story!] Some of the kids ask her about her mother as her “father” seems to be the only one who picks her up. Rin corrects them, saying that “Grandpa” is her dad. When pressed with more questions about the exact relationship between Daikichi to Rin, our little cutie clearly gets confused. While the other kids ponder this and continue grilling her, a young boy, later identified as Kouki, comes to her rescue; laying down a few well placed “BAKA! BAKA! BAKA!!!” jabs to Rin’s chibi-aggressors, and pulling her away. As the pair begins drawing on the ground, Rin asks Kouki about his current living arrangements and how it seems like he doesn’t have a father. Kouki explains matter-of-factly that his mom and dad are divorced, and goes on to give a simplistic explanation of what the word means. Rin then draws the odd conclusion that the reason her mother is MIA is because she got a divorce and disappeared She then pulls Kouki’s hat on his head, explaining that the teachers will yell at him if he doesn’t wear it the right way. [Good looking out, Rin!] Later, Daikichi comes to pick-up Rin causing just about every cute kid in this nursery school including a little kid Rin calls “Maa-kun” cry out “Rin-chan! Pickup!!”. [Wait, MAA-KUN??! As in THIS Maa-Kun?! Naaahhhh…] As Rin says goodbye to her teacher, the dynamic duo pass by a very beautiful lady presumably coming to pick up her child. Time for some “Sweet Drops” loving!
We then cut to Rin, Kouki, Daikichi and our beautiful lady walking down the sidewalk together. As it turns out, Yukari Nitani, is Kouki’s mom
and a prima with the Aria Company. As they walk, the parents discuss their children’s schoolyard friendship–Rin looks out for Kouki and vise versa. However, in typical Japanese fashion, both guardians tend to tout their child’s negative traits, such as Kouki’s abrasiveness to others and Rin’s somewhat anti-social behavior. When Rin overhears this and confronts Daikichi, he quickly waves her off as he clearly wants to get to know Yukari a little more. [Why don’t you just ask her for a ride in her gondo–sorry, wrong show…] Yukari asks if Rin is a little daddy’s girl, to which he explains that he’s more like a relative than a father. [Yeah, because blurting out that the little girl you’re raising is, in all actuality, your aunt, is NOT the best way to get those digits, Daikichi…] As the group goes their separate ways, Rin explains to Daikichi that Yutani and Kouki’s father divorced and she again wonders if that’s the reason her mother is no longer around; because God punished her for getting a divorce and made her disappear. [Bless her little heart. If that were true, then this country’s population would be severely cut.] Daikichi asks her if she wants to meet her mom, to which she replies that she doesn’t know, but if she were like Kouki’s mom, she wouldn’t mind meeting her. Daikichi, clearly enamored with Yukari, eagerly expresses the same sentiment, much to Rin’s chagrin.
The next day, after dropping Rin off at nursery school, Daikichi calls his mom and tells her of his findings from the visit to Grandpa’s house: that the maid Grandpa had before he did was probably Rin’s MIA mommy. Mom is clearly shocked at this news. [One wonders why Daikichi didn’t tell his mom this information while he was at their house? Curious…] Daikichi asks if she knew anything about grandpa having a maid, but we don’t actually hear her reply.
We then see Daikichi, at work in his new position with the shipping team, when one of Daikichi’s former coworkers invites him to a farewell party at a local pub in his honor. Daikichi appreciates this, but because he has to look out for Rin, he turns down the offer. In addition, he also seems to have lost interest in drinking and late-night partying since he has taken on Rin. Later, he reiterates this to Gotou, who suggests that Daikichi simply bring her along, offering to bring her little son along as well. [She clearly wants to go out and party…hey, ain’t nothing wrong with that!]
That night, Daikichi’s mom calls him. She found out that Grandpa did indeed have a maid from an employment agency; Masako Yoshii. Mom quickly asks Daikichi if she is going to contact her, indignant at the thought. Daikichi calms her down, saying that there’s still much that they don’t know about the situation regarding Rin’s birth, even with the Mother and Child Health Book.
Later, Daikichi brings Rin along to the farewell party at the local pub, which is already in full swing. Everyone is already happily toasted, gushing over Rin and offering her food and drinks. [Non-alcoholic, of course!] Rin quickly makes friends with Gatou’s young son, Yuu. When Daikichi excuses himself to the bathroom, he overhears some of his coworkers complaining that Daikichi’s departure will make their jobs that much harder, since the managers will compare their current results to the results of the previous year, when Daikichi was in charge and posting stellar results. Instead of confronting them, Daikichi thinks better of it and returns to the party, bladder full. When he walks up, he sees Gotou, happily toasted, cuddling a surprised yet still smiling Rin, marveling at how soft girls are and how she wants to make Rin her kid. [Yeah, lady. You and about a couple hundred thousand others in several continents. Grab a ticket and get in line…] One of Daikichi’s coworkers, specifically the one who spazzed out when Daikichi announced his transfer, explains that having finally met Rin, he has had a change of heart and now supports his decision.
When the two arrive back home, Daikichi receives an application for Elementary school in the mail. Rin is worried that she will have to take an admissions test, but Daikichi, still somewhat toasted, happily reassures her that she doesn’t have to take a test to get in, stating that compulsorily education is awesome. Rin cuts him no slack.
The next afternoon, Daikichi runs up to the school to pick up Rin, clearly and literally running late. Rin walks up and scolds him for it. However, ten seconds later, here comes Yukari running up as well. [Ara, Ara…::giggles::] Daikichi and Yukari exchange winded pleasantries, but Rin reminds him that they are running late, so they dash off once again for a cab. As it turns out, Yukari and Daikichi are going to a parents meeting at the local Elementary school, where they are briefed on all their childs needs and requirements for their first day at school. After the meeting, Daikichi asks about the immunization records form, wondering out loud where he would find the information, earning him glaring looks from some mothers who are walking by. Yukari gently explains that all the information is found in the Mother and Child Health Book. Daikichi then comes clean, explaining that he’s only been with Rin for about three months, which surprises Yukari as, to her at least, it seems like Rin trusts him implicitly, the main proof being the way she nags him.
Later that night, while Rin reads a book on English [Because, hey, it’s never too early to learn another language…], Daikichi talks to Haruko to get some advice on Elementary School. [Haruko is blow-drying Reina’s hair, and she, in turn, blow-dries hers…] Haruko asks if Daikichi is really serious about raising Rin, especially since he went to such drastic measures regarding his job. Daikichi admits that he hasn’t really thought that far ahead. He then notes that Haruko and Reina have a very close relationship, to which she replies that mothers and daughters are a lot like friends. Later, after he puts Rin to sleep, Daikichi once again goes through Rin’s Health Book, trying to find any clues. He discovers a website URL at the bottom of one page. When Daikichi visits the page, it turns out to be Grandpa’s digital will/blog…however, because grandpa, bless his heart, isn’t too technically inclined, he soon gives up after one post, stating that the full account will be written out in Rin’s Health Book. [Don’t worry my readers, I don’t plan to give up that easilly!] Daikichi finds a hidden flap in the book, containing a handwritten letter from Grandpa along with a phone number and Misako’s name written on the corner of the page. The note reads as follows: “Based on my prediction that the person who found this piece of paper thinks warmly of Rin, I shall give an account here of Rin and her mother, Masako. Masako is easilly misunderstood, so I would like to start by saying that she is by no means a bad girl. She says that she is a failure as a mother. That she feels sorry for Rin. Even now, she persists in being my maid, and I believe that she will continue to do so. I think of that as Rin’s greatest happiness. She is living a vigilant life, carefully leaving no traces of herself behind so that if something should happen to me, her existence will be hidden from all of my relatives. Masako certainly has a mother’s love for Rin. But she’s still young and may not yet have the maturity to be a parent.”
The next day Daikichi programs the number in his phone. As he contemplates dialing it, Rin comes in and asks that he puts her hair up in pig tails. Daikichi refuses at first, but after Rin states that another girl named Mii [What is it with these kid’s names?! Firt we have Maa, then we have Yuu, now we have Mii….granted, these may be only nick-names, but still…] told her she wasn’t cute, Daikichi relents, brushes her hair, and puts her hair up in…well…umm…something that KINDA-SORTA resembles pigtails. Rin seems pleased with the end result [Bless her little dingbatty heart…] and beings practicing her little routine for Parents Day at her nursery school. Daikichi ruminates to himself that he genuinely dislikes Masako for not only abandoning Rin, but expecting that she would simply forget about her.
Later, we see Rin and Daikichi out shopping for a school desk. Because they are relatively expensive, Daikichi plays the “Oh, I know, since you’re going to be using the desk for a long time, let’s get you one for big girls!” Rin is over joyed at the prospect of getting a big-girl desk, and Daikichi is overjoyed at not having to pay out the wazoo for a desk that Rin will eventually outgrow. [See, Daikichi, you’re becoming more parental already…].
Back at home, with desk and customary hard backpack ready aquired, and Rin tucked into bed, Daikichi dials a certain phone number. A female answers the line as we cut to black. “High, High, High!” Time!
The end teaser has Daikichi and Rin shopping for kid-sized tableware. When Daikichi turns around to ask Rin her thoughts on a certain cup, she’s once again nowhere to be found. After a few minutes of screaming up and down the aisles to find her, she reappears in the makeup aisle holding a tube of lipstick, assuming that this will help her turn into a young lady. Daikichi quickly explains that makeup is for much later on in life, causing Rin to ask that old favorite question: “Why?”
New characters? Yes please, thank you! It was so refreshing to see some new people interact with Daikichi and Rin. For the last three episodes, we’ve pretty much only been with our two main characters, with some sporadic interaction from other people. It made for a very intimate, yet somewhat claustrophobic story. Now that we have the beautiful Yukari and the active Kouki on the scene, the claustrophobic feeling has evaporated. The world of “Usagi Drop” has expaned with this one episode, and we now have a lot more to explore. It also expands our own characters, giving them The creators also did a good job with their introduction as well; giving us just enough to keep it interesting, but not trying to slam them down our throats. Also, anytime Daikichi shows any kind of emotion other than his “meh, whatever” attitude is always a good thing. Seeing him get all giddy over Yukari is all kinds of fun. With regards to Grandpa’s will, I have to say it was done in a very creative way…Improbable, maybe, but all the same, very creative. The conflicted feelings Daikichi has are completely understandable–he wants to hate Masako for abandoning Rin, but he knows that he doesn’t have the full story, and that the circumstances might show that she had no choice but to abandon her. It makes for some great moments, and it really makes him that much more of an interesting character.
Okay, in case you haven’t caught onto the little clues I laid down this time around, our new character, Yukari Nitani, is voiced by Sayaka Ohara who is the voice of, among other characters, Alicia “Snow White” Florence from the “Aria” series. Talk about your AWESOME casting! You recall that I awarded her the “Best Female Voice Actress of 2011 (Japanese)” Last Year, and for good reason too. That gentle sweet voice would make any crying child happy, and I look forward to hearing more from her! Playing Kouki Nitani is Noa Sakai. Her records are…well…short. Looks like we got a rookie actress ladies and gentlemen! But honestly, she’s doing a great job with the role as far as I can tell.
Lets see here–my favorite scenes this time goes to the opening teaser when little Maa-kun calls out to Rin letting her know Daikichi is here to pick her up. I know it’s wrong of me to laugh at a little kid face-planting on the ground, but, darn it, it’s just so funny and cute! The reactions of all the on-screen characters in the background is also priceless. Second favorite scene is when Rin tells Daikichi that she wouldn’t mind meeting her birth mother if she were like Kouki’s mom. Daikichi, clearly enamored with Yukari, happily admits “Yeah, yeah! Me too!” The glare that Rin gives him is just too much; it oozes “Yeah, you got the hots for her, I know. Geeze.”
Coming up next, we break down Episode 5 – “Daikichi Should Stay Daikichi”. The day of the big meeting finally comes. Daikichi now comes face to face with the woman who gave birth to Rin. What’s her story? Does she have any regrets? And what’s all this talk about last names about anyway? Could Daikichi finally make the whole thing official? Stick around for more next time!