Yo! Samurai here again! Did you honestly think I was going to abandon this project? Nah, I just had to take a little break! I’m in it for the long haul, and what do you know, we made it to the halfway point! Recall, if you will, the last episode; we finally get the chance to meet Rin’s birth “mother”, Masako Yoshii, who explains that she essentially gave up her daughter and has no maternal feelings towards her. She does, however, request that when Rin starts school, she changes her last name from “Kaga” to “Kawachi”. Daikichi decides to go one step further and simply adopt Rin, thereby legally giving her the name and a living father should she want to go through with it. Rin, however, declines, saying she already has a father and the name he gave her, and that “Daikichi should just stay Daikichi”. And with that out the way, we now go on to Episode 6: “My Tree”.
The episode starts out on the day of Opening Ceremonies at elementary school with Daikichi attempting to get a snapshot of Rin using his trusty camera phone, but the image is not coming out quite right. [Seriously, Daikichi? I mean, I know that phone cameras are really advanced nowadays, but there are some occasions when a real camera is called for!] Thankfully, Yukari comes up with her real DSLR camera and, after taking a picture of Rin and Kouki, offers to take a picture of Daikichi and Rin, stressing the point that kids grow up so fast and he should capture the moment. [I hear ya there…my nephew is already 14 years old and just about as tall as I am…geeze, I feel old…] Daikichi complies and the two stand hand-in-hand in front of the school building. Oy! PUFFY! Can we get some “Sweet Drops” Love, please?!
We then see Daikichi and Rin doing some shopping in the market. Suddenly, Rin realizes that it’s time for her lunch break and walks off set for a bento box lunch, leaving her dotted line understudy. [Kidding, again! In reality, Rin just ducks off down an aisle.]. Daikichi freaks out and finds her down the cereal aisle. As it turns out, our little cutie has never had cereal before, so Daikichi explains the concept and gets her a box. Later, during checkout, Daikichi struggles to open a bag, and gets frustrated when, after Rin points out that he’s having about as hard a time opening the bag as Grandpa did, she’s able to do it with ease. [Geeze, Daikichi, you’re only THIRTY dude…you shouldn’t be falling apart that bad that early!]
On the way home, Rin and Daikichi take a different path, going down a street laden with newly bloomed cherry blossom trees. [Add that to the ol’ bucket list…] Daikichi gets the bright idea to plant a commemoration tree for Rin since she’s starting Elementary school with the idea that both Rin and the tree would get bigger together as the years go by. He further explains that a tree was planted when he was born at his parents house; a fragrant olive tree with his sister Kazumi getting a tea olive tree planted at her birth. Daikichi figures that it would be fun if they planted a tree that either had pretty flowers or bore fruit. As it turns out, Rin knows just the one–a loquat tree. [NICE choice there, Rin! I have several loquat or Japanese Plum Trees in the yard, and I know for a fact you’re getting a lot for your money–not only does it produce great smelling and pretty flowers, but the loquats that grow on it are big and sweet too! Here’s a picture of the one that actually produces fruit. All the other ones in the yard are still too small to produce.]
Later at home, Rin shows Daikichi the loquat seeds she collected back from when she was living with grandpa. Daikichi comments that he had intended to get a tree as tall as and the same age as Rin, but they opt to go ahead and plant the seeds in the garden anyway as Rin is paitent enough to wait for the tree to grow tall before she can eat the fruit. So the two go outside, dig a hole, and plant the seed. Daikichi then tells the story about how ninjas jump over growing hemp plants every day. As the plants get taller, the ninja’s learn how to jump higher and higher until they are able to jump to astronomical heights. […RIGHT…umm…Daikichi, whoever told you that story about ninjas jumping over hemp plants must have been smoking those same hemp plants….just saying.] Rin buys into the story and begins jumping over the spot repeatedly. [Bless her little heart…]
That night, Rin and Daikichi get prepped for the first official day of school by getting her backpack loaded up. [Remember–the kids have to do Opening Ceremonies first, then the first day…] Rin reminds him that he has to tie a whistle to her satchel during which time he gives her the ol’ “Stranger Danger!” speech saying that if anyone she doesn’t know starts talking to her, to blow the whistle and run away to any safe spot like inside someones home or a store. Rin clearly gets the point.
The next morning, Daikichi wakes up suddenly…only to see Rin, fully dressed, waiting for him. [Yeah, good start to the first day of school there, Daikichi…] Rin then tries a bit of the cereal sans milk, happily stating “pet dogs eat this kind of thing!” Daikichi quickly sets her right saying that is NOT dog food and that humans can’t eat dog food! [Now CAT food on the other hand is fair game, at least for this woman it is…] The phone rings, and it’s Yukari on the other end, frantic that her son ran out the house without her and is on his way to their house. No soon as she says this, then Kouki arrives, looking like something the dog dragged in. He is covered in burrs, his hair is a mess, and his satchel is all scratched up. Daikichi soon sets him right and starts getting ready to walk the two to school. Suddenly, he hears the sharp emergency whistle blowing outside. When Daikichi stumbles over his pants to see what’s going on, he finds Kouki jumping over the site where Rin planted the loquat seeds, blowing the whistle with no abandon; Rin trying to get him to stop. Daikichi soon shuts him up, stating that if he keeps blowing the whistle without just cause, nobody will come to his rescue should the need arise. [Who’s bright idea was it to give young kids whistles anyway? I mean, I get the idea, and it’s a fairly decent idea, but seriously, do they NOT think kids won’t abuse it?] He then sends the pair on their way to school.
On the way to school, Kouki convinces a reluctant Rin to take a shortcut to school […because’s “Ninja’s always take paths like this!”…umm…okay?] which takes them along a back alley behind some houses and apartments. When Rin complains that her companion is too slow, defeating the purpose of the shortcut, Kouki inadvertently knocks a potted plant off a shelf onto the ground, shattering it. When Rin convinces him that this is not the time to blow the whistle, our little ninja in training opts for Plan B: RUN AWAY. [Hey, it worked for Naruto…] He bolts with Rin trailing behind and the two eventually wind up back on the correct sidewalk to school. Needless to say, Rin is pretty heated as she walks past a bemused Kouki without so much as a look his way. [Dude…you’re in the dog-house now…]
That night at dinner, Rin tells the story of their adventure to Daikichi, who, while somewhat frustrated with the hyperactive boy’s actions, understands that boys of that age do tend to behave that way. Rin then suddenly ponders the conversation she had earlier with Daikichi, wondering if she has a tree like Daikichi’s sweet olive tree that was planted to commemorate his birth. Daikichi is shocked that Rin realized this, wondering if Masako even bothered to plant a tree for her. [Daikichi, the woman denied this little girl from the jump; I doubt that she’s going to the Japanese equivalent of Cleggs Nursery to buy a tree for her and plant it in the garden…] Rin supposes that maybe Grandpa planted a tree for her, but because she doesn’t remember it, and Grandpa is dead, nobody would know if there even is a tree, much less what kind it is or where it was planted. Daikichi regrets telling her about the tree, not realizing what kind of effect it would have on her. That next day, Daikichi realizes that there’s only one other person who would know if there was a tree planted for Rin’s birth; her “birth mother”, Masako. [Great…we have to deal with this dingbat again…]
Later that day, Daikichi meets up with Masako in the cafe who is just as passive as ever when presented with a picture of Rin. She then remembers that there was a tree planted for Rin but it was done by Souichi. Daikichi then asks her about the tree and it’s location. She draws him a crappy excuse for a map and goes about her day. Daikichi then goes back to grandpa’s house and, using the map, locates the little tree. He then digs up the young tree and, just as he gets ready to leave, he notices another, much older tea olive tree in the yard…
Meanwhile, Rin is at the house with Daikichi’s mom, pondering if she even has a tree. Mom comforts her, stating that even if she doesn’t have an official tree of her own, a six-year-old tree could always be planted for her to commemorate her entering elementary school. She then leads her outside to show her Daikichi’s thirty-year-old fragrant olive and Kazumi’s younger tea olive tree. She then mentions that the big tree in grandpa’s yard is actually her tea olive tree planted at the time of her birth by grandpa. [The Kawachi family sure has a thing for trees, don’t they?] She tells Rin that she often measured her height against the tree and that it’s become a family tradition to plant a tree at the birth of a new family member. [Spoiler alert, Rin. The tree is going to out grow you. Sorry, buddy.] Daikichi soon returns with Rin’s tree; a six year old fragrant olive tree. That afternoon, Rin and Daikichi plant the tree in their yard, with Rin commenting that it’s too tall for her to start jumping over it. Daikichi ruminates that, even before he met Rin, they were all walking along the same path. Guess what time it is? Time to get “High, High, High!”
The end teaser has Kouki pulling Rin by the hand, running back to the house with whistle blaring. Daikichi stumbles out of his room in the middle of getting dressed just as Rin and Kouki run in. Kouki explains that there was a “strange old man” outside. Just as Daikichi goes outside to give the man the ol’ what for, Rin exclaims that the man was in fact their next door neighbor, Matsui. Daikichi and Kouki apologizes to the man who takes it in stride. Instead of scolding him, Daikichi pats Kouki on the head, thanking him for dragging Rin to safety, even though he was mistaken about the danger and that with him hanging around Rin, he feels a little relieved. Kouki takes offense to the “little” remark, causing Daikichi to call him a little runt, much to his frustration. Rin then comments that, once again, they’re going to be late.
This episode honestly feels shorter than the others, I’m not quite sure why. It could be because this is just a simple story, or it could just be that it was so attention grabbing on many levels that it’s over before you know it. To me, this episode is a continuation from the previous episode. If you recall, Rin turned down Daikichi’s offer to be formally adopted and have her name changed, stating that things were fine the way they are with “Daikichi just being Daikichi”. However, in a strange sort of way, Rin was “spiritually adopted” into the Kawachi family this episode. This could be viewed metaphorically with Rin’s six-year-old fragrant olive tree [the same kind of tree as Daikichi’s, no less…] being transplanted from grandpa’s house and moved to Daikichi’s house. This is why I love this show; it takes a simple concept like a family tradition involving trees and makes it this long 23 minute story that can speak to and refresh the soul. The little “B” story, Rin and Kouki going to school, is just all kinds of cute and funny, and it establishes the relationship between the two young characters and the relationship between Kouki and Daikichi. Starting from here on, you see these two together more often than not, and you really get the feel of how alike they are.
Oh, and did you notice the firm yet gentle way Yukari told off Daikichi about taking pictures with Rin while she’s little? Yeah, watch for that firm tone later down the line.
Speaking of things to note, it seems as though we’re greeted with some new animation over the end credits. It looks like the end credits will show a few clips from the next episode. This is actually really cool for this series, as I don’t see a customary “Coming up next on ‘Usagi Drop'” preview really working for this show.
Favorite scene? That’s a little tough, but this time around, my favorite scene has to be on the first day of school when Daikichi is picking burrs off Kouki’s clothes. Daikichi is nagging him about the mess saying that he must’ve been dragging the stick he was holding along the neighbors walls. Kouki looks up at him in shock saying “ARE YOU PSYCHIC?!” Daikichi replies that he can easilly tell that sort of thing. Rin then gives the two of them a skeptical look saying “Is it because you did the same thing when you were little, Daikichi?” The look Daikichi gives tells us that our little cutie hit a nerve. It was just a funny scene that kinda sets up just how similar these two are.
Coming up next on “Usagi Drop”, we dissect Episode 7 – “Secretly Running Away From Home”. Everything is finally getting settled in the Kawachi household until Haruko and Reina come by…carrying baggage. As it turns out, they’re running away like Forrest Gump from their home. Wait–WHAT?! Running away from home?! Why?! What could possibly possess a woman and her child to run away from home? Could Daikichi find himself in the middle of a domestic issue? Welp, all I can tell you is just stick around and find out!