Well a good day to you all! Samurai here once again with another trip down the rabbit hole with “Usagi Drop”! Guys, WE’RE ALMOST DONE!!! ALMOST DONE!!! There’s just ONE MORE episode remaining! I really hope you guys are enjoying it because, DUUUUUDE…this has been a test on all my skills as a blogger! Only time and you guys will tell whether or not I passed! In our last episode, a typhoon caused Daikichi and Rin to take in our resident bundle of boyish energy, Kouki after school while his mom was at work. The trio rode out the storm for a while until Yukari was able to get to Daikichi’s and the four of them enjoyed a nice dinner together as the storm passed overhead. That being said, let’s get into Episode 10: “Stomach Flu”.
Our episode starts with Rin and Daikichi eating breakfast. Rin suddenly flinches and discovers that her front tooth is lose. Daikichi tells Rin that it’s just her permanent teeth coming in and that she shouldn’t mess with it. When he offers to fix her something softer, she declines, saying that she’ll be alright if she just eats slowly. However, she hesitates to take another bite. Poor thing…you know what she needs? Some PUFFY “Sweet Drops”!
It’s culture festival day at Rin and Kouki’s Elementary school, and all the parents are on campus checking out the different projects and exhibits that their students have been working hard on throughout the school year. Daikichi is pulled over to Rin’s classroom where she points out one of her drawings; the bell-flower and loquat plants she has been growing at home. One of Rin’s friends, a girl named Sayaka, [Who noticeably has her mouth covered with her hand] comments that Rin is one of the best drawers in the class and that one day she could even become a manga artist. Daikichi, of course, immediately thinks of Masako, [I hope not anyway…] but before we get his thoughts on the issue, in walks Sayaka’s father, a very tall and handsome well dressed man who soon gets the attention of every female in the room. Rin explains that Mr. Tall and Handsome [So named because he currently isn’t given a name…] is Sayaka’s father and that he is 31; the same age as Daikichi. Sayaka proudly explains that her father is a model, to which he embarrassingly says that he’s only done a little when he was younger. [And it’s here we notice why Sayaka had her hand over her mouth…she’s missing one or two teeth on her lower jaw. Awww…] Daikichi recognizes him from his company’s clothing catalog, but Mr. Tall and Handsome explains that he’s more or less left the modeling world, having taken on the role of manager since his daughter was born for more stability. A moment later, another dad comes in, a butcher, who was once classmates with Mr. Tall and Handsome. The three of them soon hit it off and swap numbers. Daikichi is pleasantly surprised that he met “father friends” so quickly.
Later, as Daikichi wanders the school halls, he bumps into Yukari, who is also visiting and checking out Kouki’s artwork. As the two are admiring the crayon canvases, we soon hear the conversation of two mothers off in the distance, talking about how they deal with their respective kids and colds. One of the moms comment that she sent her child back to school immediately after his fever went down so she could go back to work for fear of being fired. She then justifies this by saying that he was getting better so the virus was “probably” weakened to the point where it wouldn’t be contagious and, even if it was, and he did pass it on, who would know that it was HER child that did it. […seriously ma’am? I get where you’re coming from, not wanting to miss work, but still…Viruses can be transmitted even after the symptoms fade…so isn’t it a bit irresponsible to send your child to school, knowing that there is a chance he could affect others? And the fact that you’re just going to play ignorant that another child got sick right around the time YOUR child came back from having a virus?! Ugh!] This clearly has an effect on Yukari as later she explains that she freaks out during the winter as Kouki tends to wear next to nothing around the house, only breathing a sigh of relief when the warmer weather comes. Before Daikichi has a chance to reply to this, up runs Kouki [with a runny nose…] and Rin from the gym. Daikichi chews them out, saying that they should be wearing sleeves while in the drafty gymnasium. Of course, they just say “OKAY!” and run off, with Daikichi yelling after them to NOT run in the school hall. Daikichi then explains to Yukari how weird it is telling those two not to do the very same things he was guilty of doing when he was younger. [I know how you feel with that one Daikichi…] Yukari laughs saying that if Daikichi did all those things when he was Kouki’s age and he turned out okay, she’s relieved.
On the walk home, Yukari notices that Rin is flushed red and her forehead is warm. [Good grief! Even when she’s sick, she’s so hyper-KAWAII!!!] Daikichi takes her to the doctor who diagnoses her with a stomach flu saying that everyone in the house should wear a mask.
That night at dinner, Rin’s condition gets worse as she touches only a little of her food. When Daikichi asks if she feels okay, Rin complains about not feeling right…right before she gets sick. Daikichi puts her to bed and takes her temperature: 39.8 Degrees Celsius. [Which converts to 103.6 Degrees Fahrenheit or, in culinary terms, about twenty-five degrees above the ideal temperature for eating halavah. We’re all about giving you detailed information here at “Cajun Samurai”!] Daikichi calls his mom, who at first freaks out over the fact that her little sis is sick but suggests that to help Rin take her medicine, to mix it up with fruit juice to make it more palatable. Daikichi tries this, but Rin still won’t take it, holding out her hand for him to hold.
The next morning, Yukari and Kouki stop by to check up on Rin. To keep the latter from getting her bug, Kouki is shuttled away to watch TV, quietly, while Yukari checks in on our sick little cutie. Daikichi explains that Rin’s fever has been getting worse through the night and that he’s tried to get her to take a few sips of a sports drink, but she wouldn’t drink anything or eat anything. He is clearly getting frustrated with the fact that Rin is in this condition and he’s not able to do anything. Yukari pulls Daikichi to one side for a little Parenting Tough Love. She explains to him, in short order, that he should suck it up and stay by her side; being as calm as he can and tell her that she’s going to be okay. [In other words Daikichi; NEVER LET ‘EM SEE YOU SWEAT!!!] She explains that Rin will be fine so long as she knows Daikichi is with her. Later, Rin eventually wakes up, and Yukari offers her some ice cubes which cools her down and gives her some hydration. Before she leaves, Yukari reiterates that Rin will be fine, so long as Daikichi is with her.
After calling out from work, Daikichi continues caring for Rin, giving her a few sweet tangerines before letting her lay down for some rest. Daikichi internally beats himself up, wondering why it had to be Rin to get sick and not him. He soon nods off, holding Rin’s hand, awoken by Kouki and Yukari that evening at the front door. While they’re in the kitchen cooking rice gruel [And yes, that’s what they call it–Rice Gruel…yeah, personally when I hear the word “Gruel”, I think of something you feed poor, red-headed orphans, but that’s just me…], Daikichi explains to Yukari that Rin’s fever has been going up since this afternoon. Yukari calmly explains that it’s normal for temperatures to be low in the morning and higher in the afternoon. [She’s right about that…I tend to get heated myself in the afternoons…though the source of my escalated temperature is more work related than viral.] Meanwhile, Kouki overhears Rin calling for Daikichi to bring her some water and he quickly tells the adults. Rin expresses her thanks to him, and Daikichi explains, much to Kouki’s chagrin, that she feels at ease when he’s around. Soon, Yukari comes in with her rice gruel, explaining that Kouki eats the same thing when he’s sick and that it makes him feel better in no time. Rin eats a little and says that it takes good.
That next morning, Rin is up and about and feeling just fine…if not a little wobbly on her legs. She stumbles into Daikichi’s lap who then gives her a big hug. Rin then exclaims that she’s hungry. And what do you know, her fever ain’t “High, High, High!”
Our end teaser has Daikichi picking up Rin with Kouki looking on. Daikichi asks the young boy to express his thanks to his mom for looking after Rin. Kouki, looking to be missing a front tooth, asks if he can come home with the two of them. [Good grief, do ALL kids in Japan start losing their teeth at the same time?! First Rin gets a loose tooth, then Sayaka is shown missing a few, and now Kouki…]Daikichi explains that his mom has to pick him up this time. Kouki then explains that his mom is sick with a cold. Rin immediately looks worried.
This episode really hits home on a lot of different levels. At one point or another, everyone in some way, shape or form, has had to deal with a sick child. It can be one of the most soul wrenching things you can ever experience; watching someone you love suddenly falling ill and the feeling of helplessness that comes when you try to do everything you can to take care of them to no avail. While I’m not a parent, I am an uncle, and I have had to deal with having my nephew being sick periodically. [Nothing major, thank goodness, but just the odd cold or flu…] While I can imagine that the bit of anguish I felt during those times he was sick was probably nothing to what real parents feel when their own child is ill, [Our friend TWWK over at “Beneath the Tanglees” did an AWESOME commentary on how he felt when his child got hurt…] I was still able to relate on some level to what Daikichi goes through in this episode. One minute everything is great, he’s meeting new people and he’s getting a little closer to Yukari, but all of a sudden, his world goes upside down and he has to deal with Rin being ill. It’s very well written. I also LOVE the dialogue between Yukari and Daikichi. In my eyes, she is kinda like a Parental Coach for Daikichi, being gentle yet firm when it comes to the issues that really matter. It takes her to snap Daikichi out his anguish and say in no uncertain terms “Look, you need to be strong for Rin and not let her see you worry.” She did something like this in Episode 6 when it came down to Daikichi properly taking pictures on the first day of school; she firmly coached Daikichi into taking better pictures of Rin at this important stage of her development. She’s the voice of experience that Daikichi relies on during this time, and it really shows just how deep their relationship is; she coaches but she doesn’t intrude.
The incidental music used for this particular episode is very beautiful. The piano version of “Sweet Drops” is sentimental and warm and it genuinely enhances the scenes in which it’s used. If I’m not mistaken, there was also a piano version of “High, High, High” used, but I’m not 100% certain.
Favorite scene this time around has to be the last little scene when Daikichi gives Rin a big bear hug with her sitting in his lap. You can honestly feel the relief and happiness Daikichi feels, and it just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Okay guys, this is it; we only have ONE MORE episode of “Usagi Drop” left to write-up! It’s been a long, fun trip, but sadly we’ve gotta wrap this one up! Last but not least on our list, we have Episode 11 – “The First Step”! Rin is feeling better now, but now it’s Yukari under the weather! Bummer! And, wait, what’s this about Jump Rope? Hold on–Daikichi is going to get involved too? Oh, this is gonna be interesting! What makes a grown man take up jump rope? Will Yukari recover from her cold? And what will Daikichi learn about himself as he looks back at the last year? You gotta see it to believe it! Stick around!