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Danielle Leigh’s Reading Diary — Bunny Drop volume 1

Don’t be fooled by the cutesy title — Bunny Drop is a wonderful comic about how we finally learn to grow up in more ways than we ever could have imagined.

bunny drop

For me, Bunny Drop is about how everyday human beings — your family members, even yourself — are as mysterious creatures as anything else in this world.  When thirty year old Daikichi returns home for his grandfather’s funeral, he and the rest of his his family are shocked to find that he’s left a four year old illegitimate daughter named Rin behind.   When his family tries to weasel out of caring for Rin, Daikichi impetuously declares he will raise her by himself…even though he never had any intention of having children.  Ever.

So begins Daikichi’s unexpected journey into fatherhood and learning all the ways in which he is capable of caring for another human being and had never really known it.  Watching this confirmed bachelor try to come to terms with his new responsibilities is a hoot and a half (hilariously he only realizes once he’s taken her in that Rin is twice his “natural enemy” as she is both a girl and a child and he feels comfortable around neither type of person).  Even though the comic deals with fairly mundane child-rearing issues — what daycare is right for Rin?, why does she wet the bed?, etc. — there’s nothing dull or boring about Daikichi’s adaptation to his new chaotic life and to the small little person entrusted to him.   While he struggles intellectually at times with the concept of what it means to “sacrifice” for his child, it is quite moving to see him purposefully reconstruct almost every aspect of his life so that there is room for Rin in it.

While the whereabouts of Rin’s absent mother and the kind of person the grandfather Daikichi didn’t really know was (or at least didn’t know as well as he thought he did) are the literal mysteries in this book, in this work the biggest mystery of all is how we can come to love another human being as much as we do.  If the end of volume 1 confirms that Daikichi’s grandfather had a life completely unknown to him, there is no doubt that Rin and Daikichi belong to one another as only family members can.

I would be remiss not to mention the wonderful art, with its expressive character work and smooth transitions between panels that realistically depict everyday life and ones that show how we emotionally process those same experiences.   Daikichi seems to be a prematurely aged thirty year old, but there’s a kindness in his face in spite of all the frenetic worry he’s constantly radiating, while Rin is simply cute as a button.  Although the comic manages to move outward from their tight inner-circle — into Daikichi’s work life and Rin’s school life — it always faithfully returns to this rather moving, often amusing, parent-and-child pair.  This a rare work that takes fairly universal experiences of navigating family life and finds something new and surprising to say about them.  Highly recommended.

Review copy provided by Yen Press.

9 Comments

Nice review, Daniellle. Sounds like a refreshing manga compared to the usual stuff (although there is a place for it)

Danielle Leigh

March 31, 2010 at 5:19 pm

Thanks, Oric! I really think this book would please a lot of *comic book* fans, not just manga fans.

At first, I was like “Bunny Drop, what a weird name” until I realized that it’s just a literal translation of the Japanese title. I remember reading some of this a while back, and I think you’re review is spot-on. The interactions between Rin and Daikichi are freaking adorable, and you get a real sense of affection and family between those two. And the fact that the mangaka is able to wring out some palpable drama amidst everything is nice. There’s a sense of something real at stake, especially for Rin. Definitely a nice find.

ugh, your, not you’re. Apparently, I’ve learned nothing from school.

Danielle Leigh

March 31, 2010 at 7:18 pm

Thanks, Okman! I know, I don’t usually advocate for localizing titles that much but this literal translation might be off-putting to some. On the other hand, this is a title about raising a child so I guess it’s a trade off…

And yeah, adorable is definitely the right word to describe their relationship. I was so happy to see this come out, I wish we had more titles like it.

Tom Fitzpatrick

March 31, 2010 at 8:30 pm

“Bunny Drop” ?

Are you sure you haven’t been snacking on those chocolate filled Easter Eggs spiked with marijuana? ;-)

Why do I keep hearing the Energizer Bunny theme song in my head?

Well, it’s aprils fools day tomorrow, so might as well get to the hop on it.

Sounds good. I’ll try it.

[...] 6 of Barefoot Gen (Panel Patter) Deb Aoki on vol. 1 of Bokurano: Ours (About.com) Danielle Leigh on vol. 1 of Bunny Drop (Comics Should Be Good) Connie on vol. 1 of Chronicles of the Grim Peddler (Slightly Biased Manga) [...]

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