Life, Love, and Things in Between – An Usagi Drop Approach

Usagi Drop Rin Daikichi manga ending

Over the weekend, with a bit of hesitation and a lot of curiosity, I started reading Usagi Drop. People had warned me against the manga when I first finished the anime adaptation. I was thoroughly impressed by the short twelve-episode series. So the hints of a very controversial, and perhaps even hated, manga ending come as a surprise.

Usagi Drop Rin high school manga

Yet a few chapters into the latter half of the manga (after the ten-year time skip), the direction of Usagi Drop has already become increasingly clear. The previously impossible ending becomes not only possible, but something that could even be authentic. Indeed, I quickly realize that (spoiler alert) Daikichi and Nitani (Kouki’s mother) would have never worked out, and nor would have Rin and Kouki.

The disappointments many feel of the much maligned ending likely stem from two related things: Daikichi and Nitani do not become a couple, and instead Rin and Daikichi do. I find neither point controversial nor unexpected once I have immersed myself into the life of high school Rin.

Usagi Drop Daikichi Nitani Kouki's mother love couple

True, throughout most of the series, Daikichi and Nitani seem absolutely perfect for each other in every way. Both are single parents raising a child of the same age. Their children are best friends. The two struggle through parenting and other hardships together; they complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses. And there is real chemistry between the two. Yes, they would make the perfect couple.

But, this is Usagi Drop, a manga that is not so much about the heartwarming aspects of life as it is about the harsh realities. And though the manga tries to play everything small—a story involving a mere few characters with common life crises—it cuts hard.

Usagi Drop Haruko Daikichi cousin

This approach is evident very early on in the series. Take for example, one of my favorite arcs from the anime: Haruko runs away from home with Reina because of pressures from her in-laws and other marital problems. The resolution of the arc is semi-happy at best. Haruko returns home after having found her inner strength, but her initial issues with the family are never addressed. (Years later, Haruko would divorce her husband.)

Usagi Drop Daikichi Nitani Kouki's mother love couple rejection

Life is all about compromises, and Usagi Drop is kind enough to show us that. This is no blind romantic comedy, in which everything works out and two people who, from all other’s perspectives, should be together live happily ever after. No, sometimes, or rather most times, things do not work out the way the romantics hope they would. Daikichi and Nitani could never be together because of their insecurities. And their children are the convenient excuses the two use to compromise their fears about reaching out. That Usagi Drop does not give us the lovey-dovey fantasy is beautiful in its stark yet realistic cynicism.

Usagi Drop Kouki Rin friends high school

The same attitude toward relationships is applied to most other characters. Usagi Drop’s portrayal of romance is just slightly short of the kind of true love that popular media sells. Instead, what we see are a series of infatuations and insecure, wavering interests.

The most glaring example would be the budding “love” between Reina and Kouki’s friend:

Usagi Drop Reina love practical
“If I’m confessed to by a much cooler person, I’ll be troubled. By someone like a tall looker, or similar?” -Reina

This item is certainly not lasting long.

Again, despite the slightly bitter approach to relationships, the emotions are depicted so authentically. The dating games—and what really is “love” but a series of exhausting games—are realistically decorated with all the right feelings: uncertainty, vanity, dissatisfaction.

Further, Daikichi and Nitani are too scared to go after their desires. Reina is unsure that Takeuchi is the best choice, because, let us admit, most people are shallow. Kouki puts himself in the friend zone and eventually loses Rin’s interest. The vanilla, expected pairings are all doomed to fail.

Usagi Drop Rin hair high school manga

In this context, we can rationalize the “incestuous” ending. Jaded about relationships due to her fall-out with Kouki, and having never been too intimate with other men before—Kouki’s charms can be pretty possessive—Rin turns her emotions to the only other man in her life for her rebound. The feelings may have started out as a mere subconscious joke that would then turn into a conscious possibility. The more Rin entertains this possibility, the more real it becomes. Moreover, the more doubt she has about this forbidden love, the more she desires it. It is simply human nature to want what we cannot have. That Daikichi, in the last few chapters, makes Rin wait until graduation—essentially playing hard-to-get—only solidifies Rin’s resolve.

Usagi Drop incest ending Rin Daikichi

Interestingly, we never get a strong sense of whether Daikichi feels about Rin in that way as well. We see him consider the possibility and worry about the consequences; yet we do not see him exhibit the signs of someone in love—at least, not to the same extent as he has shown when he is with Nitani. Perhaps somewhat ironically, that Daikichi is much more ready to let go of this new romance may just help glue the relationship together. Rin will have to continue to chase him, and thus, continue to be interested. I suppose in this way, Usagi Drop does build quite a happy, optimistic ending, despite the incestuous vibes.

Usagi Drop Rin Daikichi love manga end

The “incest,” while integral to much of the criticisms of the ending, is not exactly the emphasis of Usagi Drop’s ending. The social consequences are easily resolved by a convenient plot twist—Rin and Daikichi are not blood-related. [1] What Usagi Drop instead wants to fully explore are the various subtle nuances that the characters feel about relationships and love: the insecurities, infatuations, muddled ideas, and gray areas. Incest is only one of the many plot devices to showcase the rather authentic portrayal of how we approach love. And, there are few manga that do so lovelier and more painfully than Usagi Drop. [2]

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  1. Personally, I found the extra step Usagi Drop takes to address the blood-related issue a bit unnecessary. The manga could have worked even if Rin is Daikichi’s aunt. But that is a discussion for another time perhaps. (Besides, my thoughts on incest are quite liberal.)
  2. This post reads quite bitter. Maybe even more bitter than Usagi Drop.

About Yi

''lol...you're either sleeping or eating'' ''oh and watching anime'' ''and indulge in fashion.'' ... Ahh the busy life~
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186 Responses to Life, Love, and Things in Between – An Usagi Drop Approach

  1. This was fascinating. I loved how you used the characters to demonstrate how the ending grew organically from what came before.

    • Yi says:

      Glad you enjoyed the post. I really wanted to, in this post, show that the ending isn’t that out-of-the-blue. It’s actually kind of consistent with the vibe the manga has built up since earlier on.

      Thanks for reading!

  2. processr says:

    I don’t like the “they aren’t technically blood related so it’s fine” rationale one bit. From a psychological and social perspective, Daikichi has raised Rin as his daughter. They love each other as a father and a daughter would – the Ancient Greeks would have called it storge – and so the Westermarck effect should be in play. To give it credit, Bunny Drop didn’t drop the not blood related twist and then immediately have their love turn into romance – or continuing on the theme, eros. Eros is not equivalent to storge, and Bunny Drop didn’t make that mistake. The way Bunny Drop did it is probably the best deployment of that twist that I’ve heard of, and a damn sight more interesting than establishing a ‘forbidden love’ between relations and then rationalising it with no further explanation by saying they aren’t related by blood.

    • Taka says:

      In defense of the psychological perspective the Westermarck effect is believed to only apply to children 6 and under. Daikichi began raising Rin when she was six, it is likely that by the time the time for the imprinting necessary in the Westermarck effect would have passed.

      • processr says:

        Ah, for some reason I thought Rin was a little younger than that when Daikichi took her in.

        • Thamar Bunny says:

          That’s because she is. She’s five when he takes her in, but mentally it is very clear that Rin is more mature than the majority of her peers. The author also took into account the fact that Rin’s impressions regarding age are vastly different from other children her age because of the age of her adopted father.

          It doesn’t make it any stranger when she is attracted to Daikichi, though a lot of people say we are more likely to be attracted to people who resemble our parents, and Daikichi greatly resembles Koichi. So in a strange way it all makes sense. I feel rather bad for Daikichi though. To know that if you flat out refuse your child’s advances that it will have little effect must be extremely difficult. :(

        • Yi says:

          I feel the same regarding Daikichi. It feels to me almost as if he accepted her feelings in part out of resignation. He is in a rather burdensome dilemma, and there is no perfect answer.

      • Yi says:

        @Taka + processr: Love your comments. I’m learning new things everyday! ^ ^

    • Yi says:

      @processr: I actually have little problem with Daikichi and Rin having romantic feelings even if they are father-daughter by blood, so the extra convenient plot twist feels unnecessary, and almost like a cop-out.

      In any case, I do agree that Daikichi and Rin are effectively father-daughter. The first half of the manga has set that up properly, and they do definitely harbor parent-child feelings in their relationships. Nice mention on the Westermarck effect. From reading the last few chapters, I feel that it applies to Daikichi much more so than Rin. I still wonder whether Daikichi feels that way about Rin even if he does agree to explore this new relationship between them. Like you, I found this gray area in Daikichi far more rational and fascinating than what we usually in “incest” themed manga.

      “The way Bunny Drop did it is probably the best deployment of that twist that I’ve heard of, and a damn sight more interesting than establishing a ‘forbidden love’ between relations and then rationalising it with no further explanation by saying they aren’t related by blood.”
      This is such a good point. Love your insight!!! Thanks. ^ ^

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  4. hn elly says:

    This is actually the best /explanation reasoning I’ve seen of Bunny Drop’s ending.

    Although I still wish Rin and Kouki ended up together, but that’s because I like pretty boys. I’m shallow and know it.

    • Yi says:

      Thanks, hn elly. ^ ^ I’m super glad you enjoyed the lengthy post!

      I would have liked Rin and Kouki to end up together too. After all, Kouki is super sexy and quite the kind bad boy we all love in the latter half of Usagi Drop. I love him!! It’s too bad things didn’t work out, but what can we do as observers? We can’t really ever force emotions I suppose.

  5. @fkeroge says:

    Usagi Drop’s way of handling the themes that it presented was very mature and believable. In psychology, Rin’s actions up until her eventual hookup with Daikichi were perfectly reasonable. So yeah, you basically took the words right out of my mouth… hands.

    PS. I do agree that they shouldn’t have added that “not blood-related” excuse.

    • Yi says:

      Glad we see eye to eye on Usagi Drop, even down to the blood-relation issue. In any case, I don’t know too much about psychology, but I did find that a lot of the inner toils of the characters to have parallels to personal experiences. Love is painful haha. ^ ^

      Thanks for reading!

  6. Ryan A says:

    Indeed.

    I quickly realize that (spoiler alert) Daikichi and Nitani (Kouki’s mother) would have never worked out, and nor would have Rin and Kouki.

    Rin and Kouki would have never worked out in my mind primarily due to levels of maturity. I think she realized that her upbringing yielded a grounded and headstrong individual who begins to see the beauty of a relationship but understand the “boys” she’s been around are, well, boys with room to grow (Kouki is a perfect example, from start to finish). Daikichi and Nitani are a bit different in my opinion.

    Daikichi and Nitani could never be together because of their insecurities. And their children are the convenient excuses the two use to compromise their fears about reaching out.

    They kept themselves apart. I feel the story would have been much different if Daikichi and Nitani were more assertive about their relationship and approached it openly. What destroyed their chance more than anything was inaction and the justification in passing time. It was too late, and I feel Rin would have strongly refused it somewhere around the beginning of middle school (puberty).

    I do wondering how things would have turned out had Daikichi found someone to share his life with and together, raise Rin.

    Usagi Drop’s portrayal of romance is just slightly short of the kind of true love that popular media sells.

    I’m not so much about “true love” in popular media, but I do like little bits of magnetism and flirting, though I think what we have with Usagi Drop is more appealing for it’s realistic texture. The story is challenging, it pushes us in how we think and feel about love and roles, and I find that respectable.

    With regard to dating games and love, I find them vastly different. Love, in my experience, is actually a simple concept but extremely difficult to maintain, especially depending on lifestyle (goals, work, business). Attraction, infatuation, attentiveness, warm nights, and arguments… games, obstacles, and hoop-jumping are all surrounding love and relationships, but I feel these kind of things are contextual influences on love which may help or hinder individuals in the action and procession of love.

    Rin’s feelings toward Daikichi seemed to navigate around the concept of “games,” and we understand Rin through her desire for things to remain as they “were” with her and Daikichi together in their quaint home. It’s very sweet, and simplistic, but the wholesomeness of unfulfilled love is questionable. This leads me to the conclusion, where we learn that Rin and Daikichi are not actually related.

    A happy ending? Had they been related, I feel Daikichi would have held his ground and Rin’s love would have gone unrequitted; time mends a heartbreak, though nobody wants a heartbroken Rin. Daikichi, still, is not completely understanding or supportive of Rin’s feelings, yet he does not close himself off to possibility, and most importantly, the relationship they’ve had since Rin’s childhood is maintained. I find the idea of a happy family particularly wonderful.

    And, there are few manga that do so lovelier and more painfully than Usagi Drop.

    Well, I really loved this manga in it’s serious and earnest approach in dealing with characters or lives that most of us will never fully understand through experience. I think this story is perhaps difficult, but also meaningful to encounter.

    P.S. I’m not sure how I feel about this comment. *shrug

    • Yi says:

      Wow, so many good things here as always! Always love your insights.

      I agree that Rin is more mature in terms of being able to carry herself calmly in most situations, but I don’t know if she is more mature than Kouki when it comes to relationships and feelings. In fact, throughout much of the manga, Kouki seems more sure of what he wants than Rin is about what she wants. In that respect, she’s not much better than Reina for much of the second half of the manga.

      Nitani and Daikichi are just like Reina and Rin (at least the Rin before she confesses to Daikichi) as well. They are all too insecure and too scared to commit to a relationship; always wondering if it’s not better to stay the same or if they might miss out on a better opportunity (either for themselves or for the other half as is the case with Daikichi and Nitani).

      “I feel the story would have been much different if Daikichi and Nitani were more assertive about their relationship and approached it openly.”
      Exactly! Wouldn’t life be so much easier if we were all more assertive and confident? To be honest, I hate playing games when it comes to love and relationships, but it’s inevitable in the world we live in.

      Speaking of which, lately I’ve started to be a bit skeptical about romantic love. It seems like all love is is just extended infatuations that are just as easily broken and flippant. All the little things you mentioned (dating, warm nights…etc.) are not just helping/ hindering procession of love. They are what love is, and they are so fragile in keeping connections together. In any case, I definitely agree that love is extremely difficult to maintain.

      “It’s very sweet, and simplistic, but the wholesomeness of unfulfilled love is questionable.”
      Well said about Rin! Her infatuation with Daikichi is cute and sweet. I thought the same thing earlier on in the second half regarding her and Kouki. It’s only sweet and simple when the interest is there. Hopefully, it will continue to be. And I have good feelings about it partly because of what you said:

      “Rin’s feelings toward Daikichi seemed to navigate around the concept of “games,” and we understand Rin through her desire for things to remain as they “were” with her and Daikichi together in their quaint home… the relationship they’ve had since Rin’s childhood is maintained.”

      Usagi Drop is definitely a super difficult story, but I think once in a while, it’s good to read something so harsh~

      p.s. ♥
      p.p.s. Thanks for the thoughts. I have a lot more to think about now as I re-read the post and others’ comments.

      • Ryan A says:

        I would agree that Rin is less experienced than Kouki in relationships and likely less mature in that regard. I think Rin’s maturity comes in what she sees is the focus of others; the big thing for kids is school, the big thing for couples is marraige, and the big thing for parents is raising kids, etc. She seems to want to avoid playing around the sandbox in many respects, but I feel she had figured out what she wanted after she fell out of love with Kouki (she mentions various timings in the story), though she lacked the ability to act on her feelings due to the unusual circumstance.

        In many ways I think Rin was going about love in reverse. Her initial desire was simply a happy coexistence with someone she loves, which seems more worldly than dating, mixing, and other games. I think she sees something of greater value beyond the games, and doesn’t wish to submit herself to something that might not be meaningful… that shows both naivety and maturity in my opinion; naive because she hasn’t actually experienced any of it, but mature to not require it. But I’d imagine her and Daikichi will end up sharing dates and such.

        And I can identify with Rin. I’ve grown so bored and exhausted with [initial] games that I’m consistently pessimistic about carrying on romatic chemistry with anyone more than a few years younger. In love, these games aren’t necessary, but they can foster deeper feelings over time. Though I understand your view argues that love is just that, I find it difficult to fully agree. I can think of at least two significant others who I’d be able to manage love without the games, though it’s not that we didn’t play games, but they are merely behind us now. Here’s what I know: I can play the games, feel the infatuation, and at the end of the day honestly say I’m not in love. The feeling I know simply isn’t there, and I believe games are primarily surface activity anyway. A form of love, perhaps, but lighter and less persistent.

        On the other hand, growing a healthy relationship over time, time which most adolescents aren’t willing to give, may lead to minimal effort to continue the games. Yet even without them, love can exist beautifully deep in being. It’s nothing fancy, just a simple and honest inner-vibe.

        I agree that playing games can keep us “connected,” but I’m afraid that even after connections pass, love may carry on a longing echo. Sometimes I wish this were forgotten knowledge.

        Usagi Drop is definitely a super difficult story, but I think once in a while, it’s good to read something so harsh~

        Rin and Daikichi will do alright, and I’m pleased with the story, but it was quite conflicting, right?

        P.S. Sorry for the lengthy comments, I should really think about clipping and commenting on my own blog sometime.

        • Yi says:

          Hm… I have to say, that’s a fine way of looking at Rin. And I think you’ve nailed it exactly. Her thoughts, motivations, approach to relationships, and all that.

          As for the games… They are exhausting. And love… I suppose I am still young and still learning what it is~ I do hope you are right, and I’m wrong. ^ ^

          If I ever get the chance to, I should tell you about some recent things in the brief months I’ve been in Taiwan.

        • Ryan A says:

          Learning is eternal, perhaps. I know I’ve much to learn just looking at those around me; parents and older relatives. And we (everyone) have our own unique experiences, so maybe it doesn’t happen the same for all. An internal feeling that seems like it’ll continue even after one has long vanished from this lovely world; maybe not everyone finds that elusive pain.

          Maybe we can share about that next time we catch up, Yi.

        • Yi says:

          Haha, I love this: “maybe not everyone finds that elusive pain.” Yet we’re all looking for it.

          And yes, we should, next time we catch up.

  7. hoshiko says:

    I end up not reading the manga because I wanted to preserve the sweet aftertaste the anime has given. And because I have not read it, I cannot comment about why Daikichi and Nitani or Kouki and Rin would never worked out. But I do think Usagi Drop has always been proving something that is different from the usual norms could work and life isn’t a bed of roses.

    • Yi says:

      Yea, I think even in the anime, we really get to see how life is not as rosy as we wish it were. Haruko’s arc is my favorite in the anime for precisely that reason.

      Anyway, the sweet aftertaste is beautiful, but I think a bit of bitterness may be good at times too. The manga is wonderfully written. ^ ^

  8. gan says:

    Hmm….reading your post,it seems that the ending is not *that* bad as everyone is making a fuss of….or maybe you’re the first person who I’ve come across has taken it in the right spirit :)
    If you’ve liked Usagi Drop,I suggest you try Yotsuba&! (manga) it’s a wonderful series,although it has more emphasis on slice of life than romance (in fact,it doesnt have nay romance at all!)

    • Yi says:

      I can kind of understand how a lot of people would be put off by the ending, but yea, it’s not as bad as some make it out to be.

      Anyway, great suggestion!! I am up to date with Yotsuba&! In fact, it’s one of my favorite manga ever; it’s just so incredibly heartwarming. I have to say though that it has a very subtly different vibe from Usagi Drop, which is just slightly more cynical and bitter than the happy, fluffy Yotsuba.

      Thanks for the comment and the recommendation!

  9. Smithy says:

    Glad to read you enjoyed the manga so much, it really is a great story, though must personally confess I was let down by the end as I wanted everything to be unrealistically perfect in a romantic sugar coated way, Daikichi x Nitani, Rin & Kouki become happy young adults each finding true love.

    Perhaps that’s because I love how some manga, anime or fictional stories can offer us such an idealized, impossible romance that makes it a believable emotional crutch to support my own insecure fatalistic views about love and romance (what is love, does it even exist, can I even feel it,…).

    • Yi says:

      “I wanted everything to be unrealistically perfect in a romantic sugar coated way, Daikichi x Nitani, Rin & Kouki become happy young adults each finding true love.”

      To be honest, I do too… I really wanted the rosy ending where no one is hurt and everyone has someone he or she loves.

      It’s true. Anime, movies, books, fantasies all give us an escape from the harsh realities, and I do enjoy indulging myself in them. That’s why I was so shaken by how painful Usagi Drop’s authenticity is at first. Emotionally affected, but super impressed.

      p.s. Love this:
      “fictional stories can offer us such an idealized, impossible romance that makes it a believable emotional crutch to support my own insecure fatalistic views about love and romance”
      It rings so true for me too.

  10. Pingback: What’s Family? A Response to Yi’s Post on Usagi Drop «

  11. ayame says:

    I like the way you explain and talk about why we didn’t end up with a sugary ending. BUT I think that the end is unjustifiable. I’m not against incest between two people around the same age, but way older x way younger pair is quite disgusting. Transforming a filial/parental love into something with sexual implications is utterly a failure in my eyes from the part of the mangaka and is completely twisted. It’s not like I can’t understand Rin, yet Daikichi ends up accepting and that’s what enrages me. It’s also quite sudden of Daikichi to change his feelings and he seems to me like going with the flow… =.= The other enraging thing is the ‘not blood excuse’ that is given by that gerontophile ‘mother’ of hers! Well, bravo to being so supportive of such an anomaly! This person who has made a havoc out of her own life and Rin’s life shouldn’t have the right to advice Rin. How did she dare, that stupid woman???

    The perfect way for Usagi drop to end would be pairing Rin and Daikichi with completely irrelevant people. THAT would be realistic, normal and most of all healthy. It would show that life goes on, that the characters are on new adventures.

    • Yi says:

      Hm… I think this incest issue is quite polarizing, and I have to say, I don’t share your opinion.
      “Transforming a filial/parental love into something with sexual implications is utterly a failure in my eyes from the part of the mangaka and is completely twisted.”
      I have no problem with incest of any kind as long as it’s consensual, whether it’s between siblings, across generations, or anything. I can understand, however, how some may find it twisted or disgusting–after all, our society has shaped us to believe that. For most though, it’s a moral ickiness issue, but I think morals are overrate. To me, love is love. I can’t really think of a legitimate reason why two people should not be together even if they are blood-related or if they are parent-child besides.

      Besides that, I have to agree–pairing Rin and Daikichi with completely irrelevant people would be an even more realistic ending. Whether it’s healthier, however, is up to debate, because again, social expectations or what ought not to be are not necessarily healthy or unhealthy.

      Thanks, Ayame, for a clear, strong, passionate voice. ^ ^

      • ayame says:

        Sorry, I get too engaged in stories that I get a bit out of hand, huh?

        Love is love is very simple logic but life isn’t that simple. I was like that some point in the past. Yet now I can’t seem to accept or like situations like this. And it’s not because I suddenly got more conservative. Even between non relatives (eg Masako’s relationship to grandpa), pairs with an age difference over a devade are not… very healthy especially for the younger person most of the times. I used to think,’heck! the fate brought it that way and they are trapped in so different bodies’. But I speculated, even from my limited experience, that the younger person gets too assimilated and transformed to fit the older person’s habits and tastes and ideas. The younger partner is also less likely to be considered and be addressed as equal, since power dynamics between the ‘wise’ one and the less ‘mature’ one form. A healthy relationship is at least to my eyes one between equals with respect to one another, where the individuals can remain individuals and at the same time share common values, likings and targets. I opposed so adamantly to a relationship between Rin and Daikichi because such a relationship wouldn’t benefit either as individual. It’s tragic, especially for Rin to have known only on love in her life and to be her ‘father’. Mixing sexual and romantic love with parental isn’t a good idea and not only for the health or baby issues… I hope you understand my point. It isn’t based on illogical hate, but from a rejection in my life of the prince archetype (*coughUtenacough*). Partners are sure protective of one another; in such pairings protectiveness and the sense of safety is misleading the least and goes way beyond it.

        • Yi says:

          Ahh, please don’t apologize. ^ ^ I love your comment and I love it when people invest passion into their words. ♥

          You make a lot of excellent points, and it’s hard to argue against them. In particular, life totally is not that simple… And love is not just love. (If it really were, it wouldn’t be so simple…) Still, I suppose I was more concerned with the slippery slope of generalizing all relationships with wide age gaps as relationship with power imbalances. Of course, I’m sure that there are plenty that do have skewed power dynamics, but the same could be said of similar age relationships. I hesitate to call out a particular couple based singularly on their ages. And I do believe there are plenty that work out. Further, physical age and mental maturity are not always the same, and in the case of Rin and Daikichi, I actually think Rin can keep up with Daikichi. Not only that, she holds just as much power as Daikichi in this romance. (btw. Daikichi isn’t the only love Rin has experienced; she once loved Kouki as well.)

          Yet, I do understand your point. And what do I really know. I’ve never fallen in romantic/ sexual love with a parental figure, or with someone more than a dozen years older than me.

      • Kat says:

        Incest is NOT a moral issue forced by society. I’m a psychology student, and it’s been proven time and time again that neurological pathways are built up over long periods, and they are extremely hard to change – nearly impossible. Daikichi will always look upon Rin as a child, someone he had to love and protect as a father. Much in the same way that a mother still worries about her 30 year old son walking home.

        Conflicting neurological pathways create stress, physical illness and depression. That is why we as a society find it “icky” – because there is a huge difference between familial and sexual love. It’s not a lack of respect for love or a lack of liberalism. It’s a harmful relationship, especially when it’s between a guardian and a ward. It’s very irritating to have someone claim that things are fine and have no consequences when they have been proven to not only harm the people involved, but tear families apart as well because of their entirely reasonable disgust.

        • Yi says:

          There’s a lot to talk about here, so I’ll address your points one by one.

          First, I still maintain that incest is a moral issue forced by society. Now, I contend that yes, neurological pathways are built up over long periods and are hard to change. (Although brain plasticity may surprise you, for the sake of argument, we’ll say near impossible.) I will, again for the sake of argument, concede that conflicting neurological pathways create stress. Depression is often coupled an imbalance of neurotransmitters, but sure, we’ll go with your point.

          However, here’s the important point. The reason we think these feelings are conflicting is because of morals forced by society. What is conflicting is not defined inherently or biologically, but by society. Consider especially that across cultures ancient, we have societies that do engage in incest, where incest is the norm. In those societies, the feelings do not create conflict. Therefore, we see that the conflicting feelings—the disgust—hinges on what kind of morals your society holds. You are confusing the biological mechanism with the actual motivations.

          Finally, it’s very irritating for someone to claim that things are proven when they cite no credible source. (“I am a psychology student” does not make you a credible source.) It is also irritating to see someone say I claim things are fine when I have not said that. Incest is clearly not fine, because we live in a society that does not tolerate incest. The disgust is reasonable from other’s point of view, but we should look at where the disgust comes from, and not just accept the disgust as absolute. If we did, we would not have progressed so far civilly and socially.

          Cheers!

          p.s. I am a medical student, and I know my neuroscience and psychology as well. ^ ^

        • JJJJ says:

          Whether you agree with the moral aspect or not, I think the comic really is about understanding that perspective and even sympathize with it to a certain level. You see that played out in all kinds of films, whether it’s Citizen Kane, Raging Bull, Mean Streets.. You don’t have to like or approve what they did but understand what they did.. if you have in it your heart to tolerate their difference, just wish the best of luck in their lives. The important thing to remember is that their future is open ended.. you don’t know if there would be harm involved. Or is Rin better being in a loveless traditional relationship like Haruko?

          After all, this is Josei manga, where moral ambiguity is a common theme for that genre. You can see that quite clearly in the way she portrays Rin’s mother. By all standards, Rin’s mother is considered a horrible mother, and people have the right to see her as such.. But at the same time the authors makes a point not to make her a villiain, and shows her side of the story. She does care about her in her own way and she has put herself in this sort of exile as mean to punish herself.

          As Atticus Finch once said, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view – until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” (To Kill A mockingbird). I think the what the author wanted out all this is not this one-dimensional understand of good/evil but rather, to say how multi-faceted and complicated life can be, just like how life can be in real life.

          Here’s a real life example. I have a friend who married one of my professor wholike 30 years older than her. At first it was really awkward. But we knew our professor well enough.. if was kind of an idiot savant. He was brilliant but emotionally he was like a 5-years old. In the end they we all just celebrated the two and kind of realize that in many ways they were fit for each other. As far as I can tell, they were very happy and perfect for each other until my professor passed away not long ago.

        • Yi says:

          @JJJJ: This is one of the more well-thought-out comments here, and I can not add any more to it, but to acknowledge it. Eloquently put, well-reasoned, and a touch of hopeful tenderness—which I sorely missed in my own words on this ending. I agree with all you’ve said. Thank you, darling, for this! ❤

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  13. Nopy says:

    I was spoiled to the ending of Usagi Drop even before I watched the anime, so when I did watch, it I was watching through incest goggles. At one point, I was expecting them to tear down everything that had been built up in the anime (ie: the ‘family’ relationships), but then I found out it was only 12 episodes. I guess they didn’t want to turn Usagi Drop into a darker anime, keeping it innocent and happy.

    • Yi says:

      Interesting use of “darker” anime. While I wouldn’t say that the second half of the manga is darker–relationships, romance, and love may be harsh and painful, but not really dark–it is very heavy. Still, I get what you’re trying to say I think. ;)

      I think I can understand why the anime kept it fairly innocent and heartwarming, but my favorite parts from the anime are those moments when the realities of life seeps through (e.g. Haruko’s arc).

  14. Wieselhead says:

    thx for this post, I mean it ;)
    Well, I was curious about how the story would progress, after just hearing that a few people where dissapointed by this end. But I couldn’t find the time and motivation to read it by myself.

    The idea of raising up your own lover is a bit creepy, but I can’t really blame Daikichi for that outcome, as spare dad he tried his best and he never did or thought something dirty when
    she was small. But It’s definetely a surprising outcome that these two became lovers.
    You would think there are still some other options left for a guy like him aside from the person he was raising.

    Allow me one question, was the relationship they’ll end up more guided by Rin or did Daikichi play a big role as well?

    His grandfather also liked younger ones, maybe Daikich had it in his genes… :P

    • Yi says:

      No, thank you for reading and the comment. ^ ^

      A lot of people have told me about the disappointing ending as well, so I put it off for a long while too, but I’m kind of glad I still eventually got around to it.

      There really isn’t anything to blame; I don’t think there’s much wrong with the idea of Rin and Daikichi being in love. And further, as you said, Daikichi does his best to raise Rin.

      “was the relationship they’ll end up more guided by Rin or did Daikichi play a big role as well?”
      Rin discovers her feelings for Daikichi first, and confesses eventually. Daikichi does not reject them. And I think it’s good he doesn’t. After all, one cannot force emotions.

      “His grandfather also liked younger ones, maybe Daikich had it in his genes… “
      Loll. To be fair, Daikichi and Rin are not blood-related, so we don’t know exactly what Grandpa and Rin’s birth mother’s relationship is.

  15. Arthur says:

    I would have loved to see Daikichi and Nitani as a couple, but i think it would also have been ok if no one got a lover by the end of the manga.
    But i don’t like how it “ended” between Daikichi and Nitani. I may remember this wrong, but i believe when he finally tells her how he feels she rejects him, because 1) she doesn’t deserve this kind of happiness und 2) she got another man because of 1). This made me really angry. If she just fell in love with another man or worded her rejection differently i wouldn’t have a problem with it, but saying it like this is just wrong in my opinion. But it’s quite some time since i read this, so maybe it wasn’t exactly like this.

    And i also don’t like the ending, or more exactly, the last chapter. I’m just not so comfortable with this, because i think blood is not as important as is time spend to raise your kids. So i see Daikichi simply as Rins father and nothing more.
    And while Rin is nicely devolped so you can understand her emotions, Daikichi seems to get ignored in that matter. The last chapter feels to me like “well, whatever, let’s just get this over with”. Daikichi doesn’t see Rin as a lover, but because she wants it, he goes along. So his feelings doesn’t matter i guess.

    I like the manga as a whole, but i choose to ignore the last chapter. So for me it ended with ch 55.

    • Yi says:

      It’s certainly not a sweet thing, the way Daikichi and Nitani ended. Yet, I find this to be very authentic thing… Some even remind me of my own experiences. The insecurities about herself and relationships Nitani feels are so real, and the way she expresses those fears in rejecting Daikichi sounds real. For that, I appreciate and even love how Usagi Drop does it. And as a side note, most people have a hard time with relationships, with rejections, and with delivery of rejections.

      As for the final ending and the last chapter, I agree: Daikichi and Rin are effectively father-daughter, blood-related or not. But must that be a problem? I may be a bit too liberal here, but here’s a challenging question. Why is it not possible for their relationship to be both lovers and parent-child?

      Anyway, thanks a lot for reading and for the comment, doll. ^ ^

  16. Stef says:

    Interesting. Me and my family have (fiercely) debated recently about intergenerational romance, but the manga apparently takes it to a whole new level! I wonder what my parent’s reactions would be…
    I’ve read a tome of it though, and it seems really interesting. I’ll continue it without a doubt and make my own opinion on the ending.

    • Yi says:

      Hehe, yea, intergenerational romance can be quite a controversial issue in today’s society. In fact, just the other day, I was discussing Woody Allen’s marriage the other day with a close friend, and we just could not see eye-to-eye.

      Anyway, thanks for reading, Stef. ^ ^ Let me know what your thoughts are on the ending!

      p.s. Just out of curiosity, and feel free not to answer, but which side were you on in the talk on intergenerational romance?

      • Stef says:

        I was actually the one with the controversial opinion. I think people should date whoever they want to, as long as no one takes advantage of the other, which was the tricky part.
        The only real life examples of this kind of relationship I know of are teachers and university professors who you could say for most of them didn’t have “innocent” motives.
        Not exactly in my favor. However I had in mind all these works of fiction, movies, novels and comic books showing it in a relative good light. What I can say is that the number of real life occurrences are too few to draw any conclusion against it. But again I was accused to be too theoretical on the subject. But I maintain that theory must come before practical adjustments, or we are doomed to make arbitrary decisions.
        Anyway that was a lot of fun to yell our arguments at each other.

        PS: I’ll make sure to tell you my feelings!

        • Yi says:

          I don’t think it should be that controversial of an opinion, but alas, the society we live in still cannot accept certain relationships; that much is clear. I think there are quite a number of real life occurrences, but it’s simply that none get too widely publicized, nor should they be. (btw. A few well-known couples are Woody Allen and his wife and to a lesser degree, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher.)The age difference should not be something that makes a relationship particularly outstanding or noteworthy.

          Thanks for the comment!

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  19. Kai says:

    I was never an avid manga reader, not to say I hate them, just that I watch anime more so then manga as I seem to prioritize on the latter for some unknown reasons. When I have the time and I should have read manga at the time, I would rather watch new anime or just play some visual novels.

    And so, I never knew the manga went to “such” an approach D; Not like I plan to read it but I really do understand the hate for the manga.

    • Yi says:

      I think I lean more toward anime as well. And for most titles, I tend to usually just do one or the other (i.e. if I have watched the anime adaptation, I don’t read the manga, and vice versa). But for Usagi Drop, the anime is so marvelous that I felt compelled to read the manga as well.

      Anyway, I should know, even though the manga went in that direction, I loved it. This post really is kind of a defense for the manga ending, and to somewhat address all the criticisms.

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  21. Cell says:

    After getting past the first part of the manga, I forced myself to try to read the rest (forced because there was no longer the innocent and cute little Rin anymore). When I finally managed to reach this somewhat unexpected end, I wasn’t too thrilled. But, this post gave me a new perspective of the ending. Perhaps this kind of ending is the most fitting for Usagi Drop.

    • Yi says:

      I’m glad I could offer a different perspective. There are so many ways to read and dissect this manga, and my interpretations and feelings on it are only one of them. I guess that’s part of what makes this manga so incredible!

  22. SnippetTee says:

    I was also warned not to read the manga if I want to preserve the heartwarming vibes of the anime. And likewise, I was a bit spoiled about the controversial ending however I didn’t know that Rin and Daikichi aren’t blood-related. I found out just now.

    To be honest I have mixed feelings when it comes to incest most specifically when it comes to hetero love. It doesn’t matter to me who people loved because it’s their own life, people should be free to do anything on their own peril. However, what I find reprehensible is creating another life that will suffer from the decisions of others. It’s pretty well-known that blood-related parents will have higher incidence of having a genetically disordered offspring. That’s why I’m not going to deny, I’m bit relieved to know that Daikichi and Rin aren’t blood related. What I realized is that the real challenge on Daikichi and RIn’s relationship is how accepting the society is, when it comes to someone who raised a kid as his own child, would just flip their relationship romantically—I think that’s the real taboo of the story. Indeed, taking out the blood-related issue might have elevated the “gross factor” for a bit but the sad reality is this kind of a relationship is still socially condemned by most part because in the eyes of the public the characters still hold that father-daughter relationship. That’s why I agree that Usagi Drop does not really have a happy ending despite the fact that Daikichi and Rin aren’t blood related. And come to think of it, the characters still suffered from incest taboo, regardless. Because after all, incest isn’t just purely bounded to biology so to speak, but also a social implication.

    • Yi says:

      “It’s pretty well-known that blood-related parents will have higher incidence of having a genetically disordered offspring.”

      This is a very common argument against incest, and I feel like it’s one that has very dangerous implications. By this line of logic, are we to also condemn people with genetic disorders from having children? What of someone whose family history has shown that it is possible her children will suffer from something like Tay-sachs, or Huntington’s, or a host of other heritable diseases? Is it not OK for anyone who has a slight possibility/ higher incidence of passing those conditions onto their children to have children?

      Further, this then gets into the realm of genetic engineering/ selection. We may be talking about illnesses for now, but it’s not a far stretch from socially unaccepted traits: ugliness, low intelligence, clumsiness… etc.

      Finally, there is also the idea of equating love, romance, relationship, marriage, and procreation. That, in itself, is full of holes I think.

      Still, I would agree. What will be most difficult thing facing Rin and Daikichi from now on would probably be societal pressures–how would society look at their age gap, and especially after knowing their past parent-daughter relationship? The taboo is very real, but hopefully, one day, it won’t be. For now though, I think those two can handle it.

  23. jreding says:

    I became quite emotionally invested w/ the anime so I got pretty worked up when I learned about the manga ending. I expressed my thoughts in a lengthy comment at Altair & Vega’s – http://bit.ly/u8XG5h – which could as well serve as a comment to this post but which I don’t want to repeat. Since then I did not find the emotional calmness I’d need to fully appreciate the manga. So I hardly have the right to make an assertive comment on it.

    However, I hope you don’t mind a few words on your post, Yi, which – as always – gave me a lot to think about:

    I do not doubt that the manga gives an honest portrait of the love “game” with all its insecurities and failings. Yet, I think that most people grow with experience and find their way, sinuous as it may be. Yet Rin, from what I learned, gives up on walking this path before it even started. She does not develop but regresses to a relation which is… conspiciously similar to Masako’s with her father. This seems hardly authentic to me but rather somewhat sick.

    Don’t get me wrong – I don’t mind the incest nor do I see much of a power imbalance. But I’ve been rooting for Rin and the ending suggests to me that one day she will end up like Masako whom I could hardly call a happy person. In my personal view, the manga ending is less a portrait of the surprising ways of love but of the boundaries which intergenerational patterns and learned behavior put to one’s freedom to search for happiness.

    Do you think Rin is a happy person?

    Postscriptum: I just love the colour picture with Rin wearing that blue tie. It accentuates so well that youthful, stretched outline of hers. And, but this is just my imagination, she might like it for the uniform gives her a proper role in life.

    • Yi says:

      Most people do grow with experience indeed. But I do believe that perhaps it’s more apt to say, most people learn to accept reality and reject overly romantic notions… settle. That, in itself, is a form of growth I suppose. Rin kind of does this when she develops feelings for Daikichi. She settles for what she feels is most familiar, yet at the same time, unreachable, fresh territory. But I digress.

      I hesitate to call either Masako or Rin sick. I’ve always held that emotions and feelings, as easily manipulated as they may be, are out of our controls. They come about just because. And thus, it’s hard to be judgmental about these girls. In this context, the way Rin realizes she loves Daikichi seems authentic.

      ” the manga ending is less a portrait of the surprising ways of love but of the boundaries which intergenerational patterns and learned behavior put to one’s freedom to search for happiness.”
      Hm… This I do not disagree. ^ ^ I’d even go broader and say that the manga is about how everything (learned behavior, social context, personal growth…etc.) limits one’s freedom to search for happiness. (Refer again to Haruko’s arc.) It’s not a happy tale.

      But is Rin happy? That I don’t know… In fact, it’s hard to say if anyone is truly happy.

      p.s. The fashion is even more evident in the manga. It’s wonderfully drawn and styled. ^ ^

      • jreding says:

        I got a bit carried away when I called Rin’s and Masako’s relations somewhat sick. On second thoughts, this is a harsh expression which should be used more carefullly in a discussion like this one. Please excuse this with my sincere rooting for a happy ending for Rin!

  24. ojisan says:

    Wow. It’s a tribute to the quality of your post (and your site) that you’ve gathered such a well-versed, articulate and polite exchange on such a touchy subject – a social taboo AND a popular yet divisive show.

    I have no exposure to the manga, loved the anime episodes very much, and was disillusioned by what I’d heard about the ending, suspecting that it was something that came more from editorial management than authorial intent (that’s how I explain it to myself when a manga-ka I like does something I don’t like). I’m willing to accept the story as a whole & give the author more credit for intent, thanks to all the above – and particularly to processr’s contribution.

    Not to start another fire, but it’d be interesting to compare & contrast this to another controversial entrant in the topic – Koi Kaze. It’s a show that has no “unrelated by blood” escape hatch, a much darker and more sexual tone, but still insists on the full range of fears & emotions that go with the terrain. I’m still not sure whether it’s a responsible portrayal or not, but I can’t forget or dismiss it. There: you’ve been enticed & warned -

    • Yi says:

      Interesting note on Koi Kaze. I felt like Usagi Drop, in some sense, avoids tackling the incest taboo heads on. Besides the “unrelated by blood” plot twist, there are also only so many pages dedicated to addressing the potential social consequences. For the most part, Usagi Drop treats it much more like a silly girl in love, and a clumsy guy unsure of how to address it. As such, my post, perhaps somewhat irresponsibly, also kind of ignores the big elephant in the room. (TWWK in his post points this out wonderfully.) The comparisons/ contrasts to Koi Kaze would thus be particularly fascinating, especially seeing how the two approaches incest in widely different ways and depth.

      Thanks for reading and bringing up such great thoughts, ojisan!

  25. choco says:

    Oh no ~,~
    I’m still waiting for the last volume released on Amazon on Apr 2nd 2012. I ordered the whole set right after the anime though, but still haven’t had the last one.
    Now, I can’t be patiently waiting for it anymore.

    • Yi says:

      If you really can’t wait, perhaps you could read scanlations for now before the last volume arrives. I hope I didn’t spoil anything for you.

      • choco says:

        No worries, it’s not like spoilers bother me. I’ve read your reviews before picking some anime after all. I will google scanlations, definitely. ^^V
        And, Happy Nyuu Nyaa. Wish you all the best in life, work and love. Be cool.

        • Yi says:

          Good luck, and I hope you enjoy the manga!

          Also, thanks for the good wishes. Happy New Year to you as well. May we both have an incredible, great year ahead. ^ ^

  26. Louis says:

    I actually felt that the ending was sort of a betrayal of what the manga was trying to show at the start. I personally don’t agree with parental/care-giver romantic relationships. I have nothing against love for authority figures or love for a person with a vastly different age, yet I just can’t support a relationship between that of a representative parent/daughter. While, I understand that Rin didn’t consider him to be his father, Daikichi on several occasions stated that he saw Rin as a daughter (and even if she refused to recognize him as a father, that still doesn’t negate all the past things/works that Daikichi performed for her which were in essence acts of a surrogate father).
    For me, the ending was too hastily/badly written. At the start of the manga, I had the thought that the manga and main story of Usagi Drop was to be about Daikichi’s experiences at being a single father (Looking at the trials/”sacrifices” of single parenthood in modern Japanese society) and show that having children/raising children can be one of the most beautiful yet difficult endeavors to take upon (The only recognition you receive from it is the happiness of the child). What the ending did, however, for me, was completely change this main idea (prior time skip) or main purpose of the story into a romance that I did not quite feel was properly shown beforehand at all prior to the time skip (There were some hints, but very few).
    If the manga had continued on strictly with the themes it presented about raising children and children raising you, then it could have talked about one of the final memorable aspects of parenthood: seeing your child graduate from college or seeing your child move out to start their own life. Overall, for me, the manga ending reflects poorly on Daikichi as a parental figure, since for me, the main purpose of the first part of the manga was solely about parenthood and the innocent beauty that can be found by being a parent.

    • Yi says:

      I think our views on parental figure-child romantic relationships are fundamentally different, and that’s fine. We all have things we find agreeable or disagreeable, and our view of the ending would thus be affected.

      Still, I’d like to point out a few of my thoughts. First, I think Rin does indeed see Daikichi as a father. The romantic interest is on top of that. In her (and my) mind, parent and lover are not mutually exclusive.

      The second, I don’t think the ending is hastily or badly written. It may be a disagreeable, controversial, or even horrendous plot development for some, but I think it is still carefully calculated and emotionally exact (as the post argues). Whether the incest makes for a good ending and whether it deviates too much from the ideal end both do not take away from how authentic the inner emotional toils are portrayed.

      Further, Usagi Drop never claims its characters are good people or always do the right things. Not only that, I’d argue it shows a pretty cynical rather than innocently happy view of parenting and the real world–Haruko arc is pretty good example of it; the simple joy of raising a child is not so simple and comes with many sacrifice… And life doesn’t always work out. If the manga reflects poorly on Daikichi (which we disagree on), then so be it. Usagi Drop set out to show the struggles and harshness of relationships, and leaves our feelings for the characters to ourselves. I don’t think that really takes away from its quality. After all, this is a wonderfully difficult manga to read, but lovely nonetheless.

      • Louis says:

        I might have been too harsh by calling the manga’s ending badly written or hastily written. It just didn’t work for me, but if it works for you than that is totally great. Maybe if I look at it from your point of view, it will also work for me as well. The probable reason I believed that the ending was “bad” could be that I didn’t think the first part of the manga was about different relationships, to me it was solely about parenthood, with it looking at different aspects of parenthood (the mother in a horrible relationship or the single mother/single father living life with their children or grandparents reflecting their experience to their children ). For me, the main reason why I thought that Daikichi was reflected poorly as a parent, through the manga ending, was that he didn’t try to ease Rin’s confusion about their established relationship (I mean, she’s only 16 years old when she has these feelings). He just accepted her feelings because it makes her happy, even though those feelings are the cruelest thing that could ever happen to him. In my earlier post, I said that the only recognition a parent can receive for doing all they do was the happiness of their child. With this ending, it sort of changes the meaning of this message into that a parent should only seek the happiness of the child, even though what makes that child happy could be seen as questionable (Well, questionable to me). Overall, you are a lot like my friend since we have had this debate before NUMEROUS times. These times though were really fun and memorable though. I still think though that parent/lover roles are mutually exclusive since they are such totally different life roles. Also, I thought that Usagi Drop actually showed hopeful insights into those other relationships. Haruko eventually divorces her husband and she and her daughter have a visible happy life together. Kouki’s relationship between his mother and Rin also grows for the better at the end of the manga. Masako’s relationship with Rin also grows. The manga shows Masako as someone who regrets not being there for Rin as she grew up, yet she doesn’t want to make the same mistakes with her new baby. The only thing that I didn’t care for (besides the relationship between Daikichi/Rin) was Nitani marrying someone. I mean, that occurred so rapidly. I wish, they had explored her character much more after her stating to Daikichi that she didn’t want to be that way to him relationship wise. Overall, Thank you for the reply! :D

        • Yi says:

          I agree. It’s not necessarily a happy ending (and thus probably a “bad end”). And I think I can understand the reasons for your dissatisfaction with how the story develops. I guess I’m merely separating the story from the quality of the script, where the former is more controversial, and the latter is, in my opinion, unquestionably well thought-out and authentic.

          “Also, I thought that Usagi Drop actually showed hopeful insights into those other relationships. Haruko eventually divorces her husband and she and her daughter have a visible happy life together. Kouki’s relationship between his mother and Rin also grows for the better at the end of the manga.”
          This is a very good point. I didn’t really think of it this way (perhaps because at the time I wrote this, I had a very cynical view of relationships… personal stuff), but yea, agreed. ^ ^

          Anyway, thank you so so much for such a lively chat. I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on Usagi Drop!!

  27. Velore says:

    I’ve watched the Anime serie and enjoyed it greatly as a light comedy/slice of life title. And now after reading the spoilers in this post I went to full ‘wtf’.

    I didn’t realise the story is supposed to show hardships, or any depth at all. True, there was that depressing part at the beginning of the serie when Rin was pretty much left all alone. But soon after, it all was masked by the daily, happy life and parenting issues. Now I finally realise that there’s much more to it and the plot of the show was actually heading for more trouble rather than ‘happily ever after’ ending.

    I don’t usually read Manga, especially of the serie I’ve already seen, but this is most compelling. I had never expected such pairing in this show.

    Anyhow, thanks for bringing this to my attention, I’ll be sure to check it out, my curiousity is killing me now.

    • Yi says:

      That’s interesting. I think we have slightly different takes on the anime. I always found a hint of melancholy underlying the heartwarming slice-of-life. With parenting, especially, I thought Usagi Drop underscored the sacrifices people have to make really well. And, while the overall feel may be one of hopefulness, it’s in the backdrop of reality.

      I don’t think the series is heading for more “trouble,” but it certainly headed in a direction many didn’t expect.

      I hope you enjoy the manga! It’s really worth the read. Have fun, Velore~

  28. Cynthia says:

    At last year’s Otakuthon, here in Montreal, they had several panels introducing us to the new shows of the year, as well as those that had been advertising as upcoming in the near future. Usagi Drop was one such series, and the presenters opened with a line about how it really wasn’t how it seemed (ie a disturbing relationship between a little girl and an adult), and was in fact a sweet story. At the time I had no interest in seeing the anime, but the local Otaku club (who is primarily responsible for organizing Otakuthon every year) began showing it during their Fall 2011 semester. Though I missed a few episodes, I still found it very easy to get into the show, it was sweet and cute. However, now I feel rather misled by everything I’ve heard about the show.

    I’ve never heard about the manga and its ending until I read this post, but after having read about it, it really feels as though the manga and anime were going for completely different feelings in their presentations. The issue of them “not being related by blood” is really entirely a non-issue. This ending manages to feel like some sort of copout, where Daikichi’s love interest knowingly enters an unhealthy relationship, and Daikichi desperately turns to the only other “woman” in his life. And it really feels as though even though Rin was not with her mother growing up, she has inherited all of her immaturity. Rin was certainly a precocious child, but mature? I doubt that. She simply had much the same reaction of thinking they know things they don’t really know that most children have at her age. In addition, this time skip I’m hearing about seems to have been introduced solely for the purpose of allowing her relationship with Daikichi, because if the author had made this a much longer manga and showed us Rin being raised by Daikichi in more detail, it seems as though it would have made it impossible to turn a relationship of parental nurturing into a romantic one out of the blue. So it feels as though Daikichi had the basics of raising a child covered, but otherwise was not a sufficient parent. It feels as though even though Daikichi provided her with a standard of living and emotional support, he has never actually taught her anything about life and growing up. It is sad, really, because the “hints” you describe, which I saw as sweet and innocent moments at the time, now become tarnished by what feels like a relationship plotted from the very beginning. So it is easy to say that there is nothing natural about this manga, because even the little tender moments that seemed innocent have now mutated into way-too-early romantic hints.

    It really was never about them being “related”. It never felt like it was about that or even about Daikichi being a single parent to me. It felt more like it was about the bond that could develop between a parent and an adopted child, that even an adopted parent could be a much better parent to a child than a blood relative who just didn’t care and/or was irresponsible, as in the case of Rin’s mother. But now, with this ending, it feels as though whoever would have adopted Rin would have ended up on the receiving end of her abandonment issues and become her romantic interest, which I find deeply disturbing. It wouldn’t have mattered whether it was a man or a woman, it feels as though Rin has certain mental issues stemming from her abandonment issues that were just never properly addressed. I’ve heard of cases where siblings only found out they were related after having lived completely separate lives, and then having met and fallen in love before ever knowing they had blood relations. Even after they found out, they didn’t end the romantic relationship. That can be considered acceptable because those people never considered each other “family” in that sense, it was just a circumstance that happened but didn’t affect them the way it would have people who considered each other family. Daikichi is Rin’s father in every sense of the word that matters, and rather than using “no blood relation” as an excuse for their feelings for each other, that should have trumped everything else in his mind. Rin’s too, in fact, but she seems less mentally stable than him. Probably the both of them are too emotionally wounded and immature to have maintained an “adult” parent-child relationship.

    I’m not even going to use the word “incestuous” in this case, because it might not apply given the fact that there is no blood relation between them, but the term “wrong” still applies for such a relationship. It now feels as though the entire manga plotted to have them end up together and every bit of sweetness feels manufactured and fake. “Deeply disturbing” are really the only terms that kept running through my mind when I found out about this relationship.

    I really wish I had never found out about this. :(

    • Yi says:

      To be fair, the anime follows the manga very closely. It just stopped before the second major arc (high school Rin). So rather than that the anime and the manga were going in different directions, it might be more accurate to say that the first half of the manga and the second were. Still, I had kind of thought they were working toward a common theme–the unpredictability and bitterness reality offers, and our acceptance of it.

      Rin certainly is not mature, especially when it comes to infatuations and love. (But who really is?) I think Usagi Drop does a wonderful job of showing those immature crushes and developing feelings. As a side note, Nitani does not get herself into an unhealthy relationship. Things just simply doesn’t work out with her and Daikichi, and that’s life.

      “it impossible to turn a relationship of parental nurturing into a romantic one out of the blue. So it feels as though Daikichi had the basics of raising a child covered, but otherwise was not a sufficient parent.”
      Hm… I don’t think this quite justified calling him an insufficient parent. Oedipal or Electra complexes come about not necessarily because of the actions or inaction of someone, so it’s hard to pin it on Daikichi. Personally, I still feel like Daikichi is a parent, even by the end. I guess our opinions differ in that, for me, romantic interest and parent may not be mutually exclusive.

      ” But now, with this ending, it feels as though whoever would have adopted Rin would have ended up on the receiving end of her abandonment issues and become her romantic interest, which I find deeply disturbing. It wouldn’t have mattered whether it was a man or a woman, it feels as though Rin has certain mental issues stemming from her abandonment issues that were just never properly addressed.”
      This is possible, and I do agree Rin still holds certain fear about abandonment. I don’t think that she necessarily fell for Daikichi solely because of that, and Daikichi being the kind of guy Daikichi is, and surrounding circumstances probably have a little to do with Rin’s infatuation.

      Where I disagree most strongly with you is the idea that family excludes romantic feelings. In your example with siblings, it is possible for siblings to fall in love with each other, yet still consider themselves to be the closest family in the traditional sense of the word. Similarly, I think Rin considers Daikichi both a father and a lover, and Daikichi definitely sees Rin as his daughter (whether he sees her as also a lover, that I doubt).

      This is a very incestuous ending, because Daikichi and Rin are effectively father-daughter. The first half of the manga/ anime clearly establishes that. And even without the blood-relation, they are still family. However, as I noted at the end of the post, my views on incest are quite… liberal. I don’t find this incestuous ending especially disturbing. I certainly don’t think consensual incest is wrong by any means.

      Thanks for the really thoughtful comment!! And thanks for reading. It’s always nice to see where my ideas and views lie in comparison to others.

      Cheers, darling! ^ ^

      p.s. Sorry for spoiling Usagi Drop.

  29. Cynthia says:

    First of all, thanks for your reply! We do disagree on several points though lol. Basically I think this series could probably have been better handled by showing Rin growing up and not just skipping ahead, something which feels rather random, btw.

    Like I said, I don’t believe family needs to be exclusive with romantic feelings but only under certain circumstances, as in the example I gave. I mean if you know what romantic relationships are really like, and don’t simply fantasize about them and lack knowledge and real maturity to handle them, how could you possibly think of a person who raised you as being someone who you want to have one with? Since one can’t deny that a definite father/daughter relationship was established between Rin and Daikichi even without blood relations, it becomes frustrating to me that this series blends the “father/daughter” and “lovers” relationships together without any seeming logic. And really, it does feel like a cop-out on the author’s part.

    The reason I say Nitani is in an unhealthy relationship is because she deemed herself unworthy of Daikichi, and so has some pretty serious issues that she will be carrying into her new relationship as well. In essence, no relationship she enters into in her current state of mind will ever be a healthy one. Unless I’m reading this wrong, she comes off as a person with little self-confidence, or at least a lacking sense of self-worth.

    As for Daikichi not being a proper parent, well, I base that on the fact that he did not achieve the ultimate goal of raising a child, which is to help them develop and grow both mentally and emotionally, aside from supporting them financially. And I don’t think it’s all on Daikichi that he wasn’t a proper parent, it’s also the circumstances of the whole situation. Not so much him being a single dad as him not really having a “dad” type of personality to begin with. And of course with the mother and history she has, Rin started off on the wrong foot and then never gave herself a chance to experience more than one failed relationship. I think Daikichi lacked everything that was necessary to fully be a parent, but I definitely think the main problem is Rin’s lack of an emotional and mental development.

    Rin’s mental issues bring up another point, actually. Daikichi is perhaps too much of a “doting” parent who doesn’t know when to draw the line. The way you describe it, I don’t believe he’s in love with Rin at all, but basically just indulging her fantasies in a sort of “what the hell” fashion, like he’s just accepting this relationship because he has no one else. The whole thing with Nitani really makes this relationship reek of rebound, too, and I can’t think that’s a good thing. Also, I don’t believe this is in any way a relationship of equals, because both partners don’t contribute to each other’s mental and emotional development as both adults and partners, and in my opinion, this is a relationship doomed to fail the moment either one of them meets their true equal. It seems more likely to happen with Daikichi because he seems to have more awareness of what a twisted relationship this would be with Rin.

    So I am curious about what you think on the following: do you believe the author always intended Rin and Daikichi’s relationship to develop into this, or do you believe she didn’t plan the ending from the very beginning and it just sort of “happened” as the manga went on?

    • Yi says:

      Oh no no! Thank you for such an interesting discussion.

      I kind of agree that the manga may have been better if it does show Rin growing up instead of just skipping ahead to high school Rin. It may have shown a better progression of Rin’s feelings. At the same time though, I feel that Rin is such a complete and well-developed character that it’s OK for the series to do this. And I actually had a lot of fun when the series slowly revealed Kouki’s middle school delinquent stories little by little. (What a playboy~ ♥)

      “Like I said, I don’t believe family needs to be exclusive with romantic feelings but only under certain circumstances, as in the example I gave.”

      Forgive me, but I meant something more specific than just family in the general sense. In your example–the one about separated siblings–I’d argue they probably never developed sibling feelings that brothers and sisters who grew up together did. Further, I don’t think your example is the only time romantic feelings can happen between siblings (or parent-child), nor is this the only case that’s acceptable. I read an article by a girl once about how she and her brother had a relationship. They were not long lost siblings who reunited. They grew up together in a lovely wonderful home. And things just clicked between them as they grew older. It’s quite a touching testimonial… Even if they were never able to get together because of the prejudices of society. (I wish I still had the link for it…)

      I had a different take on Nitani. As my post suggests, I found how she’s feeling–her insecurities and such–to be common and not really anything especially unhealthy. In fact, I think many people often feel the same thing about their crushes, infatuations, and relationships. She doesn’t come off as someone who has low self-esteem. After all, she is able to raise Kouki to be a fine young man in the end. And I feel like her new husband isn’t a terrible guy either, though we’ve never seen him. But then again, perhaps most people are all unhealthy when it comes to love… It’s all rhetorical heh. ^ ^

      I guess one other fundamental difference between our takes is that I thought Rin grew up just fine, mentally and emotionally. In the second half, she faces all the things a young woman face. Crushes, lost love, and new infatuations… etc. etc. The only thing that makes her different from the usual shoujo manga heroine is that the object of her infatuation is her father. I hesitate to prejudge her emotional and mental maturity because she loved “the wrong person.”

      On Daikichi’s side, however, we agree for the most part, I think. His feelings for Rin are mostly purely parental and not much romantic. It’s also a lot of just acceptance and almost a bit of rebound. But ironically, I’d argue that this makes the relationship last. Rin has to continually chase Daikichi, and Daikichi is bound to Rin. At the very least, these feelings keep them together and interested.

      “do you believe the author always intended Rin and Daikichi’s relationship to develop into this, or do you believe she didn’t plan the ending from the very beginning and it just sort of “happened” as the manga went on?”

      That’s a good question. I would guess the mangaka had the plan for this ending at least starting the second half (starting with high school Rin), since the feelings all just feel quite authentic. Whether the author planned it from the very beginning, I’m not sure…
      But it wouldn’t surprise me if I was wrong.

      Thank you so so much again for the chat. I really enjoyed reading and responding to your thoughts, even if we can’t see eye to eye. ^ ^

      p.s. I think I’m probably in the minority still on accepting this ending as totally OK and, dare I say, good.

      • Cynthia says:

        I don’t feel as though Rin was ever developed as more than a child though, and then a teen with a child’s mentality. That’s what it feels like with this time skip.

        All I can say is, to me, siblings who develop this kind of relationship are especially immature. You believe that family love can be mixed with romantic love, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t an essential difference between the two and that people should understand this difference before deciding whether they’re in love with one of their family members.

        Except that most people with insecurities who “settle” are obviously not truly in love with the person they settle for. The very fact that she actually says that she doesn’t feel worthy of Daikichi shows how unhealthy her new relationship will be. Most people these days stay engaged for a considerable period to give themselves time to see whether they’re truly in love with someone, and jumping into a marriage screams of insecurity and instability of the marriage.

        I’d argue that Rin has no idea what love is. Romantic love at least. She has probably idealized it and if it only took one failed relationship to make her basically “give up” and go for Daikichi, she’s definitely not mature enough for a relationship. And pregnancy? Jumping to that seems a bit desperate. Also, the problem with your statement of what you face is that you pluralize it, whether this post gives the impression she only had one of each of those things. In other words, no experience with any of them, no basis for comparison and no ability to judge the differences between one situation and another.

        Relationships that come from rebound are pretty much renowned to fail, actually. And when I said they’d each eventually find their true equal and this relationship would fall apart, this goes with the issue of their immaturity, lack of experience, and the fact that neither one of them is currently a complete person.

        It would be all the more depressing if it was planned, because however much you may approve of family having romantic feelings for one another, you have to admit it’s a bit disturbing when it starts as young as Rin was in the beginning of this series.

        Anyway, I don’t know if you enjoy yaoi, but if you like romantic relationships between family members, you might wanna give this series a try even if you don’t: Yononaka wa Bokura ni Amai, by Takaguchi Satosumi. To me the ending was disappointing for much of the same reasons as Usagi Drop’s was. But then again, the relationship between the teenaged twin brothers who are the protagonists is quite a bit screwed up. Let me know if you decide to check it out. :)

        • Yi says:

          True, there is an essential difference between sibling love and romantic love, but I think we can still harbor both for the same person in a mature way. That is what I mean by the two are not mutually exclusive.

          We all settle in one way or another, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t “in love.” My ideal partner would be someone who is perfectly brilliant, gorgeous, and understanding, and all that, but that ideal does not exist. Instead, we settle for what we can have. In fact, I’d argue that true love as the romantic dramas and fairy tales and Disney portray do not exist as well. What most people have instead are infatuations that are based much more in practical needs (security, intimacy, sex…) or emotional impulses.

          “Most people these days stay engaged for a considerable period to give themselves time to see whether they’re truly in love with someone”

          Perhaps also most people stay engaged for a long period of time because one party is unsure about committing. And to see if this is really the best they can do, the closest to their ideal that they can “settle” for. But I suppose that is, in some sense, seeing if they’re “truly in love.” Cynical… I know.

          More specifically about Nitani settling. I should point out a few things. I didn’t get the feeling that she rushed into it. The manga sets up pretty early on that she was seeing another guy. Further, she’s not a young girl anymore, and time is pretty tricky for women and men over a certain age.

          “The very fact that she actually says that she doesn’t feel worthy of Daikichi shows how unhealthy her new relationship will be.”
          Feeling inadequate about one person does not ruin her new relationship, or so I would imagine. I mean, it’s good to have a lot of self confidence, but at the same time, not having that isn’t totally unhealthy either. I certainly have felt like I have no chance with so-and-so… etc.

          Jumping to pregnancy does seem to be rushing too much, but I don’t agree that Rin is too immature for a relationship. And yes, plural is appropriate. Kouki isn’t the only person Rin tries to date before Daikichi. She has also tried giving other guys a chance. Furthermore, there is always room for growth and experience in any relationship. Sure, she may not have dated tons of people, nor have many examples for the basis of comparison, but that doesn’t mean she’s not mature enough. Otherwise, it’d be too broad of a stroke to deem all first relationships to be immature.
          “Relationships that come from rebound are pretty much renowned to fail, actually.”

          This I’m 50-50 on… I feel like in their specific case, it would work out, but it’s all just theory. On the other hand, most rebounds I’ve seen don’t… Though some are still going. Heh. I wonder.

          Anyway, I almost feel like this whole immaturity debate stems from our fundamental difference in accepting incestuous relationships. So… yea. ^ ^

          I really do wonder if the mangaka planned it from childhood Rin. The cynical and angsty vibe have been set up early on, but the romantic tones between them not. Hm…

          I’ll give Yononaka wa Bokura ni Amai a look. I actually really enjoy incestuous stories, so yea, this should be fun. Thanks for the suggestion!! May I offer two titles of my own? Hitsuji no Uta (manga) and Angel Sanctuary (manga).

      • Cynthia says:

        Dunno what happened there, but one of my sentences, I somehow wrote it messed up. Here’s the original sentence:

        “Also, the problem with your statement of what you face is that you pluralize it, whether this post gives the impression she only had one of each of those things.”

        And how it’s actually supposed to read:

        “Also, the problem with your statement of what she faced is that you pluralize it, whereas this post gives the impression she only had one of each of those things.”

        Sorry about that. ^^;;;

  30. Cynthia says:

    Yeah, I understand what you mean, but in this case I don’t think either of them understands the difference, or Daikichi does he’s too damaged to care.

    The thing is there’s an ideal, and then there’s a person you would really fall in love with in reality. Your ideal is not impossible, a prince would be impossible though. I don’t think true love and your ideal partner are mutually exclusive. True love in Disney is dramatized, such as in the case of Beauty and the Beast, but they’ve got the essential idea right: someone who shares your interests, someone you can talk to and share things with, someone who understands your feelings and cares about them. This may sound like friendship, but I think your true love will probably be your ultimate friend, or at least should be.

    About Nitani, what you showed above basically gave the impression that she openly admitted to being in love with Daikichi, but settling for any other man because she didn’t feel worthy of him. Also, it’s not like he didn’t love her too, so it’s not the same situation as having a crush on someone.

    Generally speaking, I think someone who’s only been in one relationship before deciding to settle down really can’t be too experienced on the matter, unless of course the relationship is working out in a healthy way.

    It’s not so much a problem of accepting it, but I see it as highly emotionally unhealthy.

    • Yi says:

      More on settling. I don’t necessarily mean to imply that one can’t love a non-idealistic person. I think we settle for what we can get, and make up for the gap between the ideal and what we have with creating history and intimacy. It’s still love, but it’s also, in a sense, settling. Now, true love is more abstract, and I’m not even sure what the definition is. (I’m already not entirely sure what love is…)

      On Nitani, why shouldn’t she want to settle if it’s the easier thing to do? Jumping into love/ infatuation and risking ruining the great friendship they already have… It’s a daunting thing. I don’t want to judge someone’s relationship as unhealthy because she didn’t do the risky, impulsive thing.

      More importantly, she made a firm choice. She’s happy and satisfied with her choice. The person she’s with loves her, and she seems to like him as well. There’s nothing unhealthy there. (I think if you read the manga, you might feel closer to how I feel about Nitani.) The vibe I got from her is that she had a thing with Daikichi. She didn’t want to take the leap then out of insecurity. Then, she had a thing with another guy (who is also a great guy), she settled for him, and she started building a new life/history with this guy.

      “It’s not so much a problem of accepting it, but I see it as highly emotionally unhealthy.”
      Perhaps you are right. Personally, however, I don’t see any relationship that’s consensual as unhealthy. Feelings are feelings, and we can’t quite control them.

      And speaking of love…

      Happy Valentines Day, Cynthia darling. ♥

      • Cynthia says:

        Let’s be honest here, Daikichi may be an ok guy, but he’s not exactly a prize. Being in a relationship with him would hardly be difficult. The easy way out would have been going out with him the minute their children got along. And actually, ideals are not for reality, they’re just fantasies. Someone who’s mature enough will have fantasies of things they know they can’t have and live their lives normally while maybe occasionally acting on a fantasy. To give a rough example, let’s say you like bondage. You’re obviously not gonna dress like that everyday, but you might indulge in it every once in a while. That’s not settling, it’s living in reality.

        Maybe, but from the way you’re describing it and that one image, she hardly seems happy or satisfied. If anything, she looks melancholic.

        I don’t think there’s enough maturity all around for there be consensus. If anything, it’s the opposite: no one has the balls to just say no.

        Happy Valentine’s Day to you too! ^_^

        Btw, where exactly do you live? Where I live, in Canada, school starts up again after Christmas at the beginning of January, but I was surprised that you’re starting in mid-February.

        • Yi says:

          Nitani’s not much of a catch either, at least by society’s values–single mother over forty with a problem child (Kouki… isn’t exactly a model student, but that shouldn’t be too surprising). It’s all relative.

          “Someone who’s mature enough will have fantasies of things they know they can’t have and live their lives normally while maybe occasionally acting on a fantasy.”
          This is true. And Nitani and Daikichi both realize this, so they don’t give into their impulses and fantasies.

          In any case, there’s a lot more nuance in the manga about Nitani and Daikichi that my mere post can’t address everything. Needless to say, things get complicated with the two families and their children.

          Right now, I’m living in Taiwan. Moved there from the US late August last year. Our college school semester goes from mid-September to mid-January. And again from mid-February to… sometime.

  31. Cynthia says:

    Oh I forgot to respond to one thing. Um, your suggestions, are they incest ones or something else? I started reading Angel Sanctuary a long while ago but I think I got about 3 volumes in before deciding that it was too confusing and slow moving. Maybe I should try re-reading it. The other series is a bit too “horror” for me, I’m not really interested in vampires (except as a general part of the supernatural creatures, such as in the TV show Supernatural).

    • Yi says:

      Oh oopsies. I should’ve mentioned that these are stories with incest (as a very very important factor), but not actually incest stories. Hitsuji no Uta, especially. But yea, sorry for not making that clear. :(

      • Cynthia says:

        I figured anyway, but the incest aspect was not the main one I found unattractive in those stories. Generally I like shounen anime and manga. Occasionally I read shoujo, but generally slice-of-life and most shoujo series do not attract me. There has to be an offsetting element like fantasy, such as in Fushigi Yuugi, for me to really like it.

  32. Cynthia says:

    Oh, another thing came to mind. Personally this yaoi manga series also disappointed me hugely in the end, for reasons completely unrelated to incest (none of that in that series), maybe you might enjoy it though. It’s Koide Mieko’s Koi no Tsumeato.

    • Yi says:

      I’ll probably pass on this then since school’s starting soon, and I don’t have too much time. So I have to make what I read count. ^ ^ Thanks, though~

      • Cynthia says:

        No prob. Oh btw, Yononaka has several more volumes than have been translated so far, but I just found out that several groups have been doing it. Hochuuami started it, another group called MadLi did 3 chapters, and apparently Fushichou is also doing it. I’m mentioning it because MangaUpdates doesn’t always list all the groups doing a series, and though they do mention Fushichou, I wanted to let you know that it’s still on their list of current projects.

  33. Kajen says:

    Hey, first of all great job with this blog. I was like everyone else here left in a WTF?? moment 10 -20 chapters before the end where I picked up the hints at the direction that the manga was heading. To me it felt like the first half and the second half were totally different mangas. One was about the joys and sacrifices in parenting, and the second about highschool romantic relationships and how in real life what epic failures they turn out to be.
    I think Daikichi should have been more firm against the whole relationship with Rin, he shoouldve set the boundary and not budged an inch. That is the duty of a father and I believe he failed at that. A 16 year old is NOT an adult no matter how they look like it on the outside. On the inside they are still semi kids trying to figure out whats what in their life, their identity and who they are.
    I also think daikichi should have picked out a wife much earlier( which was another fail on his part) to help him raise Rin. His relationship with Nitaini was heading somewhere but its like he has no balls….to wait 5 years to confess is ridiculous.
    I know that manga is not supposed to be realistic, but this manga is supposed to “slice of life” and should be realistic to a degree. If I were in daikichi’s position and had raised a kid for 12 years as my daughter, my response to Rin would most likely be, “sorry, you’re goin back to ya mammas house’

    • Yi says:

      Yea, it does feel like two completely different manga at first glance. But I thought there’s still a somewhat similar vibe threading the two parts though, even if the focuses and directions are different.

      “what epic failures they turn out to be.”
      Hehe, a bit harsh, isn’t it?

      Anyway, I disagree with you on Daikichi. I think he did a fine job raising Rin, even without a wife. And I don’t think he needed to be firm against the relationship if he didn’t oppose it in sincere, but that’s probably because I don’t think incest should be such a taboo. I guess I just don’t find any convincing reason to be against incest if it’s between consenting adults.

      I think to a certain degree, the manga is super realistic, especially on its portrayal of emotions and relationship insecurities. For example, I could understand why Nitani and Daikichi never get together.

      “my response to Rin would most likely be, “sorry, you’re goin back to ya mammas house’”
      Loll. That would have made most readers so much happier.

      p.s. I don’t think I’ve seen you around before. Thanks for visiting! Feel free to look around. ^ ^

      • Cynthia says:

        To sort of jump in on this, I think what most people have a problem with is the whole pregnancy thing. Even supposing that Rin is mature enough to have a child, which I don’t by a long stretch believe she is, he is still her father figure even if not her biological father. It’s nice and fine to carry on a romantic relationship when you don’t involve anyone else, but bringing a baby into the picture is gonna be messy.

        • Yi says:

          “bringing a baby into the picture is gonna be messy.”
          Only because society is judgmental. ^ ^

        • Cynthia says:

          Not really. I mean, how do you honestly see Rin explaining to her child that she herself was raised by the same man who fathered her kid? How could she even begin to explain the concept of a father without messing up that kid?

        • Yi says:

          Easy. “I’m your mother. And Daikichi is your father. Daikichi also raised me when I was young. And he’s my father.”

          Now the reason this is deemed messy is because much of society won’t accept incest.

          In fact, this line of argument is often used. “How am I going to explain this to children?” Here’s a pretty good analogy. A lot opponents of gay marriage often say a similar thing: “How would two gay men explain to their kid that he has two fathers? How do you begin to explain the concept of a mother?”

          I am reminded of this comedy sketch from the comedian Louis C.K. (It’s only barely tangentially related, but it’s fun.)

          p.s. I do realize my views are likely in the far minority, so don’t mind me too much.

        • Cynthia says:

          The way you make it sound isn’t how it would go though. The child would have a lot of questions she wouldn’t know how to answer.

          Btw, you shouldn’t say “society won’t accept incest” as though it’s a bad thing. There are some very valid reasons behind it, not the least of which being parents abusing their children.

          And to reply to two messages at once… Inconsiderate was the wrong term. But yes, in the case of parents who are very poor, there is absolutely no reason to allow them to have several children, especially when they won’t even be able to properly look after them. Being ugly and having Down syndrome are not life-threatening conditions. That’s what I was referring to. If you know that having a child means an 80% or more chance of them having some highly debilitating disease that would cause them constant suffering or cause them to live as a vegetable, then it’s absolutely pointless for them to reproduce. This reminds me of an episode of Law & Order: SVU where a bunch of fertilized eggs were stolen were from a clinic, and one of the sets of eggs belonged to a girl who was so severely debilitated that at 12 years old, she had and always would have the mental age of a baby, but the parents wanted to use her eggs because they themselves could have no more children. Now, does that not sound like it borders on child abuse?

          And you’re wrong btw, it is a very high probability that is near to a certainty that the children of incest all suffer from some kind of defect.

          On Daikichi, it’s not a sad truth at all, it’s cautionary and smart. Just today I saw a story on Dr. Phil about this twisted teacher who drew kids out of their classrooms and exposed himself to them, gave them cookies with his semen on them and pretending it was “frosting”, taking pictures of the kids eating those cookies. Btw, I don’t know if it’s actually that way, but the way you make it sound is like Daikichi said to Rin “Let’s wait til you’re older, k?”. I mean, if that’s how it went, that’s not a real rejection.

        • Yi says:

          Incest does not mean child abuse. We should clear that up first. So yea, society not accepting incest is a bad thing for those in consenting incestuous relationships.

          “If you know that having a child means an 80% or more chance of them having some highly debilitating disease that would cause them constant suffering or cause them to live as a vegetable, then it’s absolutely pointless for them to reproduce.”

          This seems highly exaggerated, and I don’t think the numbers are right. Please quote where you got the sources. Last I checked (albeit on wikipedia… I could try to find scholarly cited sources, like PubMed articles, if you need me to), between father-daughter, a study found around 65% with birth defects, and not all are debilitating. The numbers for father-daughter (or mother-son) are the highest among incestuous relationships. The numbers are a lot smaller for siblings, and even less for first cousins (only ~4% with congenital abnormalities, compared to ~2% of the general population).

          And in any case, there are also two things that you should consider. Why is 80% unacceptable risk? Isn’t that just an arbitrary number? Why not 60%? If 60%, why not 40%? Or 20%, or 10, or 1%? By the way, if we were to say 1% risk is too high for people to have children, then no one should have kids.

          We also have to wonder about where your definition for quality of life is defined. Huntington’s, CF, and Tay-Sachs are all debilitating and life-threatening, but those carriers should be able to make the decisions whether to have children.

          As for the SVU episode you mentioned, first, we do not have consenting adults making a decision to have children. We have people who stole eggs. Secondly, no, it is not child abuse to have children with a debilitating condition. A lot of parents have children with some sort of life-threatening condition at birth. Child abuse would be if someone beats their children into debilitating conditions. There’s a small difference.

          “And you’re wrong btw, it is a very high probability that is near to a certainty that the children of incest all suffer from some kind of defect.”

          High probability, yes. Near certainty, no. In addition, some kind of congenital abnormality does not mean debilitating, life threatening defect. The numbers for that would be even lower.

          “On Daikichi, it’s not a sad truth at all, it’s cautionary and smart.”

          I meant that it’s a sad truth that there are some bad people in this world, such that we have to be cautionary of all people.

          “Btw, I don’t know if it’s actually that way, but the way you make it sound is like Daikichi said to Rin “Let’s wait til you’re older, k?”. I mean, if that’s how it went, that’s not a real rejection.”

          That’s not how it went. At this point, I would highly recommend to read the manga, so that you might have a clearer idea of Daikichi and Rin. There’s a lot of subtext that can’t be neatly put into 1000 words. Again, I didn’t take the time to summarize every panel. Merely the time to write a defense for the manga, that tangentially touches on my views on incest.

        • Cynthia says:

          No, it doesn’t. But as I mentioned, I was playing devil’s advocate. What I said is basically what society can and might say. Did you know that out of all the children born every year in America, for instance, 100,000 will be abused in some way by their parents?

          I apologize if I was unclear, but I was responding to the comment about how people with certain diseases should be treated. In other words, that part was not at all related to the incest part of the discussion, but merely your “what if” speculation about other people who have trasmittable diseases. I was offering up the numbers not as a reference point, but as speculation. Such as that *if* the chances of the child suffering for their whole life or being a vegetable were that high, then no, the parents absolutely should not have a child.

        • Ryan A says:

          Paragraphs are so skinny. Anyway, I believe most people and society have a warped perception of incest and forget that each situation is unique. I feel that people imagine incest in a larger scope of continued inbreeding, where specific groups of genetically related individuals marry and have children out of cultural or societal pressure. And I would suggest with inbreeding as a form of culture, yes, there “might” be genetic issues, but the world is full of them already. The greater problem I have is that cultural inbreeding is usually arranged and does not coincide with free love.

          To borrow an example from fiction, the incestuous conditions arranged within the Kuhouin family (Kure-nai). We learn that Kuhouin daughters are born on the estate and kept secret from the government and outside world (they do not exist). They are concealed in order to marry Kuhouin sons, usually before puberty, and bear their children when biologically capable. This is all forcefully arranged and these young girls, nor their mothers, have a word in this tradition.

          It was heartwrenching to go through this story, but imagine this same situation without incest. Instead let’s assume the Kuhouin’s and other wealthy families exchange secret daughters for this tradition. Does that make us feel better? No, absolutely not, and if so, there are likely larger issues than incest to debate. In this case, incest is viewed in a highly negative light through association of a repressive and inhumane family tradition. And to be honest, I think society has only perceived incestuous relationships through negative associations, like sexual abuse, child pornography, and slavery.

          Usagi Drop subtracts the genetic relation between Rin and Daikichi, perhaps a contrast to the previous paragraph, but we’re not left with an incredibly negative situation nor can we point our finger at incest. Just about everything we experienced in the manga of Rin’s life was touching and carried positive sentiment, and I don’t think that theme changes. I feel the ending makes us consider what’s important in relationships, an individual right to live and love freely. Such things are personal, unique, and many times can break generalizations. I wouldn’t suggest their relationship is free from questioning, especially by Rin and Daikichi, but I feel they are in a positive position nonetheless.

        • Cynthia says:

          I think you are opening a far too large door here. Not only would there be genetic issues, but they would keep growing exponentially the longer the inbreeding went on in a given family. Not only that, but you are opening the door for all kinds of other unsavory characters to claim their rights to do what they want regardless of morality and legality. In Law & Order: SVU, there was an episode that featured a large ring of adults who had access to child porn. People who would take suggestive pictures of their own children or grandchildren and make them available to everyone in the ring. And when the leader was arrested, he advocated his right to loving children, claiming that he was just another minority.

          No, it isn’t by association at all. Mormons supposedly are a group that claim their own rights and that they are not repressed at all, yet would you agree with their way of doing things? Moreover, if you believe in a God (which I don’t), do you really think that he created humanity just so that it could eventually destroy itself through inbreeding? Compared to dogs, human at least have the freedom to breed whenever they wish, and on their own. There is a reason for that. Humans should make logical, intelligent decisions and not simply give in to impulses when it comes to something so serious as having children.

        • Ryan A says:

          You may have gone in the opposite direction when interpreting my comment. A simple explanation: I do not agree with continued, deliberate inbreeding especially when mandated by culture or social sub-circles. But I believe this is what many perceive when they hear the term “incestuous relationship,” failing to realize that an incidental and spontaneous relationship of this kind can have unique properties which we should not generalize against (opinion). And I think most disagreeable aspects to incestuous relationships also exist in many non-incestuous situations; hence Yi’s mention of reproduction by those who have genetic disorders.

        • Cynthia says:

          Well, my point from the beginning was that should a child come from this incestuous affair, then yes, it is continued inbreeding. And I’m sorry, but I don’t believe that incestuous relationships are “misunderstood” or “judged too harshly”. It’s more like the people doing the observing and judging are right on the money.

        • I know these posts are very old, but I have only now read them and wanted to reply. There are two areas that Cynthia talks about that I want to address; The first is incest, on which I have only a little to say, and the other is that Rin and Daikichi are somehow unfit to be parents, on which I have more to say.

          So lets start with incest… The author goes out of her way to remove incest as an issue. One, they are not blood related; Two, they wait until Rin is an adult; and three, they don’t even share the same surname. There are no genetic problems here and no legal problems either. The author did all this just so incest would not be the issue, and so it is not an issue – enough said! The many different ways love can express its self, and how that sometime that fly in the face of social norms is more the point. Parenting is also a big theme in this story, which brings me to my next comment.

          It’s so ironic that that Cynthia would suggest that these two would not make good parents. What? The first part of this story was little more than a moral lesson on what makes a good parent. The author makes quite a point of showing the difference between bad parents and good ones; those who put their own life’s first verses those who put the child’s life first. Masako (Rin’s mother) felt her career and nightlife was more important to her than a child. Soichi (grandpa) was not Rin’s biological father, but if not for his counseling; Rin may never have been born. So in that sense, he is responsible for her. When Rin was very young she spent nights in mom’s apartment, but mom would go out at nights and leave her baby at home alone. These are not the actions of a good parent. Daikichi on the other hand, sacrificed his position at work, so he could be home with Rin. The author seems to be telling us, this is the kind of thing a good parent does.

          Masako decided she was not cut out to be a mom, and gave Rin up to Soichi. Rin has since been raised by two men; first by Soichi and then by Daikichi, both of them good people and good parents. They saw a sweet child in need, and steeped up to take care of her at a cost to them self’s.

          The author spends a lot of time giving us examples of what a good parent Daikichi is. Later the author shows us a number of times what a responsible person Rin is. The idea that these two would be anything less than wonderful parents is crazy.

          Cynthia also makes the comment: “…how do you honestly see Rin explaining to her child that she herself was raised by the same man who fathered her kid?” After reading this, I tried to imagine just that, and it was beautiful. I imaged Rin telling the story of her life; and how this nice man raised her and took care of her even thought he was not her father. How when she grew up she fell in love with him and they got marred and had a child that they both loved very much. Cynthia thinks the child would be scared for life to hear such a story. I disagree. I think any child would be lucky to have such loving, giving, responsible parents.

        • Cynthia says:

          I’m not even really following this anymore, but I do get email replies and I noticed in this case you were replying directly to me, in a way. So just want to say a few things: first of all, I’ve obviously addressed above, in many replies, why I absolutely do not condone incest. However, I mentioned from the start that even without the incest factor, it’s still icky to me that Rin would look at someone who raised her, and was her father, as a potential romantic interest. And this flows right into my second point, which also addresses your thoughts about Daikichi and Rin being fit to be parents.

          It seems to me that people who are so emotionally underdeveloped as these two, and lack as much maturity as they obviously do, should definitely not be parents. As Stef comments on below, Rin seems to have definitely given up too easily on her romantic opportunities. Especially since adult or not, the fact remains that she’s still young enough to have romantic trials, so to speak. And Daikichi, he’s a person who works and has a kid, but what more is there to him that he could actually contribute to raising a child? It’s not like Rin was exactly a normal child to begin with, so the situation with her was obviously very different than it would be for his own child.

          And sure, the way you say it, it sounds beautiful, but the child is gonna have questions, and their own thoughts on the matter, and the simple reality is that it would never go that smoothly. No matter how confident Rin might be about that relationship, even she would have to be at least a little self-conscious, of how unusual both they and their relationship are, if nothing else.

      • Yi says:

        @Onairek Da’wise:

        Thank you for your comment. I think I agree with you on your major points. Daikichi has shown himself a capable parent in raising Rin. And, their relationship, while not exactly the social norm, is still beautiful.

        @Cynthina:

        We’ve both said all we’ve wanted to each other I imagine. Thanks darling, for continuing to challenge others with your views. ^ ^

        p.s. I wasn’t sure by your comments whether you were inadvertently subscribed to the comments. If you want to stop getting emails, you can unsubscribe here: https://subscribe.wordpress.com/
        Of course, I’d love it if you stayed with the conversation! Cheers.

  34. Stef says:

    So it’s been some time since I wrote here.
    I’m sorry for the delay. I read the whole thing, then I pondered my thoughts, then I planned to read it again but I didn’t find the time. That was a lot of pondering at least.

    So, to business. It’s been said countless times already, but here are my thoughts on the ending: Nothing there calls for police intervention in my book. I’m not going to lie. I was disgusted when I read it. However I recognized this as simple reaction due to what society taught me was “right”. After that I was able to think more rationally.

    Like any social liberal who likes to push his philosophy further and further to see if it holds up, I considered the situation. Daikichi and Rin are both adults (I saw what you did there with that last time skip, Unita Yumi), they’re consenting, and their situation doesn’t hinder anyone’s freedom. Conclusion: Nothing opposes this.

    However I’m not a psychologist, so I can’t say anything about what’s possible on the mental level. However, I say that any attempt to use psychological, social or biological argument against this is moot. Whether their love is possible or not is up to them, and no one else. Their freedom of choice primes everything else.

    On specific details about the narration: The “not blood related revelation” had two purposes. To give Rin’s mother something to do and thus strongly confirm that she cares about Rin’s well being. And to make the love ending pill easier to swallow for the reader.

    I do disagree about some narrative choices such as Rin’s emotional experience. I think she gave up too easily on every romantic opportunity she was given, it gave me the feeling that she loves Daikichi because it’s her “comfort zone” and she doesn’t have sufficient romantic experience to decide that she wants it. Whether it’s because of bad/weird writing or it really is to convey a bittersweet cynical view of life and romance is unclear. But that’s my personal opinion.

    On the question of whether or not the author planned this from the very begining, I have my theory. I read that the first tome was supposed to be a one shot. We can assume that she didn’t plan it at first but transformed the concept when she made the rest.

    I have to give the manga credit. It doesn’t try to shock the readers with an incestuous ending but relatively prepares them for it. This denotes a will to make people think about the subject rather than cheaply disgust everyone for publicity. Trust me, it’s rare to see subtlety when a creative talks about controversial subjects.

    • Yi says:

      Oh my gosh, yes! Thank you!! I agree completely with your thoughts on incest in Usagi Drop, and it’s articulated so well. There is nothing wrong for two consenting adults to have a relationship.

      I’ve seen a lot of comments floating about criticizing either Daikichi or Rin or both for being mentally unhealthy to even entertain the idea of having a relationship. I disagree with them. There is nothing in the manga that would suggest those romantic feelings arose because of some kind of psychological pressure or abuse or mental immaturity. Instead, the manga’s depiction of how Rin’s feelings develop lacks anything dark. Had the target of her love been just any random guy, no one would’ve suggested Rin’s feelings are unhealthy. But that he is her father makes people question what should otherwise seem perfectly fine.

      I understand the reason for the little plot-twist at the end. After all, the author wouldn’t want to risk alienating even more of the audience. Still, I would’ve liked–since the manga is already going down this path–for Usagi Drop to take a bolder stance. Oh well~

      “it gave me the feeling that she loves Daikichi because it’s her “comfort zone” and she doesn’t have sufficient romantic experience to decide that she wants it.”

      I agree with this. I think for Rin, Daikichi represents her comfort zone, rebound, and infatuation. And yes, she does not have much experience. However, I don’t think any of those is a bad thing. In fact, I ended my post on an up note–I think this couple can work out because Rin is willing to stay within her comfort zone, and as a comfort zone, Daikichi still represents a challenge. (I don’t think Daikichi feels the same level of romantic feelings for Rin as Rin does for him.) Further, it’s not a bad decision to “settle” for something one knows is secure. And personally, I believe most people settle one way or another. Her decision, at the very least, seems authentic.

      “Whether it’s because of bad/weird writing or it really is to convey a bittersweet cynical view of life and romance is unclear. But that’s my personal opinion.”

      I guess that makes me lean more towards the latter.

      “I have to give the manga credit. It doesn’t try to shock the readers with an incestuous ending but relatively prepares them for it. This denotes a will to make people think about the subject rather than cheaply disgust everyone for publicity. Trust me, it’s rare to see subtlety when a creative talks about controversial subjects.”

      Exactly! I found the writing and the ending especially brilliant because no development ever felt forced (except for the non-blood-related thing), even though it’s leading up to a controversial and initially unimaginable ending.

      Thanks for the really good comment, especially on your thoughts about the incest ending as you rationalized it. Cheers, Stef. ^ ^

      p.s. You don’t need to apologize, silly. ^ ^ I’m just happy anyone’s even willing to visit and read my posts.

      • Stef says:

        Stop it. You’re making me blush. ^^

        Let me clarify something. While I state that they have the right to have an intimate relationship, I don’t pretend that they have no mental issues (But who hasn’t?) I don’t think anything in the manga indicates any mental disability but again, I’m not an expert. But unless these hypothetical illnesses would lead them to hurt others or themselves, they are entitled to their relationship.

        And another thing: While wanting to stick with what you know is good may not seem inherently bad at first, it actually limits you at best, or destroys you at worst.

        You see, to seek out new things may be nothing more than a waste of time, it may even put you in danger. But when you do learn something, you broaden the spectrum of your experiences. If you multiply those instances, you will have a set of past memories and knowledge that will help you make decisions and have you own opinions through thought.

        It’s no doubt the very reason you started watching anime. It may have been odd at first, sometimes completely ridiculous. But through the newly found media, you expanded your world view. You wrote this article because you had an opinion and you wanted to discuss it with others. It isn’t comfortable to reconsider your view on controversial topics, but it’s rewarding, and it titillates your mind and your critic sense.

        My point with all this is that because of Rin’s lack of experience, I fear that she might limit herself without knowing. She may have doubts after a while, or even regret her decision. And it may be too late when it happens.

        • Yi says:

          On the whole mental issue thing, I didn’t imply that you think so. I’m kind of just going along with the whole incest tends to make many be more wary. Personally, I don’t think they have anything that needs worry in particular. We’re on the same page. ;)

          Wanting to take risks and expand horizons is a good thing in theory, but I wonder if it applies to everything. And I wonder if it really is necessarily a good thing. Ignorance is bliss, and such… I really don’t know though, but my gut feeling is that it depends on the individual. All I can gather from the manga is that at this point in her and Daikichi’s life, they’re doing perfectly OK and are happy. That seems fine to me.

          Rin will most certainly have doubts and maybe regrets. Everyone does at some point though. I think even the most “perfect” or the most experienced couples will. But she’ll deal with it when the time comes. And if it ends up not working out, it’s an experience. At the very least, this relationship, as a starting point, looks promising.

    • Cynthia says:

      As far as simple reactions due to what society taught me, that would be yaoi for me. I still cannot condone incest in any way, however, after having been taught the things I have been about it, especially the children that result from it.

      In terms of legalities in this particular case, people could be tempted to suspect Daikichi of having child porn given their age difference and how long they’ve been together. I don’t know how long is too long for such a thing to apply, or even if there is a limit of a certain number of years, but Rin is still young in any case.

      In any case, if you enjoy yaoi and like having an ending that’s sort-of-prepared and not merely exploiting the shock value, then you might like Yononaka wa Bokura ni Amai, by Takaguchi Satosumi. If you do try it, let me know what you think.

      • Yi says:

        A few notes on the issue of children of incest. If you’re suggesting that incest is “wrong” because it might lead to children with birth defects, I’d like to propose something. What about people carrying Tay-sachs disease? Or people with a known family history of multiple sclerosis? Or anyone who carries genes for a hereditary condition? Is it wrong for any of them to be in relationships or have children because there’s a probability the children will inherit the conditions? This line of logic doesn’t stop just there. What about ugly people? Or people with low IQ? Or for that matter, people in a lower social class? Their children might end up not as “normal” as children of other couples, so should we preemptively stop those parents from having kids?

        Of course, most people don’t bother thinking that far (including law-makers) because incest is so gross and whatever. It’s not a bad idea to question established morals though.

        “In terms of legalities in this particular case, people could be tempted to suspect Daikichi of having child porn given their age difference and how long they’ve been together. I don’t know how long is too long for such a thing to apply, or even if there is a limit of a certain number of years, but Rin is still young in any case.”

        This is exactly what I’m talking about. Because Rin loves Daikichi, all of a sudden, there’s all these accusations and suspicion of foul play, even though the development of Rin’s feelings seem completely natural and nothing in the manga suggests foul play.

        • Cynthia says:

          Having children who would be known to be inbred, so to speak, would be taking wild chances that any number of things could, and more than likely would, be wrong with the kids. In the cases of those diseases, you said it: it’s a chance that the kids will inherit the diseases, but not a certainty, whereas it just about is with the children of incest. And it’s even worse if people knowingly enter in such relationships and actually choose to have children knowing the risks. It is extremely inconsiderate to the child.

          For me it’s not about societal morals. It’s about the morals that I developed myself after being taught certain facts (morals are simply beliefs turned into unspoken law). Both the biological and emotional aspects of it make it so that it not only feels wrong, but icky on several levels. It stinks of immaturity and living in denial. Others may call it wrong simply for the biological relation, but for me it’s much more than that.

          Someone, I think you, was saying how there’s nothing illegal about all this, but I was playing devil’s advocate in showing how such a relationship could lead to those questions. And in all honesty, if we didn’t know these characters and they were real people, it wouldn’t be such a far stretch with the huge age difference to suspect that inappropriate behavior on the part of the supposedly responsible adult would have been going on for some time, especially since Daikichi did not so much as even pretend to reject Rin even once before just agreeing to it. In many ways, it’s very similar to stories you hear on the news of teachers and students “falling in love”. It’s different, but still similar.

        • Yi says:

          No, it is not a certainty. It is still a probability. And it is not higher than some other known hereditary conditions. Tay-Sachs, for example, is 25% if both parents are carriers, and 100% if both are afflicted (which is a certainty). There is a large number of such types of conditions, e.g. cystic fibrosis, Huntington’s… etc.

          Further, for practical purposes, “it just about is with the children of incest” is so vague. What percentage can we assume to be acceptable risk? Any number would seem arbitrary, would it not?

          “It is extremely inconsiderate to the child.”
          Hm… I could say the same thing for people living in poverty. It is extremely inconsiderate to any children born into poverty, or born in a war-torn country, or born with a condition, or born just ugly. You’re also sort of indirectly implying parents of children with Down syndrome or other birth defects are inconsiderate…

          Again, if one uses reasoning against incest, one should be prepared to use it against other similar situations. Otherwise, it just seems arbitrary that incest is singled out as the one thing that isn’t OK.

          Now about morals, I’m really glad you developed them yourselves. ^ ^ Hopefully, my views can influence them a bit more, but if not, that’s fine too. We all have our own values.

          ” it wouldn’t be such a far stretch with the huge age difference to suspect that inappropriate behavior on the part of the supposedly responsible adult would have been going on for some time, especially since Daikichi did not so much as even pretend to reject Rin even once before just agreeing to it”

          That’s the sad truth about how our society has developed when we immediately suspect the worst. As an aside, Daikichi does reject Rin initially, multiple times, and make her wait years so that she can be certain of her decision. (There’s a lot more subtlety in the manga that I didn’t include in the post, mostly because in defending the ending, I’m assuming people have read it.)

      • Stef says:

        I have to back up Yi on that one.
        I’m not against regulations, but where are the boundaries? Like Yi said, this line of thinking might lead to people with deemed undesirable genetic traits being forbidden to have children, if not outright eugenics.

        It is already a reality: families in India abandon their babies or even abort if it turns out the fetus is a girl. They have now a problem of not having any girls in entire villages in some instances. All because the female gender is considered an undesirable trait. You may then take this further with the labs that allow for parents to chose the gender of their child and imagine the result when the process becomes cheap and available for everyone.

        Now, I’m not going to lie, having handicapped children is a life changing event. It’s very difficult, especially for heavy handicaps, and many people don’t want to commit their lives to this. And that’s understandable. That’s why (at least in my country) abortion is permitted if the fetus is diagnosed with a heavy handicap. Some people who haven’t been given this option end up killing their child because it’s too much pain, both for the parents and the child.

        Because of the increased risk of genetic illness, some couples such as genetically handicapped people, or even genetically related ones chose not to have children on their own. They might resort to adoption or sperm and egg donors, or not having children at all.

        On that last note, I don’t enjoy yaoi (actually I can’t say I ever tried it), but you never know! I may be not gay, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a good story if it’s about homosexuals. At least I like to think so. Maybe I’ll give your suggestion a try!

        • Cynthia says:

          You’ve probably seen Gundam Seed on TV right? If not you might wanna watch it if you’re interested in the whole genetically-engineered “customized” children thing.

          Also, something I forgot to mention in my reply to Yi is let’s make something very clear here: if two parents had disabilities and/or diseases that were practically certain (like an 80% or more chance) of being inherited by their kids, and those were such that the kids would live their lives as vegetables or in constant suffering, then yes, I do believe they should not be allowed to reproduce. It then becomes a matter of cruelty to allow such a child to be born if they were to live a miserable life from the moment of their birth. Also, in no way can gender be considered a trait, but rather what defines your identity, because you have no choice but to be born as either a male or a female. Whereas in the case with diseases, there is a chance that they will be inherited from the parents but it is not a necessity.

          I don’t think I’m gay either but I’ve found a lot of tastefully written yaoi. Some is more graphic than others, such as Yamane Ayano’s (ongoing) Finder series, but imo it has a good plot and very interesting and complex characters. There’s also the very sweet Sorenari ni Shinken Nandesu, a slow-progressing story about a single father of a little girl. You can read it here:
          http://www.mangafox.com/manga/sorenari_ni_shinken_nandesu/

          Tokyo Babylon, by CLAMP, you might have read it before (it’s a sort of prequel to X). Subaru and Seishirou’s relationship is cute, awkward and tragic. As far as long series that are more shounen-ai than yaoi, there is Sugiura Shiho’s Silver Diamond series. Its last chapter will be published in the Ichiraci magazine in March, and the last volume of the series (26) will be printed in May. It’s more of a fantasy series than anything else, and it has many rich characters. Basically the most that happens in there is hugs and suggestive looks/dialogue, mostly used to comical effect. You’ll understand what I mean even as of the very first chapter if you decide to read it. There is a lot of humor in this series. Here is a good summary of it:

          “Rakan lives alone, and the plants in his garden grow so thick and fast that it seems like a jungle. One day a man, holding a gun made of wood, falls right down into his garden. He seems to come from another world, and he’s searching for someone who can bring back the green into his own dark and inhospitable world.”

          Speaking of fantasy, there is also Sugimoto Ami’s rather unique Animal X series. There’s really a lot of tasteful, intelligent stories if that’s what you prefer, just as there are many PWPs out there. Me, I don’t so much enjoy the latter. Now I will admit that a series like Yononaka was well-written, but except for a few instances, I found Tsubaki to be an annoying character.

        • Stef says:

          “You’ve probably seen Gundam Seed on TV right?”

          Uh, no I haven’t. Was it just a recommendation or was there an underlying point?

          There we are! The discussion has now moved from incestuous relationships to the risks, the rights and the wrongs of reproduction. So let me ask you two questions: can you give me an algorithm determining who should be allowed to have children, and can you give me the ideological reasoning behind your stance? It’s not a trap (if you thought about the subject seriously), I’m genuinely interested in you reasons. I do have a few ideas on what those might be, but I’d rather you write them.

          One last thing.
          “in no way can gender be considered a trait”
          “A trait is a distinct variant of a phenotypic character of an organism that may be inherited, environmentally determined or be a combination of the two. ”
          Gender is determined by the pairing of chromosomes X and/or Y, chromosomes are inherited, gender is phenotypic (ie has an observable physical effect on the body), ergo gender is a trait.

        • Cynthia says:

          But I already did explain my reasons. They are my beliefs based on the facts I have learned. Btw, technically gender is not inherited. You have no choice but to be either a male or a female. An inherited trait would be something like eye or hair color, since you have no choice but to have hair and eyes, but the color is determined by your parents’. Or, in the case of redheads, it can even be a genetic mutation if neither parent has that hair color.

          Gundam Seed, btw, is a mecha series in which people have, not so long ago, begun to manufacture children with specific traits (such as a certain eye and/or hair color, certain natural talents) in order to try to make the most advanced children. It’s 52 episodes and has a sequel named Gundam Seed Destiny which is by far considered to be a fluke and a joke compared to the original series.

        • Yi says:

          Just a quick interjection. I think you mean sex not gender. Please carry on. This is turning out into a fascinating discussion! I hope by the end of this, we can all learn something, even if we don’t all agree (and we probably won’t loll).

        • Stef says:

          Oh! Thanks for the correction. My English isn’t all that good after all ^^ Scratch that.

          My thoughts exactly. Debate is only fun as long as we exchange. And so far, things have been pretty civilized (I hope you think so too, Cynthia). While I defend individuality and equal freedom and opportunities as my ideal, I might understand other ideologies and recognize them as viable, even though I might not agree on them. But I’m waiting for Cynthia before I begin spouting out examples if need be.

        • Yi says:

          Your English is fine! Your use of “gender” is OK in the original post, but “sex” is probably more apt when talking about the chromosomes.

        • Cynthia says:

          I don’t know what term she meant to use, but to be clear, I definitely meant to use “gender”. “Sex” is too ambiguous a term.

  35. Stef says:

    Ah yes. “Ignorance is bliss” This becomes a discussion on the nature of happiness. But this is another topic, as interesting as it may be.

    But you’re right, she didn’t stop living and growing and she will continue to face conflicts. What’s life without some drama?

    • Yi says:

      Haha, right right. It’s going off in a totally different tangent. ^ ^

      “What’s life without some drama?”
      Soooooo true!

    • Cynthia says:

      This is why people don’t get married right out of high school though, because they’re far from ready for it at that age. Also, there is such a thing as unnecessary drama, ie melodrama.

      • Yi says:

        Well, Rin and Daikichi don’t get married right out of high school…

      • Stef says:

        “Also, there is such a thing as unnecessary drama, ie melodrama.”
        Unless you consider the world to be a giant fiction, I don’t see how true melodrama could exist. Although there are people constantly faking and exaggerating, but that’s not melodrama, it’s fiction.

        Anyway, my point was that one cannot experience happiness without experiencing sorrow. That’s all there was ^^

  36. Cynthia says:

    Then, does reproduction become more important and essential to you than the well-being of the child? Reproduction is not necessary and is often not recommended. I should tell you though, that I am a person who isn’t interested in having my own children but rather in, someday, adopting. I believe there are enough children who have no parents that reproduction is by far not a necessity.

    • Yi says:

      I would argue that your stance, if I understand it right, puts reproduction as the more important. You are against incest because you don’t think incestuous relationships can reproduce healthy babies.

      “does reproduction become more important and essential to you than the well-being of the child?”

      I think there’s a logical fallacy here. Parents are not endangering the well-being of a child by conceiving children. This is not the same thing as heavy drinking during pregnancy. The latter is a choice regarding a present fetus, whereas the former is not. The former is about conceiving it. I’m not sure if I’m wording my thoughts right…

      “Reproduction is not necessary and is often not recommended.”

      Exactly. It is not necessary. Hence, I didn’t think reproduction would be a good reason to be against incestuous relationships.
      Now, as for the issue of inbreeding… I think it should be a choice made by the parents. They alone should get to decide what is acceptable risk. In either case, I don’t think it’s endangering the children.

      • Cynthia says:

        No, because in my argument, reproduction is not a necessity, but only occurs if there is no danger to the child. It’s not that reproduction is necessary, in fact there are too many of us as it is, but if it should occur, it should be done in a good, non-destructive way.

        I understand what you mean, but I’m referring to a child as the product of two parents, in any stage of its life.

        Absolutely not, it should not be the choice of the parents who don’t but should know better. Doctors exist to help people not make mistakes, so no, parents should not get to decide what risks are acceptable because they don’t know any better.

        • Yi says:

          “No, because in my argument, reproduction is not a necessity, but only occurs if there is no danger to the child.”

          So you are against inbreeding, but not necessarily against incestuous relationships, i.e. siblings having safe sex. Is that right?

          “Doctors exist to help people not make mistakes, so no, parents should not get to decide what risks are acceptable because they don’t know any better.”

          Well, that’s not exactly what I do. But it’s similar. Usually, in most health cases, we help people make informed decisions, but we don’t decide for them. In fact, legally, we can’t decide for them. We give recommendations, but the ultimate decision lies with either the patient, the family, or the legal system.

          But yea, this has no clear answer. I posed this question over Twitter last night… And the response was… chaotic.

        • Cynthia says:

          I am against incestuous relationships both from a biological and moral point of view, except in the example I cited before, and I also think they’re emotionally unhealthy. However, for people engaging in incestuous relationships to actually bring a child into the equation is far worse in my mind.

          Of course not, but considering that it is illegal, and the fact that there is no doctor-patient confidentiality, I’m sure most doctors would report people to authorities if they knew these people were family and seriously considering having a child of incest together. Especially if the doctors in question were asked to be involved in the process, because that could then backfire on them and they’d be accessories to a crime.

          From what I found, incest is illegal in both Canada and the US, not to mention considered a form of child abuse if it involves an adult and a child. So yeah, I imagine the response would be chaotic indeed.

        • Yi says:

          “And to be honest, I think society has only perceived incestuous relationships through negative associations, like sexual abuse, child pornography, and slavery.”

          Ry above makes a really good point here.

          There’s no question that between adult and children, it’s a bad thing, and that’s not just in cases of incest. For the purposes of this post and discussion, all I’ve wanted to address was the morality in this chat was in terms of consenting adults. So let’s stop drawing attention away from, muddle, or vilify the issue (which has always been framed within consenting adults) by continually bringing up child abuse. We can both agree on that part–child abuse is wrong. :(

          “From what I found, incest is illegal in both Canada and the US, not to mention considered a form of child abuse if it involves an adult and a child.”

          It is child abuse. So is any other sex involving children, regardless of incest. Incest isn’t the part that is considered child abuse. Again, the reason that’s child abuse is because it involves children not because it involves incest.

          In any case, I guess my set of morals are just different from yours. I see nothing wrong with incestuous relationships and intercourse between consenting adults. (Again, limited to consenting adults…) Inbreeding is a little trickier, but I still don’t think there’s a moral wrong there to engage in inbreeding. (For the same reason that the parents are not morally responsible for passing down undesirable genes per se.)

          “I’m sure most doctors would report people to authorities if they knew these people were family and seriously considering having a child of incest together.”

          We would not need to report them if they are only considering. But we would have to though if there is definitive proof of incest. The question is should we have to? I don’t quite agree with the incest laws against consenting adults.

        • Cynthia says:

          Except that you can hardly separate the two issues. Usually such relationships occur because of childhood experiences. Someone who was raised to know the differences between familial love (of any kind) and romantic love would not consider such a relationship. And if, as I do, you consider that the supposedly consenting adults are immature, then it’s the same as children having relationships. Whether it’s children or adults though, incest still remains illegal.

          And actually, it’s considered to be even worse if it’s abuse from a family figure such as a parent. There’s even has a special term for it: incest. So it’s not quite right to say that the incest part isn’t considered the child abuse, because it plays a huge role.

          Yes they are. But how can you possibly think that the parents aren’t responsible for passing down unwanted genes to their children? In the first place, parents are the ones having intercourse knowing full well that they could produce a child, and in fact often intending to. Isn’t it the responsibility of any mature adult to know their medical record, not to mention whether they or their partner (in this case, spouse) could have any STDs? If you’re going to bring a child into the world, then even regardless of whether you and your partner are related, it is your responsibility to do so responsibly, by doing your research and being informed. That’s a biological responsibility, but you also do it for the welfare of the child, which also makes it a moral responsibility. Claiming you didn’t know the risks if your child ends up with a disease, especially a life-threatening one, would sound like a really lame excuse.

          Sorry for being unclear, I used the wrong term. Basically I meant when you *know* two relatives are going to have a baby together, such as if they’ve announced to you that they’re gonna do it. But given the fact that it’s illegal, it’s hardly likely that anyone would tell a doctor they were gonna do something like that.

        • Ryan A says:

          if they knew these people were family and seriously considering having a child of incest together

          For whatever reasons (social or biological), incest is illegal, but I don’t believe being pregnant in that situation is also illegal (would need a reference). With that in mind, I don’t think the “law” will order doctors to abort the pregnancy, nor do they have that right. In this way, the act may be illegal but not the potential consequences. And this is consistent with the notion that people who can or will pass on genetic disorders are not regulated by law, nor should they be, with regards to pregnancy. So in some sense, the legality and morality of an incestuous act and the consequences (pregnancy, birth) are abstracted from one another.

          Just some thoughts.

        • Cynthia says:

          So what? They’d throw you in jail, you’d go to a hospital long enough to have the baby when it’s due, then you’d get thrown back into jail. It’s not because you’re pregnant that you’re suddenly immune to the law that forbade you from getting pregnant in such a manner in the first place. You’d still be considered a criminal and would still have to face the law. Most people who have genetic disorders, especially serious ones, will choose not to have children. So no, there is no law there. But relatives choosing to have a baby together are basically setting that child up for any number of health issues with absolutely no need or background for it. The parents don’t need to have a genetic disorder in order for the child to have one. These disorders originate somewhere, after all.

        • Yi says:

          Sigh… Painting with too broad of a stroke seems awfully judgmental.

          Here’s a link that maybe helps to rid a bit of the idea that incest is the equivalent (or functionally equivalent) of child abuse, because if that’s what you sincerely believe, then this is going nowhere.

          http://www.thetfp.com/tfp/tilted-sexuality/140671-i-had-sex-my-brother-but-i-dont-feel-guilty.html

          Just a note. This testimonial is originally published on Times Online on July 18, 2008. The article is no longer there (for free), but this is an exact transcript. So it’s not just some random story. At the very least, Times’s editor thought it was valid enough to publish.

        • Cynthia says:

          The article is no longer there, and I don’t see this transcript you’re talking about either. At any rate, I am old enough to have my own well-formed opinions; I assume you are as well. As of a certain point in our lives, we’ve all already formed our own opinions based on our own experiences, and they won’t change. Sharing our opinions in debate as we’ve been doing is fine, but we shouldn’t expect to convince each other. To me, incest is wrong on several levels, all of which I’ve explained. You’ve also explained your views, and while I understand them, I don’t agree with your reasoning.

          In conclusion, no, incest between adults is not equivalent to child abuse, though it might result from it. However, it is my opinion that it results from two people who have not achieved the maturity level to be fully functioning and completely healthy (emotionally) adults.

        • Stef says:

          I think you have an issue with questioning your own beliefs and to an extent, the law. You keep mentioning your education and morals as valid arguments when we don’t know what exactly those are, nor what are the thought processes behind them, if there are any. We can’t take you seriously if you don’t explain the basis of your philosophy.

          When it comes to the law or the constitution, you should keep in mind that those are made by men and women, who are not above subjectivity (to be subjective is actually their line of work) or even mistakes. That’s why laws are constantly created and modified. No law comes from God, no matter how much religions would like you to believe it. Thus stating that something is wrong because it is illegal isn’t necessarily acceptable. You have to state your logic.

          Now, I’m not saying your restrictive views on reproduction and individual freedom in general aren’t valid. But the way you justify them (or the lack of justification) make them seem arbitrary. And frankly, I’m inclined to think they are.

        • Cynthia says:

          On the contrary, I’m very open to questioning my beliefs in areas that are still grey for me. But my beliefs are absolutely rock solid when it comes to something like incest, just as they are when it comes to toxic family members (or more indirectly, in-laws) and homosexual relationships. I know what my stance is on these issues, and I know full well why.

          What you’re saying doesn’t make any sense. What I believe also happens to be the beliefs of most people when it comes to such a sensitive issue as incest, so I am not the one who has to justify them. In other words, read any number of medical articles on the topic or watch any number of shows dealing with the results of incest, whether they be fanatic religious groups or terminally ill children. Even if you don’t though, I did explain my beliefs in great details in my replies to both you and Yi. If you haven’t read all of my replies to Yi, then I suggest starting there.

          I’m not a person who believes that every law is valid or justifiable. There are dumb laws, and that’s a fact, but I happen to agree with the law that forbids incest, as well as with its reasons. And yes, actually, agreeing with a law is perfectly acceptable because it is the proof that I am not unique in my belief, and that there is an already existing common logic right there for you.

          I don’t have restrictive views on reproduction, I have purely logical ones. From a purely logical standpoint, it makes absolutely no sense to reproduce in a manner that is ultimately destructive. From a moral standpoint, it also hurts the children involved in more than one way. I’m not sorry that I don’t want to tell you the story of my life, and I don’t expect you to tell me yours either. We’ve shared opinions and our reasons behind them, and that’s more than enough. If you are an adult, as I am, with your own well-formed opinions, nothing will change them for you. There are always possible arguments for and against any topic. You’ve developed your own set of morals, as have I, and you will defend your stance on various topics just as I will defend mine. If you are a teenager, however, then I can understand still questioning everything, but I am past that point.

        • Yi says:

          @Cynthia: Let me re-link it: http://www.thetfp.com/tfp/tilted-sexuality/140671-i-had-sex-my-brother-but-i-dont-feel-guilty.html

          It’s not anything terribly important. It’s merely an example that I think shows such relationships can be mature (at least from my perspective). Take it however you will. ^ ^

          @Stef: Thank you. It’s really lovely to have such a lively and smart chat. ^ ^

        • Cynthia says:

          Ok, the link works now, and I read this article. I’ll be honest, this girl sounds like she’s excusing what happened simply because of the closeness in age. As if she felt it was ok because they were both horny teenagers in the midst of discovering their sexuality. She mixed up the closeness of a sibling she got along really well with with romantic feelings. It doesn’t feel like maturity at all. Like the second commenter said, she simply didn’t grow out of her experimental stage. The third commenter also comments about how she’s limiting herself to her safety nest, something another commenter on your blog has mentioned before. Frankly, it’s a bit sad to read about such a situation.

          I hoped you enjoyed our conversations too. :)

      • Yi says:

        As I said, take it however you will. ^ ^

        And, yes, I enjoyed our conversation.

  37. Alfred says:

    The end of Bunny drop is perfect, I have to admit it. No because I like the ending resolution of these two turning into a couple; but cause It feels very possible. That can occur in real life isn’t it? They way that Rin is still inmature, and have to focus her beliefs and hopes on love in the most precious man in her life it was sure a huge wtf for very people but lets see this as is really:

    She’s a still a kid. No because her age, but for some of her actions and thoughts. Yes, I know that for different experiences in someone life a child in age that can change to an adult in fact. And still remembering that ‘Adults’ can act childish even they have 60 years old, a family and a balanced emotional status. But not going off the way I want to take; there are some facts:

    She’s is a kid. She knows love for what she saw in the people surround her. She is deadly scared of being alone and lose what she already have, The best she knows and what she can call perfect life. So thinking Rin is really happy in the ending of the series is correct. Doesn’t care about age difference or incest o whatever. She’s happy in a weird (for most people), realistic and bitter way that got perfectly with the series theme.

    But thats by Rin’s view.

    If we talk about Daikichi the perfect love became less possible, no cause he doesn’t love her o something. He love her more than he could love any of the other characters, but for his beliefs is what i think this love can’t last long. He has already reached the point where her happiness is more important than his own. So he will do whatever she wants, even if this meaning go against his true feelings. Again, a adult can be childish…

    Childs can be selfish. Rin is being a little selfish too, but Daikichi doesn’t. He’s acting for the sake of the person that for very long time he saw as his precious child.

    Is obvious if you watch carefully, Daikichi gives Rin very unconfortable looks whenever she start talking about the future. And not only that. His posture, looking more tired than ever; like he’s dealing with something difficult and stressful, the word “eventually” when he talks about marriage, like as emphasizing that they maybe are a couple in that moment, but for they relationship become something more serious it have to pass a time. And talking about time into dating and marriage…well, everybody knows that can be from one year, to almost a life. Of course even it looks like he can wait forever to marry her, in order to avoid things like intimacy in marriage, if she push him in some way, probably he will not wait that long.

    So, things being as they are … The ending is perfect, but I do not like it, because I feel that even if had a “relatively happy end”, this only applies to Rin, but not in Daikichi. I would liked to see the author continue to exploring the life of this family, If she did in childhood and teen years of Rin, adulthood and their conflicts had been very good for the manga.

    I wonder if Daikichi is able to “play along” with his daughter any longer, or if she’ll notice that she is hurting him.

    /I hope someone read this, and I apologize in advance if someone couldn’t understood something. English is not my mother language.

    • Yi says:

      Wow, I think we see very much eye to eye on the ending. I also think the ending is very much possible, and the feelings they hold are certainly authentic. (I even wrote a post on it haha. ^ ^) I also agree, at the time of the ending, she is still a kid, and she’s still immature. But then again, who but a select few are really mature mature when it comes to relationships? At the very least, Rin is mature enough to chase after her happiness.

      “She’s happy in a weird (for most people), realistic and bitter way that got perfectly with the series theme.”
      Exactly!

      As for Daikichi, I don’t quite feel like he actively opposes the idea. Rather, he is content to just go along with Rin, even if he might not like Rin the same way, or as intensely. It’s partly out of resignation and partly out of parental love.

      “His posture, looking more tired than ever; like he’s dealing with something difficult and stressful, the word “eventually” when he talks about marriage, like as emphasizing that they maybe are a couple in that moment, but for they relationship become something more serious it have to pass a time.”

      Hm… Interesting. I’m going to have to go back and read those pages, but yea, that’s a very keen thought! Thanks for bringing it up~

      Anyway, true, the ending is not some fairytale-happily-ever-after ending, but it is still happily-ever-after, I think. So for that, I like it. Plus, it’s done really well.

      “I hope someone read this, and I apologize in advance if someone couldn’t understood something. English is not my mother language.”

      Not at all!! Your English is great. ^ ^ And thank you so so much for visiting and commenting. Cheers, darling~

    • Jason says:

      The more I think about, the more I feel like this story is about outliers who is trying the best in their lives to find happiness in a imperfect world, in a world where love is inhibited but social expectations. I grew up in Japan I can totally understand why Koki’s mother and Daikchi didn’t get together. Japan is a society where you have to think about the group and the others before your feelings, and people are very afraid of expressing their feelings out of fear that it will cause trouble to others. I think Shinji and his father from Neon Genesis evangelion depicts this in a very extreme way. In the traditional Japanese society, Koki’s mother’s decision to tell Daikichi she is marrying someone else is seen as act of virtue, you are sacrificing your own feeling for the sake of everyone’s well being. In some ways I see this failure as the failure in Japanese society, both Daikichi and Koki’s mother are victim of being a responsible adult in a Japanese society.

      I see Rin being an old soul, and I remember how one of the who asked her out felt like she was out of reach to him…and like Daikichi said, she acts&thinks like grandmother. She might be doing well and get along in highschool, but I wonder if she really fit in. After the incident with Koki, it seems like she’s become more jaded with complexity of romance(or at least how people usually go about it in a society)

      But with Rin and Daikichi it’s different. They’ve developed a relationship where they are not inhibited by such social expectations..Between the two of them, they can open up to each other and express feelings that you usually can’t in society. And that makes sense, Rin has always been an outlier, she was an unwanted child. Daikichi wasn’t really close to his family at the beginning, and he stray from his normal path at single Japanese male to raise Rin. He’s given up romance for so long, and I don’t know if he will be able to go back playing the game again.

      I see this play out in other ares too. Like Yi mentioned Haruko’s family problem and eventually divorce is another sign of failure of romance and communication in typical Japanese marriage. Also you get to see the backstory between Rin’s mother and his husband/assistant in vol.10. They are also a story of two outliers, two not-so-perfect people who doesn’t fit in society(The society see’s Masako as a selfish woman, and her assistant as a deadbeat) making the best of their world. I see this theme play out in “Mani-Mani”, a manga by the same author.

      So to sum it up, maybe the author is showing the harsh reality of romance in Japan, and she is showing how some people can find happiness outside of the norm, even if it means being despised by the society at large… and what you feel matters more than the rules society gives us.

      Btw as far as Daikichi’s feeling is concerned, I think you get a hint of how he feels when Rin asks if she can open the shoji door at the end of the manga. He says something about the view being somewhat refreshing… I think it’s hinting at how Daikichi’s changing the way he looks at Rin.

      • Yi says:

        I agree that social expectations are really big factor in Usagi Drop that can be strongly felt throughout the series. But in some ways, the characters all rebel against it. Daikichi as a single, unmarried father. Rin’s mother in her second marriage and giving Rin up for adoption. Rin in love with Daikichi. At the same time, these situations are juxtaposed with the more cynical outcomes—Nitani and Daikichi.

        As for Rin, I doubt she’s ever fit in. She certainly isn’t just one of the girls like Reina is. Perhaps that’s why, to me, she feels like a good match with Daikichi. At least in terms of mental maturity, she’s closer to Daikichi than the other high school girls we meet in Usagi Drop.

        “But with Rin and Daikichi it’s different. They’ve developed a relationship where they are not inhibited by such social expectations..Between the two of them, they can open up to each other and express feelings that you usually can’t in society.”

        Great point! And to further this idea, Nitani’s reluctance to go against societal expectations (that is, marry Daikichi) is to further contrast against Rin and Daikichi’s attitudes.

        There is really no simple, one way to slice this manga, and that’s to the credit of the mangaka. After all, life is not that easy to figure out. Usagi Drop depicts that well.

        “He says something about the view being somewhat refreshing… I think it’s hinting at how Daikichi’s changing the way he looks at Rin.”

        Hm… That’s a great point. Perhaps I should give Daikichi more credit in this new relationship. Thanks!

  38. Jason says:

    I recently read mani-mani by the same author and I can totally relate to what you wrote here. The author doesn’t try to portray people as being good or bad, and in the end, I think the author just want us to understand their perspective, and even sympathize with their action, even if there are glaring flaws in their decisions(Rin’s mom is a good example of this too).

    These people are just trying to do what they felt was best for them at that time. It’s not about judging them, it’s about understanding them.

    Having said that I still feel like the ending was rushed. I really wanted to get more insights into his point of view, and how he adjusted his feelings over the 2 years. I guess we can say Daikichi cares about Rin, and he’s given up so much of his life for her, and his willingness to be with her is just another act of his self-sacrifice.. or maybe he realize this is the only way they can stay together as adults, and what matters above all else is that they stay together in one way or the other, since all they’ve really got is each other.

    Based on the Japanese reviews I’ve read people were actually relived after reading vol.10 and saw what happened afterward. Without going into detail, they are pretty much the same as before, and they are happy together. But then again, I am having problems with the depiction, because it doesn’t really look like a romantic relationship. It’s almost like a platonic/asexual relationship, an extension of the relationship they had all along.

    I guess my feeling in the end is a little bit of dissatisfaction, and ambivalence. I’d like to celebrate and wish for Rin&Daikchi’s happiness but it’s hard to accept it when so many things are left unanswered.. but that’s life I guess.. and I kind of got the same feeling from reading mani-mani too

    • Yi says:

      Yes definitely. The author makes little attempts to sugarcoat the reality he wants to present (with the exception of the non-blood related incest clause). Yet the author also does not try to be judgmental about any of it. In that sense, I found Usagi Drop to be at once compassionate and cynical. It’s a fascinating balance.

      Interesting point about the pace of the ending—or rather, the two year time skip. I wonder if it’s really necessary to show those two years in between. For me, I found enough resolution in just knowing that Daikichi gave Rin the possibility for a relationship. His feelings and adjustments to the shock of Rin’s being infatuated with him have been detailed leading up to his ultimatum. The rest is simply letting us know whether the two follow through with their promise.

      “or maybe he realize this is the only way they can stay together as adults, and what matters above all else is that they stay together in one way or the other, since all they’ve really got is each other.”

      I’m more inclined to agree with this. I feel like a lot of his acceptance of Rin’s proposal is out of resignation and kindness. Perhaps because of this, the relationship doesn’t quite feel sexual or romantic—at least not from Daikichi’s end. But I’m sure Rin can spark something up eventually. She is super cute after all.

      ” it’s hard to accept it when so many things are left unanswered.. but that’s life I guess..”

      Precisely! Life…

      p.s. Thanks for the beautiful comment!!
      p.p.s. Now I’m feeling cynical again. ^ ^
      p.p.p.s I should read Mani Mani.

      • Jason says:

        Aww don’t feel so cynical! If anything the author is trying to make us realize that we can find some kind of happiness in this world, even if it’s more complicated than we’d like it to be. That is certainly true for Rin’s mother too!

        As far as Daikichi’s feeling is concerned, I think you get a hint of how he feels when Rin asks if she can open the shoji door at the end of the manga. He says something about the view being somewhat refreshing. I didn’t noticed that until recently. Another subtlety I missed in Usagi Drop.

        Based on the reviews I read, Mani-mani is considered to be one the author’s classics. I would love to hear what you think. Like Usagi drop, the author doesn’t sugar coat reality, but you get to see how different characters cope with reality and keep going, even if what keeps them going feels so frail and a lot of questions are left unanswered. I guess I am more drawn to this kind realistic/cynical story-telling nowdays.. Maybe I am just getting older but I am getting a little weary of the feel-good, Shonen manga style ending where everything comes to full circle(i.e Full Metal Alchemist). I grew up reading too many of those kind of comics :)

        Thank you too for your awesome comments!

        • Yi says:

          ^ ^ Our tastes sure do change as we grow older… And yes, once I have more free time, I’m definitely picking Mani-Mani up.

  39. Thank you Yi, for the review and providing a place for others to comment.

    I guess these are the comments of a newbie, as I have just recently read this story.

    I completed the Anime and loved it, but wanted more. So I read the manga, and was surprised when it jumped forward 10 years and changing direction as it did. At first I was disappointed, as it seemed it had just become yet another high school romance story (boring). Until it showed me it was not, and surprise me once again by taking a direction I was not excepting at the end. It did make me a bit uncomfortable at first, but that’s a good thing now and again. After I reread it, I decided I like this ending a lot.

    As I have not read all the other comments here (there are so many) I may be repeating what another has said – sorry in advance if that happens.

    When 10 years had passed and Daikichi and Yukari were still not together, I knew something had gone terrible wrong between them and it would never be. But the author never makes it very clear what that that was. This is the only part of the story that seemed weak to me. So here is how I think it went… Yukari felt inferior to Daikichi as a parent, because her kid was such a problem, and his kid was such an angle. She felt that she did not deserve him – she was not good enough for him. She felt that her and her son would just be a burden on Daikichi and Rin. Then again, maybe she just did not find him attractive.

    The author is still writing supplemental episodes (I think). I really hope she fills in why these two did not work out. Details about the second marriage and the time apart would be nice.

    On the subject of them not being related… I don’t think it was an excuse and I’m glad the author put it in. It seems Daikichi already knew, and Rin had already decided on her corse before she found out. So all it did was make here feel a bit more at ease about the path she had chosen.

    • Yi says:

      The feeling I got from the manga hinted in a few panels about Yukari and Daikichi is similar to yours. I’d like to add though that the insecurity Yukari feels stems not only from Kouki. In fact, I’d say that the the inferiority that she feels comes much more from a social standpoint. She’s older than Daikichi, has married before, and has a child. All these are frowned upon in society. When next to a bachelor, her social value is even lower. It’s unfortunate, but a rather harsh realistic portrayal of societal pressures.

      I would love to see more expanded upon Yukari and Daikichi as well, although as it stands, I kind of like this open-endedness.

      Finally, on the not-actually-incest clause, I like your interpretation as well. It did feel a bit forced to me, so I thought it was mainly to ease readers into this ending. It was done much more for the audience than for Rin.

      p.s. Thanks for visiting and commenting! I don’t think I’ve met you before. Welcome, and I hope you enjoyed your stay. ^ ^

      • Thank you – your reply it thoughtful as always. I had not considered the social issues you bring up – good points.

        On another topic, are there other Anime/Manga you would recommend?
        Here are some that I have enjoyed: Sekirei, Kimi Ni Todoke, Usagi Drop.

  40. I see some of the comments here feel Daikichi’s feelings where not made clear enough. Maybe that true, but I think he final page shows it best… When Daikichi images having a child with Rin, the thought is so beautiful it brings him to tears. He looks like a man in love to me…

    • Yi says:

      My personal thoughts on this is that I am sure Daikichi loves Rin very much, and the thought of Rin finding happiness brings tears to him. However, I don’t know whether those thoughts include himself as much. But then again, my take is probably way too cynical (and at the time I wrote the post, I was not feeling especially cheery. ^ ^)

      • Sorry for all the typos in my origional post. I always felt that Daikichi had a supressed desier for Rin, but maybe I was just reading my own feelings into the story, hehehe…

        • Yi says:

          Oh don’t worry about the typos. I make them all the time myself. I simply have the luxury to go back and hide them here.

          Anyways, it’s possible that Daikichi always had those feelings. I can’t say for sure either way.

  41. Pingback: More Vanity Posts: Aniblog Tourney | Listless Ink

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  43. Sari says:

    I’ve skimmed over the comments and often stumbled upon a word that really raises an eyebrow in the context of romantic relationships: realism. Problem is, there is no such thing. I’m happily married to my first love, have been for 12 years and we fight maybe once a year. So what you usually associate with the unrealistic sugar-coated shoujo romance. Among friends and family, I’ve seen great relationships fail for no discernible reason and poisonous ones I could’ve sworn wouldn’t last a week stand the test of time. Love wouldn’t keep philosophers and various fields of science busy for millennia if there was any empirical insight beyond “either it works or it doesn’t”

    Point is: Yes, Nitani and Daikichi not getting together despite all the signs to the contrary is realistic in the “this can happen” sort of way but it doesn’t work the other way around; them getting together would’ve been equally realistic. If I’m making any sense here.

    • I agree with you on this story, it could have gone either way and still been believable. That said, I have read some stories, where I find my self saying, “but, that never happens in real life.”

    • Yi says:

      @Sari: Yes, you are totally right. I think when I first wrote the post, the intention was more simply defending it as “authentic” without saying that the alternative isn’t. i.e. That Nitani and Daikichi didn’t get together isn’t totally unexpected or something out of the left field. Somewhere along either the post or the comment, this idea might have gotten away from me. But you are right. Either way can happen indeed. We’re in agreement there.

      With that said, it’s been six months since I published this post. In hindsight, I feel this was a lot more cynical than I usually am. (That may have to do with my feelings and moods at the time.) Further, I guess I am still young in relationships and life.

      Well, cheers! And thanks for sharing your lovely experience. ^ ^

  44. Ralph says:

    I’m extremely disappointed with how Usagi Drop turned out. I actually feared this ending possibly coming from issue one because that is honestly the taboo of manga. Throwing in a shocker for shock value is only the MOST common thing to do in any given plot design in today’s dramas. But when the plot developed in the first half, I thought we were safely in a zone where the father-daughter dynamic was set-up as a central plot device. You can say what you want about the story at the end, but in removing that device, the story was convoluted and it’s value as an aesthetic and artistic work was taken down dramatically. And personally, I was so happy all the way to the end of the first half to find an anime that DIDN’T follow the before-stated taboo; instead it was honest in its approach to the slice-of-life drama that it presented within the unique family-friendly dynamic that it offered. THAT was what made it unique. As far as I’m concerned, the problem with the ending wasn’t that it was too “different” or “just plain wrong” in the plot twist. It’s that the author sold out completely for that ending and in doing so threw away what otherwise was a unique and beautiful story about something that was very dear to me personally. Anyone that says that their love was a real thing and can support it doesn’t have a realistic mindset of how family dynamics work. If that ending happened in real life, it would be cause for psychological evaluation of Rin for developing an obvious electra complex which is unhealthy to mental stability under EVERY clinical study ever done on the topic. And Daichi’s character just does an unreal 360 in his acceptance of the proposal. The justification that he’ll “do anything to make her happy” is ludacris in this context; she said she didn’t want to take is name in part one and he got over it, he could have said no to her and she would have done the same– which already draws another fallacy in the consistency of the character traits they possess. There’s no excuse for the ending. It’s just not realistic at all, and the realism it started with is what locked us all into following it. It’s a tragedy, truly… I walk away totally disheartened over the whole ordeal of the time that I invested into it.

    • Yi says:

      Sorry for the late reply and for this comment accidentally ending up in moderation.

      There is a lot to address here, and much of it I have talked about above. I’ll just address what I have not yet, and my core opinions.

      I do not think the surprise ending is simply thrown in there for shock value. Indeed, I even thought it was very strategically set up starting from the second half. (My post is primarily about how it is a believable progression and not the big surprise it is.) Someone else from above also makes a compelling point: In love, there are no real expected endings.

      With that said, I will concede to the point that the author did not give most fans what they wanted, at least not explicitly. Whether that boldness is a good thing or a bad thing, I suppose, is up to the reader. However, one thing it is not is selling out. Selling out would be going the easy route and avoid this controversial, more-maligned-than-liked ending.

      “Anyone that says that their love was a real thing and can support it doesn’t have a realistic mindset of how family dynamics work. If that ending happened in real life, it would be cause for psychological evaluation of Rin for developing an obvious electra complex which is unhealthy to mental stability under EVERY clinical study ever done on the topic.”

      Actually, there will be no psychological evaluation of Rin, and the Freudian Electra Complex is not an unhealthy mental illness under any widely accepted clinical studies. Psychiatry and medicine these days have long moved past Freudian ideas. Certainly, incestuous feelings unaccompanied by sexual abuse will not be considered a clinical issue. Sure, society might not accept it, but that’s not necessarily Rin or Daikichi’s fault. Society has a tendency to hate any that deviates from the norm.

      On Daikichi’s acceptance… Personally, I think he did it more out of a reluctant acceptance than with great enthusiasm.

      Anyways, thanks for the comment Ralph! Cheers. ^ ^

  45. Tony says:

    you bring up some valid points my friend and i gotta say this is a great article detailing a more deeper look into the ending of Usagi Drop. I plan to make a response to this via my Youtube page cuz I still need time to process my thoughts on your defense of this ending. but I just wanted to say I thought this was a well thought-out, written analysis of the manga ending to Usagi Drop that really got me thinking and I tip my hat to you sir :)

    • Yi says:

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read the post and respond to it!! I really appreciate it!

      Anyways, cheers, and thank you again. ^ ^

  46. Tony says:

    here’s the video response to your article man :)

    • Yi says:

      Love your show! You have a new watcher. I’ll be checking it regularly. ^ ^

      Anyways, in response to your major criticism: the changing of tones and inconsistencies with the themes. I suppose my defense for Usagi Drop is that if this whole manga is to mimic the aspects of life, then you would have surprises, controversies, bitterness, warm moments, and inconsistencies.

      I think I should clear one thing up about that quotation. I meant “authentic” in terms of emotions, not in terms of context. In fact, I wrote it carefully to say it is authentic to how we approach love, and not what kind of love or relationship it is. It is the approach, not the person, that I find believable. i.e. The twists and turns and surprises of love. (I have commented this on your video as well. I hope you don’t mind.)

      On the cop-out of blood-related, I actually want them to be blood-related. If the manga wanted to go this way, the author should have taken a bold stance. Still, I do recognize the yuck factor. I suppose we are not going to see eye-to-eye on this.

      Cheers!

      • soulmen69 says:

        but thats the beauty of a disccusion: we all have differing opinions on various things and it keeps life interesting haha. Like I mentioned in my video, or at least i think I mentioned it, I see where you are coming from in your defense of Usagi Drop but for me personally I didnt like the direction they took for the ending and it upsetted me because I thought the author “was” taking a bold stance by not making the manga into the typical romance incest manga like so many other manga/anime. (Japanese do this alot you cant deny that. If you want more proof, go see Ore No Imouto) The direction the author was taking was bold, in the beginning, because he buck the trend and actually tried to develop a father-daugther bond between Daikichi and Rin instead of making them become lovers. But in the ending, he ended up following the trend and made Daikichi and Rin fall in love, and that I had a problem with. But anyway, Im glad you like my show and that you’ll be watching regualrly. I hope to hear from ya soon my friend. :)

        • Yi says:

          Sure thing. And thank you again for the mention.

          Not everyone is going to like the ending, but everyone has an opinion on it (and often fairly strong ones too). At least in those terms, it is a bit of a success. ^ ^

          Now, you raise a different, but also fascinating point. A simple story that told a heart-warming tale of a father and a daughter can be perceived to be a bolder piece than one that harbors incestuous tones… I suppose it reflects a bit of the trend we see in anime.

          Glad we had this little chat!

  47. Dan says:

    It doesn’t matter how liberal your views are. This ending is invalidated by the existence of the Westermarck Effect.

    • Dan says:

      Oops, I meant VALIDATED. The author had planned this along because Rin was 6 when she met Daikichi, hence the Westermarck Effect wouldn’t take place.

    • Yi says:

      The validity (or rather, the possibility, as this is a piece of fiction) of the ending has little to do with how liberal one’s views are, or so I would think. In any case, I dislike the application of the Westermarck effect here. First, the effect is a generalization and is not definitive for all cases and all people. just because a psychological effect like this has been coined and observed does not mean that all people will experience it, nor that it is applicable specifically to Daikichi and Rin. Secondly, even with the field of sociology and psychology, this hypothetical effect has not gained overwhelming acceptance. The study it was based on does not take into account social pressures and norms. Clearly, those would be relevant here.

      Thanks for the note, Dan.

  48. Lachlan says:

    Personally I felt, and I’m sorry if someone’s mentioned this before, but there are just so many comments I didn’t read them all, that the sudden revelation of them being non blood related was necessary. I don’t feel Daikichi’s character would have been able to accept Rin if they were related. What are your thoughts on this stance? I think, it’s been a while since I read it now, that we also see Rin struggling with her feelings moreso before she finds out they’re not related.

    • Yi says:

      It’s also been a while since I read this and wrote this post, but you may be right. However, if I recall, Daikichi seemed already to be wavering and leaning towards the possibility of him and Rin being an item before they realized they were not blood-relatives. It is hard to say whether he would act the same way–or simply thought about it–if they were blood-related. I agree though that this revelation does take some societal (and probably personal) pressures off of him to be in this relationship with Rin. I only wished the mangaka would be a little bolder.

      Thanks for the comment!

  49. Jintan says:

    I know its late but I really like usagi drop. Well I guess you liked it more than me You take this seriously Ahaha

    • Yi says:

      I took it seriously, but I’m not sure if I liked it more than you. Plus, I do over-think things way too often. ^ ^

      p.s. It’s never too late to drop a comment, darling.

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