Hugs

I am watching Usagi Drop / Bunny Drop on DVD. NIS America was having a sale, and since I enjoyed Poco’s Udon World, Usagi Drop was a recommendation I kept seeing. I’m very glad I bought it! It’s such a heartwarming anime.

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

Daikichi Kawachi’s grandfather has passed away. Unknown to the rest of the family, he’d been raising a little girl as his own. Her name is Rin Kaga. While the rest of the family argues over what to do with the little girl, the one they didn’t know about, Daikichi asks her directly if she’d like to live with him. He reminds her very much of her beloved father figure, and they bond instantly. Being a single dad is a huge adjustment for Daikichi. He learns how to do hairstyles (kind of), meets other parents and discuss challenges and seeks advice, changes his department at work so he doesn’t have overtime, quits smoking, spends more time with his family, adjusts his commute to get Rin to/from preschool, and is a wonderful and loving caregiver. Watching their interactions, Daikichi’s life seems more focused, authentic, and meaningful. Both characters have emotional growth. They share funny moments, like when Rin is practicing for her school performance, then remembers it was supposed to be a surprise for the parents, and runs off. I don’t think Daikichi was necessarily unhappy before meeting Rin, but I think he was on auto-pilot, watching the days go by, with every day basically being the same. Together they navigate life and it’s delightful watching them grow as individuals and as a family.

There are many cases of birth parents lovingly (albeit painfully), allowing another family to care for and adopt their child, because they feel their child’s quality of life will be better. There are many reasons, and I imagine it’s an extremely difficult decision. Not knowing my own birth father since he left when I was very young, and having an alcoholic abusive stepfather who left, the sense of abandonment is something I can relate to. Daikichi ponders the concept of abandonment as he worries about his daughter. Meeting Rin’s birth mother in the series, it is evident that Rin’s environment with Daikichi is more stable, safe, and caring. Daikichi’s grandpa knew Rin’s birth mother, and took her in knowing she’d be in a better environment with him as her caregiver. After his passing, Rin is processing the sense of abandonment, loneliness, and sadness she has. She is fearful of her own mortality and Daikichi’s. He helps her process her emotions and let’s her know she has a new home, and that he will take care of her.

What really makes Daikichi a great father, in my opinion, is he loves Rin unconditionally. Not having a father figure myself, I imagine that is a wonderful feeling. The hug scene was touching and left an impression on me. There are so may touching moments in Usagi Drop. If you’re looking for a heartwarming slice-of-life anime, this one is outstanding and I recommend it.

Anime to Make You Laugh and Lift Your Spirits (Part I)

Generally, my favorite anime contain humor, romance, supernatural elements, slice-of-life, or some level of cuteness. During this time of uncertainty, when many of us are stuck in our homes, you may be looking for a happy distraction! In that case look no further. In no particular order, here are some anime that may provide merriment, good humor, and cheer to your hearts!

  • Tamako Market: An anime about life at Usagiyama Shopping District, there are cute girls, a love interest, family and friends, strength of community, music, humor, romance, and an exotic talking bird! The opening is adorable and the song her Dad wrote makes me me smile every time I hear it! https://myanimelist.net/anime/16417/Tamako_Market

Yea same here Dera. I’ve been going to bootcamp for two months…maybe I need to reconsider my nutrition…

If you enjoy Tamako Market, you’ll want to check out Tamako Love Story!

  • Servant x Service: Anime about working in a government agency may not sound funny, but it is! There’s a talking pink bunny, what to do if you have a wardrobe malfunction at work, romance, dealing with the public, and hiding at your desk because people keep interrupting your efforts to do work. https://myanimelist.net/anime/18119/Servant_x_Service
  • Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun / Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun: Imagine if you will, there’s a hot guy who writes a shoujo manga, but in real life he can’t pick up on the fact that a close gal pal is madly in love with him. Everyone in their friend circle can see Chiyo Sakura loves Umetarou Nozaki…except Nozaki! This is one of the few shows I’ve seen, where I actually enjoy every single one of the characters! And this was an anime my entire family and I could agree on. The creaters did a great job building these characters as multi-dimensional people, that weren’t bound by gender stereotypes. Some people may be appalled to hear this, but there’s something about Yuzuki “Lorelei” Seo, that I connect to on a soul level (unfortunately I don’t like scary movies, or have her singing talent or sports skills, so just her other good qualities maybe? LOL) https://myanimelist.net/anime/23289/Gekkan_Shoujo_Nozaki-kun?q=monthly%20girls
I too, am interested in science….
Credit: Crunchyroll
  • Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii / Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku: Finally a love story that happens in an office with adults! And it’s funny and charming, plus there’s cosplay and witty banter! My heart is already fluttering! Is there a single fellow like Hirotaka Nifuji in real life?! https://myanimelist.net/anime/35968/Wotaku_ni_Koi_wa_Muzukashii
  • Tada-kun wa Koi wo Shinai / Tada Never Falls in Love: MAJOR SPOILER….HE DOES! You probably saw that one coming. Mitsuyoshi Tada is a photographer. He’s walking around, capturing beautiful images, when he runs into Teresa Wagner, an exchange student. Now she’s the one doing the capturing…of his heart. Haha so cheesy but I couldn’t resist writing that! There’s also a cat, Nyanko Big, who doesn’t talk, but we get to hear his internal monologue as he watches his family and the other humans interact. His observations are entertaining. Plus the music in this anime is beautiful. As they say in the show; “Always Make Your Heart Rainbow!” Here are some videos with SPOILERS and a fan-made video.
  • Jibaku Shounen Hanako-kun / Toilet-bound Hanako-kun: I know, what a name right? Perhaps you’ve heard the Japanese urban legend about Hanako, a spirit that dwells in a school’s bathroom? In the tales it’s usually a girl, but in this retelling Hanako is a boy. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this anime. I was pleasantly surprised. The artwork is beautiful. The characters are interesting, endearing, and show growth and development. I like the supernatural element as the characters solve mysteries at the school, the comedy is great, and we have a touch of romance and intrigue. The teacher’s story about Hanako, when he was a student of his that dreamed about becoming an astronaut, was my favorite episode. While it tore at my heart, it created a stronger connection with Hanako. Okay maybe I should warn you, while this series has humor, at moments it can cause moments of insight, reflection, and sorrow, so if it’s too much during this time definitely hit the pause button. https://myanimelist.net/anime/39534/Jibaku_Shounen_Hanako-kun

I have tons more anime that I recommend! Hope to have those posts later this week. Stay safe, healthy, and well my friends!

Weathering with You

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

I just saw the Makoto Shinkai movie, Weathering with You. It was a packed movie theater. The art was beautiful and the music by Radwimps set the tone. Currently I have “Time with Family” playing on Spotify which is great to unwind to. I also enjoyed “Is There Still Anything That Love Can Do?”

In the film, Hodaka ran away from home and is in Tokyo. He traveled by boat. He almost fell off that boat but Mr. Suga saved his life. Hodaka doesn’t know anyone and he’s trying to find a job. Hina showed him kindness when he was low on funds and gave him a Big Mac (she worked at McDonald’s). Later he saves her from working at a shady club with questionable clientele. Unfortunately Hina’s mother passed away so she is caring for herself and her younger brother Nagi (who is quite the ladies man). Hodaka found part time work with Mr. Suga and Natsumi (Mr. Suga’s niece). Hodaka made some choices, some were not good choices. However, it worked out for him at the end. I’m so glad he was able to save Hina too! That would’ve been horrible for Nagi to have lost both his mother and sister. Their father was not mentioned at all, and since the film depicted those two on their own, I assume he passed away or was not involved in their lives.

My favorite moments of the film were;

  • The teru teru bōzu mascot and charms on the umbrella (the umbrella Hina did not want to use but they ended up using anyways!) more about the weather charm here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teru_teru_b%C5%8Dzu
  • Hina, Nagi, Hodaka, Mr. Suga, his daughter, and Natsumi enjoying the sunshine at the park together
  • All the moments showing that family can come in all forms, the love and support is what matters
  • The gift Hodaka presented to Hina for her birthday
  • Senpai (aka Nagi) and Hodaka talking on the bleachers, when Nagi says he knows how much his older sister sacrifices to take care of him and he wants her to be happy
  • The three kids in the hotel room, enjoying their time together, laughing, singing, and realizing how much they mean to each other

The concept of weathering the storm, and persevering despite the odds, were prevailing themes in this movie. While I did enjoy the film, and the interview that followed afterwards with Makoto Shinkai (fascinating to learn what goes on behind the scenes and how climate change influenced his film), I have questions. Several questions…

  • Hodaka ran away from home because he felt suffocated. But we don’t know anything else about his home life? Hina comments that at least he has a home to go, which is a valid point.
  • Hina and Nagi are incredibly resilient. What has helped them keep their positive outlook?
  • Do Mr. Suga and Natsumi have police records now?! Were they upset with Hodaka? If so, did they forgive him?
  • How did Mr. Suga’s company expand that much?
  • What has Mr. Suga been feeding the cat Ame? And clearly Ame did not miss Hodaka one bit.
  • Nagi and Mr. Suga’s daughter seemed to get along well, plus Natsumi, since he showed that photo to Hodaka at the end of the movie. Did he stay in touch with those two? Or did they run into each other?
  • Mr. Suga wanted to get custody of his daughter. Since he mentions “visits”, I’m assuming he did not get custody. Was that because he intervened when law enforcement arrived to pick up Hodaka? Hodaka who was making bad decisions.
  • Was that the creepy guy from the club?! He has a wife and a baby? Whaaaat. That was unexpected.
  • Since Hina and Nagi were picked up by children services, who did they live with? Did they get to stay together?
  • I know Hina did not have a cell phone, and Hodaka said he didn’t want to cause her any trouble given his legal issues, but he didn’t talk to her AT ALL for three years and she was cool with that? Nagi was cool with that?? Even just to check on them and make sure they were okay? Hodaka was on probation (due to his bad decisions) but it shouldn’t have stopped him from reaching out to at least make sure they were alright.
  • Do people use Yahoo Answers that much? Am I missing out? I didn’t think that was really a thing people used.

The film was beautiful, and the music set the tone perfectly. I couldn’t completely buy into Hodaka, there was something about him I found slightly off-putting. He didn’t think things through and he was frustrating at times. I didn’t hate him, he worked hard for Mr. Suga, and was good to Hina and her little brother. What a great gift he gave Hina too! Glad he took Senpai’s advice. He wanted Hina to be safe and find another manner of work and he helped her with the website. I admired Hina’s work ethic and passion, her energetic manner, and how much she loved her family, especially her younger brother. When her mom was sick, she was praying so hard for one more walk with her in the sunshine. And it was beautiful when Hodaka saved her and told her to pray for herself. For so long she prayed for others, and the happiness of others, that I don’t know if she ever thought to pray for herself.

Afterwards I got a Big Mac. But I know Hodaka enjoyed the one from Hina more!