As a fan of slice of life type shows and believable drama mixed in with some feel-good comedy, I was looking forward to finally get a chance to check out Bunny Drop when NISA released their collectible box set.
Bunny Drop follows the story of Daikichi, single and 30, who has decided almost on a whim to take in 6-year old and newly orphaned Rin into his home when his grandfather passes away. He decides to raise her, and the anime covers the first year of their time together while the manga continues onwards. It's an entire year, but it's covered in just 11 episodes and Daikichi definitely learns a lot in that short amount of time.
Click through for my full review of this release and my thoughts on the show, as well as a cheesy video which contains me!
Bunny Drop Premium Edition (DVD and Blu-ray)
Studio: Production I.G.
Licensed by: NIS America
Release Date: August 7, 2012
MSRP: US$69.99 [BUY]
In case you haven't read it, you might want to check out Marcus' Final Impressions of Bunny Drop if you want a more in-depth summary and analysis of the show itself. I must say that I agree on most of his points there, and I did find the show to be heart-warming. Indeed, Rin is a lovable character and Dai is a wonderful protagonist to keep the anime centered.
Bunny Drop has its share of drama, but it's real drama. It's drama that you can relate to because as a human being you have all kinds of relationships with all kinds of people. Most importantly, Dai is the kind of character that has compassion for others and practices "speak little, think much." Even with this philosophy, Dai doesn't have all the answers. Things that seem so obvious and trivial turn out to be totally shocking news to him, like the idea of putting money away for college for his kid, or having a little box to put away her baby teeth.
Finally, I like that Rin isn't the kind of little girl that seems to be more in charge than the parent -- a trope that I'm seeing way too much of lately. I don't like depictions of children being in control and being way too savvy for their ages because it's unrealistic. Rin is a realistic elementary school kid according to the norms of Japan, and it was refreshing to watch. I was able to enjoy Bunny Drop without having to roll my eyes at the forced maturity of a young character and instead enjoy the relationship she shared with her loving and doting guardian.
There are a lot of things to like about Bunny Drop. It's as much about love and caring for others as it is about fatherhood and just growing pains in general. If you're not into drama or slice of life, this might not be the show for you, though. It has its funny moments, but everything therein will have this warm, fuzzy, familiar feel to it.
NISA's boxed release of Bunny Drop is wonderful. It comes in the usual style with an artbook and two slim cases, and while you don't have the choice of listening to the anime dubbed, you do have the choice between watching it in Blu-ray or DVD quality. The DVD is nice on its own, but I was more than satisfied with the way everything looked on the big screen TV played on my PS3. The video above is my tour of the packaging.
Part of the reason that Bunny Drop works so well in both formats is the simplistic art style and soft, pastel color scheme throughout. It'll never be anything less than the best quality because it isn't overly detailed. The emphasis is pretty much entirely on story and the illustrations are just there to guide you along. To put it in a different way, the simple, fluffy and pastel style of the artwork complements the story and directing well enough that the illustrations don't need to be overly-detailed at all.
The extras contained in disc two are particularly delightful. There was one episode which ended with talk about going to a summer festival, and Dai getting all excited about seeing Kouki's mother in a yukata, but then it never came up again in the main course of the anime. As it turns out, it was one of the four mini episodes in the second discs which are meant to be 5-minute in-betweeners with little extra bits. The first is called "Leaf Aquarium," in which Rin decorates dried up autumn leaves to look like fish. The second is about Christmas, the third deals with hanami (cherry blossom viewing) and the final one goes for the summer festival. You've got a mini episode to place emphasis on the seasonal setting for each stage of the anime. It doesn't matter whether you watch them along their episode placement or after you've seen everything; the only time I felt like something was out of place or mis-paced was with the summer festival bit.
For fans of the show and for prospective viewers, I can't recommend Bunny Drop enough. There is plenty of feel-good in there to go around even with just 11 episodes. The artbook is a sweet extra which contains stuff like concept art of each main character, a guide with entries for each episode, and bonus content of its own. All put together in a pretty package that looks great on your shelf.
[9.0 - Fantastic example of its genre and should be enjoyed by everyone. Actually, it's some of the finest slice-of-life out there, right up there next to Honey and Clover. Here's hoping future instances in the genre will take pointers from this show.]