Usagi Drop – 2

Who would be the better parent for Rin: Haruko, the veteran of motherhood who knows how to manage a child’s life well or Daikichi, the underprepared rookie with a heart that cannot be matched?

These two adults seemed to be the most qualified candidates of the family to take in Rin following the funeral.  Haruko has a child of her own, Reina, and seems to know all the ins-and-outs of parenthood as well as running a home.  Our glimpse into her parenthood was rather brief in this episode, we only saw her when Daikichi called for parenting advice, but we saw how organized everything was.  And not shown, or at least to a minimum due to circumstances in the scene, is that Haruko is extremely intelligent and experienced in raising a child.  Even though you could describe Reina as troublesome or uncontrollable, she’s not a problem child and just is easily excited and full of energy (two signs of a healthy child).  So if Rin needed a stable and experienced mother as her new parent, Haruko would be the ideal choice.

The other choice, and the one that was ultimately the one to take her in, is Daikichi.  While inexperienced and unprepared for the exhaustive role of parenthood, Daikichi makes up for these faults in matter of personality, interest, and care.  Throughout the course of the episode, Daikichi spent most of his free-time helping Rin adjust to a new life.  Despite the first half of the episode feeling hectic and draining, Daikichi able to get everything Rin needed as well as find an emergency nursery overnight.  The next day, however, showed Daikichi’s immaturity as a parent, leading to a chaotic day eventually ending with an unhappy Rin picked up later than promised at the nursery.  But the strengths in Daikichi’s parenting abilities are found in his personality.  When dropping her off at the nursery, he realized what Rin needed most was a parent who was there for her that wasn’t going to abandon her and realized that he had never fully considered Rin’s feelings on the situation until then.  I never would’ve realized it myself had I been in that situation, even if I did it a hundred times.  And his general interest and care for Rin all the time, such as giving her a piggy back ride when she was sleepy and turning it into a fun ride, truly shows how much Daikichi cares for his new child.

And so with that being said, I feel the choice is obvious for me if I were put in Rin’s situation.  Daikichi would be the most appropriate parent.  What Rin really needs is someone who will spend time with her, listens to what she says, and, perhaps above all, a playmate who will actually play with her.  That’s what Daikichi can offer as a parent.  Daikichi immediately picked up on Rin’s loneliness when she was dropped off at the nursery and went back to make a promise with her that he’d return before sunset (it’s not like he forgot, he would’ve been there if he could’ve) to help her feel better.  I doubt Haruko would’ve noticed or considered Rin’s feelings like that, seeing as she had someone else watch her Reina while she was cooking the tempura.  It might be just me but I felt like Haruko is a level below Daikichi in regards to their attention and interest in their children, although that could be because Daikichi has only been parenting for a day and Haruko has had Reina for six years.  But what Rin needs is not an experienced and capable mother but a caring father who spends time with her and makes her feel accepted and wanted.

However, I do wonder how long Daikichi will be able to maintain this level of parenting.  His job has begun to noticeably suffer, his social life (coworkers only at this point) has become non-existent, and I’m sure there will be financial issues approaching soon, seeing as this is a realistic anime and there’s no infinity sign in the bank account or get-rich-quick schemes to solve any fiscal woes.  Nevertheless, I cannot forecast a time when Daikichi loses his genuine interest in Rin.  I believe Daikichi realizes what Rin needs in a parent and that will always be his top priority from here on out.  Even if he has to juggle things around and Rin ends up below something, like work, and ends up breaking his promise, he’ll do what’s needed to return that beautiful smile to Rin’s face by doing whatever needs to be done, even if it requires swallowing a thousand needles.

Also, don’t get me wrong, I think Haruko is a great parent, it’s just that she’s not the right fit for Rin.  You could see she knows how to properly manage a home and raise a healthy child from the two episodes alone.  And I really used a nominal sample size to gauge Haruko’s parenting ability for this comparison, so I couldn’t say too much in how she feels regarding Reina.  It’s just the scenes we’ve seen have shown her to be more of an authoritative parent, chasing after Reina before the funeral and telling her to wait while she was on the phone, rather than one like Daikichi who comes down to Rin’s level and addresses her thoughts and concerns.  I do feel like these scenes were shown to contrast the attitudes in parenting between Daikichi and Haruko but, as always, I could be wrong.

I am looking forward to seeing more of Haruko and Reina in this anime, especially considering that Reina and Rin are the same age and Daikichi and Haruko have a good relationship as cousins.  Otherwise the anime would be entirely Rin and Daikichi with little interaction outside of each other, so these two characters should add some nice variety in this anime, especially if Daikichi continues to use Haruko as a source of parental knowledge.  I’ll also be welcome to the addition of other children and parents as major characters since they will offer new and alternative angles on parenting as well as add some new diversity in this anime.

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  1. #1 by TWWK on July 15, 2011 - 4:41 AM

    In the first two episodes, it’s clear to see that Haruko is overwhelmed as a parent. She’s frequently scurrying back and forth and can’t keep on top of things. This isn’t to blame her – in fact, I think she’s a good parent. But parenting is difficult, and Haruko can’t even give all the attention she wants, I think, to her own daughter, as demonstrated by her light scolding of Reina when she’s being inappropriate. Also notice that Reina is watching television that is entirely inappropriate for a child her age.

    Haruko is in no shape to take Rin in, even if she wanted to. Strangely enough, she would be more neglected in a house with a homemaker and grandmother than in a home with an overworked single father-figure.

    • #2 by avvesione on July 15, 2011 - 11:26 AM

      Those are all good points, especially those I failed to pick up on like that Haruko is a bit overwhelmed herself as a mother (and I rewatched the scene to see what Reina was watching, too, since I didn’t notice that either). I think she wants to be more involved with Reina but just doesn’t have the time or energy since she’s busy running the home (and I think we’ll see some problems arise with her later). I’m glad to see other people have also noticed the contrast in parenting between Daikichi and Haruko and I hope to see it used later in the anime toward some sort of conflict or discussion point. Thanks for the comment with all your thoughts and those points I missed.

  2. #3 by tomphile on July 15, 2011 - 6:58 AM

    Rin doesn’t seem to have too much of a commanding presence in this anime. I’m currently wondering whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

    • #4 by avvesione on July 15, 2011 - 11:35 AM

      I feel that it’s a good thing because most of the anime, thus far, has been from Daikichi’s perspective and how he’s adjusting to life with a child. Rin’s role has been somewhat minor in both episodes but her role is expanding and I think she’ll take a more commanding presence in the next episode or so, once more conflict happens in the story. At least that’s how I feel. What do you think is good or bad about Rin’s presence so far?

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