Bunny Drop Vol. 3

By Yumi Unita
224 pages, black and white
Published by Yen Press

It’s always sad to see a book store closing, but sometimes it ends up steering me toward books I might not have otherwise read. For example, I’d heard good things about Yumi Unita’s Bunny Drop, but with so many other series fighting for my money, hadn’t gotten around to reading it. Then a store going out of business had the first two offered at 50% off, and the next thing I knew? Well, not only had I bought and read them, but I just bought and read the recently-released third volume at my regular store. For a book with such a relatively simple concept, it’s a surprisingly rich book.

When the series opens, young man Daikichi Hawachi is attending his grandfather’s funeral, where the family is confronted with a surprise; grandfather had secretly fathered a little girl (Rin) a few years ago. When the rest of the family hems and haws over the situation, Daikichi impulsively says that he’ll raise Rin, and the rest of the book progresses from there. With this third volume, Bunny Drop is making an interesting shift from the initial material, while still staying true to its original concept. So many of the early chapters focused around Daikichi floundering over the simplest things when it came to raising Rin. It was when the series began to evolve a bit that it turned from a good to great series in my eyes, though; dealing with Rin’s fears and insecurities about changing homes, preparing for school, and Daikichi’s job changes (due to becoming a single parent) not being viewed as a positive thing by his co-workers.

It’s an evolution that continues into the new volume, and as a result I’m more hooked than before. The book explores some Japanese traditions (such as the planting of a tree when a child is born, or enters school) that I found intriguing, but it’s in no small part because of the personal touches that Unita adds to these practices. Hearing about Daikichi’s problems with his sister over their personal trees adds a level of richness to his character, and continues the transformation of Daikichi from the well-meaning clueless (and slightly bumbling) protagonist, to someone who has depth and issues in his own right. It’s continued with an expansion of his job issues this volume, both in dealing with co-workers that treat him differently because of being a single parent, as well as seeing his annual bonus drop because of changing positions to one that allows him to be home when Rin gets back from school.

One of the best bits of the book for me, though, is the return of Rin’s biological mother that gave Rin up to concentrate on her career as a manga creator. When she first appears, Masako comes across as a selfish, horrible person. But with each new appearance, we get to see more of Masako’s psyche and she shifts from someone you hate to someone you pity. From the subtle glimpses of how Masako views herself in relation to the rest of the world, to the emotion that runs through Masako when she gets to see Rin again, it becomes increasingly clear that Masako is someone who recognizes her own flaws and acts accordingly. She’s not perfect or even close, and her fumbling through life to do what’s right runs at a strange parallel to Daikichi. Masako chooses to not be a parent and focus on manga for the sake of Rin, while Daikichi changes his own job for Rin as well. It’s a sad life that Masako lives, and a remind of how much better things are now that Rin is with Daikichi.

Unita’s art is simple but pleasant, using an economy of lines to draw the characters and situations. It creates an innocent, stripped down style that lends itself well to the character of Rin, almost as if we’re seeing the comic through her eyes. Rin in particular has a perpetually surprised and amazed look on her face, one that fits so well with her character. (Especially in comparison to her relatively blasé school friend Kouki.) It’s a sweet art style, and one that helps spread the overall emotion of the title.

Bunny Drop is a book that ultimately snuck up on me, from liking to loving the title. Unita’s comic gradually grows in strength, and by the end of the third volume I kept wondering why I’d put off reading this coming for the past year and a half. It’s nice to know that while the series has just come to a close in Japan (including a jump forward from Rin being a child to being a teenager), we’ve still got six or so more volumes ahead of us. I’ll be back for volume 4, absolutely.

Purchase Links: Amazon.com | Powell’s Books

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