*Bunny Drop Book 2 — Recommended

In this volume, new dad Daikichi continues the search for Rin’s mother he began in the first book. (Click that link if you want to know more about the series premise.) He also begins preparing the little girl to attend elementary school; they’ve barely bonded, and already she’s growing up.

Bunny Drop Book 2 cover
Bunny Drop Book 2
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While it’s very important to the story and the reader to solve that mystery and settle the question of the little girl’s parentage, I most enjoy the everyday changes we saw in the first book. My favorite moment in this volume was Rin and Daikichi cooking together in the kitchen, including nutrition and safety lessons. It’s those small moments, where Daikichi realizes just what it means to be a parent, that I appreciate best about these stories. Raising a child is a full-time job that never goes away, as we’re reminded here when he can’t go out drinking with co-workers because he’s got that responsibility waiting at home. Thankfully, so do others, so a compromise can be reached.

Rin’s presence is also drawing Daikichi closer to his existing family, as he returns home to investigate his grandfather’s life further, and Daikichi’s mother bonds with the little girl. Daikichi and his dad have an open-hearted conversation about parenting that illustrates how different modern generations are, how they have more options than older people did when they raised their kids. Dad’s description of how Mom had to give up her career just for being pregnant really disturbed me, and their choice (and its results) can be seen as a warning sign, not to fall into their mistakes and to appreciate the modern options. Even though it’s punctuated with humor in light of Daikichi’s sister’s reactions.

That encounter serves as a subtle prelude to Daikichi’s discovery of Rin’s mother and the explanation of how Rin wound up in this situation. Not every woman is cut out to be a mother, and a family that wants a child (even if it’s non-traditional, like a single father) is a better choice than one forced into parenting resentfully. (Of course, my modern American perspective wants to know how the unplanned pregnancy came about in the first place and whether the participants were protected.)

The art is lovely, expressive and easy-to-read. Rin is adorable, adjusting to her new situation and having little-girl worries, like wanting cute pigtails that Daikichi must learn to create. (She calls it “bunny hair”.) For those allergic to too much sweetness, there’s also plenty of emotion underlying the cuteness, providing some meat to balance the dessert treat of Rin’s presence.

It’s rare to see American comics tackle the subject of parenting, as those independent creators best inclined to handle the topic tend to be younger, not yet raising families, or drop out of the tough grind of comic-making when they do have kids. (Understandably, other things take priority over a professional hobby that is too much work at the best of times.) Although I’d still like to see more comics about mothering, this series, although non-traditional, brings something unique to the market.

16 Comments

  1. Glad to hear that this is out; the first volume was a fantastic recommendation, and it’s good to know that it’s holding up.

  2. I didn’t really appreciate how good this second installment was until I reread it. Until then, the first was preferable to me, but then I got what the author was doing. I love that, when a book reveals more of itself on rereading.

  3. I thought this volume was a lot stronger than the first. It doesn’t have quite as much punch, but now that they’ve settled into their roles a bit more, the characters are less grumpy thirty-something A and eccentric girl B. A lot more real character comes through in Daikichi and Rin with the subtler plots of this volume.

    I do have to pick a nit with your comments about the unplanned pregnancy though. Though there are more issues surrounding unplanned pregnancies in Japan in general, this volume doesn’t present the situation at all different from an unplanned pregnancy in the US. The mother also mentions how she planned to terminate the pregnancy, but the grandfather encouraged her to have the baby…or maybe the the grandfather’s note mentioned that, I don’t quite remember. I hope you don’t take any offence, I just thought the modern American perspective comment was a bit unfair considering the actual context in the book.

  4. I should explain further: by “modern American”, I meant that at first I assumed that she got pregnant because she had unprotected sex, and she should have known better. That’s a lot of assumption, and the story may go a different way. I’m now wondering, for example, whether Grandpa was the father — he may just have taken pity and adopted the kid informally, letting everyone believe he was the dad.

  5. Haven’t received my copy of volume 2 in the mail yet but reading your review made me even more excited.

  6. Ah, sorry Johanna! I didn’t realise that you’d meant the comment that generally regarding unprotected sex and unplanned pregnancy, I’d thought it was a loose commentary on Japanese mores with the American perspective bit in there. Now I feel silly.

    It probably was unprotected sex. If I were to speculate…Grandpa doesn’t seem like the biological father, the real father could turn out to be a decent guy and show up at some point wanting to take Rin; that’s the sort of asinine plot twist I would throw in there anyhow. :3

    I really like the mystery elements that the mother and grandfather represent though, Bunny Drop is way more complex than a slice-of-life kids are cute sort of story.

  7. No worries. I appreciated the chance to elaborate on what I meant, in case it wasn’t clear to others. Good point on the mystery balance. I’m curious about who the mom’s roommate is.

  8. Adi Tantimedh

    What’s striking about the first volumes is the female writer-artist’s examination of how a man becomes a parent and the way she has him examine his own feelings, motivations and worries. It makes Daikichi one of the most introspective and thoughtful men in comics.

    When the series leaps forward to Rin’s teenage high school years and her problems with a boy, I found it less compelling than those first volumes of Daikichi learning to relate to a child that’s dependent on him. Teenage dramas are too commonplace in manga, alas.

  9. Um, spoiler alert? :) I’m glad to hear it continues that long, though.

  10. Adi Tantimedh

    Sorry. Just thought I’d warn everyone. I tried not to give away any story details while pointing out how it becomes somewhat less satisfying.

    I think it’s up to volume 7 or 8 in Japan by now.

  11. Oh, just teasing. Although since I’m American, we’re used to premises being milked for years without characters aging or changing significantly, so finding out that they’re going to show her growing up is somewhat surprising to me. I’ll keep reading either way.

  12. Adi Tantimedh

    Well, it’s still not bad, I was just surprised that the emphasis was taken off Daikichi and onto Rin, which made it feel more like a typical high school Shoujo story until the story remembers to shift back to Daikichi the Parent.

    But yes, the sudden leap to the teen years was a surprise to everyone.

    What I found is that the series is serialised in a Josei anthology, which is stories aimed at a 20something female readership, so I wondered why it had to suddenly become more Shoujo.

  13. I’ve been REALLY looking forward to volume 2, I enjoyed the first volume immensely. When mine arrives I have every intention of reading it IMMEDIATELY. There aren’t that many manga series that I read that I drop everything to read the newest volume when it releases. For most series I like to let a few volumes from a series accumulate and then read them in waves.

  14. I just got into the series myself and I highly agree that there should be more books like this regarding parenting.

    The series puts single fathers in a good light. I do think that single fathers get a lot of criticism, when compared to single mothers.

    The emotional maturity of men is another issue it tackles, since men do have the “Peter Pan syndrome” where they are still boys deep inside and won’t grow up until something extremely significant happens.

    I’m anticipating to reading the next two volumes before the time-skip, which starts at volume 5.

  15. […] struggle with the day-to-day needs of parenting. (For more on this unusual family, see Book 1 and Book 2.) Bunny Drop Book 3 […]

  16. […] up so fast. Rin’s now a schoolgirl, so no more “aww, what a cute kid” stories in this series. Instead, dad Daikichi observes a cousin’s family struggles, takes care of Rin when she gets […]

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