Reviewby Rebecca Silverman, Dec 14th 2012
In the aftermath of the Kouki situation, both Rin and Daikichi are working on getting their lives back under control. Daikichi's sprained back makes things a little difficult, but also gets Rin thinking about how she would feel if he were ever to marry and just what it means to be a parent. The result? She decides to track down Masako, her birth mother...who is pregnant.
Welcome to the land of lost possibilities. With Kouki now firmly out of the picture as a romantic partner for Rin and his mother out of Daikichi's reach by mutual agreement, the story of Yumi Unita's Bunny Drop seems to have been derailed from our early expectations. The loss of both of these unfulfilled relationships casts a pall over the volume even as it forces Rin to think beyond the now. Daikichi's back injury reverses their roles and makes Rin the caregiver, and as she tends him, she begins to think about her relationship with Daikichi and what it means to be both a parent and a child. This spurs her to question how she would feel if Daikichi ever married and later to try to find out who her birth mother is. Both lines of inquiry seem to stem from emotional insecurities, making them more believable than they might otherwise be.
It is this self-same insecurity that is at the heart of this volume. We haven't really seen Rin allow herself to express her worries since early incidents of bed-wetting, and even now she tries to keep things mostly to herself, confiding only in Kouki. While he isn't entirely certain that finding her mother is a good idea, he agrees to help her out, and the two track Masako down behind Daikichi's back. Rin is afraid that Daikichi will see her search as a rejection of him as a parent, and the discussions that follow of the nature of parental relationships are heartening and cast the feared ending of the series in doubt. Rin's issues seem to stem from a fear of parental rejection should Daikichi marry, that she will somehow cease to be his child, because after all, her mother gave her away. Daikichi once again proves himself an admirable father figure here, ultimately helping Rin in order to assuage her fears.
That is not to say that there are no uncomfortable moments here, and let's be honest, those of us who have heard rumors of the ending are frankly looking to confirm our fears. The presence of such scenes, however, are largely up to your interpretation at this point in the game. This may not be as compelling a book as the previous entry in the series, but any faults in the parent/child relationship would appear, with a little thought, to be matters of how one chooses to read the scenes individually and the book as a whole.
As might be guessed from the previous paragraphs, Masako does make an appearance in this volume, and ultimately may redeem herself in the eyes of readers who previously found her irritating or simply not a good person. She is considering finding Rin before Rin makes the first move, and it becomes clear that she is afraid of Daikichi, who makes no bones about the fact that he dislikes her. At first this seems perfectly justified, but as things go on, Masako becomes more understandable. She may never be a likable character, but Unita has managed to make her actions in both past and present seem like they stemmed from insecurities rather than selfishness or malevolence, and readers may want to go back and reread her earlier scenes with this new perspective.
Unita's art has a few issues this volume, with one scene of Rin falling looking very odd and some problems drawing the pregnant Masako, particularly sitting down. On the other hand, one early scene of Rin and Kouki at the library is very well done, and she portrays awkwardness with a deft hand. As usual Yen Press has included a color frontispiece, one of the best of teenage Rin to date.
Bunny Drop is clearly not the series we started with, and while it isn't as compelling or as charming as once it was, it still has some things to say about parenthood and families. Depending on your interpretation of certain scenes, things may be heading downhill or simply be showcasing the insecurities of an adopted child on the verge of adulthood, but either way, the relationships lost in the previous volume help to color this one. If you've stuck with the series this far, this volume is still a worthwhile read. It isn't perfect, but it is certainly good enough.
Overall : B
Story : B+
Art : B-
+ Good job portraying familial insecurities, Masako is a more understandable character. Daikichi is still a very good father.
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