Daikichi and Rin from Usagi Drop

What Went Wrong With Usagi Drop

This post is part of the 30 Day Manga Challenge series. Day 3: A Manga You Started Out Enjoying But Ended Up Hating

Never have I ever felt so betrayed by a story than when I read Usagi Drop. What began as a lighthearted take on the “children raise you” trope took a sharp turn into some questionable territory towards the end. If you’ve read the series before, you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, turn back now.

– Heavy Spoiler Alert –

Usagi Drop opens with Daikichi, a 30-year-old bachelor, attending his maternal grandfather’s funeral. As he goes to the house to pay his respects, he passes a young girl picking flowers outside. Turns out, Daikichi’s grandfather, Souchi, had an illegitimate daughter named Rin! After listening to his other family members squabble over the six-year-old girl’s fate, Daikichi declares he’ll foster Rin himself, saying no kid should live with adults who act so shamelessly.

Daikichi decides to adopt Rin

As a single (and previously childless) guy, Daikichi is at a complete loss when it comes to raising a kid. Much of volumes 1-4 show us Daikichi’s daily challenges, like finding a daycare, shopping for kids’ clothes, learning how to tie pigtails, or enrolling Rin in school.

In volume 2, Daikichi finds a hidden note inside Rin’s MCH handbook that sheds more light on Rin’s real mother, Masako. He arranges to meet her without Rin, fearing what might happen. Good thing too, because Masako says she was a struggling manga artist who got pregnant right before her big break. Not wanting to put her career on hold, she left Rin in Souchi’s care. But when he died, Masako totally abandoned Rin, and even now, she wants nothing to do with her.

Daikichi is Daikichi

Knowing that Rin probably won’t go back to her mother, Daikichi considers adopting her. He asks Rin if she’d like it if he became her dad, but Rin says no, simply saying Daikichi is Daikichi. There marks the first hint of what’s to come in the latter half of the series.

Volume 5 begins with a 10-year timeskip, and from here on, most of the manga is written in Rin’s perspective. She and Kouki, her childhood friend, are in high school now. Rin’s cousin, Reina, questions the pair’s relationship, but Rin insists her and Kouki are more like siblings than anything. Kouki doesn’t quite feel the same way though, and spends many chapters trying to confess to Rin.

Meanwhile, Daikichi is now entering his 40s and is still single as ever. He proposes to Yukari, Kouki’s (conveniently single) mom, in Chapter 30, but she rejects him, fearing what could happen if Kouki and Rin were to live together. But she doesn’t have anything to worry about, because wow! Rin really has romantic feelings for Daikichi!

Turning Point

Yeah, volumes 8 and 9 slowly reveal Rin’s shift from seeing Daikichi less like a father figure and more as a potential romantic partner.

Think it’s absurd? Well, so does Rin, actually. In Chapter 44, Rin thinks about how the other girls in her class swoon over the cool guys and realizes she never really felt the same attraction toward people her age. She thinks maybe it’s because she’s always been around an older guy, but later concludes that no, it’s because that guy was Daikichi. She is in love with Daikichi.

Rin thinks about her relationship with Daikichi.

As her feelings grow, Rin comes to terms with the fact that a relationship with Daikichi should be totally out of the question. After all, he basically raised her singlehandedly since she was six. And they’re technically blood-related, right? Weeeeelllll, not really. After speaking to Masako for advice, Rin discovers that Souchi isn’t her real father after all! She was simply adopted into the family.

in Chapter 50, Rin finally confesses. Shockingly, Daikichi doesn’t outright reject her! Instead, he warns Rin that if she continues to feel that way, then she risks ruining the family dynamic they’d built together. He tells her he only sees her as a daughter as a plea to change her mind, but Rin relents, saying she’d make him see her another way. Eventually, Daikichi gives in, telling Rin that if she still loves him romantically by the time she enters college, then he’d reconsider their relationship.

By the last chapter, Rin graduates from high school, having never fallen in love with anyone else, fulfilling the promise she made to Daikichi and starting her new life with him not as his adoptive daughter, but as his lover.

And that, my friends, is where I said, “What the fuck.”

Hard Pass

Let’s get two things out of the way: the age gap isn’t the creepy part. Plenty of perfectly normal relationships involve significant age gaps between partners. And since Daikichi and Rin aren’t technically related, we can’t really judge this as a true incestual relationship.

What was creepy was how nonchalant Daikichi acted toward the whole thing. It seems he just kind of gave into Rin’s wishes, even though he clearly said he still has only parental feelings towards her. Up to this point, it wasn’t clear what Daikichi wanted. He was still interested in Yukari and other older women, but he stopped pursuing them after Yukari’s rejection. Because we really didn’t know what was going on in his head during most of the second half of the series, we as readers just had to accept his odd choices. And that sucks.

Usagi Drop handled some heavy-hitter familial themes, covering issues from single parenting to divorce, with humor and charm, but quickly quashed what it had built with its poor character development towards the end of the series. If Daikichi had shown any resistance, or if readers got to see his rationale, then maybe the ending wouldn’t have been so utterly disappointing. 

14 responses to “What Went Wrong With Usagi Drop”

  1. DNA Avatar

    God… the ending is all sorts of creepy. My dad has always liked manga, so when my sister and I were kids he’d read them to us. We especially like stories about families trying to raise little kids (think Yotsuba&!).

    When we found this manga we loved it, thought it was great. My dad always buys hard copies, but I read online. Thankfully he only owned the first 3 volumes. I read ahead and told him not to, under any circumstances, read ahead.


    1. xscraid Avatar

      It went from heartwarming to disgusting pedophile child grooming. I would like the ending if my name was Woody Allen. Author base logic was Daikichi is only responding to what Rin wants. Yeah, my kids like smoking crack but I don’t give it to them. Totally a guy who told his whole family ‘F U all, I’ll raise the kid myself!!!’ and would change job scope just to pick up his kid would marry said kid. I really start to think the author like smoking crack too .I just pretend that the manga end where the anime end. Sad thing was the publishing and editor actually ok’ed this.


  2. Tonu Avatar

    Even if they weren’t any blood related…haven’t he developed any fatherly relationship with her…didn’t he feel any fatherly emotion?if he did how could he have romantic feeling towards someone whom he already had parental feeling with?


  3. Conrad Avatar

    Kinda late to this.. This manga was recommended to me after I finished My Girl.. Chapter 1 – 24 was really great.. It showed real life struggles of being a single parent to a girl that is technically his aunt. The bond they built was genuine. The inclusion of Kouki and his mom made me think that they may be good plot key since Kouki’s mom is divorced and Daikichi is single. The transition should be easy since Kouki and Rin are doing great. I kinda wished they would be together or at least try. The story at that stage was light it feels so true. chapter 25 – end tackles a long 10 yr. time skip. Rin now 16 and Daickichi 40. This where everything just crumbles. In middle school, Rin actually likes Kouki but it just didnt came to fruition due to some circumstances which for me is ok. Rin could find someone else and that would open Kouki’s Mom and Daikichi but that also failed because of both of them having isecurities. They just become.more and more convoluted as I go through more chapter. I just cant understand why did Rin develop a romantic feeling to Daikichi. She is smart enough to see all of the complications. Daikichi just taking it as it is even more mind boggling. Kouki also learning about didnt even made a move. Rin and Daikichi being living together as lovers created more plotholes that the manga didnt resolve like how did Daikichi’s Family took it? How would society see them? Also I forgot Daikichi is the legal guardian of Rin now so basically they are family now according to law, so how would this affect them? Just a mess..


  4. Rook Knight Avatar
    Rook Knight

    I think he still spoiler her. I mean he never once said no to her, and when he did he would always relent. It was weird but i still think Daikichi will wait until she grows out of it, specially in college when maybe she will find someone more mature than Kouki.


  5. Octo Avatar

    ” And since Daikichi and Rin aren’t technically related, ”

    Well yes. But only because of an asspull of epic proportions.And I think that is where Usagi Drop went wrong. The timeskip was alright. I would have liked to see more young Usagi, and not a full ten year time skip, but hey, Daikichi dealing with a de facto adopted teenager, that could be cute, too, I thought. And it still was! Up to Volume 8, it was still great. Even Rin having some pubertarian confusion, that would have fit right in with the themes of the challenges surrounding taking on an adopted child.

    The real problem was that Volume 9 suddenly changed everything. It went to great lengths to derail the entire story and make it a different one. Yukari suddenly remarrying (though we never see her new husband…), so that Daikichi is “free” and then this absolute nonsense about his grandfather not actually being Rin’s biological father. It’s so blatanty all construed as to make Daikichi/Rin possible, for no good reason at all. It isn’t just awful, it’s forced awful.

    Where Usagi Drop is wrong isn’t Rin being confused about Daikichi, it’s when it starts to make the entire story bend backwards to allow that pairing, in the process completely selling out everything it was about before.


  6. teenagehonvedffan Avatar

    The perspective shift is a yikes and a big one.


    1. Domagg Avatar

      Just finished the anime and googles looking for ending, hoping daikichi and kouki mom will married. But fuck I got weirdshit stuck in my brain. Now I won’t search for anime ending anymore


  7. axcel101 Avatar

    liked the ending~~~


  8. urek Avatar



  9. lkjsd Avatar

    It just… left a stomach-churning feel. I wish I never read this manga.


    1. Alana Avatar

      Sometimes I feel the same way. If I could go back in time, I would have stopped reading right after the high school timeskip.


  10. mattdoylemedia Avatar

    Yeah, this was kinda why I skipped the manga. As you said, the age gap doesn’t have to be creepy per se. It’s the other part of it all that kinda scuppers it for me. I’m sure I read that the anime adaption only covers up to just before this all happens though, so that may be more enjoyable as a whole.


    1. Alana Avatar

      Yeah, the anime ends right before the timeskip. I haven’t seen it, but I have a feeling if I watch it now, I won’t be able to take it seriously, knowing Usagi Drop’s real ending. 😦

      Thanks for reading!


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