The Full of Rage ROSSMAN
How in the fuck is this possible?! How could you go from one of the sweetest, most adorable stories ever written for half a manga's run, and in the second half of the tale turn it into an emo-fest with the worst (the absolute WORST) ending for anything that is physically, mentally, or even spiritually possible? I'll tell you how manga author Yumi Unita fucked up the perfect first four tankouban volumes of her incredible manga series Usagi Drop by giving the world the last five craptastic volumes — how she took everything that made the beginning of her tale so wonderful and then took a giant, truck-sized deuce all over it, wiping her soiled ass with our broken hearts.
Let me back up a little bit and explain my displeasure of the manga from the beginning of my love affair with the anime version of Usagi Drop. A long time ago I tried reading the manga-aimed-at-women that the anime was originally based on. I then immediately stopped when I realized that staring at the crappy art within the pages was going to make my eyes bleed. The characters were all so ugly, there was no detail to anything (backgrounds or people), and it just looked rushed and uncared for... Then Studio Production I.G. turned the series into an anime, and my main problem was solved (their character designers and background artists deserve HUGE raises). The anime was near perfect: it was moving, it was addictive, and it made Rin (the cutest kid EVER) feel real. And I loved the fuck out of it.
But the anime was over in only 11 short episodes, and I researched it to find out that it only covered the first half of the story that Yumi Unita wrote. At this point I simply HAD to have more Usagi Drop, so I bucked up, braced myself, and read the whole manga series from the very beginning to the very end, just so I could get some closure on everything. I should have just let sleeping, scrotum-eating, rabid dogs lie.
As a recap, the main story of the first half of Usagi Drop is this: 30 year-old bachelor Daikichi goes to his grandfather's funeral, and there finds out that his Grampy fathered a 6 year-old little girl, who, now that he's dead, has nowhere to live and nobody to care for her. Daikichi gets frustrated and peeved when his entire family says that she's too much trouble and too much of an embarrassment to raise, so he takes the initiative and places his life on the back-burner to become her foster father. Joy and sweetness then ensue to the point where even the most shallow of hearts will melt when seeing Rin (the little girl in question) grow up and adjust to life with her new guardian, whilst Daikichi learns the joys of parenthood. Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.
Yes, it's sappy as all get-out, but it works (well, it works MUCH better in the anime, where the pacing is smoother and the emotions are a lot more natural and you actually LIKE looking at the characters [because they're not drawn ugly]). I seriously cannot recommend the Usagi Drop anime more. It is one of the best dramas ever made... But then I had to push my luck by finishing up Yumi Unita's story. Goddamn my several days younger naive self!
Like I said, all the sweetness and cuteness of the first half is gone in half two. Instead of seeing the world through new pappa Daikichi's eyes — watching him beam with pride when Rin makes new friends, learns something new, and hugs him as a real daughter would her dad — in the second part of the manga story we jump ten years into the future, right into the middle of Rin's high school career, and this part of the tale is told through her eyes... And Rin's kind of fucked up at this point in her life.
The best part of the first half of the story is that it's NOT your typical shoujo manga (which are usually filled with stupid high school kids doing stupid things, and filled with stupid, raging hormones that cause them to say stupid things and do horrendously stupid things) — it's nothing but cute kids doing cute things, making the reader go "Awwwwwwwwww." The worst part of part two is that Usagi Drop becomes your typical shoujo manga (and is filled with stupid high school kids doing stupid things, and filled with stupid, raging hormones that cause them to say stupid things and do horrendously stupid things). Part two makes me want to punch it in its kidneys.
Okay, so part two starts off with Rin and her childhood friend, Kouki, now in high school. Rin used to be a loving, smiling, adorable child, but now she's somber and boring. Kouki used to be a bratty, but actually kind of a cute scamp, but now he's an emo loser who does nothing but pine over Rin (even though he already chose to go out with an upper classmate [who he's still banging] instead of her). Daikichi's still himself, but Kouki's hot mom has rejected his marriage proposal because her son is such an enormous douchebag now that she's afraid of what'll happen if both broken families move in together. The whole future sucks because of goddamn Kouki... But Rin still hangs out with the dickhead for some reason. Ugh...
Anyway, this stupid high school drama goes on for way too long (the "will Rin and Kouki get together or won't they?!?!?" shit), but then.... Oh sweet baby Jesus, THEN it gets worse. After about 3 tankouban volumes of this whiny asshattery, Rin comes to the sudden conclusion that she really truly loves Daikichi... Not as a father, not as a friend, but she loves him like a stripper loves her shiny new stripper pole. She falls in love with the man who raised her — HER FATHER, for all intents and purposes. Our sweet little girl Rin wants to bump uglies with her daddy. What the goddamn hell is wrong with Yumi Unita?!
This was appalling, but at least Daikichi kept her at bay with his determination to let her know that he could only see her as his daughter, and that he only wanted her to grow up, marry some boy her age, and give him grandkids. I breathed a sigh of relief, but then came the final chapter.
The ultimate chapter of Usagi Drop jumps ahead another 2 years to Rin's and Kouki's graduation. Rin races home to meet Daikichi, and he agrees that they should just go ahead and get married and pop out some kids...... I.... What?.... How?.... What the fuck is Yumi Unita smoking? I sure as hell do NOT want any. It warps your mind into thinking "you know, it's okay if a person who raised a little girl from age 6 to 18 wants to make her his bride when he's 42." Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING that was special about the first half of this story (the pure father-daughter love, the sacrifices, the joy) was set on fire, then urinated upon in the second half. Rin, the greatest child character of all time, was turned into a dumb teenager with the world's largest Electra complex. Daikichi, the coolest, most caring, rough-around-the-edges father figure I've ever seen, was turned into an incestuous, craddle-robbing asshole... I... I just don't understand.
Yes, in the second to last chapter it's revealed to 16 year-old Rin that she is not really Daikichi's grandpa's kid — which means she and Daikichi are not blood related (which came from almost out of nowhere, and made me groan knowing where it was leading)... But after being raised for 10 full years as his daughter.... Really, there is no excuse for this. It's nothing but a total slap to the face with a dead, wet fish to anyone who got pulled into one of the greatest parent-child relationships ever drawn in the first half of the series. Going from "greatest" to WORST in the skip of a heartbeat is absolutely ridonkulous. It's like Yumi Unita wasn't pleased with the first half of her tale, and was offended that people liked it more than the portion after the 10 year time skip that she was then working on, and so she figured "Oh yeah! I'll show them! I'll show THEM ALL!" And then she went bat-shit insane just in time for the last two volumes.... Just like George Lucas! Holy shit! She's the George Lucas of the manga world! When he found that people disliked, or outright HATED his prequels (that were 100% his and his alone) he then proceeded to ruin the original trilogy with more shitty effects and a more whiny Darth Vader... Both cut off their proverbial noses to spite their faces/fans, and then they took a nice, juicy diarrhea fart right in the open orifice! Jesus Christ...
There are some (stupid) people out there on message boards who defend not only the 2nd (whiny, emo) part of the Usagi Drop manga, but especially the ending. These people are sick. Yeah, maybe, possibly, I can accept that Rin might develop an attraction to the only strong male role model in her life, despite the fact that he raised her, but by having Daikichi (who was so morally right, and so honest and loving [like a parent]) turn around and reciprocate those hormone-driven teenage girl feelings... It's just wrong. He used to clean up after her 6 year-old self when she wet the bed... You can't turn around have him change his mind (in one chapter) and now want to have a baby with this kid. That's like saying that in the last ever chapter of Yotsuba&! that Koiwai was just raising Yotsuba to be his bride. No. You just don't do that. Not even in Japan. Hell, not even in Alabama. Anybody who defends this ending has serious issues and mother/father (or even worse, daughter/son) complexes. Seek help. You are not a well individual.
Honestly, I could go on ranting and raving about the shit-stained 2nd half of Usagi Drop for days and days; it just fucked with me so much after loving the anime series like I did. It really truly ruins the story. From now on I will do my best to pretend that the 11 episode anime series is the only real Usagi Drop (unless Production I.G. makes another anime season and keeps Rin as a child, choosing to ignore the rest of the manga too).