Manga-ka: Yami Unita
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Teen (13+)
Release Date: August 2012
Synopsis: “As Daikichi continues to juggle work with raising a teenager, Rin struggles with the relationship between her and Kouki, her childhood friend. The last ten years have brought about a variety of changes to their friendship—some subtle, some not so. Kouki may always have been head over heels for Rin, but the choices he’s made in the past seem to have put a wedge between them. And when a scorned ex sets her sights anew on Rin as the object of her rage, the tricks up this girl’s sleeve threaten to nip Kouki’s potential romance with Rin in the bud for good. As Rin’s sixteenth birthday approaches, will there be cause for celebration? Or will Daikichi have a crisis of the heart on his hands?!”
The previous volume of Bunny Drop really disappointed me. Here we had an utterly charming series about a single, middle-age man adopting a little girl and learning how to care for her. In volume five, we had a time jump that took us forward to the child, Rin, now being a teenager. Volume six doesn’t do anything like take us back to those more charming and educational days (save for a few flashbacks) but at least now that we’re over the shock of the transition, we can appreciate the story more for what it’s become. Still, teenage school drama, haven’t we seen it all?
Yumi Unita a great storyteller but I’m just not clicking with the story she’s trying to tell. The focus has shiftened almost entirely to Rin and her friendship with classmate, Kouki. While I do like that we get to see what happened to the two growing up, and that they’ve remained friends, I didn’t start reading or keep reading Bunny Drop to find myself with another student romance.
Before Daikachi was the person the viewpoint of the series followed but now it’s shifted to Rin. We follow her between flashbacks and present day situations where we learn what different trials she’s gone through with and because of Kouki. Notably we see Rin bullied by a girl who has ‘claimed’ Kouki and was responsible for what people in the series keep referring to as his bad-boy phase.
It wasn’t hard to see the little, awkward Kouki we saw as a child grow up to be a confused teenager acting out, it felt naturally written. I had a harder time accepting the Kouki of present day who is incessant about his love for Rin to the point where you can’t help but join her in feeling it isn’t entirely sincere. To be fair I think Rin does understand how Kouki feels for her, but it doesn’t outweigh her conviction for a choice she’s already made. This does make for a few effectively heartbreaking scenes that are made more memorable by not ending up where you think they will.
While I did find elements of their ‘romance’ satisfying, there were other plot points I wish would have been addressed. The biggest of which is Rin’s biological Mother. Will she meet her now that she’s older? I’m really interested to see how Rin at this age would deal with it. Or, if the idea even comes up, if she would choose to meet her Mother at all. I spent the sixth volume also wondering a lot about Kouki’s Mother too, most notably because of the almost-romance she and Daikichi had for so long. Near the end of this volume it is addressed, and though the outcome wasn’t what I would like, after a book all about a potential romance – or at least reconciliation to start – between Rin and Kouki, I can certainly understand the decision made.
Bunny Drop now is a sweet series for its continued subtle storytelling and likeable characters but it’s pleasing execution falls short of making up for the story. It feels like it’s been told too many times before, and frankly, is rather dull. No good will come of wishing the story could return to the fun of yester-volumes but I can’t help still lamenting the loss. With only a couple volumes left, I remain interested to see what becomes of Rin and Daikichi, yet the infamous spoilers for the series’ end, which have already rampantly attacked the internet, make it even harder to forgive the flaws I’m already seeing in the series this late in its game.
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Book provided by Yen Press for review purposes