The 2011 anime Bunny Drop is easily my second favorite series released by anime distributor NIS America, after Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day. Maybe I’m totally calling myself out as a softy by admitting as much, but so be it. This touching slice-of-life story about a 30-year-old bachelor who decides, against his extended family’s wishes, to raise the illegitimate daughter of his grandfather (a bit confusing, I know) really hit close to home for me as a new father myself. Animation studio Production I.G handles the material with great care, assuring that the story unfolds not according to generic narrative conventions, but with reverence for the inherent challenges that come with raising a child.
Parenting is, for the most part, about flying by the seat of your pants, a process of trial and error as you and your child learn one another’s habits, tastes, and limits. And this certainly holds true for series protagonist Daikichi as he improvises a life for himself and 6-year-old Rin. In doing so, he proves to be very modern in his parenting style as he allows her to express herself and her opinions, and respectfully accepts them and incorporates them into his approach to parenting. What I found so refreshing about the series, apart from the fact that the children here are incredibly well-written, is that the dramatic tension throughout arises not out of arbitrary plot devices, but out of the very nature of parenthood itself. No kidnapping, apocalyptic threats, or alien invasions are necessary to propel the narrative forward because every decision Daikichi makes, no matter how small, is ultimately life-changing. He holds Rin’s future in his hands and the drama inherent in the responsibility he’s undertaken informs the trajectory of the series as a whole. (Additionally, the animation in Bunny Drop is gorgeous, and each episode improbably begins with a nearly two-minute sequence realized entirely in breathtaking water colors.)
The Bunny Drop Complete Series Premium Edition from NIS America comes packaged in the typical 8”x11”x1” (WxHxD) hardboard case of NIS’s Premium releases. This hardboard slipcase features unique designs on the front and back with the series’ title displayed on the case’s short spine and one of the long sides that it might be displayed from virtually any angle. Two slimline cases house the collection’s two DVDs and two Blu-rays collecting the series’ 11 episodes. These case slip into the hardboard case alongside the 11″ hardbound supplement book, Rin’s First Year. Sound amazing? It is. And I know I’ve written this about NIS’s Premium Editions on more than one occasion, but no anime enthusiast should be without these terrific collector’s items.
The 28-page Rin’s First Year features an incredible wealth of bonus material including, among other things, character galleries, art settings with comments by the series’ Art Director Ichiro Tachida, comparisons of series settings with the real-life locations from which the creators drew inspiration, and nine pages of interviews! Disc-based special features include four mini-episodes, the requisite clean openings and closings, and a Japanese trailer for the series.