Danielle Leigh's Reading Diary -- Bunny Drop volume 1

Don't be fooled by the cutesy title -- Bunny Drop is a wonderful comic about how we finally learn to grow up in more ways than we ever could have imagined.

For me, Bunny Drop is about how everyday human beings -- your family members, even yourself -- are as mysterious creatures as anything else in this world.  When thirty year old Daikichi returns home for his grandfather's funeral, he and the rest of his his family are shocked to find that he's left a four year old illegitimate daughter named Rin behind.   When his family tries to weasel out of caring for Rin, Daikichi impetuously declares he will raise her by himself...even though he never had any intention of having children.  Ever.

So begins Daikichi's unexpected journey into fatherhood and learning all the ways in which he is capable of caring for another human being and had never really known it.  Watching this confirmed bachelor try to come to terms with his new responsibilities is a hoot and a half (hilariously he only realizes once he's taken her in that Rin is twice his "natural enemy" as she is both a girl and a child and he feels comfortable around neither type of person).  Even though the comic deals with fairly mundane child-rearing issues -- what daycare is right for Rin?, why does she wet the bed?, etc. -- there's nothing dull or boring about Daikichi's adaptation to his new chaotic life and to the small little person entrusted to him.   While he struggles intellectually at times with the concept of what it means to "sacrifice" for his child, it is quite moving to see him purposefully reconstruct almost every aspect of his life so that there is room for Rin in it.

While the whereabouts of Rin's absent mother and the kind of person the grandfather Daikichi didn't really know was (or at least didn't know as well as he thought he did) are the literal mysteries in this book, in this work the biggest mystery of all is how we can come to love another human being as much as we do.  If the end of volume 1 confirms that Daikichi's grandfather had a life completely unknown to him, there is no doubt that Rin and Daikichi belong to one another as only family members can.

I would be remiss not to mention the wonderful art, with its expressive character work and smooth transitions between panels that realistically depict everyday life and ones that show how we emotionally process those same experiences.   Daikichi seems to be a prematurely aged thirty year old, but there's a kindness in his face in spite of all the frenetic worry he's constantly radiating, while Rin is simply cute as a button.  Although the comic manages to move outward from their tight inner-circle -- into Daikichi's work life and Rin's school life -- it always faithfully returns to this rather moving, often amusing, parent-and-child pair.  This a rare work that takes fairly universal experiences of navigating family life and finds something new and surprising to say about them.  Highly recommended.

Review copy provided by Yen Press.

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