「わたしの木」 (Watashi no Ki)
“My Tree”

Planting a tree that grows along with you is a very cool idea and I wish my family had a tradition like that when I was young. I mean, who wouldn’t want their very own tree? I can only imagine the nostalgia value it would provide once you’re older. Daikichi plants one for Rin to commemorate her primary school commencement, though it inadvertently reminds Rin of her father and she wonders if a tree was planted for her when she was born. Rin coped with her father’s death pretty well, especially for someone her age, but naturally she still misses him, and so to solve her question about the tree Daikichi meets with Masako again. Masako is clueless as ever, but in the end he does manage to find the tree his grandfather planted for Rin at her birth, which turns out to be the same type as his own — fragrant olive. It could be just coincidence, but it’s interesting to think if perhaps his grandfather had actually planned it all out.

Again, Usagi Drop manages to bring out warm emotions in something as simple as planting a tree, and it’s good example of beauty in simplicity and subtlety. The subject material is very ordinary and straightforward and it can be a little hard to write about, yet it provides a sense of enjoyment that is difficult to describe. It reminds me Hourou Musuko in several ways, and both are quiet, low-key shows. Everyday, mundane events become amusing, from buying cereal to exploring the small alleys of suburbia.

Rin and Kouki both start elementary school, and Kouki gets some more focus this episode too. He’s a cheeky little runt, but also seems awfully quiet, much like Rin was previously. I know little boys tend to have a mischievous side which can be a pain in real life, and Kouki definitely has his naughty side too, but luckily he’s not an annoying character. He brings an interesting dynamic to the story, though at the moment I’m perhaps more interested in the relationship prospects between his mom and Daikichi. No matter how I look at it, they seem to be a pretty good fit for each other, and already Daikichi looks like he would make a suitable father figure for Kouki. Now of course, Daikichi just needs to stop being so awkward when around the opposite sex.



  1. This was an amazing episode. Everything from the content to the music was top-notch. Something about this show just invokes the more emotional character in us. I really like the way that Daikichi is actually taking an effort to make Rin happy, by actually investigating whether she has a birth tree. He’s a real good father-figure.

  2. Usagi Drop really does have that slow, pleasant, heart warming quality about it.

    It’s nice to have something that’s about emotions other than romantic love or friendship.

    It’s too bad it goes off the rail so much in the much later chapters.

    Fortunately I think with the speed things are going the show will never get to that point.

  3. I wonder, do the Japanese tend to live in one place their whole life? I often see characteristics similar to us here in the West of moving a lot, and living in apartments. Seems like a tree planted when you were born would never be seen again after moving.

    1. Traditionally, a house would remain in the family for generations.

      Modern urban life is different in many ways, but there’s a cultural push to maintain as many traditions as possible.

      1. Whoops, a few lines disappeared:
        An adult would tend to stay in the same house they settled in.
        Kids may move away from a family house, but they still have reasons to return and visit.

        People in Japan are generally less mobile; Japan is not a large country. Right now there are issues with residents of the tsunami-devastated villages; few want to move but many have lost all practical reasons for staying. Yet they struggle with the idea of leaving.

      2. Based on the various Japanese I met, like everywhere else, it’s tied to jobs. For the older generations, they’re pretty much set so there’s no movement. But the working generations go to where it’s convenient for them relative to their workplace. For urban areas like Tokyo, it’s fairly easy to visit the folks. But if they’re out in the countryside like Gunma or Shimoda, there’s no point in keeping the residence after the folks move on.

        Now here’s how it differs from the West. A lot of families (don’t have figures) still have the male breadwinner and female housewife setup. Also, while the concept of life employment died in the 80s bubble, Japanese don’t switch jobs as often compared to the US.

        There’s a lot of generalizations here but my conclusion is that they don’t seem as mobile not so much due to tradition and “maintaining the trees” but more because of the circumstances of their occupations.

    2. Rented apartments is something people tend to switch over time, but once a family buys a house then it’s often for the long run. I a house needs to be renovated, garden taken care of etc, so it’s not usually something you get if you don’t plan to stay a awhile.

  4. This episode gave me a lot of nostalgia–my grandparents planted a tree for every grandchild they had, and every time I go to visit, we can all compare the heights of our trees.
    Not only that, but when I was about 3, I planted my own fruit tree, just as Rin did.
    Needless to say, I really enjoyed this episode.

  5. Weird, i thought we only did that tree planting thing, back were i born. (I’m wasn’t born in the US) Though it’s nice to see an episode focus on this aspect and what Daikichi did to resolve this. Also it was nice to see Rin, try to atteempt to keep Kouki in line, like she does with Daikich. However, she wasn’t able to do this in the latter.

  6. Oh my god, I got legitimately scared this episode. After the talk about the whistle, when they were going down that back alley I thought they were going to get kidnapped or something and the story would take a new (dark) twist. but nothing happened *phew* and then the whistle starts blowing again at the end! My heart skipped more than a few beats this week….

    1. LOL I see that. Be kinda what madoka did. All lolipops and sugar drops (right down to the animation style) up until it turned so opaquely dark that you feel like you got yanked down some dark alley way from the sunny boulevard.

  7. The manga ending wasn’t that bad… only a bit sudden. Felt like they just needed a way to end the series. Pretty easy to ignore imo. The story doesn’t change character until the very end and even then only a little. It does lose some realism in the last few chapters but eh at least they executed it well.

    manga ending spoiler:
    Show Spoiler ▼


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