This was my favorite episode of Usagi Drop so far. The ending of this episode was one of the most emotional moments in the show so far.
We spent the majority of the episode focused on procuring a tree for Rin. She plants some seeds for when she enters elementary school, but wishes she had a tree from when she was born. Daikichi does some detective work, interrogates Rin’s mother with ice cream, and discovers that his grandfather did indeed plant a tree for Rin. He goes to the house to pick it up. While he’s gone, Rin speaks with Daikichi’s mother about her birth tree, and how Daikichi’s sister has the same tree. When Daikichi returns home, he tells everyone that Rin has the same species of birth tree as him, and everything comes together in the scene where everyone in the family walks through the cherry blossoms. This scene captured themes of family continuity extraordinarily well.
Another thing which stood out to me was how childish Rin acted in this episode. She’s mature for her age, but really: she’s only six years old. The entire thing with the cereal, her jumping over the tree to become a ninja and her choice of tree— these all added humor and showed how she really is still a child. The danger of having a highly capable little girl who cooks breakfast and wakes up her father for work is that she doesn’t seem quite like a child, but it’s moments like this which keep Rin as a child in the viewers’ minds.
I’d also like to point out the animation in this episode. Once again: it was gorgeous. Not only did we continue with the plethora of bright, pastel colors, we also had some very detailed scenes. Just look at the scenes from the grocery store below. The scenes inside homes may not be the most exciting, but when Rin and Daikichi leave home, the animators just go wild.
One last thing which stood out in this episode: I just love the way they’ve developed the familial relationships between Rin and Daikichi, and Kouki and Yukari (the boy who went to Rin’s daycare and his mother). Kouki and Yukari have barely gotten any screen time, but you can still tell how closely intertwined the two families have become. Rin and Kouki walk to school together, take entrance pictures together, and play ninja together. And Daikichi is acting as a father figure of sorts to Kouki. He removes the burs from his jacket, combs Kouki’s hair, scolds Kouki quite often, and thanks him for protecting Rin. There is some male bonding going on here that Rin is amusingly oblivious to.