Usagi Drop and the overhanging spoiler

It started, as many things seem to whenever the new anime season rolls around, with a 1st episode knee-jerk reaction of a series. http://www.animenewsnetwork.co.uk/feature/2011-07-04/zac

What makes this one different is that both about the show and about how the show was viewed, I agree 100%.

The show is Usagi Drop (Bunny drop, as it has been localised) – the tale of a lazy 30-ish year old taking on guardianship of his grandad’s six year old love child following the death of said grandad. With a cry of “Single Dad Manga is the Best Manga!” I had previously dived into reading the series. I have three of the volumes on my shelf behind me. They jut out between Moyashimon and Excel Saga, being larger in physical size than those two series.

The problem that shouldn’t be one about Bunny Drop is that the series has now concluded in Japan. And the ending is TERRIBLE. And of course, someone told /a/ on 4chan. I was on the board at that point. And we all raged and cried and weeped and cursed and beat our chests hearily, in genuine frustration and disappointment. I remember tweeting about my disappointment when I found out. This spoiler has now made the rounds and poisoned the proverbial well who went to drink from it.

The spoiler is so poisonous because it goes against everything that the series takes time to develop. It shatters all of the healthy, well considered build-up and emotional investment with a sudden mutation that retroactively ruins the series.

Reading the manga, all I can now think is “Well, this is all well and good, but THIS is what is going to result. Blech.”
The same is now true for the anime, as mentioned in Zac’s review.

But on to what I found interesting about this state of affairs – the spoiler itself is so insidious that even the most blunt or just rude people hesitate to explain what it is straight out. So twitter this afternoon has been a whole batch of people going “Usagi drop! But… but… THAT ENDING! Hongyahhhhh!” with a whole platoon of normal, non-obsessive people looking on and probably thinking to themselves “Wait, wasn’t this supposed to be the GOOD show this season? God, what’s wrong with you nerds, Geez.”
The thing is, Usagi Drop the Manga and Usagi Drop the Anime, at least what is currently available locally to western audiences, is still stellar. As they stand at this moment. THAT ENDING wont be coming for normal audiences for a good long time, don’t you fret. Hell, if the anime gets to the manga’s end then it wont be for a good many weeks, and that leaves us time to enjoy the show for a good long while. They may even avoid disaster by “fixing” it!
(Note: I am aware that “fixing” in this case could be considered perverting the original author’s work. Lets look at things from the POV of the injured (and self-obsessed) fan for now, shall we?)

But its hard. Because we know. So this has put people who KNOW in a funny position. I want to recommend the show, and I also want to protect those who do not know THE ENDING to never find out, or at least not find out right now. I’ve found myself yelling “NO DONT GO LOOK” and “IGNORANCE IS BLISS, HONEST” at more than one person today. Its for their own good.
Thankfully they are all sensible and have agreed not to go looking underneath that particular rock. I hope they never do so, so they can enjoy the show just like I am no longer able to. I hope THAT ENDING never comes crashing down on them, and I will try and keep people pure by warning them again later on. I’ve already informed one person when they should stop watching further down the line to preserve themselves as much as possible.

I feel bad, because telling people that there is A TERRIBLE THING ACOMING is detrimental to their viewing experience, but surely its a fair trade for my current state where I find myself unable to stomach the show at all, surely?

I’m doing the right thing, aren’t I?

2 comments

  1. ABCBTom

    I debated with this myself, as I think I was on the board when the spoiler came down. At first, I wanted confirmation and it wasn’t just a troll, but when I did find out, I sat on it.

    I tried debating which was the best course of action? What is worse? Enjoying a show and then having the ending ruin everything for you when you’re more emotionally invested, or inoculating you early so that you don’t get invested but also preventing actual enjoyment?

    The reality that Bunny Drop was nominated for an Eisner and might actually be seen as a “gateway” title for manga fans was what made me comment. The idea that Bunny Drop would be the series that said “See, all Japanese cartoons aren’t weird… some are… oh god no…” was just too much.

  2. Elliot

    I had utterly forgotten about the Eisner nomination. That puts things in another new and unpleasant light, eesh. I’ll have to second your last line there, its too much.