Daikichi Kawachi is a 30-year-old bachelor that works long hours at a respectable job. However, upon hearing the news of his grandfather’s death, he returns home for the funeral only to find out that his grandfather had an illegitimate daughter named Rin. Shy and unapproachable, this young child is shunned by the other members of the family. In his anger that no one will take her in, Daikichi steps up himself and begins his days anew as a single father with no prior childcare experience.
As the anime, much like many of the fans of the series, pretends the time skip never happens, Usagi Drop is an anime that thrilled almost all who have watched it. It doesn’t get weird, it just stays the sweet journey of man raising a child that everyone wanted it to be. As single parent stories are so rare in anime, you might find some more gems among these anime recommendations.
For Fans of Single Parenting
Sweetness and Lightning
After the death of his wife, high school math teacher Kouhei Inuzuka is left to care for his young daughter, Tsumugi. He does his best, but his busy schedule and poor culinary skills limit them to eating convenience store food separately. However, one day, his daughter expresses an interest to eat together after talking to one of his students in the park, Kotori, who deeply enjoys food. He rushes over to the restaurant owned by the student’s mother, but she is not there. While Kotori tries her best to cook for them, her skills are lacking. However, together, Inuzuka-sensei, Tsumugi, and Kotori learn to expand their cooking skills.
If you take out the cooking aspect, Sweetness and Lightning and Usagi Drop are almost the same show. Both are about a father or father-figure that is not used to raising a child learning how to better raise a child. From making time for it to making sure they grow up healthy and well-adjusted, these fathers do their best.
I Love You, Baby
Kippei Katakura is your typical high school playboy. However, his flirty high school life comes to an end when he is tasked with caring for his 5-year-old cousin after his aunt suddenly runs off. Although he has no knowledge of child care and a lack of responsibility, both he and his cousin must adjust to their new chaotic life.
I Love You, Baby takes the story of Usagi Drop and places an even younger and more irresponsible man in charge of a child. While the child makes for an obvious catalyst for him to grow up, both stories tell the tales of irresponsible mothers as well, both of which want nothing to do with their daughters.
Listen to Me, Girls. I am Your Father
Segawa Yuta is now a freshman in university. Since a young age he was raised by his sister Yuri, but now she is married with a family of her own. One day, Yuri and her husband decide to go on a trip and ask Yuta to look after their three daughters. When Yuri’s plane goes missing, the three children are at risk of being divvied up among relatives. In order to prevent this, Yuta decides to step up and care for them on his own.
Don’t be put off by the suspicious named of Listen to Me, Girls, it is not half as creepy as it sounds. Like Usagi Drop, it presents another lovely little show about a young man taking responsibility for raising children. However, the major difference is Usagi Drop only has one child to look after.
For Fans of Adult Character Growth Through Children
After losing his temper on a critic, renowned calligraphy artist Sieshuu Handa is exiled to the Goto Islands by his father for a period of self-reflection. There he seeks to find new inspiration for his art, but finds that his neighbors and some neighborhood kids keep getting in his way.
Both Barakamon and Usagi Drop use a relationship between adult and child to send a message to the viewers. The message is a little more in your face in Usagi Drop while Barakamon takes a more subtle route. However, in between said message (which is basically the plot) there are tender, heart-warming fun moments that make you feel like the world might be okay sometimes.
After losing his parents to a terrorist attack, Shinkurou Kurenai swore to stay strong. Now a high school student, he lives with the Houzuki family, mastering their style of martial arts. One day, a member of the family brings home a young child from a wealthy family and asks Kurenai to guard her.
Wish Usagi Drop had more fighting? Kure-nai adds in a little violence while exploring the friendship between a high school boy and a little girl. Of course, both shows also deal with parenting issues as well.
Poko’s Udon World
Souta Tawara is a web designer that has been working in Tokyo. However, when he returns to his small town to visit family, he discovers a young boy alone and with a supernatural secret. Upon the confrontation, Souta decides to quit his job and take care of this boy dubbed Poko. This anime follows their daily adventures in the Kagawa Prefecture, the Udon Kingdom.
Although Poko’s Udon World has a supernatural twist, at its heart it is like Usagi Drop in its plot. A man gives up a career that he, well, doesn’t particularly love in order to better raise a child that is thrust in his care and is kind of like panacea for the heart.
For Fans of Young Characters, Mature Themes
Shuuichi Nitori is an effeminate fifth grader and considered to be the prettiest girl in school, even though she is biologically male. However, Shuuichi is not alone in his feelings with his tomboyish childhood friend Yoshino Takatsuki biologically female though identifying as a boy. Things become even more complicated when they must attend a new school, struggling to make new friends and maintain old ones.
While Usagi Drop casually takes a poke at the issue of death from a young child’s prospective, Wandering Son pulls no punches as it attempts to tactfully show of transgender issues. While both shows are hopeful and empathic in their way, overall you get a domineering melancholic tone that weighs down so heavy it hurts at times.
Satoru is a struggling manga artist, but he has a special power. Every time something bad happens around him, he is able to go back in time and try to stop it. While thus far he has only gone back a few minutes in time, after the murder of someone close to him, he is sent back to his childhood. It seems this murder had something to do with a string of kidnap murders that would plague his rural town in just a few days.
There are more ways Erased is different than Usagi Drop than it is similar, like the whole time travelling murder mystery thing. However, it does show somewhat mature topics through the eyes of a child who is often helpless to stop it, like death and abuse. Usagi Drop doesn’t show, but rather talks about it.
Michiko and Hatchin
For the fourth time, hardened criminal Michiko Malandro breaks out of South American prison in search of a man from her past. Elsewhere, Hana Morenos is trapped under the fists of her abusive family. She hopes to one day be rescued by Prince Charming, but she didn’t expect him to actually be the busty Michiko who charges in on a stolen motorbike claiming to be her mother.
Michiko and Hatchin differs from Usagi Drop by placing a busty rebel woman in charge of a kid rather than a Japanese salaryman. However, both series are about non-parent-ready people suddenly raising a kid while also approaching mature topics from a child’s mind.
Know of any other good anime recommendations for Usagi Drop? Let us know in the comments section below.