A lazy day for Daikichi and Rin brings an unexpected and unannounced visitor to their home - Daikichi's cousin Haruko and daughter Reina, who seem to have decided to drop by out of the blue.
Well, when I say "drop by", it seems that Haruko has actually decided to run away from home in the face of a husband who is always at work and doesn't really seem to care, and in-laws who they share a home with who she very much considers "the enemy" for a variety of reasons. Given that tough situation to live in, it's little wonder that she's upset and looking for an escape, a means afforded to her as Daikichi lets Haruko and Reina stay for a few days (even if it does threaten to cause a momentary issue in his growing relationship with Yukari.
During the course of Haruko's stay, Daikichi finds himself with quite a few questions to mull over, not only with regard to his raising of Rin but also about some wider points - the importance and difficulties of marriage and the role of a father in caring for children. Still, despite Haruko's complaints come the end of the episode she returns to her normal life, while Daikichi notes what a strong woman she has become from the crybaby that he knew from his childhood growing up alongside her.
Although its focus was a little different perhaps from what we've seen from Usagi Drop so far, this was another great episode - Haruko's situation was played straight without soaking it in too much drama, and really the whole scenario was relayed more as an exercise to provoke thought in Daikichi and, by extension, the viewer. Essentially, it distilled so much of what is hard about every day life, particularly as it pertains to a thirty-something - the constant struggle between having to behave, act and think like an adult while wishing you were a younger person and could still act like one, and the simple fact that raising a family really isn't any simpler if you're married compared to doing it alone. There are plenty of far more subtle points on those and more topics to the point where you could probably spend a day discussing, but putting them to one side again this episode's best moments were when its kids came into the frame, whether it's Reina's knowledge of exactly what is going on between her parents even though Haruko thinks she knows nothing, and Rin and Reina's discussion of those "weird" grown-ups and their whimsical worries about relationships. It's those moments which throw the grown-up topics of the series into relief, and it proves to be as entertaining as it is considered and thoughtful to keep this series ticking along perfectly.
As a side note, I'm off to the Ayacon convention here in the UK starting from tomorrow until Monday, so don't be surprised to see sparse or non-existent updates on this 'blog between now and then!