Reflections on GochiUsa’s Mocha, Sisterhood, and Bridesmaids

“Leave everything to your big sister!” –Mocha/Cocoa

Family has always been a major factor of Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu-ka? Rabbit House is run by a grandfather, father, and daughter. Cocoa dubs herself Chino’s big sister and quickly does the same with Chino’s grade school friends upon meeting them the first time. And now in this second season we get to meet Hoto Mocha, Cocoa’s big sister. The relation is immediately clear upon meeting her—Mocha exudes a sisterly care for everyone around her, particularly cute girls, and gives off a vibrant love for life. Like Cocoa, Mocha’s eyes light up with stars when she spots a special something warm to the heart.

From a drink point-of-view, cocoa drinks and mochas are near one and the same. Both blend various types of chocolate, syrup or powder, with milk. The type of chocolate and milk used greatly affect the texture and richness of the beverage. Mocha goes even further by adding espresso. The Cocoa and Mocha of GochiUsa stand at similar positions of the table. The relationship is clear, as is the maturity in Mocha’s attitude and outlook on life. Cocoa will certainly gain knowledge and wisdom over the years, but she’ll never be able to change her role as the younger sister of her family. Continually looking up to her role model manifested itself later on in her desire to care for others.

“This feeling…like the warmth a mother gives.” –Chino

As an only child, I’ve always envied friends with siblings. Sure, there were hand-me-downs, bickering, fighting, and obligations, but along with those came an unbreakable bond forged with blood, experiences, and the awareness of someone always watching your back. I realize this image is an idealistic one that frequently doesn’t come true, but it is the possibility that I desire. My feelings must have been apparent to my parents—we hosted three exchange students during the course of my high school and college years: two Japanese students and one from Australia, all girls. While I only fully bonded with one of them, I still maintain affection and loyalty for all three. Their foreign cultures and beliefs taught me to open my eyes and really look around at my surroundings.

Now that I’m preparing for my own wedding, choosing my bridesmaids weighs heavily on my mind. I don’t have sisters or close cousins to automatically fill the slots, and I’ve never been one to hold tightly to my connections over the years as I moved from place to place. It didn’t really bother me until now when I realized I have no idea who I want to stand by my side. I was initially planning on asking my Japanese sister whom I visited just last summer, but she has hopes for pregnancy that may make travel next year difficult.

Watching Cocoa with her sister and friends, I’m filled with pangs of loss and a bit of regret. While many relationships are bound to naturally end with distance and time, it’s important to put in work to keep some of them alive. The single year of separation between Cocoa and Mocha may not seem like much on the page, but in reality, that’s a whole year filled with days of fleeting moments and emotions. We all have the beauty of adaptation. It can take a surprisingly little amount of time to change into someone almost unrecognizable. Like Mocha, I need to take the opportunities as they arise to re-connect with those dear to my heart no matter the distance between us. Like Cocoa, I should cherish the close people who presently surround me. Hugs! Hugs all around!

11 thoughts on “Reflections on GochiUsa’s Mocha, Sisterhood, and Bridesmaids

  1. This was so sad yet beautiful!!! I’m finding that learning how to treasure and maintain strong friendships is really hard, but definitely worth it if you can find the right people to become your extended family.

    This episode also hit me fairly hard, as I just said goodbye to my little sister to the army’s basic training; I realized just how much our relationship is going to shift as we both grow up. I hope I’ll always be able to be some sort of Mocoa to my little Cocoa.🙂

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    • It’s a bit comical to me since this episode totally wasn’t depressing–there was a bit of sadness in Mocha’s reaction to Cocoa’s rebuffs, but not overwhelmingly so. Yet I took it so personally when thinking of my own situation. I hope for both you and your little sister that time will only strengthen your relationship with one another. I know I’d be very worried sending anyone I cared for off for military training🙂

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  2. Excellent thoughts!

    There is a quick moving and dismissive mental or emotional “default” in some people’s minds regarding the Kirara manga adaptations (like this one, KinMosa, Joukamachi, Hidamari, Acchi Kocchi, K-On, Hanayamata, Gakkou Gurashi, etc.) and similar series to them that almost immediately disconnects what is shown them from any relation to their daily life, I think.

    Reflections like this one can help put the brakes on that (learned?) default and remind the viewer that there are more things going on other than “just moe fluff”.

    Well done!

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    • As seemingly fluffy as these types of shows are, there really are still plenty of moments to take to heart like these particular couple of episodes in GochiUsa. I’m happy to meet another viewer who feels similarly🙂 And that’s what I try and strive to bring here to my blog instead of a typical summary and review. Synopses are hard to do anyways with these kinds of daily life series since there isn’t much plot to go on.

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  3. It’s interesting to hear your thoughts about siblings, because they’re very similar to what I’ve experienced from my mother, who was also an only child. She had a view of what it meant to have siblings that there should be a closeness and special bond as well. As such, there were a lot of times she put pressure on me and my brother to have a relationship that just hadn’t grown organically. We’re only 2 years apart, and shared a lot of interests growing up, but we just never had that “best friend” kind of thing going. And now, we have a fairly distant relationship, not because either of us dislikes the other one (nobody can stand my brother’s wife, tho, not me or my wife, nor my parents, nor probably my brother at this point), but because we just don’t have much in common besides parentage. On the rare occasion that we get together, it’s fine, we find stuff to talk about, but it’s not like catching up to a long-lost friend.

    I’m certainly not saying that you’re wrong in your view of some sibling relationships, and I think it would be pretty great to have that kind of relationship, but I just wanted to point out that it’s not an automatic thing, and that’s not necessarily bad.

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    • Some of us do tend to idealize things that we have had very little exposure to, don’t we? I’m definitely guilty of that with siblings, but I would like to think if I ever have children, that I won’t expect my kids to be best friends through life. My mother had a seemingly picture perfect relationship with my grandma, and expected me to share a similar affection and subservience between her and I. She has been repeatedly disappointed but our very differing view points on almost everything from religion to politics. I think she’s only very recently come to accept that our opposing opinions aren’t the worst things in the world.

      That’s really unfortunate that your brother’s wife doesn’t have at least a friendly relationship with the rest of the family; I’m sure it’s unavoidable in many situations, but it always makes family events a bit difficult to coordinate when there are one or more people you’re not sure want to participate.

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      • Heh, I think every has that belief that their children are supposed to be little vessels that are filled up exactly as parents want them to be, and have that hard time accepting when they don’t turn out to be just like that. And I surely think that everyone says “I’m not going to be like MY mother when I’m a parent!”😉 Whether or not they’re successful at that is an entirely different story.

        My sister-in-law is friendly enough with my parents, who go to visit them frequently throughout the year (about 800 miles away, so a significant trip). They’re actually on their way there now, even, to spend Christmas with my brother’s family. It’s more that it’s hard to excuse my S-I-L’s petty and selfish behavior. I’ll share three anecdotes from two days at my wedding. First, they managed to finagle it so that they announced their engagement at our rehearsal dinner. Then the next day, as we were driving from the wedding to the reception, we saw that she had compelled my brother to stop at McDonald’s for food (rather than just go to the reception where there was, you know, food…). And then, they left early when she got huffy about the fact that my wife rigged the bouquet toss to throw it to her 6 year old niece (who was the flower girl) for fun. Everyone thought that was funny except her, who left immediately after that complaining that “she should have gotten it because she’s engaged.”

        To be sure, we already knew exactly how she was, and were not interested in any sort of appeasement of her, so all this stuff was really just funny to us. It’s mostly just fun to tell stories about my unreasonable sister-in-law.😀

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  4. “Only child” team building! It’s great to see you’re still keeping up with your writing, just figured I’d pop in and see how things were here. Fantastic episode, by the way!

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      • It looks a heck of a lot better than last season too, that’s for sure! The benefits of a budget. ;3

        Did you end up going on your trip? How was it? Possible plans of returning to AX in 2016? I’m thinking about paneling with someone!

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  5. […] -The show’s strong emphasis on familial bonds between both friends and relatives continued this season, showing viewers the importance of family and friends (specifically sisterhood) and how much a kind and caring environment can bring joy to anyone even if it the happiness does not reflect one’s definition of it or how one would envision a happy environment and family being like. For more on the show’s message check out my self appointed chef, Marina-chan’s post discussing this topic. […]

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