Still quite the Eccentric Family
This episode may have finally seared it into my brain: Uchouten Kazoku is the far and away best storytelling this season. But what was so good about it? Well, it starts from the time when…
Not afraid to Backtrack
Tormenting the Tengu
Some might consider it a flaw that they tend to go back over the same stories a few times in Uchouten Kazoku. But what it ends up doing is really putting us in the right frame of mind to hear these stories, and it also reinforces how important those stories are in the mythos of Souichirou Shimogamo.
Yakushibou thanks Souichirou
For instance, with more and more telling, the tale of the tanuki who transformed into a mountain gains more depth, more clarity, and more import. And it also gains connections. First we learned that he did something with the mountain. Then another time we learned that he actually transformed into the mountain and scared the Kurama Tengu. But this time, the story all comes together as to what it’s true import is as relates to Yakushibou. Deciding to help Yakushibou, who is being harrassed by the Kurama Tengu, Souichirou spends a week as Mount Nyoigatake, Yakushibou’s mountain, revisiting such harassment on the Kurama that they finally come and prostrate themselves before Yakushibou to apologize. But even then, Souichirou shows how humble he is, admitting to being a bit foolish, and allowing Yakushibou to thank him without losing face.
The beautiful view of Kyoto
Staying in the Present
The three-master is a little ostentatious
The show’s not only about the old stories, tho. The current feud between the Shimogamo and Ebisugawa families continues in the sky, after last year when the Ebisugawas ‘sank’ the Manpukumaru. But even worse, this time Benten is on the Ebisugawa’s boat, or rather a 3-mast ship. And while there’s peace for a while, the Ebisugawa’s escalate things by firing fireworks around and at the flying parlor. A truly epic battle ends with the tearoom at the end of a harpoon, but Yasaburou taking it upon himself to exact punishment on the Ebisugawa, through the use of Benten’s fan. Yet, the thrill of victory is short-lived as the tea-room falls out of the sky, having run out of port wine (thanks to Yakushibou’s stubbornness, having drunk all the fuel). But that’s not the worst. Not only has he destroyed the parlor, but Yasaburou has lost the fan. With thoughts of floating in a pot of nabe in his head, he decides to cool his heels and disappear for a few months.
Extra Screenshot Time!
The episode really tied everything together that we’ve experienced through the first part of the season. Exhibiting the capriciousness of the tanuki, the pride that all of these creatures – tanuki and tengu – have, the power of legend, and the hopefulness of the present, this story made me laugh uproariously and stare in wonder. And as the parlor is crashing to the ground, heck, even as it’s in the middle of the fireworks fight, you can’t help but think of Benten’s warning to Yasaburou, especially as she’s sitting there on the mast of the Ebisugawa’s ship. And you know that bad things could happen to him, but also that, like an uncontrolled ship heading for the rocks, there’s no chance of stopping the craziness, and everything will end up dashed. And yet, with this beautiful art style and great storytelling, you just don’t want them to stop. I’m sure the story will pick up after Yasaburou has returned from his hiding, and the preview indicates we’re going to get more information on the Friday Fellows. Will it be their hotpot recipe?