This week on Iron Chef, Battle Sukiyaki!
It might be interesting to find out at the end of the series that this is all a historical retelling of some event that’s happened sometime in the past and now we’re all caught up to the present. But for now, Yasaburou’s (kinda) back from his self-imposed exile, so what is up now?
The Thrill of the Chase
So is Kaisei in the dresser, or is she the dresser itself?
Yes, Yasaburou’s back in Kyoto, after hanging around in Osaka for a few months after the crash of the Inner Parlor. And he’s actually enjoying being on the hideout from Benten, as fits his personality. But all that can’t last forever, and Benten is a very smart, crafty, and resourceful lady. So you know it’s only a matter of time until Yasaburou is caught. And how much of his being in Kyoto is wanting to be caught, I wonder. He does have a fascination with Benten, even a hope that his past transgressions are water under the bridge. So he’s willing to risk getting caught, maybe even secretly hoping to.
There are worse places to be held, I guess
And whether he was hoping to or not, of course he is caught, by Benten and her bodyguard / lackeys of the Kurama tengu. Maybe if he wasn’t so good at shapeshifting he would have not been an exact copy of the daruma that was already there. And looking up things about daruma, I find it ironic that they are also something that might expire at the end of the year, as they are traditionally burned at the temple they were purchased from in a year-end festival. So either tanuki Yasaburou gets boiled in nabe, or daruma Yasaburou gets burned in a ritual. I find the similitude amusing.
After the Completion of Stories, Introduction of Stories
Not the Black Prince this time
Last week’s episode gave us a lot of closure on some of the stories that Uchouten Kazoku had been telling us through the first 3 weeks. So with this episode, we start on some new family history and legendary stories. Yashirou’s listening from the bottom of a well, Kaisei’s hiding from anyone seeing her, Ginkaku and Kinkaku being jerkoffs, and the Friday Fellows. And over top all of that, the story of Mother being saved by a human. And in the usual excellent style of the show, we get multiple perspectives on a story, and all told naturally, conversationally.
Mother and Yodagawa
When Yasaburou complains about humans, Mother reminds him that she was once saved by a human (and fed delicious onigiri), and that without that help from Mr. Yodagawa, Yasaburou would not have been born. Then later, while telling drunken stories at the Friday Fellows club, “Hotei” tells the story of the tanuki he saved, the one who loved onigiri and was scared of thunder. All is interconnected, and all is interesting.
This entertainment would get you in trouble, Yasaburou
But where the show really takes off into the fantastical realm is when Benten takes Yasaburou away from the Friday Fellows dinner (where they loved his shapeshifting act) for some alone time. She really is mercurial, repeatedly demanding things that from anyone else would be farcical (“Go fetch the moon for me, Yasaburou”), and then becoming melancholy at the idea that she has to eat him when she likes him so much. It seems she’s definitely made up her mind that he is going to be this year’s special ingredient. Yet, there’s something else there, some reason she favors Yasaburou, and it can’t be his crush on her. Hotei has far more of a crush on Benten, yet she dismisses him, and leaves with Yasaburou.
And the visual composition is beautiful again
I wonder if the show will go through this next month as fast as it has been, which would put the question of whether Yasaburou will be eaten or not (and if it’s that fast, it’s ‘not’) out of play quickly. At least Yasaburou no longer needs to be on the run, as it seems that things between him and Benten are back to usual after his well-received entertainment and fellowship with the Friday Fellows. And I have to say that this episode did a lot to dispel the ominous nature of the Friday Fellows as well, since they seem like a group of businessmen in an exclusive club, but the only one who exudes that air of malice is Benten. And I think 90% of that is because we’re seeing this from a tanuki perspective.