Uchouten Kazoku – 05

Battle Sukiyaki

This week on Iron Chef, Battle Sukiyaki!

spring13-highwIt 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

Is Kaisei in the dresser or the dresser

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.

Does he really mind

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

Mother and Yasaburou

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.

Yodagawa helps Mother

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.

Ooh la la

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.


Proving that you don't have to be young to love anime, I enjoy all genres and styles of shows. If it's not hurting anyone else, you should never be ashamed of what you like!
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9 Responses to “Uchouten Kazoku – 05”

  1. joojoobees says:

    So far Benten is the only human that has shown indication of having acquired supernatural powers. The other Friday Fellows seemed completely normal. It wasn’t even clear if they really believed Yasaburou was a real tanuki, or exactly what they believe tanuki to be.

    As to where things are going, I’m guessing we are going to see more about Kaisei’s character. It was mentioned, almost in passing, last week that she is Yasaburou’s ex, but she definitely seems to be checking up on him, and he seems to rely on her when he needs someone to check up on his teacher.

    • Highway says:

      I think Kaisei and Yasaburou’s relationship is a lot more complicated than that. My impression was that they were betrothed by their parents, in some sort of effort by Souichirou to unify the Shimogamo and Ebisugawa families. This hinged mostly on the respect that Souichirou had, and I don’t think Sooun Ebisugawa was ever that keen about it, so he took the first opportunity he had to cancel it after Souichirou’s death. And then add to it the fact that Yasaburou (and I’m guessing anyone outside of the Ebisugawa family) has never even seen what Kaisei looks like.

      Yet, despite all that, Kaisei stays above her family’s petty squabbles with the Shimogamo. And that certainly seems to be one-way antagonism, to me, although not that the Shimogamo will turn the other cheek.

      • AllenAndArth says:

        i think that Keisei somehow likes Yasaburou,if the woman’s voice was an indication, i detect a triangle:KeiseiXYasaburouXBenten

        • Highway says:

          I agree that Kaisei has some attraction to Yasaburou, although I don’t know how much there is. And I don’t know what Yasaburou thinks about that either, since he kind of dismissed it as not happening when talking to Yashiro.

          And as far as Yasaburou x Benten, I’m not sure how romantically in love with her he is. I think there’s definitely something like ‘captivated’, but I don’t know how long that would last if they somehow started dating. Plus, I don’t see how they get from where they are to ‘dating’. Benten has ‘woman of power’ written all over her (to me), and she’s only going to date someone who suits that purpose. She doesn’t seem like someone to get caught up in ‘love’, even for a guy like Yasaburou.

  2. KLACMAN says:

    the more i keep watching this more wonder can we spin-off series with ben10 as the lead?

    really she been total show-stealer to watch give hmm wonder why name is benten give same name of certain you know who voice by yuri lowenthal since alien force.

    indeed who or what is this ben10 female?

    & oh we finally meet friday people yet seem hmm fine give wonder how eat dad on the main tanuki family?

  3. Gecko says:

    Yasaburou’s inner monologue at towards the end of the episode makes me wonder if he’s looking back at something, and now he understands why Benten was muttering to herself about it being sad. Which makes me think that we’re going to get some sort of movement towards what is going to happen on-screen, not in story-telling. If it even happens on-screen, for that matter.

    The story-telling aspects are continuing to be great, though. We get a little hint of something, and then it shows back up later, at the right time where we remember who talked about it before, and we can connect the relations the characters have with each other. They don’t have to use flashbacks to remind us who said what, which is something I really appreciate.

    • Highway says:

      That’s a great point. We *never* have to go back to earlier episodes as the audience to try to figure out “Who said that” or “What was it they said earlier?” Part of that is that the show’s not trying to trick us, or throw in ‘twists’. It’s engaging us, befriending us, letting us join in. This episode, sitting in with the Friday Fellows, was just the same sort of thing as sitting with Yakushibo and Yasaburou a couple weeks ago, or with Benten and Yasaburou in the first episode. It felt like being part of their gathering.

      • Gecko says:

        Yeah, that’s a really good point about the befriending. It must be why this show is great even without the clear plot.

  4. BlackBriar says:

    One thing is certain this season: Takahiro Sakurai is leads that are at the mercy of sadistic females (Kazuhito from Inu to Hasami). Benten is to be feared for a reason. She’s intelligent and patient. The moment Yasaburou mimicked that doll, I already knew she was onto him.

    It’s clear that he has feelings for Benten and her for him but he can’t get over the possibility of her turning on and eating him, not that he can blamed. And I think Benten is so wrapped up in mannerisms that she can’t outwardly say she likes and just uses the threat of eating to keep him in line. It’s not like she’s obligated to eat him in particular. I’m all for forbidden romances but in this case, it’s a real bad idea to flirt with someone who’s most likely going to kill you in the end.

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