Don’t mess with the bull
Sometimes you have to take a step back to move forward, and after going about as far as it can with the Friday Fellows and Benten as it could, Uchouten Kazoku takes that step back to start us down another path. But the previous themes are definitely not abandoned.
Yakushibou needs a shove
So was this the onsen episode for Uchouten Kazoku? I hope not, since seeing tanuki and tengu take a bath isn’t the most exciting thing. But the main theme of the two-thirds of the episode was really more of that filial piety that has been a major theme of the series. I think we have to include Yakushibou as an ‘ancestor’ as he was Yasaburou’s, and the rest of the Shimogamo’s, teacher, and even if he’s a stubborn old man, he can still recognize that Yasaburou is trying to do his best by him.
Scenes like this really bring the inclusiveness into the show
I thought it was fun that all 3 brothers – Yasaburou, Yashirou, and Yaichirou – took Yakushibou to the bath house, and it gave a lot of opportunity to show us the bonds between these brothers. Yashirou trying to grow up, Yasaburou trying to not grow up, but realizing he has to do what he can for those he cares for, and Yaichirou feeling the pressures of being “a grown up;”pressures that Yasaburou himself is almost actively avoiding. The scenes of Yasaburou teaching Yashirou things in this anime are some of the most touching scenes, I find.
And of course, Yakushibou has to be grumpy about it, even though he obviously loves the attention. Such a tsuntsun old man. But given enough attention, he’ll do anything that they want him to. They don’t even have to resort to Yasaburou transforming into Benten to convince him to go.
Same Story, But a Different Direction
These two again
As I said in the intro, the story took a step back, in this case about the death of Souichirou in the Friday Fellows nabe. But the step back was just to allow us to go down a different path, one that we end up pushed down by the idiots Kinkaku and Ginkaku. Trying to get Yaichirou to withdraw from the Nise-emon election (and they must be pretty worried that Sooun will lose if they need to resort to trying to drive the opponents out of the election), they mention the ‘ace in the hole’. After some crafty threats by Yaichirou, Kinkaku finally spills the beans: there was someone drinking with Souichirou the night he was caught, and was left alone, drunk. And that person was none other than our favorite frog in a well.
It’s been a wonder why Yajirou felt like living in a well. Perhaps a lot of it is penance. He feels there’s nothing he can do about his role in their father’s death, so as penance he will live somewhere simple, and listen to other people’s problems. Perhaps some of it is guilt, in that he cannot enjoy his life after what happened. He did say last week that he still tears up when he thinks of father. But when confronted by Yaichirou and Yasaburou, he readily admits his role in their father’s death. Unfortunately, he’s never admitted it before, and it was never really put together by either Yaichirou or Yasaburou.
And I’m not really sure how much Yajirou is at fault. Souichirou was their father. He was an experienced guy, and it can’t have been the first time he’s gotten drunk, and been alone. Heck, Yasaburou got drunk with Benten and Yodagawa, both known tanuki eaters. Now, everyone does say that’s how he’ll end up in the Friday Fellows nabe, but it’s not a certainty. And Souichirou seemed awfully calm and serene talking to Yodagawa. Had he accepted his fate? Or was it more planned than that?
Bonus Nightmare gif!
Even when the story seems to go in a different direction, it comes back to what we have learned before, and expands on it. Every episode of this anime is just great, a true adventure, even when ‘all’ they’re doing is going to a bathhouse. And the comedy provided by Kinkaku and Ginkaku is superlative, because they’re not even that idiotic. Well, they are, but they’re trying not to be. This show has really moved into my top three for the season, because it provides that quality story every week.