Always take the opportunity to warm up your butt
I hope as many people as possible are enjoying this Labor Day weekend (at least in the US, sorry rest of the world. I hope you enjoy the next holiday you have!) and what a perfect kind of day to sit and read a review of an excellent episode of anime. Let’s step into the surreal world of Uchouten Kazoku to see what flight of fancy it takes this week.
Continuing Inter-Family Strife
Uncle vs Nephew
The tension between the Ebisugawa and Shimogamo families continues in the lead-up to the election for Nise-emon. And the more we see, the more the Ebisugawas look like real jerks, and you wonder how anyone could like them. They take a full complement of goons pretty much anywhere they go, twin brothers Kinkaku and Ginkaku are smarmy idiots, and we learn that Soun married into the Ebisugawas and leaving the Shimogamo family in anger. And really the two families had been on the outs for years before that. So a marriage that was supposed to bring the two families together just drove them farther apart. It’s still surprising to me that Souichirou was able to get Soun to agree have Kaisei marry Yasaburou in the first place, and not surprising at all that Soun canceled it as soon as he could.
Ginkaku deserves this and more
But even through all that family antagonism, Kaisei is still a nice girl (and a favorite of Mother Shimogamo), enough so that Yajirou fell in love with her. And she treats Yasaburou kindly, although he has never seen her as either tanuki or human. Not that she won’t interact with him, talking to him from under a bridge, or as a ladder or bureau or from the other side of a bathhouse. And she frequently intervenes on the Shimogamo’s behalf, whether it’s pelting Ginkaku with acorns or reporting the possibility of a nefarious plot by Soun and the idiot brothers to Yasaburou.
The Looming Threat
I can see why you’d want to eat a whole tanuki if you can scarf down a giant baumkuchen like that
It’s certainly a convenient coincidence that the election for Nise-emon and the Friday Fellows Year-end Nabe Party are occurring almost at the same time. And while Yodogawa-sensei doesn’t have much of a lead on where he’s going to get a tanuki (and am I the only one to detect some bit of hesitance on his part about the whole endeavour, since he now is so much more familiar with Yasaburou?), it’s always a concern, especially when the idiot brothers and Soun are involved. I think everyone at this point is thinking there’s a scheme to get either Yaichirou or Yasaburou in a position where they are in mortal danger. Could Yodogawa kill Yasaburou? Perhaps Benten could, but I don’t know if Yodogawa could.
Yasaburou also gets himself pelted with soap
We also learned how much of an effect Sou felt when Benten was around. Apparently, the mere sight of her could make him lose the ability to transform. So while we know that Yasaburou doesn’t have that problem at present with Benten, his bragging at Kaisei that he is the best at transforming of all tanuki has quite the foreshadowing effect. Could something affect him similarly?
And as always, there were beautiful little side stories, connected and enriching. Yasaburou smoking out the “Center Stone”, a tanuki who has been transformed as a stone in a shrine for decades. The story of Sou’s inability to transform around Benten, Yashirou’s lighting of the Christmas tree and the family’s fried chicken Christmas eve dinner (the story of KFC + Japan + Christmas still makes me chuckle in wry appreciation), or Yasaburou convincing Yakushibou to come preside over the Nise-emon election by baldly appealing to his vanity and pride, even though he has to leave the comfort of warming his butt to do so. Even Yasaburou’s song of admiration and slight tweaking of his brother in the bath.
She kinda looks too young for Yasaburou, too
But perhaps the cutest side story from this week, if you can call the title character of the episode a ‘side story’, is the caring that Kaisei obviously has for Yasaburou. Her jealousy at Benten’s name, her cute verbal sparring with Yasaburou, and even her wistful apology. Is she apologizing for things that have happened? Or things that are going to happen? It’s interesting that at the end of the show, Yasaburou’s voiceover, which has usually been in the past tense, is in present tense, as he doesn’t know what it meant. So perhaps the show has finally caught up with happenings.
Don’t need an excuse for a screenshot of The Black Prince
While not having the emotional impact of last week’s episode, this week was more of a soft feeling, maybe one that would ‘warm our butts’ in anticipation of the coming troubles. As always, it’s nice to listen to the lives of these characters, and I really enjoyed this episode, including all the time that Mother had. As was mentioned last week, her love is the glue that holds this family together, and Inoue Kikuko’s performance, as usual for her, is full of that love and caring. A lovely performance that deserves recognition.