Uchouten Kazoku – 09

Warming his butt

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.

Ebisugawa Trouble

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

Some huge Baumkuchen

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.

Soap Rain

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?

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

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.

The Elusive Kaisei

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.

The Black Prince is Awesome

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.


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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23 Responses to “Uchouten Kazoku – 09”

  1. Gee337 says:

    Also, we get to see Ginkaku and Kinkaku’s real name – maybe it was just me, but I don’t remember hearing them yet. I think they’re read as Kunijirou and Kusaburou? Not sure though. And apparently they thave an older brother as well.

    • Highway says:

      Perhaps Gunijirou and Gusaburou? I’m still really terrible with Japanese names.

      • BlackBriar says:

        I think it’s more that not only are the names long, they’re similar with the wording. That’s why it would be troubling to remember certain names. It’s a no-brainer if they’re short.

        • Highway says:

          No, the problem I have with kanji names is that the reading for names is frequently completely different from the reading for any other word.

          • BlackBriar says:

            Don’t be some bummed. Even Japanese have trouble reading kanji and they end up calling people by another name.

  2. KLACMAN says:

    well give recent drama & sorts well now got other things going on & yea we finally get to see kaisei in person.

  3. BlackBriar says:

    It’s one thing to have a feud with someone who’s unrelated but when it’s with people who are related by blood, that’s got to be a special kind of hell to put up with. At this point, save for Kaisei, there’s no changing the fact the Ebisugawa family will never mature and cease being a bunch of asses.

    Finally the teasing is at an end. Since I started getting into this show, I wanted to see what Kaisei looked like. Well, I can say she’s very chibi.

    • Highway says:

      I do wonder if the pranking and harrassment between the Ebisugawa and Shimogamo families has always been so one-sided as it’s been depicted here. The show has been very uniform in showing the Ebisugawa as pretty much the sole initiators of every confrontation. They hassle Yashirou, which is picking on a little kid. They try to frighten him with giant maneki-neko and Yaichirou comes to fight back. They storm the bathhouse with a parade of goons. They open fire on the inner parlor. They forcefully try to keep them out of the temple. Maybe some of it is that the Shimogamo are just the 4 of them (Yajirou is not an effective fighter), while the Ebisugawa have a lot more individuals, and maybe there’s things we’re not seeing, but it’s been pretty clear that all the harassment and bullying initiates with the Ebisugawa.

  4. HannoX says:

    I was afraid we’d never get to see what Kaisei looks like. She’s a real cutie. And while she does look too young for Yasaburou, there’s been nothing said about the marriage being imminent, even while it was still on. And with the tanuki ability to transform, maybe the human form she takes is younger than her equivalent age as a tanuki.

    I’m wondering if all the Ebisugawa scheming backfires and the Friday Fellows end up with couple tanuki in their hot pot thanks to Benten intervening.

    • Highway says:

      Well, remember that Benten doesn’t exactly play favorites for the Shimogamo. Take the Gozan Fire Festival incident, where, yes, she lent Yasaburou the Inner Parlor, but she also was a willing guest of the Ebisugawa. I’d also think that the Ebisugawa have a closer relationship with the Kurama tengu, who Benten is affiliated with, where the Shimogamo are closer to Yakushibou.

      • HannoX says:

        Don’t forget that Benten has been shown to have a cruel teasing side. Her being with the Ebisugawa during the Gozan Fire Festival may have been simultaneously teasing the Shimogamo by being with their rivals and making the Ebisugawa think she’s their friend when she’s planning to double cross them in the future. And I’m not so sure that Benten is affiliated with anyone (except maybe the Friday Fellows?), although some might think she’s with them and that includes the Kurama tengu. After all, she does have a history with Yakushibou who started her on the path of what she is now. Despite her treatment of him now, she may still have a soft spot for him. She just doesn’t show it at present.

        Of course, no one really knows what Benten thinks or what she’s going to do. Even the anime team may have sometimes been surprised by her actions. When characters really come alive, they can do things or send a story in a direction their creators hadn’t thought of until that moment arrives and the creator suddenly realizes THIS is what that character would do, not what the writer had planned until that moment.

        • skylion says:

          In my own fiction writing the ability of a character to, “take a life of their own” is both thrilling and exhausting. Thrilling because you feel you are “doing it right”, and exhausting in that “they just make it up as they go along” just like a writer.

          Benten strikes me as a one that was written with the ultimate reveal in mind all along, as in it’s the first thing they thought off. The path getting there is a part of her story. The starting point (given that this show loves itself some flashback) is one that has to obscure where they need to take her.

          • HannoX says:

            When I’ve had a character take a story in a direction I hadn’t thought of, I really like it because I don’t know what’s coming next anymore than the reader will. But I always get to the end I had planned all along; just sometimes by a different path than I had in mind when I started. Heck, I’ve had them refuse to do something I wanted them to do because it would be out of character for them. So then I had to figure what they would do in that situation. And it’s always been better than what I had in mind.

            The thing about Benten is that no one in the story ever knows what she’s going to do, but she’s been much of the driver of the story. So I can see her actions being critical to the end of the story and how things turn out between the Shimogamo and the Ebisugawa.

  5. skylion says:

    Kaisei is a very lovely girl in some many ways. I kinda fell for her during this episode. She has her heart in the right place, but her place in her family is just wrong.

    I think she feels that they can be better than they are acting. As Highway says about, they are not adverse bully tactics, and mistake them as shows of strength. So, what weakness are they really trying to cover up?

    • Highway says:

      It kind of plays out as a typical bully thing to me: They are inferior to the Shimogamo in ways that make them insecure, and act out against the Shimogamo due to that insecurity. I’d infer that from the very beginning, the reason the Ebisugawa split from the Shimogamo was because of some perceived slight by a Shimogamo to another. And we hear here that Soun was already on the outs from the Shimogamo, most likely due to jealousy of his “great” brother Souichirou, such that he would join their rival family just to cause trouble for the Shimogamo. And while they may have things better off, more material success, it seems pretty obvious that they don’t have the peace and depth of familial love that the Shimogamo have.

      And while they may be able to feel superior to any one of the Shimogamo boys, when they are together as a unit, they basically cover all of their weaknesses in a way that cannot be cracked. I mean, Ginkaku and Kinkaku fold like a cheap suit every time they face 3 of them. Yasaburou is the courage and wit, Yaichirou is the strength, and Yashirou is the righteousness that allows them to constantly defeat those two.

      • skylion says:

        “That depth of peace and love”

        Which brings us back to what Kaisei is doing. Trying to protect it as best she can. Is she being typically tsundere about it?

        • Highway says:

          I took Kaisei’s attitude to be different. She shows familial loyalty to her brothers and father because that’s what you should do. But my impression was that she does not think they’re right or righteous, or even admirable at all. She defends them in a “Hey, you can’t pick on my brother, that’s my job!” kind of way.

          But we see what the attitude of the idiot brothers is: Despite Kaisei being the one who turns up to help Yasaburou and mother, and being around yet never seen by Yasaburou, Kinkaku and Ginkaku accuse Yasaburou of ‘stalking’ her, falsely using her as another thing to try to indict the Shimogamo on. And we also see that she does not like that, as she repeatedly tries to sabotage their attempts and even outright attacks them.

          • skylion says:

            So, she is being tsundere to her own family…

            • Highway says:

              I don’t know if I’d characterize it that way. I think of tsundere as “standoffish, but holding greater affection for the object of your standoffishness”. Kaisei is more like “I don’t like my family, but I do what I feel I have to for appearances.” She actually has *less* affection for her family than others.

            • skylion says:

              Yep back too my original assumption as to where her loyalty lies….

  6. lvlln says:

    Kaisei really is a cutey, and it was odd how unceremoniously her face was shown to us, after teasing us for so long. I can’t help but hear Buratei Marii and Akane Isshiki when she speaks. I hope we can see more of her and learn of the exact circumstances of her relationship with Yasaburou.

  7. Vespera says:

    I’ve always wondered why the tanuki even put up with the tengu and humans. By all means the tanuki are more powerful than both. Hell if one can turn into a mountain i doubt they’ll have to much of a hard time against tengu who can only fly and humans who are easily fooled and caught off guard. Shit the tengu should be praising them instead not the other way around.

    • Highway says:

      I do think you’ve got it the wrong way around. Tanuki are far less powerful than either tengu or humans. At the end of the day, I think it always comes back to tanuki being smallish raccoon dogs. Their magic and power is one of illusion. The power of wind is far more fearsome, which the tengu command, and humanity is just crushing. The only things that humans haven’t completely conquered on this entire planet are the deep seas.

      That’s part of the reason that Souichirou’s prank on the Kurama tengu was so legendary, because it was a master act of transformation and it was in defiance of the tengu.

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