No matter how things look now, you know these two will get theirs…
Uchouten Kazoku continues to be everything you could ask for in storytelling, and even though this was, in essence, the second act of a three act story, it did far more than just set up for the final piece next week. So what went on this week?
Out of the Frying Pan
Not exactly the friendliest gesture
We were fearing for Yasaburou’s future when the Ebisugawa goons had him surrounded. But we have an intervention from the big wild card from the show, Benten. It’s pretty inevitable that she would help Yasaburou… some. She’s not interested in fixing everything for him, and she still seems to be looking forward to the yearly tanuki hot pot.
Never forget who’s in what position in this show
And Yasaburou, in more mood to argue than usual, takes her to task a little bit for her callousness, even reminding her that she is human when she calls herself a tengu. But I don’t know if human is any better, since as has been shown repeatedly, humans are far above both tengu and tanuki as far as the food chain, both figuratively and literally. Yet, she’s willing to at least give Yasaburou some information, and get him out of a jam.
And Back Into the Fire
I was surprised they could pull this off
Unfortunately, Yasaburou gets himself right back in. What he thinks is a sacred gift is really an actually clever plot from the idiot brothers, Ginkaku and Kinkaku (although Ginkaku is SUCH an idiot that his job is to be a wall covering, even though he’s the decorations for the whole store). I thought the naming of the episode, “Back in the Game” was a reference to Yasaburou escaping Soun at the beginning, but here the tables are turned with the same phrase, gleefully repeated by Kinkaku. Unfortunately, this leads to perhaps the worst part of the episode, Kinkaku getting scolded over the phone when he tries to call Kaisei. It seemed a bit too much plot convenience for Kinkaku to call her right then, giving up their location and situation.
Their paws are so cute like that
Also in a bad way are Mother and Yaichirou, who are both in the clutches of Soun. And Soun tries to play it cool, offering up more than one tanuki to Jurojin, one of the Friday Fellows who represents the god of longevity (and is a really old man), but when he mentions taking both Yaichirou and Mother, Soun quails, unable to give up his former love (and apparent crush). This part had a bit of a Severus Snape feel to it, and Soun doesn’t really come off any better than Snape did (even if Harry Potter did think that Snape was redeemed, nobody else did). Soun is still terrible, and even threaten’s mother’s life if Yaichirou tries to escape, after he’s said he couldn’t get rid of her. Mother, in true motherly fashion, tells Yaichirou to run if he gets the chance, not worry about her. And I think it’s clear that if Soun is the future of tanuki society (as he claims to be), it’s a bleak winter ahead.
How can a cartoony animal carry so much emotion?
But All is Not Lost
Kaisei gives Yashirou the Alley-Oop
You knew that Kaisei would play a role, didn’t you? Of course, it’s not too major, but she’s the brains behind Yashirou’s escape attempt, and giving the little guy credit, he was investigating and trying to get out. It was even his attempts to find a way out that let Kaisei learn he was there. And being fairly certain that she’s the focus of the goons, she launches Yashirou away to save Yasaburou. But what can the smallest Shimogamo do?
What will Yashirou decide?
We didn’t get a conclusion to the story yet, but we did get a lot of progress. And we’re finally in the current story, one that is playing out in front of us, rather than someone else’s remembrance. The question is, who still has a part to play? If you haven’t yet, I would really suggest you don’t watch the preview for the next episode, as it’s pretty spoilery, but there are quite a few characters that could still play a part: Yodagawa with second thoughts, Yashirou, Yajirou, Yakushibou, even Benten could return in her enigmatic way. But as always the story is being told with care and craft, and I’m definitely looking forward to next week’s episode (there are two more in the series).