Connected by a red furball of fate
The clash between Benten and Nidaime ended relatively well, with the only casualty being Nidaime’s shirts. Although Benten says she won’t react to something so petty, you just know this is the beginning of something big between the two. But for now, the waters are calm and there are other things for Yasaburo to focus on in the mean time…such as ruining a shogi tournament.
One of the themes I liked in this episode was looking at immaturity vs maturity. Uchouten Kazoku takes a bit of an interesting approach, showing that both mature and immature tanuki can be foolish in their own, stubborn ways. Adults aren’t always right. On the immature side, we have Yasaburo and the troublesome twins (Ginkaku and Kinkaku). On the more mature side, we have Yaichiro and Gyokuran. They all have their own little oubursts that show that “fool’s blood” though.
Some have more fool’s blood than others…
As much as Yasaburo tries to come off as this talented trickster who is always one step ahead, he gets himself into a lot of unnecessary trouble in trying to prove his proficiency. This means that as soon as Kinkaku and Ginkaku start slinging insults, he gets provoked. You would think he’d learn that these jerks should just be ignored, especially since they’re so bad at thinking up witty comebacks. But occasionally, they come up with something mildly clever such as reviving ancient shogi pieces or figuring out which girl someone has a hopeless crush on. The three of them get involved in a needless, childish scuffle because they act out of their impulses without second thought. It brought shame to their families, cast doubts on Yaichiro’s abilities, and embarrassed Gyokuran so much she threw a fit of rage as a tiger (which is really cute because that’s exactly what Yaichiro transforms into when he’s mad).
Naturally, Yaichiro scolds Yasaburo for being such a child and his mom basically blackmails him into making amends for his misstep. So, Yasaburo is off to bring these two mature adults together. However, for “mature” adults, they do have some stubborn ways about them. Gyokuran coops herself up and decides that burning a hole into a shogi board with her eyes is the best way to recover. Uhh…sure. Thankfully Yasaburo butts in and acts like the goofy weirdo he is to the point where she can’t take herself seriously anymore. Seriously, brooding over a shogi board because the guy you like won’t play with you? Yasaburo helps her make that first step to get Yaichiro to play with her and resolve things.
Some things never change
Yaichiro is another “mature” guy who makes a lot of silly mistakes because he’s trying so darn hard to pose as a proper adult. He refuses to play shogi with Gyokuran out of shame, and literally hides the embodiment of that shame (the shogi board) in the nook of a tree. Unlike Kinkaku, Ginkaku and Yasaburo who do whatever they want, Yaichiro is reserved and holds back even from things he wants. He wants to play with Gyokuran, but restricts himself to avoid being shamed again, as he considers his public image to be very important. The pressure of all these expectations really gets to him, and sometimes he needs a meddling younger brother to loosen him up. Nerves really do make you more prone to mistakes.
Yasaburo’s approach and Yaichiro’s approach to life are different, but no one way is the “right” way. Yasaburo is less prone to dumb mistakes because he’s calm, but he gets sucked into problems more often because he makes decisions based on his emotions. Yaichiro is responsible and makes decisions with his head, but he’s so bogged down by the pressure of everyone’s expectations that his perfectionism can betray him. In life, you need balance, which seems to (almost) be achieved in Yajirou. He’s laid back, intelligent, but also petulant enough to hide in a well as a frog and do whatever the hell he wants.
It can be hard to define maturity and really say Yasaburo is always immature or that Yaichiro is the portrait of a proper adult. Afterall, Yaichiro does some silly things and Yasaburo can be profound at time. But Yasaburo does seem to purposely try to be an immature fool whereas Yaichiro is trying to be mature and responsible. Whether or not they pull that off depends on the circumstances.
Poor Yajirou missed his one chance to show off. Back to well he goes.
One quick aside, the final 5 seconds of this episode caught me completely off guard. This was a bit of a quieter episode I was kind of “meh” over because I find Yaichiro dreadfully boring. I was lulled into a bit of a trance just taking in the scenery until GYOKURAN GOT SUCKED INTO THE SHADOW REALM. WHAT. That was completely uncalled for!!! I honestly have no idea where they’ll go from here but man…I did not expect that. Where do you think she went?