Uchouten Kazoku S2 – 12 [END]

Get ready for a fiery kiss

winter15-oc

Sometimes the best things to do when you’re stressed is to write about cute tanuki, and tengu who act like big babies.

 

This season of Uchouten Kazoku was…alright. It still had all the charm of the first season and an equal amount of bizarre yet enchanting imagery. However, it was less focused and ultimately leaned too heavily on the same story it told last time. How many times will Soun trick a member of the Shimogano family to end up in a hot pot at Benten’s table? It felt a little too repetitious, especially when they had already “killed off” Soun in a perfectly suitable way. Kaisei describes the whole thing best, mumbling complaints about how her dad was dead then not dead then thrown into Hell in a series of confusing events. I don’t know what to think about this whole thing either, it feels like I’ve been jerked around too much.

I could have done without the whole hot pot thing happening all over again with Soun being the mastermind (ALL OVER AGAIN). From the beginning, I was worried they were running out of ideas for this series since it’s mostly about the life of a wacky family as opposed to a big, ambitious story. It’s more like a series of vignettes, and there’s only so many excuses one can think of to get the characters to interact in new and interesting ways. Of course, there were some highlights that worked much better than the whole hot pot thing.

Benten vs Nidaime. This was my absolute favourite side story (main story?). These two are the most powerful tengu in Kyoto (Benten being more of a “tengu” than a tengu), and their constant clashing was a joy to watch. The final episode showed their conflict for what it really was and revealed more for their true selves – petty children lashing out. The ugly, desperateness they hide behind their usual mask disappeared. They bit, slapped, pulled hair, and got their clothes torn to shreds. Despite appearing as these untouchable icons, they finally showed that they do have weaknesses. Perhaps they are more foolish than the tanuki, seeking true love and admiration but never being able to gain that intimacy because of the walls they build around themselves. The tanuki may be silly, but they have loving families, happy marriages, and all the closeness they need.

What did they gain from the fight anyways? What did Nidaime win by defeating Benten, but coming back to a house that’s almost turned to ashes? It was a pointless show of strength with no purpose. It was actually a little heart-breaking to watch, because the fight was just sucker punches. Seeing them break down in tears after this playground squabble was a perfect way to end the series. Nidaime standing there in the rain, wearing the shredded remains of his tux as he bawls his eyes out in front of his burned house is an amazing image. He even gets comforted by his father, the man he hated through all this. Benten takes it hard too, staying in bed all day and crying, begging Yasaburo to pity her and provide some sort of comfort. It’s satisfying to see that these individuals aren’t invincible because it implies that change is possible and that their story is far from over.

Akadama is at his most powerful when he admits to being old and powerless

Another fun side story was the romance between Kaisei and Yasaburo. Unlike Yaichiro and Gyokuran who dote over each other fondly and are a perfect match in all respects, these two kids are more tsundere about the whole thing. They insult each other, play hard to get, and generally shy away from anything even remotely romantic. Still, that’s cute in its own way. I like how they do little things to work around Yasaburo’s inability to maintain his human form when he sees Kaisei. To make up for it, they sit back-to-back or have Kaisei follow Yasaburo from behind (holding onto his jacket so he knows where she is…and also as a surrogate for hand-holding because that’s just ~too embarrassing~ at this stage). It’s adorable! I think Yasaburo realizing that Benten is damaged and he’s not the one who could possibly fix that is a healthy step forward for him. Plus, she’s not really good for him either. I mean, come on, it’s a little messed up to have a crush on the person who ate your father. Not just killed, but gleefully slurped up in a delicious broth.

I expect Benten to give Yasaburo drunken phonecalls at 2am and invite him to brunch all the time.

Still, Yasaburo and Benten have preserved a very unique relationship. Yasaburo worshipped her but was never able to get close. Even in her darkest moment when she falls into the river after her first fight with Nidaime, he is unable to even physically approach her. It turns out Benten actually really likes Yasaburo, although not quite in the romantic sense. She trusts him – at least enough to tell him to pity her as he strokes what’s left of her hair. They’ve become closer as friends, but further away from ever potentially being romantic partners. It will be interesting to see if Benten continues to confide in him or if she’ll go back to being as aloof as always. That is…if we ever get another season.

I’m fine with things ending here. Season 2 was already a surprise and it was wonderful to see the whole gang again.

The red furball of fate has got your shipping needs covered.

About

A neuroscience graduate, black belt, and all-around nerd. You'll either find me in my lab or curled up in my rilakkuma kigurumi watching anime.
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4 Responses to “Uchouten Kazoku S2 – 12 [END]”

  1. skylion says:

    The final episode showed their conflict for what it really was and revealed more for their true selves – petty children lashing out. The ugly, desperateness they hide behind their usual mask disappeared. They bit, slapped, pulled hair, and got their clothes torn to shreds

    I like the dichotomy between the two camps. As you point out, the tanuki seem like they have a a more “earthy” tone to them, which makes most of them more approachable. But I like how the tengu are skewered in this. It feels like a “take that” to all sorts of self-important people, but at the same time, it humanizes that.

    I think the second season was a reprise. We’re gonna sing this bit, sing that bit, sing this other bit, all of them we sung before, but maybe in another key, another time signature. And then stuff might change by the end.

    I think the distance that was closed between Yasaburo and Kaisei was part of that. Last time they only got within shouting at each other in the bath/her talking to his back from 20 paces away. This time…this sit close, but back to back.

    The third time, who knows how it will work out. But they might use the third time as another reprise. I think life it like that.

    • BlackBriar says:

      Something I noticed. Yasaburo’s transformation didn’t come undone when he was beside the unconscious Kaisei before that giant oni hand claimed Tenmaya and Soun. Maybe there’s something to that.

  2. BlackBriar says:

    Indeed a surprise Uchouten Kazoku got a continuation and I say it had a good run throughout. The characters and their antics never made the show feel dull and stale, which earn a lot of points in my book. Pure fun while it lasted.

    If there’s one thing that’s totally of note, it’s that this is the first time I’ve ever seen Benten lose her composure the way she did while having it out with the Nidaime. She’s habitually calm and collected, exuding an arrogant vibe. Her composure was one thing about her I thought would never be compromised. Now there’s no telling what to expect of her.

    Tenmaya reaping what he sowed was something I’ve been patient on for a while. I got my wish but boy, did it come with a bonus in Soun ending up collateral damage in the process. Giving it some thought, since the Nidaime torched his own house after snapping, the Friday Club’s mobile hangout got destroyed subsequently, meaning that picture of Hell that serves as an entrance and exit is also gone. In other words, if there isn’t another way in and out, both Tenmaya and Soun are royally screwed.

  3. Highway says:

    I don’t know that it’s really a bad thing that the major plot point framework was the same. I mean, we’re talking about tanuki here. They’re not pretending they are some advanced society. They’re open about the idea that they are simple and don’t have that much stuff they’re interested in. The tension between expanding into the ‘human’ world and being a tanuki is one of the big themes, and the corruption of Soun by that “human” world is I think a big part of the underlying message. If all the tanuki lived like Yasaburo, living only to have fun and keep your butt warm, then they wouldn’t do things like make brandy and a lot of money.

    And I think that’s part of what I said the last time: The other tanuki kinda look up to the Shimogamos because they are the most like that ‘idyllic’ tanuki. Even as the others chase the worldly and material, they wistfully think of that simpler life, just like humans do.

    I do like that the focus of the show moved away from Benten, and even all the other tengu. Yes, it’s more insular, but it’s also the way people grow: They find what they’re interested in and focus on that.

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