I’ll probably be taking it a little easy on this one, since I just finished writing the Shinsekai Yori manifesto and am pretty much done with writing forever at the moment. Anyway. Uchouten Kazoku is the best, and last week’s episode was the best, and hopefully it will continue to be the best. The End.
0:09 – Ermahgerd we’re doin’ it. Seriously Kazoku, I was already in love with you. You didn’t have to start focusing on your brilliant central romantic tension or anything
0:39 – This show’s version of reality is always so fluid. This works on a storytelling level because underneath the unbelievable actual events, everything is moving according to human instincts and general societal relationships that are universal and understandable. It’s an incredible trick – it allows for whimsical flights of fancy like this (which, incidentally, is certainly complicating the social hierarchies the show has presented so far) in a story that’s still deeply grounded in the human and universal
2:32 – This is pretty much the Season of the OP for me – I skip almost all OPs, but this season I actually watch through this, Gatchaman, Monogatari, TWGOK, and C3-bu. Good work, song-choosing-people!
2:42 – Interesting that this is the first episode that follows directly from the last moments of the previous one. Might be an indicator the show is beginning to tighten its focus
4:26 – This showww. Also, I really should have taken a screencap at that moment when Benten took both their hands and the music swelled as they crossed the moon, but jesus christ, I’m only human, I can’t pause a moment like that! This show is a gorgeous gem. My god. If it keeps up, this will easily, absolutely become my go-to recommendation for anime as an art form. It seems impossible to me not to see the beauty in what this show is doing. Seriously, don’t talk to me about not seeing the beauty, I don’t want to hear it
4:55 – He’s got that look again
6:01 – Great shot choice. He’s a drunk, done old man, but from the perspective of a tanuki, he is an imposing, terrifying presence. The shot’s chosen to make you feel the menace in his barely-considered words
7:56 – Her power is in her presence. She must be distant – human emotion must be concealed.
So thinking about Yasaburou’s father brought her to tears. How does any of this work? The tanuki-eating is the moment where the world’s distant rules and very intimate relatability come into harshest contrast, an unbelievable act of barbarism treated as a given… so of course the show focuses on it again and again
8:13 – “I want to take a bath. I’m going home.” You can hear the tears in her voice. A good trick
9:09 – He’s such a bland, harmless man. But his expressing sympathy for tanuki and a love of eating them as if they’re not incompatible views… I mean, that could certainly work on the interesting metaphoric level someone mentioned last week, where consumption is associated with reverence – but on a practical level? It certainly makes him seem pretty monstrous
9:37 – I love all the character designs in this show, but his in particular conveys so much of his personality. Anime often expresses a great deal through costume, but the power of actual facial structure is just as great
10:52 – They’re clearly going somewhere with this. This is the kind of thing that makes me feel awkward doing weekly writeups – I’m not a big fan of pure speculation, and want to see the theme in its full articulation before I make any judgment calls on it
12:02 – “If I’m gonna get eaten, I want to eat.” Yasaburou is not impressed
12:22 – Oh shit, he’s actually laying it out this episode. Fantastic
13:07 – Now they’re playing Yasaburou’s desire for an interesting life against this guy’s desire for an interesting death. It’s… one way of looking at it
15:24 – That’s also one way of looking at it. I’m gonna let the show give its own context to this perspective – most anime are pretty self-explanatory, but this one’s based on an actual book, and its ideas deserve the respect of being fully articulated
15:50 – Wait, so what’s the actual relationship of these societies? The professor’s guesses as to their tricks earlier were obviously suspicious, but now he’s actually taken aback that the tanuki is talking to him. What do humans think tanukis are?
16:24 – Yasaburou’s dad is the most down motherfucker ever
17:19 – That’s an expression we’ve never seen before
17:44 – Hmm
21:58 – Growing up is hard to do
Whew. That was a heavy and confusing episode, and it’s clear the show’s decided it’s time to get serious on exactly which issues it’s going to be tackling, and how the narrative will come to a head. That first sequence with the three of them was transcendent, one of the best things I’ve seen, but the conversation with the professor left me conflicted. The show directly addressed the conflict between human and tanuki society in the most indirect way possible, leaving me possibly more confused than I was before. But I really liked the way the last act better-defined the scope of the conflict – it seems clear now that the election which has previously been mentioned only in offhand whispers will likely be critical to Yasaburou’s ultimate turn or non-turn, and I’m eager to see how the show will tie that in with the bizarre race relations and Yasaburou’s feelings towards Benten. This episode wasn’t as good as the last two, but it still covered a lot of ground. Now just let me marathon the rest.