Uchouten Kazoku – Episode 9

I can’t image this show getting any more tragic than last week. That episode was focused wholly on the grieving process – but as Yasaburou stated at the end, this shared loss has ultimately pulled the family together. With secrets revealed (the only remaining threads being the identity of the last couple Friday Fellows and Kaisei) and the election looming ever closer, the time has probably come for Yasaburou to make some hard calls. He knows he’s the inheritor of the Idiot Blood, and he cares far more than he lets on. I’m not expecting old-fashioned heroism, but I am expecting results.

Episode 9

0:58 – Ooh, a Kaisei episode? I really like how they’ve been structuring these last few – they’ve switched from Yasaburou’s general escapades to having each episode focus on elaborating a single character (the Fellows professor, Yaichirou, Yajirou) while also pushing forward the plot in a variety of ways. It’s a good use of the television format, where a work is stronger if episodes both stand alone and contribute to the whole (particularly in a dense work like this where not everything can remain in focus). And obviously the way the show reveals information in its own time, and doesn’t force exposition on the viewer until some plot event demands an organic conversation between the characters, makes for both a rich, living world on first view and a more rewarding second view.

2:39 – Do I need to caption these? 

2:41 – Because “beautiful” only has so many synonyms 

3:25 – Aw, he actually did follow up with the professor. The more the show has focused on how a good life well lived is pretty much all anyone can ask for, the more I’ve come around to being as charmed by this guy as Yasaburou is

3:57 – “There are things it’s better not to know. And the things you need to know, you’ll end up learning.” A very peaceful life philosophy. There are definitely similar thematic underpinnings to this and Tatami Galaxy (which was by the same writer, and incidentally likely one of the two or three best shows of the past five years, if you haven’t seen it)

5:27 – I like all of these characters so much that a family meeting is its own reward. Again, this is what slice of life would be in my fantasy version of the anime market. Another lovely shot, too

7:05 – Dear lord. Kaisei’s got quite the view.

Also, it really shouldn’t surprise me that so far her titular episode has featured one arm and a quarter of her face

8:35 – And again. I’ve heard that normally anime characters have strange-colored hair largely for the purpose of character differentiation – it’s a handy visual marker in a medium where facial structure is so often homogenous. But this show does not have that problem – virtually every character’s face and profile is extremely distinctive and full of personality. In spite of this, Benten alone still has fancifully colored hair – a constant outlier that sets her apart and draws the eye in a show so filled with gorgeous, natural colors. From the perspective of this show, Benten is a character who could never be lost in a crowd

9:41 – Not that human hair has to be boring if it isn’t electric blue or whatever. You just have to, you know, try

9:44 – Love the shirt. And also that the shrine representative has shrine-shaped hair

11:30 – Feet this time! Love the boots

12:56 – Back it up, obvious Nise-emon material comin’ through 

14:28 – These two are just dangerously adorable together. I love the professor’s “well, I guess, but I’m gonna be cranky just to save face” voice

15:07 – And again, it starts out funny, but his paranoia here stems from his very real and understandable fear of his own waning power and significance. The professor is not able to embrace So’s philosophy of a life well-lived, and so he fears aging and must be cajoled into living at all

15:35 – Using the language of the idiot brothers. This is an interesting speech in general though, since Yasaburou seems to be arguing in favor of basing your worth on your own self-assessment, which is a resolution that doesn’t necessarily sit so easily with all the family focus (though obviously So both accomplished great things for others and was personally very happy with his own life)

16:25 – The professor’s not the only one too insecure to be above saving face 

16:33 – Love the way the waning daylight influences the tones of this one 

17:41 – Thanks for the update, Yasaburou. The Center Stone is another great detail that really doesn’t need any more explanation

18:00 – Again, Yasaburou’s tone is different here. There’s a light flirtatiousness that points to their history, but he’s far less guarded and careful with his words than he is with Benten

20:47 – Yasaburou can be kinda slow about this relationship stuff 

21:05 – Tree stitch plz 

21:25 – A party? For me? They’re all so adorable

21:46 – Just one more 

And Done

So obviously the other family has some final secret weapon Kaisei isn’t willing to betray them to talk about. Her position is an interesting one – this show constantly raises the power and importance of family, but what if your family is wrong? What if you disapprove of their choices, but don’t have the power to change them? Kaisei shoots acorns at her brothers and warns Yasaburou to be careful, but ultimately she remains loyal to the one bond any of them can truly count on.

We’ve skipped ahead from “the election is coming up soon” to “the election is the day after tomorrow,” and obviously this is going to coincide closely with the Fellows’ year-end bash. I don’t know how they’ll tie these pieces together (although I could hypothesize that the Ebisugawas have allied with the last of the Fellows, for whatever pure conjecture is worth), but I couldn’t have more faith that they’ll manage it.