Last Uchouten Kazoku. If I said I didn’t want it to end, that’d be kind of missing the point, right? Well, good, because I’m actually perfectly comfortable with it ending. Uchouten Kazoku has lived well – offering us many beautiful glimpses of a fantastically realized world, sharing a variety of well-written and relentlessly human (loaded word, but we’ll go with it) characters, and telling a sharp, perfectly composed story of life, family and duty. I’m not sad it’s ending, I’m happy it’s ending so well. I think Sou would approve.
0:44 – The opening lines again, of course. Life goes on. We end where we begin
Also, let’s get that one without the text, because it’s a beauty
1:01 – Another lovely one. Yasaburou savoring his last moments as an alleged fun-loving bystander to the wheel
1:52 – Love that little reveal. Benten outta fuckin’ nowhere
2:09 – Blowing smoke in his face like a child, focused only on the “interesting.” Yasaburou may outgrow her today
2:43 – Having second thoughts about your philosophy, professor? Is there something about that tanuki?
Frankly forgot that thread myself. This show is so damn elegant
3:45 – They might need a more intimidating witness. But really, Benten could have put her finger down at any point in this story and resolved everything
4:04 – Leaning entirely on that “nature of a tanuki” refrain to absolve himself. Guess they’re gonna stress that line to the breaking point for some thematic point
5:45 – Oh my god Benten you are the best
5:51 – The Fellows head ain’t no fool. The second character to occupy Benten’s world-hopping position
6:07 – You done fucked up Soun. But Mom’s the only one who can put him off his status-focused game – the only one that pushes him towards family/tanuki
6:35 – Soun is allowed dignity when it’s convenient. I love Benten watching the real show
6:45 – And here’s the key moment, where the concept of “what a tanuki does” is dissociated from the arbitrary group of people it originally described, as the human professor takes a stand while Soun proves his unworthiness to the title. Perfectly done
7:14 – This is brilliant. Yasaburou attempts to save Yaichirou… and is promptly captured, only to be saved by his other brothers. Yasaburou attempts to save his mom… and is beaten to the punch by the good-natured professor. A for effort, Yasaburou
But of course it’s always more about engaging and doing what you can than being a perfect person or living up to some arbitrary standard for yourself. I actually really like that – it would be more hollow if Yasaburou simply tried and then everything went well – there’s no reward for engaging, you just have to be who you are
7:30 – The professor is fine with rejecting the label and tradition of the Friday Fellows. Echoes both the tanuki identity and the arbitrary need to become Nise-emon
7:37 – And he even acknowledges his failed philosophy. Beautiful
8:34 – 10/10 Bash Would Recommend. Benten always manages to have a great time
9:58 – Seriously, great party
10:24 – Yasaburou clearing not above abusing his friends. Again, Benten is just totally down if entertainment seems likely
11:36 – This show has a very whimsical idea of reality. Like with the train car, I love the pedestrian trying to hold her skirt down as she gets blown into the sky
11:43 – Professor please
12:48 – This is adorable. And also critical, of course – it seems like this is the moment of Benten acknowledging what family she has, first saving her adopted brother and then pacifying her adopted father
13:04 – And there it is – “home”. Back with her first adopted family
13:55 – So much for Nise-emon. He doesn’t look too unhappy about it
14:53 – More adorable. The simple joy of a family call
15:50 – Oh god this show kills me sometimes
17:01 – The true hero of the story. So happy they resolved his philosophy
18:40 – Take it from the professor. Advice for all his adopted sons
20:02 – Aw, so close, too. Well, I’m sure she’s very pretty, Yasaburou
22:53 – Unguarded for once
23:27 – One last shot for the road
Complete. Finished. Close, extended, and adopted family all together, just living and enjoying each other’s company. Ideas of identity resolved, elections forgotten, selves accepted and embraced. Meaning of life perhaps not fully discovered, but here, come sit with us and have an orange.
That was a beautiful thing. I love that both Benten and the former Fellows professor got such full resolutions, I love that phone conversation with their mom, and I love that it ended in such a pure expression of itself, reveling in the daily happiness of living with people you love. It’s just a perfect little show.
Man. I’ll hopefully have a review in the next few days, but I think anyone who’s been reading these can probably guess my feelings. It was nice getting to share this show with people. I’m very happy it exists.