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Posts Tagged ‘Uchouten Kazoku’

I’m trying a new review format out! Instead of lengthy, analytical essays I’ve decided to go for something hopefully more concise and to the point. Honestly, the long ones were wearing down on me, becoming some massive obligation in my head that took too long and stressed me out – especially when I only really wanted to convey a couple of points or a few feelings about a series. So now I’m just getting to the point! I’m worrying less about justifying everything I write and instead just capturing the core of my perspective.

So let’s get started! In this first post for the spring 2017 season, I’m looking at Uchouten Kazoku 2, Anonymous Noise and Tsuki ga Kirei.

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This moment wasn’t picked because it was outstandingly awesome, inspired some extreme and unforgettable feelings in me, or was some incredible shock; it was simply because it is the most sublime, most perfect moment out of anything I’ve watched this year.

It occurred in the first half of episode 6 of Eccentric Family, a series I greatly enjoyed. The previous episode had Yasaburou end up in a meeting of the Friday Fellows, and had to entertain them while concealing the fact that he’s a tanuki. After the meeting, Benten takes Yasaburou and the professor who loves tanuki’s on a moonlit rooftop run, ending up in a small park above the city streets where all the trees have had their leaves turn red and gold with the changing seasons. And in this quiet and gentle setting, the professor discusses the time he first met Benten, and how she was talking to a captured tanuki.

While a fairly dialogue-light sequence, it is nonetheless where we learn the most about Benten, about her character and her feelings. Considering her status as an enigma, a self-established mystery largely unknowable to anybody, this is obviously hugely important, but curiously her nature is most revealed through what is not said, or at least not directly.

"The moon is pretty, but I feel sad all the same"

“The moon is pretty, but I feel sad all the same”

The professor had stated previously that he loves tanuki above all else, and it is this love that compels him to eat them. It’s a desire to love every last bit of them. So when Benten starts walking away sadly and Yasaburou asks her what the matter is, her reply of “Stay back, or I’ll eat you” is incredibly telling. It was no coincidence that the professor was there with them, and given the context and tone of her voice the meaning is clear, but attention is never drawn to it. We’re never given confirmation, but I can’t see what else it could mean.

This careful, uncertain, and hugely significant reveal is remarkably powerful in itself, being incredibly subdued, but when taken with the composition of the scene – the colours, the lighting, the music, the direction – it just left me feeling… satisfied. Fulfilled. Moved. The only way I can describe it is that it’s sublime, truly, and it was the only moment from this year that I can describe as such with no reservations whatsoever. It was beautiful in every single way it could be.

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Do you know how to get me excited for a series as quickly as possible? Because Eccentric Family (otherwise known as Uchouten Kazoku) sure does. First step: have your series be an adaptation of a book written by the author of Tatami Galaxy. Second step: have character designs done by the creator of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. Third step: there is no third step; you already have my attention and all my hype.

No matter how you look at it, that’s a pretty damn excellent pedigree. That said, the premise itself doesn’t sound that intriguing. It’s set in Kyoto, or rather a version of it where humans, tanuki and tengu live in varying degrees of together-ness. The story follows the life of Yasaburou, whose father was head of the Kyoto tanuki community but was captured and eaten by the Friday Fellows, as he deals with his family, gets into arguments with other tanuki, handles his cranky, aging tengu master, and messes around with (and is messed around by) a mysterious young human woman.

Actually, on second thought it does sound pretty intriguing. Weird, certainly. Somewhat ‘eccentric’, even.

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How normal are magical transforming raccoon dogs anyway

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