Home > Episode by Episode > Uchouten Kazoku ep7: blood is thicker than tears; Ebisugawas are dumber than rocks

Uchouten Kazoku ep7: blood is thicker than tears; Ebisugawas are dumber than rocks


At the beginning of the episode, we hear Yasaburou speak of what he calls a troublesome bond between family in tanuki society.  And family and tanuki society are what this episode is all about.  Well, it’s about that and taking regular baths.

Another troublesome day in old Kyoto as Yashirou, Yasaburou’s younger brother, petitions him to help get Professor Akadama to go take a bath. The initial set up escapes me, but it’s enough of a reason to move things forward.  So the two troublesome tanukis take to trekking towards teacher’s townhome (too much?).  Much to their chagrin, Akadama is trying to cover his stench with gallons of perfume.  Yasaburou wastes no time confronting the old man who threatens to kick them out using his powerful tengu winds.  Heh.  Yasaburou’s turns into a bull to weather the assault, but it’s a pointless attempt.  The old man is far too… well, old to mount a full attack.  And besides his bad back is still a wreck, too.  He’d probably only hurt himself.  So the tanukis manage to convince the old man to hop into a cab where their oldest brother, Yaichirou is waiting.

Once at the bath, everyone relaxes more or less.  Though the conversation inevitably turns towards Benten, it does seem that Akadama was at least a little bit worried about his student.  After all, he was there when Yasaburou screwed up and had to flee town (which didn’t work).  The bartender and probably several others already stated that they expected to learn that he had been place in a hotpot.

Regardless of ever present fears, life moves on.  Yasaburou and Yashirou already having finished with their baths cool off with some coffee milk.  Yashirou comments on how he’s amazed that two things he doesn’t like (coffee and milk) can taste so great together.  Yasaburou explains it as something called the multiplier effect.  Though I think what he states is far different from the economic term I know.  It’s basically described as the magical effect when two (or more) things combine to become more than the sum of their parts.  It ends up being a touching moment, where we get more affirmation that the old man really does care.

That touching moment is metaphorically crushed though as a platoon of sumos (obviously tanuki lackeys) comes marching in the building.  It’s the advance guard/elite guard for the Ebisugawa family, more specifically Kinkaku and Ginkaku.  Yaichirou doesn’t doubt for a moment that they’re there to try to bully him out of the race for the next Nise-mon.  Transformed into a pair of bulbous sumo with metal diapers.  It seems their last encounter with Yaichirou has left an impression.  And their attempts to talk him down are meant with complete failure as he explains to them that he has roughly the same amount of support their father, his uncle does.  Even worse, the two brothers haven’t pooped in awhile and are hampered my their metal underroos.   They drop their transformation and the eldest Shimogamo has no problem transforming into his giant tiger form and tossing them into the pool.  He then transforms back and begins interrogating the eldest brother on the trump card they had started bragging about during their argument.

What he hints at is the unusual fact that the great Souichiro Shimogamo was captured so easily and eaten.  The oldest brother comes clean and tells them that it was the second oldest brother.  Poor Yajirou, who has got himself stuck as a frog at the bottom of a well.  Yaichirou and Yasaburou waste no time going to see Yajirou, leaving the youngest behind with Akadama.  Yaichirou is upfront, and doesn’t waste any time asking the pertinent question.  Yajirou confirms the Ebisugawa report.  He was the one with their father when he got drunk and caught by the Friday Fellows.  Being part of a family really does hurt.

End of episode.

This episode was very effective in demonstrating the perils and problems and bitterness of family.  The family you’re born into cannot be determined.  The circumstances of your family members are their own and not under your control.  And there’s no defense for family  when it hurts you, yet you can’t just walk away from them.

The show continues to focus intensely on two characters in this show; Benten (who actually only spends moments in this episode after dominating the past several) and the long dead Souichiro Shimogamo.  This time Souichiro’s ghost dominates this episode, as we see the wounds from his death have not healed after all this time.  Instead, it seems like a gash has been ripped off of Yaichirou’s wounds.  And this episode seems to make it clear why Yajirou is in the bottom of that well, “stuck” in his current form.  The shame of unintentionally being a part of your father’s death must weigh very heavily on him.

The funny thing about this is that we’ve gotten the impression that Souichiro was a very brilliant, peaceful and forgiving tanuki.  And you get every impression that the message he would send to his family is one of of forgiveness and understanding.  It’s likely the reason why Yasaburou could not get angry at the Friday Fellow who received Souichiro’s last words.  The message and the tone he received was one of peaceful resignation, and confidence that his loved ones would be fine.

With the election/vote on who the next leader of the Kyoto tanukis coming up, things seem to be getting ever more intense too between the Shimogamo and Ebisugawa factions.  I do wonder how this news will affect Yaichirou on the verge of being in power.  Yasaburou isn’t to be forgoteen either, everything seems to roll off his back, but I believe this hurts him, too.

Further Reading:

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  1. August 26, 2013 at 04:16

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