Home > Episode by Episode > Uchouten Kazoku ep9: musical hotpot

Uchouten Kazoku ep9: musical hotpot

Oh how I got excited about this episode when I saw the title. Mysteries are what drive me when it comes to anime. The less I know, the more exciting the prospects for the show seem. It’s like telling someone you’re going to a stadium or some other grand place. They could show you pictures and give you dimensions, but it’s never as exciting as your imagination can make it. Let your mind run wild and soak in the possibilities. Though in the case of Kaisei Ebisugawa, I’ve been given so little that I have nothing to draw in my imagination. It’s almost like being told your going to a stadium, and you don’t know what a stadium is.

Things start off with a talk between the old man in the Friday Fellows who loves food, and Yasaburou. The strangeness of this show continues as the man who is tasked with providing a tanuki for the year-end hotpot is sitting down in his office with a tanuki. He’s quite pleased with the picture he took with Benten a few nights ago.

Yasaburou asks him to call off the senseless practice of eating tanuki every year, but the old man is stuck with his traditions. They share some cake and call it a day.

The Shimogamo family later gets together to go to a shrine, and when Yasaburou explains to his mom where he’s been she’s worried, but please that his search so far has been fruitless. Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing one of those annoying Ebisugawas show up in that hotpot, but favoritism has no place here. It’s best to move on.

The Shimogamo family don’t end up visiting the shrine quietly though, as they are kept out by what looks like a group of Ebisugawa flunkies. And a war of words starts when Ginkaku and Kinkaku Ebisugawa show up. It takes an assertive priest to break things up. I’m actually surprised at how angry Yasaburou got when they started taunting him about stalking Kaisei, though there’s no evidence to back that up. It’s interesting to see what upsets a laid back guy like Yasaburou, I think it’s also important to take note of it.

At the shrine, we get an interesting story from Mother Shimogamo. Yasaburou notes that while their father was alive, he did eventually stop visiting Akadama. She explains to them that he would get anxious around Benten and lose his transformation every time. It’s a very strange occurrence considering how talented he was. It’s similar to how she loses her transformation in the presence of thunder and lightning. Could Benten have been his weakness?

Moving on, the reason for everyone gathering together is revealed when an old tanuki dude tells everyone about the race for the next Nise-emon, involving Soun Ebisugawa and Yaichiro. You can feel the tension between these two. Traditions are adhered to, and everyone is dismissed. For a moment it looks like we get a glimpse of Kaisei in human form.

One of the things mentioned at the shrine doesn’t take long to become a problem though. Akadama was named as an appointee to the election for the next Nise-emon, but of course he’s a stubborn old bastard and doesn’t want to do anything for anyone. Yasaburou’s busy literally warming his boat when his mother shows up tells him of the trouble and that he’s been volunteered to solve it.

The great tengu, Nyoigatake Yakushibo! Ha! It seems even Akadama doesn’t believe his own hype. Despite all the fear and reverence the tanuki have shown him, when Yasaburou shows up, he can’t help but talk about how much of a pain everything is, and how he doesn’t believe he’s properly respected. No matter how much clothing he wears, it seems his insecurity is always showing. Regardless of it all, Yasaburou is incredibly familiar with his sensei and vice-versa. The proper words and respect and honesty are shown to Akadama, and the old pain-in-the-ass accepts the proposal. Yasaburou really is amazing sometimes.

And again, what looks like another glimpse of Kaisei.

After his triumphant victory, Yasaburou makes his way to a bath house to continue his never ending quest to keep his butt warm. And this is where we get to my favorite scene. Here we finally get to see Kaisei. She’s cute as expected, but you can tell that she’s stuck between worlds and alliances here. She’s fiercely protective of her family, but she’s still here talking to her ex-fiancee and feeding him information. On top of that, she’s also quite quick to explode when she hears Benten’s name. It’s clear listening to the two of them talk that there’s still feelings there, there’s definitely chemistry. What’s most important though is that she’s unable to actually feed Yasaburou much information this time. She says her idiot brothers are up to no good, and they’re making sure she doesn’t find out too. All she’s able to say in the end is that she’s sorry for something, and then she stops talking. And I’m with Yasaburou in thinking that that’s an ominous sign.

The episode ends with the Shimogamo family eating fried chicken together by a Christmas tree and underneath the stars. It actually makes me want to see the holiday season get here sooner.

Well, I guess you could consider this a “set-up” episode, even for a slow paced slice of life drama like this one. Everything seems to be coming together; like water flowing from different sources, it will all find its way to one reservoir. And that reservoir seems to be New Year’s Day, or close to it. The year end bash the Friday Fellows throw, the Nise-emon election, the holiday season itself, they’re all coming together in the same period. And with the Ebisugawas clearly up to something, I fear it may lead to some serious consequences this time.

Something I found very interesting was how Soun, Souichiro’s brother, married into the Ebisugawa family and completely turned their back on them. I get the impression that he never liked his original family let alone Soichiro very much. Now I’m a bit confused as to how a guy marries into the wife’s family, but whatever. It’s a cultural thing I’m sure I should look up later. What’s important is the reason why Soun and Soichiro had such a falling out. Jealousy immediately comes to mind as a common and viable possibility. All we ever hear about is how great Souichiro was, but we don’t hear anything about Soun. What we hear coming from his direction has more to do with his adoptive family and their alcohol than anything he’s done himself.

There’s still a lot that remains a mystery in this show, despite it showing us a lot up until this point. What happened between Benten and Yasaburou, and how does it involve Akadama’s busted back? What exactly were the circumstances revolving around Souichiro’s capture, we saw his last moments, but not how he got caught, nor the scheming that lead to it. Why the hell do the Friday Fellows insist on eating tanuki once a year? I believe in some way, all these things were connected in the past. And I believe that everything going on in the present timeline is connected, too. Are the Ebisugawas plotting to get Yaichiro in a hotpot, or just to disgrace him with Yajiro’s mistake?

There’s a lot of healing that clearly needs to go on in this show. I just hope everyone survives to make it to that point. This is starting to feel like a dangerous game of musical chairs, where the loser not only can’t sit down, but they won’t be able to stay out of a pot either.

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  1. September 9, 2013 at 04:07

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