Posted by psgels on 7 September 2013 with categories: Uchoten Kazoku

In these past four episodes, Uchoten Kazoku really showed itself as a series, focused on the past. In the past a number of major things happened, and these four episodes really explored those in a ton of detail, showing both very carefully what happened, but also the different perspectives that the different characters have on it and how they ended up coping with them.

The big one is of course the father’s death. We got to see the perspectives of the people he left behind, but also of the ones who ended up catching and eating him. It did this really well and I love what an in-depth look we got into the whole process. Unlike the first third of this series it doesn’t jump around from one thing to the other, but instead ties everything together. This all is a sign of excellent storytelling. And after this it’s the task of the finale to really push things forward and be daring.

There is a lot to like about this series and it really plays around with its storytelling in this unconventional manner. Take the way it looks at the eating of Tanuki: it doesn’t try to be preachy and go “all people who eat Tanuki are evil!” and instead goes for a much more subtle message: yeah, it sucks for the Tanuki, but it’s part of life. I really like how this contrasts with the huge impact that the death of the father made. And I also did not miss the symbolism at the end of episode eight, in which everyone is just eating a bit of chicken: it’s part of nature.

What also really struck me is the second oldest son. His story of guilt was a very touching one. He already was lazy and didn’t do anything, feeling guilty about it, and then that happened. That scene at the well for me was the most emotional moment of the series so far for me.

I also want to give a lot of thumbs up for the animation here. PA Works’ series usually are gorgeous, but their style is very easy to recognize usually. This series looks like nothing they’ve ever done, and they still managed to make it look gorgeous. Some of the best camera angles and shots have some awesome uses of colours.
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

4 Responses

  1. Enuj says:

    I get the feeling that they take that easygoing way of viewing the tanuki hot pot because the writers of the anime, after all, are human. Kind of morbid, but it’d be really funny to see the people in SNK to take the same point of view (it really sucks for us as humans, but it’s a part of life!)

  2. ronbb says:

    I agree that this show’s storytelling is unconventional and, to me, pretty awesome. It feels like it is simply showing snapshots of the daily lives of the characters, but it actually meticulously weaves the tiniest things — such as the casual chit-chats in episode 2 — into a bigger story and goes deeper by giving meaning and different perspectives.

    Sometimes people praise highly on having big themes, plot twists and character growth. It’s all good with those elements but a story is as great when it can make its characters feel like people and surface their inner feelings and thoughts that tie the audience in emotionally and intellectually. Uchouten is a perfect example here — all it’s doing is to tell a personal story of the Shimogamo family, and it tells it in an emotionally compelling way that also triggers our thoughts on life, death, and love. In a way, Uchouten may lose viewers who prefer having everything put on the table or a page-turner kind of story, but, in my view, it totally grabs the hearts and minds of those who enjoy a more sophisticated, mature, and character-focused story. Of course, its beautiful visuals and wonderful background music help. I think Uchouten is P.A. Works best show so far and, to me, definitely the best show of the season.

  3. kero says:

    My favourite new anime of the season

    The artwork is beautiful, and I just recently watched Tatami Galaxy, and I loved that, and I love this.

    I think the take it has on tanuki’s getting eaten is a bit thought provoking as we’re so used to feeling sympathy for the victims, this may be the first time where I’ve seen the one on the bum end of the deal semi accepting it as a fact of life, and it does point out that humans can of course say this because they’re on the top of the food chain.

    I loved how the story unfolds slowly.

    I wonder if benten will remain a mystery or if we’ll find out more about her.

    I love the entire shimogamo family, they’re adorable.

    Also love the Opening so much, all that colourful typography. I need some stills to catch all the titles given to the characters.

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  • Friend
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 06:34 AM)
    Woah, that was a long discussion about the Inca O.o
    @Bam I’m nearly done with the rough draft, maybe a few more hours.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 06:20 AM)
    @Vincent: That was pretty much the entirety of it. We were destined to cross Mississippi and inhabit the west, so why not take an active part in manifesting our supposed fate?
  • k-off
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 03:34 AM)
    @Vincent No shit.
  • Vincent
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 03:14 AM)
    @Bam Slightly. Did americans use manifest destiny as an excuse to steal land from the natives?
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 03:05 AM)
    @Vincent: I guess we were slightly more honest about it. It is funny how we use the fact after the matter as evidence of our divine providence. It’s like holding a gun to somebody and saying “fate wants you to die”, proceed to shoot them, and then say “see! I was right” lol
  • Vincent
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:56 AM)
    @Bam But unlike the american concept of manifest destiny, the Japanese used it as an excuse to wage what they were really doing: a war to hoard resources.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:52 AM)
    @Vincent: I see. A similar doctrine to Manifest Destiny.
  • Vincent
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:49 AM)
    @Bam Not to my knowledge. From the government, at least. It was always about expanding the glory of the homeland or something like that, which is why the Japanese took glee with the invasion of Manchuria and the Philippines, places they had no ethnic ties to.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:46 AM)
    *admitably
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:46 AM)
    @Vincent: I am admirably not too knowledgeable when it comes to the history of that region, but I still know that atrocities were committed.
    The interesting thing is that Japnese believe that their ancestors actually came from Korea. I wonder if this fact was ever used as a propaganda for why they have the right to annex Korea.

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