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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  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 06:32 AM)
    @Mario: This made me laugh far more than it should have: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kno3xDw27bY
  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 06:30 AM)
    Anybody else seen Jungle Book yet?
  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 06:25 AM)
    @Kaiser: I see. Look retro, so I might actually enjoy.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 06:24 AM)
    I don’t wanna hyperbolize, so I admit that some of the Disney/Marvel stuff has ingenuity to it. Guardians and even Antman had their moments of disarming charm, and genuine sentiment from the cast and crew, that made it special and not just another superhero flick.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 06:22 AM)
    @Aidan: Marvel movies feel like a very nice amusement park ride- they are always fun, but the return diminishes after successive exposure. Everything in the movies, from the fights, to the dialogue, and plot is incredibly formulatic. You just don’t get the same effect when you know what’s coming.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, May 4. 2016 06:05 PM)
    @Bam: Actually let me rephrase
    I meant that you will like: http://letterboxd.com/film/the-company-of-wolves/
    Because it is fairyrale inspired
    Because you liked brotherhood of the wolf and tale of tales.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, May 4. 2016 06:02 PM)
    @Bam: I meant tale of tales =)
    @Mario: My usual ratings are ***/***1/2 rating and ****
    Generally that indicates a film is kind good/good or great.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, May 4. 2016 04:17 PM)
    The one liner Dialogue is getting on my nerves, the lack of a great villain characterisation(Zemo is a step in the right direction but still not enough) and most of all that each movie is setup to a another movie.
    Deadpool was a step in the right direction(Yep I knew it was fox and not disney) and was as good as it was because it shook things up. At the moment marvel movies are just too…safe.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, May 4. 2016 04:13 PM)
    @Bam, I am very much in agreement. I like what the marvel cinematic universe has done but things are getting out of hand. They have prefected the superhero formula too well and it’s causing the flims to be popcorn fodder. I am walking out of their movies admiting that I enjoyed them but I don’t really think I will remember them highly. Plus the thrends of the movies are really starting to bug me.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, May 4. 2016 02:27 PM)
    Deadpool belongs to Fox, not Disney, but there are rumors circling of the two studios opening up to negotiation. The success of Spiderman Homecoming will greatly precipitate another such lucrative cooperation.

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