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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  • Emma
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 02:25 PM)
    @Realist: Stereotyping is intrinsic to human beings in too many ways, so much so that even when a “safe”, “attractive”, “normal” looking person is caught out they still become surprised at the revelation, even if they admit that stereotyping is wrong.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 02:14 PM)
    I think I’ve got a good handle on Yamaguchi Mikoto as an author now, I also read the first volume of Mayonaka and as I thought, it began deceptively and that maybe there wouldn’t be too much to it, but turns into something surprising, far more interesting.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 01:38 PM)
    @Trass, I can sort of understand that. Though as you likely noticed, psgels isn’t as active as he used to be. So rather than let this blog die a slow death it would be better to see something done with it. We ain’t prefect but well people improve over time.
  • Trass
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 12:47 PM)
    I came back here after a long while and saw how the blog is active again. I was really excited but then found out it’s not psgels who are writing the posts anymore… I’m happy but really sad at the same time ;w;
  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 08:31 AM)
    *this time
  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 08:28 AM)
    @K-off: it wasn’t the most visually impressive episode anyways, so it’s alright is time.
  • k-off
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 08:19 AM)
    @Bam I know you’re going to point it out, so yes, I know the screenshots aren’t very good…But it was very difficult for me to find a decent clip that wasn’t a spoiler in this episode.
  • ninjarealist
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 06:42 AM)
    I’m shocked by the news that Jian Ghomeshi has been an evil rapist this entire time. I listened to his show for so long and he always seemed like such a teddy bear. Just shows that you can’t judge a book by its cover.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 03:06 AM)
    Then Tougane looks down in a displeased manner and says: “two brainwave scanners would never work, what we need is to put a rubber ducky under the floormat and then if an intruder gets in they will step on it, alarming the cat. We then proceed to dissect the cat to check its body for any signs of stress hormone secretion which will show if someone was indeed there or not”. He then looks away with content and light up a cigarette.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 02:57 AM)
    Also the dominator is dominately stupid. After all that happened you don’t arm your men with some non-lethal back-up weapon or something? I get that they were trying to take the law out of human hands to avoid abuse, but in that case what is the point of human agency in the police? Have some droids patrol the streets with dominators then.

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