So Eccentric Family is back. If you’re already enjoyed the first season of this gem, the pilot of this second season sure won’t disappoint you. If you haven’t checked it out though, just go watch it. Seriously. The first season really understands the dynamic of a family, and what it meant to be the person tanuki you are and be a part of a whole society. Plus, like I said in the preview, the show’s depiction of magical-realism whimsical world where tengu, tanuki and human live in harmony together in a lustful and vivid Kyoto setting is one of my favorite anime settings ever. That comes as no surprise because Morimi is one of my favorite writer. While Tatami Galaxy offers what I considered an unique, singular interpretation to Morimi’s world, The Eccentric Family is the case where I feel the visual completely in sync with the writing, the way it rarely stands out but always sinks you in with its world (if you ask me which kind of adaptation I prefer though, then it’s Tatami Galaxy, as I always believe creators SHOULD give their own take to the source material).
This new season unfortunately sets us back to a status quo, a bit of disregarding the happy conclusion of last season. That includes Bentei departs from Master Akadama (yet again) to cruise around the world (Singapore, SYDNEY, she got taste), Yaichirou (the first son) still aims for Nise-emon title, Yajirou (the second son) reverts back to his frog-self who lives inside the well (there’s no reason for him to stay there anymore, right? But still, a frog who plays shogi by himself in a well is pretty cool). This first episode re-introduces majority of the main cast from the first season; yep that including the tanuki twins who still annoying like an (double) alarm clock, or Master Akadama who is still too prideful to accept that he has been in bad shape for years. My two favorite characters from last season don’t make an appearance though. But I am sure Kaisei will be back very soon; and as for Bentei, while she doesn’t technically appear in this episode, her aura still presents strongly throughout the episode.
The new additions bring some nice, fresh air to the table, yet completely at home with the old cast. We get introduced to the big brother of Ebisugawa family, Kureichiro, who at least sensible and responsible unlike his twin brothers, but his introduction makes me really question where the hell was he in the first season at one of the most important events for tanuki. The girl Gyokuran seems very nice and it’s possible that Yaichirou and her having a bit of romantic feeling. But the man of the moment is, of course, Nidaime (which literally mean “Second Generation”), Master Akadama’s son. He seems to take a liking to Yasaburou, and their meetings makes up some excellent moments. Now the first shoes are dropped, Nidaime and his father had a big fight that lasted 3 days and 3 nights (again, cool!) that after he lose, both men were to prideful to even see each other or make amends. But to be fair, “big ego” is a trait of all the tengu, as they believe they are “the only being of any significance between Heaven and Earth” after all. I really like the roundabout ways both Master Akadama and his son behave, act like they don’t care for each other at all, yet both appear in the meeting as planned. Actually, we could draw an interesting parallel between Nidaime (who obviously is a tengu but denies himself to be) and Benten (who is a human but have all the tengu ability). I believe this aspect will become more apparent in later episodes. Although Nidaime said that his air gun is still missing somewhere, so… maybe the twins have it again, right?
But the sequence that almost grabbed my heartstring was the first flashback of the young mama and papa from Shimogamo Family playing together in a temple. Such a great way to kick off the second season. Those scenes are so sweet with the detailed backgrounds and some lovely character’s expressions. Those qualities, along with the sensitive writing and the emotions that often ring true are the reason why The Eccentric Family’s so enjoyable and re-watchable. It’s those re-watches that make me pick up some minor things that add up and appreciate more with the arts and camerawork. Indeed, the last time I re-watched the show, while I was right in the middle of Kyoto so I could pick up all the real locations and what the real Kyoto had to offer, was one of my best anime-viewing experience ever. This show already has a special place in my heart.