Uchouten Kazoku S2

October 13, 2017

Well what do you know? I never expect Uchouten Kazoku to actually have a second season. Since it was almost 4 years since the first season was aired. Of course it came to a surprise to me because it means I have to go back and refresh my memory… Nah. Too lazy. Thankfully I still have a general gist of what is about and what has happened. Some tanuki family. Some old tengu guy. Some argument between the tanuki clans that resulted in the death of the tanuki patriarch into the bellies of a few humans. And oh yeah, that mysterious Benten. Benten, oh Benten… I think clearly she is the reason why I’m looking forward to watch this sequel.

Episode 1
Yasaburou narrates how his dad was the leader of the Tsuchinoko Expedition Squad met a beautiful lady guarding the steps. After a hard fought victory, they married and he had 4 sons. However none of them carried his legacy and become known as his idiots. Even so, there is no other way Yasaburou could live besides living the idiotic path. So now he has become the leader of the Tsuchinoko Expedition Squad and Yashirou becomes his only member. Mom finds it foolish, Yaichirou is more focused to bring back a shogi tournament despite not playing shogi himself while Yajirou certainly wouldn’t like to become fodder for a ‘snake’. While setting traps for the tsuchinoko, a fancy sofa drops nearby. They thought they could take it as long no one claims it but the Kurama tengu guys nearby are going to have fun bullying them. They want to see how far they can throw Yashirou but Yasaburou transforms into a giant white elephant. Then this guy in a fancy suit and top hat floats down. Nidaime as he is known is supposedly son of Akadama (Yakushibou) who has just returned. The Kurama guys mock how they kicked out his father from the mountains and that he is living a pathetic life dependant on a tanuki. In that case Nidaime will finish him off himself. Yasaburou wants Yashirou to go tell Yaichirou of his return while he rushes down to Akadama’s place. Nidaime arrives and father is glad to see him. Only, he can tell Yasaburou is impersonating as him. As Yasaburou doesn’t know where his father is, he offers to pick up his belongings scattered by the Kurama guys. Nidaime appreciates it and wants to pay him as it isn’t his policy to be indebted by others but Yasaburou it is a tanuki’s role to serve the tengu. Nidaime says he is currently staying in a hotel and that he is not a tengu. Akadama is in fact sleeping soundly in the closet still dreaming about Benten who has gone vacation overseas.

Yasaburou and Yaichirou are at the clinic. They see Gyokuran Nanzenji whom Yaichirou has a crush on, organizing a shogi tournament. They are annoyed by the return of those idiotic twins, Kinkaku and Ginkaku, although their eldest brother, Kureichirou apologizes for their idiotic state. Then talking with Heitarou Yasaka, he wonders if this is the real Nidaime. 100 years ago, father and son had a fierce battle that lasted for 3 days and 3 nights. The son lost and left Japan. There is going to be lots of strife between them and it is strange he would deny himself as a tengu. For now Yasaburou is to keep an eye on the tengu. When Yasaburou returns to Akadama, it seems he knows that his son has returned so he wants him to deliver a challenge letter to him. Yasaburou visits Nidaime at his hotel. He wants to pay him but Yasaburou says he is saving up for a bigger favour for later so this payment isn’t enough. Then he shows the challenge letter. Nidaime tosses it aside and says he might or might not go. Don’t assume he wold. That night as Akadama waits, the Kurama guys are already watching and anticipating from afar, betting that Akadama would lose and what they’ll do with his body. Then here comes Nidaime. Looks like all of these years, the bad blood still hasn’t gone away.

Episode 2
Before the battle can start, Akadama loses his balance. Luckily Yasaburou is there to catch him. Looking at his pathetic state, Nidaime mocks his pathetic living and isn’t worth killing before flying away. Later Yashirou tells Yasaburou that those idiotic twins seem to be fascinated with Nidaime and want to follow in his footsteps and be an English gentleman. Yeah, they’re following him around. He then asks if Yasaburou is going to get married to Kaisei but he denies since it is cancelled. The promise doesn’t matter anymore. But Yashirou says that there are no more obstacles to them so if they want to get married, just do it. Yasaburou is then called for a job. It seems a guy named Tenmaya opened a ramen shop on the rooftop. The guys tried to confront him but he scared them off by elongating his chin! So Yasaburou goes talk to him and he lives by the name of entertainment. Yasaburou thought he could trick him by turning into a bear but then he starts multiplying his toy hippos? The next thing Yasaburou knows, he is walking through the crowded arcade! Everyone is scared sh*t! Even the police are afraid. Luckily Yashirou was there in time to pick him up when he returns back to normal. It took a while before Yasaburou regained consciousness and thanks to Kaisei’s idea of throwing him into the river. She scolds him for getting tricked by a human.

Yasaburou then goes to see Yodogawa (previously known as Hotei). It seems he is in a new club now that advocates against eating tanuki, with a master artist named Ayameike who runs an art shop with his wife. After finding him in the woods and bringing him back, it seems they have another guest: Tenmaya. This guy wants to help sell his paintings but Ayameike isn’t so interested. Then something about Ayameike as a vulgar man so Tenmaya wants to celebrate it by showing them an entertainment. He multiplies the lights till it gets overwhelming and then they suddenly disappear. It’s just an illusion. On the way home, Yasaburou asks Yodogawa about Tenmaya. All he knows that he was once in Friday Fellows under Jurojin. But he incurred his wrath and disappeared. That was a few years ago. Surprisingly this guy pops up before them. He seems to be bugging Yodogawa about his protest on eating tanuki. He wants to get along since they’re both outcasts but Yodogawa declines. Yasaburou then returns to Ayameike to ask for advice to get back at Tenmaya since he tricked him before. He is shown a painting that Ayameike always hides whenever Tenmaya visits as he wants to burn it. The paining is of hell. Ayameike was commissioned to draw a Buddha in it. A temple priest asked him to draw it and he doesn’t know who the actual owner of the painting is. It is believed Tenmaya was from this painting and used Buddha’s spider thread to get out. Yasaburou then returns to Tenmaya, thinking he can scare him by transforming into a demon trying to drag him back to hell! Though it may look like Tenmaya is scared out of his sh*t, he may just be trolling because he whips out his rifle. Can you shoot a demon?

Episode 3
Yasaburou surrenders and he would like to have that rifle back since it belonged to Nidaime. No can do. Tenmaya then does another trick by plucking the moon out from the sky with his hand! Tenmaya learns he saw that hell painting. He claims Jurojin’s illusions got the better of him. When he learns Yasaburou knew Jurojin from Benten, he becomes upset because that woman is the source of it all. He put lies into Jurojin’s head. While cursing Benten, look who returns? Benten! She is dominating over him stepping on his bald head. She takes the moon from him and wants to keep it. When Tenmaya frees himself and fires a shot, Benten swats it away with her hand! Then she lifts and throws him away! OMG! She has Yasaburou carry her luggage but in exchange he hopes she puts his moon back. Okay. Yasaburou and Tousen (Mother) go to see grandma. Can’t make out this shiny furry blob… She is asking for a cure for Yajirou’s case. Grandma says the water at the bottom of his belly is dry and will have a medicine concocted by Touichirou to be drank while doing the transformation. Grandma meets Yasaburou for the first time. She says something about him needing to work hard to overcome something and to cause lots of trouble. Yasaburou then goes visit Yajirou. He learns froggy is also trying to participate in a shogi tournament. He lets Yasaburou know that Nidaime has moved out from his hotel. Apparently he is now living on a rooftop. He sees Nidaime trying to iron his shirts in record time? Yasaburou introduces Yashirou to him. Nidaime explains this lavish place was provided by the idiotic twins whose father has left the place and it would be a shame to let it go to waste. He paid them a pot of gold so there is no debt. Nidaime still insists he is not a tengu when Yasaburou suggests he put his tengu skills to good use. After Nidaime gives goggles to Yashirou, he has them leave since it is his naptime. However Benten waltzes in and makes herself home on his sofa. He politely tells her to get off but she won’t. After placing the tablecloth on the floor, he pushes her off down on it. Then he proceeds to sleep comfortably on his sofa. Oh no. Yasaburou can feel bad blood brewing. Is the world going to be destroyed?!

Episode 4
Benten says she is not mad?! But she took out all his ironed shirts and stepped on them! By wary… Yasaburou seems to be substituting some tanuki at the zoo as he plays shogi with Yajirou. Gyokuran comes to visit as support, though she wonders why Yaichirou isn’t playing when he worked so hard for the event. During the shogi tournament it will be Gyokuran against Yajirou. Some tanukis imitate as live shogi pieces. Trouble starts kicking up when Yasaburou get into an idiotic argument with the idiotic twins. Ignoring their master, the argument picks up when both sides try to outdo each other by becoming some super non-existent piece. When Yaichirou tries to stop his brother, the idiotic twins start embarrassing him by saying how he always favours Gyokuran and mistreats them. It gets out of control when Gyokuran transforms into a tiger and scares the sh*t out of everyone! Run for your lives! Too late to apologize. Later Yaichirou scolds Yasaburou for that but Yasaburou isn’t repentant and blames him for being an embarrassment to Gyokuran instead. Yasaburou finds father’s shogi board in Yaichirou’s hideout. He remembers Yaichirou played Gyokuran when they were younger. He ‘abused’ the board when Gyokuran purposely lost. Tousen talks to Yasaburou that she has taken a liking for Gyokuran and perhaps it is time for her eldest son to marry. Yasaburou talks to Shoujirou (Gyokuran’s brother) as she is holing up inside the temple to reflect upon herself. He talks about the God of Shogi taking away those possessed by shogi. He hoped Yaichirou would be that God to take Gyokuran. Yasaburou then talks to Gyokuran inside and makes her laugh with his silly shogi moves. It made her remember a day long ago when Yasaburou was Akadama tied him up in some tree and Yaichirou and Gyokuran went looking for him. Yaichirou is shocked to see father’s board with Yasaburou. The latter wants him to apologize or play and beat him if he wants it back. Halfway while playing, Yaichirou didn’t realize his brother switched with Gyokuran. She hopes he would play shogi with her again. He relents. After he admits his loss, Gyokuran notices a hole in the middle of the board. Upon touching it, she gets sucked into it.

Episode 5
Yaichirou and Yasaburou also touch it and get sucked in. They realize they’re in Souichirou’s shogi room. This room is connected to Akadama’s place. The brothers discuss about the Gozan Festival. Due to last year’s incident, their ship cannot be repaired in time and the ship they wanted to rent was bought out by the idiotic twins. Yasaburou then seeks Akadama’s permission to borrow the tea kettle. He agrees but wants to know why he visited Nidaime. Akadama doesn’t acknowledge Nidaime as his son, successor and tengu. It might seem Yaichirou is embarrassed to confess to Gyokuran when she is the one bold enough to confess and tell him to say it. He head butts her?! Turns out Yasaburou was disguised as Gyokuran for him to practice. Yajirou transforms into a train for the gang to have fun for Gozan. Akadama lectures Yaichirou and Gyokuran to just be honest and say they love each other in which Gyokuran did. Also, that shogi room was where Akadama locked Souichirou and Tousen inside to settle it once and for all. Because they decided to get closer, thus you the brothers were born. Yasaburou notices Benten sitting on top. Did she steal Nidaime’s sofa? Then here comes the idiotic twins showing off their boat and badmouthing them. They really do know no shame. That is when Gyokuran blows her top and wants them to apologize now for being rude. However they won’t and continue their rude ways. Yaichirou loses his cool and transforms into a lion to attack them. The idiotic twins’ ship start shooting fireworks. Yajirou’s butt is on fire and is forced to crash land into their ship. It gets complicated when Nidaime drops by. Estranged father and son face off. This might get ugly. But Benten gets his permission to settle this. It seems Benten and Nidaime met before in London and they do not like each other the first time. Benten attacks but what’s this?! Benten losses?! Is this true?! Nidaime retrieves his sofa and leaves. Yasaburou and Akadama go look for fallen Benten. She is sitting in the river in shock and frustration. Akadama sits with her and tells her to get stronger. Yasaburou notes when he saw Benten charged at Nidaime, he started to feel sad because he knew she would lose.

Episode 6
Yodogawa is being accused of sexual harassment so his colleagues send him to research in the forest till this blows over. Talking to Yasaburou about this, he believes Friday Fellows are trying to get back at him because he actively tries to stop their tanuki hot pot. Yasaburou hears that Friday Fellows are gathering at Arima Onsen. He remembers soaking in the warm and nice baths here. Yasaburou is surprised Kaisei is here too (disguised as usual). She calls him stupid for liking someone who eats tanuki and wished Nidaime had just finished that b*tch off. She has been avoiding Nidaime since. He wonders about Benten’s thoughts on Nidaime but would not risk asking her directly. Speaking of her, he spots her in the crowd and tails her. Inside a complex, he sees his father but knows he is not him because of the different scent. Then he realizes this is where uncle Souun has been hiding. He still blames Souichirou for destroying his life prospects. It seems there is an opening in Friday Fellows after Yodogawa’s departure. Tonight they are taking a new member. Guess who? Yasaburou is appalled he would even eat his own tanuki kind. Souun decides to show him what hell is like and tosses him into that hell painting. When he wakes up, he finds himself in a strange place. He hides in Tenmaya’s stall as a demon because demons seeing him as human would want to boil him. He meets a friendly female demon who gladly shows him around. Taking him to an arena, demons love to watch deities who something come down to have sumo matches with them. Say, isn’t that Benten swinging her demon challengers?! It is! She comes down here once in a while to work out and gather some demon horns. Not even demons has a chance. As suggested, he goes to challenge her. He thought of surprising her by revealing his identity. This makes her happy but he still can’t beat her. He tosses him into the air and she soon follows. Well, say goodbye to this world. They’re going to fly back out. Can’t wait to get back to the mortal world, huh? Though, Benten is confident he could live here happily although he doesn’t really want to. On their way out, they pass through an eerie passage of eerie souls.

Episode 7
Back in reality, Benten brings Yasaburou to Jurojin’s train where the banquet will be held. She introduces him to the old guy and requests he joins them. Learning he just came back from hell, Jurojin shows him a painting of Ayameike’s hell painting. It seems only Benten can go back and forth effortlessly. As though she is scarier than hell itself. Yeah, I somewhat agree. They go soak in the bath and it seems Yodogawa is also with them. Something about tonight’s banquet is supposed to be reconciliation too. Souun is not pleased to see Yasaburou here so they pretend to get along. All eyes are now on Benten as she joins in. Wow. Such beautiful body. Oh wait. Nobody dares to look at her. As the banquet begins, Yasaburou sees Tenmaya working as Jurojin’s servant. Looks like he managed to get back on his good side. As they enjoy the banquet to welcome Souun, he then entertains everyone by showing some dragon stone. He gives it to Jurojin but he gives it to Benten. Yodogawa then gets up to make his protest speech but as the rest points out h has eaten lots of tanuki in the past so he isn’t one to say. Then there’s something about his love that needs to be forced upon others. Because of that, Jurojin has Tenmaya tie him up as he uses his rifle to shoot the daruma on his head as target practice. Before more bullets are fired, Yasaburou would like to speak to Yodogawa. In fact, he is here to dissolve his alliance his him as he is sick of him forcing his tanuki love on others. He only got close to him to be fed. Everyone cheers for his unique vision of love. But the real sh*t hits the fan when Benten suggests he should join Friday Fellows if he wants to taste tanuki that much. Benten uses the tea kettle to float the train. Jurojin is impressed and makes Yasaburou a member. However this doesn’t sit well with Souun. He protests about the hard work he had done only to be tossed aside by this change in plan. When asked why he wants to join this club so bad, it is to strike down the tanukis. He becomes so enraged that he transforms into a demon trying to strangle Yasaburou. Against Yasaburou’s words, Tenmaya shoots Souun. Yasaburou follows Souun’s blood trail and sees him dying beneath a tree. Souun says he should be happy as he has avenged his father’s death. Yasaburou tries to save him but all was in vain. Kaisei learns her father is gone and wants Yasaburou to let her be alone with him.

Episode 8
Everyone gathers at Souun’s funeral. Tousen explains how grandpa wanted to end the feud between the Shimogawa and Ebisugawa clans but Souun took the initiative to marry into the family and bring peace between the families. She is sad this happened. Yasaburou could only note mom doesn’t understand. Yajirou’s transformation is making progress although there is still room for improvement. Nevertheless mom is happy. Kureichirou and the idiotic twins want to make amends by letting Yaichirou spank their butts?! He won’t. Although he can never forgive Souun for what he has done, nothing good will come out of this. The important thing now is to how they’re going to live from now on. Will they live together in peace or feud? Both sides want to end the feud and so they make up and shake hands. They are tanukis after all. Yasaburou accompanies Akadama to Kiyomizu because he heard Benten is going out on a ‘date’ with Nidaime. Trying to spy? Indeed she is but the duo still somewhat hate each other. They may look amicable to each other but their words are still as sharp. Nidaime still considers himself greater than her and he tells her to stop becoming a tengu. She thinks he has fallen for her and just to admit it. If she is to listen to his advice, she would rather listen to a tanuki. Nidaime is irked when she asks why he came back to this country and town. Later Yaichirou talks to Yasaburou and hopes to reinstate his marriage to Kaisei. Of course he denies seeing he himself isn’t married to Gyokuran yet. Yaichirou argues he is trying to think about the family and all he could see Yasaburou is falling into a hot pot. At least he will have something to protect. Yasaburou chides him for trying to be like father in which he isn’t but learns this idea is from Yajirou. He knows he is planning to leave Kyoto. So he visits Yajirou at the well and tries to convince him to stay but he says they can’t be pampered forever. Because of that, Yasaburou has run away to the mountains for a week! He is camping there as Kaisei comes to talk to him. As usual it turns into a childish spat. Then they start talking about their declined marriage in which they both agree for once. But she starts crying that if he wants to see her so badly, she’ll show herself. It will be the reason why they will never be married. When Kaisei appears, Yasaburou returns to his tanuki form. Her secret: If he sees her, his transformation becomes undone.

Episode 9
The brothers see off Yajirou. He promises to come back after his journey is done since he has a place called home. Tousen didn’t see him off as she feared he would hold him back. Yaichirou talks to Yasaburou about Akadama refusing to be an observer for the upcoming Nise-emon election. So Yasaburou tries to persuade him but the stubborn old man has decided to let Benten take his place. Of course the tanukis won’t like this seeing Benten is one who eats tanukis. Yasaburou then comes up with an idea to get Nidaime instead since Benten won’t be able to do anything and that they have nothing to lose. Yaichirou disagrees as they shouldn’t get involved with a succession dispute among the tengus. But Yasaburou say worse comes to worst, he’ll take responsibility. For real? So the duo go see Nidaime. First, Yasaburou reports he found his rifle although he failed to get it back since Tenmaya disappeared ever since. Nidaime thanks him as he owes him for helping find lots of his furniture. Cue for them to ask him to be the observer. Nidaime learns Yaichirou wants to follow his father footsteps unlike himself who is trying to take a different path, away from becoming a tengu or cleaning up his father’s mess. He knows Yasaburou spied on him at Kiyomizu and dismisses he is cordial with her. So what’s the difference if he doesn’t hate her but loathe her? The tanukis go on their knees to beg. To their relief, Nidaime agrees. When all the tanukis gather, Yasaburou is shocked to see the idiotic twins enlightened! OMG! Is this real? No more the idiotic pests and Englishmen wannabe but some Buddha fearing worshippers? Wow. Things have really changed. The event starts with Yaichirou and Kureichirou making peace and the latter pledging his family will support the new Nise-emon. Suddenly Benten arrives! Time for your tanukis to know your place. She isn’t happy that she isn’t welcomed though she understands why because she is one who eats tanuki. Then she picks out Yasaburou and knows he is behind this. He can’t lie his way out. She knows. When he says he respects both Benten and Nidaime as tengus, she throws her pipe missing him by inches! And it will only get more explosive since Nidaime is here. Yasaburou remembers what grandma said about causing trouble to keep things fun. This might be too much to handle…

Episode 10
Benten takes her leave. Yasaburou hopes she would show mercy on this matter but she feels disappointed he didn’t understand a thing. She treated him kindly. The family receives a letter from Yajirou detailing about his journey. In light of the recent events, Yasaburou has run away from home and taking shelter in Ayameike’s home. Only his family knows where he is. Gyokuran visits him and they talk about Yaichirou becoming the next Nise-emon. Yasaburou thinks Yasaka just wants to retire and push all the duties to big brother. No tanukis would like to hold this post and Yaichirou must be crazy to really want it. After all, they’ve got the idiot blood running through their veins. Gyokuran also reports that Akadama has officially excommunicated him. Yasaburou thinks it won’t last long and will wait till things calm down. Later he is shocked when Benten waltzes in and every step she takes turns everything around her into ice! Asked why she is crying, it’s because it will be a shame that she’ll have to eat him. Poof! Thank goodness it’s just a dream. With the year-end coming, it also reminds them of Souichirou’s death anniversary since it would Friday Fellows’ annual tanuki hot pot. Yaichirou reminisces what father said to him about making enemies he must also make friends. His trump card will be his siblings since they have the same blood. For Souichirou, he didn’t have that luxury even if Souun was his younger brother. They didn’t trust each other. When someone of your own blood becomes your enemy, they become the ultimate enemy. Yaichirou attends a celebration party with the elders to celebrate his success as the next Nise-emon.

Yajirou arrives at Shikoku to visit the Kinchou clan. He meets a tanuki girl but she plays a trick on him, making him revert to his frog form. At first she is surprised especially for a tanuki to turn into a frog but then she remembers him since she has rode on his train before. She takes him to their underground hideout, a large area of parlour rooms lined up, to let him see her father the chief. They talk about Yaichirou succeeding as the next Nise-emon as well as Kureichirou’s return to Kyoto. Yasaburou is surprised when Kaisei comes to see him. Apparently she ran away too. She talks to him about Kureichirou acting weird lately. He is hardworking to a point the idiotic twins looked up to him. Well, things change in 10 years. He is now the head of the family. Recently Yaichirou came to talk about reinstating their marriage but Kureichirou was against it. Of course she is against it too but can’t help feel weird because their marriage would be perfect to further strengthen both their families. That is why she left a note to Kureichirou saying she eloped with Yasaburou! Man, things are going to be complicated seeing the duo who don’t really like each other eloped. Suddenly Kaisei is shot! Yasaburou tries to help her but gets shot too. Tenmaya brings out his cage, delighted with his catch.

Episode 11
Nidaime starts his observer role for the next Nise-emon election. Tousen gets a call that a fire occurred at the factory where Yashirou is working. He is alright but Kinkaku (he is a fireman now?) found a rifle hiding in the place. Yajirou is making his way back to Kyoto with a monk. They talk about that tanuki girl whose name is Seiran. She was named by Souichirou. Yasaburou has regained consciousness but pretends to be asleep as he hears Tenmaya talking to Jurojin how Kureichirou suggested a place where he could find a tanuki. He didn’t know he could find 2 of them. Also, Kureichirou was interested in buying his rifle. Tenmaya sold it to him but a fake. Benten just came out from hell. She sees both tanukis in the cage. She sheds a tear that she will have to eat him. Kinkaku interrupts the elections to show the rifle at the factory. He accuses Yasaburou of assassinating Souun, Yashirou hiding the evidence and Yaichirou feigning it all to become Nise-emon. When news arrive that Yasaburou has been captured, the other tanukis could do nothing. Yaichirou is upset they aren’t showing any gratitude for his brother who broke a limb to help the tanuki society out. He realizes this is a conspiracy to frame the Shimogawa family. He has had it with tradition and if Kureichirou wants to become the next Nise-emon, he can have it. Yaichirou transforms into a tiger and leaps to go rescue Yasaburou. Only Gyokuran follows him. Ginkaku is keeping watch Tousen and Yashirou at the factory. But he starts to panic when he realizes Kaisei isn’t in her room and left that note. Yasaburou is in a dream. There he talks to his dad. Yasaburou wouldn’t mind ending up in a pot but he doesn’t want to drag Kaisei into this. But dad tells him his time isn’t up yet as he has many things left to do. When Yasaburou wakes up, he sees Yodogawa in a poorly made tanuki superhero outfit trying to rescue him. Other Friday Fellows members try to stop him. Since Yasaka is troubled he won’t be able to go for his Hawaii vacation, Kinkaku suggests making Kureichirou the temporary Nise-emon. The elders see no problem and elect him. With the election over, Nidaime wants his gun back. However he inspects it and finds it to be fake. It’s just a toy. Kureichirou can’t explain himself about this. Yajirou now interrupts the meeting with his return with an urgent message. The monk reveals himself to be Kureichirou. So who is this guy then? It’s Souun?! Yaichirou and Gyokuran manage to free Yasaburou and Kaisei. Yodogawa struggles with Tenmaya to let them escape. However the train is now floating high in the sky. Yasaburou wrestles with Jurojin for the control.

Episode 12
As Benten tries to stop Yasaburou, he makes an interesting proposition to crash into the Nise-emon election! Once the place is in a mess, Yasaburou is shocked to see Souun alive. Souun is also shocked to learn Tenmaya shocked Kaisei. Jurojin will have all the tanukis here in his pot and orders Tenmaya to shoot. Souun struggles with Tenmaya, blaming him for ruining his plans. Suddenly a demon’s hand grabs Tenmaya back to hell, dragging Souun along with him. Could it be Benten’s plan? Then she confronts Nidaime who is sulking and depressed?! What happened?! Flashback shows Nidaime and Akadama’s fight was actually over Benten’s love. When Nidaime lost and went to look for her, she left a note with a big cross. Rejected. Frustrated? And now it’s time for the rematch between them. It’s more epic, more fiery, more explosive, more property damage! Have you seen Benten this mad?! Nidaime somewhat wins when he sets her hair on fire! But he can’t have the last laugh as his entire belongings is razed. Akadama’s wind and rain put it out. He thanks Yasaburou for a good job. As he confronts his son, Nidaime starts crying. He tells him to get stronger if he is frustrated. In the aftermath, Yasaburou visits Benten in her home. Her hair is cut short. She starts crying and wants him to pity her more. The idiotic twins are caged and properly straightened by Kureichirou who sends his regards to Yaichirou for becoming the Nise-emon as well as to apologize for Souun’s evil for returning to Kyoto as the fake Kureichirou to seize power from the shadows (although he didn’t count on the real Kureichirou to return). As New Year ushers in, Yaichirou is nervous as hell as he gets engaged to Gyokuran. Akadama gives his blessings and annuls Yasaburou’s excommunication. Yasaburou then visits Nidaime who praises him as a tanuki who thought through everything but yet has nothing on his mind. Yasaburou credits his idiot blood. He is sure he will become a great tanuki one day but as for himself, he still denies becoming a tengu. In the woods, Kaisei talks to Yasaburou to apologize for an old prank. They hear a creepy laughter which turns out to be Yasaburou’s grandma crying because she was lost. She meets Kaisei for the first time and wonders if they are married. Though she denies, Yasaburou says they’ll eventually be. They’re engaged. So he has accepted it? Grandma believes it will all work out. So Yasaburou doesn’t mind if her appearance will always change him back? Well, he’ll find a way. He has the idiot blood. They bring grandma home together.

Good Times Don’t Last Forever
So the whole damn problem was about an old love triangle? A lover’s spat? Wow. I didn’t really see that coming. I’m sure they aren’t back together. It is going to take some time nursing their broken and wounded hearts but then again, this series isn’t really about them, right? All Yasaburou wants to have is fun and probably that goes the same for the other tanukis. And what a great year (and second season) this has been, don’t you agree? Good and fun times may not last forever but at least they can try to make it last as long as possible. I’m sure as tanukis they will find new ways to enjoy themselves. That’s all they do, right? Eat, breed and have fun. Oh, one more thing. Did Friday Fellows get to have their year-end tanuki pot? If not, damn this year again they did not. Thank goodness no tanukis died during this season.

Personally, I find that this second season is as good, if not better than the first season. Probably I wasn’t putting much hope on the sequel seeing the long lapse of time and that I have forgotten a lot of stuffs. But surprisingly despite all that, the plots and stories this season are still fresh and interesting. One main reason is that the story is seamlessly divided into small plots or small adventures if I should call it. For example, when Benten ‘faced off’ with Nidaime at his home over his sofa, that was quickly over with and the next thing we know, the shogi tournament. That too didn’t last long and before you know it, the Gozan Festival tomfooleries followed by Yasaburou going to hell and him usurping Souun to become a Friday Fellows member. They might look separate but they are all inter-connected and related. Therefore the pacing of this season is good enough to retain viewers’ interest and intrigue in what is going to happen next.

There are also some satisfying developments from last season here like Yajirou finally making some progress in returning to his ordinary form instead of being doomed to be in his little green frog appearance forever. Also, Kaisei the so called master of concealing (she could have easily find herself a ninja job) finally reveals herself to Yasaburou and the reason why she never did. Glad to know she wasn’t an ugly tanuki. Okay I lied. Fans who watched the first season will know how she looked like. Only Yasaburou doesn’t. I thought she was going to forever hide in the shadows but looks like she really did come out of her shell, erm, fur. Yodogawa has turned into a full blown advocate to save tanuki lives although his actions can be seen as virtue signalling. His intentions are good but he sounds like he is no better than those who continue to eat tanukis since he is trying to really force his ideas down their throats.

Benten is still my favourite character aside being voiced by my favourite seiyuu. She still has this mysterious personality and also an aura that unconsciously warns us not to mess with her if we know what’s good for ourselves. So it came to me as a shocking surprise that Benten actually lost to Nidaime! Twice. I know it isn’t impossible but the thought of it was. It’s like saying to number one team in football losing to a team ranked at the bottom of FIFA’s standings. Unconceivable, right? But not impossible. The same here goes for Benten. She was someone dominating and invincible. Or maybe everyone was assuming something bad would happen to them if they earn her wrath but when was the last time you see her getting angry and blowing her top? Could she rain down meteors from the sky and cover the landscape with craters and fiery mess? I still don’t understand what is it that she really wants from it all (a question that bugged me last season). Maybe she just wanted someone to love? Yasaburou knows well for a long time he wasn’t the one.

Equalling Benten’s mysterious and dominating force, if not surpassing her is Nidaime. He also has a commanding presence and not to be taken lightly. As though his return is to put Benten in her place and prevent her from freely doing what she really wants. Like Benten, it is also hard to tell what he wants and thinks because of his English gentleman poker face. His dapper suit makes him feel so out of place in Japan. But then again, when you have tanukis and tengus living together with humans, that itself makes it seem a whole lot weird. Not too sure if his final fight with Benten has had him reconcile with his estranged father. But I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assuming that they might not be 100% on terms with each other but at least they are on tolerable terms. After all, they are still father and son.

It feels ironic for Yasaburou because I remember (actually I took a little effort to read back my old blog) in the previous season there was this premonition that he would be the next tanuki ending up in the pot. He almost became one here. A sense of déjà vu too because last season Friday Fellows captured 2 tanukis, Tousen and Yaichirou (although Yaichirou was only meant for the pot) and they were freed by Yasaburou. This time around, Yasaburou and Kaisei were nearly in danger of being tanuki meat and it is big brother who came to their rescue this time.

Kinkaku and Ginkaku are still funny and hilarious in their own way. They are so idiotic that it is hard to hate them. In that sense, they are ‘lovable’. In their gay-like voice, they make stupid accusations and act tough. They think they have the upper hand but ultimately fail. So when they actually turn into some righteous Buddha-fearing pair, it was one of those shockers this season had to offer. We’ve known them as long as we can remember as the idiotic pair and suddenly they have a change of heart? Wow. And we thought they would be influenced by Nidaime and become English brats but the season isn’t long enough to even see them play that out. And of course they had to go back to being the familiar idiots and receive their just desserts.

Souun continues to play the despicable villain in his bid to exact vengeance to the point of faking his own death. What started out as a spat with his brother over the love for the same woman now turning ugly into a full blown revenge story since Souun doesn’t even have Tousen in his mind this season while taking his revenge. If last season had him worried because Tousen was going to be in the pot, this season was almost the same since it was Kaisei. Each time he does this, a previous beloved gets involved. So people, remember crime doesn’t pay. My only grouse is that if Souun was impersonating as Kureichirou, shouldn’t the other tanukis be able to smell him? Sure, Kureichirou had been gone on a journey for a while but clearly they should recognize Souun’s. They were at his funeral, weren’t they? I don’t know if I should be in a dilemma because although he is not really dead, he is in hell. Which is pretty much like being dead. Yeah, he can fight Tenmaya all he wants there.

Artwork and animation are also maintained the same as seen in last season. This means this isn’t your typical conventional Japanese anime of bishoujo and bishonen designs as the characters still look as odd as they did. The backgrounds and sceneries are still bright and colourful and the hues rich and vibrant so I guess I’m not complaining.

Sometimes I have this feeling the reason why they make the sequel after many years later was that the producers suddenly realize that the originals seiyuus who voiced the characters may no longer be around! No, nobody died and had to be replaced. Touch wood. Thankfully all of them are still here and delightfully retained for this season. Viva Mamiko Noto!!! Of course with a few new seiyuus added to the cast such as Junji Majima as Nidaime (Ryuuji in Toradora) and Bin Shimada as Tenmaya (Ken in You’re Under Arrest series) and Hirofumi Nojima as Shoujirou (Akatsuki in Aria The Animation) while Yuuichi Nakamura as Kureichirou and Yoko Hikasa as Gyokuran were recognizable.

Maintaining the feel of the first season are the opening and ending themes. They are so similar and familiar in sound and visuals. Like Nasugamama Sawagumama by Milktub continues to sing it in the same fashion way like they did with the first season’s opener. Still a rock piece but feeling less like a football anthem. Though, it still can be one if you want it to be. The ending theme also follows the same pattern like in the first season. That is why Fhana’s Moon River brings back some of the memories of Que Sera Sera (ending theme for the first season in which she sang) and the ending credits also show Benten on her adventures.

Overall, a satisfying second season made even more enjoyable with some nostalgic effect. Highly recommended if you want some weird tanuki adventures in your life but not so much as to make you want to eat them. Interesting stories and characters make it a fun watch. Came at a right time where there are too many disappointing animes that don’t live up to standards. This series is one of those few with the right tonic to continue the ‘streak’ of saving anime and my run of having a good time watching animes. I know good times won’t last forever but you can’t end something if you keep on running. Once an idiot, always an idiot.

Uchouten Kazoku

April 6, 2014

I’m not really familiar with the tanuki, which is a subspecies of the raccoon dog that is native to Japan. I’ve heard about the legends and myths about it but in the end I’m just not really familiar with them. Heck, I’m not even an animal lover. Uchouten Kazoku isn’t some sort of anime documentary about tanukis. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be really watching this in the first place. It’s about a group of tanuki family adapting in modern society among us humans. Oh, did I mention tanuki in Japanese folklore can transform into anything they want? It’s not so much how the tanuki family deals with human society in this anime, but rather dealing with their great father’s death and the truth behind that led to his demise. There is also the precarious balance that needs to be maintained among other tanuki clans as well as not ending up being boiled in a hot pot. Do people eat tanukis?

Episode 1
As narrated, humans, tanukis and tengus have kept the delicate balance of the world. Or at least in this city that this story takes place. Yasaburou Shimogamo is a tanuki and likes imitating humans because he finds them interesting. Now he is imitating as a high school girl. Yes. High school girl. Hope he doesn’t develop some sort of fetish. Along with his youngest brother, Yashirou, they walk through the shopping arcade and accidentally bump into the oldest brother, Yaichirou. He is not happy about Yasaburou’s transformation and gives chase. He lectures him to be on his best behaviour and to be good at least after the Nise-emon election. Yasaburou makes way to the little apartment of Professor Akadama or his real name Yakushibou Nyoigatake. He is an old tengu and a grumpy one. All he can think about is his ex-flame, a human named Benten. Flashback shows how Yasaburou first met Benten when he delivered liquors to Yakushibou. The tengu dude thought Benten how to fly and she does it with ease. Now I guess Benten has ‘dumped’ him and hanging out with her group called Friday Fellows. What is an old drunk tengu got to do but to grumble and be ‘concerned’ she is mixing with ‘bad company’. Thinking Yasaburou has nothing better to do, he orders her to find Benten and bring her back here. Oh, and deliver this letter to her too. Yasaburou sees Benten drinking with her Friday Fellows. He ties the letter to an arrow and fires it, missing her by inches. Her group is alerted but Benten knows what’s going on.

Yasaburou heads to a pub when Benten makes her entry. Notice all the other patrons (and even the bar master) flee? Who is this woman? Sitting down next to him and chatting with him, she wonders if he is picking a fight. Because the arrow ruined her favourite fan and her groupie is in uproar. She read Yakushibou’s ‘love letter’ and knows he is getting all worked up again. She hasn’t been back there for a long time so Yasaburou thinks she should once in a while. She reiterates that if he is still looking for a fight, she can find one for him. Then she’ll catch and turn him into a stew for their year-end bash, a Friday Fellow’s custom. Yes. They boil and eat tanuki. Going back to the topic of Yakushibou, despite the tengu being selfish, Yasaburou can’t let him be. Something about the Demon King Cedar incident. Something about both of them being responsible for Yakushibou not being able to fly anymore. Benten points out he was the one who transformed into a cedar and then made the old dude fell and hurt his back. But wasn’t it Benten’s plan? Benten says he doesn’t understand the professor’s feelings. He lets her know where Yakushibou is but she grabs his collar and says he won’t be sure if she is going to meet him or not. Then she gives him a hot kiss!!! Later Yasaburou sees Yakushibou climbing up to a roof to see Benten. But the woman leaves him stranded and flies away. Yasaburou then calls a taxi to bring him home and put him to bed. Benten is seen watching him snore away.

Episode 2
Actually this ‘Benten’ is Yasaburou in disguise. Better get out before this dirty old tengu starts harassing your butt in his sleep. In a pool bar, Yasaburou accompanies his Mother (who loves acting and dressing up like a prince). She learns about his meeting with Benten last night and cautions him that tanukis have been boiled in hot pots since ancient times. Yasaburou also wants Mother to go see one of her sons she hasn’t seen in a long time but she thought he wouldn’t like it. Yasaburou heads over to a well where this other brother of his, Yajirou. He is now a frog and turned into one long ago that he forgotten how to turn back! So now he is listening to people who come visiting right at the bottom of the well. He laments that 3 out of the 4 sons of the great Souichirou couldn’t follow in his footsteps. Yaichirou is trying to do his best while the other brothers are just a frog, an idiot and a kid. He tells Yasaburou to hurry back because a great storm is coming. As he rushes his way home, he sees Yashirou being bullied by the dumb and retarded twins of Ebisugawa tanuki family, Kinkaku and Ginkaku (earlier on, they purposely cause and pin the blame on a work accident on him). The twins continue to mock the Shimogamo family and that the young brothers are all useless (they should look at themselves in the mirror) but Yasaburou and Yajirou stand firm. Before they can do anything, Souichirou arrives on scene and bites their butt! Good riddance. He then tells his brothers to hurry to their mom and summons a carriage. She has a fear of lightning and storm. When they return to the pool bar, Mother is not around. Yaichirou becomes a great panicky if their mom is not to be found. All they can do now is search for her and luckily they find her taking refuge under a bridge. It’s all thanks to Kaisei Ebisugawa who saved her before she fell into the river. Yasaburou thanks her but she doesn’t sound appreciative. Mother mentions she is different from the other Ebisugawa tanukis. Except her, the rest can go to hell! Mother is happy to have her sons around. Even if Souichirou isn’t here, she has them. Souichirou was a great tanuki of the Kyoto area but regrettably he passed away a few years ago. The sons cried for a long time when they learnt about their father’s death so Mother tells them to grow up splendidly like him and don’t end up getting boiled in a hot pot. Despite Yasaburou mentioning 3 of them are useless, Mother doesn’t care what they are. She knows they are all great.

Episode 3
It’s almost time for the Gozan Festival. It has become the tanukis’ tradition to match the mood of the merry-making humans to throw a party in the sky by launching a leisure cruiser. Because Yaichirou messed up, he has to seek Yasaburou’s help to arrange for one. But he isn’t happy in wanting to do it despite his big brother begging so Mother had to rough him up about his attitude. Yasaburou talks to Yajirou about what happened. Among the talk that Kaisei was supposed to be Yasaburou’s fiancée in an arranged marriage but the engagement broke off when Souichirou died (Mother was upset and telling the Ebisugawa patriarch, Souun to go to hell). I guess it was a blessing in disguise because he didn’t want the dumb twins to be his brother-in-laws. Yasaburou and Yashirou head to Yakushibou to ask and borrow his inner parlour for their leisure cruiser. Talking with Yakushibou is fellow tengu, Iwayasan Konkobu. They talk about matters regarding their tengu clan especially the Kurama side. As for Yakushibou’s inner parlour, he remembers he has given it to Benten. That woman again? Why does he have to give everything to her? Even that favourite fan of hers was once belonged to him. So why? Because he wants to see her smiling face! I’m sure he got it. Later Yasaburou and Iwayasan talk about the grumpy old man. Yasaburou feels a tinge of guilt when he mentions about that incident that made him unable to fly. He feels Benten has got a hand in it and is close to the Kurama clan. He also remembers the great Souichirou. How he transformed into a mountain and tricked the tengus.

Yasaburou and Yashirou go to see Benten. They find her in her own water castle. Yashirou starts feeling scared and turns back into his tanuki form. Yasaburou requests to borrow the inner parlour and she comments that Kinkaku and Ginkaku were oddly here yesterday. They bribed her with stuffs so that she would not poke her nose around in a quarrel between the tanuki families. She wanted them so she just took them. But if she gives them the inner parlour, what would she get? Asking what she is doing here, Benten says she felt like pulling a whale’s tail and waited all morning. None surfaced. One of Benten’s servant rows up and delivers the repaired fan. With a swing, she turns the clear blue skies into a stormy one. Since she is in a good mood (and that he is the one asking), she decides to lend him the inner parlour. But she is worried he might ruin it and places his head as collateral. Yeah. If it does become ruined, she will have him boiled and eaten up with her Friday Fellows. Yeah. She probably likes him so much that she wants to eat him. Literally. She spots a whale and strips down to dive in so she can pull its tail. Benten later shows them how to start up the inner parlour by pouring a bottle of liquor in the tea kettle. Yasaburou narrates that even after his father’s death, Mother and the kids continued this tradition by launching a leisure cruiser on the night of the festival. They don’t really celebrate it for their ancestors. Sometimes they remember their dad but mostly they throw a crazy party. Because they are tanukis and that is what they do. It’s what he calls a manifestation of their idiotic blood.

Episode 4
The family gets prepared for the festival. They’re waiting for Yakushibou to arrive since Yasaburou did invite him but he didn’t give a clear answer if he wants to come or not but he knows he will show up. And true enough, the old bugger shows up but it seems he is lingering around like as though he is hoping to be ushered in. Yasaburou brings him in but the grumpy old guy isn’t happy that despite they have lots of liquor, they’re feeding it to the tea kettle. Such a waste. His question of asking where Benten is, is ignored or distracted by something else. When they are in the air, they see their rival Ebisugawa too. Wow. A big mother ship. Yaichirou wants Yasaburou to hold in his anger. Not at least after the Nise-emon election. Besides, relatives shouldn’t quarrel among themselves. But they started it, right? Iwayasan joins them and he talks about Souichirou’s greatness. Seems there was a fight between the Nyoigatake and Kurama tengu clan. After both sides end up fighting and made a mess of the mountain, they got a good scolding from Tarobo Atagoyama. Yakushibou went to pick an unnecessary fight despite the Kurama side being the root of the trouble. They took turns causing havoc on Mt Nyoigatake. Yakushibou chased them out but they always came back. Souichirou couldn’t stand seeing him suffer like that so he turned into a mountain for a week to fool those tengus, teach them a good lesson till they prostrate themselves before Yakushibou and apologized. That is how the name False Nyoigatake Incident came about. Yakushibou is riled up when she sees Benten drinking with Souun on the other ship. WTF is she doing on the other side?!

The Ebisugawa side starts shooting fireworks recklessly. Rather, they’re trying to shoot them down! Mother and Yasaburou can’t hold it any longer and takes out their big mother cannon. All pleas from Yaichirou fall onto deaf ears. There is no more such thing as tolerance! They can go to hell! They fire the cannon right in the centre. Benten watches from the top of the mast. Ebisugawa then fires a harpoon to rein their leisure cruiser in. Once they are close enough, they will fire and blow the hell out of them. While searching for something to fight back, Yasaburou sees Benten’s fan. In a swing, Ebisugawa’s ship rips apart like as though it faced the wrath of the storm! Both its masts are torn apart (Benten clearly foreseeing this and flies away). Ship going down! CRASH! In the mountains of course. But our Shimogamo side isn’t going to have the last laugh yet. Because the tea kettle has run out of field and they’re falling too! Oh, they are out of liquor as well. Does anybody have any last drop yet? Well… Yakushibou must be drunk and after feeling too much envy that the tea kettle has hogged too much of such precious liquor, he downs the last bottle like nobody’s business. There goes their only hope. CRASH! In the park of course. Thankfully everybody is fine. But not the leisure cruiser. It’s wrecked to bits. Oh no. This doesn’t look good. And with the fan also missing, Yasaburou can only envision himself in a hot pot and as Benten’s next happy meal. What is his next course of action? Run away!!! Wow. I didn’t know he could run away that fast. And that’s how he earned the nickname as The Fugitive.

Episode 5
As reminded, Friday Fellows are feared by tanukis because they eat them for their year-end bash. Yasaburou’s father was a victim and it’s a reminder why humans are top of the food chain. Amazingly Yasaburou is still alive. Sure, he’s on the run. He almost bumps into Benten and her men in the streets. What a close shave. He goes to see Mother who tells him Yaichirou tried to talk to Yakushibou to help out but to no avail. Mother notes that not all humans are bad because she was saved by one. Later Yasaburou visits some shop to talk to Kaisei (hiding in the cabinet?). She mentions she likes Yajirou and the frog is doing fine doing his ‘consulting’ business. Even Benten sometimes drop by. That woman has problems? Yasaburou wants her to give some tobacco to Yakushibou to shut him up but she refuses. Then they talk about the possibility of being eaten. Speaking of it, here comes Benten into the shop! Can’t run because her bodyguards are outside. It’s like Benten knows where he is. She sits around and as she lights up a cigar, she notices 2 very identical teikinbo. Even the damage is in the same place. Finally the ‘fake’ one coughs. Busted. How does she know he is here? Thanks to the tip off from Ginkaku and Kinkaku. They didn’t like how their sister has been going out alone sometimes and believed she has been sweet talked by some nasty male tanuki. So where are they going now? To Friday Fellows. Surely he hasn’t forgotten the promise, right? If they don’t like his performance, they’ll just eat him. Bluntly said.

In a private room, while waiting for the rest to arrive, Benten mentions how she ate his father many years ago. It was when she just joined Friday Fellows and her first tanuki meat tasted delicious. When the other members stream in, Benten introduces Yasaburou to Hotei, Ebisu, Bishamon and Daikoku. Jurojin and Fukurokuju have things to attend and will be absent. After Yasaburou gets into some meat battle with the old guys, it’s time for his performance. He transforms into different things and he amuses the guys when he transforms into Benten. Impressed? He is even going to let them see a little slip when Benten warns any further and she’ll eat him herself. So the verdict? He is interesting and have talent so they can’t possible eat him. Safe? As they discuss about the year-end bash and the tradition of eating tanuki, it seems it is Hotei’s turn to get a tanuki. Hotei explains his love for the little creature as he narrates how he met one a long time ago. It was injured and he brought it home to nurse it and treat it well. Guess who that tanuki is? Hint: One that is scared of lightning and thunder. When he released it back to the wild, it was like the tanuki was reluctant to leave and threw back glances at him. That’s when his love affair with tanuki began. But the rest feel it is ironic he loves tanuki but still eats them. Hotei doesn’t think it is a contradiction. Yeah. He thinks it is some sort of love. He likes them so much that he will eat them. So while the guys end up in a debate over this, Benten feels board and takes Yasaburou to walk on the roof. So bored she wants Yasaburou to get the moon for her. That’s impossible, right? Sitting down by a side bar and having their drink, Benten makes it clear that at some point she will eat him. Can she not want to eat him? Isn’t it why she feels disappointed and sad for the night? She’s having this dilemma about what she said she likes him enough to eat him. But if she does, the thing she likes will be gone. She continues to talk and Yasaburou heard her murmurs of how sad things are.

Episode 6
As narrated, Benten is purely human and had a real name: Satomi Suzuki. While walking on the shores of Lake Biwako, Yakushibou saw her and took her away. He educated her the ways of the tengu in his care and once she reached the top, she betrayed him with a superb kick. The current Benten is not who she used to be. Hotei has caught up with them as they hop from building to building to reach a rooftop park. That old guy is quite nimble for his age. Hotei starts talking about the first time he met Benten, which was love at first sight. Something that Benten would love him to forget. It was when Benten first joined Friday Fellows and slept peacefully next to a caged tanuki. She talked to the magnificent looking tanuki and despite feeling bad for it, she is going to eat him up. It’s ironic that Hotei remembers it but Benten doesn’t. Old age has nothing to do with memory loss, no? But old age it is for Hotei because he falls asleep in the middle of the talk! Benten then leaves for home, leaving the guys together. Hotei wakes up and talks to Yasaburou about the eccentric beauty that Benten is and has this habit to disappear halfway through the party without warning. Hotei also mentions about his passion for eating. He has travelled the world and ate lots of things for research. His philosophy is that if he has to eat everything, it should be delicious. It made him realize humans have passion for eating because they eat so many things. Therefore eating = love. It’s also ironic that he loves tanuki so much that he wants to eat them. Though this applies to every other thing. He also thought that humans have no natural enemies and when they die, they get eaten by microbes. It makes him feel lonely and would rather be eaten by a tanuki than rot away in a hospital bed.

Hotei expands his story when he first met Benten. When he found her sleeping, he talked to that magnificent caged tanuki who is actually Souichirou. He is surprised that Souichirou talked. The tanuki is calm despite knowing he is going to be dinner because he has done everything he wanted and has fulfilled his role as a tanuki. Therefore he has no qualms to be eaten. Hotei is sure a magnificent tanuki like him would make a great dish. When he learns of Hotei’s real name, Choutarou Yodogawa, he realizes he was the one who saved his wife. By that time Benten woke up and it felt like a dream to Hotei. Was he really talking to the tanuki? Hotei then drinks a toast with Yasaburou and mention about that idiot blood manifestation thingy. After they part ways, Yasaburou crashes in at Yajirou’s place for the night. Is he going to be a frog too? He talks to his brother about his conversation with Hotei. He feels confused. Hotei is the person who saved their mom and ate their dad. He should hate him but for some reason think of him affectionately. Why can’t he hate him? Why does he have a crush on Benten? Simple. Because it’s the manifestation of their idiot blood. Besides, they’re tanukis too. Yasaburou admires his brother’s enlightenment but he mentions he too has lots to learn about the world. Then Benten comes visit the well. Every time, she doesn’t say anything but sits down there and cry alone. The well’s water is going to be salty… Yasaburou ponders what is it that is making her sad, unaware that at the same time Yaichirou and Souun have begun their battle for the next Nise-emon.

Episode 7
Yashirou seeks Yasaburou’s comfort when he fails to take care of that grumpy old Yakushibou. So big brother goes to see him and talk and then invites him to go to the public bath with them. Of course he won’t. Not with furballs. But if it’s Benten, he would gladly to. Yasaburou would gladly transform into her and this leads to an argument. Before you know it, it ends and he agrees to come with them. With Yaichirou, the old guy is just being stubborn. Needs to be guarded so he won’t stray into the women’s section, forced to take off his clothes and be dragged into the bath. Yeah. He pretty much prefers Benten scrubbing his back and is suspicious about Yasaburou spending time with her and Friday Fellows. He dismisses it is any forbidden love or such. Just then, a huge group of sumo clones walk in. Yaichirou recognizes them as Ebisugawa’s Elite Guards. He knows they are here to threaten him and stand out of the Nise-emon race. He laments his brothers didn’t do anything to help him. I mean, Yasaburou was away for his life, right? Then here comes the dumb twins. Because Yaichirou won’t back down, they mention all the tanuki family they have as their allies. Yaichirou too names his. More than them in fact. They mention they have an ‘ace in the hole’ whom will turn things to their favour but will not name him. This angers Yaichirou as he transforms into a tiger. They don’t fear their butts getting bitten because they are wearing iron pants. They can’t take it off either. Besides, they need to go to the toilet… Yaichirou growls and turns them into their tanuki form. There. It came off. All the Elite Guards run away in fear. Some guards they are.

Yaichirou then threatens Kinkaku to tell who their ace is or he will throw him into the cold water and put on a lid. That was enough for him to spill the beans. Kinkaku brings up the topic of Souichirou’s death. How is it that a respectful tanuki leader got caught so easily? He warns them revealing this will cause a great shock for Shimogamo family that they can’t recover. Bring it. On that night, Souichirou was out drinking with somebody. That somebody is Yajirou! Yaichirou gets mad and slams Kinkaku into the cold water! With Yasaburou, they quickly head to the well and order Yashirou to go back to their Mother. At the well, Yaichirou mentions he has a clear memory of when he last saw Souichirou. He was with him and went out together to visit elders. After that, Souichirou told him to go home first and he didn’t suspect anything since father was always busy. He remembers that goodbye face Souichirou put on because it was the last time he saw him. The question is, where and when did Yajirou last see Souichirou? Did they get drunk and he left drunk father all by himself? Please say this wasn’t so. Yajirou admits he is the one who sent Souichirou to his death and Yaichirou breaks down screaming in despair. Yasaburou thinks back where he was at that time. He was strolling in the forest and he saw his father and Yaichirou wave goodbye to him. So when they found out he was boiled in hot pot, they had a hard time grasping it was truly a farewell. It’s not different whether you are human, tanuki or tengu. As long as you are alive, there is no way to escape saying goodbye.

Episode 8
This is Yajirou’s account of his last meeting with Souichirou. As explained, he knows he is the useless of the bunch. He loves lazing around doing nothing. But when it comes to drinking, he comes alive. That final night he wanted a special consultation with father to talk about his impossible love. You see, Yajirou was in love with Kaisei but she was betrothed to Yasaburou. Because Souichirou and Souun hated each other, he was against it. Even so, the one thing that he feared was his sons hating each other and scattered. But he will see what he can do and to forget their worries, they drank a ton. At the end of the drinking session, Yajirou transformed into a train and let father ride on it. It zoomed through the streets enough to give people the fright. That was the last time Yajirou saw his father. When he wakes up back at home, he notices the family waiting for Souichirou to return as he has not. He still hasn’t when morning comes. And then a tanuki comes running in to bring the bad news that he has been eaten by Friday Fellows. Yajirou fell into despair not because of the fact father died but the one who sent him to his death. He felt guilty for leaving him all by himself while in his drunken state. Life suddenly becomes a pain for Yajirou. He realizes he is an absolute failure as a tanuki but couldn’t tell everyone because they were grieving. As he can’t act like as though nothing happened, he decided to lock everything up inside this well and become a frog. He has abandoned being a tanuki and can’t show his face to Mother. The brothers leave after hearing his story but remember they forgot to pick up Yakushibou. Yasaburou will do it and wants Yaichirou to head home. Yakushibou notices Yasaburou’s gloomy behaviour. When he explains about the story, Yakushibou says Yajirou wasn’t the last person to see Souichirou. It was him. Well, at least Souichirou’s spirit after he got eaten. They had their final conversation before the tanuki pass on to the next world. When Yasaburou returns home, he tells Mother what happened but she knows it. She also knows about Yajirou’s love for Kaisei. She is after all his mother. Because she understands her sons, she hopes Yaichirou won’t be too hard on him and understand how he feels. Of course he does. But it is that same reason why it hurts. Yasaburou narrates how Souichirou split his blood among his 4 sons. Yaichirou inherited his responsibility, Yajirou his easy going personality, Yashirou his innocence and Yasaburou only his idiocy. What held the brothers together was their love for Mother and their father’s departure. That big major departure was enough to connect the ones left behind.

Episode 9
As narrated, the Ebisugawa clan once came from Shimogamo family. But along the way things got sour and it turned into a long standing antagonism. To ease that feud, Souun was married into that family. However he hated the Shimogamo family and added fuel to the fire. Yasaburou can never understand why he is Kaisei’s fiancé but after Souichirou died, Souun cancelled the engagement and caused Mother to be furious because she was fond of Kaisei. Yasaburou visits Hotei and learns he isn’t doing well in getting a tanuki for Friday Fellows. He relays this good news back to Yaichirou and Mother but big brother doesn’t want to jump with joy so soon. Later when they go visit a shrine, the Ebisugawa side purposely blocks the Shimogamo family from entering, claiming they are some other fake family. The feud could have gotten worse had not some other tanuki shoot nuts at them and to respect the shrine. While waiting, Mother talks to her sons how Benten commanded some mysterious aura. Because Yakushibou always brought her around, it was enough to make Souichirou lose his composure and transformed back into a tanuki. A reason why he rarely hangs out with the tengu despite they were good friends. The ceremony begins with Souun and Yaichirou touching some Centre Stone (I think it’s some tanuki who transformed himself into one all day). The next ritual to elect the next tanuki chief will take place in a few weeks. As usual, a Kurama clan tengu will be invited to grace the event. However that tengu called in sick and suggested Yakushibou for the job. Of course this soon becomes a problem as he doesn’t want to go. Mother tells Yasaburou to help go convince Yakushibou but he is more convinced in warming his butt! Anyway he has too. His house is swarmed with worried tanukis. I don’t know why a tengu’s presence is so important in the Nise-emon. So Yasaburou makes his way in, listens to his complaints that he thinks tanukis do not respect him. Yasaburou becomes a smooth talker that it isn’t because he requires respect or feels good when he is respect. It’s because he is a tengu and thus unquestionably great. I suppose he has made him feel good enough to change his mind and go. Yasaburou goes to the public bath and finds Kaisei is also next door doing the same. We finally get to see how she looks like. They talk about the Nise-emon and she feels Yaichirou is not up to it. Yasaburou defends his big brother when she puts him on calibre with her dumb twins. Despite the twins are her brothers, she also defends them when Yasaburou badmouths them. She also warns him her brothers are up to no good but she can’t tell what it is since they’re making sure she won’t find out. Just be careful. When Kaisei apologizes, Yasaburou feels something wrong. There were humility and ominous in her apology. It felt it was more than just a simple apology.

Episode 10
Yasaburou talks to Yaichirou about Kaisei’s weird words and feels Ebisugawa may do something. Yaichirou isn’t fazed and if they try to do something funny, he’ll just bite their butts and throw them in the cold river. Yaichirou goes off the meet the elders and his supporters as show that he is serious in wanting to be the next Nise-emon. The tanuki society may not care about this anymore and he’s probably doing this because he is idolizing his father and fulfilling his dream of becoming like him. Yashirou is forced to work in a warehouse by the twins. It’s a trap to lock him in. Then they discuss their plan to nab the rest of the Shimogamo family. Yasaburou visits Yajirou. They talk about the looming Nise-emon election which will also be decided tonight. It is also the night of the dreaded Friday Fellows’ year-end bash. Yajirou doesn’t care who becomes the next Nise-emon as long as things calm down in the tanuki society. Although Souichirou has died many years, Yajirou can’t help think of his last words. He couldn’t remember them and might spend the rest of his life not knowing them. They also talk about Kaisei. She has been visiting the well less often. Speaking about her strange talk, Yajirou notices her humility in talking to him. It’s like there was something on her mind. When she found out Yajirou couldn’t turn back into a tanuki, she sat there and cried for a long time. Suddenly an unusual storm picks up. Yasaburou thinks somebody has found Benten’s fan and used it. Better hurry back to Mother. While Yaichirou is on his way, a tanuki runs across him. The collision throws him off. Before he knows it, he is captured.

Yasaburou returns to his place but Mother is not around. Kaisei is there. She mentions nobody will come because Ebisugawa has made their move. The Elite Guards just carried off Mother and captured Yaichirou and Yashirou is probably locked up at the factory. The twins were the ones who summoned the storm. Yaichirou is going to be boiled in a hot pot as part of Souun’s plan. She mentions that it was her dad who was responsible for turning Souichirou into a hot pot for Friday Fellows. That night, Souun saw Souichirou happily riding the train. Then he invited him for a drink with purpose of reconciliation. Of course it brought back some memories how the brothers fell in love with the same woman but Souichirou beat him to it and married her. Shortly, Souun entered Ebisugawa and that’s when their relationship deteriorated. He also lost the Nise-emon election then. Souun is serious about this reconciliation thingy and has even brought a witness. He really wants to get this done once and for all. That witness is Benten. Souichirou couldn’t contain his transformation. He quickly understood the situation. She mentions a spot in Friday Fellows had opened up and she needed to bring ingredients for the hot pot. Souichirou accepts his fate and gets locked in a cage. Kaisei apologizes for everything but is quickly taken away by the Elite Guards. Yasaburou is surrounded by them and Souun. He tells Yasaburou not to mind what Kaisei said since she is half asleep and loses track of dream and reality. After all, he raised her very delicately. Souun plans to invite the Shimogamo family to his banquet and Yasaburou must come whether he likes it or not. Everybody else is already there.

Episode 11
Benten floats down in between them. She has been waiting for Yasaburou so he could be her umbrella. Well, we all know Yasaburou’s ass is being saved by her but Souun mentions about the reconciliation party they’re going to have. Yeah. So what? Benten doesn’t care because it doesn’t concern her. Somewhere far away, Yasaburou notes Benten is quite the powerful woman she is and could get anything she wants. However she refutes as she hasn’t got what she wanted. He feels mad that Benten never told him that she knew about their father becoming hot pot for Friday Fellows. Why didn’t she say? Because he didn’t ask. That’s being human for you. Yasaburou is worried for his brother especially Yaichirou who will end up being boiled. He hopes she can help save him. She won’t. Because she’s human. But she tells him the place they are having their year-end bash and how Hotei is meeting someone who claimed he has got a tanuki for him. The rest is up to him to figure out. And yeah, because she is human, she couldn’t care less about the tanuki that is going to be eaten. She’ll just eat him. After Benten leaves, Yasaburou sees Hotei across the street. He transforms into an old man and follows him into an eatery. However it is a trap by the twins. Yasaburou eats the egg bowl with sleepy drugs and he gets captured. Meanwhile Yaichirou is put in a cage and in a storeroom with Mother. She blames herself because of the storm, he rushed to her and got captured.

Souun then brings Jurojin to see the tanuki he will be having for his bash. He needs enough to feed 10 people as Benten will also be there. At first Jurojin is pleased to know there will be 2 tanukis but Souun insists Mother is not for the pot and is fond of this one. Souun then prepares to hand Yaichirou to Hotei. Mother is disheartened that he has changed so much. He is doing something so evil that only humans or tengus would do. She begs to stop bullying her children but he says he has nothing to do with the Shimogamo family. The twins put Yasaburou in a cage and are going to teach him a lesson. And by that do they mean brag about how they have been planning this 1 year ago?! They also boast how they had this hunch he will follow Hotei so Kinkaku transformed into him and Yasaburou bit the bait. He couldn’t even tell the difference. Kinkaku then calls Kaisei to update what has happened but got f*cked by her. Not amused, eh? Yashirou tries to find a way out but to no avail. Kaisei is being kept watch in her room but when she sees a siren accidentally lit by Yashirou, she sneaks out to go tell him about a secret door he can escape through that can only be unlocked from the inside. She tells him about his family’s whereabouts and is confident if they save Yasaburou, things will work out. However the guards find and surround them. Yashirou is afraid of going to save Yasaburou alone. He wants Kaisei to come along so she could tell off her brothers. However if she does, the guards will follow her so Yashirou must do this by himself. She tosses him over the fence as he scurries as fast as his feet can carry him.

Episode 12
Yashirou runs to Yajirou for help. What can a frog do? He wants him to drink this brandy. Instantly Yajirou powers up. Yeah. I think he works better when he is drunk. The twins are boasting as usual when suddenly a black hole opens up and swallows everything. When they wake up, they find themselves on a train. Yajirou has turned himself into a train and running down the night streets. Gosh. I thought it was rather reckless but they’re out of time. Thank goodness no casualties or serious injuries. Yashirou lets Yasaburou out of the cage and he is going to teach the twins a lesson. Payback time. They are put in the cage. Yasaburou realizes they have the fan but they say they found it by accident. Yajirou is expressing how much fun he is having and can’t stop. Yasaburou encourages him not to because fun is good. Then Yajirou comes to a screeching halt. He remembers that was Souichirou’s last words. They continue their journey through the shopping arcade but realize they’re going around in circles. It hit them this is a fake street. Seems the twins had stole Yashirou’s handphone and called the Elite Guards and had them go ahead of them. At the end of the line is the cold river. The twins don’t care if they too freeze their butt since they share the same fate with the enemy. It’s not over yet. Not for Yashirou. There is a tea pot at the bottom of the train and he fills it up with liquor to make it fly. Now they don’t have to get wet. Yasaburou is going to drop the twins into the river but they plead for mercy and they will die this time. However he throws them a choice. The cold river or the hot pot. Instantly they let go and drop down. Wow. That was fast. Up ahead is Friday Fellows getting ready for their year-end bash. Yasaburou wants Yajirou to line up so he can swing the fan to propel them close to the building. But with just a weak swing, the train crashes into the building! Too much power? During the confusion, Yasaburou tells Yashirou to head to runs straight to Sensuiro and disrupt the elders’ discussion as long as he can and return the fan to Yakushibou.

When Yasaburou frees Yaichirou, the latter feels pathetic for being a tanuki failure. He felt he should have been better to get eaten. Yasaburou tells him to truth of their father’s death. He wants big brother to crush Ebisugawa as revenge for their father and head to Sensuiro. Yasaburou will save Mother. However Yasaburou’s leg has been lassoed by Jurojin. He is suspicious of this kid but Benten whispers something into his ear and he lets this passer-by go. Hotei is devastated the tanuki he worked hard to get is gone. Jurojin tells him not to fret and calm down. It just makes you feel older. He tells his Friday Fellows that he saw another tanuki his acquaintance was keeping. Maybe they can use that for their year-end bash. Because he predicted something like this would happen, Jurojin has also booked another place just in case. That place is Sensuiro. Yasaburou wants to come along. He bluffs he has always wanted to eat a tanuki but has never seen a real one before and would like to meet it while it’s alive. Since Benten doesn’t see any problem with it, Jurojin allows him to come. But he needs to carry the brandy over. Meanwhile Souun is trying to convince the elders that Yaichirou has run away. Yashirou is outside and despite he is having a hard time to even swing the fan, it was enough to cause a whirlwind in the room! Suddenly Yakushibou barges in and is mad. And drunk. He feels he has been ignored despite being invited. The rest think he is the one who caused the wind. Yaichirou praises Yashirou for his good work and he’ll take it from here. Yaichirou apologizes for his tardiness and mentions of Souun’s wicked plan, which of course he denies and wants proof of this false accusation. They can’t get too loud because Friday Fellows has moved in next door.

Episode 13
Mother is brought into the room and Hotei has this feeling he has seen her somewhere. Souichirou continues to accuse Souun over his underhanded tactics and the real culprit for letting Souichirou get boiled. Of course he continues to deny, saying Yaichirou is so desperate that he cooks up a story by dragging his father in. Souun even tries to pin the blame on Yajirou because he was the one who made Souichirou drunk. Yaichirou couldn’t care less anymore and transforms into a tiger. The commotion boils over into the next room. Some of the elders who see Benten couldn’t maintain their form. Souun is devastated to see Jurojin having his beloved tanuki and threatens this and that (I guess all the truth just came out straight from his mouth). Hotei snatches Mother and remembers she is the one he nursed. He won’t let them have it and screw tradition. If he is to be kicked out of Friday Fellows, so be it. The rest aren’t convinced since Hotei too ate lots of tanukis and his philosophy of eating. I guess sometimes philosophies can be wrong. I’m not sure why it took so long for the rest of the other elders to realize this is Friday Fellows. They lose their form and Jurojin is pleased to see all the tanukis. They can boil as many as they want! Panic! Furballs too short trying to reach the doorknob… No escape… Yakushibou has had it of waiting. He’s very much drunk too. Yasaburou sees this opportunity to push Benten onto Hotei and show Yakushibou the ‘affair’ they are having. Now the old bugger is enraged. With the swing of the fan, the entire building is blown away!

Hotei runs for his life while Yakushibou like the cool villain tracking him down, blowing away cars and anything that stands in his way! Not even the brothers could stop him. That’s where Benten comes in. She’ll take it from here. She goes up to Yakushibou and talk. It’s been a long time so how about a lap pillow back at his place sound? Instantly he quells down and agrees to her suggestion of forgive and forget. Wow. Salute to the power of this woman. Yashirou calls Mother who has safely escaped to their usual bar. Her children have a chance to speak to her but when it is Yajirou’s turn, he was afraid to say a word. Then he breaks down and seeks for forgiveness. Next day when everyone visits the shrine for New Year’s Day, it seems the Nise-emon position will continue to be helmed by whoever the deputy was as acting Nise-emon. Yaichirou went on a rage so he can’t be elected. Same case with Souun as his bad deeds are revealed. They see Hotei there and although he is fine, he has been booted out from Friday Fellows. But he is fine with it. Yakushibou is also there and he is very calm. That’s because Benten is with him. Who else? He even has some advice or two for each of the brothers. Kinkaku and Ginkaku are also waiting in line at the shrine and could start another idiotic argument if not for Kaisei telling them off. Thankfully they listen to their dear sister. Yasaburou and Benten happen to be in the same line to pray at the shrine. Yasaburou thinks she shouldn’t be so greedy and narrow down her wishes. All she wants is the meet her destined one. So what does Yasaburou wish for? Thinking about it, he doesn’t have any particular wish. Looking back at all the events, everyone is alive and living the way they want and having fun. Therefore there is nothing else he would wish for. Maybe a little moderate glory for his family and friends.

Let The Good Times Roll…
Well… Okay… Fun in its own ways. Thankfully it was just a tanuki family problem overall and they didn’t delve into deeper mythical stuffs about tanukis and tengus. That would have been a major turn off for me since I know nuts about such Japanese folklore. Thank God there aren’t others like kitsune (fox) and the likes… So all is well, ends well? Seems to be like it for now. It just leaves me pondering on a few stuffs as it feels incomplete like what will happen to Souun. Now that everybody knows the truth about him, will they let him go so easily seeing he is the cause of the great Souichirou’s death. But as last heard from him, he was at the hotspring alone instead of paying his respects with the rest at the shrine. Does this mean they let him go or are they postponing their punishment (if they do have one) to a later date? Did Friday Fellows have their year-end tanuki hot pot bash? Or is this the first year that they have to break tradition? But the important part is that the Shimogamo family continues to stay together and that makes this series a happy ending. At least in my books. Though there are some unexplained, or should I say unexpanded events like how Yakushibou broke his back and couldn’t fly anymore thanks to Benten and Yasaburou, I think such trivial stuff shouldn’t impede me in trying to enjoy this show.

Nothing much I can say about the characters as they are as they are. Except maybe for beautiful Benten. She’s the most intriguing and mysterious one. You can’t tell which side she is on. Heck, she is not on anybody’s side but her own. That’s definite. It just makes you wonder who is this woman who commands so much influence over just about everything. At least old tanuki farts can’t maintain their form. Yet, she has her own problems which are somewhat unclear and unexplained (as mentioned by Yajirou when she sits by the well crying and saying nothing). She can get anything she wants but yet has gotten nothing. What is it that she wanted? To eat Yasaburou? Yikes. A normal life? Would things have turned out very differently had she not been kidnapped and taught the ways of the tengu? Perhaps. Because sometimes I feel that her actions of snubbing Yakushibou is like revenge to get back at him for those days. She’s a strong woman so she doesn’t show her emotions in public. Or maybe because of that incident of making Yakushibou unable to fly that she feels guilty and stayed away from him. She? Feel guilty? Nah. Now that she is seemingly back by his side, would it be for good? Who knows? After we have seen her work, there is no way she would do things that do not benefit her. There must be something in it for her. Or maybe I’m just being too suspicious and Benten really had a change of heart. Nah! All these while, we have seen Yakushibou as a grumpy, moody and drunk tengu with so much negativity and angst. And then when Benten returns to his side, suddenly he changes. It’s like he has turned into a different person. Because he looks so much more calm, wiser and mature! Serious! Is this the effect of what Benten has on him?

The Shimogamo brothers don’t really stray much from their personality and they obviously know it themselves. Like Yasaburou who openly acknowledges he is the idiot in the family. Otherwise he is just a normal guy, erm, tanuki who loves to imitate humans. There isn’t anything that special about him. With Yaichirou as the eldest and taking responsibility, I’m sure the family will get by. Yashirou is still hanging in there despite his naivety but he’ll manage. I wonder if Yajirou has decided to not continue to live the rest of his life in the well. He seems to be perching on his brother’s shoulder in the end. After making up with Mother, some weight of the guilt should be lifted from his shoulders although I don’t expect him to fully clear of his conscience. He still considers himself partly guilty over his father’s death. Mother loves all her sons dearly and equally despite knowing their flaws. It is only a mother’s love that has her accepting for who they are and forgives whatever mistakes they make. One thing I notice about Kaisei is her ability to just hide in the shadows. You notice you don’t get to see her face till very late in the series and the odd part is, Yasaburou has never seen her face directly. Even in the final scenes he was hoping she would show her face to him but she won’t because she is confident she will never find him. And she’ll disappear in just the blink of an eye faster than you can turn your head around. Basically she’s a good girl and doesn’t want trouble for both families.

I’m not sure if Souun still harbours deep hatred towards the Shimogamo side because there goes his chances of becoming Nise-emon. But they can’t be blamed entirely this time because it was Friday Fellows who unintentionally made him spill everything. But then again, had the commotion never occurred, it would have been Yaichirou in the pot. So yeah. Back at Shimogamo again. So hateful this uncle that he becomes a demon worse than humans or tengus to betray his own kind, his own brother. So much hate for a tanuki? This guy should have been a human. It could have stemmed when the guys fall in love with the same girl then. It was so long ago and still… Kinkaku and Ginkaku are a pair of twerps. They bring comic relief to the series despite their idiotic ways. They think they are hell of a smart or cool. But you have to give it to them that they have such confidence. Because of the way they have confidence in what they say and their idiotic voice tone, they are quite an amusing pair to watch and it’s hard to hate them because they’re so funny in an idiotic sense. Although, Ginkaku may be a little annoying because he keeps repeating Kinkaku’s ‘mighty’ words.

The one big question that boggles my mind is regarding about the humans who live in the area. I know as narrated that the 3 main sides somewhat keep a delicate balance but it makes me wonder if those ordinary humans know about the existence of tanuki? And what I mean from that is that do they know that tanukis can talk and transform into us and live among us? My guess is that they do because when Yasaburou was first invited to perform for Friday Fellows, Benten introduced him as a tanuki and they weren’t surprised or anything. Then there are times when such as Yajirou turning into a train and ran freely down the streets or Yakushibou blowing everything in his path and not caring others around him. Do other bystanders know about the existence of such creatures? And after those hurricane devastated effects of cars flying away and buildings being blown off, it’s like nobody gives a damn! They continue to just walk in the streets minding their own business. It’s like WTF. Do they really care about what is going on or give a hoot about the supernatural phenomenon that just occurred? Also, Benten flies freely around whenever she likes it and nobody goes into flabbergasted mode or start whipping out their handphones and take pictures. Because it’s like common knowledge that Benten can fly. Because our tanukis and tengu stay assimilated in human society, it is one reason why I think that humans do not know their existence in this sense as far as this anime is concerned. Otherwise I think they do but they just don’t give a damn.

Somehow I find the art style of the characters to be a little odd. Is it because of their ears? It looks a little bigger than it should. Perhaps this is their signature? Sometimes I thought the character looks very close to those in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei but it isn’t SHAFT that did this anime but P.A. Works who produced animes like True Tears, Hanasaku Iroha, Angel Beats, Tari Tari and Another. Those animes’ art aren’t as simple or as cartoonish as this one. Another thing about the art is that sometimes the background or the scenery looks more like water colour painting. If you don’t focus too much on it, you won’t notice. But I won’t say it is as bad as the one they did in Rozen Maiden Zuruckspulen. However some buildings like the shrine and certain shops are given some detail. Speaking of buildings, the mid-intermission shows a map of certain shop’s locations. I have a feeling they are real and do exist. I was too lazy to check so I didn’t bother with it ;p.

I haven’t heard Mamiko Noto much recently (because the animes I am currently watching did not feature her) so it was a pleasant surprise to hear her as Benten. Of course with that kind of voice, she is suited to play the mysterious Benten. There is a commanding presence in her voice that compels you to comply with her instruction or just strike some sort of fear within you. Hiroyuki Yoshino as Yajirou I thought he sounds pretty mild because he sounds best when he voices loudmouth passionate characters like Bossun in Sket Dance. Him without all that yelling just lacks the oomph. Other casts include Takahiro Sakurai as Yasaburou (Yamato in Sukitte Iinayo), Junichi Suwabe as Yaichirou (Atobe in Prince Of Tennis), Mai Nakahara as Yashirou (Mai in Mai-HiME), Kikuko Inoue as Mother (Belldandy in Aa! Megami-sama), Ayane Sakura as Kaisei (Akane in Vividred Operation), Nobuo Tobita as Souun (Kamille in Mobile Suit Gundam series), Hideyuki Umezu as Yakushibou (Kannochi in MAR) and Bon Ishihara as Souichirou (Woodney in Black Cat). The opening theme, Uchouten Jinsei by Milktub is a rock piece although it starts off with a group of guys singing like as though they’re singing some football club anthem. At least that is how it sounds with all that hype. The ending theme is more toned down, Que Sera Sera by Fhana. Doesn’t sound that bad actually, this pop piece.

Well, even tanukis need to keep order and have their own hierarchical order. But as mentioned, do they even need one now in such peaceful times because tanukis here seem to be having fun in their own ways, living the life they want. So is such order necessary anymore? If they can even have such in-fighting, imagine what about humans? Worse. I know we do lots of terrible things to others and to each other. Why we do it? Simple. Because we are humans. But it doesn’t matter what kind of form you are. The important here is about being family. Sometimes it is okay to get into little fights and petty quarrels. But not to the point of killing each other. Like Mother, we must learn to accept each of our weakness and shortcomings. Because we are all different and unique in our own ways even if it looks silly. That is what makes us all eccentric. That is what makes life interesting. Because all of us has got that idiotic blood inside us.

Uchouten Kazoku

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