Uchoten Kazoku Episode 3 Anime Review
Foreboding stormy seas.
Yaichiro, who was supposed to find a leisure cruiser to launch for Kyoto’s Gozan Fire Festival, has failed – it crashed on the way. The family’s previous cruiser, the Manpukumaru, is gone, so there’s a need to find a substitute. The old man, Prof Akadama gave his floating inner parlour to Benten. Yasaburou paddles out in a boat to meet her in a shop where she’s getting her fan fixed. He manages to get the inner parlour in the end and watches a naked Benten pulling a whale’s tail.
I find the subtle politics going on in this episode intriguing. Benten received a bribe the day before from their rivaling tanuki clan. And the next day she goes to pull a whale’s tail. It’s a show of power, made more evident by her using the fan’s power to call on a harsh storm while the tanuki brothers are on the floating platform. Yasaburou’s younger brother is extremely afraid of the water and she lets the storm continue as she promises to lend him the inner parlour. While the music playing at that time is a soothing one, I can’t help but see that the lady is extremely sinister under it all. So much so that Yasaburou doesn’t like her and doesn’t change clothes or appearance for her even when she complains. He does it easily for his mother and everyone else he meets, but not her.
We also see shots of Yasaburou’s late father and the froggy before he became froggy. The Nyoigatake Incident, where his father transformed into a mountain and cheated tengus shows how powerful the old man was. That Yasburou would willingly go to his father’s killer to borrow a leisure cruiser also shows just how important the festival was to his family. He explains near the end, as the inner parlour floats in the air that he doesn’t really care about his ancestors, and they rarely think of their father on it, that it’s all meant to be a crazy party, but I suspect that’s far from the truth. Yasaburou has a look of longing whenever he’s mentioned.
The animation in this episode was slick, especially when Benten tapped Yasaburou’s face with her fan. The interesting perspective shots were also pervasive here, though I wish they made the whale tail pulling more clear. What I found a bit odd was keeping the soothing music when Benten was subtly threatening Yasaburou. Did they do it on purpose to show how she’s calm on the outside and to keep up the facade? Or did they run out of time? What went through the director’s mind when he chose such a mood? It was clear from Yasaburou walking through the fan shop that eery music isn’t out of the question. The dust on the ground was a nice touch too, showing that it was a hallway never walked on, only tengu floating through, which is scary for a tanuki.