It took me a while to warm up to Eccentric Family. I enjoyed it at a distance — I liked the angle and thought the characters were fun and clever, but somehow I couldn’t jump the hurdle to really care about any of them beyond simple entertainment. That’s not a requirement for me to like anything, of course, but while watching Eccentric Family I couldn’t help but be nagged with the feeling that I should care about them. Maybe it’s because when I see a family I can’t help but want to care a little, even if the family is full of shitheads. Perhaps something else for another time.
Eccentric Family went on for a while. The character I was most curious about was Yajiro, the frog in the well. Aside from perhaps Benten, he clearly had the most going on that he wouldn’t open up about for reasons seldom few knew. (In-show, anyway. I’m sure plenty of people watching at home probably put the pieces together, or at least had an inkling.) Nobody would hide himself in such an obvious metaphor for depression without a fair reason, yeah?
Then, in episode 8, we get most of the story behind the final day Yajiro spent with his father. (“Most,” of course, since even Yajiro does not have all the details.) We know how it ends, and so it is sad, but what has stuck with me is the beautiful light in the middle when Papa Shimogamo, a bit inebriated, decides to go on a joyride with his son. Thus, Yajiro turns into a train — with his pops riding shotgun inside — and they roll around town spooking people. It’s such a blissful, happy memory that it makes the knowledge of what is to come all the crueler, because this moment of father-son bonding is stained.
At the end of Eccentric Family, what made me happiest is that Yajiro got this memory back and could think of it — and his father — fondly.