12 CommentsEccentric Family / By Scamp /

Eccentric Family episode 3 – Cruella de Vil

vlcsnap-2013-07-24-22h04m18s1DON’T TAKE THE DOUGHNUT KID! DON’T DO IIIIITTTTTTTT!!!

Admittedly Satomi isn’t that much like Cruella de Vil. Cruella is more narcissistic and self-obsessed, but petty and kind of a wreck of a person when you think about it. Meanwhile Satomi is more complete of a person. She’s scary precisely because she has her act together. When she makes playful threats they are frightening because you know she can do that, and probably would do so if it struck her fancy.

vlcsnap-2013-07-24-22h04m10s179One of the underlying currents I’m getting from Eccentric Family is this death of an old way of life idea. Bear with me a second here because this gets into much wider cultural context. Old traditions die and the old wives tales of gods of old are dying out. Modern society has won over the land and can raise and level mountains by themselves. All old ways of life eventually die out, I’m just using these examples because of how they relate to tengu and other old Japanese stories that were inevitably the focus of an episode of Natsume Yuujinchou.

Satomi is the representation of the newer society. She’s different in that she’s human and therefore technically more mundane than the main characters, but she becomes more powerful than them. Despite her destroying the power of the old man, he has a fascination and desire for the newness in spite of himself. She is destroying their way of life as they stutter into irrelevancy. Heck, even their one tradition they do have left that the humans do pay attention to, the flying boats parade, they have to go to a human to be able to get their flying house. Now they struggle in dead-end jobs as a misfit family only capable of reminiscing about the olden days, back when people apparently thought MD Geist was the greatest thing.

Not sure if that’s what Eccentric Family is going for, but there’s several layers of meaning to the dialogue so I’m sure you’ll allow me this little bit of theorising.

vlcsnap-2013-07-24-21h57m46s183This was the first episode for me that I wasn’t in love with. I like the dialogue and the several layers it has going on, but it’s episode 3 now. The story really should have started. I’m personally a pretty big proponent of starting the story at the goddamn beginning. Namely at the big moment that kicks events off what makes this story interesting. Eccentric Family still feels like its setting the scene, and I didn’t feel we learned anything new from this episode. The mother is still intensely loyal and protective of her children. Satomi is a scary sexy lady who has the tanuki wrapped around her little finger. Both episodes 1 and 2 had a scene that really got to me. Episode 3’s moment felt like it was supposed to be Satomi grabbing a whale by the tail and trying to lift it out of the water, but I just thought that was a fairly cliche and silly way to demonstrate that she’s free-spirited. Still enjoying the show, but the story really needs to start next episode.

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  1. BwackNinja
    Posted July 26, 2013 at 3:45 am | Permalink

    What I find interesting about the series so far is that they define each character as a combination the of opposites. The mother pretends to be a guy, but is genuinely motherly though she has to be the one taken care of by her children when there is thunder. The eldest brother is the one who is the greatest success, but he can’t be counted on in times of crisis. The frog brother is a failure who can’t even transform anymore, but he is the one whose company is sought after when there is a troubling matter. Our MC is the idiot that everyone has to count on, is the one to care for his master (who has lost the one thing that makes him a tengu) and not out of guilt, despite being the one to cause his master the most pain. Even as a girl and knowing how to play the part, you only see his maleness shine through. Finally, the youngest son is scared easily and bullied, but is never truly affected by it and is always smiling.

    While that’s easily a gimmick, the way they’ve done it stops it from seeming at all unnatural. I like this show too and want it to pick up, but I have no idea where it would be going. I hope to avoid having to refer to this series as one where I liked the beginning, but…

    • Scamp
      Posted July 27, 2013 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      Interesting. Sometimes the whole opposite of how they appear gimmick can feel forced. I remember feeling that way about Midori Days, but it works in Eccentric Family

  2. TienesMilanesas
    Posted July 26, 2013 at 5:18 am | Permalink

    I think the show is lining up more in a path of growing up and what does being an adult means. The death of an old way of life interpretation does seem more interesting though, and your fundamentation is almost spot on, but I think the plot will move more towards the brother conflict and how main character-kun learns how to lead his family.

    • Scamp
      Posted July 27, 2013 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      Not so sure about that theme. None of the characters feel like they need to grow up. Even the little brother seems about right for his age

  3. Posted July 26, 2013 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Interesting interpretation. Although I can’t say that I’m convinced that Satomi presents new society since the Friday Club is just as tied to tradition as the tanuki, the Shimogamo family has their baggage. From Yaichirou to Yasaburou, everyone has their problems coping with death, guilt and remorse and they’re stuck in place because of it. Whether anything’s for certain or not, this is certainly a story about “letting go.”

    A very interesting, similar idea was thrown out about Gatchaman Crowds a couple days ago, where the tech-savvy and free spirited Hajime represents change and innovation in Japan, while the straight-laced, traditional Sugane is representative of the past and old culture. Can’t say whether any of this is concrete for both shows or not, but it does seem like they have a lot to say about the past.

    • Scamp
      Posted July 27, 2013 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      If braindead Hajime is supposed to represent the new generation of Japan, then Japan is fucked

  4. Baśbaś
    Posted July 26, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    For me this episode was all about their father and changes after his death. Now, all that needed introduction were introduced and from now on I count on real plot to emerge. Though, I have no idea what it will be like.

    I disagree with this old vs. new interpretation. Benten is just a cruel, self-absorbed human (or is she not?) and Shimogamo family is a laughing stock in tanuki society because their behavior isn’t traditional enough. I suppose this series is more about accepting and being yourself.

    • Scamp
      Posted July 27, 2013 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      There’s almost certainly more to Benten than we’ve seen so far, but cruel and self-absorbed do a pretty good job of summarising what we’ve seen so far.

  5. aethelwulf
    Posted July 27, 2013 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    So far I’m absolutely loving Benten–she’s been a great antagonist so far. She’s perfectly capable of doing terrible things (as you pointed out, her threats undoubtedly have teeth behind them), but it’s her collected demeanor paired with her unpredictability that makes her truly scary. The other characters keep interacting with her because she’s calm and reasonable and can be persuaded to do favors for them (psycho villains don’t hang out with the good guys much), but the problem is that Benten’s not a nice person, and will always do whatever the fork she wants. When they encounter her, the other character’s don’t know whether they’ll receive what they came for, or, on Benten’s whim, get cooked in a hot-pot (hurray for dramatic tension!).

    • Scamp
      Posted July 27, 2013 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      The best villains are the ones who are dangerously intelligent and actually seem reasonable on the outside. It’s only when you catch that glimpse in their eyes that you realise that yeah, they probably would wrench your guts out with their bare hands if they felt like it.

  6. Matthew
    Posted July 27, 2013 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure there is a “story” that is going emerge. At least, not in the sense that there’s going to be one driving issue that will dominate the plot of each episode.

    I think insofar as there is a story, we’ve already been told what it is. It’s about the struggle of the brothers to live up to the legacy of their dead father and not be losers any more. That’s not going to be something they’ll accomplish by a single act. It’s something that will happen through their interactions with their society, building up respect and repairing relationships a little at a time.

  7. Himitsuhanazono
    Posted July 29, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    I really like your interpretation. To me, the whole thing is about fitting the dying old world in the evolving new society. The contrasts of boring vs interesting / mythical creatures vs humans, keep reminding us that two worlds are crashing with each other. The sons are called losers in their tanuki world precisely because they fail to uphold the tradition (like how the guy likes to transform into a girl);but in the new world they are also rejected because they still keep the unnecessary pride of magical animals.

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