29 CommentsEccentric Family / By Scamp /

Eccentric Family episode 9 – Warm arses

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Whenever they didn’t specifically show either character’s face during the bathhouse scene, I genuinely couldn’t tell the two of them apart. You’d think considering they’re different genders there should be some difference, but male anime characters are generally so ladylike in their proportions and features that it’s basically impossible to tell. There’s not a scrap of hair on his body nor any male anime character’s body. Even big manly characters have gleaming smooth chests. At least Lupin III has those hairy palms of his. Is that little trail of hair running down from the bellybutton really that difficult to draw, or is this just an Asian thing? Please do tell me Asian men? Or any anime male characters if you happen to be reading too I suppose.

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We need you to engage in vital diplomatic relations to ensure your brother can become ruler of the supernatural realm, lord over the afterlife and controller of mortality.

Can’t. Too busy warming my arse.

My principle problem with Eccentric Family is rather simple really. Nothing has happened. We are learning nothing new about the characters nor the scenario. In a way, the excellent directing of the earlier episodes have come back to bite the series in the now very warm and toasty arse. Those episodes were packed full of little snippets of how each character thought and how they interacted with each other, with great directorial cues to present this information. It was a great start, setting up these relationships that the show has since done nothing with.

I learned nothing from this episode. I suppose I learned that Kaisei is no longer engaged to whatshisface, although I feel we might have been given that information before. We learned what Kaisei looked like, which was pretty anticlimactic and only notable in how her body looked exactly the bloody same as the main character’s. But we didn’t really learn anything new about what Kaisei is like as a person that wasn’t already heavily implied. I had been pretty stoked about finally getting to see her properly, but the reveal left me underwhelmed.

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Eccentric Family is not an unpleasant experience to watch, but if it wasn’t already going to end in another 3 episodes, I probably would have stopped watching by now. I feel I’ve gotten as much enjoyment as this show is willing to give me and it doesn’t have anything new up its sleeves. It upended its toybox onto the floor and said “isn’t that great”! Yes it is great Eccentric Family, you’ve got loads of great toys. What are you going to do with them? Apparently nothing, they’re still just sitting there on the floor and now all that’s happening is I’m stepping on them occasionally and hurting my feet and by now I should probably just put the toys away….errr, that was an extended metaphor for how my opinion of the show drops with every new episode I watch. Not sure if that got through.

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29 Comments

  1. Posted September 5, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been keeping up with the show since I stopped watching it and a bunch of people have told me that just like Tatami, the reveals at the end will kick ass and justify the whole thing. I find that hard to believe because I don’t see a foundation for a reveal to occur. Not only do I not know what the mystery of this show is, I also doubt the mystery is big or grand enough to justify that apparently awesome reveal because the show takes everything too lightly and I have no reason to believe it’ll change that as of now.

    • Posted September 6, 2013 at 12:45 am | Permalink

      BTW, I looked at some forums and apparently the “plot” starts next episode according to the title given in the preview aka “The Behind-the-Scenes Dealings of Ebisugawa Soun”. Based on what I’ve read, I think I know what that entails, though I won’t spoil it here.

      Also, I think Uchouten has four more episodes left.

    • danilo07
      Posted September 6, 2013 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      I must ask,where did you read these spoilers and are these spoilers merely based on speculation or are they legit?

      • Posted September 6, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

        You know Enzo from Lost in America and Random Curiosity? He formed a theory about what was to happen in his own Episode 9 post and some novel readers confirmed he wasn’t far off. I’m not sure if it’s 100% true (and even if it was, there’s no guarantee that the anime will follow the novel exactly) but it makes sense given what’s happened in the show so far.

        There’s also Animesuki and 4chan and crap, but let’s not go there.

        So mostly speculation, but it’s well-reasoned speculation.

      • danilo07
        Posted September 6, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        Oh okay thanks!

  2. Posted September 5, 2013 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    It’s an Asian thing. I’m guessing Yasaburou’s in his late teens, and by that point, I barely had any visible hair on my torso. Nothing on the chest and very little under the belly button. I had to shave maybe once every 2 weeks, if that. Even now, the only really noticeable hair on my chest is around the nipples.

    Also, anime artists probably find body hair aesthetically unpleasant.

    • Posted September 5, 2013 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      Yeah it’s definitely an Asian thing. Neither me nor what I’ve seen of the male side of my family’s bare chests have much hair over there. It’s all concentrated near our bal–er I mean heads.

  3. Rait
    Posted September 5, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    My Japanese teacher (she is Japanese) once told me that Japanese men are less hairy than western men and they often can’t grow beards.
    Is it really true? I have no idea.

    • Pusswookie
      Posted September 5, 2013 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      Really? Koreans and Chinese grow a fair amount less facial hair than us, Indians as well, but I always thought of the Japanese as “the Asians with beards” to be honest.

      Amongst other things, of course.

      • Jealous as fuck
        Posted September 5, 2013 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

        That’s what I see as well, some japanese dudes can get badass beards on their cheeks, we chinese just can’t do it. Maybe that’s why Soun’s so mad Souchiro, the latter has some glorious facial hair, while the former is simply tubby.

      • Pusswookie
        Posted September 5, 2013 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

        Yeah a good beard can do wonders for a fat guy; like putting a goatee on a bald man.

    • Scamp
      Posted September 6, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      All this fabulous beard talk on my blog. It makes me so proud~

  4. Pusswookie
    Posted September 5, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    The old Tengu and their Dad has/had facial hair, and plenty of it.

    The thing about Tanuki is, couldn’t they choose whether or not they had facial hair? Maybe they get tired of the perpetual fuzziness of being Tanuki and rather enjoy the comparative hairlessness of their human forms.

    • Upscaled
      Posted September 5, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      I know a guy with Italian heritage who can hardly grow any beard, so there’s individual variations in all nationalities. Just compare the beards of Anno and Miyazaki. It’s true though, that even Japanese men who can grow beards are usually pretty bare on their arms and chest. Look at some pictures of Toshiro Mifune. Full beard, baby-smooth chest.

      • Scamp
        Posted September 6, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

        Beards must be an old-man Japanese thing. Maybe old man wax their chests. It was what the samurai did

  5. Shikamaru
    Posted September 5, 2013 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    This post made me think why I love Uchouten Kazoku. I don’t usually think why I like something, I just watch it because I like it.

    There is no real plot, it’s just this tanuki family living their normal lives and interacting with each other. That’s entertaining enough for me.

    Usagi drop is good example in my opinion. It’s about Daikichi and Rin living their lives, that’s it. There aren’t enough anime where we just follow a family and watch their daily lives.

    Even in Death Note I would have liked to see episode where Light just spends time with his family. Or maybe in Fullmetal Alchemist they could have done episode where Mustang and Riza just talk.

    People usually call episodes like these pointless filler episodes but there can be really good filler episodes if done right. I wouldn’t personally mind. Plot isn’t that important to me. Characters and how they interact with each other is most important thing to me. Tomoya and Nagisa in Clannad, Okabe and Kurisu in Steins;Gate, Kyon and Haruhi in Haruhi and Ryuji and Taiga in Toradora are few examples.

    • Pusswookie
      Posted September 5, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      Aside from the phrase “plot isn’t important,” yeah, I kind of agree with this. Sometimes a show needs some downtime, and some shows are made up entirely of what happens in that downtime; just because there was a bit of intrigue involving how Souchirou really died doesn’t mean this isn’t still a slice of life.

    • Ramiel
      Posted September 9, 2013 at 3:38 am | Permalink

      For me, I need some sort of plot development to care about a story. It needs to have a sense of direction, so that I care about what happens to the characters, so there is suspense.

      Your example of Usagi Drop is bad because in that show there is the clear plot of Daikichi adopting Rin, and them growing closer and him fitting into the role of a father over the course of the show.

      Your examples of Clannad, Haruhi, Steins Gate,and Toradora are even worse because all those shows had clear storylines, and also strong male and female leads, where Uchouten Kazouku has nothing of the sort. Perhaps if Yasaburo and Benten played front and center roles, but they don’t.

  6. fathomlessblue
    Posted September 5, 2013 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    Personally, Uchouten Kazoku is probably my favourite series from the last several seasons, but I guess I’m approaching it rather differently to you. Since the first episode I’ve seen the show simply as the story of a family slowly coming to terms with the death of a loved one, whilst showing the impact he had on their lives through their recollections. That’s all the show has to be for me to find it effective and emotionally powerful. Tomihiko Morimi could have been mawkish and made some overly sappy Ano Hana-esque tripe, in which violins and weeping form your connection to the narrative (and it would have probably sold shitloads), but instead realised it was the experiences of joy and incidental moments that keeps someone’s memory alive.

    As such I don’t really feel in the need to see the characters consistently change or for new aspects of themselves to suddenly be revealed. This being a family, the idea is that no part of one is unknown to the others, other than the secrets they try to keep. That’s why the contrast exists between Yasaburo being able to easily emotionally manipulate his brothers and the Tengu professor (both having taken the other under their wings, so to speak), yet is constantly perplexed by the alien nature of Benten. The first several episodes were bringing us up on speed on these relationships, while the latter set are showing us how they use them to solve a goal and come to an ultimate conclusion (whatever that might be) by the series’ finale.

    Personally, the joy in the show just comes from watching the cast interacting with each other, even if they tend to repeat the same responses. 13 episodes is a perfect amount for that sort of story. Perhaps the story of four children raised under a single mother carries a certain level of weight for me. That isn’t to say I can particularly relate to the cast in Uchouten Kazoku, or that their situation generates a particular emotional response, but there are gestures and responses which I know all too well, and it becomes clear that Morimi approached the cast from a level of experience. Despite the exaggerations, I find the family to be one of the most realistic depictions I’ve seen in anime.

    Ultimately, I find Eccentric Family to be an incredible example of the slice of life genre, in which magic, realism and some very quirky, if rather deadpan humour go hand in hand. I’ve likened it to Haibane Renmei or Pom Poko in that regard. I can understand why it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but so far I’ve found the show to be a completely charming and heartfelt experience, one that I’ll be sad to see end.

    • ronbb
      Posted September 6, 2013 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

      Very much agreed with your comment and thanks because I disagreed with the blogger’s review and wanted to say something — you have beautifully said what I wanted to say :-).

      Uchouten is a very beautifully written and directed show. It’s sophisticated, mature, and intuitional. It is heavily character-focused that transcends a slice-of-life genre to encompass comedy-drama and fantasy. There are plots there, but they are there to flesh out the characters and their relationships, surface their inner feelings, bring out the story about the Eccentric Family, and touch on themes like death, life, and love — especially about family love.

      It definitely doesn’t suit the taste of everyone and is very different from the majority of today’s shows. For those who love plot-driven stories that give you conflicts, tensions, motivations, or changes from point A to point B, Uchouten won’t satisfy because it’s not about any of those but its characters, their bonds, their feelings, and their love for one another — that’s enough to make me care and get me hooked, and the story of the Eccentric Family is very well told in my view.

    • Posted September 8, 2013 at 4:07 am | Permalink

      Great summation. I’d say the show is less interested in telling a story (though it is doing that, in its own way) than… telling some people. Interspersed with these little transcendent moments of beauty, like Benten floating through the blooming tree, or the floating tea house, or Benten and Yasaburou sharing martinis on the roof. To me, this show is about as perfect a slice of life as I could imagine, and I couldn’t really think of a way to improve what it is trying to do. It feels so… honest, compared to everything else I’m watching.

      The uniformly sharp writing and gorgeous aesthetic don’t hurt, either.

  7. danilo07
    Posted September 5, 2013 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    Though I would agree that there hasnt been that much of character development in this ,we did learn some things from this episode.We expanded upon setting with ties between Ebisugawas and Shimogamos revealed,we learn about some the things involving political election.We saw how So reacted to Benten leading some to speculate that he might have been in love with her,and Kaiseis introduction was important to the overall theme of the show.I mean it was constantly telling us how the family is important and great,but what if your family was evil? We see that the way Yasaburo interacts is different with Kaisei then it is with Benten.He actually seems more formal with Kaisei.Also there is some cultural point to be made about tanuki lighting Christmas trees and eating Kentucky fried chicken.
    So yeah though the pacing was a bit too slow I got what I needed mostly because the previous episode was full of character revealment.

    • Scamp
      Posted September 6, 2013 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Oh yeah, forgot to mention the chicken, and how the older brother’s face lit up with delight. Tanuki love battery-farmed chicken so it turns out.

      We have seen Yasuburo and Kaisei talk before though, when she was acting like a dresser and the odd time such as thanking her for rescuing their mother and so on.

  8. Posted September 6, 2013 at 2:44 am | Permalink

    Honestly, the lack of hair probably has to do most of all with reducing work – if your characters don’t have body hair, then that’s less time spent on drawing them in scenes where they’re not wearing any or much clothing. As for having a little bit of hair trailing down from the belly-button, you won’t see any of that in a TV series since Japanese law classifies pubic hair as pornographic, so a studio isn’t going to do anything that could be taken as pubic hair, even if it is just lower-torso hair.

    • Scamp
      Posted September 6, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      So if the hair keeps trailing up the body, as body hair tends to do, does that still get counted as pubes? What if the line goes right their body and around their back and up their neck and through their head hair and down the sideburns onto the beard, eh? Does that mean they have to have all that hair censored? These are important questions that must be answered.

  9. Matthew
    Posted September 6, 2013 at 3:51 am | Permalink

    I mean, there clearly is a plot. Intrigue is going on to the election of the next tanuki leader, and the ongoing Friday Fellow hotpot.

    The problem is not that nothing is happening but that the show is doing a lousy job of building tension over what is going to happen. One big problem is, why should we care who is elected Nisemon. Is the uncle going to do something evil with the power? Would he even be a particularly bad Nisemon? Who knows! The stakes haven’t been made clear.

  10. Posted September 6, 2013 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    I have to admit I really found the scene where the family was eating chicken was very good, just because of how elegant it was pulled off.

    We’ve had talk about eating tanuki and blabla and how it’s bad, yet they start eating the chicken without a single care in the world.

    Maybe this wasn’t the point of the scene, but it focused on them eating, so…

  11. ANON
    Posted September 6, 2013 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    I’m more interested about that central stone. looks like up until this point if made the story revolve around how that tanuki was able to stay in 1 form for such a long time, we won’t see any difference.

    also, i’m asian, and I have that hair from the bellybutton downwards.

    also also, awwwwww taki with nyanko-sensei right above me..

  12. matrixEXO
    Posted September 8, 2013 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Scamp, warm toasty arse is a nice kind of arse. I sure as hell don’t want a cold one.

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