Uchouten Kazoku – 12
「偽叡山電車」 (Nise Eizan Densha)
“The Fake Eizan Electric Railway”
I’m safe in saying this is the most exciting and hilarious episode ever, right? We’ve got trains that are ramming cars and leaving people in disbelief, Raijin Fans that are used to hilariously overpowered effect, and of course professor Akadama flailing around like the semi-crazy sensei he is. I was afraid that this was going to be the end of the arc when those credits started rolling, but P.A. Works isn’t done yet–there’s one more episode to close this slow-cooking plot once and for all! Conflict after conflict has arisen for the Shimogamo family, where one pops up just as soon as one is thought to be resolved. That chain is soon to end though, as the idiocy of the Eccentric Family will soon prevail…hopefully.
The way that the Shimogamo family gets their way is a treat to watch. Though overpowered and over-the-top, I would not claim that the Shimogamo family pulls off deus ex machina’s, but rather that they do the best they can in the face of panic. The sheer power of their abilities is mainly to reinforce their idiot nature, often to hilarious and beautifully animated effect. I knew it was coming, but when Yasaburou waved that fan to unintended effect, I had a hard time restraining my laughter lest I wake up my floor. It also helps that their powers aren’t an end-all to the plot, as there are antagonists who are steps ahead of them, not allowing themselves to be outwitted by a mere crashing train or a huge hurricane of wind. I know, some of us thought this was going to end with Yajirou saving everyone, but those pesky antagonists can pull out last-minute tricks, especially so close to the end. It all becomes a battle of subtle wits versus powerful idiot dedication, which creates this perfect blend of crazy comedy and overhanging drama that has become the signature of Uchouten Kazoku. While Benten gives us that coy smile indicating manipulation, we have Yashirou scared out of his mind to literally blow his elders away. Even towards the end do we get a ridiculous yet tense scenario where each of the three species in Kyoto–the Tanuki, the Friday Fellows, and Professor Akadama–all under one roof, being separated by only the thinnest of paper walls. It’s a clear setup for the best of both parties to clash together, all for the ultimate fate of one tanuki. I fully expect Soun to at least do something to save his former crush, and professor Akadama to come charging to save the day crazy old guy style.
It’s going to be really hard to say goodbye, but this has been a pleasing series to follow through to the end. Though it started off slow, all the pieces of character development have all started to fall together, where every action being played out has a previous development behind it. It all weaves so nicely together that I have to applaud the screenplay writers for pacing the show so well, all while making sure that we don’t exactly know what’s going to happen next. Last week people lamented about the preview spoiling the treat, but I’m sure not many expected the epic route that Yajirou was to take, much less through the air. I hope you guys are just as excited as I am to see this conclusion, because everyone under one roof is going to be the clash of the season!