「父の発つ日」 (Chichi no Tatsu Hi)
“The Day That Dad Left”

That was touching.

As someone who goes gaga when family themes are explored in anime, this episode blew me away in terms of how raw and honest it approached the Shimogamo’s family conflicts. It is undeniable how much this family cares about each other very much, so much to the point that I feel absolutely terrible about how my own family would function in a similar situation. It all hits too hard to home the dual emotions each Shimogamo family member has. For everyone else but Yajirou, I’m sure that none of them hate Yajirou and wouldn’t mind him coming back to rejoin the family, but at the same time you can feel the conflict that each has against their carefree brother. Yaichirou expressed it best during his final scene this episode…

I understand him…that’s why it hurts.

The statement succinctly captures all that is troublesome when a beloved family member has done wrong. Yaichirou is full aware of the guilt that is crushing Yajirou, but is also aware that Yajirou’s actions have exacted an equal amount of sorrow for everyone else. The pity, sympathy, anger, and disappointment all mix together into this unbearable medley that well…is impossible to act on, which in the end only causes more suffering. The pieces have all fallen perfectly into place to exact a real emotional punch, whether it’s the revelations about how Yajirou ended up in a well, why Kaisei is unable to face Yasaburo head-on, or even why Professor Akadama is able to tolerate Yasaburo for all of these years despite his Tengu superiority suggesting otherwise.

It is through the suffering–specifically the maturity of handling the suffering–that shows us how superior the Yasaburo family is compared to say…the Ebisugawa family. Despite the troubles that their Tanuki blood cause their family, they all stick together because honoring their father’s love for family is all too important to disregard. Even in the afterlife, Souichirou did all that he could to keep his family from breaking apart, and in return, the brothers have done all they can to stay together because of that.

In comparing these feelings with other works of this caliber, immediately do the emotional works of Miyazaki and Hosada come to mind, especially through say, Summer Wars and My Neighbor Totoro, both family-themed movies. However, I feel that today’s episode of Uchouten Kazoku went farther than that, reaching down into the deepest problems that haunt a family, and using that to demonstrate the beauty that familial bonding can bring. Although Souichirou’s sons have inherited only part of their father’s personality, what they have all inherited in common is a strong desire to care for one another, and will undoubtedly be the force that will unite them as a force equal to their father’s previous influence.

Uchouten has risen to become a show that is shaping up to be one of the most beautiful stories told this season, and most likely the most beautiful story that P.A Works has animated. The character interactions are all well justified and felt all too well, and the story lets on just enough to satisfy our curiosity, but also fuel it enough to make us infer what could possibly be coming next. With Kaisei now up to bat, the show has a strong springboard of story to jump off of for another dramatic splash, one that’ll bring moisture to our eyes again.

Apologies for the non-linking today: I’m pressed for time this week due to moving priorities.




    1. I gotta chime in here too. The moment when Yaichirou said line while full of tears, and the music joined in – it was too much. Definitely one of like four times in total I’ve ever cried to an anime. Beautiful.

      But on another note, I hope we finally get to see Kaisei’s face next week…or else never haha. (They wouldn’t…would they?)

    1. I am with you; i am unsure what actually happened.
      As an additional question how did Benten learn so much air magic from sensei while our hero seemed to have learned no air magic from him?

    2. After. I can’t help but think there’s a cultural reference I’m missing, but the place where Akadama was drinking has a definite “path to the afterlife” feeling to it.

      Their conversation also makes it clear that it was after he was eaten
      Show Spoiler ▼

    3. There’s a lot of questions for that encounter. Firstly, why is the “gate to heaven” deep within the corridor of the tanuki bar (assumption based on episode one) Yasaburou visits? Why is Akadama sensei the only one drinking in that section? Did Souichirou happen upon Akadama because he was drinking at the gate or did he mean to visit him? If the latter, why not visit the family? Did this conversation really happen or is it Akadama’s way of calming a frustrated Yasaburou?

      If I had to take a guess, I’d say that either Akadama was drinking at the gate of heaven or Souichirou’s existence ascended to the rank of tengu. Souichirou could not visit his family because where he met Akadama was a sort of rite of passage for the dead. The bar, seeing as how the main hall is filled with tanuki disguised as humans, might house both tengu and tanuki, and have a separate section for the former seeing as there is a clear distinction between their ranks. As for whether or not the dialogue truly occurred, I’m not sure if the rules of the world are defined enough to say either or, but I’d like to think it did.

  1. I’ve become a total P.A. Works fanboy. I watched and loved Another and Angel Beats! this year, I’m in the midst of watching the magnificent True Tears, and Uchouten Kazoku is the anime of the year so far. I’m calling it right now and saying that Nagi no Asu Kara will be amazing.

  2. Much more so than seeing tragic lovers, the loss of friends, or other similar ’emotional drama’ anime tends to incorporate when it’s trying to be serious, this story of shared familial feels genuine. There’s a raw emotion on display here that is at once heartbreaking in its authenticity and remarkable in the strength of their communal undertaking.

    I’m going to miss the Shimogamo family when this anime is done.

  3. On top of this, we had Benten crying at Yajirou’s well. Sadness at her part in Soichiro’s death? Yajirou’s loss? Loneliness at the lack of family? Could she have had the choice to reject Akadama’s offer to teach her magic and returned to her family and chose not to? Now she regrets it?

  4. I think this was the most tearjerking episode yet. Yes, clearly, more than the second episode, which only just told us about the father’s fate and the family’s reaction to it. I feel for the eldest brother from the first time. So sad. 🙁

    ….. I wanna be a trolley.

  5. 海星 is the spelling of Kaisei’s name. Kai (海) for “ocean”, and Sei (星) for “star”, if anyone was wondering.

    Needless to say, this episode was very strong, and tears were welling up across the entire episode. I can’t help but think of my family and their quirks when watching the Yasaburo clan. Their suffering and how they come together to help deal is something I think a lot of families do. All the build up of the family member’s unique personalities and ways of life pays off in a huge way in this episode. This isn’t the first time the brothers were tied together by the mother and late father, but the family never fails to deliver strong and emphatic feelings towards the audience whenever they do.

    I wonder why Kaisei would want to inquire of her late uncle why her name is the way it is. Perhaps Souchirou named her?

  6. This anime deserves way more recognition then it’s gotten.

    I really expect this to appear for the end of the year best-of-best somewhere and make people go “What’s this?” And check it out.

  7. I love this anime. But I’m sorry, I just can’t understand. Is it just me? Do I alone feel that there is something wrong in boiling a tanuki with sentience? This show is so confusing. I was touch sure, but why do I feel so alien about it? It’s like people in this anime have a blue and orange morality – and I don’t get that!

    Why is Yasaburo not angry at Benten? Why is the whole concept of cooking a tanuki so accepted? Why are the humans treating this so lightly? I… I don’t understand.


    1. For whatever reason Tanuki seem to be considered lower life forms. Probably they are like cats or foxes in Japanese folklore where some people interact with their supernatural powers, but otherwise they are just animals (remember, Souichirou didn’t talk to the professor at first). Actually most animals have sentience (not to be confused with sapience).

      Also…Why is it ok to kill a pig or dolphin (very intelligent animals), but not OK to kill a horse or cat in our society (go watch Silver Spoon, lol)? Why was/is it once ok to own other human beings? Why was it ok to kill somebody because they have a different religion than you? You seem to have a rather rosy view of our own society!

    2. It seems that most humans are unaware that Tanuki are sentient. Benten is obviously one who knows but she spends her time hanging out with Tengu. It’s not clear if she knew at the time of eating Yasaburo’s father though.

      As to why Yasaburo is not angry at Benten but instead is in love with her? Even he does not know that as he admitted a few episodes ago. If anything one of the major themes in this show with all the unrequited love that is going on is that the heart is fickle and feels what it wants to feel.

  8. Sjeez, it’s been a while since an anime has been able to give me a gutpunch like that. You really get the feeling that this is one of the things the show was building towards, as everyone’s role fell into place and the full force of the revelation hit like a dumptruck full of bricks. The drama was handled well too – very understated and having the characters mostly deal with it internally, and felt very grounded in reality, and that for a show about freaking tanuki!

    Uchouten Kazoku really is the best slice-of-life series I’ve seen this year, seriously.

  9. Comparing this episode to the works of Miyazaki and Hosada is quite a compliment, but Uchouten so totally deserves the praise. Each episode of the show is solid and beautiful in its own way, but this episode grabbed my heart in a big way. Uchouten is my favourite of the season and for sure will be one of my favourites in 2013.

  10. It was the sobs episode. OMG. I was really bawling, and the BGM didn’t help. Lost it when Yajiro remembered his time with Soichiro with their train prank, and I think it was just really painful because Soichiro is such a great person – kind, wise, wonderful – and then he died in a hot pot!?? Sob sob sob. And with Sensei seeing him for the last time with that final handshake and goodbye. BAWL. I’m so glad everyone had the feels. Hakkenden’s latest episode made me mellow – this one tipped everything over.

    I’m just glad now we have the focus on Kaisei. I wonder if Kaisei feels bad because she was also in love with Yajirou then, or whether she felt partially responsible. She seems like an incredibly un-aho Tanuki. 🙂

  11. Well this statement put it in perspective for me

    It was when the professor said something about how every Tengu will eventually fall onto the roof of someone’s house and every Tanuki will eventually fall into a hot pot.

    Can’t argue with that.

  12. I had only watched one episode when this aired, and have since marathoned up to this point. This was one show I wasn’t jumping at the bit to watch, but I knew I didn’t want to let myself miss.

    Boy, am I glad I did. As others said, its been a while since an anime made me cry. It started with Souichirou’s final talk with Akadama, and poured out when Yaichirou began to cry. And when Souichirou’s ghost waved goodbye one more time… *wipes away a tear*


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