「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.