“Back in the Game”
You know that stuff’s definitely going down when they start to omit the OP. It’s a wise move by P.A. Works, since the pacing of this episode was excellent, despite myself agonizing at not being able to see Yajirou train-dozer everyone over until next week. Come on Yashirou, don’t pause on that bridge for a dramatic cliffhanger! Realize where you really have to go. Today’s episode continues to build to that epic steamrolling climax that we’re all looking forward too, but not without its minor character development as well, specifically concerning Benten and Soun.
Benten continues to be an enigmatic character, even in the late-game of this series–her intentions and train of thought are something that’s barely graspable. At one moment she’s helping out Yasaburo seemingly out of whim, but at the same time still holds the death of his father over his head. Yasaburo attributes this to her nasty human nature, which Benten disagrees with, aligning more with her Tengu nature. However, when it comes to justifying her refusal to assist Yasaburo, she once again turns to her human side. Benten’s “flexibility” in using her dual nature is an uneasy development, yet at the same time allows us to understand the internal conflict that she deals with. It’s the small things that she does, the seemingly paradoxical actions, that reflect the inner turmoil that she hides behind her cool head. The visit to Professor Akadama, the way she gives just enough info to Yasaburo for him to save the day–she wants to help, but she doesn’t want to seem helpful, if that makes sense. Her dual nature means that two competing cultures demand to be satisfied, but in the end neither wins out over the other, hence Benten’s statement, “I’ve never gotten anything that I want.” I’m sure that she does want to help out Yasaburo when she can, but something in her nature in past is reluctant to do so–what those factors may be are what I hope will be revealed before the series’ end.
As for Soun…it really starts to show why he’s completely unfit to act as Nise-emon. The first request he’s asked of–by his own former affection no less–is brushed aside for a selfish goal. Though he claims that as an Ebisugawa, he has nothing to do with the Shimogamo family, but as Nise-emon, is that not his job? To be concerned with other families in Tanuki society? If he fails in this regard by disassociating himself with another family, has he not already failed his duty as a candidate? After all, most of the election propaganda he’s put out to everyone is only short-term and mostly a facade, where electric brandy can only go so far. That’s not to say though that the Ebisugawa family is completely repugnant, as Soun still has a soft side for Mother Shimogamo and Kintaku and Gintaku still care for their sister despite her interference. They’re a misguiding idiot family that’s lost sight of what’s good for Tanuki society, instead blinded by revenge and pride. Thankfully, they are idiots after all, so it only takes someone slightly less idiotic to foil their plans.
Here’s to seeing next week be a satisfying climax to this agonizing climb, because I’m really itching to see Kintaku and Gintaku get their asses bitten and handed to them, with maybe Soun joining in the mix as well.