「この公演が終わったら」 (Kono Koen ga Owattara)
“When This Performance is Over”
This episode of Uramichi Oniisan gives us more of a tragic glimpse of the eternally pessimistic gymnast Uramichi. It’d be easy to lump him in as a gag character with barely any substance beyond being a miserable loner, but underneath the surface, we see the small attempts he makes to express the futile kindness that lays dormant within him.
Admittedly, Uramichi having his earnest gestures of kindness dashed in front of him makes for some of this episode’s funny moments. Since the anime excels at dry comedy that revels in the awkward, embarrassing, or infuriating points of his everyday existence, it lingers on many of the times where Uramichi withdraws entirely from his current plane of existence.
One recurring motif in this episode is the times where Uramichi’s attempts to exert any kind of effort into the show are thrown right into his face. With scenes like the one where the director is distracted from Uramichi’s intricate backflip entrance or the one where the kids use a question about the pros of being children to rub Uramichi’s unhappiness in his face, it’s hard not to feel bad for Uramichi. The scene where Uramichi stares into the void as he sits in front of a concert in a cat costume during Utano’s cat song while Iketeru lightly jabs at his cheek with a fish also hones in on the awkward comedy this show knocks out of the park.
The crab story was very interesting to me because it played the juxtaposition between Uramichi befriending a tiny crab and his coworkers eating said crabs entirely straight. For all the pessimistic comedy the anime has, it’s one instance where it becomes a dark comedy for the tragic irony the rescued crab faces.
Uramichi’s altruistic side kicks in as he fondly decides to lead a lost crab back into the river it would normally dwell in. The kind gesture he makes and the gluttonous feast his co-workers have also lent itself to how Uramichi feels emotionally distant from those he works with in a way where he feels like he can be sentimental and kind when he isn’t being pressed to interact with those around him.
At the same time, Mitsuo’s conversation with Iketeru about the tiny crabs being caught from a river and fried up implies that the crab Uramichi saved could eventually end up on someone’s plate. With the grim glare he gives the river, Uramichi is also likely aware that he might’ve increased the lost crab’s chances of being eaten by returning it back to the river.
As much as he might hope that doing the right thing by leading a lost crab back home would lead to a positive conclusion, he is also painfully aware that doing the right thing isn’t always going to lead to a positive outcome. Where no matter how much he would like the idea of helping out those around him or offering happiness to somebody’s world, he is all too aware that his guilty conscience will eat him alive if he knows a random act of kindness will backfire. He’ll have fond memories of saving the crab, but it’s bittersweet considering the high chance that the crab will be eaten at a later date.
It’s a very nihilistic and grim ending to the episode, but it was a poignant way of expressing why Uramichi still has times where he can be vulnerable or motivated. Similarly, the few times a kid will say something that moves Uramichi enough to distract himself from his negative thoughts ends up being the few wholesome moments an episode of Uramichi Oniisan could have. You can only hope that eventually, Uramichi won’t have to contend with the weight that hangs over him of feeling like the positive gestures he brings to the world are all but futile.