「極寒スパイラル」 (Gokkan Supairaru)
Things heat up on Uramichi Oniisan as the tenth episode focuses on how the cast of “Morning with Maman” has to contend with their work during the summertime. But when the director asks the cast to film a Winter music video during the hottest Summer day they’ve experienced, tensions flare up as Kumatani snaps.
The logistics behind the director’s decision to film the Summer video during the Winter and vice versa makes it feel like he only does it for a power trip. The music videos themselves were pretty hilarious, but that’s only because it’s transparently a huge mistake for the director to plan out these videos during the harshest weather conditions 6 months in advance. Every decision made by the director leans into power harassment as he makes his actors dance around in heavy clothing on a hot summer day as he screams on about how they need to act more like it’s Winter.
Where this episode excels is with how it characterizes Kumatani’s past. It was pretty gratifying to see Kumatani lose it and stuffed the director in his bear costume to show him what it’s like to be in the costume. Even though the remainder of the episode had his co-workers concerned about if he’d be punished for stuffing his boss in a bear costume on a hot day, flashbacks help to explain much of the past trauma Kumatani had when he was canned from his last company because he punched his boss for repeatedly kicking a stray kitten’s box.
Uramichi also helps to conceptualize where Kumatani is coming from by using his discussion with the kids to throw him a bone. It was probably the deepest Uramichi has been to have him explain to the kids that harassment is what happens when adults lose sight of the “treat others how you’d like to be treated” motto from grade school. Where because adults fear the unknown, they are desperate to give a name or face to an idea they remain ignorant of.
His explanation also lends credence to Uramichi using these speeches to lift up his co-workers since he’s subtly trying to cheer up Kumatani by letting him and the kids know that there is justification for his actions. If hitting someone is a court of last resort for dealing with an abusive adult who refuses to change their toxicity, then it’s something that had to have been done. While punching his boss might’ve gotten him canned, Kumatani gained new fulfillment from a different job and his decision to adopt the stray cat he saved.