Anime Chop Block: The Eccentric Family

Hello and Welcome to another Anime Chop Block. Today, we will be looking at novel turned anime, Uchoten Kazoku known by its english title, The Eccentric Family.

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Originally a novel written by Tomihiko Morimi, the writer of another book that got adapted into an anime, Tatami Galaxy, the anime ran from July 7, 2013 to September 29, 2013 and was developed by PA works.

The anime is set in Kyoto where humans live in the city, tanuki roam the earth and tengu rule the sky. We follow a tanuki, Yasaburo Shimogamo, as he and his family interact with both tengu through Yasaburo’s master, Akadama, and humans through the enigmatic Benten, a member of a social group known as the Friday Fellows that eat tanuki and who ate Yasaburo’s father, Souichiro, in the past

The story structure, similar to the previously reviewed Toradora, is split into two effective halves. The first half of the show is a comedic romp telling Yasaburo’s adventures revolving around his family, Akadama, and Benten. These are designed to setup the character relations, personalities and stories of the Shimogamo family, Benten and the Friday Fellows and Akadama. The second half converges all of the character stories into an elaborate tale of betrayals and twists.

On a character front, this show truly shines. Most of the characters are well rounded and nuanced with enough personality, character flaws and secrets that make them human. Yasaburo, for example, is an excellent protagonist; while he along with his family have heavy hearts over Souichiro’s death, he still carries himself with a free spirit and love of life as his father did. In addition to strong and rounded characters, the interactions between characters are varied and speak to them. Yasaburo carries himself with confidence in front of others but his immaturity and insecurity are made apparent to his family. In addition, when the situation calls for it, he carries himself with the air of an heir. The main human of the story, Benten, while enigmatic at first also reveals a lot of personality through interactions. She flaunts freedom but desires family. However, Yasaburo isn’t able to understand her. Really, most of the characters reveal loads of personality through their interactions and they are built on a very nuanced foundation.

The writing of the show also is worth praise and the show has a large cast of diverse and rich characters and yet the show is paced in such a way that you get the feeling of comprehending all of the characters without being bogged down in minutiae. In addition, the writting is able to relate all of the character’s life experiences into a solid narrative about family and living life fully that resonates personally with the audience

From an artistic perspective, the show is different from most anime. The show’s characters don’t have very heavy lining around them and the coloring is more muted and less sharp. This contributes to a picturesque quality to the show that makes the show unique. The animation also lends to this quality with smooth flowing animation that is nuanced enough to be able to communicate subtle personality traits from the characters.

All and all, I would recommend the show as a powerful character driven show that touches on the idea of what family is and looks gorgeous at the same time.

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