Sunday, 7 July 2013

The Eccentric Family - Episode 1

Kyoto is a magnificent city, but in the world of The Eccentric Family (aka Uchouten Kazoku) it isn't a city solely reserved for mankind.  No, this version of Kyoto is also the home to both tanuki and tengu, who do... well, whatever it is they do largely away from the prying eyes of humanity.

As the series opens, we follow a young tanuki named Yasaburou Shimogamo - although you'd be hard pressed to identify him as such, as he prefers to spend his time shape-shifted into the form of a cute high school girl, much to the chagrin of both fellow tanuki and tengu alike.  Still, in spite of his cheeky demeanour Yasaburou does still seem keen to do his duty, which on this occasion involves paying a visit and bringing food to one Professor Akadama, a grumpy old tengu with a decidedly dodgy back.

In spite of this, Akadama seems to have more than a passing interesting in human-cum-tengu known as Benten, or Suzuki Satomi; a mischievous girl who seems to have some potentially dangerous contacts known as The Friday Fellows.  Having delivered a love letter from Akadama to Satomi in his own inimitable style, it's via Yasaburou that get to see just how predictable she can be.

Much like one of yesterday's new season shows Day Break Illusion, it's decidedly tricky to get a handle on how The Eccentric Fanily is going to pan out in a wider sense, as this first episode was strictly limited to world and character-building above all else.  Thankfully (and rather unlikely Day Break Illusion), this series proved to be pretty confident and accomplished at doing what it set out to, providing an entertaining framework that draws us into its world enough for us to want to see more, but without giving too much away.  My only worry is that the series finds enough in the way of interesting topics and concepts to handle during its run rather than slumping into lazy story-telling like Tsuritama, for example.  I'll certainly be sticking around to see what it plans to do with its core premise though, so hopefully it won't disappoint, and its busy visuals and setting have certainly caught my imagination so far.

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