Sunday, 14 July 2013

The Eccentric Family - Episode 2

If you feel that there wasn't quite enough eccentricity in the opening instalment of The Eccentric Family, fear not - you ain't seen nothing yet.

For starters, we're introduced to the mother of the Shimogamo family, who seems to enjoy spending her time in human form dressed as a "prince" and taking on all-comers in a local pool hall.  This week also sees us introduced to another of the Shimogamo children, Yajirou, who has decided to shun life as a tanuki and instead become a frog that sits at the bottom of a well considered as one of the de facto spots to go for good luck and to wish away your problems.

Speaking of problems, this seems to be something that this tanuki family have rather a lot of - alongside the more historical issues that come from the importance of their deceased father and the impossible expectations upon them because of that, poor Yashirou is being bullied by a pair of "rival" tanuki brothers at his workplace. This threatens to boil over when a freak thunderstorm leaves Yashirou and his fellow brothers rushing to their mother's side given her tendency to be terrified and do something stupid during storms - a prospect that turns even the normally reliable Yaichirou into a panicked mess.

I wasn't too sure what to make of The Eccentric Family's opener, and it certainly didn't grab me like it did others - however, the same cannot be said of this second instalment, which was simply terrific - in turns funny, sweet and touching, while doing plenty to move the show's broad points of interests forward into the limelight and giving the delightful feel of a heart-felt comedy about a dysfunctional family whose heart is well and truly in the right place.  The series also feels like something of a love letter to Kyoto, which almost becomes a character in its own right here thanks to its detailed and wonderful backdrops and locations which play a part in the story of this episode as it pans out.  I'm still not quite ready to call this series an unqualified success, but if it manages to engage and entertain in the way that this week's episode succeeded in doing, then I'm confident it'll rank amongst my favourites come the end of the season.

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