Sunday, 11 August 2013

The Eccentric Family - Episode 6

The aftermath of the Friday Fellows' meeting-cum-hotpot party continues in this week's Eccentric Family, although not before we get a brief view into Benten's origins as a human school girl before being kidnapped by Professor Akadama and integrated into the world of tengu to ultimately become the enigma that we have before us.

Speaking of Benten, as she continues to flit across the rooftops with one of the Friday Fellows and Yasaburou in her wake it becomes clear that there's something rather melancholy about her demeanour, and ultimately she decides to up and leave, abandoning her guests on a rooftop with no clear way down.  This is, it seems, standard behaviour for Benten, and the conversation between the remaining duo soon turns elsewhere, namely to a strange discussion of the importance of eating and enjoying food, and what it is to both eat and be eaten.

This particular discussion culminates in what we already really knew - the story of how this Professor and Benten came to eat Yasaburou's father.  It's a prospect that leaves our protagonist incredibly conflicted as the night comes to an end - he greatly enjoys the company of this eccentric fellow and respects the fact that he saved the life of Yasaburou's mother, yet at the same time he gleefully gobbled up his father as part of a hotpot.  A similar state of conflict also extends to Benten herself, as Yasaburou tries to come to terms with his crush on her offset against her tanuki-eating ways.  As for Benten herself, she remains as inscrutable as ever...

To be quite honest, The Eccentric Family really has no right to be as good as it is.  Take this episode as a perfect example - virtually nothing happens and there's very little progression made in terms of either time or plot, yet the running time of this instalment flies by in a flash to leave you hungry for more.  Dig a little deeper and you realise that the show's characters are doing a fantastic job of powering the series forward - Yasaburou is likable in all the right ways, and there are few characters in anime more fascinating than Benten, leaving you desperate to get to the bottom of her persona and find out what makes her tick.  I wish I could better explain what's so good about the series, but really putting a finger on the exact secrets of its success has me rather stumped.

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