Kimi no Iru Machi – 05

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In a flashback, Yuzuki confesses to Haruto, and after he notices a girl who looks like her in a photo taken when he was a little kid, he goes through his diaries and discovers that he actually met Yuzuki years ago at the summer festival. Back in the present, Haruto confronts Yuzuki, demanding the truth about why she suddenly disappeared, which she says involves Kyousuke.

By employing a flashback and then another flashback within the flashback for the majority of the episode, we were worried we’d get lost in time or something, but it was an effective way of getting Haruto to learn just how far back his bond with Yuzuki goes. He forgot meeting her, you see, until Yuzuki finally came back as a teenager to live with him. It also shows that before he became a borderline stalker, he was a good kid who knew just how to cheer up a bored and weary city girl. It’s a very cute flashback, at any rate.

But like the blooms in the gourd-shaped lake (AKA fireworks), his encounter with Yuzuki was fleeting. When he thinks about it in the present, we can imagine him feeling that her presence in Hiroshima was fleeting as well, and he took her presence, her proximity, and her love for granted. Last week Haruto sensed something fishy about Yuzuki and Kyousuke, and while this episode confirms it, it doesn’t lay out what it is; it merely enriches Haruto’s past with her, possibly making whatever she’ll reveal to him next week sting all the more.


Rating: 6 (Good)

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Blood Lad – 06

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As Bell, Fuyumi, and Mamejirou watch from a safe place, Wolf transforms and fights Akim, but tearing him to shreds has no effect, as Akim is able to reconstruct his body with magic. Staz arrives before Wolf runs out of magic, and easily defeats Akim with a variety of finishing moves. Braz and Liz arrive to take Franken and Akim into custody. Wolf demands a rematch with Staz, but loses again. Bra and Liz then use Bell to transport them to Staz’s location, in order to help resurrect Fuyumi.

Both Braz and Bell expect big things of Staz now that he’s regained his full noble vampire powers (which include some particularly un-vampiry moves), but where Akim sees beauty in strength, Staz just sees it as a burden. He’d rather be back in his territory goofing off, or visiting Japan. But with Fuyumi in danger, he makes the deal with his brother that will give him the best change of saving her, even if it means more responsibilities, because, among other reasons, he likes her.

To that end, Staz deals with Akim – built up as a terrifying boss and a major threat to the demon world – almost comically easily, after Wolf’s attacks prove futile. He does it in front of a big audience too (though Bell switches the “TV” off right when he’s about to ice Akim). Bell is touched that Staz has come to keep his promise, but she has to semi-betray him again by bringing his siblings to him. As usual, with more power come more problems, and the Ghibli Museum tour will have to wait until Fuyumi is all fixed up.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Uchouten Kazoku – 06

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Yasaburou and Hotei follow Benten along the rooftops of Kyoto, stopping at a rooftop garden, where Hotei tells the story of how he met Benten, and fell in love with her on the spot. After she leaves, Hotei tells Yasaburou of the tanuki he met that same night: Nise-emon Shimogamo Soichiro, who spoke with him for a long time. After finally finding a way down to the street (thanks to Kaisei being a ladder) Hotei and Yasaburou part ways, Yasaburou changes to a frog to visit his brother, and Benten appears at the top of the well to cry.

This week the series made the choice not to end the Friday Fellows night to move on to the next day and another story, like the upcoming Nise-emon election, for instance. Instead, we delve deeper into the full-mooned night as Benten, Hotei, and Yasaburou continue to talk about things. Benten (or should we say Batman) never looks comfortable being followed or talked to in this way, and eventually peaces out. Then Yasaburou spends more time with Hotei, the man who saved his mother but ate his father, and the more time he spends with him, the more he likes him, even though he feels like he shouldn’t.

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There’s a good deal of philosophical discussion on this long night of drinking, eating, and talking. Hotei (AKA Prof. Yodogawa Chotaro) has most of the episode to simply talk about things he wouldn’t be able to talk with just anyone about: talking tanukis, loving to eat them (and anything else, for that matter), loving Benten, wanting tanukis to eat him when his time is up, and lamenting, like Yasaburou’s father, that he might not taste good. He doesn’t want to shrivel in a hospital and then be turned to ash. He wants to nourish that which he loved; to contribute to the life-stream as food for his food.

This episode also further reinforces Benten’s sheer, universal inscrutability. Neither tengu nor tanuki, she can’t quite just be called a human, either. Plucked from the riverbank by Akadama and trained in the way of the tengu, Suzuki Satomi threw her master to the curb as soon as she’d learned all she could, and for that Yasaburou may never fully forgive her. But for all her past misdeeds or her cold demeanor and refusal to let anyone in, she must still visit Yajirou’s well to empty her eyes of tears she’d bottled up all night, a bottling which could be a manifestation of her idiot blood.

9_superiorRating: 9 (Superior)

Stray Observations:

  • This episode was gorgeous even by Uchouten Kazoku standards. From the moonlit rooftops, to the bold autumn colors of the awesome rooftop garden, to Benten disappearing into a spotlight, back to the moonlight at the bottom of Yaijirou’s well. Lighting and shot composition were both magnificent.
  • We love every thing Hotei says in this episode, and you really can’t help but soften your opinion of him as an antagonist.
  • Ditto Soichirou, whom we see in that pivotal flashback, saying he’s fulfilled his duty as a Tanuki and feels nothing but gratitude for all the extra days he’s been blessed with, and trusts his family will be fine without him.
  • Kaisei has a neat cameo as a useful if out-of-place ladder, lending more credence to our theory we’ll never see her in human form.
  • We’re now about halfway through the series, and with the Nise-emon election looming, we suspect we’ll learn if Soichirou was right about his family surviving just fine without him.