When P.A. works gets ambitious and does cool crap like this show, it’d be a disservice to the material to just have one reviewer. We’re breaking down the not-at-all-token arsty show of the new season, Uchoten Kazoku, buddy cop style!
Drew: Uchoten Kazoku I knew was coming from a prestigious novel source, so I had fairly high expectations for the script. And P.A. Works was involved, so there were promising indicators on the visual end as well. What I got was something very much up my alley, a whimsical yet down-to-earth story with the production values of a movie and the real-life sensibility of a cigarette-smoking indie comic.
Sam: I was really looking forward to this show coming into the season, but while I still really liked the episode, it wasn’t what I expected. The PVs and promo art played up the large and diverse cast of characters, the colorful animation, and the energy in the series. All of this will still happen, but episode 1 was, as Drew said, much more down to earth than I expected. Still, I really enjoyed it and it did a great job of setting up some of the characters.
Drew: I can see why the lack of high-energy would be a thing, but I think you may be wrong about how it gets played in the future. As someone who’s got most of his initial anime and manga experience digging through discount comic book racks, I’ve met with a lot of series (though few of them were manga) where the fantastical production values never got used for anything more than a mundane overall story, and it works that way. I see it coasting down a brisk slope in that manner. Unless… you think racial tension is going to be a big factor down the road?
Sam: I still think it will be, but I’m thinking of one PV in specific that featured a house flying through the air while the tanuki family is still in it and gloriously animated fireworks explode around them.
This is another PV with what I mean; it focuses a lot on the over the top expressions and the big actions while the show is only about 20% that. The other thing is that only about 4 or 5 of those characters are in episode 1. Still a great show though.
Well damn. Yep, there’s gonna be racial tension, and, if I heard that PV right, tension is far too nice a word. But I have a lot of faith in the makers of this series right now that they’ll be able to carry that atmosphere into a much more dramatic atmosphere and resolve it while the characters act like themselves. Also, that PV reminded me – that scene with the arrow was great, really showcased the playfulness of a protagonist that was fooling around for most of the episode. Oh yeah, what was your favorite part?
Sam: That’s a really good question. I think that I would have to go with the panty flash scene; great example of perfect timing and expressions. Speaking of expressions, this show has original character designs from Kouji Kumeta from SZS, and this show is one of the best examples of why his designs work so well. They are good at portraying characters, but the expressions are pitch perfect and work great for any situation.
Drew: Now that I think of it, my favorite scene might actually have been the one where the mc was framing the conversation between Benten and the old tengu from a distance, putting words in their mouths that ended up being pretty close to the actual conversation. If there’s any single scene that sold me on the show and its atmosphere, it was that.
I like Koji Kumeta, but the only time I really saw him in it was the protagonist’s political older brother, who was getting frustrated and got into the hard-lines style that SZS rolls with. The majority of the episode, the characters felt a lot softer than what I’m used to from him. That’s a plus in this type of show, though.
Sam: I’m still a massive sucker for stylized art, and Kumeta’s style is right up my alley.
Drew: Fair enough. It says something about me that I liked Joshiraku better than SZS anyway. Getting a little off-topic, so I’m gonna say my final piece on this series. It was excellent, one of my top 3 first episodes of the season (behind Free! and WataMote), and it’s a lot less pretentious with its obviously huge budget than I thought it would be.
Sam: While not what I expected, it was still a fantastic first episode and I am really looking forward to how the show plays out.
Drew: We are so doing this weekly. So, until next week!