Uchouten Kazoku 3 – Skinny Dipping

That’s the second time this season and it’s only been three/four weeks. I hope this is a growing trend.

Summary:

So the Fire Festival draws near. During this event, the Tanuki hold parties on their flying cruisers.

Yaichiro was supposed to secure a ship for his family but it didn’t go through. Now he has to ask Yasaburo for help.

Yasaburo jokingly demands Yaichiro to beg on his knees. Mom scolds him and orders him to get to work.

Yasaburo visits Yajiro again. They talk about how Yasaburo was supposed to be engaged to Kaisei of the Ebisugawa family.

They remember how they broke ties with the Ebisugawas after they insulted them.

Yasaburo and Yashiro visit Akadama to ask for his flying tea parlor.

Akadama tells him that he gave it away to Benten. Obviously, Yasaburo’s not happy for Akadama making his job harder.

Yasaburo and Akadama’s old friend have a chat while the leave Akadama’s home.

He tells Yasaburo about the time his father transformed into a mountain(!) in a fight against the Tengu.

The brothers go to a fan shop to look for Benten.

They’re led to a lake where Benten is relaxing at.

Yashiro’s so scared of the Tanuki-eating human, he can’t contain his transformation.

Yasaburo introduces his brother to Benten and tries to get him comfortable around her.

Yasaburo asks about Akdama’s tea parlor. Benten says he’ll owe her for it though.

Benten tries out her newly repaired fan (the one Yasaburo shot at before).

She summons the thunder and the rain and goes whale surfing. In the nude.

She shows Yasaburo how to use the tea parlor before leaving it in his hands.

Thoughts:

Another good episode but again, not one that can convince people who already dropped this to pick it up again. While the past episodes focused on the relationships between Yasaburo and the other characters through some lengthy dialogue, and this episode still did that, this episode also did quite the job on showing more of the world that the characters live in. The world of Uchouten Kazoku can fit under the description of “marvelous real”. Marvelous real is when an otherwise mundane and ordinary world actually has elements of magic and fantasy blended with it. In Uchouten Kazoku, there’s this deep, mythical world of the god, the Tengu and the Tanuki right under the noses of most humans. I love how despite these things that we would percieve as wonderful and supernatural, the characters just go about with it like these things are part of their daily lives.  Floating ships during the Fire Festival? Just another Tanuki tradition. These things add more color to the slice-of-life aspect to this show. Now, a few days ago, I had an interesting discussion with my friends about fanservice. One point we brought up is that nudity does not automatically equate to fanservice. I think the scene with Benten going for a skinny dip is quite a timely example of this. Nudity can be a symbol for vulnerability. When we are naked, we really have nothing protecting us from the rest of the world. In a way, we are at our weakest state when naked. Look at Bruce Banner and the Hulk. When Bruce returns to normal after transforming into this big, raging, butt-hurt monster, he becomes this awkward naked guy. That state of nakedness puts contrast between him as a regular human and his altered form. Uchouten Kazoku takes this same principle of nudity=vulnerability and plays with it. Look at Benten, swimming naked. Vulnerable and unprotected. And yet, look at her lifting a whale for her amusement. Amazing. It shows that even if Benten was at her weakest, she’s still damn powerful by most standards. I hope I’ve managed to enlighten you a bit on fanservice with this little thought. Oh but don’t get me wrong, there’s still a crap load of anime that uses nudity for nothing more than sexual stimulation. By no means is Queen’s Blade some kind of fine art literature rich in metaphors…Or is it?

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