I have one word that I can use to describe my experience with Uchouten Kazoku: Magical. This show took me back to that time when I saw Miyazaki films for the first time as a kid. And while it’s not perfect, I can’t tell you how much re-experiencing that feeling means to me.
What really amazed me is how PA works managed to connect all of these random plot lines and resolve everything. If you remember what happened to Angel Beats, you know that PA works is great at making a series catch our interest, but either end up a mess due to too much plot points, lack of interesting scenarios(Tari Tari), or just go ballistic with their endings regardless of what their previous tone was(Another). And yet in this case, they managed to tie everything in a neat bow that needs to be seen to believe.
It’s not just the plot points they connect that work either. All of the character’s issues get some form of resolution thanks to gathering everyone involved in these big events. From the Proffesor coming to terms with how contradicting his love for tanukis was to Akadama getting his Raijin fan back, there’re many defining moments that makes it feel as if everyone has found who they really are. And no more is this more obvious than with the Shimogamo brothers as they each play a part in reuniting their family.
Not to downplay the fun factor, as the crazy stuff they pull in this climax is, in my opinion, comedy gold. Just the bizarre situations involving the tanuki transformations or tengu powers bring a huge smile on my face. The highlight of cours is when the depressed Yajirou gets his powers back by chugging an entire glass of Fake Denki Bran, and the chase scene that follows had me laughing my ass off, especially with the townspeople’s reaction.
Having said that though, how it finishes doesn’t completely feel conclusive. I mentioned that everything gets resolved, but how they get resolved is a different story. The whole motivation of the Friday Fellows, the whole Nise-emon election, Benten’s involvement with Akadama and several other plot points are given very simple answers that feel like they should be explored. Which is really a shame considering so many other plot points are handled brilliantly.
But then again, maybe it shouldn’t be like that. While the overall mythology is really interesting, that was never the real focus of this show. The whole focus of the show was valuing family and appreciating life. Yasaburou even states at the end that all that matters is enjoying life. Truth be told, I actually had a dream last week that i was with all these characters getting drunk on fake denki bran, just having a great time.
Could it have been explored more? Sure. Were there vague details throughout the story? Absolutely. Are there weaker shows i’ve seen with more memorable finales? Of course I have. But did that really ruin it for me? NOT AT ALL! And considering what i’ve seen of PA works, i’m impressed they even managed to give so much without ending in a jumbled mess. The world they built grabbed me from the get go, but this eccentric family is what kept me invested from start to finish. It’s my Anime of the season, and possibly my Anime of the Year.