The Eccentric Family 2 Episode 11
by Nick Creamer,
How would you rate episode 11 of
Eccentric Family 2 ?
Well, that sure was an adventure. With Yasaburo and Kaisei captured and Yaichiro's election thrown into question, this episode offered a rambling ride through the world of Eccentric Family, giving almost everyone a moment in the spotlight. The Eccentric Family's second season isn't really coming together with the same narrative and thematic grace as its predecessor, but it's still offering plenty of thrills just the same. Nothing demonstrates the magic of family quite like Yaichiro turning into a tiger and headbutting a flying train.
But before we got there, Yaichiro first had an election to attend. Thematically speaking, I felt Soun's scheme was perfectly in line with what he represents in the show. Just as his attempted ascension in the first season reflected a betrayal of his brother, and his move toward the Friday Club represented a betrayal of tanuki society (though in retrospect, that whole plot seemed more like a feint), his new plan this week stood as a betrayal of his own son. Like Benten, Soun's feelings of victimhood have turned him into a dark creature, someone who actively rages against The Eccentric Family's belief in family itself.
On the other hand, his ultimate scheme felt close enough to his ploy in the first season that I once again found myself experiencing just a bit too much deja vu. The Eccentric Family 2 has echoed the first season so often that I have to assume it's an intentional choice, but I don't really think this kind of cyclical storytelling does the show any favors. There are a vast number of potential stories to explore in this world, and seeing season two once again come down to “Soun tries to get the Shimogamos in a hot pot in order to secure the election for himself” is inherently a bit of a letdown, particularly after he already had one plot shot down halfway through this season. I'd much rather have seen this season focus on the entirely new conflicts presented by the Nidaime, or perhaps push Yasaburo in the same way it's pushed Yajiro.
That said, virtually all of the scenes making up this new betrayal were entertaining in their own right. Yaichiro got much of the best material, with his dramatic speech to the tanuki society once again demonstrating his fundamentally great character. And the followup to that speech, where Gyokuran leapt on his back and reiterated her love for his fool self, was Eccentric Family at its iconic best. Seeing this family demonstrate their individual strength and communal love is always one of Eccentric Family's best tricks.
Yasaburo also got a pretty choice scene, even if it was only in a dream. His confrontation with his deceased father allowed him to do something that likely every member of his family has wanted to - yell at Soichiro for being so reckless and leaving them so soon. He even got to acknowledge that Soichiro blaming things on his “foolish blood” isn't really much of an excuse, though at least that's a failing they all share. After a full season of attempting to escape responsibility, this confrontation with his own mortality forced Yasaburo to acknowledge that there are still many things he actually has to do.
Last up among the character spotlights, good old Professor Yodogawa finally got to be a true hero. His attempted rescue of Yasaburo was as charming as it was inept, demonstrating that even those who once ate tanukis can still turn over a new leaf. The Eccentric Family 2 may not be as tightly written or dramatically satisfying as its predecessor, but spending a few hours with these characters is still a lovely time.
The Eccentric Family 2 is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Nick writes about anime, storytelling, and the meaning of life at Wrong Every Time.
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