The Eccentric Family 2 Episode 9
by Nick Creamer,
How would you rate episode 9 of
Eccentric Family 2 ?
After an episode as packed with climactic moments as last week's, I suppose it's only natural that The Eccentric Family took something of a break this time. Covering a variety of narrative odds and ends leading up to the new Trick Magister election, this episode didn't really offer any of the highlights that make The Eccentric Family such a pleasure. This was a board-arranging episode, and though those are always something of a disappointment, it accomplished its job with reasonable grace.
Part of the reason this episode felt lukewarm was because much of this material was a retread of the first season. Not only was the lead-up to the Trick Magister election covered in a similar way originally, but there were even full sequences here that were direct copies of scenes from season one. While watching Yasaburo get enlisted to convince Akadama felt like a meaningful articulation of his character the first time, seeing those scenes repeated didn't really do anything for the characters or larger narrative. In a show that's usually smart about making sure its narrative content progresses both character and thematic goals, many of this episode's scenes felt more like empty stuff happening.
But the larger problem was that this episode's material just wasn't particularly interesting for its own sake, existing mostly just to set up future events. The focus on Akadama appointing Benten as the election observer was an obvious turn, but Yasaburo's argument with Akadama really didn't illuminate anything more about their characters. Watching Yasaburo and Nidaime cross swords is always an inherent pleasure, but their conversation was mostly just a cheeky debate leading to one obvious conclusion. There's likely strong material to come regarding Nidaime's feelings toward his father and his potential life path, but this episode was all just functional setup articulated without much visual or dramatic distinction.
Still, as far as setup goes, this episode was at least setting up some intriguing future conflicts. Last episode saw Yasaburo retreating entirely from the prospect of assuming responsibility, and this episode demonstrated that even when you are willing to take on responsibility, you won't necessarily be ready for it. Yasaburo tackled the issue of finding a tengu observer with the same carefree attitude he brings to all his pursuits, and though that attitude generally works out okay when he's the only one on the line, in this case it ended up endangering all of Kyoto's tanuki society.
The episode was also given some thematic heft through the contrast of Yasaburo, Yaichiro, and the Nidaime. I appreciated how Yasaburo's articulation of Yaichiro's goals almost cost them Nidaime's support, as Yaichiro's reverence for his father couldn't have seemed more foreign to Nidaime. Nidaime's ambiguous relationship with his father also tied in nicely to Yasaburo's difficulty growing up, giving a sense of thematic congruity to their unlikely friendship.
Overall, this episode was definitely below par for The Eccentric Family, but it still got us where we needed to go. And I'm certainly excited for next week's Benten-Nidaime showdown!
Nick writes about anime, storytelling, and the meaning of life at Wrong Every Time.
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