Uchouten Kazoku Episode 7: Daddy Issues

UK Episode 7 OP

The last few episodes left me really confused about the point of the show. The first few episodes were primarily about setting the scene, and confronting Yasaburo’s father’s death was presented the primary internal conflict; avoiding a similar fate at the hands of Benten seemed like a lesser, albeit more physical, side effect. However, episodes 5 and 6 were devoted wholly to the exploration of that conflict, and didn’t really bring about any closure on that front. In this episode, we finally seem to be moving towards the primary conflict.

The episode is appropriately titled “Bathhouse rules” as it’s in the said Bathhouse that most of the action occurs. The initial conflict is to get our lovable tsundere professor to actually take a bath, as he seems to refuse to do so and instead rely on perfume to mask his lack of basic hygiene. After some of the standard verbal dancing (and whining about Benten) required to get the professor to do anything, the Shimogamo brothers manage to force him into the bathhouse. All of this is charming in its own way, but it’s ground the series has tread through and through, and the last two episodes have proven that without a cohesive plot to carry the series along it’s charm simply leaves one confused. Thankfully, it’s at this point that we begin seeing real developments in the plot.

As the Shimogamo brothers are preparing to leave the bathhouse, the Ebisugawa Elite Guard appear, headed by Kinkaku and Ginkaku. The metallic brothers assert that they have a surefire method of winning the Nise-emon elections, and after some verbal and physical sparring, Yaichiro coaxes the ace in the hole from Kinkaku: Yajiro was out drinking with their father on the night he was caught and killed. Yajiro was also drunk, and left his father behind, allowing him to be killed, making him partially responsible for his death. Yaichiro and Yasaburo confront Yajiro over this point, and he confirms that it’s all true.

UK Episode 7 mid

This episode has left me even more confused about the overall message of this show. Episodes 5 and 6 said that Dad’s death was totally acceptable and Yasaburo said he didn’t feel any emotion over his dad’s death on multiple occasions. Now we’re told that this is the biggest thing in the world to him, and that it deserves dramatic flashbacks, screams of pain, tears, and dark melancholic background music. A part of me wants to just ignore episodes 5 and 6, and while the story might make more sense that way, it’s a negative mark against the storytelling approach this show is taking if it requires me to simply forget two episodes even happened. The standard plot structure is exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution. So far we’ve seen a lot of character interaction that goes nowhere and in this episode finally begin to see some rising action. The virtually non-existent segue out of the themes of the previous episodes into the main conflict is not only jarring, but is tantamount to an admission that this series was veering wildly off track with no real direction. Barring an absolutely brilliant climax, the series seems to have made a critical mistake that is impossible to fully recover from.

The dialogue is also taking a definite slide (although this may just be subbing issues). Case in point:

UK Episode 7 ED

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