This is just a joke–more like, I can’t stay quiet about Uchouten Kazoku for this long. Very minor spoiler to episode 8 ahead (and even so it’s information you know very early on, like episode 1 or 2).
There’s one concern about the show that keeps me quiet–the story and characterization falls too neatly and yet so organically on the defined lines of wabi sabi that every time I try to plot down what I want to say about it I feel like “maybe I should’ve majored in Asian studies or something.” There’s this nagging feeling of inadequacy to try to praise or to criticize Uchouten Kazoku because both I lack the specific tools and I realize these tools are present and beyond my reach. It’s a wholly different feeling of “knowing” than that of “I don’t know that I don’t know,” which is more often the case than not.
Case in point: I really enjoyed episode 8 in terms of the thematic matters, but the moment I try to put that into a framework I want to use something from Adachi and I’m like, dude, this show is basically the superset of Adachi’s dead boy/girlfriend schtick. Except infinitely more filially pious. And then I’m like, dude, “it’s dead people so I might as well start quoting K-dramas.” It’s not exactly modesty; but the feeling isn’t too different from it. It’s a sense of imperfect resignation in light of a beautiful passing of imperfection. Which is like meta-wabi-sabi. Which just leads me to face some palms.
Joking aside, though, let’s talk about PA Works and JP’s statement about how some shows are likable mostly by Asians for a bit. I think the very exact same thing is present for Uchoten Kazoku. It’s calling to our blood. It’s not the way a tanuki always fool around, but more like, this is pressing all those cultural and genetic buttons that (East) Asians have. It’s that sense of beauty from extreme modesty and slight imperfection, like trying to catch a whale by the tail.
But then again the two girls do show up naked here and there, so that’s some universal attraction in Uchouten Kazoku’s favor. It’s times like this where the old tengu’s plea for what gives him excitement in life makes a lot of sense, east or west.