Raccoon looks like a lady
Shape-shifting tanuki and soaring tengu, huge ears, and atypical animation are the pillars on which Uchouten Kazoku is built. It's an intriguing mishmash of elements that certainly don't sound as though they could work well together, but I was pleasantly surprised to see a series with such seemingly disjointed elements tell a story that seems as though it could blossom into something beautiful.
While I wasn't particularly enamored with every bit of the first episode, it laid the groundwork for what has the potential to become a sleeper hit of the summer season. Fans of The Tatami Galaxy may find themselves immediately drawn to Uchouten Kazoku, though the two series feel inherently different. In fact, the tale feels just like what a Tomihiko Morimi story should. There's a note of quirkiness in the way characters interact, their mannerisms, and their likenesses. You'd expect tanuki to be mostly playful and exuberant, but there's a darker side explored via the tengu.
Our hero, Shimogamo Yasaburou, is a tanuki who prefers to shapeshift into an alluring young girl. There's a deep history between his old master Professor Akadama, and that of a shared love interest for Suzuki "Benten" Satomi, a gorgeous lavender-haired human with the tengu power of flight. The trio are tied together through an event known as the Demon King Cedar Incident, during which Akadama broke his back and lost the ability to fly.
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