Shapeshifting racoons and their unique encounters make The Eccentric Family a Summer standout

There are five racoons in this shot. Believe it.

The Eccentric Family is a show that I can recommend to anyone at this point in the season. Whether you’re a harsh anime critic, or you’re a Western-culture centred person looking for a step out of your comfort zone, it’s sure to engage you with its unique appeal.

Great comedy-dramas are works that really get me going. There’s always something there to make you chuckle and keep you hooked, but in each joke there’s an iota of character development that – over time – weaves a slightly bitter narrative that becomes more powerful as your investment in the happenings increases.

The Eccentric Family looks like it’s going to be a great comedy-drama that oozes originality, and that’s what has me jazzed.

ClockComedy is a genre we see all the time in anime. If you’re looking for something to watch that boils down to shallow characters cracking slapstick jokes for 12 episodes, boy do you have options. However, when searching for a good show with the word “drama” hyphenated after the familiar “comedy,” your options diminish rather quickly.

So, although I didn’t really know what to expect walking into a show that follows a family of shapeshifting tanuki (racoons), an old tengu (long-nosed, human like creatures from Japanese folklore with the power of flight), and group of peculiar humans in the city of Kyoto, I knew that what ever it is, it’s probably going to be unlike anything I’ve seen before. And thanks to that comedic lead with a dramatic promise, I also think that The Eccentric Family will likely be a slow burn that pays off in the end.

The Shimogamo family of tanuki consist of four brothers, a thunder-shy mother, and one deceased father who was apparently one of the most legendary tanuki in the area before he was suddenly made into a stew and eaten by some humans.

Frog BroThe search for the truth behind their father’s untimely death, and the struggle of living up to his legacy are the main challenges the tanuki brothers face (sometimes poorly – the second eldest transformed into a frog to escape the stress and is unable to revert to his original form), but new characters with complicated relationships to the brothers often appear, shaking up their day to day life.

It’s not always clear whether one of these new characters is a normal human that’s interacting with one of the disguised brothers while oblivious to their true nature, or whether they are of another tanuki family that’s simultaneously vying for status in the human and tanuki world. However, these uncertain encounters are making The Eccentric Family a joy to watch.

I had no plans to watch this show when I first saw it listed on The Chart. Now, I can’t see my self going a week without it.

Each character enters a scene like a well of knowledge, filled to the brim with crucial information about the plot. You never know who you’re going to meet next, or what kind of rivalry they might share with the Shimogamo family – with a couple exceptions.

Benten GrabI’d be remiss if I failed to mention two other key characters. Akadama, a wizened – maybe even senile – tengu who lost his ability to fly but lives in a symbiotic relationship with the Shimogamo family, and Benten, an unpredictable human woman (above left) who everyone seems to fear. Benten also possesses the power of flight for some, as of yet, undeclared reason, but the fear that she instills in all creatures appears to stem from another source, possibly a source of stewing prowess? At this point, the reason doesn’t even matter.

Watching a web of connections and a hierarchy of inter-species status reveal itself each week, with a few honest jokes thrown in for good measure, has got me set on this quirky show. I had no plans to watch The Eccentric Family when I first saw it listed on “The Chart.” Now, I can’t see my self going a week without it.

(Watch it on for free on Crunchyroll)

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