Hoozuki no Reitetsu – 11

Hoozuki no Reitetsu - 11 -6 Hoozuki no Reitetsu - 11 -18 Hoozuki no Reitetsu - 11 -36

Japanese Culture class is back in session…

This is really the first time since very early in Hoozuki no Reitetsu’s run that I’ve felt a bit left out of the joke.  The entire episode was pulled straight from Japanese legends and fairy tales (and just my luck, none of them were on Folktales from Japan while I was watching it), and not ones I was previously familiar with.  There’s also a relative absence of regular cast members, though several do make brief appearances, with Shirou being the most prominent.

That first chapter was the story of Issun-boushi (Suzuki Tatsuhisa), the one-inch samurai (you know, now that I think about it I’m pretty sure I did see that on Folktales), and for me it was the funnier of the two halves this week.  Uncle Shirou has apparently been handed babysitting duties by his boss, and the puppies want him to read the aforementioned “Little One Inch”.  Shirou (not surprisingly, if I’m honest) isn’t much of a reader, and rather than explain one word at a time Hoozuki kindly offered to read the book himself.  And he’s proving himself to be prepared for show business at any moment – if it’s not a musical number featuring the Kings of the Afterlife at the drop of a hat, it’s a bunraku puppet theatre.

The conceit here is universal enough that even before remembering that I remembered the story I got the genius of it – One-inch is a guy with the ultimate Napoleon complex.  Except that Issun-boushi (who’s in Hell because he deceived the Lord in order to marry his daughter) has now decided he was better off being an inch tall, since everyone finds him a disappointment and a bore now.  When a guy goes after puppies with an axe you know he’s seriously messed up – and it’s not until Momotarou shows up and offers him a sympathetic ear that the storm passes.

The second chapter takes us into the world of the Gods of Mt. Fuji – namely the homely “Rock Princess” Iwa-naga (Shouji Umeka) and her beautiful younger sister the “Blossom Princess” Konohanasakuya (Komatsu Mikako).  A little Kodama Tree Spirit (Hirohashi Ryou) shows up at the cafeteria, claiming an escape from the mortal world for a respite from his hay fever (that’s a tough affliction for a tree spirit).  The real reason, though, is the wrath of Princess Rock – and here we see a take on female insecurity to act as a sort of mirror for the first chapter’s riff on male insecurity.

I admit I laughed less at this than any segment in Hoozuki since the first episode, though it was worth it in order to see Hoozuki-sama play it cool wedged between two two Goddesses.  I can’t blame Iwa-naga for being pissed off at life – she was rejected by the God she was engaged to because she was too ugly while he was happy to marry her sister, who everyone still fusses over non-stop.  He didn’t even flinch when Iwa-naga asked him the loaded question “which one of us would you marry?” question – Hoozuki merely answered “whichever one of you would eat my special brain tissue miso soup without flinching”.  Indeed, the guy fully lives up to his name here…

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Hoozuki no Reitetsu - 11 -29 Hoozuki no Reitetsu - 11 -30 Hoozuki no Reitetsu - 11 -31
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Hoozuki no Reitetsu - 11 -35 Hoozuki no Reitetsu - 11 -37 Hoozuki no Reitetsu - 11 -38
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7 comments

  1. e

    The first half was more interesting – and it had PUPPIES, the adorable Shiro plus theatre. And Hell Bunny – . Also loved the parasitic vegetation artwork and the the cognitive dissonance of the horror of the punishment in this section of Hell vs the still cute depiction of it.
    But in terms of outright laugh the second part had me at the magnified pollen. Personal reasons. And I thought the kodomo-not kodama's design was just perfect in its genderless-ness. Furthermore given how in some part of my country there are still a few brain dish recipies and people who would eat them Hoozuki's demand left me with a bit of an evil smirk.

  2. N

    The colonel sanders diving hole reference by Shirou was also pretty well done I did have to google that one because I'm not from the states.

  3. R

    To be completely biased, The story of Iwanaga-hime and Konohana-Sakuya was one of the first Japanese myths I read (back when I was churning through the library's world myths and legends section like there was no tomorrow), so I kinda liked the second half more. That being said, I do agree that this wasn't nearly as funny as some oft he previous episode, though arguably more satirical.

  4. m

    Cool visual gag with a bunch of Doraemon tools in silhouette amongst the other magic tools

    The pollen also reminded me of a certain condom TV ad so I totally understand how Kodama feels

  5. C

    I was amused by yet another HnR pun (unless I misheard it), where the Kodama introduces itself as a "ki no sei," that is, a tree spirit (or sprite, fairy) — but "ki no sei" is also a phrase that means "someone's imagination."

  6. Thanks for pointing that out – that's where a superficial knowledge of Japanese just doesn't cut it for me.

  7. Z

    I've thoroughly enjoyed these last two episodes of HnR. I think I've almost completely assimilated to HnR's style by now. Any myths, legends etc that I don't know I'm quickly absorbing as I go. This is definitely a series that benefits from a mid week viewing imo.

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