I just have to wonder: what the hell were they thinking? Didn’t someone in the middle of the animation process take a look at this and say “Gosh, I think that’s kinda creepy?” I know every anime fan out there is ready to fly high his “cultural differences” flag, and call me a hegemonist, a culturalist and all sorts of “ists” (and you might not be wrong), but I can’t find a lot of justification for this particular scene.
Here’s the breakdown. Jubei has some sort of sickness after being struck down in the previous episode and has developed a serious fever – people’s hands burn up when they touch her forehead. After sending Bantaro and his monkey friends away, her dad strips her clothes off, then his, dives into the tub, comes back, jumps on top of his daughter, and then holds on tight. Hell, maybe if it were my daughter I’d do the same thing, but on screen, watching it happen, I felt decidedly uncomfortable.
It also let the show indulge in more of its deadly dull exposition, answering all sorts of questions that no one in their right mind has – visually or narratively, absolutely nothing interesting happens in the flashbacks.
In the show, there’s a little minor action, all of it played comic, so it doesn’t look all that interesting. The episode is about ten minutes of funny, three minutes of creepy and seven of boring. This may be somewhat typical for a mid-series episode of a pretty decent series, but just acknowledging that fact doesn’t make me feel any better for watching it. Funny, ok. Great, eh…not really.