I had a little trouble this year determining what would take the final spot on this list. Usually, there's an unforgettable series or show, or an important development in the community that everyone talks about. But there was none of that this year, at least for me - that's probably one of the reasons that four of my memories this year are from non-Japanese live action series! And I even found myself skimming some of the fun-but-OTT COVERT AFFAIRS, even though I haven't followed the 4th season because I was a little put off by some of it's opening episodes. But as I kept waiting for that one series that would sweep me away with its Oomph! factor, I realised that one had already crept into my heart. So, whilst I always knew that UCHOUTEN KAZOKU (aka The Eccentric Family) would make it onto the list, it is with some surprise that I present it as the most subliminal experience of this year.
It's difficult to pinpoint exactly what it was that made UCHOUTEN KAZOKU. The fact that Sakku was the main character meant that I would have to try it out, but the rest of the cast was also fantastic - especially Yoshino Hiroyuki as the second son with a devastating secret and Inoue Kikuko as the all-forgiving and understanding mother. The story itself was amazingly well plotted and perfectly paced, with several questions set up and answered in the course of the show; episode 8 in particular will remain a masterpiece of storytelling, but it would not have succeeded so well without the groundwork previously laid. But perhaps most importantly, it was absolutely stunning to watch. Several viewers have already pointed out details such as the depiction or ; the detail that personally caught me eye was the subtle shifting of Yasaburo's clothes and hair as he strolled beside Professor Akadama in episode 8, reminiscing about his father. The word on the street is that Uchouten Kazoku spent several years in pre-production, and it shows.
And that's how those famous fireworks come to light up the skies of Kyoto each year.
In short, the feeling that this series would be my favourite talking point of 2013 simply just crystallised through the course of the last few months. There simply wasn't any other series that grabbed my heart and refused to let go (except perhaps CITY HUNTER, and I had a couple of editing issues with that one). This just goes to show that sometimes, it's the shows floating under the radar that come together perfectly. And if my love for UCHOUTEN KAZOKU seems a little too whimsical and unsubstantiated, let's just put it down to a manifestation of my idiot blood.