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Chibi Maruko-chan 021

Maru-chan and the School Arts Festival

Okay, this episode almost killed me. This one had to be done entirely by ear, and there were so many hard-to-parse lines alongside hard-to-understand references that I almost said the heck with it and skipped ahead to the next episode.

However, one of the sites I reference said that Masaaki Yuasa had a major role in creating this episode, so you Yuasa fans out there will probably want to check it out. His influence isn’t immediately obvious, but you can kinda make it out in a few scenes.

Kobutori Jiisan - This is probably the biggest pain of the whole episode – everything hinges on a classroom production of this Japanese folktale that very few people in the Western world have heard of. I highly recommend you do some quick Googling to fill in the blanks yourself, but the Cliff’s Notes version is as follows.

-Two old dudes live next to each other, both with big lumps on their faces.
-One old dude is nice, the other old dude is a jerk.
-The nice old man ends up partying with the Oni, Japanese demons.
-They take the nice old man’s lump ‘cause he’s a cool guy.
-The nice old man brags about this to the jerk old man.
-The jerk decides to try this out himself.
-The jerk old man sucks at partying though, and the Oni are unimpressed.
-The Oni stick another lump on the jerk old man’s face.

Now, this is the version of the story they focus on the episode. I’ve seen the motivation for why the Oni remove the old man’s lump change in different versions. This isn’t that important, but be forewarned that if you ever end up having to discuss this story with some pedantic nutjob, they’re probably going to walk all over you.

Benkei - He’s a legit warrior monk dude who has a bunch of folklore written about him, with the most popular being his appearance in Ushiwakamaru, the story of Minamoto no Yoshitsune, another base dude. If you’ve watched enough anime, you’ve probably seen stuff with a guy on a bridge refusing to let people pass and another guy finally kicking his teeth in, at which point the bridge guy swears his loyalty to the teeth-kicker guy. Anyways, the bridge guy is usually a takeoff of good ol’ Benkei here.

The Golden Demon - Otherwise known as Konjiki Yasha in the original Japanese, this is a story by Ozaki Koyo. Some guy is in love with a girl who ends up jilting him because she gets proposed to by some other dork who gives her a diamond ring. The guy starts hating the world and becomes a hard-hearted moneylender, and the girl ends up in a lousy marriage. Sounds like a good time all around, doesn’t it?

“Mt. Akagi” - Grandpa has a lousy memory and the famous line he utters isn’t from the Golden Demon, it’s from an eponymous movie about Kunisada Chuji, a leader of a group who were like the OG yakuza. Anyways, Kunisada made his base on Mt. Akagi, but when it’s put under siege by the government, he utters this supposedly-famous line before making his brief escape. Regardless, Maruko’s whole family end up wracking their brains over what movie the line Grandpa says originally came from.