© Tomihiko Morimi, GENTOSHA/Uchoten-Kazoku 2 Committee

Back in 2013, the band milktub performed the opening theme song “Uchoten Jinsei” (Eccentric Life) for The Eccentric Family (Uchoten Kazoku), an anime about tanuki, tengu, and humans living in modern society. Now, they are returning to perform the second season’s opening theme, “Narugamama Sawagumama” (Make a Ruckus as You Will). Once again the band lead by “bamboo,” who is not only a singer and lyrycist, but also the president of bishojo game company Overdrive (Deardrops, Kira☆Kira) and international bishojo game publishing company MangaGamer.

I asked him what the meaning behind the band name “milktub” was before the premiere of the second season’s first two episodes at the Toho Cinemas theater in Roppongi Hills.

“I wasn’t the one who came up with it. One of the other members at the time did,” he explained, “I’m not sure if you’re allowed to write this, but it’s from a guy’s… well… you know, guys have ‘milk’ built up inside them, so it comes from that.”

bamboo and a few of his friends began a band when they were 16-year-olds in high school. Why? To get popular.

“I think it’s pretty much the same everywhere in the world—the reason most people start music is that they want to be popular.”

They only began calling themselves milktub when bamboo was around 18. After a few of the original members left the group, vocalist bamboo remained in the band with the guitarist Ichiban Boshi☆Hikaru, and the two have been performing as a musical unit together ever since. They released their first official album “SMILE ENERGY” under the Lantis label in 2008.

milktub is famous for its over-the-top energy and humorous attitude. Bamboo told me that both his performance and music style came from such artists as Atsushi Inoue, the vocalist of NEW ROTE’KA, Juichi Morishige from ZIGGY, and Michael Monroe from Finnish band Hanoi Rocks.

“They made music that gave you energy,” he explained, “ZIGGY’s vocalist was a super cool person. He was the most gaudy of all the people in the glam rock genre. He wore clothing meant for women, but he appeared very cool.”

Magical Modern Fantasy Anime The Eccentric Family Gets Second Season

The new season of The Eccentric Family was announced in 2016—three years after milktub performed the theme song for the first anime. bamboo is a passionate fan of the series—after traveling to Kyoto when the first season aired, bamboo’s gone back at least ten times to visit the sites featured in the anime. Also an avid Ingress player, he even participated in an Ingress event in Kyoto, traveling some 20 kilometers around the city to visit those landmarks (seriously—you can see him featured in the video below).

As such a big fan of the series, even though he didn’t know if he’d be called back to do the theme song when the second season of the anime was announced, he had ideas of his own.

“I had this plan that I’d still make a theme song without permission and put it in our album. I didn’t know if we’d be chosen to do the theme song, but I really wanted to.”

The resulting song was “Narugamama Sawagumama” (sample seen below), which has lyrics that play off the Japanese saying “Naseba naru, nasaneba naranu. Nanigoto mo naranu wa hito no nasanu nari keri.” (If there’s a will, there’s a way. If there’s no will, there’s no way. You cannot succeed if you don’t try). It’s a saying bamboo says he hates.

“Rather than focusing on just trying, I’d prefer to try and have a mindset that will let me enjoy life, even if something bad happens. You know, like when a game gets delayed or you forgot to put the mosaics on the private parts of your erotic visual novel,” he told me, “Sure, it makes me feel a little down, but I want to be able to say ‘Well, can’t be helped!’ and enjoy myself. I think that’s a trait the characters of The Eccentric Family have—especially Yasaburo.”

After talking with the director of the anime, bamboo got inspiration from the phrase “Narugamama” (whatever will be, will be), something he believes is related thematically to the story of The Eccentric Family and its characters.

© Tomihiko Morimi, GENTOSHA/Uchoten-Kazoku 2 Committee

One of the characters to look out for according to bamboo is Tenmaya, a new character introduced in the second season. This middle-aged man who appears before Yasaburo has strong connections to both the tanuki and tengu, and despite his shoddy appearance, he is in fact a powerful illusionist.

“Tenmaya’s a character shrouded in mystery […] I had an idea of what Nidaime would be like [from reading the books], but I couldn’t imagine what Tenmaya would look like appearance-wise. So thanks to the anime, now I’m able to be like, ‘Oh wow, that’s what he looks like!'”

Without giving away too much, Tenmaya is a character that will be an opposing force for Yasaburo on the human side this season. But, Yasaburo’s friend/enemy/love interest Benten is also going to get a bit of attention this season as well.

“Benten’s a very free person, but in the second season, we get our first look at her when she’s weak and vulnerable,” bamboo told me.

bamboo is a big fan of Benten—so much that he’d like to put a character like her in one of his future games. If given the chance to make a game with Benten as the heroine, however, he says he’d like to detail the story of the fun-loving magical woman when she was just a high school student. After all, before being kidnapped by Akadama Sensei—a tengu who has been head-over-heels in love with her for years—she was just a normal girl with some mysterious powers of her own.

© Tomihiko Morimi, GENTOSHA/Uchoten-Kazoku 2 Committee

When I asked him what he loves most about The Eccentric Family, he told me that without a doubt, it’s the story. Despite the original novel and anime revolving around the affairs of tanuki and tengu, he believes that the story feels very human, but also has a certain “tanuki-ness” to it.

We Saw the First Two Episodes of The Eccentric Family 2

“‘Tanuki-ness’ is the pride a tanuki holds for being a tanuki. The tanuki in The Eccentric Family live their lives while protecting this pride. They adjust themselves to modern human society by not only living within that society as tanuki, but also as humans by transforming,” he explained, “And they have fun doing it. It’s such a happy series. Just by watching the show, I get this happy feeling.”

Sure, Benten is his favorite character, but what character would he most like to be if given the chance?

© Tomihiko Morimi, GENTOSHA/Uchoten-Kazoku 2 Committee

“To tell the truth, I like Yajiro because he’s just chilling out at the bottom of a well.”

milktub’s “Narugamama Sawagumama” single will be released in Japan on April 26.

The second season of The Eccentric Family 2 premiered on Japanese television on April 9. Crunchyroll is streaming the anime with English subtitles as it airs. Season 1 of the anime is not currently available for streaming, but NIS America released the first season on Blu-ray in 2015.

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