A Viewer’s Guide to RobiHachi: Episode 6
This episode guide may include plot and/or character reveals.
Japanese Title: 寝耳にウナギ
English Title: Qu-eel-le Surprise
Characters: Robby Yarge, Hatchi Kita, Ikku/JPS-19, Yang, Allo, Gras, Unami*, King Nurumite*
*Indicates the first appearance in the series.
Summary: Robby, Hatchi, and Ikku land on planet Hamama II during the Great Eel Festival, eagerly anticipating a meal of broiled eel. Instead, they find huge oxen being tended by bald, muscular, and nearly naked men. A gong sounds and the men drive the oxen toward a large lake, with Robby, Hatchi, and Ikku leading the stampeding herd.
Suddenly, an eel the size of a train leaps out of the water and swallows the oxen like a handful of peanuts. The eel chases Robby, Hatchi, and Ikku across the land and into a huge, crowd-filled stadium. Another gong sounds, and men begin shooting the eels with arrows tied to ropes. The eel hunters drag their prey into the stadium, carve them into slabs, and load the meat onto carts.
A young child named Unami approaches Robby, Hatchi, and Ikku and offers to be their tour guide. Robby and Hatchi feast on huge skewers of barbecued eel and enthusiastically carry a shrine in the parade. After watching a dance show featuring only men, a disappointed Robby notes there are no women to be found. Robby enters the Great Eel Race, hoping to win the cash prize. Yang, Allo, and Gras arrive at the festival in search of Robby.
Yang spots Robby at the Great Eel Race and hijacks another eel to pursue him. Yang wins the race and is swarmed by officials, enabling Robby to escape into the crowd. Just before leaving the planet, Robby learns all native Hamamans, including the young Unami, are men. Robby and company board the Nagaya Voyager and head for Isekandar.
See “Getting Started” for background information on the anime, which is based on an Edo Period fiction series called Tōkaidōchū Hizakurige.
The planet Hamama II (pronounced “ha-ma-ma-tsū”) is a parody of the Tōkaidō Road post-station Hamamatsu located near Lake Hamamatsu.
Hamama’s great eels are a parody of the Hamamatsu regional specialty food freshwater eel (unagi), which are said to boost male virility.
Robby’s explanation of Earth eels being overfished by alien Totchinans is a reference to the native Japanese unagi, which have become very rare and were declared an endangered species in 2013. So-called “farmed eels” come from immature eels (glass eels) that are harvested from the ocean and raised in freshwater aquaculture farms.
Robby wonders whether they have arrived on a Day of the Ox. These days occur in late July to early August, usually the hottest days of summer and are considered the ideal time to eat unagi.
As they watch the great eels being sliced up, Robby remarks it is like watching a tuna-filleting show (maguro kaitai). Fish dealers host these shows, which demonstrate how to render a whole tuna into restaurant-ready portions.
The ruler of Hamama II is King Nurumite, which means “slippery/slimy hand.”
Unami flatters Robby by calling him niisan, which is used to address a young man in his late teens to twenties, such as Hatchi. Hatchi addresses Robby as ossan, which is slang for a man in his thirties to forties (sometimes fifties).
The eel catching competition is a parody of a catch-and-eat restaurant. Diners catch the slippery fish using their bare hands, then fillet and broil it themselves.
Electric eel baths are a parody of electric baths (denkiburo) found in public bath houses. As the name indicates, a low-voltage electric current is passed through the water.
During the Great Eel Race, Yang repeats one word multiple times in a row, running the syllables together to create a pun. “Rishi-rishi-rishi!” becomes “Shiri-shiri-shiri!” and “Tsuke-tsuke-tsuke!” becomes “Ketsu-ketsu-ketsu!” Rishi means “interest” and tsuke means “bill”. Shiri and ketsu mean butt or ass. This is not the first time director Shinji Takamatsu has dropped puns using shiri and ketsu. In the anime Gintama, which Takamatsu also directed, the “Onmyōji Arc” tells the story of a centuries-long rivalry between two lineages named Shirino and Ketsuno, aka, the “Butt” families. One guest character is named Ketsuno Ana, which can mean either “Announcer Ketsuno” or “butt hole”.
The closing scene of Yang, Allo, and Gras having a conversation while passing a volleyball around is a parody of the anime Haven’t You Heard, I’m Sakamoto, another anime directed by Takamatsu. The Sakamoto anime includes a trio of high delinquents, the leader of whom, Atchan (short for Atsushi), is voiced by Tomokazu Sugita (Yang).