I recently finished watching Nameko Families and in the end, it was an interesting series about…family, just a mushroom family. With no dialogue, the series follows a family of anthropomorphic mushrooms and tells the tale of a family that is, quite frankly, very traditional and very human.
The family is composed of a Mom, Dad, children, a pet cat, and Grandma who lives with them. Grandpa Nameko’s spirit can be seen in the house, at least to Grandma. They share meals together. Visit family together. They share, they fight, they have disagreements, they come together, they are a pretty normal and traditional family. The fact that this is surprising and refreshing for me is telling.
The Bible established the family as the most basic “governing” structure in the world at the beginning of time; a man, a wife, and children. Children are to respect their parents. Parents are to love, cherish, and train up their children with wisdom. Parents are to provide for their children. Husbands are to love their wives sacrificially. Wives are to love their husbands and accept his leadership. Love is to be at the center of the family and with that love, comes reflection of the Lord.
When love is at the center of with the Nameko Family, we see Christ’s reflection. We see it in Bad Nameko as he sacrificially loves his friends, family, and neighbors. We see it from Rock Nameko, as he loves his wife even when she is angered and in the wrong. We see it in the whole family as they stop what they are doing to protect their “lost lamb.” We see it when Long Nameko (the mother) realizes she was wrong in her anger and longs for Rock Nameko to return home to seek reconciliation. We see it in the romantic relationship between the Nameko Grandparents.
When love is not at the center of the relationships – we see something else. We see quickness to anger and extreme bitterness from Long Nameko when she sees her broken tea set. We see frustration and selfishness from Muscle Nameko whenever he sees things he wants. We see it in the violent behavior of the Nameko’s who attack Bad Nameko. When love is absent, the behavior doesn’t reflect Christ.
What is interesting about all this is with no dialogue, with no human physical characters – the creators have given us a realistic look at family life. We have each been selfish. We have all reacted poorly in anger when we thought we understood a situation. We all have acted poorly at some point around strangers. We have also been on the receiving end of forgiveness. We have also seen random acts of kindness. We also have witnessed sacrificial love for strangers. There are characters we can relate to, situations we have been in ourselves. I found myself relating to anthropomorphic mushrooms as they reflected Christ and at times, when they did not. I found myself in these mushrooms, my family in these mushrooms.
In the end, I would recommend Nameko Families. It’s cute. It’s short. And, oddly enough, it’s real.