When I started this season of Rakugo I was under the impression that this would be Konatsu’s and Yotaro’s story seeing as Yakumo’s had reached it’s end. However to my dismay it appeared that halfway through the season Yakumo has hijacked the series. I previously stated that the story of Rakugo has already ended with the last episode and nowhere is this more apparent than this episode. In a rather odd supernatural twist this episode took place entirely in the afterlife with Yakumo meeting Sukeroku and Miyokichi. Overall this episode confirmed one thing, that Yakumo is 100% dead and unfortunately after the previous fake out’s I don’t have any real strong feelings about that. I love the guy for sure but him dying has essentially been the only story going for the last couple of episodes. I don’t think removing this episode would have a major impact on the series and in some cases it would be a good thing seeing as this episode makes it out that the ghost apparitions Yakumo was seeing were indeed real. This show has always been fairly grounded in reality so it’s odd that I now know everything about the afterlife of this world. Of course you could write it off as some sort of fever dream before Yakumo died but in that case it would make this episode a rather sad delusion of his subconscious absolving him of guilt.
From what I see this episode hit a lot of people hard as it certainly was pushing for the so called “feels”. Being the heartless monster I am, I found myself rather unmoved. I will admit to having a soft fuzzy feeling when Yakumo and Sukeroku did a pinky promise on the river zanza but I think this episode was trying a little too hard to that effect. Having Masuda show up as Yakumo’s boatman was an outright sign for “Cry now please” I can’t say I hated this episode but I also can’t deny what it is. Pointless. None of this was really needed and I actually really hate that they tried to explain away Sukeroku’s stabbing as a joke that turned into a horrible accident. Oh she used to wave around a knife and just so happened to trip…bullshit. Where the hell did the knife come from in that hotel room? In a way it sort of cheapens the whole tragedy by showing the two in the afterlife as it makes their death have far less gravitas. Looking back at the first season there won’t be any real emotion in that scene anymore because here they are laughing it up in the afterlife.
That just really bugs me. I am somewhat reminded of the ending of Infinite Regius which attempted to turn the horrible experience the children went through into some fondly loved adventure. It paints the suffering the characters went through as something minor and insignificant. Yakumo gets his emotional sendoff but none of the emotional drama over death has any real meaning anymore. Makes Yakumo’s suicidal thoughts seem almost comical with him getting all worked up over death when it was his big afterlife surprise party I must reiterate that I didn’t hate this episode and still enjoyed it but this show truly has run out of steam. I honestly think it would have been better off giving Rakugo a ten episode run and giving the remaining episodes over to KonoSuba which could have made much more out of them. Next episode has us seeing Yotaro’s and Konatsu’s children grown up and I find myself not really caring all that much. The extended epilogue continues when the majority of the cast has left the stage.