Posted on 4 April 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews, Currently Watching:, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

When you have watched a large amount of anime you can come to assume that you have learned a lot about Japanese culture. Though I think it’s testament to how limited it is to view Japan through anime when you come to realize that despite watching so much, you have never heard of Rakugo. Rakugo is a time of performance art that involves a man sitting on stage and telling a story. Sometimes a funny story, other times a heartwarming story or sometimes even a horror story. The man is given no props and much convey each actor and event in the story with his voice and mannerisms alone. Rakugo is the art of the storyteller and Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu is a story about those storytellers. Truthfully it’s difficult for me to explain exactly why this series is so great. It could be considered a landmark in character drama and a true mature anime for those tired of superpowered teenagers fighting monsters. Rakugo is a story about tragedy, about the harshness of time, about the stories that lie within stories. It follows the tale of a young boy entering the art to his final days performing in old age. In a way this story isn’t about Rakugo but instead how it affects those involved with it and their passion to perform.

Admittedly though this isn’t the show for everyone. For one a large amount of the show is dedicated to Rakugo performances. While you can admire the skill of the voice actors emoting and the general outline of the story, it’s clear that a lot is lost on ears that cannot understand Japanese. This is a character driven story and the characters are driven by Rakugo so if the Rakugo itself doesn’t quite appeal to you then admittedly that’s a large chuck of the show you won’t enjoy. Even for those that do enjoy it there is the issue that while the first season is near perfect, the second drags out it’s conclusion which can be a detriment if it isn’t tugging your heartstrings as much as it wants to. Through if Rakugo hits that sweet spot for you then it will likely be a series you hold close to your heart. The characters are great with Yakumo being center stage for most of the story. We see him go from an insecure young man to a confident performer to an old tired professional in the span of a single season. Sukeroku is the lovable mooch whose passion for what he does is unmatched. Likewise you have Yotaro who is a man that’s loud and straightforward, but delightfully genuine. With Konatsu being the snarky girl with a heart of gold. What truly makes these characters special is that they lack the common anime tropes which seem to invest each anime character nowadays. The characters of Rakugo are genuine in personality and that’s what makes the drama so strong.

Animation and art wise the series is relatively subdued and a lot of the effort goes into the emotions during  Rakugo performance. This series isn’t a visual tour de force but frankly that’s not the point. Music again is suitable but not really all that memorable. If you happen to have an interest in Japanese culture and feel worn out by the modern cliches of anime then Rakugo is a breath of fresh air for you. It will take you on a ride with twists and turns before ending with a conclusion that leaves no loose ends. By its very nature I think Rakugo will be a niche gem of the anime medium. Through however niche, it will truly beloved. Much like the art of Rakugo itself.

Posted on 29 March 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

Thus Rakugo draws to it’s final conclusion and it is rather refreshing to see a genuine conclusive ending in anime, This is a lot rarer than it should be as most anime leave you hanging for another season that may never come or just wrap up things haphazardly leaving it with a unsatisfying conclusion. However the end of Rakugo may have taken it’s sweet time but it’s nonetheless a great close to a great series. In a way the last episode was an emotional epilogue and this was an epilogue for the future of Rakugo. I am a little miffed that all the problems Rakugo faced are all resolved offscreen after a time skip. I would have liked more of a focus on how they helped rebuild the art after the burning down of the theatre. Looking over the series I find that while Rakugo was at the forefront of developments, it was more character drama that the story specifically focused on. While it brought up concerns of Rakugo becoming outdated in modern times I find that the series tended to only give vague indications of what was happening with the medium as a whole. Regardless it’s hard to deny that his is one of the finest character drama’s in anime.

That’s that then, Rakugo had a beautiful ending and there’s really not much else to say…unless of course we bring up that surprising detail revealed in this episode. I do find it amusing that Rakugo, a show so very close to perfectly executed would happen to throw something like this in at the last minute. Like a painter making a beautiful portrait and then slapping a small bit of mud on it. When the words were spoken I literally paused the video, let out a huge sigh and said out loud “They cannot possibly be doing this.” But indeed they did. For you see the father of Konastu’s first child….is Yakumo. Oh god this is Batman the Killing Joke animation all over again. Now from what I see a large amount of people are assuming that the writer was wrong in his accusation and that Konatsu was just humoring him. Of course, as no one wants to have a story twist like this. Sadly the fact that Shin looks strikingly like a young Yakumo and Matsuda being the one to clue the writer in speak that this is the truth. You could still claim otherwise but the final nail in the coffin is that apparently the writer himself confirmed it in side material. Look I get what is being done here, the blood of Yakumo and Sukeroku coming together in a new age of Rakugo but isn’t that just against the nature of succession in Rakugo itself? In Rakugo you don’t have to be related to your teacher to carry his name and his spirit. Having Yakumo spiritually live on through how he influenced Shin is a much more powerful representation of the ties of the art. A genetic tie only succeeds in allowing Yakumo’s bloodline to continue but in turn comes at the cost of respect we had for him.

I just cannot for the life of me fathom how these two could possibly engage in intercourse. Konatsu hated Yakumo and fully believes him to be the cause of her parents death. Yakumo was torturing himself over the deaths of the two so the very idea of him adding yet another sin to the bundle is just asinine. Taking this as fact this makes Konatsu a serious hypocritic and Yakumo someone who angsted over the death of his friends but still thought that getting his best friends daughter pregnant was fair game. The afterlife episode makes even less sense now. Maybe Sukeroku could get over it but Miyokichi? Like hell. The more I think about this the more it just darkens my view of Yakumo and Konatsu. When he collapses and said “My beloved” to Konastu, was he literally talking to Konatsu? Was he using her as a substitute for MIyokichi? Or against previous conceptions is he just a horny old fart? Is Konatsu really shallow enough to put aside personal vendetta’s for the chance to bang a suave older man? Because I don’t buy that “Wanting to carry his legacy” bullshit at all. Now I am really mad that we spent the last few episodes sending the Yakumo off like he was a saint.  Ladies and gentlemen, this is a situation where I believe we should invoke death of the author. In my mind the Yakusa leader is the father of Konatsu’s child. That’s my head canon because the story is the better for it and or god’s sake it makes much more sense. I suggest you do the same.

Somehow I knew that the majority of this post would be dedicated to that twist when I seen it. But let me move away from that. It’s nice to see that Konatsu has become the first female Rakugo performer(There does seem to be records of female Rakugo performers before her though) but it is a shame the final episode didn’t spare some time to show her performance. What we did get however was Yotaro performing Shinigami and I got to say I didn’t think he could pull off such a dark story considering his usual optimistic nature. Yakumo popping in for the afterlife to pitch in only made the performance all the more intense. The writer always makes assertions to make the audience think but it’s often Yotaro who happens to throw out the real words of wisdom. Ending the series with his final line that “Something this good could never go away” is a somewhat poetic end to this series. After all he is right in that regard. Even if something is old, outdated or niche, as long as it can touch the hearts of people there will be those who ensue it will never die out. That is as true for Rakugo as it is with anything in the world.

Posted on 23 March 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

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.

Posted on 16 March 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

The extended epilogue continues as Yakumo returns home after the theatre burns down. Some are signifying the burning down of the theatre as the death of Rakugo while others are speaking of it as a new beginning. After all Rakugo can be performed anywhere as long as someone is willing to listen. The members of the theatre seem well aware that Yakumo was the one to start the fire but considering that the theatre was due for renovation regardless and that they owe Yakumo for keeping the place in business, are willing to write it off as an unfortunate accident. Konatsu tells Yotaro that she is pregnant when has me almost as happy as he is. Though I think I missed the point where Yotaro and Konatsu got more romantically intimate. I certainly saw them getting more cosy with each other but I guess I am just annoyed that I didn’t get to see the big kiss moment between the two of them. It’s silly, I know but one thing that bugs me to no end about Clannad is that not once in the two seasons of the shows runtime are Tomoya and Nagisa shown kissing. A kiss almost seems like a final confirmation of a relationship in fiction and to not have it is somewhat unsatisfying.

With the way this episode was conducted I was beginning to think that Rakugo was only going to have a ten episode run as everything in this episode screamed final. Yotaro in a strange twist of fate looks to be carrying on Yakumo’s legacy instead of promoting the writers new works and from the sound of things Yotaro instead wants him to write Rakugo that Konatsu could perform. With Konatsu asking Yakumo to let her be his apprentice it looks like she will be the one to bring change to Rakugo. The final moments with Konatsu finally forgiving Yakumo for what happened to her parents and thanking him for raising her was truly a beautiful moment. In a way Yotaro is to thanked for this as he broke down her walls so well that she can finally be honest with him.

Then when all this fluffy emotion which could just as well serve as a great final episode to cap off the series, we once again see Yakumo’s death being insinuated. Look, it’s the third time already. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, then go to hell. After having this happen two times already I just won’t accept it until Yakumo is in that coffin. It wouldn’t be all that bad for him to die here when all his grievances have been resolved and Konatsu has reconciled with him. It’s somewhat cruel for Konatsu after he agreed to take her on as an apprentice but if they pull a bait and switch with Yakumo’s death yet again then I will really start getting annoyed. For it seems whenever this show is ready to end we once again foreshadow Yakumo’s death to extend it. Look at this episode, shows over. There is literally nothing left to resolve. Unless we are doing some sort of flash forward I don’t really see the point in continuing. We have two more episodes left and there is nothing to fill them with. This is of course a great show but there comes a time when all things must end. Dragging out the final closing of the curtains only degrades the performance.

Posted on 7 March 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

Now I really do feel like Rakugo is dragging it’s feet as we have an episode focused on Yakumo which by all accounts feels like a retread of the last episode. But I admit that I am rather irritated more with how the episode ended rather than how the episode was. For you see dear readers, I hate fake deaths. It is one storytelling device which I utterly despise for its artificiality and how it renders drama worthless. A death in a show is a game changer, it can change the very nature of a show. A single character death can affect the characters and push the show in new directions. It takes a lot to build the personality of a character over a show’s runtime and decide that they shall never more feature in the tale.

I respect that even if it means my favorite character will be no more and nothing is greater than them getting the end that paid respect to the legacy of that character. This episode did that for Yakumo, it set up his death in a manner that was downright perfect. The passing of the fan to Yotaro, the last performance at the prison and finally performing his signature Shinigami in an empty theatre. There was no better way for the Rakugo master to die than that, it was beautifully poetic and it just infuriates me to no end that it was all a fake out.

This is why fake deaths are such a pain, why it spits in the face of the viewer. For having saved Yakumo’s life, that build up to his death means absolutely nothing. A fake death is akin to deciding to go bungee jumping and once you have the rope around you and you are ready to jump, you just decide to go home instead. All that build up for an anti-climax. After that there is no longer any tension for if you try to build up for a death once again it won’t have the same tension. Because we have been through this same song and dance before. This is why I came to hate Key works, for they want all the drama that comes with foreshadowing death but don’t have the guts to actually go through with the consequences.

So what did this episode accomplish? Well Yakumo attempted to kill himself again, only to be stopped yet again. Am I supposed to be believe that he had a change of heart? I thought he had a change of heart last episode but he switched right back to suicide watch. Who’s to say he won’t try again? And when he does die it won’t ever match this. I feel like I watched a Romeo and Juliet play that ended with the two coming back from the death and getting married. It’s just so..so very annoying. Otherwise I don’t have much to add, up until the last minute or so I was ready to call this a great episode but now more than ever it seems that Rakugo doesn’t have enough story left to fill the remainder of it’s runtime.

Posted on 28 February 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

Allow me to be honest for a moment, my dear readers. Recently, I’m having a hard time sitting down to watching Rakugo. This is not due to a lack of enjoyment and I found myself to have this strange apprehension to starting to watch it. Youjo Senki and Little Witch Academia are shows that I can’t wait to watch and usually do so at the first chance I get. Rakugo, however, I find myself putting off for reasons I can’t quite fathom. Perhaps, it’s due to not having a lot to say about it in my blog posts as the slow pace of revelations leaves little room for interpretation or opinion. Another reason could be that a large amount of the series is already tied up. Yotaro has gotten over his problems as a performer, Konatsu and him now have a rather loving relationship, and Yakumo’s past has been laid out to bare. Really, there isn’t much left to this story and the plot now focuses on Yakumo getting back into Rakugo after his health taking a nosedive. Truthfully, I find everyone’s attempts to force him back on the stage to be rather cruel. He’s past his prime and the accident took away his ability to perform well, so if there was a point to retire, this would be certainly it.

I can understand what Yotaro is trying to achieve in performing Sukeroku Rakugo in front of Yakumo as it ss made clear that he wants his master to have fun performing again. In a way, it’s similar to how Yakumo pushed Sukeroku back into performing before his death. Though, the big reason to get Yakumo to perform is to make the yakuza boss happy as he and Yakumo have some shared history that I don’t believe was explored in the anime. Actually, on that note, there has been a disconnect between episodes in regards to time. Each time I start up an episode it feels like a significant amount of time has passed but not many clear indicators of it having done so. Maybe there is a date shown at the beginning of the episode but it’s mentally taxing for me to keep track of the timeline week after week. Either way, Yakumo’s problem looks to be wrapping up if it wasn’t for the police to have picked the worst timing to arrest the Yakuza leader. From the next episode preview, it looks like

Yakumo will be giving him that performance in prison is what’s in the future for this series. The only thing left isn’t essentially saving the art of Rakugo but how that is going to happen is a mystery. We have the writer working on new Rakugo stories and preserving the art but other than that, there hasn’t been much effort to shake up the art. I do still like this show but I admit my interest is waning a bit. In truth, Rakugo was never usually my kind of show as I tend to not go for series set within reality. I often prefer to escape the mundanity of real life, which makes slice of life such a bore for me. Rakugo to me looks to have reached a premature conclusion and now needs to bring up a new struggle to deal with in its final episodes.

Posted on 21 February 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

Looking over my old review of episode 12, I find that I didn’t really cover the episode decently. I gave a brief summery but I don’t think I really articulated my feelings on the episode as well as I could. I do remember finding it to be a big heel turn when it came to Sukeroku’s and Miyokichi’s final moments but I was willing to give it a pass. Now this episode comes along and reveals that was all a fabrication. Thinking on it, I believe Yakumo incorporated part of the last Rakugo story Sukeroku told into his version of the events as it detailed a story involving a deadbeat husband changing his ways. However now so many things make sense. Konastu’s hatred for Yakumo and why she calls him a murderer and why Yakumo is so beaten down in his old age. All this time her lied to protect Konatsu from the horrible truth. The truth that she was inadvertently caused the death of her parents.

While I do find this version of events quite interesting, it does hold a level of contrivance like the last version. It makes sense for Konatsu to lash out at her mother after she stabbed her father but I find her pushing her mother back into the balcony and the balcony collapsing at that exact moment to be too calculated. Konatsu and her mother were fairly far from the balcony so Konatsu pushing her that far seems a little unrealistic. Still the thematic implications are strong and it certainly is heartbreaking to have Yotaru embrace Konatsu while crying. All the while Konatsu being ignorant of the fact that those tears were for her. So the question is, will Konatsu ever learn of this truth before season’s end or will Yotaru and Yakumo take it to the grave. After all these years learning the truth would break Konatsu, it would utterly destroy her.

Other than that we have Yotaru watching the old videos of Yakumo and Sukeroku and remarking at the difference. Yakumo in particular did seem much more cheerful in the past when doing Rakugo, a point Yotaru notices easily. Seeing Sukeroku after all this time was oddly nostalgic and I felt a connection with Matsuda in that it really felt like the return of an old friend. In other events the writer looks to have had a crush on Miyokichi which does explain the level of antagonism he has for Yakumo. Though in turn that seems to be the origin of his love for Rakugo. On top of all that Yakumo says he’s done with Rakugo, this may be why his vision when he fell unconscious features Sukeroku strangling him. To Yakumo, Sukeroku took his voice and without Rakugo he only has to wait for the reaper. The rest of the cast is reluctant to let him leave the Rakugo world but perhaps this truly is the end of his carreer.

Posted on 15 February 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

The Rakugo breakthroughs in this show always come from unexpected places. Yakumo had his breakthrough while crossdressing as a woman for a play. A second breakthrough with his shinigami story after the death of his dear friends. Meanwhile Yotaro has his breakthrough due to his Master collapsing and having to perform under pressure. Strangely this was the perfect way for Yotaro to work his Rakugo as he previously mentioned about wanting the characters of the stories to come alive instead of placing himself within the characters. Thus comes the moment when Yotaro literally cannot put himself into the performance. For Yotaro at this point in time is a complete nervous wreck over Yakumo’s condition. So against all odds, Yotaro not only manages to perform Inokori but does it magnificently. I like that he left out the introduction as you could tell he wanted to get through this performance so he could check on Yakumo. So he jumped right into it without pause. I was originally worried that Yotaro was going to tank this due to his mental state but it became clear as he continued that he was getting in the zone. Afterwards he even lamented that his master couldn’t see him give one of his best performances since becoming a storyteller.

With Yakumo unconscious for a week, Yotaro finds himself filling in for all his gigs and performing quite admirably. He proclaims that Yakumo will be back on his feet but truthfully this is a big wake up call to just how fragile he really is. Rakugo is in a dire state and already a gaping hole is left with Yakumo out of the picture temporarily. The future of an art could very well live or die and it rests in the hands of someone far past his due date. It’s clear what must happen, Rakugo must change and evolve with the times. But as the theatre owner laments how he must rebuild the theatre to meet new building standards for withstanding earthquakes, he does point out something important. Even if the theatre was flawed in many ways, it still holds a history that will disappear when it’s rebuild. This seems to mirror the very state of Rakugo, for to change Rakugo is to challenge that history and potentially replace it. Unlike a Theatre however, replacing Rakugo is no simple task. The rakugo world needs a Yakumo, it needs a Yotaro, it even needs a Sokuroku. None of these men can carry the art by themselves so we need new blood and their lies the paradox. To make Rakugo relevant again it needs new blood but to get new blood Rakugo needs to be relevant again. Perhaps this is the tragedy alluded to in the title Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu.

Posted on 8 February 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

The opening of this episode starts us off with an ominous note as Sukuroka’s eyes are shown with a deep blood red. Perhaps it is a sign that the reaper has come for Yakumo, but I think it’s too early for that yet. On Yotaro’s side of things, something I previously suspected was brought up as Yotaro still hasn’t found his Rakugo and I think that until the writer gives him some new material, he won’t. One thing he did realize was that s and his and Yakumo’s approach to Rakugo are different. Yakumo tends to push his style as a performer onto all the characters he portrays while Yotaro wishes to become the characters themselves. It’s an important step for Yotaro as it means that he is moving away from simply copying his master to developing his own style. Considering the events at the end of the episode, I hope he doesn’t regress back from this step forward. It was indeed a very unfortunate timing for Yotaro to have this revelation.

The final scene reminds me of a moment during the first season, when Miyokichi claimed that she would haunt Yakumo in episode 9. In a way she has done just that, so perhaps it gives her joy in the afterlife. Is this truly the ghost of Miyokichi come back to torment Yakumo or simply a hallucination due to his failing health? It really is up to the viewer, but it is rather interesting that Yakumo was telling a story about a man meeting his loved one by lighting incense and making the story more dynamic by having Konatsu light the incense. For the ghost of Miyokichi to appear from incense lit by her daughter, who just so happens to still hold a grudge against Yakumo is rather intriguing. As I stated in the title, I don’t think this is the end for Yakumo. Things may look grim but he still hasn’t hit the apex of this character arc yet. He is essentially the main opposition for Yotaro and for the writer to kill him off now would leave a gaping hole in the narrative. I think this near death experience should give him some perspective though. One thing that really caught my eye was in how Yakumo reacted to Yotaro calling Rakugo fun. Once upon a time Yakumo found Rakugo fun, but it seems after Sukoroku died, that event killed Yakumo’s enthusiasm for it. Rakugo is just a job for Yakumo now and I think this marks a turning point for him to regain that love he once had.

One thing that threw me through a loop this episode was before Yakumo collapsed, he looked at Konatsu and repeated “My Beloved, My beloved.” I personally saw the relationship between Yakumo and Miyokichi to be one sided. Unless that flashback was Yakumo playing unreliable narrator I don’t think Yakumo truly loved Miyokichi. He may have cared for her but often his more intimate moments with her felt like he was just indulging her. Of course time is a fickle beast and it’s possible that looking back over his past that Yakumo’s affection for Miyokichi could have grown into love. It was a long time ago and she was clearly the woman who made the greatest impact on his life. But perhaps there is something more to this. Perhaps Yakumo was hiding something that he didn’t tell Yotaro and Konatsu. What that could be is anyone’s guess. As a nice bit of symmetry this episode is the fifth episode of the second season which could potentially be Yakumo’s end as a Rakugo performer. The fifth episode of the first season was where Yakumo crossdressed for a play and discovered his talent with could be considered his beginning in Rakugo. In that regard this could be the beginning of great change.

Posted on 1 February 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

Another time skip? That caught me off guard but it does seem like Yotaro has not quite gotten over the problem of not being able to find his own Rakugo but has gotten popular enough to be featured on TV and expand his fandom. As a fan put it, it’s not so much that Yotaro being consistently good but having moments of brilliance. So in that regard, I am glad Yotaro didn’t solve his problems offscreen. Konastu’s son, Shin, has grown up a bit and knows how to use his cuteness to his advantage. He gains a love of Rakugo just like his parents and even Yakumo can’t help but fawn over the kid. This was more or less Konatsu’s episode, and the biggest smile came across my face upon seeing her reaction to Shin performing Rakugo. Yotaro still hasn’t pushed their relationship further from what I can tell but the two have gotten more lax around each other. They understand each other so well and despite not really lusting after each other I would honestly vote them as couple of the year.

Konatsu’s Rakugo for the children really warmed my heart in just how much she enjoyed it. This seems to suggest that Kontasu would be entering the profession of Rakugo and Yotaro wholeheartedly wants her to do it. I somewhat agree with Konatsu’s assessment that she would be rattling the cage so to speak. Rakugo is something mired in tradition and any change, be it for better or worse, will be met with hostility and I even think that Yotaru creating new Rakugo is bound to stir up some anger. Throwing Konatsu on a stage just seems like a bad idea no matter how you see it and could be devastating for her as a performer.  If she really wants to become a Rakugo performer then it would be better to start with smaller gigs and then slowly gain a fanbase. Of course, before any of this can happen, she would need Yakumo to remove the ban on female performers so that she can become accredited and considering the character of Yakumo, it would be a monumental task indeed. He’s already getting crabby about people having fun in the green room so getting him to agree to this will take some far more convincing. Assuming that Konatsu wishes to go through with it. Which I honestly think she should, she would really light up the stage when performing Rakugo.

It’s nice to see that Yakumo isn’t cold to Shin but he’s certainly cold to the writer and his attempts to write new Rakugo. These two seem in direct opposition as the writer sees Yakumo his enemy in regards to keeping Rakugo alive. It’s possible that he holds a grudge over him rejecting him as an apprentice in the past. Or how he considers Yakumo one the of the main reasons for the decline of the art. Personally I see it as Yakumo keeping to his promise to Sukeroku. As Sukeroku said in the previous seasonj, it would be Yakumo’s job to keep old traditional Rakugo from dying out and Sukuroku’s job to reinvent Rakugo for the new age. This I believe is Yakumo’s main reason for tearing up the writers Rakugo stories. Yakumo is not the one to ask when it comes to developing Rakugo for the modern era. That job should be left to the man who inherited Sukeroku’s title. I admit however that this really could just be Yakumo being difficult and stubborn. However I find it hard to see Yakumo being purposefully spiteful as it’s more likely just his awkwardness with interacting with people. Which is something he never truly got rid off throughout his life.

CHANGE USERNAME
Kaiser-Eoghan
*poorly forcing
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: And that is one of the biggest advantages the show has for me, after being annoyed by so many shows ending up with tonal shifts and forcing cute designs into something more serious it is nice to see that girls last tour avoids that problem.
Amagi
My texts are always too long..
Amagi
It isn't enough to just say "look there is a dark subplot somewhere or a backdrop dystopia and we will get to it whenever it seems convenient". Last Tour is the opposite, it is moe, but the girls are part and product of the world they live in, + the cute and serious parts don't feel like two different series being glued together.
Amagi
Girl's Last Tour is the good type of moe show for me. There are many that have or pretend to have some serious undertone, be it some dystopian setting or politics or whatever. But the difference between the good and the bad shows is that the former are actually connected with their serious part in everything they think or do while the bad shows only use the other topic as cheap way to alure fans.
SuperMario
@Bokusen: I'm not sugarcoating it, but Houseki tends to be the title that split the audience. Give it a try at least. If you can tolerant the first three episodes, chances that you will enjoy the rest
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Travlos: Now if only someone will translate the side story manga aswell.
KTravlos
Happiness! New chapters of Gunka no Baltazar!
Bokusen
@SuperMario Thanks! I'll give Houseki no Kuni a try then. A lot of the series I thought would be good are disappointing me, so I might be following a low number of series this season & it'd be cool if Houseki turns out to be something I like enough to watch this season.^-^
SuperMario
@Kaiser: right. The sole reason I described it as "cinematic" was just to lure you into watching it, so mission accomplished! Mind you, Girls' Last Tour is still a moe show at heart (look at their round faces and those big eyes. They're killing me)
Kaiser-Eoghan
But in all seriousness, I had had it initially written off as a crap moe show.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: You're ministry of anime propaganda tactics mentioning how cinematic it is got me to pick it up =P And you know how much of an aesthetics guy I am =P
SuperMario
I'm glad that many of you enjoying Girls' Last Tour. It's a nice little gem that I think works best when you going to it without any expectation
SuperMario
I swear this season has a lot of good anime to offer. I'm jaded
Amagi
I always considered backgrounds as pretty important. Most anime only use them as backdrops because they have to be there somehow and it's really a different thing than Girls' Last Journey for example. Also I will like everything that has exploration and world building.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And achieves taking the viewer into its world, thankfully without relying on tons of expositional dialogue.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Girls last tour, somewhat succeeds in pulling me in by using its landscape that dwarfs the characters, to create its atmosphere, I wouldn't call it all that unfunny either. Though premise could risk going stale.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, HA! Yeah I would like to believe but I am thinking that's not the case. Besides next season is looking pretty barren so far.
Amagi
Eden would be great. But speaking of it, a lot of good manga get adapted recently. Maybe they finally understood that generic isekai, harem and school stuff isn't as popular as they thought it would be.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Maybe one day I can hope for a Freesia or Eden Endless world adaptation.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Jesus christ....I never thought it would happen, Banana fish is being adapted, I didn't think they could adapt a shoujo like that in todays market.
KTravlos
I also watched Inuyashiki and Girl's Last Tour. Inuyashiki looks great. Man do I hate that young guy. Reading what he did and seeing it was a totally different experience. Cannot wait for the next episode.

Girls Last Tour is really something special. In a good way.
KTravlos
Altair's episode showed all the issues and all the good things of the show. The pace is too quick, and yet they managed to build Urado and its denizens up quick fast in it. But again, this is a show that needs the LGOH treatment.
Amagi
The manga also always uses "he/him" but I am not sure if the original had this too (like "kare" or similar words) since you can talk for a long time in Japanese without ever using pronouns.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, yes I noticed Phos uses Boku in this episode which is the male way of saying I.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Man, Zvyagintsev really, really knows how to deliver truly emotional gut punching moments and endings that are like cutting at open wounds.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Houseki has fallen into place for me with those scenes with Dia and the snail thing and I've fully embraced the show, happy to see it just continue to do its thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: While Marios are girls best friend DIAmonds ahhhhre for evvvvvvahhh *Shirley Basey voice*
Masky
*bride
Masky
I can say though that if people fear the "Bastard Boyfiend" angle, its not that really. Its more of really weird apprenticeship relationship. Ainsworth is inhuman character in many ways
Masky
Oh hey, Mahoutsukai no Yome is on covered list. Nice, it is weird manga to read through since I'm kind of creeped out by the bribe thing, but its barely mentioned at all.
Anonymous1497942
After finishing Made in Abyss it stuck out, some animation shortcuts in this week's Mahoutsukai. Holding on frames a bit too long, mainly having the music giving the emotion. To be fair, it was also a slow part in the manga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If I recall correctly, the words "wandering Jew" were used at one point in the manga in relation to the villain.
Lenlo
Mahoutsukai was very pretty this week, but there were some troubling things popping up in there.
SuperMario
@Aidan: They are trying to bring Phos back from a snail. Man, Houseki sure is... quirky
AidanAK47
@Mario, I would take a guess and say they are fighting evil by moonlight.
SuperMario
Okay, heading to Houseki now... let's see our gems doing this week
SuperMario
@Bokusen: (not because I'm blogging it but) watch it. it's a polarized one but it at least offers something original. I still haven't watched the third one though.
Anonymous1497873
The new Mahoutsukai no Yome episode was so beautiful. TwT
Bokusen
BTW, is Houseki no Kuni worth watching? I was turned off by the animation, but I've read some good reviews on it.
Bokusen
Darn, last message didn't show up for me but now it does. Sorry about that.
Bokusen
Tanya the Evil and Uchouten Kazoku 2 were the gems this year for me so far, but Abyss was definitely the best thing I watched last season.
Bokusen
Tanya the Evil & Uchouten Kazoku 2 were the gems this year for me so far, though Abyss was definitely the best thing I watched last season.
Amagi
Doesn't mean that there weren't other good series but I distinguish between good and somethin special I will instantly remember even months or years later.
Amagi
How can you not like at least one of the current series, this season is pretty good. MiA was probably my only real great thing in the last season though.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Aren't you forgetting Acca, Rakugo, Little Witch Academia and Tanya the Evil?
Anonymous1497006
Made in Abyss seems like it's the only gem this year for me tbh
AidanAK47
Whoa, I never even knew we had a PM feature.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I've received it. Thanks Kaiser. I've never noticed the PM feature either
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I sent you a private message.
SuperMario
oh boy. Just received Mind Game Bluray Region free today. I ordered/funded it through Kickstarter a year ago and eventually forgot about it. Was a nice surprise to see it in the mail today
silver
I enjoyed this week's Kino. Leave only footprints indeed.
Kaiser-Eoghan
On the other hand I noticed some slight censoring in juuni taisen episode 3 I think.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was also surprised with the lack of censorship during Inuyashiki's second episode.
Kaiser-Eoghan
First episode of inuyashiki covered the whole of volume 1.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*but almost never
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: In general, Death of Stalin is an amusing film throughout, but never laugh out loud hilarious, Simon Beale is hilarious in it as Beria.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Gonzo did that mecha 7 samurai thing we must never speak of. However schmaltzly/sentimental Ikiru is, however it slumps slightly in the middle and final arc , it was still a genuinely moving film.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*than it is
Kaiser-Eoghan
To elaborate, I expected to dislike inuyashiki based on not enjoying Gantz, my reaction to the second episode was the same as Amagi's . The first episode was heavy handed a bit as Aidan mentioned, but its harder to watch that scene with the older guy get bullied/tormented that it is to watch highschool kids getting picked on by cliche anime thugs.
AidanAK47
Also why Hillary Clinton? I mean i know Trump is supposed to have a cameo in the manga but why her?
AidanAK47
@Vyse, Lets not jinx it. Plenty of series have shown great potential in their second episodes only to flop later. We can sing praises if it keeps this quality to the conclusion.
VyseLegendaire
Inuyashiki main villain should be Hillary Clinton
VyseLegendaire
Inuyashiki is suddenly like the best thing of the decade.
Amagi
I wish there were more old MC series out there. Liked that about Real Drive too. Maybe someone will have mercy and adapt Kurosawa one day. Not exactly old but at least a series about a guy with midlife crisis.
Amagi
I thought the happenings of the second Inuyashiki episode would have been too egdy but they actually gave the last few scenes a very good impact and the episode showed pretty well how sociopathes think (that whole gap between emotions for real people VS manga/fiction characters and events)
KTravlos
yup, I have no problem with Lenlo's review. Execution is what matters with me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: You managed to sell me on a show that I didn't think I'd have bothered with.
silver
You did fine. It's a risk associated with reading post-viewing episodic discussions. Pretty much everyone knows that if you don't want to be spoiled don't even get online.
Lenlo
I tried to leave explicit spoilers about what happened outside the (more...) tag, but its a risk of readin a review I suppose.
silver
Hah, sorry about spoiling it. That's the problem with major shocks like that; they're most effective if you're not expecting them. Still, the show has deft execution of its executions, and that makes the experience worse than I could imagine.
Lenlo
Well im glad it convinced you. Tried something different with writing this week
KTravlos
man I should not had read the review. Now I will go and watch Inuyashiki. I had missed it.
silver
@Lenlo: It caught me off guard, too. Definitely working to earn that 'psychological' genre tag.
Lenlo
Well... Inuyashiki surprised me today. It went far darker than I was expecting. Thanks Gants author
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Such an odd art style, have you ever seen these? These are the film covers the Polish get:
Kaiser-Eoghan
*that was the most interesting character
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Z's ending was very very well played and it was Jean Tringnents was interesting, largely for that he was a right winger working with the left wingers.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And of course the British version of house of cards.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wonder if he's seen Yes Minister and The New Statesman, also political comedies and for those of us who lived in the 80s seeing Thatcherites getting slagged off was great.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I do think thick of it works better though as the humour serves a thirty minute episode more comfortably. Stalin's fairly short though so I don't think the joke will run out.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: the Death of stalin is the title I'm looking for as well. Will screen here in few weeks. I almost reccomend In the Loop and the Thick of It (haven't watched the latter though) for Travlos since they're a political satire, which I think he'll enjoy
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Hope you already booked that heavens feel screening, cause its sold out.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've heard that the anime's character development in Juuni taisen expands on the books, which only give them short lines for their backgrounds.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, so perhaps in Juuni taisen they'll spin that so the Rat guy uses the ox guy to his advantage in some different way.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: There is a special atmosphere watching anime on a big screen.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I might be seeing death of Stalin tomorrow or Saturday. The thick of it was hilarious and this has the same director as that.
SuperMario
Both Z and All the President's Men are coassic movie. Hold my attention from start to finish. Z, in particular, wowed me that I literally had my mouth wide open
SuperMario
Off tangent, watching Fireworks in the cinema the other day made me realize how I miss watching movies on the big screen. I might try to go to the cinema once a week again. Been missed out all the good movies lately.
SuperMario
In the Great Race story, Rat used a very underhanded tactic to win the race (it jumps into the Ox to pass the great river and then jump off to the finish line. This Rat guy's speciality is Killing All so there is a high chance that he survives till the end
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I have no doubt that we will have more amazing character arcs for Juuni Taisen.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But that could prove to be too predictable.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wonder if the Rat guy is going to be the wild card in all this, after all in the old story, wasn't it the Rat who won that zodiac race thing?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Juuni Taisen is killing off its most interesting characters.... =< I wanted the bird girl to stay around a bit longer.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'd love to see more Lem or Stugastky style/brand of scifi, I need to rewatch stalker again.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Going back to the cyberpunk thing, I don't want just any ol' thing getting made, I want to see something scifi related thats ACTUALLY clever and has long and DIFFICULT dialogue .
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Travlos: While not a political series Chaos;head is a good example of being annoyed at the conspiracy thing, what drives me up the wall about that show and its sequel is how every every time I think about going back to it I realize that its only interesting on a surface level and is utter hokkum.
KTravlos
@Kaiser. Yup, perhaps because I work in political science, they tend to anger me. So I avoid them. Borgen is a good political series.

In general. It still startles how much of a better character anime Tsutomu was comapred to manga Tsutomu in Bridy the Mighty. But I forgive the manga as I get more Gomez!
AidanAK47
@Amagi/Kaiser, thought as much. Strike it off the list then. And God Tsubasa was a cluster fuck by the end.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eh simul-dub of Juuni taisen is out, I might aswell keep up with that instead.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Y'know I had this weird relationship with dragonball in general. When I was younger I never actively seeked out the show, but on a rare occasion I would watch random episodes whenever I was channel hopping and nothing else was on.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Clamp shared universe was a mistake.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I really really wish that that tone breaking style of comedy stops being a thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
It doesn't happen often, but there ARE shows we all have that snap trigger us when they get mentioned.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel my disdain of re:zero is because I hate Akame ga kill and Higurashi so much and it prevents me because of bias from enjoying it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: In addition to what i posted about Pandora, you will hate the comedy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I will rewatch it, the first one is one of those things that improved on repeat viewings.
@Travlos: Conspiracy theories are one of those things I find myself taking interest in, then almost immediately consider immensely stupid and a waste of time.
Amagi
Aidan: If you didn't like the first parts of Pandora you won't like the rest either. Most people that loved it did this because of the characters and setting, the story isn't really getting better and I kinda disliked what they did near the end. It was overcomplicated and everyone had like three different personalities, plot twists and so on. Not nearly as bad as Tsubasa Chronicle though
AidanAK47
@Bokusenou, believe me when I say you are not few. There are plenty who Dislike Re:Zero. I can understand it and I sort of get where your coming from regarding the characters. (Though Saber sucks) There is just something about the series that I just adore.
KTravlos
@Kaiser. I have not watched most of them. But I have watched Z and All the President's Men. Both are great films. The issue with me is that while I like political thrillers I despite conspiracy theories. Far too many pol. thrillers dive into con.theory stuff. So I must be discriminating.
SuperMario
Okay, I'm off to watch Blade Runner 2049 now. Hopefully it can be as good as the original
Vonter
In contrast World's End Harem, surprisingly looks to be trying. It has one story trying to play straight, the scenario of being the last man in a world mainly habited by woman. And has had this framing of self worth, temptation and doubt I like. No work of art, but surprising for this type of manga.
Vonter
In regards to manga, I'll need to look for something good, being losing time with ecchi stuff. Which I can tell Okamoto should just make hentai, seeing as his latest work, doesn't even try to be anymore than pandering trash (at least older work, had a notion of a story).
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Travlos: Did all the presidents men and Parallax view by Pakula appeal to you?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Travlos: Actually as your are a Greek....have you watched Z, missing, State of siege or the confession? None of them are actually in Greek but they were political thrillers directed by Costa Gravas.
Anonymous1490677
KT here: Well I am a sucker for political thrillers and "grand" politics, so the direction it took is quite fun for me. Even if it does indicate a Tomino ending.
Kaiser-Eoghan
For me Titan peaked at volume 8 and I never bothered continuing on much further.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I remember a commenters on here a good while ago that mentioned the ending didn't satisfy or come together well and made the investment not worth it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Honestly it was only near the halfway point I vested any interest in pandora hearts, the first 4 volumes left me wondering if I'd drop it, then near the last few volumes I simply fell out of reading it.
Bokusenou
I feel like I'm one of the few people who don't understand why Re: Zero is so popular...the only characters I half liked were Puck & Crusch (the latter because she reminded me of Saber from the Fate series, minus the unnecessary perma-blush marks) My anime club screened the series and I really should have skipped those meetings...
Lenlo
Mmm Inuyashiki episode 2 tomorrow. Time to see where it goes
AidanAK47
@Anon, That reminds me. Anime limited better announce the date of the Re:Zero Blu-ray release at that panel of theirs at MCM London Comic Con. They are the only ones known to have licensed it and they have a partnership with Funimation. Even if we don't get a second season I have to get the first on Blu-ray.
Anonymous1490189
Emilia re:zero
AidanAK47
Finally Got that review up. Been sitting in my to do list for a while.
SuperMario
I remeber in Dragon ball, they state that Son Goku takes 6 years of training to become a Super Saiyan. His oldest son takes 3 years and then the youngest one... only takes 3 months of training with his mother. So yeah...
AidanAK47
While we are talking about manga, I was looking into getting some manga boxsets and I saw one for pandora hearts. However I started reading it and 15 chapters in I just can't get into it. I hear a lot of praise for it but is it really worth continuing?
AidanAK47
@Amagi, yep. Like Naruto with the nine tailed beasts and Sharingan. At first they were cool and then everyone and their mother had Sharingan or a tailed Beast.
Though If I had a problem with SNK its that I just find the thing to be poorly written overall. It has creative idea's, but the characters and dialogue is really weak in my eyes.
Amagi
You know that SuperSaiyan syndrome. At first it was special and mysterious, but once the second one gets to have the power they tend to pop up everywhere. Same with Claymore and basically almost every shounen ever.
Amagi
I overall like the SNK manga but I have to agree I really have a problem with this shounen trope of some speciality one character has that suddently turn out to be the speciality of many.
Lenlo
It turned from a horror/thriller to a sort of... shounen mystery thing for me. I wasnt a fan once EVERYONE became titans.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, I dropped off at that point, picked it up again and read it up to date. Now I am falling out again. True be told I haven't really got into it since the beginning chapters and I am not a fan of the direction it took. If you don't like it now I say future chapters won't really change your mind.
Lenlo
Does Attack on Titan get better? I was reading it up until Season 2 came out and then just fell off the wagon.
KTravlos
oh what a cliffhanger in the Shingeki no Koyjin manga! I am happy where this is going!
Kaiser-Eoghan
I agree that the way the series addresses emotion has some interest to it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The later chapters I read had some action in them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Had a read of the children of the wales manga, I am glad to see a shoujo that isn't based on an otome or school life series , additionally I like it on an aesthetic level, I can see it going somewhere but the fast-forward pace makes it hakes it harder to connect with.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Blame! was recently adapted and thats cyberpunk, even if it didn't follow the manga.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Agree. Cyber- and steampunk are two of the few settings I really dig. Especially because I think that there are a lot of potential plots and twists for cyberpunk/VR settings anime haven't used yet. AR is great too, the only series about that is Dennou Coil and it was made ~10 years ago. Maybe the SAO movie but it was just a movie.
Amagi
@Aidan: Same here lol. I remember the toilet thingy but not the woman's backstory. That being said, I enjoyed the series as whole, though some parts were too K-ONish for my taste.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The idea of would agorophobia maintain itself and they'd stay inside or would the fear of being raped/tortured/killed and bypass the agorophobia ?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Random tangent, but I would find it fascinating to see a hikkikomori subject to a home invasion.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although honestly, I would prefer a cyberpunk wave of anime series to get popular again.
silver
I too am starting to really enjoy the 'adventure anime' genre. The medium of animation is uniquely suited to fantastical worldbuilding.
AidanAK47
@Mario, Was that the one where the girl is desperately trying not to piss herself? Also why can I remember that and not this blonde woman's backstory?
SuperMario
@Kaiser: yep, agreed. It's at its best when it can use the settings to flesh out the characters. The episode after that one, one the other hand, was Sora no woto's dullest episode - where the main girl spends the whole episode waiting for a freaking phone call.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The Blonde woman's backstory in the middle of sora no oto, that was the best episode of it.
SuperMario
@Amagi: for reccomendation, if you don't mind another cute girls in a post-apocalyptic world show, you can try Sora no Woto (Sound of the sky). I love that show to bits
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