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.

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SuperMario
@Animosh: don't mention it. I'm glad you enjoy it. I don't take credits in this case since I myself haven't watched it yet. I love it how this community is willing to try other medium and not exclusively anime
Animosh
Really surprised this isn't more well known. Not that there's been much competition, but it's easily the best (western) cartoon I've seen this year.
Animosh
@SuperMario: thanks again for recommending Lastman! I just finished it, and it was a lot of fun. It doesn't have much depth, but it was incredibly entertaining: it just keeps throwing these bizarrely over the top action set-pieces at you without pausing, it oozes style, and its soundtrack is killer (it reminded me a bit of Hotline Miami). And it can be pretty damn funny too. It even ends strongly.
SuperMario
"I swear if I see some nonsense like her not being able to stay “Professional” due to having a boyfriend then I will have to strangle something" --> is that why you had screenshot of kitties up there?
SuperMario
@Kaiser: little sister has a strong chance to be a protag in the last arc. I'm genuinely surprised that Futaba is the main girl in this arc thou
Kaiser-Eoghan
I want to see the little sister looking scared in bunnygirl agrain.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yay! Sing and eiji are doing something and Ash's freakout while melodramtic and ridiculous was still bleak, learn a bit more about Blanca which is good. Didn't like the goofy bit with yut-lung.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Not intellectually non-intellectual enough for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Bunny-girl has redeemed itself. Also my favourite part of this weeks episode was 7 or 8 minutes before the end .
SuperMario
I mean, just reading that title alone I might check out what this movie is about. lol
SuperMario
Well, I come across an unusual film title today. A Japanese film called "When I Get Home, My Wife Always Pretends to be Dead"
Kaiser-Eoghan
The Lafalle arc (as thematically I probably engaged the most here)and the final arc both elevated this series for me, even though I did enjoy the bit with Vann early on.
I’ve heard people don’t like the ending it hit with me.
Really solid.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Dramatically this even kind of clicked for me and the antagonist surprised me as did twintails girl and bestghosts eventual roles, comedy isn’t exactly funny but I did laugh at points.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Apparently I got third time lucky with Mizukami, because I found this a very fresh take on the re-incarnation genre while actually DOING something worthwhile with it, his pacing/story telling style definitely feels a better fit to me in a short manga like this.
Kaiser-Eoghan
After a degree of indifference to planet with and only liking Biscuit hammers last arc, I ended up approaching Spirit circle expecting to not really have any opinion on it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Just my kind of weird.
Anonymous3093267
sword eyes
SuperMario
Here's another experimental animated short for you, Kaiser, Tango (1981) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lo8O8lYDzIU
SuperMario
@Animosh: yeah the second part was released in VOD earlier this year and I watched it. Prefer the 1st one much better
Vonter
I don't know why, but I thought you were talking about Tomorrowland. That Disney movie that bombed and everyone seemed very lukewarm about. I suppose because I don't know exactly what was the problem with it, didn't see much discussion about it.
Animosh
@SuperMario: I think I've seen World of Tomorrow, but not 100% sure. There's apparently a second part out though, and I definitely haven't seen that!
Animosh
And Umfeld (https://vimeo.com/umfeld) is also worth mentioning. It kind of consists of shorts, it's technically animated (at least in part: it mixes real footage and CGI I think?), and it's definitely weird. It's a very polarizing work though. I love it, but it wouldn't surprise me if most people here hate it.
Animosh
Some other things that came to mind: Tim Burton's "Vincent" (it's stop-motion, but whatever), Loom (https://vimeo.com/24069938) and E-Baby (https://vimeo.com/25435555). And the stop-motion shorts by Lee Hardcastle are pretty fun, if you're in the mood for some needlessly disgusting horror.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I enjoyed embrace of the serpent which has the same director as Birds of passage so I'll keep an eye out for it.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I'm going to see Roma and Birds of Passage this weekend. Really excited for both
Kaiser-Eoghan
As for the she-ra thing well, as I've gotten older I probably have avoided kids stuff more.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't want to see tokenism being seen as acceptance when it isn't, it feels that people are putting forth the idea that something is only being/can be accepted because its being portrayed in a tokenistic way.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its fine, obviously to have strong female characters, Ripley in Alien, Sarah Conner in Terminator, awesome....Rey in star wars....no.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think too often shows and films, American ones today, are tokenistic or clicheed with inserting issues, merely just throwing them in or tacking them on for the sake of ticking boxes rather than any earnesty or doing anything.
Anonymous3086853
@SuperMario - I do. Yet at the same time it was a bit outside of my comfort zone, watching something like this considering that (let's be honest) msot shows are men oriented. Even the ones with great female characters. This one despite having tomboyish girls is mainly about these girls with male characters having supporting roles. I suppose that's were the uneasiness lies in my case.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Just got done watching both earlier, his dark humour jives well with me and I liked the concept.
SuperMario
@Kaiser @Animosh: if you haven't seen World of Tomorrow plsssss check it out. I can't recommend it highly enough
SuperMario
@Vonter: Maybe it's a good things that shows for general audiences like this have queer context. Don't you think?
Anonymous3086853
Also because I'm a bit immature, this show is kinda gay. There's a lot of ship baiting moments, one same sex couple in the last episode and rainbows, pastel colors, emasculated male characters and some female crossdressing.
Anonymous3086853
The weakest aspect is that several secondary characters get lost in the shuffle. Kinda like Big Hero 6 in which the team had personalities but just didn't had the time to develop in any meaningful way. Still both the main cast and villains were good and like I say the protagonist and antagonist had strong arcs for a first season.
Anonymous3086853
So I now finished watching She Ra, and it got even better as it was building towards the season's end. Thes strongest aspect is the rivalry between Adora and Catra, the chemistry is very strong, kinda like Optimus and Megatron or Xavier and Magneto. In which both parts seem equally capable and to have mind games with the other.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Oh hey cool, rain town is done by the Penguin hhighway anime movie guy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
It looks like I haven't seen Don Hertzfedlts World of tomorrow films.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also Prince Achmed and How Wang-Fo Was Saved.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah. yes, thanks animosh, I had a look at Rain town there, I like the style it was done in, it achieves the emotions its trying to convey well without needing dialogue, piano score actually helps rather than hinders.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Glassy ocean, that was another short I watched lately.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Oh inka isha is country doctor.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I know Mario has seen this style on animation, but anyone else see any oil on glass animation?
Kaiser-Eoghan
I actually prefer robot carnival to genius party but liked both.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Zepo, The Pride of Strathmoor were recent animated shorts I watched.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Recently I watched two shorts, death and the mother and pleasures of war.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'd say any eastern european short films would be worth anyones time.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm not familiar with rain town or Inaka Isha .
Amagi
Kaiser: Have you seen Inaka Isha from Kafka?
Animosh
In the meanwhile, though, I'd also be very interested in recommendations! The shorts I mentioned are among my favorite animated works, so if you know anything similar, please let me know. :)
Animosh
For western animation I really like the Don Hertzfeldt shorts. And there was this short called "Rain Town" that was really impressively animated. I'm sure there were others, but my long-term memory is pretty lousy. If something else comes to mind I'll let you know.
Animosh
I'm pretty sure you're already going to be familiar with all of my favorites, but here you go: Morimoto's shorts are all fantastic (Dimension Bomb, Beyond, Noiseman Sound Insect, etc), and two others that come to mind are Cat Soup and Kigeki (or Comedy) by Nakazawa. There are also some great collections out there (like the Genius Party ones), but again, you've probably seen those already.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If anyone has any suggestions for weird short animations, I'm looking for excuses to watch some more and I'm in the mood for them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Masky: Mario's youtube link had cgi models of rem and ram in the video.
Masky
I'm confused when was Rem even mentioned
Kaiser-Eoghan
I only ever watched he-man and stuff related to it in passing when I was younger, Conan was more my thing back then.
Kaiser-Eoghan
For so long I'd always referred to she-ra as she-man.
AidanAK47
@Mario, What is this heresy!
....
....Rems always cute.
Anonymous3084910
Hilda is fine, though is very laidback kinda like a young reader's novel. It has its moments but its fantasy with slice-of-life coming of age.
Anonymous3084910
@SuperMario Yeah I know, She Ra is the twin sister of He Man. But strangely it seems Dreamworks may not have the right to those characters. It was a marketing idea trying to bring more girls to that universe but like most girls show from the time it had a very flat depiction of what little girls want to see.
SuperMario
Sorry Aidan, I know it's blasphemy but I have to post here. Enjoy the OP song with the twins https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9MUjISNm0U&index=4&list=PLU56jBSlcHw8-ol9Hi4lJ0GR0tU6EOf2a
SuperMario
I'll probably check out Hilda. Heard a lot of hypes about that show
SuperMario
@Vonter: I've heard of She-Ra, she's the female counterpart (well, sister) of He-Man (the most powerful man in the universe and the secret identity of Prince Adam). Sounds silly but I'm not even kidding
Vonter
All in all, despite not being a big thing, I think is an enjoyable recommendation. My only nitpick is that it maybe too light hearted for some kinda like above My Little Pony but below something Voltron. Also despite being less childish than the original is still kinda of girly with lots of pastel colors although it balances it a bit having girls being more tomboyish in different degrees.
Vonter
Like with Voltron it amuses me seeing anime tropes being played through western lens. Since I'm a bit hesitant to say that could this count as a harem series despite not being male gaze moments? Also having the most sensible hotspring episode I've seen.
Vonter
In this one this She Ra has pathos. A bit like Korra there's doubt in her role and also a complicated relationship with her rival. I do like the role reversal in the knight's tale this clearly is, in that most roles that would be played by men are played by women in this story. Matriarchy, displacement of both femminine beauty but also empowerment.
Vonter
So I've watched some of the new She Ra from Netflix. So far I'm in, it's not deep but it's quite charismatic. I do like there's more pathos in regards to these characters which pretty much were confined to their archetype to an extreme like the original Power Rangers.
Kaiser-Eoghan
It manages to make watching something like running engaging, when I'd otherwise probably not watch the sport. Also, last week the show ended up popping into my head when I was sitting around doing pretty much nothing and made me think "Ok fuck it, not sitting around doing nothing, going to go out for a run around the block"
Lenlo
I also agree, characters losing in sports is important. They can't start at the top, it makes the series lose meaning
Lenlo
I quite enjoyed Kaze Fui this week. I think your correct that the one who got the reality check was Kurahara, who thought he was the only one able to actually make it. I also thing that he has a competitive streak a mile wide, and might be a little afraid of failure. Doesnt think the team can make it, so why bother
Kaiser-Eoghan
Think I wasn't i the mood for honda-san this week even though I laughed.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Y'know I like it when sports series actually show the characters you know...actually lose.
Anonymous3083989
Huh, interesting in this episode of Kaze ga that it's Kakeru who got a reality check during the track meet since he was beaten by two other runners. I think we're due for an episode soon where he has to confront his past demons instead of fleeing from them.
Anonymous3083626
@Kaiser-Eoghan - Aging in fiction, I think has more to do with the story than the characters. I mean the jokes about Ash Ketchum, Detective Conan, Archie. The Flinstones tried to make different stories by aging Pebbles and Bam Bam. Or Batman having two Robins graduating into their own heroes. But in the end dynamics change, hence why most cartoons don't age the characters.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Which is why when aging does occur in anime/manga, such as in vinland saga or nanoha for example, its appreciated.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And of course, animated characters often don't age much.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can remember enjoying the simpsons movie back when I watched it, but thinking about it it really was just an extended episode. Really the show peaked with the who shot Mr Burns episode. Catching bits of recent episodes and seeing them use modern stuff while they never age seems weird too.
Amagi
I do think series are allowed to move forward though, I am kinda interested in the Pkmn movie for example. But certain shows should just end, Simpsons for example was a parody of the 90s, it just can't work in a more modern setting IMO.
Amagi
I stopped with the Simpsons when Maude was killed/died, it was just a step in the wrong direction they should have never done and it killed the series for me. I disliked it before already though, I think I noticed the series getting worse since season..9? Or 10, not sure anymore.
Amagi
Anime for Dorohedoro announced.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Therefore ruining the fanservice fun for everybody.
Kaiser-Eoghan
My favourite beach episodes are ones where it rains and they end up not being able to go.
Kaiser-Eoghan
After that it was just the film for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Actually, regarding the simpsons, the episode I stopped on was sometime in the early 2000s, Homer was stuck on some island resort or something.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I suppose it was just as much a case of falling out of watching/playing too and then there being so many episodes/games catchup was impossible. I probably should read the manga someday.
Anonymous3081957
@Kaiser-Eoghan -Kinda like Sponge Bob, Power Rangers or The Simpsons, I can't blame those who move forward, It's imposible for a show to go that long without losing steam. I did check the Sun and Moon first season and while I think the personality and energy is better it doesn't exactly push the concept forward. Still somehow Pokemon is still a phenomenon.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: Very strange hearing a Pikachu talk with Ryan Reynolds voice. But my days of pokemon are behind me.
KyokoHyuga
?????
KyokoHyuga
who likes pokemon here
SuperMario
@Amagi: I think the person who made the sub for Maquia did a pretty neat job. Not perfect but the translation flows well
Vonter
We've seen realistic Pokémon fanart, but how does a movie looks when it attempts it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8CKgQFo5U8
Amagi
How are the subs for Maquia? I only heard anons complain about it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*dealing with
Kaiser-Eoghan
Though you should really torrent it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There is 1080p stream on kiss anime, if you hate deal with the ads on that site the 4up stream on anilinkz has the best quality of the available links
Lenlo
Where did you see Maquia online? I still need to watch it. PM it to me on discord maybe? Pretty please? <3
SuperMario
One fact that not many people know is that Penguin Highway is penned by Tomihiko Morimi. It indeed has many Morimi's signature inputs
SuperMario
This year, I'm doing well with catching up anime films (kudos for Australian's Madman who always license these titles very quickly). So far, I've watched Mirai, Maquia, Penguin Highway, Let Me Eat Your Pancreas and My Hero Academia the Movie
SuperMario
So I watched two anime movies this last week, Penguin Highway in theatre and Maquia online. Both of them are pretty solid in general, especially Penguin that has magical realism elements and some great chemistry. Whereas Mari Okada's writting still rubs me in the wrong way sometimes
Lenlo
D: He did, back in August actually apparently
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I heard Dino's voice actor died.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If we all took Goblin slayers attitude to trolls, then we would more easily ignore the trolls =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
Big twist in the golden kamuy manga.
Animosh
@SuperMario: remember that in the voice drama Rikka mentioned talking to Yuuta in their classroom during the ball game. Pretty sure it's about that.
SuperMario
@Animosh: i just watched the episode and noticed the lyrics as well. "The Promise" seems vague at the moment. Could be between Yuuta and whoever fits but I agree the "save someone from boredom" is about Akane
Animosh
You learn something every day. ;) Honestly though, I actually skipped the opening, so I hadn't even noticed that it had been translated until others pointed it out. And most of the time the lyrics are just cheesy one-liners, so I usually don't pay much attention to them either. But once in a while there's some nice hints hidden in there...
Kaiser-Eoghan
Y'know I never really ever paid attention to the lyrics in anime openings, I'd never thought to.
Animosh
The Gridman OP has been translated for the first time, and there's some pretty interesting reveals in there: it mentions a "promise" made in a classroom (so now we know how Yuuta and Rikka bonded in the past - glad it wasn't a simple confession), and talks of "rescuing" someone (presumably Akane) from boredom. So I guess she'll join the good guys eventually?
Lenlo
1200 words. I need to stop writing so much.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I haven't seen last weeks episode of Irozuku or this weeks =< I'm waiting now for a bit to see if the series paysoff.
Animosh
Goddamn those magic segments in Irozuku were stunning! It's a shame its humdrum drama can't live up to its visual beauty, but I'll take it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think Ash's design is based a bit on River phoneix.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Sorry Eiji but your Ash is in another castle.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@CoolerAnon: I was about to say that. Kidnapping gets used alot in shojo.
Anonymous3072040
Yeah Ash is basically Princess Peach
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I share your concerns, I don't know what studio is doing it. Some people want it to be mappa, some don't want it to be polygon pictures to adapt it. Its and long and violent manga, with some very funny at times dark humour, it could end up rushed and/or censored.
Anonymous3072021
As much as I love Dorohedoro I'm unsure if I should be happy or worried at it getting an adaptation, it isn't exactly the kind of story I imagine being easy to adapt well.
Lenlo
Yeah, I am touching on that in my writeup as we speak. The compressed story is causing Ash to be captured every other week.
Animosh
I agree Banana Fish was great this week though! My only gripe is that I'm getting sick and tired of seeing Ash get kidnapped again and again. He just escaped a couple of episodes ago! And he's just a lot more fun to watch when he's out there doing stuff.
Animosh
In a way the fights actually feel more realistic to me than those in Banana Fish. Sure, they're fantastical, bizarre even, but its battle system has a clear internal logic, and generally no power is infallible (each has its limitations). In Banana Fish the fights are rather poorly thought out by comparison. Their purpose is more to make Ash look cool than to give him realistic hurdles to overcome.
Animosh
@Kaiser: what sets Jojo apart from other battle shounen for me is how ridiculously creative its fights can get. Part 2 already shows some signs of this, but the introduction of the Stand system in Part 3 pushes it to another level, and in Part 4 the fights are consistently awesome. There are no simple beam struggles here: every fight is a battle of wits, between people with wildly different powers
Niel
Vinland Saga anime, and Now Dorohedoro just got announced. i'm really liking this trend.
Lenlo
Lots to writeup on Banana Fish this week.
Lenlo
Just finished it, I really like Blanca.
Lenlo
Because Jackie Chan and his stunt crew are some of the best in the world. There is a reason he has to insure his guys from his own pocket. No agency will take them
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have no idea how the hell Jackie Chan is still alive.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Action works best for me when I really feel that theres danger involved. Thats why when some actors do their own stunts, you can fear for the actors life, and also the character.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And thats why I'm a big fan of all that Chinese martial arts stuff from the 60s and 70s, that really expertly crafted chereography.
Lenlo
As for action, I like good choreography more than any super powers. Its why Cowboy Bebop, Seirei no Moribito, Sword of the Stranger and some Naruto fights are fantastic.
Lenlo
Im about to watch this weeks episode, so this chat makes me hopeful. I agree Ash and Eiji are the backbone of the series, and yeah me and Kaiser both agreed that the Gang war aspect was pretty weak, though I thought the finish with Arthur wasnt half bad
Kaiser-Eoghan
And I think Banana fish has a great grit to it for this reason.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm even more thankful to Banana fish too for that it keeps the action within the bounds of out of fantasy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've always been kind of a guns and swords and kungfu gut.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Black lagoons great example of anime action I can get behind.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I always found weapon combat and fist/kicking combat more raw and real,tangible than beamspam.
Anonymous3070972
But yeah if you're not a fan supernatural power fantasy action shounens, then maybe not your cup of tea, and that's totally cool
Anonymous3070972
Oh also if I'm recommending a fight from part 4, I'd say check out Highway Star
Anonymous3070972
Kira is a pretty cool villain though; he's always underpowered compared to the main heroes, but manages to somehow get out of the situation with luck or smarts; if nothing else, I'd recommend watching some Youtube clips
Anonymous3070972
*Turn off. lol.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its more than, even when I was younger supernatural power fantasy action shounen never appealed to me.
Anonymous3070972
Admittedly JoJo always has bad with exposition though, and always will be just due to the style, so that can definitely be a turn on for some people
Anonymous3070972
If you like slice of life with hijinks and a murder mystery combined with cool battles, you'll like part 4
Anonymous3070972
Yeah I can see why you might not like part 1 & 2, they were made in the 80s; I'd recommend part 4 and part 5 (ongoing rn) tbh, I feel like those are better for a modern viewing experience
Anonymous3070972
I used to think that BF's greatest strength was the plot; know I realize it's really about Ash & Eiji's connection first and foremost: as good as the plot can be, Ash & Eiji's relationship is absolutely the backbone.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Also that scene where Ash is thinking to himself, looking over Eiji.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Nah, I pretty much gave up on jojo midway through part 2.
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