Posted on 7 April 2016 with categories: Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

So we reach the finale of the first season of Rakugo and against all odds we have a second season to look forward to. The last episode of this season capped off the end of Yakumo’s tale and returns to our characters from the first episode. Through it now some time after Yakumo told them his story and Yotarou from the first episode has just become a shinichi. Konatsu asks Yotarou to do the same story her father did for her long ago and we have a moment were  we the audience know just how much meaning this story has for her yet Yotarou is completely clueless. Yotarou has very much become a new incarnation of Sokeroku and while his performance isn’t as good as Sokeroku’s, it is certainly reminiscent of it. How Konatsu has changed is something I find quite interesting. Her mother was very much stuck in the past and dependent on men to survive. Yet Konatsu has gotten pregnant and is determined to raise the child as a single mother. Konatsu is very strong a self sufficient which was likely birthed by her desire to support her father as a child and her standoffish relationship with Yakumo. On why she got pregnant, Yakumo insinuated that part of this was out of spite for him however Konastu makes it clear that she will not stand for her father’s line dying out. However I wonder why she is so adamant to not name the father. COuld it be this was the result of a drunken night with Yotarou perhaps? Maybe that’s why she was so surprised by his marriage proposal out of the blue. However that is quite unlikely.

Then this episode lets out the words that was being hinted front the start. Yotarou has decided to inherent Sukeroku name. The scene with Yakumo at the grave of Sokeroku venting his frustrations with a mirage of Sokeroku was excellent. Even after all these years his death still eats away at him. He feels that he failed him and that he couldn’t keep Rakugo alive as he wished. And in his ventings the mirage slips into the fog and Yotarou replaces it. We know what Sokeroku wished, a rakugo that never changes and a rakugo that changes with the times. Yakumo has kept one side alive and now I believe Yotarou is the key to being the second side Yakumo needs. Even Matsuda mentioned this fact to Sokeroku himself in the last episode. The crowds need both the styles of Yakumo and him, without one it felt as though something was missing. But Yakumo also mentions how he failed in raising Konatsu which I think he really shouldn’t blame himself for that. Konatsu and him had a standoffish relationship even before Sokerokus death so regardless to how he tried I doubt he could have raised her better. Well maybe he should have let her do Rakugo but admittedly in this time she wouldn’t have much hope in a profession such as that. So we end this season on a bit of a cliffhanger as now as Sokeroku has acted as a guiding light for Yakumo, he too must act to transform the rough Yotarou into the new Sokeroku all the while dealing with the issue of Konatsu’s baby and the mystery as to who is the father. The next season should prove to be quite interesting.

Posted on 1 April 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

Well Sukeroku was just five days away from retirement, not afraid of anything anymore, gonna tell Miyokichi he loves her after the battle, followed by a around the world trip on a boat called the live forever, put on a red shirt and kiss Yoko Littner goodbye. Yes, the Grim Reaper was clearly sharpening his scythe this episode as Sokeroku expressed how this was the turning point for him in his life. Thoroughly expressed by him telling a sentimental story about a man who cleans up his act after his wife tells him a white lie regarding a wallet found on the beach. This story truly exemplifies Sokeroku to the core as this too was a turnround for him. A chance for him to make his daughter happy and win back his wife. This story was like a promise to Konatsu that he planned to make things better from now on. All sorely ruined by Miyokichi.

I find that this episode has thrown a wrench into my previous assumptions about this little love triangle. Miyokichi is obviously still in love with Yakumo but against my previous impressions Yakumo somewhat accepts her. I say somewhat as I am not certain as to his exact intentions. I think that seeing her current state awoke guilt in Yakumo and he felt that if he accepted her feelings then perhaps he might be able to bring her back together with Sokeroku and Konatsu. Sadly Miyokichi looks to have lived up to her curse promised before and attempts to drag Yakumo into a lovers suicide. So stopped by Sokeroku who bursts in promising to give up Rakugo and focus on her and Konatsu. Considering Sokeroku just returned to what he truly loved this felt like a betrayal to me and I would like to think his words were simply to keep her from the edge of the balcony. I think he knew that Miyokichi truly didn’t want to die as he noticed her shaking when he caught her in his arms. What also surprised me was that this actually looked like it worked as Miyokichi started to get shook up by his words. I still believe their relationship came about out of necessity but it is possible that in the years spent together some love could bloom. After all, Sokeroku actually knew her first name when Yakumo did not and is that a sign that maybe they held a special connection that Yakumo didn’t have with her? Perhaps if Sukeroku put work into finding a job and supporting them things wouldn’t come to this. Fate however, is a cruel mistress and if you tempt her then she will ruin you gladly. That or maybe one shouldn’t install tiny balconies made of cheap flimsy wood because it breaks to drop Miyokichi to her doom. Sadly Sokeroku managed to catch her but with Yakumo being the only one holding him up it just ended up being a lovers suicide just as Miyokichi intended. Just with the wrong lover.

So did Sokeroku truly mean what he said to Miyokichi? Could he shape up and get a job? Truthfully I think not. Sokeruka was a man made for Rakugo and even if he tried his hardest I fear he will fall into old habits in time. To take Rakugo from him is like taking his heart and without it he is but a lazy neet. But I certainly seen he had no intention of returning with Yakumo to inheret his masters title. He knew better than Yakumo that nobody would allow him to have the name. We finally know how he died and the reason Konatsu caused him of killing her father. I would say that Miyokichi is the main culprit in this mess as she was the one to cause this whole situation. From this it looks like we will be returning to the future and with this story we finally know just what Yakumo intends with Yotarou. He wants him to take up Sukeroku’s mantle and provide the Rakugo he cannot. To be the guide to help Rakugo survive to the modern age.

Posted on 23 March 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

Even without the aforementioned grudge it looks like Yakumo and Konatsu get along like oil and water. She changes her tune fast once she finds out he is a Rakugo performers but their relationship remains stiff and awkward. Something which based on the first episode doesn’t look like it’s going to change. One particular aspect I find interesting is how Konatsu views her mother with disgust. From Konatsu’s perspective it’s certainly understandable. After all Miyokichi sleeps around with other men and actively discourages Sukeroku from performing Rakugo again which Konatsu truly loves. Though having seen what we have seen this is perfectly logical. Her Parents relationship, sad though it may be, was born out of necessity. Miyokichi needed a man to depend on and Sukeroku needed a goal. However Miyokichi didn’t expect that Sukeroku without Rakugo is a worthless bum who can’t gain the drive to look for real work. So she returns back to the only way she knows how to make a living. As for her stopping him from performing Rakugo it’s obvious that it’s because it reminds her of Yakumo and she’s not over him yet. So the situation is that Yakumo has to convince Sukeroku to perform Rakugo again which is rather interesting when this situation was reversed before.

Sukeroku makes his problem clear. He can no longer see the audience and this was the problem Yakumo faced once before in the past. Before he polished his Rakugo but neglected to view the audience when performing which made his performances lacking. It was Sukeroku who taught Yakumo to see the audience and learn to pull them along with his flow. Now Yakumo must teach this again to Sukeroku though the solution isn’t as simple as it was with him. With Yakumo he was simply ignorant of his problem but Sukeroku is aware. Is it strange that I was reminded of the tale of Amaterasu when Yakumo managed to lure Sukeroku out by performing Rakugo in front of Konatsu? Perhaps I am looking too much into that but this did illustrate the difference between Yakumo and Sukeroku’s styles. When Yakumo tells the tale he starts scaring Konatsu by placing emphasis on the darker parts of the story. When Sukeroku jumps in and lightens it up with his style and we have our first duel performance by Sukeroku and Yakumo. Truly the dynamic between them is marvelous and rather than performing solo perhaps it would be better to combine their talents. At the end of their performance Yakumo begs Sukeroku to take up the name which personally I see no way that can possibly turn out well. Though it seems for now that Sukeroku’s problem is cured. For even if he can’t see the audience, perhaps he can look past them and perform for his daughter.

Posted on 16 March 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

His master reveals that he knew Sokuroku’s mentor and that by using his blood ties to his father he managed to steal the title of Yakumo from Sokuroku’s which caused him to leave the art in disgust. This does put his uncertainties with his right to the name into perspective as he never truly earned it. Teaching Sokuroku may have been his method of atonement but ultimately his pride could let him give him the name. He even reveals that he doesn’t want Yakumo to take the title either which does make his desires rather petty. His contradiction in manner is interesting in how he feels he is unworthy of his title yet has too much pride to hand it over to another. When a young upstart began begging for Yakumo to take him on as an apprentice in front of his master, his master snided at how the child chose Yakumo over him. As a performer I respect that he hid his poor condition until his act was done. Though it became apparent near the end that he was struggling to finish.

Yakumo’s reaction to his master’s confession was rather surprising in that he admitted that he had seen his faults but still respected him for taking them in. I wonder if Yakumo held any grudge against him for kicking out Sokuroku as his reaction to his death was rather cold. Yakumo has hardly been one with an emotional demeanor but one would think he would be affected somewhat during his master’s funeral. Perhaps his words about being grateful to him were but sophistry as he neared death’s door. His master was a flawed individual, blinded by his own prejudices; however he did treat and refer to Yakumo and Sokuroku as his sons. So is a man forgiven for his failings if he himself recognises them in the end?

So the master dies and everyone is pushing for Yakumo to inherit his name; though there are certainly those who sneer at his success behind his back. His performance after the funeral was quite telling as he thought before he began about how people would thinking he was going to tell a sentimental Rakugo story. Instead Yakumo tells a story which is about a man meeting death, making a deal with him and then dying as he attempts to prolong his life. To me it felt like Yakumo was saying a lot with this piece; perhaps highlighting Rakugo itself and the hesitation to let it grow with the times. Or perhaps to show that his passion was dying out without Sukeroku to be his rival. He does still enjoy Rakugo but he has a clear disdain for the backroom policies of the art form. So much so that he dissuaded a potential pupil from dirtying his hands with it Or perhaps it was an ode to his now deceased master who made his own dirty deals and now has met with death. At the end of the episode we see a return of a character not seen since episode 1, though now in a younger form. This looks to be the beginning of the time which caused Konatsu to refer to Yakumo as her father’s killer. So I wonder, did she mean that metaphorically or literally?

Posted on 9 March 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

It would be a lie to say that we didn’t see this coming but Sokeroku has begun his downfall. A split between Yakumo and Sokeroku was promised from the very start of this show and now we finally see just what causes it. This was Sokeroku at his most vulnerable; with his confidence shattered and drive for Rakugo disappeared. The passage of time for this episode was quick and much like Sokeroku’s descent, sudden. He was always walking a dangerous line with his general disrespect for his superiors and attitude. But the trigger was all within a talk with his master; where he touched on a dangerous  topic. Sukeroku’s fears for the future of Rakugo are true and he’s one of the few to realize it. Sadly though as with any traditional art; calls for change is greeted with pure venom. It’s a simple truth that things must change with the times to remain relevant and modernisation does not equal quality. I won’t call the master a fool for outright dismissing Sukeroku’s conclusions as their is a danger of an art losing its true form. There have been plenty of examples of TV shows becoming hollow shells of former glory in order to appeal to a new generation. Sukeroku also wasn’t putting forward a method for Rakugo to change either; instead merely proposing that it should. But the breaking point was when his lack of tact finally hit on a nerve his master couldn’t take. The master already showed us that he doubted that he lived up to the standards of his predecessors and Sukeroku started to criticize his rakugo as Old and boring. It wasn’t a surprise to see his master snap and quite frankly Sukeroku may have already being taking too much of an advantage of his good graces already. The master revealed his decision for Yakumo to carry on the name and said he would never have given it to a stray like him which causes Sukeroku to strike in anger. With that the master expelled him from the art and Sukeroku had lost everything.

Yakumo and Miyokichi have finally broken up and that scene was truly marvelous. As wind kicked up and the cherry blossoms floated in as she swore vengeance upon Yakumo was almost supernatural. The framing of the scene held a certain ambience that made it beautiful despite it being a declaration of her fury. Sukeroku and Miyokichi’s relationship is an interesting circumstance. Miyokichi is a woman of the past; bound by a way of living that is no longer feasible in the new age. Sukeroku is a man of the future; striving to survive for a change he sees coming. Yet both have been abandoned by the present and seek comfort in each other. In a way their relationship is purely mechanical and serves only for survival. Miyokichi needs Sukeroku to live and Sukeroku needs Miyokichi to give his life purpose now that he is without Rakugo. There is no love in this arrangement; merely convenience. Miyokichi is pregnant now and a big question here is; is Miyokichi’s child truly Sukeroku’s?

Yakumo looks to be the one to take Sukeroku’s expulsion the worst as he looks to have lost interest in everything outside of Rakugo. To him it was as if a bright light had been snuffed out; one which he was always chasing. In a sad way he got his wish from last episode. “If I was alone everything would be so much easier” When Sukeroku comes to tell him that he was leaving; you could see it was killing Yakumo to see his spirit so dead. In the heat of the argument when Yakumo’s was ready to hit him; Sukeroku admits that he was jealous of Yakumo. Which is a mirror of Yakumo’s own feelings. He had always felt an inadequacy towards himself when compared to Sukeroku and here we see that Sukeroku felt much the same. Though Sukeroku’s jealousy was more to due with Yakumo’s pedigree and lineage. Perhaps that’s why he was so determined with his Rakugo; because he was desperate to prove he wasn’t some hopeless street urchin.

Posted on 2 March 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

This was an episode of emotional baggage and we got plenty from our cast. This was a great episode in how it developed our characters and foreshadowed the troubles to come. I believe I have misunderstood Sukeroku’s intent with his Rakugo. I am now convinced that Sukeroku’s aloof exterior hides the mind of a truly intelligent man. After all, what carefree simpleton takes the time to think though the future of his profession and realise that his art needed to change in order to match the times. Sukeroku’s solution is an interesting one; to have a Rakugo performers that’s experimental and adapts the art. And to have one to keep the traditions of old alive. It’s a good strategy; after all despite the being at the advent of VR gaming, the love of traditional 2D side scrollers as not diminished in the slightest. But Sukeroku’s path is a thorny one as evidenced but the masters reluctance to move up his rank as a performer. For people don’t like change and Sukerokus efforts to keep Rakugo relevant might end up destroying his career. In his words that two people before them intended to inherit his master’s name; one succeeded while the other died penniless in a theater. I fear these words will be prophetic to the fate of Sukeroku himself.

Miyokichi laying bare her soul to Sukeroku was also rather telling as she explains just how she has been used by men over the years. She’s smart enough to know Yakumo is cutting her off but it makes it all the more painful when he’s the only person she’s ever truly desired. Sokerokus embrace was a rather sudden move but to me it felt calculated. He did it quickly and without any passion. To me it felt like he knew Yakumo was around and purposefully gave off the wrong impression in order to get a reaction out of Yakumo; to show Miyokichi that he really cared.  Him shouting at Yakumo to go after her does show that he supports them and is rather contradictory considering what he just did. But perhaps he simply intended to comfort Miyokichi. However it backfired and Yakumo only made clear his disinterest in her sexually. I believe it when he said he loved her and the master telling him he can’t begin a family with a girl like her looks to be his excuse. Though in the old days of Japan such a thing could hurt his standing in the Rakugo world. It’s possible Miyokichi could be happy just standing by his side as she said however there are few who could stay in a position and never desire more later down the road.

The master also has a small bit of development as it seems that he doesn’t believe he truly lived up to the name he inherited from his master. This may be referring back to the man Sukeroku mentioned as perhaps he had a similar rivalry and felt inferior to the man Sukeroku got his love of Rakugo from. In fact perhaps that is the reason he took in Sukeroku in the first place. I think Yakumo’s feelings in in this episode could be greatly misinterpreted. Of course I could be wrong in my assessment but to me it felt clear what Yakumo was talking about when he considered being with Sukeroku painful. He cares for Sukeroku but he reminds him of the rakugo he can never do and the traits he can never have. Yakumo admires him but in looking at him he can only find the faults with himself become all the more glaring. I am reminded of the relationship between Guts and Griffith from Berserk; which was also considered having homoerotic undertones. Yakumo stated that he could simply just fall back and enjoy being a friend/caretaker of Sukeroku, but Yakumo wants to stand on the same stage as Sukeroku. As an equal. From how things look; Shouwa Genroku is building towards a tragedy. The events that lead to the future from the first episode are coming into place; it’s just a matter of how it all happens.

Posted on 25 February 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

Things are looking up for Yakumo, he’s finally found his rhythm, he’s becoming more popular and his talent is being recognized. The only problem is that girl that keeps forcing him to go on dates. Yakumo’s romantic affairs are strange in that he never actively searches for love but inadvertently finds himself in relationships despite that. In his love life it’s often the girl that’s coming on to him instead of the other way around. I don’t think Yakumo ever looked at these girls in a sexual way as his interactions with them often feel distant. I never seen him light up red even when a girl is throwing herself at him. Likewise I feel this is evidence enough that he’s not homosexual as well as he’s never got embarrassed bathing with men either. The time he was most embarrassed and vulnerable was when he was dressed as a woman for the play. Which leads me to believe he has no interest in sexual interaction at all. It was sort of a blessing that Yakumo’s previous girlfriends never stuck around long enough to realise he wasn’t that into them. A blessing our dear Miyokichi does not have. It’s a tragic development that the first man Miyokichi truly falls for is someone who isn’t romantically interested in her at all. Which is one of the main reasons she fell for him in the first place. However with Yakumo’s career taking off it looks like now he’s decided to finally cut her out but from the looks of it this isn’t out of malice or annoyance. I think it’s pretty clear he does care for her seeing as he let her push him into a relationship. But he won’t feel the same love for her as she does for him and is likely nipping the relationship in the bud before things get too serious. It’s cruel but necessary and Miyokichi likely knows that better than anyone. I personally see this as the beginning of her targeting Sukeroku, mainly to get a reaction out of him.

Rakugo wise we have a shift in power as Yakumo looks to be becoming more popular than Sukeroku. Even their master acknowledges Yakumo’s skill over Sukerokus by taking him touring with him which considering how he was previously left behind during the war, must truly mean the world to Yakumo. Sukeroku’s reaction to this is hard to gauge, it could be jealously or him being happy for Yakumo. His demeanor doesn’t change much besides some small reactions. This is just my own thoughts but I think Sukeroku is hiding some more complex feelings under his facade. This is the time when Sukerokus weaknesses are becoming more apparent when contrasted with Yakumo. His disrespect for his seniors, his impulsive experimentation, bad time management and shabbiness of his appearance. Yakumo is trying to help him in his fussy responsible sibling manner but Sukeroku isn’t the man to listen to words asking him to change. I say that it is Sukerokus eccentricities that likely made the master choose Yakumo over him as his Rakugo remains good. Yakumo and Sukeroku have always been opposites and now it seems that just like Yakumo’s weaknesses lay in performing, Sukerokus weaknesses lay outside of it. I think we have moved on to how Sukeroku will improve as a performer and something tells me that the thing to make him straighten up is a certain geisha girl.

Posted on 17 February 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

This episode was a bit of a re-thread as after Yakumo has discovered his talent for Rakugo, he’s now wondering as to who he’s doing it for. We have a rather pointless flashback to when Yakumo was a child and it seems before they took him to become a Rakugo performer, they tried to make him a Geisha. I wasn’t aware that boys could become Geisha, and this episode seems to agree on that. Which makes me wonder what cruel mistress would toss him away into a profession where he is doomed from the start. I believe the point of this was to remind us that Yakumo was pretty much abandoned once he lost his ability to dance due to a leg injury. Hence him coming to the realization of wanting somewhere where he belonged. This would be fine but we have already established this before and this just seems like an unnecessary reminder. Sukeroku has displayed that there may be more to him that meets the eye as it’s possible that his actions of getting Yakumo to star in the play and push him to do more racy Rakugo could be Sukeroku helping Yakumo’s talent blossom. There definitely seems to be a method in his madness as even in this episode he helped Yakumo realise something important for his Rakugo by bring up his reason for performing. Yakumo does look to hate receiving guidance from Sukeroku as it makes him feel inferior to him. Even upon realising that Sukeroku was the first to suggest he perform racy Rakugo caused him to tremble with irritation. I think Sukeroku knows this on some level and hides his guidance under drunken stupor or his easygoing attitude. Sukeroku might just be more that meets the eye or he could just be doing this subconsciously. Either way it looks like he and Sukeroku are now equals on the Rakugo front and Yakumo has gained a huge boost of confidence.

Rakugo once again takes up a huge portion of the episode but that is by no means a bad thing. You really can see just how the characters improve their acts but I don’t necessarily like how the stories they tell are getting more visually represented. Understandably it does show they are painting a picture of their stories better and the show does avoid giving a completely clear picture. Plus we have to give those artists someway to put in their creative side. One nice little touch I liked was that before the performance, Yakumo was shown in black with just white outlines. It was interesting as his expression in that shot mirrored the expression he had when he lowered his head to the floor at the end of his performance and you could see the reflection of his face. Perhaps it was to show his new found confidence for Rakugo in that he knew that he would perform well before he even started. Or symbolism of the uncertainty over why he performs and then his clear resolution by his stories end. On another note, I can safely say that Shouwa Genroku is a anime that is outright impossible to dub. A pity as I feel the stories would have more impact if they were heard instead of read but truly there is no way this could be dubbed satisfactory. Not only would the stories humor be lost in translation, but the voice actors would need to present a slow progressive performance of showing how the characters improve at Rakugo. If there are english voice actors who can pull off such a feat, I would certainly be impressed. So with the main conflict out of the way, I wonder just what this series will focus on next and from the looks of the preview we will be delving a little into Yakumo’s romantic troubles.

Posted on 11 February 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

Congratulations Yakumo. You finally discovered your spark for Rakugo. And all you needed to do was dress up like a woman to do it. This may harken back to what his master said, his Rakugo is too perfect. So this play put on by Rakugo performers was really the thing he needed. By dressing him up like a woman they placed him in a vulnerable position, so much so that he was getting cold feet beforehand. Sukeroku’s advice was the turning point to make Yakumo recognize the audience. I believe that before Yakumo treated his Rakugo as a job, systematically reading his lines without taking the audience into account. With this play they stripped him bare and forced him to pay attention to the eyes watching him. With that we have Yakumo awakened, hitting his Stride at the finale of the play where we see the man we saw at the beginning of the series. Even bringing out the characteristic pipe he will use in his future performances.

Though what amuses me is just how oddly sexual his realization was. Throughout the performance Yakumo was constantly remarking at people watching him, and his remarks sound much like those of an exhibitionist. Coming from someone so disinterested in relationships it’s a rather odd, but it does make sense that his Rakugo would improve from this as it was often commented that he would work well with racy stuff. You could argue that this could be a sign of him “coming out of the closet” so to speak but I would disagree. What seemed to really excited Yakumo was the feeling of control he had over the audience. He did comment on how he could change their focus just by a simple movement. It’s funny to put this in a positive way but I believe Yakumo has learned the joy of manipulation.

Miyokichi and Yakumo’s relationship remains a mysterious attraction. Miyokichi’s desire for him looks genuine but I believe she is aware that he’s rather reluctant. So her advances are forceful, often pushing Yakumo to be with her. Yakumo’s feelings seem a lot more subdued. I believe he cares for her but not on the level she desires. The fact that he’s willing to open up to her about his insecurities and not to Sukeroku shows that he does hold her close. I am having trouble discerning if he’s really sexually attracted to her as while Miyokichis advances are pushed on him, he’s hardly putting up much of a fight. It’s possible that he does desire her but he puts Rakugo above those feelings. Maybe Miyokichi is aware of that and making him get out of his own way? Either way it does seem like Yakumo finds women bothersome, which only makes him all the more popular. Though I don’t think that’s a case for him being homosexual as he seems equally apathetic about men. Besides Sukeroku, Yakumo doesn’t look to have many acquaintances. From my deduction, I would say he prefers solitude in his life which is mindset I can certainly relate to.

Posted on 3 February 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

Well it seems like I have to eat my words as Yakumo is quite the ladies man. Which is odd when he clearly doesn’t have any interest in interacting with women. Yakumo has a fruitful love life despite his apathy towards love in general. Yakumo and Sukeroku’s relationship has certainly gotten more easygoing as the two work off each other like the odd couple. Yakumo is the more sensible of the two but it seems that his perfectionist tendencies are working against him. Rakugo is a fairly improvisational art and Yakumo performs it too perfectly. In what I can see, Yakumo’s Rakugo doesn’t feel natural, you can see his “acting” in it. Compared to how he will preform in the future, it’s a lot stiffer and too precise.

Ultimately Yakumo just needs to loosen up and find his way of Rakugo. Perhaps a stepping stone to that is this geisha girl whom has taken a large interest in Yakumo. This same girl looks to catch Sukeroku’s attention as well so the predictable outcome would be a love triangle. I believe that Shouwa Genroku is not the kind of show to take the easy route like that when it comes to storytelling and such a development would be rather futile when we could already guess as to who the victor is. I am fairly certain this woman is the mother of the girl from the first episode, and she clearly stated that she was Yotarous daughter. Of course perhaps this relationship is more complicated than one would think? Perhaps this girl was not actually Sukeroku daughter? Or to be truly outlandish, perhaps they were both her mother’s lovers?

As an episode, things were a bit slow as a majority of the time was devoted to Sukeroku’s Rakugo. I really respect the shows insistence to rarely visually represent the story the characters are telling. They allow Rakugo to be show how it’s meant to be shown, with only the performer’s voice and mannerisms to go off. It must be quite the challenge for the voice actors and animators, having so much dependant on subtle movements and mannerisms. The rest of the episode was devoted to the geisha girl coming on to Yakumo. It’s debatable whether she is doing this out of her own interest or if the Rakugo master put her up to it in order to help Yakumo’s Rakugo grow. Regardless I believe there is some genuine attraction she has for him, mainly in seeing her blush and openly state how different he was from other men. It’s amusing in how the she likes him because he doesn’t look at her with desire but that in turn makes her desire him. This could be a matter of wanting what you can’t get or genuine love but whatever it is will likely throw a wrench into Yakumo and Sukeroku’s Rakugo.


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  • k-off
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 05:21 AM)
    @Wicked Exactly, the main characters got thorough characterization and each of them got their own character arcs.
  • k-off
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 05:20 AM)
    Kokoro Connect’s Heartseed was just a half-assed character, he’s just in the story to contrive one angsty drama after another, with no interesting motivation or personality beyond “I feel like it.” The main characters were so much more colorful by contrast
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 04:50 AM)
    @Kaiser: sorry I was literally in the mountains. I saved that list and will get to the shorts soon.
  • wicked
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 12:04 AM)
    @kaiser Kokoro connect has the benefits of characters having relatable problems. Kids not really understanding their teenage feelings is a relatable thing. Kiznaiver characters have anime problems, like I feel no pain, or I’m cartoonishly obnoxious, which is not a problem as plot devices, but tenuous as a trait to connect the audience
  • SuperMario
    (Monday, May 2. 2016 10:41 PM)
    @Kaiser: yeah, like I said, the ending actually justify everything come before and that ranks really high on my book
  • SuperMario
    (Monday, May 2. 2016 10:39 PM)
    @mamamoo:On Kiznaiver, yeah I like the characters well enough,, they have a good chmestry altogether and those small moments are great.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, May 2. 2016 07:24 PM)
    @mamamoo, On matter of the plot, yeah its not really hitting a sweet spot. But I find the characters really likable.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, May 2. 2016 06:05 PM)
    I like the idea behind Kokoro connect perhaps more than the whole show.
    I think I mainly watched it for Heartseed and Iori.
  • mamamoo
    (Monday, May 2. 2016 05:43 PM)
    Oh I didn’t even think of kokoro connect…and yeah I remember that being actually really interesting and enjoyable
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, May 2. 2016 05:42 PM)
    @Mario: Had a look at El Clan/the clan, decent, solid undemanding thriller, liked it for what it was, had its moments and the ending surprised me a bit too.

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Featured Posts

Flying witch – 04

Flying witch again delivers strong material this week and I actually think this is their best episode so far. Mostly because the 2 parts are well connected this week, and our new character Inuka is so natural and fit in like a glove, in addition they have an absurd and whimsical story to boost. I […]

Mayoiga – 05

We now back to the status quo on Mayoiga this week, as the group who left the village decided to come back, and the cliffhanger happened last week was never explained probably. I will say this upfront: this is not a good episode. We don’t learn much after it ends. We have even longer conversations […]

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress – 03

                There are no brakes on the Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress train even when it goes for a pit stop to pick up some water and say a prayer for the dead. While my fellow writers firmly believe that Koutetsujou no Kabaneri will disintegrate into a trainwreck […]

Bungou Stray Dogs – 04

Bungou Stray Dogs sure never get tired to showcase more new characters every week, and judging from the OP I’m certain that there are more to come. This week there are 3 more new faces and each of them is over the top in their own ways, but that turns out to be for good […]

Joker Game – 04

I am starting to get a little worried about Joker Game. After a very strong start it’s gone down in quality once it revealed it’s episodic format. This episode marks the lowest point of the series so far though I still don’t think of it as bad. Rather than focus on a member of the […]

Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World – 04

Despite nearly dying our protagonist wakes up out of the loop and now in the mansion of a strange clown like fellow with twin maids. The mansion looks to be Emilia’s home and we not look to be in a new time loop as evidenced by the last scene where it appears that Subaru was […]

Kiznaiver – 03

So this episode was an introduction to our new seventh Kiznaiver who looks to be a roguish shut in with a pendent for self harm. Adding a masochist to a group that shares pain is certainly a dilemma but I wonder just how they plan to make use of him in the plot. Considering that […]

Flying witch – 03

Flying witch has another solid episode this week. Flying week’s formula seems to be half of Makoto the witch getting to know an everyday country life, and other half of Makoto’s witchcrafts and meeting people from that magic world. All of these stories take place mostly in a single location as well, this time are […]

Mayoiga – 04

It’s until this week that I just noticed the rather strange part of the OP of Mayoiga, the sequence was shown in the point of view of Masaki. It starts with her, then introducing the cast and finally ends with her standing alone in the lost village. But when I think about that, only in […]

Latest Reviews

Schwarzesmarken – 65/100

Schwarzesmarken is a strange title in that it has a setting with fantastic potential yet the story is dampened by a rushed pacing and Missing characterisation. Despite this there are signs of a greater story under the hood and at times that story can shine despite haphazard adaption. The Stasi make for a great villain […]

Boku dake ga Inai Machi – 85/100

In the large reservoir of anime it is surprising just how few titles focus on the concept of time travel. There are of course titles which feature time travel but few that make it the core focus. So here we have Boku Machi or ERASED, a tale about a mangaka time traveling to his childhood […]

Gangsta. – 58/100

Gangsta is an anime with a lot of things going for it. A mature cast, gritty themes, a interesting setting and a trio of main characters who can carry the show. However due to a number of factors it never quite reached its potential. The main trio of characters are unconventional and quite interesting with […]

Gakkou Gurashi! – 80/100

Gakkou is one with a good facade as promotional material would have you believe it was some dime a dozen moe slice of life. I was one who wasn’t fooled by the cute cuddly exterior but I was truly surprised with just how good this anime ended up being. Gakkou is one of those rare […]

Little Witch Academia The Enchanted Parade – 81/100

I wonder when it was that a film being childish became a flaw. As a medium grows it takes steps to aim to mature itself and seek a more intellectual level of presenting entertainment. Animation did it as Anime aimed to explore terrontry that cartoons refuse to explore and video games only recently broke away […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks Review – 85/100

For a long time now this adaption has been the dreams of many a Fate fan with many believing it would never come to pass, but now that it is here is it everything that we dreamed? Short answer to this is no, long answer is nearly. I feel this show will have many divided […]

Shirobako Review – 80/100

When you see a harem anime and sigh as the breasts of the female lead jiggle with every step and wind that can flip a skirt it’s easy to forget that somewhere in Japan a group of people worked hard to get that jiggle right and draw each frame of animation. The hardships of the […]


Nerawareta Gakuen Review – 84/100

Let me talk a bit about Ryousuke Nakamura. For a long time, this guy was my hero. He started off as an assistant director to Monster, in my opinion a big reason why that series got such a ridiculously solid adaptation, and then in 2008 he came with the groundbreaking Mouryou no Hako. No TV-series […]


Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]