I used to write down every anime I had watched in an excel file and made comments about its plot and whether I liked it or not. When that list had more than 200 records in it I accidentally deleted the file. This blog to some extent is a modern copy of that spreadsheet from the past. And it’s still very difficult to find words to describe why one or another anime touched some strings inside and you marked it in the list with some special background color =)
Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu is one of those anime. Last winter season we saw the end of the Yakumo’s story, observed how Sukeroku (new Sukeroku) was climbing up the rakugo-mastery ladder and building his relationships with his “sister”. And we heard stories. Many stories.
Probably the best part of this series is that it gives us a unique opportunity to become closer to the traditional Japanese storytelling art. How many anime about rakugo do you know? I can name only Joshiraku – that anime was very good but rakugo there was only a decoration. In the anime I’m writing about rakugo is the main character. I guarantee that by the end of the second season you’ll have your favorite stories and will be able to discuss whose “Shinigami” is better – by Master Yakumo or Master Sukeroku. It’s even slightly funny because the very first episode of the first season tests the audience – it’s long, 40 minutes if I recall correctly, and basically all we’re doing for this time – listening to rakugo. If you didn’t like the first episode – I assure you, it’s better to skip the series completely.
Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu is an anime for adults, a rare animal. Anime about life choices. Anime where we can peep, a bit, how Japan was changing during the 20th century. It’s rather hard to put ourselves into characters’ shoes (for me, at least, it was hard) because they live in the absolutely strange world but you can understand their behaviour – I experienced something like that while was watching “Honey and Clover”, for instance.
And regarding the second season – turned out that my only fear was meaningless. Yotarou, new Sukeroku, appeared to be a really, really good choice for the position of the main character. Yes, he isn’t very deep but seems that he doesn’t want to make himself deeper, he doesn’t need it. Because you don’t have to be a guy-with-intriguing-thoughts-and-dark-mysterious-past to love rakugo, right?