Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju – Preview
Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju:
Original Air Dates: January 6th, 2017 – ???
Synopsis: Ten years have passed since Yotaro became Yakumo’s Rakugo apprentice. Yotaro has made a name for himself, yet Rakugo as a profession and art form is still on its way out. Can Yotaro find a way to preserve Rakugo or will this art die alongside Yakumo’s eventual passing?
1st Episode Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Season 2 kicks off with a rather thorough recap of the events of last season in the form of a casual Rakugo-like performance by Yotaro, last season’s somewhat abandoned initial protagonist. It’s in vein with the vibe of the series, however, if you are still well aware of last season, this recap might feel a little long and unnecessary.
Tom: Genroku Rakugo’s recap really hammers home the strengths of the animation and voice acting in bringing this art form to life and making Rakugo as a practice, a compelling watch within the series. Narrative wise, this first episode already seems to be building up for plenty of drama over the course of the season as Yotaro has the task of finding a path forward for Rakugo.
Linny: There’s quite a bit of time skipping this first episode as we first learn that ten years have passed since Yotaro asked to be taken in by Yakumo. Time has also passed quite a bit since last season’s finale as Konatsu is no longer pregnant and has had the baby. This might cause a little confusion but not so much so as to throw viewers off completely. When it comes to the story, this season seems headed to be the tale of Yotaro trying to pick up what Sukeroku wanted to do. He aims to reinvent the art of Rakugo so as to revive this dying art and make it popular once again, all while fighting Yakumo’s reluctance to change.
Tom: There’s a couple new characters that crop up in this episode alone and coupled wit the time jumps it can feel a tad disorienting, as if you missed something crucial. Thankfully Showa is fairly good at holding your hand through the proceedings, making sure that potential confusion only lasts a brief period before offering up the information you’re in need of.
Linny: If you loved and missed Yotaro’s cheerful buffoon-like ways, he returns center stage and seems to have remained much the same. He’s still the lively and good hearted fellow he was last season and it’s actually even a little heart warming and heartbreaking to see his utter devotion and attachment to people that seem reluctant to return it.
Tom: Yotaro hasn’t changed, even if we skipped ten years since our first introduction to him in Showa’s first season. He’s as fun and silly as always, already giving this season a markedly different feel compared to Showa’s initial story (the whole season long flashback.) Also, now that it’s really Yotaro’s story, Yakumo feels like he’s beginning to take a backseat, and while he’s featured prominently in promotional material, I’m getting the sense he’ll be playing second fiddle.
Linny: The episode also introduces a ‘new’ character, someone who could potentially be playing a big role this season. Attentive viewers should be able to identify this character immediately as someone we got a brief glimpse of last season and the episode does a good job of gently refreshing our memory without going into detail, compared to the play by play at the start.
Tom: There isn’t really much to say about Showa Genrokus’ 2nd season other than it’s looking really good so far. It’s the same show we gave Anime of the Year to for 2016 and continues to impress with great drama and characters. Unless there’s a nose dive dip coming, I fully expect this show to be in the running for another award.
Linny: This new season seems headed for a lot of drama and emotions just like last time and likely to be just as entertaining. It’s hard to really discuss a second season of a show we loved, especially from just the first episode so here’s to hoping we will all continue to be charmed as we were by this gem of a show because as of now, it is brimming with potential like its predecessor did.
Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com