Right after the pilot episode, I immediately called it as my anime of the season. However, the Boku Machi hype train has become a really contender that it’s hard to say who wins. Also because each excels in its own category in my opinion, you can’t really compare. I have to say though that Rakugo had the best premiere episode this season. In fact, I didn’t notice that it ran ~50 minutes! I was impressed by that drama.
Before this show, the closest thing I know about rakugo was through Joshiraku; and I don’t think that’s barely covering what this medium of entertainment really does. If I may be honest, it did get a little boring during the skits. I assume because direct translation from Japanese to English on the stories is quite difficult for foreigners to comprehend. The thing that the story wants to convey may get lost in the translations. Since this form of entertainment is specific to the Japanese culture, there may be references that only Japanese (or those who have studied it) could truly understand. At least that’s my interpretation as to why I didn’t laugh or understand some of the skits. I did enjoy Sukeroku’s (Shin’s) performance at the end of episode two. I couldn’t help but laugh at the last segment.
I’m not sure if majority of the show will just be a flashback. At week three, the audience hasn’t been shown what truly went down in the accident that made Konatsu resentful towards Yakumo (Bon). However, I don’t mind the flashback because we can see the character developments of both Bon and Shin. We don’t get much POVs from Shin, but I like Bon’s characterization. He has this love-hate feeling towards Shin. Bon admires him because he’s the exact opposite of himself and therefore could do the things he wants to do, but it is precisely because of that that he couldn’t help but feel antipathy towards him.
Voice acting really shines here. It’s this type of show that could really demonstrate what a VA actor/actress can do. Yamadera Kouichi and Ishida Akira have done a really good job here. In particular with Ishida Akira, I personally don’t dislike his voice but I don’t like it either. The only character that I liked that he did was Gaara and Athrun Zala, and I think it was more of the characters than the voices itself. However, in this show, I think he really showed a little versatility.
I thought DEEN has done a relatively decent job on the animation. Not to mention, the 3D CGI wasn’t terrible. I have to say that that wasn’t the notable thing here but the fucking theme song. I love it so much. Hayashibara Megumi is a great choice to perform this because it gives this dark/psychotic feel to it borderlining satire/dark comedy (I hope that didn’t sound so confusing) with her tone of delivery. The instrumental on the ending was such a feel good song too—it evoked nostalgia and the feeling of happiness.
(One side note, I feel that the viewers should expect a little bit of BL undertones as the mangaka is a BL writer. In all of her known works, this series is the only one whose josei in demography.)
I actually have more to say of the themes and topics that was covered here, but this is not a full-fledged review of the series just yet. To conclude, I believe this show may be the dark horse of the season.
Sound/VA cast: 4.5/5
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