Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen Episode 5

I dropped Kuzu no Honkai so I could stop my uncomfortable suffering just so I can suffer in this show instead. Enjoy the show, but suffer too. After last week’s sweet and cuddly episode with laughs and smiles, we move on to what this show does best. Making us worried with me gripping my chair in fear of what’s to happen. If the tiny change in the opening didn’t hint at you enough of what mood this episode was going to have, then I don’t know what did. Honestly I was legitimately frightened seeing Sukeroku’s red eyes in the opening. The images in the opening are haunting and depressing enough, but changing the color of Sukeroku’s eyes as he opens Yakumo’s robe to reveal his skeleton…just left me speechless. And oh so scared.

I knew bad things were going to happen to Yakumo. We saw him clutch his chest in pain before, and with the visuals in the opening it all just spelled bad news for our friend. I had hoped we’d keep grumpy grandpa Yakumo a little longer. Actually, I can’t really say that as we have no idea what exactly happened in the end. Did he die? Did he live? What was that strange vision he had in that room full of candles with Sukeroku choking him? The preview for next week looks just as sad, but we’re still left wondering what happened because Yakumo did not show up anywhere in the preview so we still have no idea what exactly happened. But I saw crying. I’m probably going to cry too.

The episode started off with hints as we saw that Yakumo hadn’t eaten a single bit of his breakfast. We then learn that he’s set up a family peformance with him and Yotaro to do together in only a couple of days and Yotaro is overjoyed. We see everyone excited and Yotaro still tries to figure out his own rakugo and all of that. Higuchi pays Yotaro a visit and brings him tapes of performances of “Inokori” and notes how different they all were. Just like Yakumo had said before, this rakugo piece really brings out just who the performer really is. They all have their own styles and not one performance of that piece is the same. And with hope, Yakumo had thought the “Inokori” story would bring out Yotaro’s own rakugo. But on the day of the family performance, Yotaro tells Yakumo that he’s going to just do the story his own way because he doesn’t think he has his own ego. He just wants everyone to have fun hearing the story.

Also, it was nice to see that Yotaro has really has accepted his past and embraced it, as he’s fully colored in his entire tattoo. And it’s beautiful.

Yakumo’s performance was beautiful, but it also had that haunting feel. The slow accompaniment and the smoke from the incense, and just the overall mood of the story. The story wbout a monk who would always ring a bell in honor of his late wife, and if he would light a certain type of incense the ghost of his loved one would appear for just that short time. The man in the story that approached the monk left and bought his own incense and did the same, and this is when Yakumo had his breakdown and saw Miyokichi in the incense smoke like Ghost of Rakugo Past.

Now, I really need other people’s opinions. To me, I always had a problem with Yakumo and Miyo’s relationship. To me it felt like an awkward one-sided relationship, and I felt Yakumo did not love Miyo romantically. In the first season he acted so cold when he was with her, and whenever they were together he would always seem a little uncomfortable when she would throw herself on him. He literally pushed her away once. I had thought it was just him wanting to be just friends with her, but apparently it was Yakumo loving rakugo more than Miyo, and he knew he wouldn’t be able to make her happy because he would always be busy and that’s why the relationship didn’t work out. He had also told her to love herself and not to depend on men all the time and change her life, but she was stubborn and didn’t want to do that. The entire time I watched season one, I just thought Yakumo did not love Miyo like she loved him. But then in this episode we have Yakumo seeing Miyo (in Konatsu…yikes) and saying “Ahh my beloved, my beloved…” and it just felt so weird to me. I just always felt like the affection and love he should have had for Miyo was mostly directed towards Sukeroku at the time. Am I saying that Yakumo loved Sukeroku romantically? I actually can’t say but it makes sense to look at their relationship like that. But he could have just loved him like a brother, who knows. That’s not really my point anyway. I’m just saying…Yakumo and Miyo didn’t feel like a couple to me. They didn’t feel like they were in love. He never felt anger or jealousy when she got together with Sukeroku and had his baby. Just…something is missing for me! But with how Yakumo reacted this episode, and how Miyo is even in the opening suggests that yes he really did love her. It was just a bad relationship.

Anyway! Let’s just all pray that grandpa Yakumo will be okay! I don’t think they’ll make him die so soon, but that would be one hell of a plot twist. An evil plot twist. But if this story will be kind to us, they’ll make him survive, but his rakugo days will probably be done by then. :(

The purple kind of gave an eerie feeling too, didn’t it?


We're all just a bunch of weebs

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4 Responses

  1. Noc says:

    I love grandpa Yakumo :'(

    Since you asked, I also never got the feeling Yakumo was ‘in love’ with Miyo the way most would think. If anything, he always seemed more in love with Sukeroku…but I think it was the warmth of his affection for Sukeroku that made the difference. It was more comforting and familiar to the audience, whereas his relation with Miyo was always strangely chilly.

    But I do think he cared for Miyo and loved her in some sense. The word he uses to call out to her near the end of this episode in Japanese is ‘itoshi’, which while translated as ‘beloved’ can also read ‘dear’, ‘precious’, ‘cherished’…it’s a very versatile word that refers not to a romantic or sexual partner specifically, but rather simply someone or something that the speaker cares for deeply. I think Yakumo’s love for both Miyo and Sukeroku fall under this broad spectrum that is neither completely romantic nor familial, but is still very much there. Miyo just…wasn’t good for him. They were too similar in the worst of ways. Yakumo wasn’t good for her either, and he knew that, which is likely why he never expressed any anger over her running off with Sukeroku.

    That’s how I worked it out in my head, anyways.

    • Berry says:

      Ok see I didn’t want to be the only one thinking that way. Basically I agree with everything you said. But I just keep remembering the scene he had with Miyo before the accident where he kisses her and that still doesn’t sit right with me. :|
      But yes, I don’t think he loved Miyo romantically, but he still did love her. It was overall a bad relationship.

      • Noc says:

        Yeah, I watched that scene and was like whaaaat? Felt super strange to me. But then I thought, maybe he was just taking that action for her sake – when she started crying, knowing he didn’t come to help her, he decided to try comforting her in a way she’s always wanted… but then it backfired, spurring her on instead of pacifying her.

        Or something? Might be a bit of a stretch. They’re all such complicated characters, I love it.

        • Berry says:

          Yeah I guess. Well, that’s one of my favorite things about this series. Complicated characters done well is so nice. :)

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