Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen Episode 12 (Final Impression)
“I never thought for a second that we’d ever lose rakugo. After all… something this good could never go away!”
I need a paternity test now. I don’t even know what to think anymore. If there were hints, they flew right over my dumb little head. I had seen many people speculating that the father of Konatsu’s baby was Yakumo and not the mafia boss but I thought it was gross and ridiculous. But looking at grown Shin…
…he looks like Yakumo. He has that shyness and cool air about him, and physically he just looks like him when Yakumo was younger. I couldn’t really tell when he was a child because of the chub face, but now it’s just obvious. And I’m just…really fucked up. I guess it wasn’t completely confirmed, but when Konatsu explained that she felt “romantic love” then, uh yeah. That basically means yes? And I don’t understand. Yeah, they were never related but they were basically family because he raised her like a daughter. So, why? Why did they have sex? Was it a regular thing? I can’t wrap my head around it. And it just creeps and grosses me out. It also adds a whole other perspective on the relationship they had. I know I wasn’t the only one shocked by this as I’ve seen many reactions like mine. Apparently there were unaired scenes that’ll be bundled with the Blu-rays and I hope some of them will explain this. But if someone has read the manga, spoil me. Tell me if it goes deeper into this revelation.
I have to say it was actually a little hard paying attention to this episode after all of that, and that talk between Higuchi and Konatsu was in the first half. Still, this episode ended this series beautifully. 16 years have passed since Yakumo’s death. The theater was rebuilt and the characters are celebrating its grand opening with a family performance. Everyone is older and Matsuda you son of a bitch you’re still alive!! He’s 95! I thought he had died with Yakumo but all he did was literally see him off, but he’s still here. Gotta say I screamed with tears of joy when he appeared in his wheelchair, all rickety and old. So happy that he got to see this joyous moment. His speech at the end had me in tears too. Again, more appreciation for Matsuda. It was also strange to see the others older, especially Yotaro. He was a loud and hyper loudmouth when he was younger, but seeing him with Shin, he’s really grown into a wise older man and loving father. Konatsu is still pretty much the same personality wise, except add the mom personality and she’s a little scarier haha. Shin seems like a good man, a doting brother to his genki sister Koyuki. Everyone has aged so well and I’m glad they’re all still together, growing together.
I love the speech Yotaro gave. Rakugo brings everyone together, whether you’re young or old, man or woman, and so on. Rakugo has really changed after Yakumo passed on. That’s why it was so fitting for Konatsu to finally become the first female rakugo performer. One downside of this episode was that we didn’t see her performance, not that Shin’s performance wasn’t fun. It was very good and made me smile. However, Yotaro’s version of “Shinigami”…wow. I can’t even put into words how much I loved that small moment when Yakumo appeared as Yotaro’s shinigami. It was so short but evoked so much emotion. But it also makes me wonder if Yotaro will die soon? I don’t know, it had a happy ending.
Basically, what we could take from this episode is that everyone is happy and rakugo is thriving now more than ever. Even those that have passed on are still connected to the people in the present because of rakugo. It was a sweet and wonderful episode with a nice and relaxing ending. But of course I see people aren’t leaving too happy because of the Shin’s biological father. I’ve seen all kinds of reactions so far but what’s kind of funny is Yotaro saying that things are better left unsaid (when mentioning the truth behind Konatsu’s parents’ deaths). I feel like there’s a lot of that in this show. But honestly? I’m still messed up and don’t know what to think.
But other than that, there’s this sadness in me as I realize that this series is really over.
I mean wow. I loved the first season and I also loved the second season. Usually with sequels they end up being worse than the first season, but in Rakugo’s case I felt like it was just as good as the first season, maybe even better. Then again, I don’t really feel like these are two separate seasons but just one big story and I thought it was beautiful. It took on the topic of love, sex, regret, depression, anxiety, just so many things and handled it so wonderfully. We had complex but realistic characters, with realistic drama, all centered around this traditional Japanese performing art that at first seemed like a boring topic in an anime, but was directed exceptionally well that it left the audience fixed on the screen. The themes, the characters, it was all delivered in this fantastic package with the story being handled with maturity. It evoked so many emotions from me such as happiness and sadness and anger and…recently, some confusion? I laughed a lot, I cried a lot, I yelled a lot, and if you have me doing all of that with every episode then you know you’ve done something good when I’m so invested into the show. I mean it when I say that this anime has soared into one of my favorite anime of all time. This is what I would call a masterpiece, and there’s not many anime out there that are like this.
Of course, there were some things that irked me. Yakumo and Miyo’s relationship, I still can’t see it as romantic. There were hints of Yakumo being homosexual that many people saw, and I kind of did too, but that really wasn’t the main reason why I didn’t see the relationship as romantic. But the show continued to tell us that it was, but I still couldn’t buy it. And, of course, this last reveal in the end with the identity of Shin’s biological child. I keep mentioning this in my review but it’s such a big deal. I just feel like it came out of left field and it doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t want to prolong this review with what I feel, because I’ll just go on and on. I might even make a whole separate post about this issue and how I think it’s a mistake, but I’m just going to leave this here: I thought it wasn’t a good idea.
But other than those two things, I still loved this series to bits. Studio DEEN is a strange studio, because their animation can either look really good, or really bad, and they’re mostly known for their bad animation. Luckily Rakugo looked magnificent. Sure it didn’t have the best animation but it didn’t need that. The great animation was shown with the imagery that would be inserted with some of the rakugo stories. The second season looked just as good as the first season, and the music was great. I loved the jazz music they went with, but my favorite songs were the two OP openings for the two seasons which are probably one of my favorite opening songs in anime. Basically, the second season is exactly like the first season, good in the animation and music department, though there was only one episode were the animation looked atrocious but ehhh I’ll let it slide.
If you ask me, I would already call Rakugo season two the best anime of the year, even though we still have a lot of anime coming in the year. Like, you can’t top Rakugo. I will say it again, this is one of the best anime I’ve ever seen in my life and I wish that more people knew about it. This is definitely a sleeper hit, and this would be the point in my review where I would recommend this show but the only people that are going to be reading this review are people that have seen the first season. To which I say, recommend this anime to people. Please! They’re missing out on something magnificent. The way this anime seamlessly told the story of so many characters from pre-war Japan up into the Shouwa era…it’s crazy. It leaves me with no other words than: I love this anime with all my heart and I’m going to miss it. This is definitely something to be remembered.