Ex-convict turned Rakugo apprentice Yotarou has finally taken the name of Yurakutei Sukeroku III, and with his master Yakumo’s permission has attained the lofty rank of shin’uchi. He assumes the name at a critical time for Rakugo, with audiences fewer than ever. At the same time he has started acting as a husband to Konatsu, who is now a single mother. Yotarou thus begins the struggle to fill the role of Sukeroku, both as the future of Rakugo and as a part of Yakumo’s and Konatsu’s lives.
If you haven’t watched the first season, my review probably wouldn’t make any sense. Better do that first.
It’s got to be one of the rarest anime to have a successful second season as the first. Shouwa Genroku manages to maintain its style of storytelling and an equally interesting story as the first. What had originally attracted to me its predecessor was its use of Rakugo- a craft I had no idea about- and how they portrayed what was so special about it. I fell in love with the characters along the way.
Shouwa Genroku is a story told through the ages. The first generations’ pain and mistakes mingling with the second and the consequences. It looks as if they are going down the same path, committing the same mistakes and yet, their lives are so different.
Yotaro gives us hope that maybe, just maybe this time they would all have the closure they deserve. On the other hand, the presence of Yakumo and his ideals, his constant conflict between the Rakugo he wants to take away with him and the Rakugo he wants to save is a special story on its own.
Yotaro and Yakumo’s relationship is one of the biggest plus points of the anime. On the surface, it appears as it Yakumo really couldn’t care less, but if you look close enough, all he is ever doing is asking for help. From the start, Yataro was Yakumo’s salvation, his one chance at righting the wrong, and so he took it and left it all in Yotaro’s hand, and hopefully, Yataro will save him. Yotaro’s characterization is a clever choice. An ex convict who probably has more reason to be a jaded man than Kikuhiko or Konatsu, and yet, he is the sunshine of the family.
I love the female characters in this anime. Konatsu and her mother, Miyokichi or the mistress, they are all unconventional characters. It’s unusually to see females in anime who aren’t heroine or villain, instead they are simply human. Konatsu’s worries of turning out to be like her mother, and the realization that she wasn’t her mother, they are all as real as they could get.
We now have the addition of a child, who has all the charm of his father and mother. He is adorable, smart and refreshingly free from the dark past that has plagued his family.
The pacing of the show is another thing I love about it. It isn’t some story where characters end up doing all sorts of stupid stuff in the span of one year. It is a story of action and consequences, their accumulation over the years.
The opening song is certainly dark and feels you with a sense of foreboding. I can only hope another tragedy isn’t waiting for us.
There isn’t any doubt in my mind second season is going to be great just like the first one.