Descending Stories: Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinju
Holy crap, that’s a long title. I know that I’ve had plenty of blog posts with long titles as well so I can’t say anything about it, but still. That is this one the anime’s few flaws because otherwise, this series is almost perfect. Descending Stories is the second act or a sequel season to the normal Rakugo Shinju which was one of the best anime series that aired last winter. It’s a spectacular drama focused around the art form known as Rakugo, an ancient form of storytelling centered around one actor telling a story by performing all the voices by themselves. The first season was a back story centered on old master bon’s back-story. This series tells us the story of the aging master, his apprentice, the apprentice’s “wife” and the aging master’s “adopted daughter”, and some other people.
Rakugo is a solid character piece. Every single one of these characters are as true to life as they’ve always been in this anime series. Kikuhiko or Bon is the aging master that I talked about. Not only is he dealing with aging, but he is constantly tortured by the events that occurred in the flash back. That’s a massive spoiler involving last season so I won’t tell you what it is, but it constantly puts him on edge with his adopted daughter, Konatsu. Now Konatsu is yet another unique character with her own problems. She has been in love with rakugo for her whole life, but never had the courage to perform it. Instead, she supports rakugo by playing an instrument in the background and becomes a couple with Bon’s apprentice Yotaro. Once again with the continued theme of characters weighed down by his own problems, Yotaro’s are attempting to escape his former yakuza past and mastering his own Rakugo. There are a lot of good side characters as well, but I am not going to describe them here. This is a short, little over view after all.
Rakugo’s visuals are as great as its characters and its stories. The character designs are unique and interesting and the art itself is fantastic. There are so many unique, well designed backgrounds that in this series. I should also mention the direction, because the way each character’s emotions are presented during a rakugo performance and how feelings are given the fewer are shown perfectly through visuals. The animation isn’t top notch, but this isn’t an action series, it’s a drama. That isn’t a big deal. In the end, I give all of Rakugo Shinjuu the highest recommendation for everybody to watch it. It starts out slow, but it gets better and better as time goes on. Please give a try.
Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga
Well, it seems like we go from the best show of the season to the absolute worst. I didn’t like this series at all. I’m completely surprised that I was able to finish it somehow? Why? Despite his production values, there is absolutely no substance to it. There is a betrayal plot centered around a character we never spent time with and don’t care about, endless amounts of group meetings that don’t go anywhere, and a slow plot that takes forever for anything to happen. In the end, I feel like little to nothing was accomplished which made this anime feel like a waste of time. This entire saga would have been better off as a ninety minute movie because the pacing would be improved significantly which would make the whole thing feel worthwhile. In the end, it seemed like nothing really mattered. So all in all, don’t recommend. I am not sure if there is anything for anyone that even liked the first season. This is my opinion though because I might be biased against it. I am not a person that likes disliking things like this.