When it comes to unnerving ghost stories, “Shinigami” has got nothing on Rakugo Shinju.
Not content to simply kick me in the feelings every week, Rakugo Shinju decides to ratchet up the tension and stress me out as well. Right from the opening theme, which sees the return of Sukeroku’s (friggin’ terrifying) shinigami eyes, there’s the promise of impending disaster lurking right around the corner; a sense that we’ve reached a breaking point and something is going to have to snap before we can go anywhere else.
I mentioned last week that we’d entered a kind of narrative twilight between past and present, “saved” and “lost,” as we waited to see which direction the characters (Yakumo in particular) chose to travel. This week we may have taken a step away from that crossroads and into a specific direction, and it may ultimately be a positive one. But it comes at a steep cost, and I ain’t just talkin’ about my poor heart.