Teach ’em how to say goodbye.
So here we are at the end of Yakumo’s–no, at the end of Bon’s story, or at least the end of this volume. I’ve hesitated to talk about religion or philosophy with Rakugo Shinju because I was still on the fence about which direction it would eventually swing, but this episode is infused with Buddhist beliefs and folklore, and especially with that uniquely Japanese concept of mono-no-aware: a keen awareness of impermanence, a gentle sadness for that which we’re destined to lose, and an appreciation of the beauty inherent in our ever-changing world. It may also be Rakugo Shinju’s best episode to date. And for this show, that is saying something.