Panning the Stream: Winter 2016 Midseason Review

The party is shrinking faster than expected.

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While it’s not unheard-of for me to drop shows between the third and sixth episode, my retention rate is something like 80 percent. Basically, if you can hook me after three, I’m usually invested enough to stick around through the whole cour even if I wind up with a negative opinion of the show.

This season, though? This season there was enough mildly entertaining mid-range stuff that I threw it all at the wall and waited to see what would stick. Not much of it did, and some of the results surprised even me. Hit the jump to see where we stand halfway through this chilly season.

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Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju – Episode 6

They say you should spend this day with a loved one, so…

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Seeing as how it’s Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d begin this post by saying something I’ve neglected to mention throughout these many words of character analysis and directorial discussion: I am completely, utterly, over-the-moon in love with Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju. I give myself a couple of days to write these commentaries because my hot takes would just be several paragraphs of caps-lock gushing and a bunch of sparkly-eyed, flailing reaction gifs. Every week I think I’ll get used to how good this show is, and every week I am once again floored by the sheer amount of thought and artistry that goes into this production.

Click here for the full post on Anime Evo!

Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju – Episode 5

Shakespeare may be nations and centuries away, but “all the world’s a stage” has never been a more apt sentiment.

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Has there ever been a series with as much unabashed love for performers and performance as this one? From the many rakugo stories to the bursts of shamisen music to this week’s low-budget kabuki play, Showa Genroku depicts Japan’s classic performance arts with a careful attention to detail and a fierce respect for the mediums.

Yet the series never lets itself slip into rose-colored nostalgia; rather, like the rakugo-ka who preserve the tales of Edo (and therefore its lost world and the flawed people who lived in it), Showa Genroku seeks to capture with the same blend of affection and honesty a time, place, and people who no longer exist. And it accomplishes this the same way humanity so often has: Through the telling of stories.

Click here for the full post on Anime Evo!

Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju – Episode 4

Shh—don’t tell anyone, but I may have dropped another 1500 words on the rakugo anime. Again.

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If the past two episodes were about building the bonds and demonstrating the importance of Kikuhiko’s makeshift rakugo family, then this one is about showing how those bonds could one day unravel. Yakumo’s story has always carried a strong undercurrent of longing and melancholy, but this is the first time we’ve really felt a creeping sense of dread, that we’re on the roller coaster ramp climbing to an inevitable fall. We’ve known it was coming since we got in line, but that’s not gonna make the drop any easier.

Click here for the oh-so-full post on Anime Evo!

Rule of Three Review(ish): Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju

And here we have an announcement that will surprise absolutely no one.

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Despite extra work hours and winter illnesses and basketball games and frankly not having the time to cover another series this season, especially one as dense and historically grounded as Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju… I am, in fact, doing exactly that! Because I love this show and I want to talk about it. So screw sleep. I can sleep in the spring.

I’m covering this one over at Anime Evo, so click here for the full post, where I lay out the overarching story for any newcomers and then dig into the narrative and cinematographic choices of the third episode. Come along, friends. We’re gonna have ourselves a grand old bleary-eyed time.