January 22nd, 2016.
“Does the Walker Choose the Path, or The Path The Walker?”
“That’s all I have time for this night, so we’ll have to continue the story another night.” I expected this means we’ll come back to the present time, at least for a while, but from the preview for next episode, seems it’s just a fancy way of saying “To be continued.” Also, to get this out of the way as well, there were a couple of moments of stilted animation this episode (such as when Bon embraced Shin at the end) and a bit of off-model art (mid-way through the episode), but it was nothing major (nothing like Iron-Blooded Orphans), and the show’s still gorgeous, with plenty of pretty shots and good design, but it was noticeable, cause it stood out to me.
Anyway, this really is a story as if told to a younger audience, and how memoirs and autobiographies go, which is nice, because this way it doesn’t feel as if we’re watching a show, but truly listening to someone tell us of his life. The narration is just a small part of it, but I’m talking specifically of the moment when he’s walking back with his master from the Rakugo self-censorship meeting – he’s telling us of (momentous) historic events, but he’s tying them to his own personal plight, and that’s the difference between autobiographies and histories, we tell of the big world, as it’s reflected through our own personal lives, and how it affects us. I was also interested of hearing about it, so it seems this form of self-censorship to try and appease the external would-be-censors is universal. American comics (and television?) also had this.
I liked him commenting on the “stray cat” metaphor – because this wasn’t a visual-only metaphor, but an actual textual metaphor within the story, and characters can parse these things as well. But do note the implicit metaphor later – Bon was abandoned by his first girlfriend, just as he later abandoned his second. Relationships are bound by a time and place, and when the time and place shift, they end. Yes, the Master and his wife, and Bon and Shin are the exception, but they still resume those relationships by returning to the same place. Some people are bound, such as the girl who had to go back to her family’s place, or the girl he then left behind. He’s grown accustomed to some relationships as only a temporary thing, a way to pass the time. He’s grown accustomed enough to being left behind, but also to leaving others behind.
The final thing I want to point out is that in his performances during Shin and the Master’s absence, people actually laughed at his performances. It’s because he played with a smile on his face, and a smile on his heart. Did Rakugo really take a place in his heart, or was it a way to relive his time with Shin? I suspect the latter, but it came out, and others had seen it through.
Oh, I guess I did forget one other moment that stood out to me – when Shin told Bon he sounds different, not like himself. When you think about it in the context of people who are putting on masks and portraying different people and personalities, that is so weird, isn’t it? I know what he was trying to say, but still. Likewise as the episode ended, where Bon basically said, “I believed if I followed Shin’s direction, I’d find my own path.” Finding your own path and being yourself while following someone else. Following yourself while being someone else. Guess that’s part of being a performer, or at least part of growing up.