February 27th, 2016.
Masks and Mirrors – Notes:
(There will be a longer post-episode write-up published in a couple of days, worry not.)
Thoughts and Notes:
1) Corporate Politics:
1) The show opens again by setting a sense of time and place – a beautiful day. Too beautiful for Bon to be holed up inside rather than enjoying it, but it also goes to show – all these other people who would rather watch him (and the Master), rather than enjoy it.
2) “Yakumo-chan, there you are!” We all have childhood friends, from before we became masters. Goes just like last episode where the Master looked abashed at Bon. As Bon gains mastery, the distance between him and the master, as people, shrinks.
3) “You must forget he’s a man from time to time.” Lewd :P But also speaks of his strengths as a performer.
4) Politics! So, why can’t Bon advance? And the Master did say he thinks of him as a son or something.
5) “Speaking of which, how is your other hilarious futatsume doing?” – “now that’s a quagmire.” Again like last episode, the normal discussions are also framed like rakugo performances. Especially with “Your face got long” and “Your face just got longer.”
6) And silly Bon, you can just change the names any way you wish, unless they have story importance.
2) Bon’s Externalized Desires:
1) Bon actually voicing a desire, a desire to do Rakugo, and move forward. But it also fits the daydreams that Shin voiced, and he listened to and bought into.
2) Heh. Bon, still thinking in terms of debts owed, but also of how he’s part of the rakugo world. He’s dreaming though, no one can do it all. But the desire is important.
It’s also the capitalist dream, thinking once you achieve X, you’ll have nothing left to achieve, and could be happy.
3) Ah, so the problem is getting Bon to advance without Shin. Does the master not want it, or there are political issues, where Shin being struck down could also strike Bon down?
4) And here it is, there’s always someone above you. Even to the Master. Look how defeated the Master’s body-language is.
5) It’s not about popularity (of a waning artform, but it’s currently booming again), or even about skill – it’s about being liked. Shin is liked by the audiences, but not by the gate-keepers. So no wonder he wants to raise his own performances.
3) A Summertime Story:
1) Here it is, a story about burglars, where Sukeroku is the most like Yotaro.
“Sheesh, I can’t tell who’s the burglar here!” and him licking the sweat.
2) The heat, the bells – it’s “the same time, elsewhere,” still in the heat, but Shin and Miyokichi are night creatures, to Master and Bon’s daytime activities.
3) 0813 – sometimes the small things really stick out, Miyokichi’s eyes focus on where Shin is before he leans forward and down, but her static head/eyes don’t follow him as he does.
4) Right, Miyokichi keeps being put behind rakugo, so that’s the last thing she wants to be reminded of.
5) The drink stands between those two. Not a good way to keep distance, eh? :P
6) “It figures, a woman wouldn’t get it,” says the one whose daughter wishes to do rakugo more than anything else.
7) Those two share so much, the love and anger for Bon, heh. And I thought Miyokichi was the one supposed to vent.
8) “Men are like that, but I’m stupid, so I like it. It’s nice guys like you I can’t stand.” GAH. I have a feeling I’ll see this scene in webm/screenshots a lot in the future.
9) And then she looked at him from the corner of her eye and he gulped down the alcohol, lubing up his courage?
10) “Then I met Yakumo-sensei and my new life began. I never want to be alone again.” It’s mirroring Bon.
4) A Story of Distance:
1) The dramatic music hanging in the background springs in as Shin embraces Miyokichi.
2) Bon, face half in shadow, just as he was hanging back.
3) Him not getting angry and just stepping back means he’s not invested, and that he’s given up.
4) So, he’s being a man, acting as if he doesn’t care. He plans to break up with her even though he loves her? Why Bon, why? :<
5) So, he’ll leave her because of an image, because the master told him? He really will put the job ahead of everything, as she said.
6) “I don’t want to be with her that badly,” meaning so badly he won’t be able to do rakugo. So, he lets the master dictate his life.
7) “Yes, I don’t want to regret it.” But I bet he did, for not trying for both.
8) “But I don’t want to marry anyone. I want to be alone.” The opposite of Miyokichi.
9) And now Shin hears the big thing, “alone” obviously means without him either.
5) For the Future:
1) I’d like to say this scene has homosexual undertones, but they’re not undertones, are they?
2) And very important, “I can’t outgrow and defeat you while around you” contrasted with “You can’t do Rakugo without people.” Also without heart.
3) “You’re always ahead, so you never see just how much I suffer when I’m with you…” So he’s also separating from Shin, though it hurts, just like with Miyokichi. Also because Shin has no future in rakugo, it’d seem. Also, here Bon is mirroring Miyokichi’s unvoiced feelings.
4) “There’s no reason we have to be together.” Dun dun duuun.
“So let’s call it our breakup.” Yup, homosexual overtones, and I wish this moment was better drawn.
5) Of course, the master is a rakugo performer, and so is Bon, so each can call to mind what others say with ease.
6) Shin, doing rakugo cause he loves it, no future of rakugo, no paying back others. Just for the love of it, more contrasting. But so does Bon, even if he won’t admit it?
7) A relic. Shin-chan sees that if rakugo won’t change, it’d die out. As old Yokumo said in the present, that those two need to save the art form and keep it alive.
8) Bon is a formalist, rakugo as it always is. Shin-chan wants it to stay rakugo even as it changes. That’s also the deal with Yotaro, doing rakugo that isn’t Bon’s, but also shouldn’t be Shin’s, for it to survive. And this is part of why Bon had issues with him.
9) And so, splitting it. One will maintain, one will create new. And so the line of demarcation and contest is drawn, but also no contest, since each aims in a different direction.
6) For the Past:
1) Shin-chan is already what he wants to be, the 2nd generation Sukeroku, rather than the next generation Yakumo.
2) Ah, so it really is an off-shoot branch of the Yakumos, heh. A Yurakutei.
3) Shin-chan, for the first time, sharing he was sometimes unsure and scared as well.
4) “And most importantly, they’re popular.” So they can’t be spoken against, especially as they want to keep rakugo alive.
5) “I’ve put myself through so much to carry on the legacy.” Like Bon, duty to those who came before, and sacrifice.
And even the master feels he didn’t accomplish everything. That’s the reality of life.
6) I thought we’d see a mention of the first Sukeroku in the family ledger, awww.
7) In the end he still smiles and needs reminders of Shin.