Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinju Episode 9 Notes

March 5th, 2016.

Disharmonious Partings:

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinju anime Episode 9 - Yakumo (Kikuhiko/Bon) tells Miyokichi she can't rely on others

All those pretty night-time shots. More than anything else, this reminded me of an episode of Uchouten Kazoku (The Eccentric Family), though the the two times the music flared up (07:40 and 21:10) also put me in mind of Monogatari and Kyousougiga. Not because it sounded or looked exactly like them, but the atmosphere evoked from the production as a whole put me in that mind.

Mirroring and masks, the topic that was the focus of last week’s write-up is still with us here. Sometimes the visuals make it very clear, such as the sakura petals on Miyokichi’s room’s floor, which show how she’s been longing for Bon, and how she didn’t take care of herself as she waited, and the same flowers after Shin was cast out. And we’ve had Miyokichi outright admit she changes her behaviour to fit the man, so who’s the real Miyokichi?

There’s a lot of other stuff going on, such as, I think the Master was going to give Shin the name, or at least tell him very gently off for not giving it to him, or not yet. He called him and started talking to him about harmony, of the need to work well with others. Which is what would be expected of him as a master, or what he’ll need to prove before he can be given the name of Yakumo. Of course it’s ironic that this talk is what led to the whole blow-up, seeing as last episode’s final segment was all about how Shin understands the need for harmony enough that he made the pact that he did with Shin, that the two of them will together keep rakugo alive.

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinju anime Episode 9 - Miyokichi tells Yakumo (Kikuhiko/Bon) she'll haunt him

And then they’ll not be separated for all eternity.

Speaking of that, as a small aside, that must scare Bon, who is now faced with the need to keep rakugo alive all on his own, both with his traditionalist style, and with Shin’s “change”, which explains why he turned to Konatsu and Yotaro at the end of episode 1. Also, what was Shin thinking? Master just told him how great it is that rakugo is built around traditions, and there he goes denigrating traditionalists.

But if we have to pick one scene that was the most important scene of the episode, then it’s definitely the scene where Shin and Bon part ways. And in that scene, we’ve had this line. Yes, it follows the “I always envied you,” by Shin, where Bon always envied Shin, but look at that line, and do you recall how when the Master left with Shin during the war, Bon asked whether he’s just a stray cat to him? Just as Bon saw himself as a stray cat, let loose when one moves on, Shin saw himself as a stray dog, let in out of pity.

Everyone has their problems, everyone thinks it’s so good for everyone else. But we always see things from our perspectives. That Bon and Shin are performers who must place themselves in other people’s shoes doesn’t mean they actually understand the people closest to them, or that they even try, as they’re so caught up with their own lives. “Don’t talk as if you know everything, you don’t even know my name!” Miyokichi told Bon, as if to say he doesn’t really know her and where she’s coming from, to which he very aptly replied, “Neither do you know mine.” And that’s human existence, in a nutshell.

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinju anime Episode 9 - Yakumo (Kikuhiko/Bon) has a hard time saying goodbye to Sukeroku (Shin)

Also, I always said Bon felt abandoned, and that’s why he grew to “abandon” others. Look at this moment, the thing missing here is that Bon’s assumption that others will eventually leave him is what shaped him into the person he is right now. And yet, when his “older brother”, the person he shared most of his life and aspirations with is leaving him,he can’t take it.

Even the “Whatever you do, don’t give up on rakugo,” can be read in a couple of ways. As he said to the literature reporter, he’s only happy about doing his rakugo, and Shin is even moreso, for Shin to leave Tokyo and stop doing rakugo shows the life went out of him. Didn’t Shin say he’ll play outside theatres if the masters won’t let him? That doing rakugo is all he wants to do? And didn’t he this episode say the audience is the true judge? And on the other hand, Bon and Shin agreed to part ways last week, and so long as each tries to keep rakugo alive, then they’d still be “together”, in keeping up their pact. For Shin to stop doing rakugo would betray who he is, and leave Bon truly alone. He says he’s used to it, but he’s not, not to this degree.

Return to the Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinju Episodic Notes page.

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