Tag: 2016

High School Fleet

High School Fleet

High School Fleet anime series cover art
High School Fleet

Anime Series Overview

High School Fleet (ハイスクール・フリート), also known as Haifuri is an action anime about girls on a destroyer ship. Yes, you read that right. This is an action anime. It’s not a slice of life anime despite how it may appear. I was fooled, too.

Haifuri also isn’t like Azur Lane, the other boat girl anime I’ve seen. You see, in Azur Lane, the girls are the boats. In Haifuri, the girls are the crew on a boat. It’s an important distinction to make considering the number of boat girl anime out there.

I also need to say early on in this review that Haifuri is a good anime. It’s better than I expected it to be. I went into the series assuming I’d rate it as maybe a 5/10. But, I was pleasantly surprised to find out it’s much more than what it seems to be on the surface.

Akeno Misaki and Mashiro Munetani from the anime series High School Fleet
Akeno Misaki and Mashiro Munetani

There are a lot of characters in Haifuri. And a good amount of them don’t matter all that much. But, the characters who do matter are great. They’re unique and interesting characters who grow over the course of the season.

I can’t say I was expecting that when I originally thought this was a cute girls go boating anime. And, I wasn’t ready for there to be a suspenseful plot, either. The action begins right in the first episode, and the episode even ends on a cliffhanger. Haifuri had me hooked from the start.

Oh, and the action and suspense never cease. The girls of the Harekaze (the destroyer they’re the crew of) are always in a pinch. Literally, 11 of the 12 episode titles refer to them being “in a pinch.” I may need to watch more boat girl anime if they’re all like this.

The Best Harekaze Crew Members

So, who are the best crew members aboard the Harekaze? I have my top 3 picked out. But, before I get to them, I should probably mention the two main characters. These are Akeno Misaki and Mashiro Munetani.

Akeno is the protagonist of the series and the captain of the Harekaze. The fact that she’s the captain may sound impressive, and it is to an extent. But, we quickly learn that the Harekaze is the ship where all the students at the bottom of the class were sent. So, she’s the best of the worst.

Mashiro is the XO — or executive officer. That means she’s second-in-command aboard the Harekaze. And when the captain is away, Mashiro is the one in charge. As the daughter of the school president, everyone has high expectations for Mashiro.

Rin Shiretoko steering the Harekaze from the anime series High School Fleet
Rin Shiretoko steering the Harekaze

As you may have figured out from the picture above, Rin Shiretoko is the best character. She’s the Chief Navigator, which means she steers the ship. She’s also afraid of everything, which is exactly what makes her so good. Her reactions to various situations are the most entertaining part of the series.

The next best is Maron Yanagiwara, the Chief Engineer of the Harekaze. She spends most of her time in the engine room continuously repairing things as they break. Maron also has a lot of energy, which always makes characters more fun. But, I’m not sure if she has the most energy of the crew members.

That distinction may go to Mei Irizaki, the Torpedo Officer. If a weapon needs to be fired on the Harekaze, Mei is ready to fire it. And even if weapons aren’t necessary, Mei is still ready and raring to go. She loves nothing more than blowing things up.

Fun, But Not the Best Plot

I enjoyed my time watching High School Fleet. But, I’m not going to pretend like the plot was all that good. In fact, the plot was the weakest part of the anime. It didn’t make much sense.

Basically, the story goes like this. The girls are students at a boat school, and things go wrong on their maiden voyage. They’re supposed to rendezvous with the rest of the class. But, their ship breaks down and they’re multiple hours late. That’s when they’re suddenly attacked by the instructor’s ship.

To protect itself, the Harekaze returns fire and sinks the ship. And because of this, the Harekaze is labeled as a mutinous ship. But, why did the instructor’s ship attack in the first place? You see, it’s all thanks to a bioelectric virus created in a lab that turns people into hivemind zombies.

Shima Tateishi and Mei Irizaki with messy hair from the anime series High School Fleet
Shima Tateishi and Mei Irizaki with messy hair

From what I remember, it’s never explained why the infected go for maximum destruction. It’s not like using a warship to attack other warships helps spread the virus. But, whatever. We don’t have to think too much about what the end goal of the virus is.

Oh, and as far as we can tell, there’s no point at which a person “gets over” the virus. So, does that mean they’re zombies forever? Well, no. There is a cure — seawater. How convenient! If you dowse an infected person in seawater or throw them overboard, they’ll be back to normal.

Why is seawater the solution? Again, we don’t actually know — unless I just wasn’t paying attention when we learned. But, seawater isn’t the only solution. You can also have the virus antibodies injected into your bloodstream. Though, it’s easier to do this to someone post-seawater dowsing so they calm down.

Conclusion

High School Fleet is a solid 7/10. If the plot was better, it could have been an 8. I liked the characters, it had good animation, and it was fun to watch. As I said before, the main issue was that the plot wasn’t that good.

If you enjoyed this review, remember to click the like button down below. Also, follow me on your social media site of choice — links are in the footer.

Finally, I’d like to thank Roman and JasonHK for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. And I’d like to thank Key Mochi for supporting at the Senpai tier and Pepe and Rob for supporting at the Kouhai tier. To learn more about how you too can become a supporter of this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

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Big Order

Big Order

Big Order anime series cover art
Big Order

Series Overview

Big Order (ビッグオーダー) is an action-mystery series by the author of The Future Diary. And because of its connection to The Future Diary, it’s weird to think that Big Order aired in 2016. Sure, that’s 6 years ago at this point. But, it feels like it’s from an older generation of anime.

2016 featured anime like Konosuba, Re:ZERO, My Hero Academia, Mob Psycho 100, and March comes in like a lion. You know, anime that I’d still consider modern at this point. Do you know what I wouldn’t consider modern? The Future Diary.

Now, I’m not saying that Big Order feels older than it is because of how it looks. It’s more that the writing of the series doesn’t fit in with other anime of its generation. Like, when was the last time you watched an anime with a yandere female lead? That feels so dated as a concept.

Rin, Eiji, and Iyo from the anime series Big Order
Rin, Eiji, and Iyo

With all that said, what’s Big Order actually about? Some event occurs that gives people supernatural powers based on their wishes. These people are known as Orders. One of these Orders is Eiji Hoshimiya, who as a child caused the “Great Destruction.”

In an instant, the Great Destruction destroyed the entire country of Japan. Millions of people died in the catastrophe. And, Eiji has been hiding his involvement ever since. But, his secret comes out, and now Eiji must fight against other Orders backed by the United Nations. Obviously, the U.N. wants to prevent another Great Destruction.

Basically, the series is a lot of action with Orders fighting Orders. And then there’s the mystery of Eiji’s wish thrown in. He doesn’t remember what he wished for that caused the Great Destruction. Also, there are a lot of twists and random happenings. It’s a wild ride.

Main Characters

Eiji Hoshimiya is a pretty boring protagonist. That’s not unique to Big Order, though. A lot of anime, especially action anime, have boring male protagonists. But, it’s worth mentioning that his younger step-sister is his motivation. He wants to create a world in which she can be happy.

Speaking of Eiji’s step-sister, her name is Sena Hoshimiya. She spends her days in a hospital suffering from some rare form of cancer, or something. Sena is also 13 years old — she turns 14 at the very end of the series. Keep that detail in mind. It’ll be important later.

Rin Kurenai is the female lead of the series. She’s this series’ pink-haired, yandere girl. If you think she sounds a lot like Yuno Gasai, you’re on the right track. But, Rin is a lot more watered-down than Yuno is. And part of the reason for that may be the length of the series.

The Future Diary had 26 episodes to craft Yuno’s character. Big Order is only 10 episodes long.

Kagekiyo Tairano from the anime series Big Order
Kagekiyo Tairano

Despite Rin being the female lead, Iyo is arguably the best girl of the series. She’s a miko (shrine maiden) with the power of divination. She also gets pregnant if someone touches her ribbon, for some reason. I’m not sure why that’s a thing.

Yoshitsune Hiiragi is the leader of a faction fighting against the United Nations. Rin and Iyo are also members of this faction, and Hiiragi recruits (blackmails) Eiji to join, as well. He’s pretty much the antagonist for the first part of the series.

The last character I want to mention here is Kagekiyo Tairano. While there are battles between Orders before she shows up, she’s the first real villain. Her ability lets her create giant, stone golems. And she has a pretty good design.

JoJo’s Meets The Future Diary

Something I wasn’t expecting when I started watching Big Order is its inclusion of Stands. I’m going to assume everyone reading this knows what a Stand is. Even if you haven’t watched JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, you should have a basic idea.

From what I remember, the abilities in Big Order don’t actually have a name. They might have been called Orders. But, the people who use them are also called Orders. So, I’m going to continue calling them Stands. Hopefully, that will be less confusing.

Eiji’s Stand is Bind Dominator. It allows him to bend anything it touches to his will. If Bind Dominator touches the ground, anyone within a radius of Eiji falls under his control. Or, he can dominate individuals by touching them directly with his Stand.

Bind Dominator has a physical appearance, as do many other Stands. But, that’s not the case for them all.

Eiji Hoshimiya using Bind Dominator from the anime series Big Order
Eiji Hoshimiya using Bind Dominator

Rin’s Stand (I only remember the name of Bind Dominator) is one that doesn’t have a physical form. Her Stand gives her the powers of a phoenix. She’s immortal and can heal wounds by touching them.

I already mentioned Kagekiyo’s Stand, which is the stone golem. Iyo’s Stand has to do with her divination. She can receive a prophecy about the future. And Hiiragi’s Stand lets him alter the truth of the world. If he says something didn’t happen, then it didn’t happen.

There are plenty of other Stands, too. One can stop time for up to 3 objects. One can use beams of light as attacks. And one allows its user to control water. The title of this section isn’t a joke. Big Order really is a cross between JoJo’s and The Future Diary.

Oh, and also Stands can combine like mechs in this series.

Big Censorship

Big Order has both censored and uncensored versions. Originally, I was watching the censored version, which is on Crunchyroll. But, once I hit the bathhouse episode, I made the switch to the uncensored version. I actually didn’t know there was an uncensored version until that point.

If there’s an uncensored version of anime, I’m always going to choose that over a censored version. But, that doesn’t mean there’s an inherent issue with censoring nudity in anime. There are plenty of anime that do it fine. Big Order isn’t one of them.

Now, the censoring in this series could have been fine with one, small change. As you can see in the image below, it uses beams of light to censor things. Sometimes, there’s a lot of light, as pictured. But, the issue is actually that there’s no in-universe explanation for the light.

Rin, Kagekiyo, and Mari being censored in a bathhouse from the anime series Big Order
Rin, Kagekiyo, and Mari being censored in a bathhouse

I get it. We all want to see anime boobs. Why do you think I swapped to the uncensored version? But, I actually wouldn’t have minded the censoring if there was a reason behind it. And, there’s a perfect in-universe explanation — it just isn’t used.

Mari Kunou, the character in the foreground of that image, has the ability to control light. Her Stand literally shoots beams of light. So, all the series had to do was establish that she was the one causing the censoring light. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen another series use an explanation like that.

Sure, that doesn’t solve the fact that anime boobs are being hidden from view. But, to me, it makes the situation better. I don’t like when censoring happens for no reason. And the fact that a reason was right there and not used makes Big Order’s censoring pretty bad.

The Incest Twist

There are a lot of twists throughout Big Order. But none are as funny as the incest twist. Why? Because the others at least affect the plot of the series in some way. Revealing that Eiji and Sena regularly engage in incest adds nothing.

Okay, so technically it isn’t incest because they’re step-siblings. They’re not related by blood. But, they’ve been living as siblings since childhood. Sena was 4 years old when their parents married. And as I mentioned toward the start of this review, she’s 14 at the end of the series.

The first hint at there being a sexual relationship between Eiji and Sena made me do a double take. It came out of nowhere. There was a scene of Eiji leaning over Sena’s bed. And then the next shot shows a trail of their clothes on the floor leading to a bathroom with the shower running.

Sena Hoshimiya from the anime series Big Order
Sena Hoshimiya

At that point, I was pretty sure about what was going on. But, it wasn’t confirmed just yet. Later in the series, though, we got confirmation. Eiji and Sena have had sex at least once before (other than the shower scene) and it’s implied that it’s more than once.

Also, let me reiterate that Sena turns 14 at the very end of the anime. We never get an age for Eiji that I know of, but he seems like he’s 15 for the main part of the series. So, he’s 2 years older than Sena.

We don’t know how long their sexual relationship has been going on. But, even if it only started in the past year, that’s not good. She was 13. I don’t know why the author added this to the series. It’s not an imouto anime. It’s an action anime with a random siscon twist.

Conclusion

Big Order is a 4/10. It’s a bad anime. But, it’s also entertaining because it’s so wild. If you’re looking for an anime that doesn’t require much brain power to watch, this could be for you.

I also considered whether Big Order would be better if it had more than 10 episodes. Based on the start of the series, it would seem that the answer would be yes. But, it went so off the rails by the end that adding more episodes would probably just make it more of a mess.

If you enjoyed this review, remember to click the like button down below. Also, follow me on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on any future content. And come join our Discord server to discuss anime with other members of the community.

Finally, I’d like to thank Roman for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about how you too can become a supporter of this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

Shoujo Ramune

Shoujo Ramune

Shoujo Ramune anime OVA cover art
Shoujo Ramune

OVA Overview

Shoujo Ramune (小女ラムネ) is a 4-episode slice of life anime OVA that released episodes between October 2016 and March 2018. The episodes average out to be 19 minutes each. But since they don’t have OPs, that evens out to about the same amount of content as your standard anime episode.

If you’re not already familiar with Shoujo Ramune, you might be familiar with a similar series, Non Non Biyori. Just like Non Non Biyori, Shoujo Ramune follows the daily lives of some elementary or middle school girls who live in middle-of-nowhere, Japan.

However, as an OVA, Shoujo Ramune is much smaller in scope. Maybe 90% of the OVA takes place at a small candy shop on a lonely stretch of road in the mountains. Basically, just imagine the candy shop from Non Non Biyori, but with a middle-aged man running it instead of a 20-something-year-old girl.

When you consider that this candy shop doesn’t seem to get any business besides the three main girls of the series, it’s hard to believe that it’s successful enough to stay open. And, it’s not even like these girls are big spenders. In the first episode, two of them share a single popsicle.

Anyway, the girls have a special relationship with the owner of the candy shop. Besides each other, he’s basically their only friend. They spend their free time hanging out around his shop and asking him for advice on anything from relationships to making it big as an idol.

In some senses, Shoujo Ramune is also like Mitsuboshi Colors. Both have 3 young girls and both have an older man who runs a store and entertains the girls. But the setting is completely different and Shoujo Ramune isn’t a comedy.

Characters

There are only five characters in Shoujo Ramune. So, let’s start this section by going over the main girls. They are Komako Semenovich, Chie Sayama, and Tenka Adachi. Of these three, Komako is easily my favorite both in terms of her character design and personality.

Komako has pale skin, white hair that’s put up into twin tails with pink ribbons, and blue eyes. She also wears a white dress. Her personality is very subdued and she speaks in a matter-of-fact way. And because she’s a bit shy, she has the shop owner give her advice on how to be noticed by her crush.

Komako, Chie, and Tenka from the anime OVA Shoujo Ramune
Komako, Chie, and Tenka

Chie wears a blue tank top and a yellow skirt. Her skin tone is on the tanner side and she has visible tan lines. She also has brown hair and brown eyes. Chie’s the most plain of the three personality-wise, but there’s still plenty of good Chie content.

Tenka has the most outgoing personality of the three. And this makes sense considering her dream is to become a popular idol. She has the candy shop owner help her develop an online presence to gain fans. As for her appearance, she has black hair and brown eyes and wears a purple shirt with a green tank top under it paired with purple shorts.

Kiyoshi Tachikawa is the candy shop owner. It’s unclear exactly how old he is, but I’m going to guess that he’s in his 40s because his hair seems to be going a bit grey. Apparently, he opened the candy shop after deciding he wanted to get away from city life.

The final character is Yuuko Sayama, Chie’s mother. Of the five characters, she’s the only one I’d call a supporting character. She also begins dating Kiyoshi partway through the OVA.

From Dreams to Reality

This is the part of the review that goes into spoiler territory. You see, each of the three girls has a dream that they want Kiyoshi to help them achieve. Komako wants her crush to reciprocate her feelings, Chie wants a father, and Tenka wants to become the greatest idol.

By the end of the 4 episodes, each of these girls had made major steps toward their dreams — with the help of Kiyoshi, of course. So, let’s start with Chie’s dream because it’s the one that Kiyoshi has the most direct impact on.

Early on, Chie mentions how she wishes Kiyoshi was her dad because she likes him. And as I mentioned, Kiyoshi does end up dating Chie’s mom later on. Once they start dating, he even tells Chie that she can call him her dad now, but she says that she’s going to keep calling him “old man” because that’s what she’s used to.

Tenka Adachi's idol debut from the anime OVA Shoujo Ramune
Tenka Adachi’s idol debut

Technically, by the end of the OVA, Kiyoshi isn’t Chie’s stepdad. So her dream wasn’t completely achieved. But, the same isn’t true for Komako. Her dream of having her crush reciprocate her feelings came true thanks to Kiyoshi’s advice. She got to spend one-on-one time with her crush during the summer festival.

Lastly, there’s Tenka’s dream of becoming an idol. While Kiyoshi did attempt to help Tenka grow an online audience, that’s not really how he helped her with her dream. Instead, he helped by giving her the confidence she needed to be able to get up on stage and perform in front of people.

Also, while Tenka doesn’t become a successful idol by the end of the OVA, she does make her debut in a small competition. And, of course, Chie, Komako, Kiyoshi, and Yuuko show up to support her.

Conclusion

Shoujo Ramune is a 7/10 from me. All three of the main girls are good, which is the thing that matters the most in an anime like this. There’s a lot of great content involving them, especially during the portions of the episodes that focus on each girl individually.

I also want to finish off this review with a fun fact that I learned while writing this. As you may know, ramune (ラムネ) from the title is a kind of lemon-flavored soda in Japan. Well, what I never put together is that ramune comes from the English word “lemonade.” The more you know.

If you enjoyed this review, remember to click the like button down below. Also, follow me over on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on any future content.

Finally, I’d like to thank Roman and Key Mochi~ for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika and Senpai tiers respectively this month. To learn more about how you too can become a supporter of this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

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One Piece (Zou)

One Piece (Zou)

One Piece anime series logo
One Piece

Zou Arc Overview

It’s only been a few days since my Dressrosa arc review, but I’m back with another One Piece review, this time of the Zou arc. Zou covers episodes 751 – 779, making it a very short arc at only 29 episodes.

I typically prefer the shorter arcs in One Piece because they tell the story they set out to tell without dragging on for too long. That’s precisely why I’m a fan of Thriller Bark. But, I do think Zou might be a bit too short.

Thriller Bark was 45 episodes long, and I think that’s the previous shortest arc. Zou being only two-thirds as long means it really doesn’t have much time to tell a story. And, to be honest, Zou doesn’t really tell a story.

Zou is basically just the arc that sets up both the Whole Cake Island and Wano arcs. In that regard, it’s very similar to how Punk Hazard was more or less just there to set up Dressrosa. But, even Punk Hazard had its own, fairly self-contained, storyline.

I just think it’s a shame that there wasn’t a dedicated Zou adventure because I think it’s one of the coolest places the Straw Hats have been to. The country of Zou is literally found on the back of a giant elephant named Zunesha that roams the world’s oceans.

Unfortunately, all we actually get from the arc is the introduction of the Mink tribe and the Beast Pirates. Sure, things happen in Zou and we do get to see a few locations within the country. But it’s nowhere near enough when you consider how unique of a place this is.

Dressrosa is a way less interesting location and yet got four times as many episodes dedicated to it.

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Zunesha & Zou

Before I get into discussing Zunesha, which is really what makes Zou such a cool place, let’s look at Zou itself. It’s the home of the Mink tribe, which automatically makes it an interesting country to explore.

I like when the Straw Hats find their way to the homelands of various races they’ve previously encountered out in the world. For example, Fishman have been in the series ever since East Blue, so it was fun to explore Fishman Island something like 400 episodes later.

The same applies to Zou. Minks have been around in the series for a long time, though I’m not sure when the first one was introduced. And now we finally get to see where Minks come from and learn a bit more about their history, culture, etc.

The country of Zou on the back of Zunesha from the anime series One Piece
The country of Zou on the back of Zunesha

So, as I mentioned, Zunesha is really what makes Zou what it is. The weather patterns in Zou are directly caused by Zunesha, the ground is literally Zunesha’s skin, and Zunesha is the reason Zou is such an isolated and relatively safe place.

But, Zunesha itself is a bit of a mystery. We know it’s sentient, it’s the largest creature we’ve seen, there are apparently more of them out there, and it’s been wandering the seas since the Void Century as some kind of punishment.

Due to all of that, I think Zunesha is connected to an ancient weapon in some way. Just as Poseidon is Shirahoshi’s ability to control Sea Kings, I like to think Pluton is going to be Momo’s ability to control Zunesha.

I know that in Water 7 it was basically confirmed Pluton is an actual ship. But I still have my doubts about that. Because of the nature of Poseidon, I feel like Pluton and Uranus are going to be “living weapons” as well.

Zunesha is basically a living warship if you think about it — it even needed Momo’s command to attack.

The Beast Pirates

I believe Zou was the first time we got to meet any of the Beast Pirates. Kaidou was mentioned for the first time back in Punk Hazard, I believe. But we hadn’t actually seen any members of his crew until now.

So, our first introduction to the Beast Pirates comes in the form of Jack, one of the top members of the crew. He has the Woolly Mammoth Ancient Zoan Devil Fruit, which I think is awesome. I like that fruit a lot.

It’s also neat that a Mammoth is the antagonist of Zou considering it takes place on the back of a giant elephant, Zunesha. Oh, and I guess I should mention that zou (象) literally means elephant in Japanese.

Inuarashi vs. Jack from the anime series One Piece (Zou)
Inuarashi vs. Jack

The introduction of the Beast Pirates also made me think back to the introduction of the Big Mom Pirates in Fishman Island (which happened to involve Pekoms, a Mink also featured in this arc). Their introductions were pretty different.

The Big Mom Pirates basically just threatened Luffy after he declared war on them and then left. By contrast, Jack decimates the capital city of Zou, and then somehow survives having his ship smashed to pieces by Zunesha despite being at the bottom of the ocean.

It didn’t look like Jack could move, so the being in the water definitely paralyzed his body like any other Devil Fruit user. But aside from that, he was completely fine. If that’s what the Beast Pirates are like, they’re definitely beyond what the Straw Hats can handle right now.

Without Zunesha’s help, that could have been the end of Luffy’s journey when Jack attacked.

Conclusion

Despite the fact I think Zou was a bit too short to have a good story arc, I still think it’s a 7/10, making it one of my favorite arcs so far. I just really like the idea of Zou being on the back of Zunesha, the minks are pretty interesting, and Jack was a cool antagonist.

I’m still watching Whole Cake Island, so it will probably be a while before another One Piece arc review gets posted. But, eventually, I’ll catch up with the anime.

If you enjoyed this review, remember to click the like button ❤️ down below. Also, follow me over on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on any future content. And come join our Discord server if you’re interested in discussing anime with other members of the community.

Finally, I’d like to thank Roman for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about how you too can become a supporter of this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

My review of Whole Cake Island is available now.

Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju

Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju

Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju anime series cover art
Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju

Series Overview

Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju (Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu / 昭和元禄落語心中), also known as Showa and Genroku Era Lover’s Suicide Through Rakugo, is a historical drama centered around the Japanese performative art of Rakugo.

If you’ve never heard of Rakugo before, I don’t blame you. I hadn’t heard of it until this anime came out, which was back in 2016. It’s a form of comedic storytelling performed by a single person sitting on a stage with a few props to use for sound effects.

Honestly, Rakugo itself doesn’t seem all that entertaining to me — at least based on how it’s depicted in this anime. From what I understand, there’s a finite list of Rakugo stories, so it seems like it would get repetitive for the audience if they frequented the theaters.

Since Rakugo is what the series is about, there are plenty of Rakugo scenes throughout. Usually, these scenes aren’t too long, but the first episode is an exception. If you can make it through the first episode (which is double-length), you can make it through the whole series.

I say that because, in my opinion, the Rakugo scenes are the worst part of Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju. The characters and drama are really good. It’s just that, most of the time, I didn’t find myself caring about the stories being told, even if they were tying into what was happening in the lives of the cast.

Now, something that’s pretty unique about this series is that it has two seasons and they both take place in different time periods. The series begins in what seems like the 1950s but then shifts into a flashback of the 1910s – 1920s until the end of the first season.

The rest of this review will be about the pre-war portion of the first season.

Main Characters

There are four important characters within the pre-war flashback of the first season. These are Kikuhiko, Sukeroku, Yakumo (Seventh Generation), and Miyokichi. Kikuhiko and Sukeroku are the main characters while Yakumo and Miyokichi are major supporting characters.

I guess it makes the most sense to start with Yakumo Yuurakutei (Seventh Generation). Yakumo is actually a stage name that’s passed down through the generations of Rakugo performers. This Yakumo is the seventh generation and takes on Kikuhiko and Sukeroku as his apprentices so that he’ll have someone to pass the title down to.

Kikuhiko is also a stage name that was given to Bon upon becoming Yakumo’s apprentice. He was taken in by Yakumo at a young age when he was orphaned and unable to perform any other type of work due to having a bad leg. Kikuhiko has a delicate disposition, which leads him to perform stories with major female characters.

Yakumo "Bon, Kikuhiko, Eighth Generation" Yuurakutei from the anime series Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju
Yakumo “Bon, Kikuhiko, Eighth Generation” Yuurakutei

Sukeroku, whose real name is Shin, was originally given the name Hatsutarou by Yakumo. However, he didn’t like that name and thus chose Sukeroku for himself because it sounded more manly. He’s also the opposite of Kikuhiko in basically every way imaginable.

While Kikuhiko is quiet, polite, and reserved, Sukeroku is loud, crass, and outgoing. Kikuhiko is extremely responsible, and Sukeroku goes out drinking and picking up women on a regular basis. But, the one good thing you can say about Sukeroku is that his passion has always been Rakugo, which isn’t the case for Kikuhiko.

Miyokichi, also known as Yurie because everyone in this series has multiple names, is the female lead. She’s a geisha who’s introduced into the story as Yakumo’s mistress, but later becomes the primary love interest of Kikuhiko. I like Miyokichi; she’s cute.

Showa and Genroku Era

If you don’t want to be spoiled on the first season of Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju, you can skip down to the conclusion for my final rating. For anyone else, let’s start this section off by dissecting the title of the series.

The English translation of the title is Showa and Genroku Era Lover’s Suicide Through Rakugo. At the end of the first season, we see the deaths of both Sukeroku and Miyokichi. While not exactly a lover’s suicide, they were lovers who fell to their deaths after Miyokichi attempted suicide.

I’m guessing that’s where the “lover’s suicide” in the title comes from. So I’m going to make a prediction here that something similar is going to happen in the second season, which takes place decades later and with mostly different characters. This time around, it would involve Yotarou and Konatsu.

Miyokichi "Yurie" from the anime series Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju
Miyokichi “Yurie”

With that said, I don’t believe the two of them are actually going to die. Unless it’s done really well, I feel like that would be a pretty bad ending. Instead, I see them getting into a similar situation, causing Kikuhiko (now the Eighth Generation Yakumo) to see his old friends in them.

As for the Showa and Genroku Eras mentioned in the title, the Showa Era is when the story is set and the Genroku Era is, I believe, when Rakugo became a popular form of entertainment in Japan.

Moving into the Future

I liked the pre-war portion of the series. But, I have some reservations about the post-war portion. Hopefully, when I watch it I’ll discover I had nothing to worry about. However, based on the small parts of this period we see in the first season, I don’t like the characters as much.

For that reason, I’m really hoping that the series does something interesting with the dual time periods of the story. If the second season calls back to the events of the first, or maybe flips them around, that would make the series as a whole a lot more interesting to me.

I want more than a simple continuation of the story with a new generation. The series is set up this way for a reason, I hope.

Conclusion

Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju is an 8/10. It’s a very good anime. However, my main issue with it comes from the Rakugo scenes. I get that Rakugo is what the series is about, but these scenes could have been done better, like the shogi scenes from March comes in like a lion, which focus more on the characters’ mentality than the thing they’re doing.

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My review of the second season is available now.