I have yet to establish a clear-cut method of which shows I’ll be recapping each week but there’s no way I could get to every show I’m watching. For the time being, I’ll just be writing about episodes that stuck out to me with some mainstay shows like Rakugo Shinjuu, 3-gatsu no Lion, and ACCA. I haven’t been able to watch the most recent episode of Little Witch Academia so I’ll have to save my thoughts on that show for the next write-up.
Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen
As if Rakugo Shinjuu needed another opportunity to showcase the skill with which it handles time skips, we jump forward a few years with the start of this episode. Yotaro seems to have truly found his rakugo and subsequently gained a good deal of popularity. The dramatic arc of the previous episode really justified this leap and rather than feeling as if we’ve cut around something important, Rakugo Shinjuu jumps seems to jump right into the moments that matter most to its characters and story.
Somewhat obviously, the most outstanding aspect of this week’s episode was seeing Konatsu finally perform her rakugo on stage. We first learned of her passion for the art form and her love of her father’s rakugo in the first episode of the show and to see it finally return now after so long was wonderful. Her change in personality was fantastic. Not only was it clear that her relationship with Yotaro has changed over the years they’ve been together and raised a child but her performance revealed a long-forgotten, brighter side to her that we had lost amidst all of her bitterness and worry these past episodes. Her performance was by far the happiest and most joyful rakugo we’ve seen thus far and knowing how much it meant for her makes it all the sweeter. Seeing her smile again
While Konatsu’s performance wasn’t indicative of anything in and of itself, it’s suggestive of change. That a woman has taken the stage and that rakugo may, with time, begin to accommodate people like her if it intends to survive.
3-gatsu no Lion (March comes in like a lion)
With the start of this episode we at last get some more explicit insight into Kyouko’s character. The comparison to a cracked glass was a beautiful and poignant one – blessed with grace and a strong will but left forever wanting, unable to be filled. The flashbacks this episode do a great job of contextualizing the dichotomy of her behavior. She’s fierce and proud yet plagued by self-doubt and loneliness which leads her to both reject and embrace others. Kyouko was already a stunning and complex character and this initial focus only accentuated her appeal.
The shougi match between Shimada and Gotou had some of the most personality of any match we’ve seen and it was interesting to see both characters reveal a more brutal side to themselves. What’s more, 3-gatsu treated Gotou like a character instead of a shadowy and arrogant final boss and I’m curious to see if we’ll see more of this characterization in the future. With the games tied 1-1, we’ll likely learn of the game’s outcome next week, however this episode presents one of the few instances where 3-gatsu’s comedic execution may have gotten in its own way. The levity of Shimada’s conversation with Nikaidou near the end of the episode and the obvious effort it took him to defeat Gotou even once I think very clearly sets the tone for his upcoming loss. That being said, 3-gatsu has handled itself unconventionally in the past though what Shimada taking the win would mean for the story is a bit vague as it stands.
Rei spent most of his screen time worrying about school and desperately trying to get his attendance in line though we get a few spare moments where it’s clear he’s steadily bouncing back from his defeat.
ACCA: 13-ku Kansatsu-ka (ACCA: 13th Territory Inspection Department)
There wasn’t even that much food this episode?! While this might have been the most active and excitable episode of ACCA yet, it never really lost its distinct, cool atmosphere. Even when captured, Jean calmly conversed with his captors and did what he could to come to arrive at an understanding of one another. Jean himself was interesting this episode in that, though he went about his job as usual, he seemed more sympathetic towards the people of Suitsu district. He even displayed something akin to frustration when reflecting upon the fact that the way in which is audit was conducted isolated him from the opinions of the people. There appears to be genuine inequality in Dowa and the insight we gain into the nobility this episode really stresses this within ACCA’s political context.
Suitsu district was fascinating, much like the other districts. Each location visited thus far has had a very definite individuality about it but this one was by far the most pronounced example. Unchanging, the objects of the outside world like phones and cigarettes appeared as marvels to the residents who had never seen them before. More than anything, this episode felt like foreshadowing. Nothing explicit however, given the discussions of a coup d’état over the past several episodes, Suitsu serves as a microcosm of unrest – an indication that Dowa isn’t as peaceful as it seems on the surface.
Demi-chan wa Kataritai (Interviews with Monster Girls)
While I think Demi-chan has been on the up and up over these past few weeks, this episode didn’t appeal to me to the same degree as the others. One of the aspects that I feel makes the show captivating is the manner in which the supernatural traits of its cast manifest as mundane problems and this episode played very little upon that. Instead the cast dealt with a very typical school problem in the form of gossip and bullying. There’s still a kind of racial commentary going on but for the most part, Hikari’s melodramatic showdown with the two other girls didn’t feel as inspired as many of the scenes in earlier episodes. That all being said, it isn’t entirely wrong for Demi-chan to explore the more regular aspects of school life – it just
Between the hugging scene and the way in which the dynamic of the cast is evolving, there still seems to be a kind of emphasis on several of the girls’ infatuations with Takahashi but I suppose this aspect of the show isn’t really getting in the way as it stands. I am admittedly a little worried about where they’ll go with it though. Though I didn’t care all that much for the bathroom confrontation this episode, I did like how the show handled the ‘bullies’. Rather than Demi-chan dehumanizing them, they responded pretty quickly to Hikari’s criticism and apologized right after. It’s nice to know that even in its most token aspects that the show still has its familiar tact.
Youjo Senki (Saga of Tanya the Evil)
Now that we’re finally grounded in the present after the conclusion of last week’s episode, we spend the majority of the episode detailing Tanya’s easy-going school life. This leads to the episode feeling a little slow compared to the episodes that proceeded it however it was still fairly engaging. We gain a little more insight Tanya’s process of manipulation and how she seeks out allies ignorant of her alternative goals. I think the most enjoyable part of the episode was the dramatic irony of Tanya gradually digging her own grave – effectively creating her own suicidal battalion in an act to appear patriotic.
I suppose that is the ultimate irony of Youjo Senki – that, try as she might to avoid it, Tanya inevitably finds herself pushed back into action. The irony both serves the narrative in that she is an adversary of god but also that she gets her comeuppance for behaving the way that she does. Being cold, calculating, and ruthless gets its just deserts I suppose.