Though Kobayashi-san lingers on for one final week, I think it’s safe to say that the Winter season is finally over. All in all, it may not have been as barren of a season as I initially thought it would be however Rakugo Shinjuu and 3-gatsu no Lion stood head and shoulders above the rest with Little Witch Academia, Kobayashi-san, and ACCA rounding off the upper tier. Most of the sequels performed about as well as one may have expected of them. KonoSuba returned to form quite quickly whereas Zestiria and Ao no Exorcist gave each other a run for their money in regards to which show could drag their feet the longest for an entire season. Whoever wins, we lose. Some shows felt more promising initially like Demi-chan however I don’t think they ultimately became anything worth mentioning outside of the context of the Winter season. But hey, we’ll always have Hand Shakers.
Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen
The final episode of Rakugo Shinjuu makes one final leap into the future in order to complete its thematic vision of inheritance and succession. I don’t mean to knock the final episode of the show however I don’t think it can compare to the raw catharsis of the previous two episodes. How ironic that of the three episodes which served to bring the series to a close that the last of them felt the least like a conclusion. It was a wonderful investigation into the future all the same of course. Seeing an aged Yotaro and Konatsu as well as their children and how the world of rakugo has changed around them
I worry that the insinuation towards Shinnosuke’s true father may have been a bit more direct of a thematic confluence than the show needed and that it introduced a rather awkward and under-explored aspect of Konatsu’s relationship with Yakumo however I can’t say it’s not an effective way to illustrate the affect of these generations either. As someone who loved the first season beyond words, the second season of Rakugo Shinjuu surpassed my expectations and through its thoughtful and thrilling drama became just as powerful and engaging as its predecessor. It’s undoubtedly one of my favorite series of all time and I’m immensely pleased it received the ending that it did.
ACCA: 13-ku Kansatsu-ka (ACCA: 13th Territory Inspection Department)
Like Rakugo Shinjuu, ACCA also concluded this week and though I enjoyed the finale I think it was also rather underwhelming. In its reserved and diplomatic style, ACCA was never going to explode or melt down in its final episode. It avoided being entirely conventional which was good however the way in which it skirted this outcome was hardly impressive or particularly engaging. I suppose the ruse simply lacked depth and foreshadowing and as much as I love the Pranetta district, I couldn’t help but feel their narrative existence solely hinged on their ability to replace the available resources of Furawau rather than on their heart and individuality as a district. I think it was a consistent ending for the show and an enjoyable one however, for a show which always seemed like it was heading somewhere, I think it’s an unavoidable outcome that a consistent ending should feel a little underwhelming. I had fun with this one and I can’t say I’m displeased with where a lot of these entertaining characters ended up.
Little Witch Academia
This week, Akko takes some time off from her magic studies and pursuit of Chariot to walk a mile in Diana’s shoes. Well, not really. The episode actually focused pretty heavily on Akko’s magic progression and her brief insight into Diana’s world was a nice way of bringing some context to her own ambitions. It didn’t reveal anything we didn’t already know about Diana unfortunately however it may have given Akko some reluctant respect for her. Though she sees Diana as someone with natural gifts and privilege, she can’t disregard her genuine effort and what it takes to become a witch such as her. The latter part of the episode does well to speak to this comparison thematically – that Akko shouldn’t compare herself to others but rather do what only she can do.
Ultimately, our return to the fountain of Polaris at the end of the episode is a reiteration of the message we learned the last time it appeared. In trying to become the Moonlit Witch, Akko was looking for recognition of her talent and aptitude however did so without fully considering what it takes to get there. Between this episode and the last, Little Witch Academia has been putting a lot of emphasis on working towards an ideal rather than perceiving that ideal as a concrete reward. Recognition through work rather than work for the sake of recognition.