By Shanel Kamara
This show is one that I will definitely not tire of watching. The explanation of how certain characters connect to the protagonists and their role in the preservation and development of rakugo is sound. I thought how minor character, Higuchi Eisuke from season one, who Yakumo - in his younger years - briefly encountered while on tour with his master, reappeared this season as a supporting character, was brilliant.
In the first season, he makes a short appearance in one of the episodes nearing the finale. He is earnest about becoming an apprentice of Yakumo, who was still Kikuhiko. He kneels before Kikuhiko and begs him to make him his apprentice much like Yotarou did at the start of the series. Anyone see the connection here. Although Kikuhiko admonishes him at first, he quickly advises him not to enter into the rakugo profession due the fragile nature of the trade. Higuchi does take Kikuhiko's advice to heart, but his love for rakugo does not dwindle apparently, as in this season he reappears as a popular writer who intends on producing new rakugo work.
Although Yotarou and Higuchi did not officially meet until this season, it is amazing how much they have in common. They both adore Yakumo's rakugo; both of them endeavoured to study underneath him. Despite their similarities, they end up in different albeit similar professions. However, even though Higuchi is rejected and Yotarou is accepted as Yakumo’s apprentice, Higuchi still enters the entertainment industry but not as a verbal entertainer. It is almost as if these three distinct storytellers were destined to meet in order to prevent the art from becoming obsolete and to keep it current.
The rocky and rather complex father-daughter relationship between Yakumo and Konatsu is reaffirmed this episode. Konatsu's child complicates their relationship further; in spite of how much she despises Yakumo for the death of her father, she candidly admits that if she were to kill him, her child would never hear his rakugo again.
It may sound silly but this season definitely feels like a follow-up of the first.
Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen E.02