Yep, I’m blogging this series.

We dive into Yakumo’s past!


This entire episode was basically a flashback episode of Yakumo’s past. It starts in his childhood, when his name was still “Bon” and he becomes an apprentice under the “Seventh Master” of rakugo. It also shows off his first meeting with Sukeroku (then called “Shin”), who becomes a fellow apprentice. Bon only starts to apprentice under a rakugo master because his leg is permanently injured and thus he can’t dance anymore. It’s later revealed that Bon is the son of a geisha, and was essentially abandoned due to his injury. As Shin is also an orphan, Bon ends up bonding with Shin right away.

Extremely serious even as a child, I see.

After a few years of apprenticeship under the Seventh Master, both boys have now become young men, and are given new names to signify their entrance into actually performing rakugo. Bon is renamed “Kikuhiko,” while Shin is renamed “Hatsutaro.” They both are tasked with opening for their master. Kikuhiko ends up being so tense that he loses his audience, while Hatsutaro is able to make the audience laugh with his carefree nature—and also manages to make Kikuhiko laugh as well.

This screencap sums up the difference in their personalities so well.
I wanted at least one screenshot of the “Seventh Master” of rakugo.

My Opinion:

I feel like this was a pretty solid follow-up episode to episode 1. We step back a bit—or way back, rather—in order to get to know Yakumo a bit more. It’s revealed in this episode that the name “Yakumo” is actually just a title passed on to successors. So it’s a foregone conclusion, then, that Bon/Kikuhiko eventually succeeds his master. However, it’s not going to be an easy road. While Kikuhiko doesn’t mess up his lines, he does essentially flub his routine because he can’t get his audience engaged enough. Meanwhile, his fellow apprentice, Hatsutaro, manages to make the audience laugh and applaud. How and why Kikuhiko ended up being the successor and not Hatsutaro will probably be explained in later episodes, and I’m excited to find out.

Despite being a whole episode flashback, we still aren’t given the whole story to Yakumo’s childhood origins. He was apparently born to a geisha, and attempted to learn dancing, but his leg was injured. How it is injured is never explained, but at least this does explain why Yakumo walks with a cane in the present, despite looking not that old. Also, dang, I honestly never expected Yakumo’s past to be that heartbreaking. Being essentially abandoned as a child for not being useful anymore is a seriously emotionally damaging event.

Kikuhiko’s relationship with Hatsutaro is really sweet to see. Their personalities are the exact opposites of each other, but they mesh well. Now, I’m not the type to ship two male characters just because they are friends, but man is Kikuhiko’s and Hatsutaro’s relationship kinda… gay. The series also likes to heavily emphasize how feminine Kikuhiko is—in the bath scene when they were boys, Bon/Kikuhiko covers basically his entire body with a towel; in later scenes when they’re young adults there’s a heavy focus on Kikuhiko’s long eyelashes; and his mannerisms and speech in general are rather feminine. I’m guessing that this is all intentional (since Bon seemed to grow up in a geisha house) and honestly… I’m cool with it. Also, I like the rather obvious hints that Yakumo only took Kyoji/Yotaro as an apprentice because he reminded Yakumo so much of his old friend…

Based on the next episode preview, the next episode is also another entire episode dedicated to this long flashback. At this point, I have to wonder if this whole series is just going to be about Yakumo talking about his younger years? I guess we’ll have to wait and find out. Overall, this was a good episode, and I’m stoked for upcoming episodes.

Out of five:

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