While Kikuhiko is still struggling to find his way through the world of rakugo, Sukeroku seems to effortlessly be growing more and more successful. This makes Kikuhiko feel disheartened, and he confesses his lack of confidence in rakugo to Miyokichi. Upon hearing that Kikuhiko and Sukeroku are going to be performing in a play where Kikuhiko plays the role of a man disguised as a woman, Miyokichi decides to lend a hand.
The entire second half of the episode is dedicated to this play, though we only get to see bits and pieces of it. Despite Kikuhiko’s doubts, the play is a huge success—probably the first success that Kikuhiko himself managed to be a part of.
There wasn’t too much content in this episode plot-wise, since Kikuhiko’s and Sukeroku’s play did take up the entire last half of the episode. However, we get a lot of inner monologue-ing from Kikuhiko, who again loses confidence in his performing abilities. The contrast between Kikuhiko and Sukeroku has never been greater—Sukeroku continues to be easygoing and carefree, and is constantly cheerful. Kikuhiko, on the other hand, seems to just have grown more serious and withdrawn the more his confidence plummets. Man, I can relate so much to Kikuhiko, because our personalities are so similar. Like Kikuhiko, I am always stuck firmly in the “better safe than sorry” mindset, and often push myself far too much in my studies or work. This is why I feel like I can understand his pain in this episode. It feels unfair when all your efforts are for nothing; and someone else close to you manages to become so successful without much effort.
I was afraid that Kikuhiko’s and Sukeroku’s friendship would continue to deteriorate, especially since Kikuhiko now seems to be courting Miyokichi. But, as this episode proves, their friendship and bond is stronger than that. Even though I…uh, ship Kikuhiko and Sukeroku more, Kikuhiko and Miyokichi actually have a rather nice relationship. There was something kind of touching about how close they were in this episode. Miyokichi isn’t actually a bad person herself, either; despite seeming a bit iffy in her introduction last episode. I wouldn’t mind Kikuhiko and Miyokichi getting together, but since we know in the “present” that Kikuhiko (then called Yakumo) is single, and only Sukeroku had a kid, well… it’s not too hard to guess who ended up with whom.
Overall, this was an okay episode. While it was nice to see Kikuhiko in crossdress, this episode did feel a bit weaker than usual; mostly because of the play taking up so much time. And we didn’t even really get to see all of it in its entirety! Next episode seems to be a flashback within a flashback, so I wonder how that’s going to go?
Anyway, out of five: