Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju follows the story of Yotaro after the events of the story of Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju. Yotaro has taken the name of Sukeroku and is becoming well known as a rakugo performer though there is some controversy considering that he is an ex-Yakuza member. The aging Yakumo is now the head of the rakugo association. Konatsu is the same as ever. It also follows he story of the art of rakugo after the promise Yakumo made with the second Sukeroku.
Like the last series, Descending Stories takes place over a long period of time. In fact it covers most of Yotaro’s life from a few years after Yakumo told him the story about him and Sukeroku until much later. There is a time skip between the two series, but everything that happens in those few years is explained by Yotaru in a fourth wall breaking rakugo performance at the start of the first episode. This is a very creative way to handle this and is pulled off very well.
This is an anime that I feel should be experienced by everyone and is often overlooked since it is a simple drama. There aren’t really any action scenes, nor is there any fanservice. What there is a lot of are relatable characters each going through their own problems, and beautifully animated and voiced rakugo scenes. Though Yotaru is a little annoying at first you will come to love him as much as any of the other characters in this show.
Shinju is a word which in Japanese relates to a lovers death, and if seen in a title implies that the story is a tragedy. This was true of Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju, and is true here in Descending Stories. Be ready for tear-jerking moments, scenes which will leave you staring at your screen unblinking as your mind processes what just happened, and a lot of emotion. This is not a bad thing like in some other anime’s as these things do nothing but add to the quality of the show.
The voice work is excellent. As rakugo performers some of the characters need to represent different characters with nothing but their voices and their body language. When watching rakugo scenes I was amazed to hear a wide range of voices from the voice actors in the voice of the rakugo performer character. Along with the excellent animation the voice work also added a lot to the series.
You may be noticing that all I am doing is listing off the good aspects of the show. This is because Descending Stories is a series with many good points. I did not notice many bad things and the ones I did notice were either too minor to warrant me writing about them, or major spoilers for the later episodes. I fully enjoyed every second of this anime and it is one of the few where I did not get distracted mid-episode.
Watch this anime if you love anime. Watch it if you love good dramas. Watch it if you love art and culture. This anime is for everyone and is a work of art and I guarantee that you will love it unless you are the type of person who hates dramas and that is fine, don’t worry. Here’s something small you should look out for when watching Descending Stories. The opening changes depending on what happens in the episode it is opening to. These are small changes but they can directly influence your experience as you watch. This is one episode where you should never skip the opening.
Final rating – 49.99999/50