Yeah, my concerns about this show were completely unfounded. It turns out that Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu belongs to that rare group of shows that have me looking for details I don’t like because I just automatically like everything the show does. From the very first scene, the backgrounds looked good. I had slight issues with the character designs at first, but apparently that only applies to the main character Yotarou, because the other characters’ designs are fine. Yotarou’s personality archetype is my second problem with the show, because I really really don’t like impatient and loud characters like him. Fortunately, the other characters and the story both make up for and work together with that personality, so it’s not one of those shows where the main character is just annoying for no reason and all of the characters and the viewers also find him annoying.
The main setting of the story is, as hinted at by the name, the rakugo theatre, the actors and the art itself. But this is not like Joshiraku, where the rakugo just plays the role of premise and the theatre is the setting. No, the first episode of Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu has three whole rakugo performances, and they’re all fantastically acted and hilariously funny in their own right, outside of the context of the show. I would watch a show consisting entirely of rakugo performances in the style and quality of this show. But, because context matters, that’s not everything. The first episode of the show, with its 47-minute length, builds up a set of character relationships that aren’t black-and-white. Everyone could be a bad guy, or maybe no one is. Maybe that doesn’t matter. But I’m interested in finding out!
Verdict: By far the best premiere of the season so far, and it’ll probably remain that way.
First things first and, in the interest of planning to end on a positive note, bad things first. Bubuki Buranki is a show with CG characters, and it’s impossible to ignore that. Now, I don’t have anything against how CG characters look, but I do mind the way they move, and Bubuki Buranki doesn’t manage to avoid that pet peeve. The character animation feels stiff and stilted and, to be completely honest, it affects my enjoyment negatively. It also doesn’t help that I found the “story”(if it can even be called that yet) intensely uninspired. When it comes to the mechanics, the magic and the politics of the setting, everything just feels so generic. It’s actually quite reminiscent of God Eater in that respect. Let’s just hope that Bubuki Buranki doesn’t run into similar production problems.
The good things are few in number, but that doesn’t make them insignificant. Most importantly, CG has the potential for really really good-looking action, which is something I’ve seen in Knights of Sidonia. The first episode of Bubuki Buranki had some really cool-looking action scenes, and so I hope that that’s what the show will be focusing on in the future. The sappy family backstory didn’t really work for me, so I’m basically just in it for the action. And the backgrounds, because the backgrounds are gorgeous. On one hand it’s kind of sad that a show with such beautiful backgrounds has CG characters, but on the other hand I can’t really think of any traditional character animation style that would work with these backgrounds either. So I guess I just have to appreciate the backgrounds on their own.
Verdict: Cool-looking action, but the character movement is jarring and the plot and premise are kind of stale. On the chopping block it goes if and when the action gets boring.