For three quarters of a year, all the way from January until October 2016 – which is when Yuri on Ice started airing – Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu was the only real contender for my Anime of the Year 2016. This didn’t necessarily mean much back when it aired, it was the first season of the year after all, But as time went on and I realised that no other show (aside from the aforementioned Fall 2016 show Yuri on Ice) was coming even close to Rakugo in terms of both my enjoyment and my appreciation of the production side of things, it was becoming clear to me that Rakugo really was something special to me and not just a product of its circumstances (the only other Winter 2016 show I really liked initially, Boku Dake ga Inai Machi, ended up flopping pretty badly). I don’t want to jump the gun and say it was an instant classic, but yeah, that’s kind of what it felt like.
Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu was quite an unusual show when it came to the chronology of its storyline. The first episode, which was longer than the usual 24 minutes, was set in the “present day” (or “present day” in the show, rather), while the rest of the show took place in the past, in a flashback sequence told by one of the characters in the “present day” time. I usually really don’t like flashback sequences, and I must admit that when I first realised that the rest of the show was going to take place “in the past” I was dismayed, but in the end it really worked. Not only did I like the flashback setting in itself, but I also greatly enjoyed seeing another show set during the mid 20th century.
That said, while the flashback story was told and concluded in the span of 12 episodes, this is not actually the end of the series. A sequel, focusing on the “present day” story, has been announced for Winter 2017. And I’m extremely excited. It remains to be seen whether I’ll like it and its characters more than I liked the flashback characters or not, but I’m fairly confident that it’ll be amazing. I can’t wait.