Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju

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Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju
ShowaRanbu1vol.jpg
Cover of the first tankōbon volume.
昭和元禄落語心中
(Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū)
GenreHistorical
Manga
Written byHaruko Kumota
Published byKodansha
English publisher
DemographicJosei
MagazineITAN
Original run25 March 20107 June 2016
Volumes10 (List of volumes)
Original video animation
Directed byMamoru Hatakeyama
Produced byYoichi Orihashi
Written byJun Kumagai
Music byKana Shibue
StudioStudio Deen
Released 6 March 2015 7 August 2015
Episodes2
Anime television series
Directed byMamoru Hatakeyama
Produced by
  • Akiko Yada
  • Yoshihiko Yamazaki
  • Hiroshi Kamei
Written byJun Kumagai
Music byKana Shibue
StudioStudio Deen
Licensed by
Original networkMBS, TBS, CBC, BS-TBS
Original run 9 January 2016 25 March 2017
Episodes25 (List of episodes)
Television drama
Directed by
Written byDaisuke Habara
Music byTakatsugu Muramatsu
Original networkNHK
Original run 12 October 2018 14 December 2018
Episodes10
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and manga portal

Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju (昭和元禄落語心中, Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū, lit. "Shōwa, Genroku, Rakugo, and Double Suicide") is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Haruko Kumota. It began serialization in Kodansha's ITAN magazine in 2010.[2] The manga is licensed in North America by Kodansha USA. The manga was adapted into two original video animations which were bundled with special editions of the seventh and eighth manga volumes on 6 March – 7 August 2015, respectively.[2][3] It was also adapted into an anime television series which aired between 9 January 2016 and 2 April 2016.[4] A second season of the anime television series aired between 7 January 2017 and 25 March 2017.[5] A live-action series adaptation aired on NHK between 12 October[6] and 14 December 2018.

Plot[edit]

A man is released from prison and becomes the apprentice of a famous rakugo performer, Yakumo Yurakutei. The story focuses on the backstories of the performers and their struggle to gain popularity, following Yakumo's apprenticeship and rise to fame and his friendship with fellow performer Sukeroku.

Characters[edit]

Main characters[edit]

Eighth Generation Yakumo Yurakutei (八代目 有楽亭 八雲, Hachidaime Yūrakutei Yakumo) / Kikuhiko (菊比古)
Voiced by: Akira Ishida
Played by: Masaki Okada
A rakugo storyteller known for his perfectionist style of rakugo. His birth name is never specified, although Sukeroku took to calling him "Bon". He was given the name "Kikuhiko" when he became a student of the Seventh Generation Yakumo. He was originally a dancer, but he ruined his leg in an accident and ended up being given to Yakumo. During his time as a student, he would struggle to find his own rakugo having placed too much emphasis on flawless execution, but he was able to find inspiration thanks to Sukeroku. He would go on to inherit the Yakumo name, but initially he refused, thinking that he was not worthy of it. Following the deaths of Sukeroku and Miyokichi, he inherited the name to fulfill Sukeroku's vision of keeping rakugo going in a time where tastes in entertainment change. He would later on become the head of the rakugo association.
Second Generation Sukeroku Yurakutei (二代目 有楽亭 助六, Nidaime Yūrakutei Sukeroku) / Hatsutaro (初太郎, Hatsutarō)
Voiced by: Koichi Yamadera
Played by: Ikusaburo Yamazaki
A rakugo storyteller known for his freestyle brand of rakugo. His actual birth name is never specified, but Kikuhiko used to call him by the diminutive "Shin" (). He was given the name "Hatsutaro" when he became a student of the Seventh Generation Yakumo. Later on, he would change his name to "Sukeroku". Despite his talent for rakugo, Yakumo refused to pass on his name to him due to the rebellious nature of his rakugo. Following a heated argument, he was expelled from the school. He would move to the countryside to marry Miyokichi and start a family where he would spend his life drinking away in depression until Kikuhiko arrived to bring him back to doing rakugo again. He and Miyokichi died when they fell from a balcony in an inn where Sukeroku gave his last performance with Kikuhiko.
Third Generation Sukeroku Yurakutei (三代目 有楽亭 助六, Sandaime Yūrakutei Sukeroku) / Yotaro (与太郎, Yotarō) / Kyoji (強次, Kyōji)
Voiced by: Tomokazu Seki
Played by: Ryō Ryūsei
An aspiring storyteller who was recently released from prison. He was born "Kyoji" and was given the name "Yotaro" when he became a student. Having been a big admirer of Kikuhiko's rakugo he decides to become his student. His desire to inherit Sukeroku's name that leads to conflicts between him and Yakumo due to Yakumo not wanting his brand of rakugo to be corrupted. Ten years after being accepted by Yakumo, he is promoted to a shin'uchi and formally becomes the Third Generation Sukeroku Yurakutei.
Miyokichi (みよ吉) / Yurie (ユリエ)
Voiced by: Megumi Hayashibara
Played by: Aya Ōmasa
A young woman who worked as a Geisha who first appeared as the Seventh Generation Yakumo's mistress whom he met in Manchuria. She became attracted to Kikuhiko due to his aloof personality and the two developed an on-again-off-again relationship. Eventually Kikuhiko rejected her and out of spite she began a relationship with Sukeroku which resulted in her becoming pregnant with their daughter, Konatsu. Sukeroku and Miyokichi eventually left for the countryside after Sukeroku's expulsion. However, she did not care for Sukeroku or Konatsu and instead turned to prostitution to earn money. After Kikuhiko appeared and rejected her advances again, she attempted suicide, but Sukeroku convinced her to stop. However, she slipped from a balcony and in his attempt to save her, both Miyokichi and Sukeroku fell to their deaths. However the actual cause of her death was revealed much later in the series. Her true given name was "Yurie".
Konatsu (小夏)
Voiced by: Yu Kobayashi
Played by: Riko Narumi
Sukeroku's and Miyokichi's daughter. She learned her father's style of rakugo to entertain customers at a soba shop in the countryside. Following the death of her parents, Kikuhiko became her legal guardian. She holds a great deal of resentment for Kikuhiko as she initially believed he was responsible for her father's death, and more recently because he represents the 'old-fashioned' traditional rakugo that does not allow women to participate. She later gave birth to a child named Shinnosuke whose biological father's identity is not revealed. Later in the series, it was revealed that she had witnessed the death of Sukeroku and Miyokichi but had lost her memories of the incident.

Supporting characters[edit]

Eisuke Higuchi (樋口 栄助, Higuchi Eisuke)
Voiced by: Toshihiko Seki
A popular writer who is interested in helping Yotaro in writing new rakugo. In his youth, he had admired Miyokichia and had a crush on her. This eventually extended to his obsession with Yakumo, whom apprentice he tried to become.
Matsuda (松田)
Voiced by: Shigeru Ushiyama
Matsuda is Yakumo's retainer and driver. He has been employed by the Yakumos since the Seventh Generation.
Fourth Generation Mangetsu Tsuburaya (四代目 円屋 萬月, Yondaime Tsuburaya Mangetsu)
Voiced by: Koji Yusa
Yotaro's fellow storyteller from Kyoto. He had stopped performing rakugo for some time after his father's death.
Seventh Generation Yakumo Yurakutei (七代目 有楽亭 八雲, Nanadaime Yūrakutei Yakumo)
Voiced by: Hiroshi Yanaka
A famous storyteller and Kikuhiko's and Sukeroku's teacher.
Amaken (アマケン)
Voiced by: Kappei Yamaguchi
Rakugo critic and fan of Yakumo. His father Amano was a literary critic. Amaken is disliked by Yakumo.
Ani-san (アニさん)
Voiced by: Shou Sudou
Bansai Tsuburaya (円屋 萬歳, Tsuburaya Bansai)
Voiced by: Chafurin
Shinnosuke (信之助)
Voiced by: Mikako Komatsu (child) / Yūki Ono
Konatsu's son who greatly admires Yakumo's rakugo. Yotaro believes his father to be the boss of the gang that he once belonged to. However, it is heavily suggested that Shinnosuke is Konatsu's son with Yakumo.
Koyuki (小雪)
Voiced by: Ayaka Asai
Konatsu and Yotaro's daughter.

Media[edit]

Manga[edit]

The manga series written and illustrated by Haruko Kumota began its serialization in the ITAN magazine published by Kodansha from 25 March 2010, to 7 June 2016.[7] The manga has been compiled in ten tankōbon volumes, with the first volume being published on 7 July 2011,[8] and the tenth and final volume being published on 7 September 2016.[9] Kodansha USA licensed the manga for release in North America, with the first volume published on 23 May 2017[10] and the last on 31 December 2018.

Volume list[edit]

No.Japanese release dateJapanese ISBNEnglish release dateEnglish ISBN
1 7 July 2011[8]ISBN 978-4-06-380514-723 May 2017[10]ISBN 978-1-63236-469-2

"Yotaro's Odyssey" (与太郎放浪篇, Yotarō Hōrō Hen)

  • "I" (其の一, Sono Ichi)
  • "II" (其の二, Sono Ni)
  • "III" (其の三, Sono San)
  • "IV" (其の四, Sono Yon)
2 6 January 2012[11]ISBN 978-4-06-380554-318 July 2017[12]ISBN 978-1-63236-470-8

"Yotaro's Odyssey" (与太郎放浪篇, Yotarō Hōrō Hen)

  • "V" (其の五, Sono Go)

"Yakumo and Sukeroku" (八雲と助六篇, Yakumo to Sukeroku Hen)

  • "I" (其の一, Sono Ichi)
  • "II" (其の二, Sono Ni)
3 5 October 2012[13]ISBN 978-4-06-380592-519 September 2017[14]ISBN 978-1-63236-471-5

"Yakumo and Sukeroku" (八雲と助六篇, Yakumo to Sukeroku Hen)

  • "III" (其の三, Sono San)
  • "IV" (其の四, Sono Yon)
  • "V" (其の五, Sono Go)
4 7 June 2013[15]
5 June 2013[16] (special edition)
ISBN 978-4-06-380631-1
ISBN 978-4-06-358440-0 (special edition)
7 November 2017[17]ISBN 978-1-63236-472-2

"Yakumo and Sukeroku" (八雲と助六篇, Yakumo to Sukeroku Hen)

  • "VI" (其の六, Sono Roku)
  • "VII" (其の七, Sono Nana)
  • "VIII" (其の八, Sono Hachi)
5 7 February 2014[18]ISBN 978-4-06-380670-013 February 2018[19]ISBN 978-1-63-236543-9

"Yakumo and Sukeroku" (八雲と助六篇, Yakumo to Sukeroku Hen)

  • "IX" (其の九, Sono Kyū)

"Sukeroku Again" (助六再び篇, Sukeroku Futatabi Hen)

  • "I" (其の一, Sono Ichi)
  • "II" (其の二, Sono Ni)
6 7 August 2014[20]ISBN 978-4-06-380708-017 April 2018[21]ISBN 978-1-63-236544-6

"Sukeroku Again" (助六再び篇, Sukeroku Futatabi Hen)

  • "III" (其の三, Sono San)
  • "IV" (其の四, Sono Yon)
  • "V" (其の五, Sono Go)
7 6 March 2015ISBN 978-4-06-380752-3 [22]
ISBN 978-4-06-358742-5[23] (special edition)
5 June 2018[24]ISBN 978-1-63-236545-3

"Sukeroku Again" (助六再び篇, Sukeroku Futatabi Hen)

  • "VI" (其の六, Sono Roku)
  • "VII" (其の七, Sono Nana)
  • "VIII" (其の八, Sono Hachi)
8 7 August 2015ISBN 978-4-06-380788-2 [25]
ISBN 978-4-06-358744-9[26] (special edition)
7 August 2018[27]ISBN 978-1-63-236546-0

"Sukeroku Again" (助六再び篇, Sukeroku Futatabi Hen)

  • "IX" (其の九, Sono Kyū)
  • "X" (其の十, Sono Jū)
  • "XI" (其の十一, Sono Jū Ichi)
9 5 February 2016[28]ISBN 978-4-06-380832-22 October 2018[29]ISBN 978-1-63-236661-0

"Sukeroku Again" (助六再び篇, Sukeroku Futatabi Hen)

  • "XII" (其の十二, Sono Jū Ni)
  • "XIII" (其の十三, Sono Jū San)
  • "XIV" (其の十四, Sono Jū Yon)
10 7 September 2016ISBN 978-4-06-380876-6 [9]
ISBN 978-4-06-362340-6[30] (special edition)
31 December 2018[31]ISBN 978-1-63-236662-7

"Sukeroku Again" (助六再び篇, Sukeroku Futatabi Hen)

  • "XV" (其の十五, Sono Jū Go)
  • "XVI" (其の十六, Sono Jū Roku)
  • "XVII" (其の十七, Sono Jū Nana)

Anime[edit]

The seventh and eighth volumes of the manga included a 2-episode original anime DVD entitled Yotarō-hen Zenko-pen (与太郎放浪篇・前後編, lit. "Yotarō Arc Part I and II") produced by Studio Deen.[32]

An anime television adaptation also produced by Studio Deen premiered on 9 January 2016. It was directed by Mamoru Hatakeyama and written by Jun Kumagai, with music by Kana Shibue.[33] Three promotional videos were released on KING RECORDS's YouTube page prior to the anime's premiere: the first on 6 October 2015,[34] the second on 10 November 2015,[35] and the final PV on 14 December 2015.[36] The opening theme of the first season was "Usurai Shinjū" (薄ら氷心中, lit. "Thin-ice Double Suicide") composed by Sheena Ringo and performed by Megumi Hayashibara.[37] Crunchyroll added the anime to its simulcast stream in 2016.[38] The first season has been licensed for a UK release by Anime Limited.[39]

An announcement revealing the anime's second season was posted on the creator's Twitter account.[40][41] The second season, titled Descending Stories: Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū (昭和元禄落語心中~助六再び篇~, Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen), premiered on 7 January 2017.[42][5] The staff from the first season reprised their roles in the second season.[43] The opening theme of the second season was "Imawa no Shinigami" (今際の死神, lit. "The Death in His Dying Moment") composed by Sheena Ringo and performed by Megumi Hayashibara.[44]

Live-action series[edit]

NHK announced in July 2018 that a live-action series adaptation was green-lit. The live-action series is directed by Yuki Tanada, Makoto Kiyohiro and Tatsuo Kobayashi, with scripts written by Daisuke Habara, music by Takatsugu Muramatsu and rakugo supervision by Kyōtarō Yanagiya. Masaki Okada, Ryō Ryūsei, Riko Narumi, Aya Ōmasa and Ikusaburo Yamazaki portrayed Yakumo, Yotarō, Konatsu, Miyokichi and Sukeroku, respectively.[6] It aired on NHK between 12 October[6] and 14 December 2018 in ten episodes.

Reception[edit]

It was nominated for the 5th Manga Taishō, receiving 49 points and placing 4th among the fifteen nominees.[45] It was also nominated for the 17th Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize.[46] It was number two on the 2012 Kono Manga ga Sugoi! Top 20 Manga for Female Readers survey[47] and it was number fourteen in the 2013 edition.[48] It was also number seven in the 2013 Comic Natalie Grand Prize[49] and it won an Excellence Award for manga at the 17th Japan Media Arts Festival Awards.[50] It also won the 38th Kodansha Manga Award for Best General Manga.[51] The manga won Kumota the New Creator Prize category of the 21st Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize in 2017.[52]

Volume 3 sold 24,541 copies by 7 October 2012.[53]

Nick Creamer from Anime News Network gave the first season an "A" score, describing it as "An intentionally theatrical tragedy, staged something like a rakugo performance itself", and praising its "Strong underlying narrative to gorgeous direction and top-tier performances."[54]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Crunchyroll Announces Winter 2017 Anime Lineup". Crunchyroll. 20 January 2017. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū Manga Gets Original Anime DVD". Anime News Network. 6 August 2014. Retrieved 16 November 2014.
  3. ^ "Historical Manga Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū Gets TV Anime, 2nd OAD". Anime News Network. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  4. ^ "Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū TV Anime's Video Reveals January 8 Debut". Anime News Network. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū Anime's 2nd Season Premieres on January 6". Anime News Network. 18 November 2016. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  6. ^ a b c "Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju Manga Gets Live-Action Series". Anime News Network. 4 July 2018. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  7. ^ "Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū Manga Ends on June 7". Anime News Network. 6 April 2016. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
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  9. ^ a b 昭和元禄落語心中(10)<完> (in Japanese). Kodansha. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
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  16. ^ 昭和元禄落語心中(4)特装版 (in Japanese). Kodansha. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  17. ^ "Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju 4". Penguin Random House. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  18. ^ 昭和元禄落語心中(5) (in Japanese). Kodansha. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  19. ^ "Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju 5". Retrieved 14 September 2017.
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  21. ^ "Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju 6". Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  22. ^ 昭和元禄落語心中(7) (in Japanese). Kodansha. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
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  24. ^ "Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju 7". Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  25. ^ 昭和元禄落語心中(8) (in Japanese). Kodansha. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
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  27. ^ "Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju 8". Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  28. ^ 昭和元禄落語心中(9) (in Japanese). Kodansha. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  29. ^ "Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju 9". Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  30. ^ 昭和元禄落語心中(10)特装版<完> (in Japanese). Kodansha. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  31. ^ "Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju 10". Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  32. ^ "アニメ「昭和元禄落語心中」". アニメ「昭和元禄落語心中」. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  33. ^ "Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū TV Anime's Video Reveals January 8 Debut". Anime News Network. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  34. ^ KING RECORDS (6 October 2015), TVアニメ「昭和元禄落語心中」PV① rakugo shinju animation PV1, retrieved 7 April 2016
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  44. ^ Komatsu, Mikikazu (22 December 2016). "Megumi Hayashibara and Sheena Ringo Team Up Again for "Rakugo Shinju" New OP Song". Crunchyroll. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
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  46. ^ "17th Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize Nominees Announced". Anime News Network. 26 February 2013. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
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  49. ^ "Nami Sano's Sakamoto desu ga? Manga Wins Comic Natalie Grand Prize". Anime News Network. 18 September 2013. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  50. ^ "Jojolion Manga Wins Media Arts Award". Anime News Network. 5 December 2013. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  51. ^ "Yo-kai Watch, Baby Steps Win 38th Kodansha Manga Awards". Anime News Network. 8 May 2014. Retrieved 16 November 2014.
  52. ^ "Hana ni Somu Manga Wins 21st Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize's Top Award". Anime News Network. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
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External links[edit]