Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu – Fleeting Memories


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As with all tragic stories, whether they are written by Euripides, Sophocles, Shakespeare, Marlowe, or a more modern story like Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, the main character’s actions are either directly, or indirectly related to the eventual tragic events that transpire. Read more of this post

Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199 – Episode Thirteen – The Wolf From Another Dimension


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This episode is a particular favourite of mine for a number of reasons; firstly, it is a wonderful example of the tensions of naval warfare transplanted in space, an episode that features a submarine, and all the issues that go along with it; secondly, it represents the first time that the Yamato’s crew have had to deal with a situation without the help of Captain Okita. Read more of this post

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu – Rediscovering The Power of Stories


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This week’s episode continued exploring a number of similar themes from last week, as it looked at the importance of memory, and the power that the past can hold over an individual. It is also an episode that touches upon a number of rather interesting themes regarding the importance of family, and the slow collapse of rural Japan during the post-war period. Read more of this post

Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199 – Episode Twelve – What Lies Beyond


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This episode was mostly a continuation of the arguments and tension caused during episode eleven, further demonstrating how complicated a conflict can be. It also demonstrates some of the importance that each episodes title contains, with this episode dealing with hidden emotions, political plots, and social decay. Now, while a lot of the episode dealt with a conflict between Shima and Kodai, with Shima coming across as the most emotionally immature, there were also other elements regarding Gamilas that were particularly interesting. Read more of this post

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu – Memories of the Past


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The past exerts a tremendous force on the characters in Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, it pulls at them incessantly, reminding them of past slights, problems that they have desperately tried to overcome, while raking up memories that they would have preferred left buried. Read more of this post

Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199 – Episode Eleven – A World I Once Saw


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The implications of Melda’s comments about who attacked first from episode ten are being felt throughout the ship in this episode. The result is a crew that remains angry at Gamilas, but also uncertain about what they are really doing, and why they hate a people they have never met until recently. The discovery that Gamillans are nearly identical to humans on a genetic level, with the only difference being blue skin further complicates matters. This simple, but important discovery throws a spanner in the works, because, rather than fighting unfeeling demons, strange, evil looking monsters of people’s nightmares, the Yamato and her crew are instead fighting blue humans. Read more of this post

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu – Seasons of Change


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Last week I discussed the importance of tradition to Japanese arts like rakugo, it is something that connects them to their past, and informs their approach to the present and future. Tradition is also an integral part of these arts, and can be found in their very character – the way of teaching, types of stories, even specific movements, and introductions – many stories, or plays have specific kata or forms that have been passed down from generation to generation for hundreds of years, unchanging, and unique. Read more of this post

Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199 – Episode Ten – Graveyard of the Universe


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This week’s episode served to complicate the relationship between Gamilas and Earth by questioning the status quo and suggesting that far from a simple story of aggressors and defenders. It has been hinted throughout Yamato 2199’s first half, but in this episode we are able to get a clearer picture of the multi-faceted Gamilas society, and in the process questioning the simplistic image that many aboard the Yamato have of this empire and people. This is the sort of episode I love to see in a good science-fiction/space series, one that highlights how complicated any conflict is, and how easily one side can demonise the other in order to justify their own actions. Read more of this post

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu – Questioning Tradition


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Tradition is an essential aspect of traditional Japanese entertainment, with various forms, poems, stories, and even movements, or ‘kata’ passed down from generation to generation, sometimes for centuries. One of the most extreme examples of this tradition can be found in Kabuki, where particular forms and movements have gone unchanged for centuries, and the best Kabuki actors are distinguished by the small, individual flourishes that they add to the basic kata, flourishes that often only the most experienced viewer may notice. Read more of this post