Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju

Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju

Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju anime series cover art
Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju

Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju 2nd Season

Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju is the second season of Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju. The Japanese title is Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen (昭和元禄落語心中~助六再び篇). And, this season is all about passing the torch to the next generation of rakugo performers.

When you really think about it, it’s pretty much what Boruto is to Naruto.

Okay, maybe that’s not the best comparison. But, when I first found out what this season was about, I was worried. I wasn’t sold on the idea of following the next generation.

Luckily, Descending Stories is at least on par with the first season, if not better. I’d say the characters of the first season are better. But, the story of the second season is better. Though, I will admit that the characters of the second season grew on me as I watched it.

Yakumo Yuurakutei and Konatsu from the anime series Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju
Yakumo Yuurakutei and Konatsu

As you may recall from the first season, it started and ended in the “present.” The majority of the series was a giant flashback. Descending Stories takes place in the “present,” which is something like 20 years later. Kikuhiko, now Yakumo Yuurakutei, has taken on Yotarou as his student.

At first, Yotarou is annoying. But, that makes sense considering his name. A yotarou (与太郎 / よたろう) is a fool. However, over the course of the series, Yotarou’s character transforms. He develops into someone who can fill Sukeroku’s role from the first season. He’s a foil to Yakumo’s character.

The first season focused on Kikuhiko’s story. Sukeroku was a main character. But, Kikuhiko was the protagonist. In this season, both Yakumo and Yotarou are the protagonists. We get to see the rise of Yotarou and the fall of Yakumo happening simultaneously. To me, this makes for a much better story.

The “New” Cast

Yotarou is a former yakuza member who fell in love with Rakugo while in prison. He saw a performance by Yakumo when the latter held a show at the prison. And once he got out, Yotarou tracked down Yakumo to ask to be taught Rakugo.

Yakumo Yuurakutei, may have been in the first season as Kikuhiko. But, he’s in a different stage of his life and career in Descending Stories. At this point, he’s become disillusioned with the future of Rakugo and wants the art to die with him. But, the fact that he takes on Yotarou as an apprentice seems to show his true feelings.

Konatsu is the daughter of Sukeroku and Miyokichi. Yakumo raised her since the deaths of her parents. But, the two of them don’t get along. Konatsu blames Yakumo for her parents’ deaths. And Yakumo refuses to take her on as an apprentice because she’s a woman.

Yotarou being a yotarou from the anime series Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju
Yotarou being a yotarou

I could go over some of the other truly new characters from this season. But, these three are the most interesting. So, I want to go into a bit more detail about how they’re all connected. There will be some tagged spoilers.

So, Konatsu gets pregnant and has a child early on in the season. The father is unknown at first. But, it’s eventually implied that Yotarou’s former yakuza boss is the father. And since Yotarou doesn’t want the child to grow up fatherless, he marries Konatsu and adopts her son.

In the final episode of the series, it’s implied that the yakuza boss isn’t actually the father. We never get explicit confirmation. But, it’s heavily implied that Yakumo is the father. Konatsu had some daddy issues and Yakumo was attracted to the daughter of his first love. So, they slept together.

Death of Rakugo

I don’t think it’s much of a spoiler to say that Yakumo dies toward the end of the series. That’s what the whole series was leading up to — even the first season. And it should come as no surprise that the art of rakugo didn’t die with him.

What I want to talk about now is how Yakumo’s death gave the best scene of the entire show. It reminded me a lot of my favorite arc from March comes in like a lion. The Burnt Fields arc in that series is very similar to Yakumo’s death here.

At the end of his life, Yakumo looks back on all he’s accomplished. And, more importantly, he looks back on what he wasn’t able to accomplish. What were his biggest regrets? At the top of the list was his inability to save his best friends, Sukeroku and Miyokichi.

Yakumo meeting Sukeroku in the afterlife from the anime series Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju
Yakumo meeting Sukeroku in the afterlife

However, after he dies, he gets to see his Sukeroku and Miyokichi one last time. And he even gets to perform the Rakugo he’s perfected over the decades since their deaths for them. Everything about this scene was great.

Of course, it was nice to see the trio from the first season reunited. But, what really made it special was how this one scene brought everything together. Yakumo thought his dead friends would hate him. He found out that’s not the case. And he was able to finish everything in death that he failed to finish in life.

Yakumo died before he was able to perform for Shinnosuke, Konatsu’s son. But, Shinnosuke was able to visit the afterlife to see Yakumo’s “final performance.” And child Konatsu got to do the same with Sukeroku’s “final performance.”

Oh, and then the next episode gave us closure for Yotarou’s story.


Overall, Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju is an 8/10. It takes a bit to ramp up. But, by the end of the series, it’s great. And if you like this series but haven’t yet seen March comes in like a lion., I highly recommend that one.

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