High Caliber Entertainment in a Seemingly common story
Rakugo might be Japan's equivalent of a stand up comic, except that it has centuries of tradition behind it. There are many standard Rakugo tales, and few new ones are added each year. This is a story about a cursed Rakugo tale that is said to kill the one who performs it. It's also about a young girl who decides to become a Rakugoka at an early age, in a profession dominated by male performers.
Kasumi (Mimura) decides to become Rakugoka when she performs Rakugo for her uncle who is stricken by cancer. She becomes a champion amateur Rakugoka in college, and becomes an apprentice to Sanzantei Heiza (Masahiko Tsugawa) upon her graduation. But her teacher never teaches her anything, and makes her pay for his bar, and food tabs. One day, TV producer Yukari (Kazue Ito) approaches Heiza to perform "Sensu Nagaya"
a Rakugo story that is said to be cursed on a live TV performance.
Attraction being that Heiza might die according to the legend in the middle of the performance, which will be quite sensational. Heiza accepts, but Kasumi is worried for her teacher's life.
The story is extremely well fleshed out, and it grabs the audience from the get go. It's entertaining, funny, and intriguing at the same time. This all cumulates to a plot twist at the end that is original, and well put together.
The story might be bit difficult to understand if you're not familiar with the subculture of Rakugo, but the production of this movie is high quality in all accounts which makes it a worth while viewing. It's a good introduction to the culture of Rakugo as well as being entertained by the story.
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