Marii, Kigurumi, Tetora, Gankyou and Kukuru are five young women with completely different interests and personalities, but there's one thing that they all share: performing Rakugo, a unique form of Japanese comic theatre in which a single artist sits in front of an audience and tells an entire story, portraying multiple characters solely through changes of voice and minimal movements. It's a challenging art but all five of our leading ladies are determined to become the best they can… and in the meantime, they find themselves hanging out together, both at the Rakugo theater and around town. And they also have a shared acquaintance, a mysterious stranger who's always wearing a wrestling mask! What's that about?
Source: Maiden Japan
This anime is reeeeeally Japanese and I definitely wouldn't recommend it to just anyone. It has layers and layers of meaningful levels, is full of references to parts of Japanese culture that the average international viewer wouldn't usually know about (including myself--I could often tell there was a reference without knowing exactly what it implied), and it bases much of its humor off kanji and wordplay. If you watch Joshiraku and all you giggle at are the girls' antics, you're probably missing half of it. Story: Not rated because there really isn't one, just a series of sketches. Animation: Pretty average, not a lot of action scenes. Sound: Gets a nine for the theme songs and voice acting. Characters: Funny, but don't often break out of their typed roles. No long-term character development. Overall: A subtle, delightful comedy with a limited audience. Probably rates a 9/10 from those who really deeply know Japan and its language, but there's a lot of potential for obscure references to get lost in cross-cultural translation. I give it a 7.9 for simple inscrutability.
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