It's been a while since I last had the opportunity to check out any Joshiraku (almost a month in fact), but it's back to the rakugo grindstone now for episode eight of the series.
It's the New Year as this episode begins (no, it hasn't been that long since I last watched an episode), and poor old Marii is the rest of the group's punching bag once again as she finds herself having to come last at everything, whether it's delivering the final syllable of the group's New Year greeting or receiving the final New Year gift envelope from the manager. However, there are important advantages to being last... at least, so the others tell Marii.
From here, it's off for a shopping trip for the gang - a trip that soon turns into a hunt for charms and foodstuffs to bring youthful vigour back to, or simply to generally improve whatever ails or bothers, all and sundry. But does this stuff actually work? It seems to do the trick on Gan, until she admits that she's simply acting up. For the final segment of the episode, it's April 40th! Why, you ask? In a desperate (and ultimately misguided) attempt to prevent Kukuru from getting the so-called "May Blues". But why May? What about the rest of the year? Then again, it seems that Kukuru has all twelve months of the year covered pretty well on her own, despite the offer of the others to help out and share her burden.
After a long break, perhaps I wasn't in quite the right frame of mind to have cultural references and gags thrown at me, leaving me tiring of this particular instalment of Joshiraku pretty quickly - that said, even when it isn't hitting all the right notes with me this is still a show that can get laughs out of me on a relatively consistent basis, whether it's the absurdity of seasonal depression being linked to seeing a manga artist's assistant or Kigurumi's "cute act" (which is yet to get tiresome). It's these moments that make this series watching even when you're struggling to keep up with what it's trying to riff on, and although it might not have quite the panache of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei at going about it, it's still very much appreciated.