While not the most eventful episode in terms of plot progression, there’s certainly a lot of rewatchability with this one. The shamisen club has finally been established, and Setsu must teach this fresh batch of newbies what he knows best. Full of comedy, drama and wild rocking shamisens, this episode had everything except significant plot progression, and I was totally fine with that. Let’s break it down:
More Brotherly Wisdom
This series is really promoting Wakana as the wise older brother, and each episode seems to take off with a word of wisdom from our beloved Sawamura onii-chan. After being asked to teach the group, Setsu seeks advice from Wakana to which he emphasises the importance of patience. This proved to be solid advice, especially when no one in the group could even put two notes together!
I said it before and I’ll say it again, I love that Wakana Sawamura is remaining as a symbol of experience and guidance for Setsu. It not only keeps him relevant, but also adds a sense of realism to the show, rather than the main character just knowing what to do all the time. The respect that the show puts on elders is really nice, and really portrays the power of knowledge and wisdom. It’s the kind of show that makes you want to go and connect with your grandparents, or strike up a conversation with an elderly person.
D&M with Shuri
I feel the scene where Setsu and Shuri converse in this episode is the most they have connected in the series so far. Setsu showed his insecurities, and Shuri proved to be a great friend by blasting away his worries with strong words of encouragement. As the grandson of the great Matsugorou Sawamura, Setsu felt he was only noticed by people because he “had his grandpa’s sound.” Shuri argues against this and says Setsu has his own sound, a sound that healed her grandmother, and herself, moving her to pursue the shamisen competition.
The importance of this scene not only hinted at possible romantic implications between the two, but also sets Shuri apart from the rest of the group as Setsu’s most devout follower, someone whom Setsu can fight for through the shamisen. This ties back to previous episodes where we learn that Setsu needs a purpose to bring out his best performance, and Shuri may just be the catalyst he needs.
Joint Performance with Seiryu
Setsu and Seiryu‘s joint performance at the end was very different to anything we’ve seen so far. Yes, we’ve witnessed Setsu play a joint performance with his mother singing. And yes, we also witnessed Setsu and Wakana play in a competitive like manner together. But this was different. What I thought was going to be a battle of the shamisens very quickly turned into a duo performance, almost like the Yoshida Brothers themselves had set foot into the anime world to perform an epic piece.
It was nothing short of a chemical reaction of sorts, as Setsu’s “quick, delicate, skipping sounds” were met with Seiryu’s “smooth, sprawling sounds” to create a powerful musical piece that combined wild, free-flowing sounds with a strong base sound which created a foundation. The result was like a platform that was raised to help Setsu fly free as a bird. If these two shamisen wonder men were parts of an aeroplane, Seiryu would be the engine that propels the plane to the air and Setsu would be the wings that enable them to fly. As the aeroplane flies best when the engine and wings work together, shamisen songs work best when Setsu and Seiryu join forces.