To both of you still watching – I thank you…
Kabukibu! is going to be one of those series that feels really incomplete when it ends, I can tell. I don’t imagine the production committee expected this to be a big hit or anything, but I can’t think there’s any chance at all (well, maybe a tiny one – this is DEEN, after all) of a second season. At least Ginga e Kickoff got 39 episodes, so we were able to take the Predators and Shou through a rather lengthy development arc and see them achieve some real success. Kabukibu! is already really good, but it’s likely to end just as Kurogo’s dream is starting to come true in a major way.
With three episodes left, it’s not not clear where the anime is going to choose to leave things off. The culture festival performance having been a success, there’s no single huge event looming on the horizon – though there is the important new student indoctrination day, where the Kabukibu will have a few precious minutes to try and win over some new recruits (which they just about have to if they’re to become viable as a real club). That hinges on Akutsu – who’s quickly become the standout performer of the group, even if Kaoru is the biggest draw – and that’s a problem, as he’s on the verge of flunking an English final for the third time and being suspended from the club.
There’s also the matter of basking in the afterglow of the festival performance – and it’s nice to see Kuro actually feeling good about himself. He dares to dream of how his grandfather would be proud of him – his mother (the mangaka of the well-known “Osokano“) certainly thinks he would. The afterglow for Kaoru isn’t so pleasant, as she’s clearly feeling the strain of her double-duty. But what’s interesting here is that she also seems to be feeling something for Tonbo, too – who rather gallantly saves Kaoru from a pack of admirers when she’s feeling particularly peaked. That’s worth keeping an eye on.
The main development here, though, involves the ojii-sans. Shozo-san has clearly embraced his role as mentor to the club, taken in by their unorthodox performance at the festival after his initial skepticism. He brings them snacks, feeds them encouragement too – but most importantly he arranges for them to have an instructor. He’s done that with the help of Jin’s grandfather, who’s taken quite an interest in Shin. As a condition for arranging the instructor – a “former kabuki actor who left the theater at a young age” – he wants Shin to come to his house for a meeting.
This is fascinating on several levels. Jin is rather peeved by all this, obviously – not only does he find Shin irritating but even his name, which in kabuki terms means “the star” (and was almost Jin’s name). We see Jin getting rather bratty and churlish with his father about this, and it occurred to me that the father may in fact be the instructor – but my initial thought was that it was Shin’s father who was the instructor. I don’t doubt that the old man is genuinely interested in Shin, who has a naturally commanding presence on the kabuki stage. But it’s clear that he knows Shin’s mother from way back, and if he were trying to reconcile Shin with his father, this would be a clever way to go about it.