The following contains spoilers for Episode 3 of My Master Has No Tail, "Watch Carefully," now streaming on HIDIVE.
My Master Has No Tail is a comedy anime series of the Fall 2022 anime season starring the tanuki heroine Mameda, who dreams of becoming Osaka's greatest prankster and entertainer. Mameda loves a good show, and as a tanuki, she wants to trick and dazzle people with her clever words and supernatural abilities. Now she must learn the ways of showbiz, too.
Mameda's first challenge was to get used to life in Taisho-era Osaka and convince the rakugo performer Bunko to train her. By Episode 3, Mameda has completed those challenges, only to learn that the next phase, her official internship, is anything but easy. She's on the bottom rung of the rakugo industry, but at least she's got her foot -- or paw -- in the door.
In Episode 3, Mameda has gotten used to living with Bunko as per rakugo tradition, with Mameda the apprentice being Bunko's live-in assistant and housekeeper of sorts, which even includes cooking duties, not just cleaning. Mameda struggles a bit with this, finding human food rather strange and getting frustrated that Bunko has not yet taught her anything about rakugo. For now, in Mamada's impatient eyes, it almost seems like Bunko is just stringing her along and using her for willing but free labor. Mameda voices her impatience, only for Bunko to remind Mameda that Mameda must actively seek out and steal Bunko's rakugo style rather than have it directly handed down to her. Anything Mameda will learn about rakugo, she must claim with her own two paws.
Then, Episode 3 shifts the master/apprentice dynamic to the rakugo entertainment hall itself, where the My Master Has No Tail anime expands the cast of characters to show just how busy a rakugo hall can really be. Audience members focus entirely on the rakugo performer, but Mameda must get used to rubbing shoulders with many more people than that, including the manager, a bashful young man, and the lively, sharp-tongued Omatsu, an usher. Mameda busies herself with more apprentice work here, doing everything from delivering cushions for guests to folding kimonos and much more. Mameda complains that this is just a repeat of her chores at Bunko's house, but this is essential work for any rakugo assistant, and at least Mameda is taking steps in the right direction. This sure beats being sent home on a boat.
By the end of Episode 3, Mameda still feels overwhelmed in the big city, and she also laments falling behind on her rakugo theater duties. In fact, Mameda falls asleep from exhaustion at one point, buried under cushions. A less determined protagonist might have given up by now, but to her credit, Mameda takes it in stride when discussing this with Bunko later that evening. Mameda admits that she still doesn't understand humans at all, but perhaps that's not a problem. Mameda has her tsundere master Bunko to guide her, and rakugo is still Mameda's one and only route to becoming a successful tanuki trickster in Osaka. Mameda states that she's more determined than ever despite the challenges and hardships of her new career in rakugo.
Perhaps viewers can relate to what Mameda experiences in this episode. Talking tanuki may not be real, and viewers probably aren't aiming to become rakugo performers. However, in a broader sense, Mameda's experience is intimately relatable to what most young adult anime fans are experiencing or have experienced in their own professional lives. Mameda is an underdog with a dream, and it's with grit and passion alone that she has come this far in an industry that's much tougher than it looks.
Mameda had to push hard just to land an unpaid internship as a bottom-rung member of the industry, but all things considered, that's not bad, and Mameda can keep climbing from there. She may be a lowly apprentice in her dream job for now, but it's still her dream job, and many anime viewers must know how gratifying that is. Being a working professional means being patient, having goals and maintaining optimism in the face of rejection and hardship. No matter the era or decade, that will always ring true for tanuki and people alike.