Late impression post of sorts but I want to butt in and share my 2 cents on the episode albeit I’m being so random with anime these days. Don’t expect it to be a regular thing though. 😛
It has been a while since I’m this excited about a new anime series and Sakamichi no Apollon came along and did just that. It’s not because of the pre-airing hype with the involvement of Shinichiro Watanabe and Yoko Kanno but how good the adaptation actually is, judging from 3 episodes that had aired. This, coming from someone who has read the source material up to volume 8 and is expecting the final volume (9) in the mail very soon. That said, I’m loving it thus far. It’s a thrill to see what I have read coming to life in animated form and being done so with lots of heart.
So, the first 2 episodes set the intro to all the characters that will/are coming into play in the story and episode 3 is where the ball gets rolling. It begins with the misunderstanding among the 3 main leads in regards to the burgeoning romantic feelings of each and this will eventually lead to some interesting developments that will test the bonds of their fragile friendships to its limit. We’re starting to see a little bit of this in episode 3 and that’s what I’m babbling about here.
Before meeting Sentaro, Kaoru never really had anyone he could call a friend since he’s an only child with an absentee father, left to his own devices most of the time, despite coming from a well to do family background. I can’t help but feel that he’s somewhat envious of the free spirited Sentaro who lives with a big loving family filled with the cries and laughter of the younger siblings whom Sentaro seemingly adore. It is something Kaoru probably longed for and this tiny bit of resentment plays into his feelings in regards to his growing romantic crush for Ri-chan and his behaviour towards Sen later on in the episode.
What a role reversal do we see here with the usually dependable Sentaro turning into mush (so adorkable too) in front of a girl he likes and Kaoru being all manly, giving advice on how to woo one. That’s how the double date idea came about and it is also where the signs of misunderstanding and unreciprocated feelings begin to take root. The character that is the catalyst of the romantic complication is Yurika, the pretty senior who is making Sentaro’s love-struck heart melt and lie about the date invitation. One can tell that Yurika is certainly no fool and knows who is the actual party that is interested in her. Of course, Ri-chan is very much out of the loop with the whole arrangement and thought the date idea was because Kaoru is interested in Yurika, unaware that she herself is the one that Kaoru crushes on. Ah, what a merry go round.
As the date progresses, Kaoru eventually noticed that something is amiss with Ri-chan’s behaviour and understood what it meant, that he got it all wrong. He thought he could get his own way with Ri-chan by actively encouraging Sentaro to go after Yurika, not knowing that the person Ri-chan loves is Sentaro thus hurting her in the process. The fact that Sentaro is Ri-chan’s object of affection further elevates the envious feelings he already has towards Sentaro. His actions later on indicated the sparks of resentment building in his heart. To compound matters, Sentaro is unaware of Ri-chan’s feelings and Kaoru’s odd behaviour.
I didn’t like how Kaoru handled the situation by not explaining matters and just jumping at Sentaro out of the blue, almost causing Sentaro to beat down on him. This is what I meant when I said that his envy turned into resentment and he took it out on the cause of his envy, displaying how immature he really is. Although, the hanky incident was temporarily swept under the carpet and a truce was forged with the basement musical jam session, one can see that it is not the end but the beginning of more drama to come that will test Kaoru’s friendship with Sentaro. Ri-chan herself not coming clean with her own feelings isn’t helping the situation as it is either. Her only consolation is in seeing that Sentaro is happy to have a jamming buddy in Kaoru. It is something that she didn’t want Sentaro to lose, thus her stepping in to stop the negative friction between those two from getting out of hand .
One misunderstanding leads to another when Kaoru accidentally walked into an unsavoury scene with Yurika caressing an obviously naked Sentaro, causing him to jump into conclusion and thus, forcing him to man-up about his own romantic feelings towards Ri-chan, in the hope of saving her from the pangs of unrequited love.
The whole episode culminates with Kaoru plucking up the courage to confess his feelings to Ri-chan, serenading her with a song he practices so he could play it just for her. What does the surprise look on Ri-chan’s face entails now that one misunderstanding is cleared up? Will she reciprocate Kaoru’s earnest feelings?
Like I said, episode 3 is just the beginning of the real story. What seems like a simple triangle-ship or quadrangle-ship set-up isn’t so simple as some viewers seemed to think. There’s more to the merry go round than meets the eye. I’m glad that they didn’t go overboard with the drama. It feels natural, not forced and that’s the way it should be done. The pacing is just right for the amount of material they (the studio) have to adapt and the music is once again, awesome. And no, this isn’t just about a couple of people playing jazz music and neither is it purely slice of life. It is more of a coming of age drama with jazz music as the initial catalyst that brings about an unlikely friendship. That’s not to say the music would disappear from the scene. The question is whether the love of music is strong enough to create a lasting bond as the characters strove through the ups and downs of the many changes in their lives and relationships that is to come. The bittersweet ending theme made perfect sense now that I understood what it is about. I can’t wait to see how things unfold in the episodes ahead. Thursdays have never been as exciting as it is right now.