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Sakamichi no Apollon – 09 »« Sakamichi no Apollon – 07

Sakamichi no Apollon – 08

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「ムード・インディゴ ジーズ・フーリッシュ・シングス」 (Mūdo indigo jīzu fūrisshu shingusu)
“Mood Indigo These Foolish Things”

And lo, with the simple question “Would you like a persimmon?” was the fujoshi movement born in Kyushu, 1967…

This was a seemingly low-key episode after the frenetic drama of last week, but my sense is of a locomotive bearing relentlessly down on the conclusion suggested by the ED. The effect of Sakamichi is that of looking down on the events of the show from enough distance to see what’s really happening, while the characters themselves are too close and too focused on their own interests. It’s ironic that Kaoru should have used the “can’t see the forest for the trees” metaphor with Sentarou, because it applies just as much to him.

It always seemed most likely, but it was indeed a cruel experience with student politics that caused Brother Jun’s downward spiral. This was the epicenter of counterculture in Japan in the ‘60s – college campuses everywhere were rife with dissent, police were getting violent and kids were being seriously hurt – or worse. Jun seems to have been drawn into the conflict by two friends (one of whom, Arita, is played by Sakurai Takahiro) with the tragic result than one of them – a talented saxophonist – was seriously injured and will never play again. Already in the doghouse with his parents for going to Tokyo in the first place, this touch of radicalism has gotten Jun totally disowned – and he blames himself for his friend’s situation. Throw in some booze and pills, and Skid Row it is.

Fortunately Jun-kun has friends like Mukae-san, and ends up physically safe at the very least – after crashing in the studio for a while he finds a cheap room to rent and goes off to suffer in self-important silence. Which he does, until a chance meeting with Yurika changes everything – and she proves herself a pretty strong-willed individual. It was certainly uncomfortable seeing Jun act out forcing himself on her sexually, but I never felt the menace here – just sadness – because it simply never felt like something he’d do. And when she calls his bluff, he relents. And seemingly in doing to takes herself out of the equation for the main trio in the series, leaving them as a conventional dysfunctional love triangle.

It’ll be interesting to see how those two factor into the rest of the series, as it looks very much to me as if their arc is effectively complete. But for Sen, Bon and Ri-chan it’s just getting more complicated. I’ve said that romance isn’t the main plot here and it isn’t – the most important relationship is still Kaoru and Sentarou. But the two threads are inseparable – and I think we’re about to see what happens when three perfectly good and kind young people who all like each other individually discover just how difficult the heart makes life. As Kaoru is pushing Sentarou to open his eyes and see how Ri-chan feels, she’s finally developing feelings for Kaoru – the one who’s had feelings for her from the moment he laid eyes on her. And sadly for Kaoru, Sentarou seems to have finally seen the light.

The irony among these three was dripping off the walls this episode, but never more than when Kaoru saw Ritsuko knitting and assumed it was for Sen. It was exactly the same kind of mistake she made in assuming “Someday My Prince Will Come” was for Yurika – except that while Kaoru disabused Ri-chan of that immediately, this time he ran off before she could tell him how she felt. Kaoru still loves Ri-chan, who’s starting to love him back. Sentarou finally realizes Ri-chan loves him – but is it too late for him? I don’t see how this can possibly end well for Kaoru and Sentarou – either one of them is hurt and blames the other, or both are them are hurt and blame the other. The heart wants what it wants , but not always wisely – Ritsuko’s lament of “I don’t understand myself” could apply to almost everyone at some point in their adolescence. I hate to think of this mutual chain of good intentions tearing apart Sen and Bon’s friendship, but that’s a very real danger.

Incidentally, it appears very much to me that Ritsuko’s friend (whose name has not been given that I recall) has a crush on Maruo-kun – which means that the culture festival wasn’t a washout for one of The Olympus, anyway. Perhaps we haven’t heard the last of Seiji, either, who seems to have taken the lesson that he needs to set his sights higher than the school festival. The lack of a real jam session in the basement is always a disappointment, but with the trouble brewing between Kaoru and Sen I’m especially worried that we might not have too many more chances to hear them play…

May 31, 2012 at 5:52 pm
27 comments »
  • May 31, 2012 at 6:15 pmDdadain

    Loved this episode >:3

    I was hating Jun for a while now… this just made me sad… -_- I like happy endings, and I want everyone to be happy in the end… one for each ._.

    • May 31, 2012 at 8:03 pm….

      yes, it can’t be helped that some people hated Brother Jun. His character suffered greatly after adaptation process. There are many casualties where a decent character turned to a douchebag or forgettable one in this show after manga -> anime transition. On top of my head: Kaoru’s mother, Brother Jun, Seiji, to name a few. Their background and screen time has been basically dropped entirely or to bare minimum (some of them even changed to fit the shortened narrative). Again, this has to do with the time constraints this show has been put under. 12 episodes was simply too short to do the justice for the characters.

      So I predicted that some people will hate Jun+Yurika after seeing this episode. It’s damn shame and I recommend people to check out the manga counterpart to help let go of that dislike. If the anime can help people to get interested in the manga, I guess it’s a job well done. I like Manga version’s brother Jun very much, BTW.

      • May 31, 2012 at 8:21 pmEmD

        They haven’t cut anything about Jun out. Kaoru’s mom, yes, but not Jun. His story remains more or less intact.

      • May 31, 2012 at 9:44 pmZammael

        I’m mighty tempted to read the manga, but I’ll give the anime a fair shot first.

      • May 31, 2012 at 10:46 pm….

        EmD,
        They so did cut stuff of Jun!! Did you actually read the manga? Pretty sure you didn’t since you couldn’t say so otherwise. Just because they 32 x fast-forward played through the backstory doesn’t mean they “didn’t” cut anything. Do I need to point out that “manga spoiler” (read only if you will, it shouldn’t affect the anime since this portion of story has been already passed):

        Show Spoiler ▼

        So if you only watched the anime, it’s very different picture of Jun, not to mention many things have been dropped. Jun in anime was an active participant of the student protest movement and he and the student protest leader were great pals throughout.

      • June 1, 2012 at 1:22 amDarklord

        I have not read the manga but I do not hate brother Jun. I only feel sad for him after finding out what happened to him. He’s a nice guy after all. It’s good he has someone like Yurika to help him get back on his feet.

      • June 1, 2012 at 3:39 pmstaticology

        ….
        While yes, they did cut stuff from Jun’s story, it was all just extra detail. They got the basis of it down- they never made it appear that Jun was being active FOR the group. Instead, if I’m remembering right from the other day when I watched it, they ask him to say a few words and he’s surprised. He just talks about how he thinks a school should be. While that can be easily missed and misconstrued, it still stands that they put the bare minimum in there to make his story coherent. He was never dislikable to me and I was pleased with how they handled his character.
        I’m sad that Kaoru’s mom’s story had to be cut, because I really liked her backstory and character, but I can understand that they included what they could. She’s not a major plot point and they needed to keep the momentum going so they can get through the source material.
        As a manga reader, I’d say this has been a fantastic adaptation. Would have it been better if it were even longer? Yes, but it’s not, and the director (a brilliant one at that) clearly knows what a gem he has and knows where he’s going with it. It’s not perfect, but look at the other adaptations that series get. Deadman Wonderland, for example, turned into a trainwreck because of all the information they tried to cram in.

  • May 31, 2012 at 6:43 pmCarolV

    I love each an every episode of this show. I like it so much that I want to make my mom watch it. Difficult task if not impossible. But I want her to see that anime isn’t just childish cartoons. And this show is full of emotions and raw art and it moves me each time I watch it.
    On a side note, Go Yurika! As a fellow woman and considering the period of time in which this story takes places and her upbringing I’d say she has guts and brains and she fights for what she wants. I bow to that.

  • May 31, 2012 at 7:45 pmEunichi

    I can somewhat relate to Kaoru since I also transferred to different schools. It’s sad to say goodbye but what can we do? It’s inevitable. What we must do is to make beautiful memories and spend our moments with them wisely. Though, in his case he can’t contact them just by pressing a button.

    Now that Sentarou realized Ritsuko has feelings for him. I wish that his realization that he HAS feelings for her wouldn’t be rushed. I don’t want to see her be a scapegoat. I do not want to see something like: Boy knew that girl likes him so he must like her back. However, there’s the notion in series like this that “once a girl started to look at another man, it’s the end for the other.” Yet, we can’t tell since there still 3 or 4 episodes left.

  • May 31, 2012 at 7:52 pmKTNO

    This episode was great, almost make you feel like “love always brings shit with him”

  • May 31, 2012 at 8:05 pmAlec

    Yurika having an appointment with a Gynecologist
    Hope it’s just an error with subs. And if it isn’t, I Hope the results are negative. Things are just going too fast (relationship-wise) xD

    • May 31, 2012 at 8:26 pmsome guy

      well.
      Show Spoiler ▼

    • May 31, 2012 at 9:42 pmGuardian Enzo

      I’m not reading the spoiler above, but I took that to mean Mom saying “Well – I assume you slept with him, so let’s make sure we nip any potential embarrassment to the family in the bud.”

      • May 31, 2012 at 9:57 pmAlec

        I’m thinking along the same line.

    • May 31, 2012 at 10:42 pmXin

      That scene made me chuckle. Her mom seemed pretty hip for the times. Its like she wasn’t mad at all that Yurika was going through a rebellious stage and seeing a shady guy, but just wanted to give a wake up call to keep some wits about her.

  • May 31, 2012 at 11:08 pmrufe

    Nothing to laugh about, she’s assuming quite a lot about her daughter quite fast!

  • May 31, 2012 at 11:33 pmCyrano

    With Junichi’s recent past finally come to light, it is rather understandable why he is so morose and despondent. Following one’s dream can be hard enough, but Junichi now has to additionally bear the guilt and burden of destroying another’s. I don’t think that’s an easy thought for many to bear, even for the seemingly infallible Junichi in earlier episodes.

    This episode also has really made me respect Yurika a lot more than before. This episode at least seemed to indicate to me that her love is more than just a shallow crush. Even despite the flaws that have come out due to Junichi’s depression, she still loves him for who he is and seems to be willing to make sacrifices for him, even going against the wishes of her parents. Considering traditional asian culture, that takes a lot of guts to do, especially since family is usually viewed as the most important aspect of a person’s life. In recent episodes, she has really fleshed out as a character.

    Now, how it all works out with Kaoru, Ritsuko, and Sentarou is going to be quite interesting. All three more or less have conflicting feelings and are having trouble coming to terms with them. What’s even worse is that all three are really good friends with each other. I have a feeling that it might not be pretty and could get quite messy. I mean, look how it turned out with Sentarou and Junichi, and they seemed to have a brother-like relationship.

    It’s also interesting to note that all three characters also seemed to show myopia with regard to their true feelings. It’s only when a relative outsider points them out that it truly comes to their attention. This is quite true for Ritsuko and Sentarou in this episode. Kaoru seems a little more in-tune with them, at least with regard to his own feelings, but it appears that he’s purposefully trying to shut them out. So I have a feeling that someone will give him a little push in that direction. Still, whichever way it eventually ends up, I’ll just sit back, enjoy it, and take it all in. This anime is like a reflection of life; it can’t truly be predicted, especially in the world of love.

  • June 1, 2012 at 1:25 amDarklord

    Even though the anime seems to start moving towards Kaoru and Ri-chan ending up together, I’m really hoping she ends up with Sentaro. The reason for this is that he was absolutely crushed after seeing Jun with Yurika – losing a girl he loves to a close friend of his. Now, he finally realized Riko’s feelings for him, if he loses her as well to another good friend of his that would really really suck. I mean – he’s the nicest character in the show, so he deserves some happiness in the end.

    • June 1, 2012 at 11:35 amGuardian Enzo

      I don’t think the anime is moving towards Kaoru-Ritsuko, because every flag I see is pointing towards Kaoru leaving at the end. That doesn’t necessarily mean Sentarou-Rit-chan, either – she doesn’t automatically have to end up with either of them.

      • June 1, 2012 at 2:14 pmpassingdude

        Sounds too spoilerish. ~GE

  • June 1, 2012 at 4:36 amAndré

    Pretty realistic. I mean, woman, in general, don’t really like good guys. They go to the crazy/douchebag/bad/rebel/pothead guys. But, after 30, they search for a decent man because they have more money and are more stable than the douchebag ones. Ri-chan should also do the same, then the show would be 100% realistic.

  • June 1, 2012 at 7:33 amhaizaraa

    FFuu~ That was some emotional roller coaster ride for me, *wipes sweat* especially when thinking about the future implications caused by changes in these adolescent hearts. I wish all the best for their happiness; but what’s with the love-pentagon and all, they’re bound to get hurt even more. ;_;

  • June 1, 2012 at 8:30 pmmtle

    Am I the only one thinking that Yurika is with Jun because he is “broken” and wants to heal him? You know that whole “I can change you blabla” mentality? No? Okay then .. still heart-wrenching episode though.

    • June 1, 2012 at 10:38 pmGuardian Enzo

      That wouldn’t explain why she was so attracted to him before he broke…

      I think the bad-boy good-looks, musical genius and Suwabe-san voice have a lot more to do with it.

      • June 2, 2012 at 4:55 ammtle

        Hahah yeah you’re right, I just can’t shake the feelings of NTR (although she wasn’t dating Sen in the first place). How did you go on the blog tournament thingo? I forgot the website so I didn’t get to check.

  • June 2, 2012 at 4:49 pm….

    There is a spin-off series called “Sakamichi no Apollon Bonus Track” after the original Sakamichi ended. Not sure the spin-off also ended, but:

    http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2012-01-30/sakamichi-no-apollon-manga-gets-spinoff-series-in-march

    Apparently it focuses on Junichi and Yurika. Of course, I’m referring to manga, not anime here.

  • June 7, 2012 at 1:52 amBakaMochi

    Yay for Sakurai Takahiro! And Suzumura Kenichi (he voiced Muroi, the saxophonist)! Had I know both of them would be appearing this episode, I would’ve watched this so much sooner! D:

    Seiyuu fangirling aside, the love triangle is shaping up quite nicely *__* I’m sure Kaoru digging his own grave by throwing those hints at Sen is gonna come back to bite his ass later, probably in some spectacular, dramatic scene. If that happens though, poor Sen, getting shafted twice by his bros. Guess the phrase “bros before hos” didn’t apply in the 60′s. orz