Sakamichi no Apollon – 04

The Mukae Tsutomu Quartet has a wonderful performance prepared for you tonight

Watching Apollon has made me revisit a band by the name of Steely Dan. I’ve only known them for a handful of years and I may be too young to be attending a concert from them, but man I love how their songs. They’re a jazz/funk/rock kinda band. Check out Kid Charlemagne and Reelin’ in the Years. Great songs.

“But Not For Me” as performed by Kaoru and Jun

Kaoru Goes In For a Kiss

Subtlety is the name of the game in Apollon. The series has really thrived on doing all the small things right.

Not so subtle? Kaoru going in for a kiss.

I really like the scene of him removing his glasses and seeing his blurred vision of her. It’s a thing for glasses-wearing people like him (and I) to hopefully void out the nervousness he probably feels just before locking lips. One example I can think of is when I do presentations, take them off so that I can’t clearly see the audience and won’t obsess over their attention/interest. To be a bit greedy, I would’ve liked to seen a shot post-kiss to see, through Kaoru’s eyes, Ri-chan’s emotion and tears. I could photoshop that myself, but yeah, that’s gonna match up well… either way, Ri’s response shows that it only complicates matters more for her.

Judging from the phys ed class scene, there’s been a bit of awkwardness between the two since that confession scene. The feelings he had with both Ri and Sen have held up over the past few months. In that moment when she says, “…give them to him as a pair”, it probably triggered something in Kaoru’s mind that compelled him to do what he did. His feelings getting more and more pent up, for better or worse, it’s a move Kaoru felt he had to make.

And as expected from the Yurika/Sen scene, turns out it was a misunderstanding. Sentaro is a model and we missed out on Yurika trying to get him to pose properly.

Sentarou Doesn’t Have “It All”

We’ve seen it before in anime. Even though they’re literally surrounded by people, characters feel alone. Even before Kaoru said pretty much those exact words this episode, we could understand why he feels as he does. Transferring to a new school and living with relatives that aren’t the most receptive of his presence, it’s easy to understand Kaoru’s position, though some of it is on himself the way he interacted with his desk neighbor at the beginning of episode 1. However, his reaction to Sen was out of pure jealousy and frustration over all that’s happened with Ritsuko so far.

Kaoru and Sen have taken very different paths to reach where they are today, but the feelings are more similar than even Kaoru thinks. Having an American mother leaving him and his father was just the start of a troubled childhood for Sentarou. It was a very tough moment to watch when Sentarou’s dad let took his hand away from Sen. The father wasn’t always a bad guy; it’s such a shame that the grandmother’s death led him down a path of alcohol and sadness, and more importantly how he abandons his son in that one moment where he needed comfort.

As we saw in episode 2, the significance of him wearing the rosary is revealed as the only remaining memory of his mom. Kids were already being mean to him due to mixed blood, but once they started yanking that rosary, the gloves came off and thus birthed Sentarou the delinquent.

♫ Performing for Gaijins ♫

Damn drunk ruined a perfectly good performance. Oh well…

I have been loving Space Brothers, but one thing that I’ve been thinking about the series (specifically episode 5) is how they seem to ignore the language barrier with Mutta in Houston, TX. Kids talking Japanese in the park, and an old man wearing an Ozzy jacket. Without getting too far off topic because that Ozzy jacket means nothing other than the old man rocks, the use of English at Bar Stella was really good from the drunkard and Jun introducing and singing, “But Not For Me.”

…paves the way for the ladies to swoon over Jun’s singing.

Love Triangle > Love Square > Love Pentagon. So many shapes the romance has taken in Apollon. Yurika hasn’t shown any interest in Sen, so it’s natural that she falls for the cool guy that sings at the show. It’s enough that Kaoru has been dealing with Sentarou while trying to win over Ri-chan, but how does this budding love interest affect Sen’s views of a guy that he really looks up to? And does Ri find relief after looking back and seeing Jun & Yurika talking, hoping that Sentarou isn’t taken by her?

Wow, Bill Evans makes a guest appearance at the basement of Welcome Records. :)

In conclusion, it’s just another fine episode of Apollon. With this pentagon that’s formed, I’m really anxious to see what happens once Sentarou starts to get more involved in this love fest. Whatever happens, at least him and Kaoru have a good understanding of each other enough to be able to talk things out, because feelings are bound to be hurt and friendships are gonna be rattled some.

The pacing is pretty fast in Apollon as I’m sure anybody can tell, but that’s all well and good when the scenes are executed in such a fashion as Apollon does. Again, I don’t read the manga so I want to be careful to avoid saying things like I know (because I don’t), but I enjoy how the series uses all of these subtle bits to progress the story at what I think is a good pace. I see not only the characters doing things, but why and how they do. How it affects the romance drama story is another thing. Slower series build up over longer periods of time while Apollon has addressed a specific major event each of the past 2 episodes. It’s possible that director Shinichiro Watanabe might be doing this to squeeze more anime into 11 episodes, so I’ll sacrifice that lengthy buildup and slower progression to see as much of Apollon in anime form as I can.

“Let’s try and sort out this love pentagon.”                               Kids on the Slope enjoying some Coke.

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Produces the MetaVerse podcast. Also plays games and watches sports of all sorts. Is an actual Pirate King.
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19 Responses to “Sakamichi no Apollon – 04”

  1. Joojoobees says:

    I don’t think his mother was American, I think his dad was. The person who Sen refers to as his “dad” called Sen’s mom “sister”, and Sen’s grandmother complains about her not following the way she raised her. I think Sen’s real dad was an American soldier.

    I have to agree with you about the speed: bring it on! I want to see as much of this story as they can fit into the Noitamina block.

    • Jrow says:

      yeesh, looks like I interpreted that scene inaccurately. Thanks for the correction, jjb!

  2. Tofu says:

    I love what you did there with the colours Jrow ;D Looks good with the posts.

    The jazz continues to ammuse me so much. I find myself just sitting back and tapping along with the music ^^ It’s definitely the most fun I’m having out of the other series because I love jazz and the best thing is, they actually performed!!! The love train is an interesting development considering I really liked the love train in Ano Natsu ^^ Love to see how everything develops from here on out

    • Jrow says:

      Thanks! I wonder if the xx-large text at the start is a little too showy, though. Maybe enlarge just subject titles.

      Watching them perform is great. I’ve been tapping my feet as well listening to the jam sessions as well as the OST.
      I wanna watch Ano Natsu, but I need to get to Working!! before I do.

      • Tofu says:

        oh wow you haven’t seen working yet? xD Good comedy show and also I like how it’s a bit showy but the subject titles could be enlarged a bit so it stands out more ^^

        • Jrow says:

          That’s a good call on the titles. I’ll be sure to enlarge those for future eps.

  3. Amutofan123 says:

    Another fantastic episode! Looks like someone is going to get hurt though. Looks like more than one someone’s are going to get hurt. Ah, stupid love polygons! T_T AND POOR SEN!! Awww, I love how even though he went through so much, he still seems so happy all the time. I love him He’s probably my favorite character.

    • Jrow says:

      Sentarou’s a great character! I also thought it was cool how he kept the wrapping paper as a case for his drumsticks.

  4. Bob from Accounting says:

    Awesome music and rampant teenage hormones all over the place. What is there possibly not to love?

    • Jrow says:

      hmm… I can’t really think of any bad things to say, though I’m like you and just loving the jazz and romance together. Some might not enjoy the romantic stuff since most season previews went “jazz music by yoko kanno, woo!”

  5. lvlln says:

    I wonder if the n-word is something allowed on Japanese TV, and if it’s something Japanese would recognize as the horribly offensive term it is. “Coon” is obviously incredibly offensive as well, but the n-word is a level above, and this being a period piece, it could have fit in quite well, much like how it was used constantly in Mel Brooks’s Blazing Saddles. Would have added even extra punch to that scene. Though I guess race relations isn’t a main focus of Kids on the Slope the same way it was in Blazing Saddles.

  6. Overcooled says:

    I’m usually instantly turned off by romance, but Sakamichi no Apollon handles it so tastefully that I can really latch on and enjoy myself. I will admit that the constant misunderstandings do get me a bit riled up though. I just want everyone to say what they’re feeling and fix things…but that’s unrealistic for teens to sort things out so simply.

    I love how Sentaro, who is largely an action-oriented problem-solver, actually opens up and speaks to Kaoru this week. When he’s mad at someone, he punches them. When he’s fighting with Kaoru, he has a jam session to renew their friendship. He hasn’t really been one to sit and talk about his feelings, but this week he laid out his entire life story as calmly as can be. It looks like the two of them are finally realizing that they have a lot in common aside from just music.

    I just gotta say…those jam sessions are pure magic. I can only watch this show when I’m in a good mode, otherwise I feel I won’t truly appreciate the epic jamming that’s going on.

    • Joojoobees says:

      Sentarou seemed quite sincere when he told Kaoru about not fitting in. I think he was trying to make Kaoru feel better, which is a good indication of how much he has come to accept Kaoru as a friend.

  7. anaaga says:

    The Engrish was great. It’s not even Engrish anymore, it’s real English. Why can’t all anime be like this when it comes to English?

    The romance between Yurika and Jun is somehow expected, considering how their calm personalities are somehow alike. They have enough attraction with each other. This will be a had blow for Sentarou though

    About Sentarou, I like how he finally talk about himself face to face with Kaoru. They’re finally closer with each other. I also like how Kaoru always end up being talkative to Sentarou. It’s interesting how Kaoru is being honest with someone having a personality that’s different from his. Maybe their difference is the reason why they’re so close.

    One thing I don’t get is when Kaoru kissed Ri-chan. I don’t see anything that pushes him to do that. I find that very unrealistic

    • Jrow says:

      The Kaoru/Ri thing, I think things just “appeared” to be lined up for him to do what he did. It’s Christmas (more considered a couple’s holiday in Japan), buying a gift with Ri, snow falling, the atmosphere seemed to set things up for him. Very seldomly does kissing someone like that net a relationship, but it’s an emotion that takes over people and that’s what I’d suspect was going on in Kaoru’s head.

  8. Kyokai says:

    I like what you there with the format. :3

    With this episode, I finally can guess where things are going and it’s definitely going to be painful. ><

  9. [...] on your 1st year. I really like the new style you’ve implemented with the latest Kids on the Slope post. And recording the latest Metaverse podcast was fun; I’ll definitely joining you for [...]

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