Sakamichi no Apollon – 11

Jazz and friendship are definitely their favorite things

This week, spring 2012 reaches the finish line. This musical delight and Tsuritama will close out a rebound season for noitaminA, Sankarea was just recently relisted on MAL to be 12 eps, Aquarion’s now over plenty more. Spring has been one heck of an anime season. Everybody has their personal favorites and for one or two reason is completely justifiable. Anyways… about Apollon this week…

I don’t know if Sen’s getting a happy ending. Pardon me for projecting a bit during my writing.

I was glad that Kaoru was as astute as we the viewer (always) are when the opening scene showed him waiting for Sen’s attempt to run away from home. With the kids and his father hearing the ruckus outside, there was no way he would turn his back on his siblings and leave that coldly, right in front of them.

I thought that maybe in Sen’s father’s brief display of trying to reconcile with his son, he possibly has indeed changed his ways and expressed to some extent through the fountain pen that Sen received as a gift. I was impressed with his father by not just giving what was at the time an expensive gift, but also how he said, “A child doesn’t go turning down a present from his parents.” It got through to Sen, though I’ll admit the emotion he expresses in the bathroom is tough for me to gauge. He seems to treasure it, but I don’t know if he feels deserving of it.

It was delightful seeing “My Favorite Things” being practiced with Ritsuko, the beautiful practice montage shots, and the kids lying on the floor parodying the lyrics of the song to their own favorite things. I was ready for these three to show Seiji that playing music is more than wearing stupid costumes and prancing around like the fruit that he is.

“One Piece and Vidya and Football and Oranges, these are a few of my favorite things.”


Then, Kaoru left some notes in the basement. Sen debated then decided to bring them to Kaoru’s house.


The second half goes on to become a very dramatic sequence of events starting with the emotional rooftop scene, which seemed very much like a return to the beginning of the series as Kaoru removed the sheet revealing Sen. We’ve come this far with these characters in 11 episodes and they’ve been through a lot; Sen appears to have reached a breaking point. On the surface it looks like only a broken arm, but the emotional scarring hurts far more. It’s clear to see just how bad of a place Sentarou is in mentally.

Whether you think something like any sort of vehicular accident is a convenient device to make a heavy shift in tone, how a show handles itself post-accident is very vital to effecting the emotions of everybody involved properly. Personally, I feel the second half of episode 11 hit the right notes and effected the drama at an appropriately high level, not going into overwrought territory. The balance of the 1st half’s tone helped fuel the 2nd half’s tone. We weren’t getting a festival performance and it may not get much better.

Kaoru sits behind Sen’s kit. Never before has that basement looked and felt so empty. 

Sentarou has left his cross and his drum kit behind; he just isn’t the same person we know without these two things, wherever he has gone off to. Ritsuko & Kaoru try to convince themselves that Sen will come back, but deep down they are prepared to accept the worst. 

I wasn’t too fond of the bait-and-switching through the woman’s dialogue after the accident, even though earlier you can see Sachiko’s hair behind Sentarou when he was riding his motorbike. It’s a small point that I think the series did not need to use as we’ve gotten to know Sachiko through a couple of scenes in the series. Saying she was hurt and Sen was/felt responsible would’ve been plenty enough. I feel kinda nitpicky writing that out, but it was one thing I immediately thought about once the episode was over.

Am I being a little too sure that next week’s finale will be a gloomy ending? For the manga readers (since the series just got finished being scanlated), no spoilers or hints please.


Produces the MetaVerse podcast. Also plays games and watches sports of all sorts. Is an actual Pirate King.
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8 Responses to “Sakamichi no Apollon – 11”

  1. Amutofan123 says:

    I feel bad for feeling relieved when I learned that it wasn’t Sen in the hospital… Poor Sachiko…

    But oh my God, that rooftop scene. I cried. I cried hard. I love it when a big macho guy like Sen cries like that. He’s always so cheery; it broke my heart to see him like that.

    I had to go read the manga after I finished watching this episode and there is no way they are fitting everything in the last episode. Of course, I started the manga where this episode left off, so I have no idea how much of the manga the anime has skipped already. Well, whatever they do, I’m sure they will make it work. Apollon has yet to disappoint and I’m sure that the ending won’t either. At least, I hope it doesn’t.

    • Jrow says:

      Before I get to the end, I need to properly reply to all of yas.

      About Sachiko, I did to, and maybe Kaoru should have also. He’s just too in love with Sentarou.

      That was a really strong scene, one of Apollon’s best and no doubt the most emotional.

      We shall (or already have) seen!

  2. Highway says:

    I just sat there saying “Really? That’s the stunt you are going to pull?” when they showed that truck crossing the line. Some of my anger dissipated when it turned out everyone was ok, it just derailed the face-off, but it still seemed like a cheap trick to pull.

    I don’t know how you could *not* cry at that rooftop scene.

    I’m guessing Sen left after he saw that Sachiko was awake (otherwise how could he have left the rosary on the doorknob without anyone asking about it), but I don’t understand what motivated him to leave at that point.

    • Jrow says:

      Your comment & anaaga’s below brought me to this question: What can an anime (or any story) do to justify a sudden accident?

      Car accidents happen in real life, but so seldom do you see them in fiction because it just seems to not. I’m just spouting off here, might seem like nonsense, but writers either just don’t think about it as a thing that can happen or actively are against the idea because of the repercussions of the accident. Regardless of whether people are hurt or killed in accidents, it still can cause a big shift in drama. Things seem so well and then BOOM!, head on collision with a car.

      • Highway says:

        Well, my take on it is that it’s too convenient. Yeah, it’s filtered through the idea that “everything we see in the show is important, because otherwise, it’s just normal life and that’s not what they show on TV”. Also it’s the kind of thing that “he was just going along doing normal stuff and BAM: accident” for anyone who has an accident. So because of those conditions, of course an accident is going to be shown, because it’s important.

        But in this show, like anaaga said, it felt really forced: They’re seeing each other every day. Kaoru left a sheet of music in the practice room. Sen and Ri’ko are going to see him at school tomorrow if he needs it for the performance. It’s fairly late at night, he’s not going to be practicing in the house he lives in, and they go through the rigamarole of saying “No, you don’t need to take it.” But he goes anyway? It just really stretched the bounds of believability the way they set it up. An accident while Sen was going to school the next day and crossing the street? I’d believe that a lot more. I’d have even believed Sen not paying attention and driving in front of another car at a 4-way stop sign more than ‘convenient truck on two-lane road crosses centerline of a two-lane mountain road and hits them, but only enough to scrape him up and break an arm, while his younger sister gets hit on the head.

        • anaaga says:

          ^What he said. Yes, accidents do happen, but somehow with everything that’s happening, it feels to convenient and unnatural

        • Jrow says:

          It’s tough to debate against the sheet music thing because I agree with your assessment, but some people are just like that. They think it’s just gonna be a quick trip, regardless of whether it’s vital or not that the other person receive this sheet music or this document, w/e. But because of what I just typed, it’s really not cool to implement that into story. Viewers like us would say what you and anaaga have written previously. One could go as far as to say there’s reasonability to the scene and that it is what it is and break it down further, but I think that’d be a really weak argument.

          I think accidents are something where we need to have seen Sen riding his bike before down that path (which I can never recall him riding that path). We’ve never seen him biking on roads, just like he drops by Welcome Records and goes “haha Richie-boy let’s jam lol!” So we have a scene we’re familiar with and know the way he gets home. Then later, in the scene of the accident, get a little inside his head prior about troubles or anything that would distract his attention from the road; they could show the scene where Sachiko asked him for a ride and it would take all of 10-15 seconds. Build and hint toward the accident rather than just inserting it in to advance plot in some artificial way.

          Your scenarios are reasonable, but like I mentioned with the scene we got, I don’t know if there’s a familiarity with him riding that route. If it’s just inserted in there, then it’s like, “well, here’s where shit happens. Deal with it, viewer.”

  3. anaaga says:

    Man, I wasn’t into Sakamichi already, but now I’m starting not to like it even more. That bike stunt they pulled was really unnecessary, and it feels really forced.

    Kaoru’s character was great though. I like how he’s different now from how he was before

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