Posted on 17 May 2012 with categories: Sakamichi no Apollon

Yeah, with this it’s yet again apparent that this show is a step above most other shows about teenagers. The bond between Sentarou and Kaoru is unique. This episode was quiet, but chock full of touches that bring tension to their relationship. It’s hard to describe, but most series with relationships like this have very clear borders between how characters behave: first they’re bickering for a while, then they are laughing for a while, and then comes a moment of being heart-warming. The changes in mood are all very simple. Here though, the tone that these guys use towards each other changes constantly. One moment they’re having fun, the other Kaoru’s jealousy plays up again. There are so many subtly different sides to how they act toward each other.

Including things I can’t recall having ever seen before. Like the point where Sentarou sternly lectures Kaoru talking down on that new kid with the mushroom haircut. That really hit me in a way that I don’t think anime has reached before. It’s also a scene that said so much about the two of them, which eventually culminated into the ending. I love how Kaoru was portrayed there and how he knew very well that he acted really childish, not knowing how to really get along with people due to the way he was brought up.

The rest of the cast also changed. Aside from perhaps the three new characters, but they were a great catalyst for change as well, even though they were a bit weird at first. The Jun subplot really got interesting at the end of the episode with that cliff-hanger, while Ritsuko is also visibly changing constantly after what happened to Kaoru with her.

Overall, at this point it really looks like Apollon is Noitamina’s big hitter of 2012. It has such a refinement that is unmatched and I doubt will even be matched by the shows that will follow this year, only if Matsuo Kou manages to surpass himself with Natsuyuki this can perhaps be changed.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

18 Responses

  1. Scruffy says:

    This show is a bit like the Chihayafuru of the season for me. It’s all about the characters and how they interact, rather than the situation itself. Such a wonderful show that manages to use its pauses so well. Simply awesome.

  2. Oroboros says:

    I agree w PsGels here.The interactions btw the characters are multifaceted and constantly flowing & ebbing to the point where big moments resonate deeply. Moreover we could sympathize with Kaoru’s selfish reaction even though it was wrong.

    Apollon is one of the best of ’12 so far, up there with Fate/Zero and Chihayafuru.

  3. Jack says:

    Eh, this episode was a big letdown for me… The main reason being the annoying beatles brat. In a series that’s about the realistic portrayal of teenagers, such an effeminate and cliched character (A FANG, REALLY?) popping out of nowhere felt really off-putting. Now, this guy wouldn’t have been out of place in Tsuritama, but here he managed to ruin every single scene he was in. Hopefully they’ll scale back the fujoshi pandering before it ruins this series.

    The main character acting like a child is also getting old fast – first, his reaction to Ritsuko’s rejection was completely innapropriate, and now his hissy-fit over Sentaro’s decision to play on the brat’s rock band was laughable. Kaoru feels to much like a frail, “precious snowflake” sort of character that it seems like if this series took place in the present instead of the sixties, he’d be just another emo douche.

    • martin says:

      The ‘beatles brat’ did feel a bit out of place for me too(and I didn’t like his fang too).

      Regardless, I still thought the episode was well done.

    • Scruffy says:

      While I might agree with you a little with the ‘Beatles Brat’, I certainly don’t about Kaoru and how he responded to Ritsuko’s rejection. She told him what he did (his kiss) was unforgivable and of course he’s going to avoid her for a while because of that. Eventually he grew up with Sentaro’s help and has been getting on with her.

      As to this ep, yes he behaved like a child and he knew it. He’s someone who has moved around alot (which would be rare in those times) and has never developed friendships before and when he perceived a threat to that he acted like an idiot.

    • Scruffy says:

      BTW .. how in any way is the Beatles Brat ‘fujoshi pandering’? If anything the two male leads, especially Sen are fujoshi bate.

      • dean says:

        What’s the meaning of Fujoshi.

      • kero says:

        agreed, don’t need that new guy. we just had kaoru confessing that it scared him to be apart from Sen.

        New guy seems a bit like a stereotype, but at the same time, isn’t? Is he a nice guy or not? I can’t tell yet.

      • kero says:

        Loved this episode. I really sympathise for Kaoru, having moved around a lot as a kid, i understand that awkwardness and that fear of losing friends thing a lot. I can understand why he acted out.

    • meow says:

      such an effeminate and cliched character

      I’m not sure. I think we might have run into this series’ first antagonist. He looks like a liar and a manipulator. The things he was saying about Ritsuko talking about Sentaro’s date don’t ring true, given what we know about her feelings for Jun. I have a feeling that his story about being from a poor background may be fabricated too. He may have just done his homework and used the story to develop a bond with Sentaro to rope him into his band.

      first, his reaction to Ritsuko’s rejection was completely innapropriate

      Hm, I don’t know about appropriateness but it definitely felt real. I think Kaoru crossed the line stealing that kiss from her in the first place, when he knew she was thinking about another man and didn’t think of him that way. I’m surprised she didn’t slap him on the spot. Actually, I’m surprised Kaoru even did it. I would imagine Japanese back then were pretty conservative. A kiss is a pretty huge step.

      I think Kaoru is trying to be considerate to Ritsuko’s wishes and do his best to kill off his feelings for her as soon as possible so he doesn’t hurt her that way again. That means keeping space between him and her. Not sure how successful he’ll be. Something like that can stay with you for the rest of your life, especially a serious, straight-laced type like Kaoru but I think he’s trying to take responsibility for what he did. And it looks like he’s trying to help Ritsuko get Sentaro, even to go so far as to run interference for her against Yurika. Unfortunately, keeping that space means Kaoru is intentionally desensitizing himself to Ritsuko’s feelings so he’ll wind up hurting her a little trying to keep that space and maybe missing chances to score points with her. He has no reason to expect Ritsuko to develop feelings for him now.

    • Synkronized says:

      And the gentle giant but tough guy isn’t a cliche?

      The effeminate kid’s a part of school life. That kid vividly remains me of a fellow from my high school (the dude from my school floated into the pretentious ass zone though) in almost every aspect. People like that exist and I’m curious to see how the show handles this fellow.

      That scene near the end hints at a more conniving aspect to his character but perhaps we’ll see something more nuanced as standard for Sakamichi.

      • Anca says:

        It’s the stereotype Kurt covers in Glee, I think?

        I had a friend like that too, but in college. He was an awesome guy, but half the time I couldn’t stand him.

  4. Kaiser Eoghan says:

    I think you might be forgetting something Jack, these guys in apollon are all fifteen year kids and kids tend to act in an immature manner.
    I’ll agree with fujoshi bait on the characters though even if they are genuine and well portrayed.
    Theres no shounen-ai and I acknowledge such pairings could be unplausable here I know but my mind goes places so perhaps that why I’m agreeing its fanbait.

  5. Reverse says:

    Kaoru overreaction toward Sen seem off, it logical if you were hoping toward Kaoru X Sentaro

    • meow says:

      I don’t know. Notice the flashbacks? It looks like Kaoru lost a friend in a very similar manner when he was a kid and it’s haunted him ever since. He seems terrified of building bonds with others out of fear that he’ll wind up hurt again. Sentaro may be his first friend in a long time but now it looks like the past is about to repeat itself and he’s panicking.

  6. Anca says:

    This episode really hit me hard emotionally.

    Kaoru seems to be swinging between being unable to form attachments and forming them too fast, too hard – he obviously dislikes this about himself, but I imagine he thought something along the lines of ‘If it’s Sentaro, it’s safe, he won’t leave me’. This is probably due to his upbringing, because he couldn’t form a close relationship to his parents, as children are wont to do; I imagine he sought those relationships, in a different form, in other people and friendships with them, but this failed because the meaning was different. Most friendships are somewhat shallow by nature – if they aren’t, they tend to develop into either something called ‘romantic friendship’ or outright relationships – Kaoru will never be able to get the closeness he needs out of them, but he doesn’t realise this yet; my prediction is that he’ll have to learn that he can’t selfishly hog someone over the course of the series – the other logical path would be that he stops trying to form attachments altogether, but I doubt this will the case.

    It doesn’t help that Sentaro can’t interpret emotional cues.

    And Kaoru running away – god, how often have I ruined friendships with that exact behavior and mindset. Running away not because of fear of the pain of rejection, but because those signs indicate that the rejection already happened and I was just too slow to realise this. Without understanding that that was not was was meant. Without admitting the possibility of a misunderstanding to myself, because in that moment everything is so clear.

  7. Ishimaru says:

    Kaiser is right on the money. This show is about high school Children. I think most shows that have a high school backdrop use it for kneesocks and BURUMA not for the interesting and unique character types.

    They’re the age where they’re young enough to act immature but old enough to be aware of it. Now that makes for an interesting point of view. This show is nothing if not completely genuine and I’m loving every moment of it. Not to jinx it, but so far it’s been a titan of a show. Easily the best this season and of ’12 so far.

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  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Jul 28. 2014 10:49 PM)
    Just found out that Yuki Kajura is not doing the soundtrack for Fate UBW. Honestly, thank god for that. I am so tired of her.
  • JaK
    (Monday, Jul 28. 2014 07:06 PM)
    K-off its the same for most light novels no biggy some people take it to the heart :P
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Jul 28. 2014 07:03 PM)
    JAK! Goddamnit man some of us don’t like spoliers.
  • K-Off
    (Monday, Jul 28. 2014 06:58 PM)
    @Aidan Nah, I’ve seen some overzealous fanboys on Animesuki.
  • JaK
    (Monday, Jul 28. 2014 06:56 PM)
    finishing volume 2 but i got too impatient and ended up reading spoilers up-till vol 19 :D seems it follows the true harem route
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Jul 28. 2014 06:52 PM)
    @K-Off, Hey. If you didn’t like it then you didn’t like it. Not exactly going to call you an asshole over that.
  • K-Off
    (Monday, Jul 28. 2014 06:48 PM)
    Call me an asshole, but Mushoku Tensei never really got my attention when reading it. I prefer Kagero Days myself.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Jul 28. 2014 06:33 PM)
    @Jak, should have just watched it on youtube. There’s a guy who combined all the episodes of the first season into a 2 hours long movie.
    And yeah it is corny. Like I said before. Threat it like a saturday morning cartoon. Cornyness is to be expected.
    By the way how far are you in Mushoku Tensei? I just finished the 8th volume.
  • K-Off
    (Monday, Jul 28. 2014 06:32 PM)
    @JaK Well no shit, it’s low budget. It’s unfair to approach the show expecting quality acting, you should have been ready to take those aspects with a grain of salt. You are missing out on the things it gets right by doing that dude.
  • JaK
    (Monday, Jul 28. 2014 06:24 PM)
    aidan i have the first season downloaded though i haven’t tried watching it yet because of 2 reasons episodes are too damn short plus some of the voice acting sounded way too corny

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