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)