Posted by psgels on 30 June 2012 with categories: Sakamichi no Apollon

Reading this volume of the manga makes me appreciate the ending of the anime even more: they actually successfully stuffed one entire volume of 180 pages in just one 20-minute episode and cut things out brilliantly. More on that below though, because first I wanted to talk about the rest of Kaoru’s years.

What I loved was how Kaoru returned to his mother, and how the two developed a healthy relationship. Beyond that, we’ve seen Kaoru grow up very well through college, and him seeing his family back was also very memorable. The manga had a lot more room to fill in a lot more details, and show how Kaoru subtly changes. Instead of randomly running into Yurika by accident, these events were all set up by Kaoru first running into Jun (that was another part that I loved here, as they showed two different versions of musicians growing up into normal jobs; his change was one that I really missed in the anime version). But as for the question which version I prefer, I’d have to say that I consider the anime ending to be better.

The way in which the love triangle was solved didn’t really work for me . It was all just too concrete: instead of everyone going their own ways, there is this random twist pulled with Ritsuko’s boyfriend turning out to be just some random dude she invited, and at the end Kaoru goes back to where everyone was and the love triangle moves from “resolved” to the eternal “will they won’t they” again.

What I loved about the anime ending was how much it focused on leaving things to the imagination, and how much effort it put in saying as much as possible with as little as possible. The entire college years were cut, but that doesn’t matter when you see the grown up Kaoru: him choosing to be a doctor was also cut, but when you see him it all makes sense. He must have built up a new life in Tokyo with his own friends and when he finally hears of Sentarou again, he can’t resist the urge to see him again ad telling Ritsuko all about it (there only was one shot of a letter, but that was enough to show that they had been keeping up correspondence), cutting out that pointless twist with he boyfriend completely. What happens after they see each other again? Who knows? There were no romantic hints whatsoever unlike with the manga ending, so things really could go anywhere: they will probably remain in contact with each other while living their own lives.

Another thing that the anime changed was how we were introduced to Sentarou. In the manga, the chapter starts and we see him again. In the anime however, we’re slowly introduced to him through the story of the people that he has been living with for the past eight years. We never see him cause trouble, but with his character we can imagine what he has been up to. And yeah, with music the church scene works so much better. He hears the organs playing, and knows immediately what’s going on. That was a perfect example of how to condense an entire volume into just one final episode.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

14 Responses

  1. Avatar JaK says:

    bravo u finally reviewed a manga volume :D

  2. Avatar Reverse says:

    Now this something you don’t see in my dimension

  3. Avatar Toru says:

    I know this series has been good. And as such, it’s easy to praise the ending despite all the “cuts” that were made for a 20 minute finale.

    Put simply, it was rushed and I was left thinking: “Why couldn’t they just make another episode and not rush things so much?”

    It would have been interesting to see how each protagonist dealt with the trio being separated, at least for an episode. Instead we are shown very little of it and a very sudden happy reunion – at least from our perspective.

  4. Avatar Cytl says:

    Kudos for Apollon and probably for Nic as they bringed us Psgels first(?) manga post. There are masterpieces that aren’t and probably will never be adapted, such as Hotel by Boichi.

  5. Avatar Kim says:

    I disagree with you I think the manga had a MUCH better ending. Most importantly because you forget to add the detail of how it is Kaoru’s own actions that reunites him with Sen.

    He has that photo & asks people if they have seen Sen, this is what leads him to Jun & Yurika knowing where he is to show him the picture.

    And the romance wasn’t handled much better in the anime. At least the manga showed a reason why Kaoru & Ri-chan just lost touch. And in the end we see Ri-chan in the anime also signifying a romance the same way we did with the manga (the manga just had more words)

    The last few moments of Sen & Kaoru’s jam session & running off together were good but the way the story unfolded in the anime was a disappointment to me.

  6. Avatar wicked says:

    one subtler scene that I regret they cut out was Sen and his pen, and the bit about how Sen is probably not related to the rest of his family at all. Gives a bit of closure to that Father/Son relationship.

    Also I think you meant Yurika rather than Mariko the cousin

  7. Avatar Scruffy says:

    Just a couple of points about ch 9 of the manga. Firstly it doesn’t end with a possible love triangle as Sen is now a catholic priest in training .. and so cannot marry. Secondly it was strongly implied that Ri-chan did more than just ‘invite a man’ into her room and that it was the guilt associated with her indiscression that led her to lose contact with Kaoru.

    Anyway, I prefer the way they handled the anime ending. After all it is a story about friendship. We can always imagine how the couple may get together if they so choose

    • Avatar wicked says:

      I thought she was rather specific that he was not her boyfriend? Though I have no idea what constitutes as an “indiscression” during that period of time in Japan culture wise or to a girl like Ri-chan, so maybe it was a fling. Also the manga does imply more of a further romance(at least mutual feeling) than the anime, with Bon inquiring about her being single and him tell her that he’s staying

      I gotta say I didnt watch a good part of this series because I read the manga first and knew that the only romance that “worked out” was Jun and Yuriko(why go through the melodrama when you wont get the satisfactions). It is a story about friendship

      • Avatar Scruffy says:

        While she made clear that she was not dating the random guy, her words were that he was persistent and she was lonely and invited him up, suggesting that at minimum they made out .. but probably had sex. Prior to that you see a clear cooling off from Ri-chan in her letters so the long distance relationship was slowly dying.

  8. Avatar Mi-Mi-Mikuru says:

    There was no love triangle to be resolved, it was just heavily implied that Kaoru and Ri-chan would get together again. A very great ending!

  9. Avatar Nic says:

    pgels, first of all, kudos for taking the time to read the final volume. Because of all the volumes, this one was the one that suffered the most by the cuts.

    I’ll respectfully disagree about the anime ending being better but for me, that is because from the beginning, this was Kaoru’s story of his friendship with Sentarou and his love with Ritsuko. And the lack of closure on that front was very disappointing for me in the anime.

    Also, not seeing the kids grown up was was disappointing. Sachiko getting married had a profound impact on me because it said ‘Wow, I remember her as little girl just yesterday.’ and it made you realize how much life moved on.

    By the way, at the very end of episode 11, the anime cut an important dialogue Kaoru had with the priest, where Sentarou left behind his rosary.

    The priest reveals to Kaoru that Sentarou was actually adopted and IIRC, his mother left him there to follow after the American father and that the rosary was the only thing he had left of her. As a kid, he never parted with it because he felt that should he lose it, the world would abandon him. So him leaving him behind meant he wasn’t coming back and ended up solifying Kaoru’s decision to leave for Tokyo.

    Anyway, more importantly, for me, the manga ending is much better because Kaoru didn’t just go away and pretend Ritsuko and Sentarou never existed. It felt very out of character to me. He gradually lost contact with Ritsuko and desperately tried to find Sentarou, without succeeding but finding Brother Jun instead and finally having the big breakthrough after 8 years.

    Plus the scene with Shinji took a whole new level of importance. In the anime, it’s just a random event to see him grown up. In the manga, seeing Shinji having realized his dreams made Kaoru make a life-defining choice.

    But I guess which you see first changes your very outlook on the series. I prefer closure to open endings. Seeing how they all settled down after a teenage life of turmoil was icing on the cake.

  10. Avatar starry says:

    You read manga? What is this sorcery!

  11. Avatar Anne says:

    Actually, in the anime, isn’t the letter Ritsuko has from Yurika?

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