Once you see an anime’s ending, that’s the time when you can fully judge it. When something from an anime’s concluding episode carves something in your mind, you just know that that anime will really just be something that you will remember for the rest of your life (or so I think).
I really hate being busy and a really great anime with a great episode comes up. With how Sakamichi no Apollon had been going in the past couple of episodes, I wouldn’t say that this one came in different because it isn’t entirely different except for the fact that this is the concluding episode. As I always say, Sakamichi no Apollon had been going pretty fast. When the episode started, I think that it opened with a already a year or a few months after Sentarou had gone missing. AND by the second half of the episode, 8yrs had already gone by. I know, it’s pretty sad. In one word, I’m pretty sure everyone has the same thing in mind. This episode is rushed. Really rushed.
Anyway, seeing Kaoru act the way he’s out of his mind saying that he’s happy that Sentarou’s gone isn’t really that surprising. Sentarou always seem more important for him than Ritsuko is. Of course he likes Ritsuko but everyone do know that friendship goes stronger than romantic relationships. But that doesn’t mean that Ritsuko doesn’t mean that much to him. Of course she does, only Sentarou goes in first because they have a stronger bond.
The moment the 8yrs later came in, I wasn’t really the most excited to see Kaoru with a long hair, or Yukika become someone I couldn’t even notice or Seiji finally becoming the idol (or star) he wants himself to be. The 8yrs later was another show off of Kaoru’s melancholic moments until Yurika shows up with a photo with Sentarou. When that time came in, I just know that we’re all going back to real time drama and I wasn’t disappointed.
When Kaoru finally went to the small island, he asked the residents about Sentarou and it seems that he’s still the same. He causes trouble but everyone seems to see him just the way Kaoru, Ritsuko and old Tsutomu (Ritsuko’s father) does. When I saw the white cloth at the church, I thought it was going to be Sentarou and it will be the 3rd time that Kaoru will see Sentarou underneath a white cloth sleeping. But instead of seeing a sleeping Sentarou, he sees a drum set. The best part? No it’s not the last part where they see Ritsuko and the three of them reunites. For me, the best part was when Kaoru started playing Moanin’ at the church’s organ (why wasn’t this on the soundtrack!?!?). I was really moved that I just started crying from then until the series closes with the three’s reunion with the OP, Sakamichi no Melody (by YUKI), playing at the background 😀
It’s funny how Sakamichi no Apollon was never really one of those shows I’m seriously looking forward to this past spring anime season. I didn’t want to look so much to it back then because the retro setting doesn’t please me and the idea of music as part of it’s genre discourages me but after a quick comment by Rei from Wan Abrar, I decided to blog to seriously watch this series and even blog it(: And not to anyone’s surprise, I wasn’t entirely disappointed with this series.
The series opens with a typical scene. A guy moves to a new place with probably nothing in mind about making friends and such – yeah, probably the same thing goes for Tsuritama (the other noitaminA series this season). It’s very typical, as I’ve said. But what’ good about the opening episode is that it easily catches both music and slice of life fans. AND each episode, Sakamichi no Apollon just amazes me and makes me want for more of that music, that friendship, that romance and that drama. UNTIL (yeah, here comes the disappointing part) things started going a little fast pace by episode 9 or so. But despite the fast pacing, the drama stays the same. As I’ve said in one of my posts (episode 10 post), Sakamichi no Apollon takes a one problem at a time route. I don’t find it surprising for a slice of life anime but rushing all conflicts by the last 5 (or so) episodes isn’t really a good thing.
As for the characters, I have to admit that the three main characters were really great. I’d say that they were all pretty well developed and each of them gives off natural feelings. It’s pretty easy to relate and sympathize with them. There’s no one in particular that I liked but the two guys: Kawabuchi Sentarou (Hosoya Yoshimasa) and Nishimi Kaoru (Kimura Ryouhei) are definitely memorable characters. This duo is definitely one that I’ll never forget. Call it bromance or what but I guess seeing each other cry and knowing what each other is thinking is practically something that goes around my idea of real friendship. I’m pretty jealous of their relationship. Other than the three main characters, the side characters that greatly stirred the story were really great. For one, there’s Katsuragi Junichi (Suwabe Junichi) who has made a huge impact to Sentarou’s character. I wouldn’t elaborate on other characters but in general, they helped so much in building up the story as well as Sentarou and Kaoru’s friendship.
Now for the music, do I really need to say more? It’s just outstanding. Really outstanding. Probably my favorite OST for the year (until I hear Bakuman. 2’s first, I guess. LOL). I could name a number of tracks from the OST that I really liked but probably my fave is Mukae Ritsuko’s (Nanri Yuuka) My Favorite Things. I remember hearing this song from The Sound of Music when I was in high school and hearing it in this series with a more natural sound to it is just so wonderful. Other than My Favorite Things, I also love the medley of Someday My Prince Will Come, My Favorite Things and Moanin’. When I heard the medley at the school festival, I just really can’t get over it. It sounded a lot better in the anime but the one in the soundtrack also works (not that they sound different). Finally, I’d also like to give praise to the wonderful OP by YUKI. Whenever I watch this, I never skip the OP because I like reading the translations and I love the song in general. I’ve read somewhere that they dislike YUKI’s voice but I’d say that I really love it. It reminds me of nano.RIPE although I’m not really a fan of them. But YUKI’s voice seems just so unique and the song greatly fits the anime well.
Finally, for the art and animation, I have to say that at first when I was watching the PV, I’ve actually dislike the style of the art. Although the style gives off the old school atmosphere, it doesn’t really turn me off the same way Nazo no Kanojo X has. Now that is really old school style. Sakamichi no Apollon’s setting is 1960’s and the entire artwork has really done a great job in showing it. For the animation, I’d say that it’s pretty decent and smooth. There’s no complaining there.
In an overall look at Sakamichi no Apollon, it’s a really outstanding anime. Although it had a pretty rush ending, the characters, art and music were really great. This anime is pretty recommended for those who want some natural slice of life and real time drama. The music is also addicting :3
This was…not the best time to introduce a time skip, an an awfully large one as well. Sakamichi hasn’t really hit the gas petal on these, so when there’s an EIGHT year timeskip after the graduation ceremony – to which Sentarou is not present – I was pretty confused and a little annoyed. But the rest of what followed was pretty decent: I’m surprised to see Yurika and Junichi doing well, with Yurika going to have a baby and all. Seiji hit it big as an idol, but Kaoru went on and became a doctor. While it was a necessary timeskip to get us to the ending, to which even the staff had changed from the manga, it only proved that long manga adaptations in a short time frame are never a good idea.
But Sakamichi had something to fall back on and in this case it was the music. I know some viewers will try and argue that because the music is great, we should just ignore the rest. I would agree with them if this was purely a show about music, but it’s not. It’s a story of adolescence and it’s the music that brings them together. So the characters and their motivations are to be scrutinized just as much as the music. If we just count Sentarou, Ritsuko and Kaoru then I can confidently say that we saw a lot from these characters – their struggles, their motivations and their conflicted emotions towards one another – . I do think Sakamichi did a great job with these three and how it handled the love issues and misunderstandings.Now for our other two supporting characters, Junichi and Yurika, they pretty much get screwed by the anime’s short episode run. Their last appearance a few episodes back was much too abrupt for me to care much at all about. No one else is worth mentioning, except maybe Seiji. He reminds me of Momoe from Dusk Maiden of Amnesia: loud, annoying and always there to ruin any good scene.
-blacksheep’s already said what I feel about the music, but yeah it’s pretty awesome. The Kaoru/Sentarou school festival medley track which is a mix of My Favorite Things, Moanin’ and Someday My Prince Will Come was byfar the best track on the soundtrack. It brought these two characters together, while having the time of their lives. Music like this is rare to find, but when it does come around you just have to sit back and appreciate the amazing capability of Yoko Kanno. The voice acting is tremendous, in particular I’m starting to become a huge fan of Ryouhei Kimura. He’s in a lot of shows nowadays and that’s a good thing because he really knows how to voice an emotional scene well and Kaoru was full of these scenes along with being an angst-ridden teenager. Roles like these are his best in my opinion. Another awesome and under-rated seiyuu is Yoshimasa Hosoya as Sentarou. He’s another newbie but he’s been getting a lot of main roles lately like Nezumi in No.6, Shichika in Katanagatari and Arata in Chihayafuru. His voice is pretty distinct and it suits Sentarou’s bulky and looming stature quite well.
Overall, what started off great ended up falling on its feet due to the short episode run which made everything else rushed. I’ll vividly remember this series’ soundtrack, but everything else? Hard to say.
- Animation – 7.5/10: Besides the drumming and the music scenes, nothing to note.
- Story – 11/15: The relationships are handled well while Jun and Yurika scenes were obviously rushed due to time. The second half is not as strong as the first because things are pretty rushed from that point onwards.
- Sound – 10/10: Wonderful soundtrack, one of the best soundtrack’s I’ve heard in a while. The voice acting is spectacular and I loved both OP and ED. Basically, an A+ effort here folks.
- Characters – 15/20 – Good development for our main cast, but everyone else is pretty iffy. Kaoru is frustrating, but his actions are pretty in line with what any teenager in love would do.
- Enjoyment – 37/45: What started off strong, didn’t really last. Sure it has a really fantastic soundtrack but it’s quite obvious how rushed this show is and that makes it harder for me to enjoy something that isn’t going to be in-depth. Still it had its moments that truly shined like the cultural festival episode.
- Total Score – 80.5/100