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Sakamichi no Apollon

One day, while browsing here and there for anything interesting to kill time with, some picture from a corner caught my attention. Oddly enough, the drawing style had managed to contain my interest even though it exuded a more mature and serious tone which I wouldn't quite easily consider my favourite. Exceptions aside, I'm a sucker for most things kawaii. Anyway, I realised that the picture had somehow etched itself into my mind. Without knowing what the story was about (surprisingly there was a lack of synopsis), I clicked on the first episode. Oh yes, it was another anime that I had randomly stumbled upon.

Sakamichi no Apollon (Apollo on the Slope), otherwise known as Kids on the Slope in English. The manga was created by Kodama Yuki, and an anime adaptation ran for 12 episodes from April to June 2012. There were a few things that I didn't expect, but in the pleasant sense I was surprised. Firstly, the time period of Sakamichi no Apollon was the mid-1960s, which would explain the general simplicity of everyday life being portrayed in the series. The main protagonist, Nishimi Kaoru, transferred to Kyushu to begin life as a high school student at the beginning of summer in 1966. He was the typical good student who placed education before everything else, yet there was also a contrasting side of him which would gradually bloom through his experiences and encounters with different people. Kaoru would also go on to forge unbreakable bonds with Mukae Ritsuko and Kawabuchi Sentarou, who shared the same class and eventually a common love for jazz music.

Yeah, the seductive power of jazz slowly yet strongly diffused itself, like the permeation of flavours from the tea leaves in a pot of freshly boiled water. In the past anime that I had watched with music as either the main or sub-genre, I don't recall any of them using jazz as a catalyst. Naturally, I was drawn to the first piece of jazz in the series - Moanin' by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. The song had somehow reminded me of a game that I had played in the past which came with an awesome soundtrack collection. Kaoru had also felt strongly towards Moanin', because he ended up buying the vinyl record from Mukae Records, a store owned by Ritsuko's father, and listening to it repeatedly to figure out the piano arrangement. He and Sentarou bonded quickly over their various jam sessions.

Of course, it wasn't only the jazz theme that entwined the main characters together. What would coming-of-age become without the jitters of romance and friendship? I wonder if there was ever a love pentagon? In this case, Kaoru soon developed a crush on Ritsuko who was in love with Sentarou. Sentarou couldn't take his eyes off Fukahori Yurika, who he had saved from some guys at a beach. However, Yurika took an interest in Katsuragi Junichi, a mutual friend of Sentarou and Ritsuko. The odd bittersweetness that emerged from an unrequited love for somebody might resonate with some people. Nonetheless, the unwavering pillar of friendship had continued to work its way into their hearts.

Besides the jazz music, I was also mesmerised by the opening and ending theme songs. The opening song 'Sakamichi no Melody' was performed by YUKI while the ending song 'Altair' was done by Hata Motohiro. I absolutely love the contrast between both songs. They are definitely loop-worthy! I also like the cover art of the 'Altair' single.

To love, friendship and the power of jazz. 'Sakamichi no Apollon' truly stands the test of time.

Eccentrically Yours.

Written by J.Fluffysheep ♪    

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2 comments to ''Sakamichi no Apollon"

  1. I would just like to ask; in a scale of 1-10 (1 being the lowest and 10 the highest) how would you rate the show?
    Honestly, I stumbled upon this months ago but ignored it. Just wondering if it's worth a shot despite the unusual art and animation.

    1. Hello there. I would say just give the first episode a shot, and then decide if the style of storytelling is something that you would be comfortable with. It comes with an awesome jazz soundtrack, in fact the music often acts as a catalyst for many events that take place in the anime. Personally, I love the anime very much. I feel that it's a refreshing change.

      J.Fluffysheep ♪