2. I’m going to start watching anime again.
2. I’m going to start watching anime again.
So I watched the final episode of Sakamichi no Apollon a while ago but forgot to follow up with a series review.
The series seems to me like one that is stuck in slice of life mode when it wishes it wasn’t. What I mean by that is there isn’t really anywhere interesting for the show to go once the characters have gone through their angst and realizations and stuff. Sentarou sort of overreacts to his stepdad coming back, so he runs away forever. Kaoru also runs away from the small town and Ritsuko to become a doctor (default Asian occupation). Ritsuko cuts her hair. Those are all pretty much the most extreme things they can do because they don’t have superpowers or mecha (aside from the power of Jazz, but we all know that disco is coming).
I thought the series was done well, with sort of a rushed ending and epilogue. I wonder what the takeaway from the whole thing is, though. Is it that it doesn’t really matter who your friends are in high school, because you won’t see them again for 8 years after you run away? Or is it that friendships do matter and after 8 years you can get into a really awesome three way? I guess that interpretation is left to the viewer.
I did like the jazz parts of the show the most, and if there wasn’t that hook I may have not continued watching it to the end. Overall, it was a fairly average teen high school love triangle romance that was improved to a B+ for having some sick jazz in it.
So when we last left the jazz kids, things were in turmoil. Kaoru was super pissed at Sentaro for agreeing to join a crappy Beatles cover band. Also, Jun-bro was nowhere to be found.
Luckily, things resolved themselves pretty perfectly this episode. First, Ritsuko starts treating Kaoru super nice after his temper tantrum. It’s probably because the other girls thought they were dating. After hearing that this was not the case, all the other girls were brought into Kaoru’s yard (possibly drawn in by his milkshake?). Ritsuko probably needed this for social proof that Kaoru wasn’t just some random thug. Then the two of them were put onto the school festival committee, which is pretty much a wedding sentence in anime.
Later on, we find out that Jun-bro is emulating his hero a bit too closely, strung out in the basement of Ritsuko’s dad. This is majorly awkward since Yurika and Sentarou were about to make out, even though Yurika seemed more into Jun-bro.
Finally, when the day of the festival comes, the Beatles cover band is sabotaged by some upperclassmen, so Sentarou and Kaoru go unplugged and wow the crowd with a medley of jazz standards. Triumphant, and to sound applause, the two bros run off into the sunset to make jazz together forever, starting with My Bromance.
So… I’m not sure what’s left for this series. I guess they can play more jazz, hook up with bitches (“I played that bitch some jazz; Bitches love jazz”), and get Jun-bro into rehab. After that there’s not much more, right? Unless it’s revealed that Yurika is really an alien and they need to save her from the Men in Black or something…
That Author guy pointed out that I didn’t blog the end of this series. I guess I am getting really bad at that. I did, however, manage to watch the whole thing, along with Amagami SS++.
Ano Natsu was interesting in that it felt like an anime that should’ve (and had) been made years ago. It’s basically a re-make of Onegai Sensei, with the same character types (but different characters). The thing that made Ano Natsu enjoyable was that it was executed damn near perfectly. The pacing, animation, humor, etc were all great. I think the one thing it lacked was a bit of originality. I guess you can’t have your nostalgia cake and eat it, too, though.
While the show became a bit self-referential (at least to its genre and history), that was more of a fan service than innovation. I’m talking about how they went all out with the alien chase at the end, and made the “fufufu” sensei into an actual MIB agent. It reminds me of how Arrested Development went insane at the end, since they were ending the series anyhow.
Another thing they did well was the ending. Up until the last moment, you don’t know whether the two main characters stayed together or not. I was kind of guessing they’d pull a Gainax ending (a la Mahoromatic), but they played it safe, just as you’d expect.
All in all, Ano Natsu De Matteru was a nice trip down nostalgia lane. 2000s anime doesn’t get much better than this!
Sakamichi no Apollon continues with a double date featuring new hotness Yurika. Unfortunately, the couples do not match up neatly, and we are faced with a love square. Ritsuko likes Sentarou, but Sentarou likes Yurika, and Kaoru likes Ritsuko. It’s not clear if Yurika likes anyone at this point.
The boys get in an argument because Sentarou is hurting Ritsuko by being flirty with the new girl. This sorta backfires on Kaoru since Ritsuko thinks he’s jealous. But in a surprising move, Kaoru confesses his like for Ritsuko, so it’s up to her to accept or reject him.
In other news, the two dudes have a jam session on “But Not For Me,” which is quite appropriate for their current situation. Kaoru confesses to Ritsuko with “Someday My Prince Will Come,” but apparently didn’t do a good enough job (next time, seal the deal with “My Funny Valentine“)!
I’m digging the quick plot progression of this series so far. Hopefully they will keep the jazz flowing and the drama going.