Sakamichi no Apollon 09 — Romance Done Right

Wow. This episode completely blew me away. The best episode of the season, by far.

Sakamichi knows how to do romance. To overgeneralize broadly, romance anime tend to come in two flavors: first, the endless back and forth of will they / won’t they, filled with love triangles, such as Kimikiss and True Tears. Then, there are the star crossed lovers who only have external obstacles and their own fear to overcome, such as in Whisper of the Heart.

Both of these styles have their charm (I adore all the shows I mentioned above), but Sakamichi walks a fine line between these two extremes and manages to succeed. There are love triangles which add some tension, but the characters aren’t fickle. The only one who sort of changes her mind is Ritsuko, and I would argue that she doesn’t really change: she simply comes to understand herself better.

My favorite scene was the one where Kaoru met Ritsuko at the park:

Kaoru clearly hasn’t gotten over it.

This line killed me, and sealed the deal on their relationship, as far as I’m concerned. Ritsuko is too adorable.

In this shot, our eyes are immediately drawn to the awkward distance between them. I’ve been there before.

Sentarou is always on Kaoru’s mind.

He’s trying to act like he’s gotten over it, but clearly, it’s all he can think about.

This line (“Kaoru no baka!”) has a negative connotation for me. It’s what the girls always say when the boy walks in on them in the shower or trips and gropes them. But here it fits great. She’s accusing herself as much as she’s accusing Kaoru.

When Ritsuko gets home, Sentarou is waiting. As always, he confronts things head on. It’s directness like this which is refreshing when compared to other romance shows in the tradition of love triangles.

Even in his anger he confronts his problems head on. Such an honest guy.

The Other Couple

Damn, she is looking mighty fine! She should have cut her hair earlier. Please please please can we get a spinoff by Studio Ghibli where Yurika rescues kittens in a fantasy world and wears this yellow jacket? This is what I imagine Miyazaki heroines look like when they grow up.

The scene at the train station was intense. Unlike other shows (*cough* *cough* Toradora *cough* *cough*) the elopement was spontaneous, and they fully realize that this elopement is poorly thought out. The scene ends with a question, “Now what?”

The stars twinkle overhead, watching and waiting, indifferent to the affairs of men, but oddly comforting. No one knows what will happen or where their choices will lead them.

2 thoughts on “Sakamichi no Apollon 09 — Romance Done Right

  1. SUCH a wonderful episode. I think we all came in expecting the show to do a great job using jazz (and it has, though not as extensively as at least I thought it would), but it looks like we’re coming out with one of the best romantic anime EVER. The show handles romance is such a smart, gentle, and warm fashion, particularly in this episode, about which I agree – it’s the best yet.

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