Archive for category Sakamichi no Apollon
Humor is a storytelling device used for a variety of purposes. Some anime rely on it heavily to deliver entertainment whereas others use it as an adjunctive to lighten the mood or to alleviate tension. Placement and timing of humor can produce significant effects, too, such as modifying the direction of the story or revealing sensitive character information. Still, humor can serve no meaningful purpose as well and exist simply to generate a few laughs. Because of its numerous outcomes and generally positive influence on the scene, characters or story, humor is ubiquitous throughout anime. Sakamichi no Apollon is no exception either, and it uses it quite effectively to narrate its story as we saw in this episode.
Consider the setting of Sakamichi no Apollon. Even on its surface, it is distinctive compared to most of the other anime airing, residing in an unusual time period and in an uncommon location (Kyushu, rather than say Tokyo or its suburbs). But that alone has a trivial effect on what makes this anime exceptional; the story and characters could feasibly be transplanted to any number of eras or localities in Japan and retain most, if not all, of its qualities. No, the paramount characteristic of the setting that elevates Sakamichi no Apllon above the rest is not its unique time or place but rather how realistic the setting is portrayed and utilized. This authenticity and accuracy of the real world bleeds throughout Sakamichi no Apollon and is responsible for how remarkable the setting of this anime is.
A story is expressed through the perspective of the storyteller. In Sakamichi no Apollon, the perspective of the story is shown through Kaoru’s eyes, meaning every event or occurrence is shown through him. As a result, we’re allowed access to his thoughts, emotions, idea, and impressions and these influence how we view the story and the other characters. But because of this inflexible perspective, we’re essentially limited to see the story through the eyes of only one character. Sentarou and Ritsuko both have their own personal perspectives and would tell the story of Sakamichi no Apollon differently despite seeing and experiencing the same events and characters. So how would switching the perspective to these two other characters influence how the story is told and impact the story itself?
Fear exists in every anime and it manifests itself in varying forms depending on the genre and the characters. In Sakamichi no Apollon, fear is not a foremost aspect; Sentarou is fearless, Ritsuko shows no distress, and Kaoru does surprisingly well given his personality. But fear exists in Apollon and it is primarily shown in Kaoru’s character as an obstacle to his goals. Rather than take the popular approach and show Kaoru nervous and timid around the girl of his dreams, conversely it’s quite the opposite with our protagonist, Kaoru’s fear was presented in relation to music, specifically playing jazz in front of others. Despite his love for the piano, his newfound familiarity in jazz, and the opportunity to join in a spontaneous and groovy jam session, Kaoru declined as best he could. And as it turns out, it would’ve been a mistake if he didn’t join in. Though seemingly an inconsequential detail in Sakamichi no Apollon, fear is producing a considerable influence in the anime.
Kaoru and Sentaro both have well-defined public images. The fellow students of their school have created generalized profiles for both these young men, one being a wealthy and nerdy transfer student from “the city” and the other an unruly deviant who generates an aura of intimidation simply by being present (I’ll let you guess who’s who here). But because everyone develops a profile for everyone around them, Kaoru and Sentaro both have individualized profiles of each other. And they are wildly different than the images the school, and even society, have for our two main characters.