Posts Tagged Jazz
In an era where ambiguous and open-ended finales are the norm, an unspoken prayer for the chance of a fiscally-successful sequel in the unforeseen future, an anime receiving proper and satisfying closure has become an rare indulgence. Conclusions such as these leave the audience with a sense of gratification and completeness, as we like to believe we just watched the tale of a beautiful story rather than 12 half-hour segments of some manga/light novel advertisement that cuts off at whatever rushed or broken point seemed to be the best in the pre-planning stages. No, what Sakamichi no Apollon was able to do with its story, its characters, and its themes is truly refreshing and rewarding. It’s a shame not every anime can end the way Apollon did.
At the center of Sakamichi no Apollon is the essence of drama. From here, the story has been able to structure itself on this basic foundation and incorporate the various elements of romance, jazz, and growth that have allowed this anime to flourish as it had. However, when there are faults and cracks within the drama that is the establishment for this series, then the story, characters, and anime overall begin to suffer as a result. And that’s exactly what happened with the poorly manufactured drama that occurred in the scenes following the traffic accident in the eleventh episode of Sakamichi no Apollon.
Assuming the primary cast of Sakamichi no Apollon is limited to Kaoru, Sentarou, Ritsuko, Yurika, and Jun, then presently, each lead character is confronting their own personal challenges. The sixth episode reiterated, magnified, or illuminated all the problems that each character is currently facing. It has been staged in a way so that these issues have now become the forefront of the anime, surpassing previous themes and other storylines. The effect has been the reshaping of how Sakamichi no Apollon presents and narrates its story and represents its characters. But no single problem has been responsible for this drastic and fundamental change. Every character and their distinctive challenges have been integral in this restructuring of Sakamichi no Apollon.
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.