Much like the music it focuses on, Sakamichi no Apollon seems restless – a crisis averted only leads to another arising as personal relationships swing in all cardinal directions indiscriminately and unexpectedly.
Our protagonist incidentally sums up this episode perfectly himself around the middle of it – “a strange development”.
With each episode to pass, the story shifts entirely towards a different route of outcome – this episode initiates within the “jazzroom”, and it looks that in between each episode, seasons are flying. The smooth fellow one may recall from a while back, Jun, has returned – and he invites our protagonist and crew to play for an audience. It seems he’d like to play a live gig as a quartet – something which not too surprisingly, receives welcomed responses. An aspect to note here, the improvisational nature of jazz is pointed out – a recurring theme, and possible hint of something else.
Fading to another time shortly thereafter, our leading male pair, Kaoru and Sentaro, are seen at school – the setting is winter, and they’re in physical education class at the moment. Although menial details aside, the two talk a bit about relationships.
Turning forward to yet another separate realm of time, slightly later in the day, Kaoru is in a music shop staring down some drum sticks.
Whilst he was playing with his quartet of buddies earlier, it was mentioned that Christmas is Sentaro’s birthday as coincidence have it. Quite an odd friendship exists amongst Sentaro and Kaoru – although indeed, the social companionship is there, and thus Kaoru feels inspired to purchase a gift for his friend, new drum sticks. Making for “a strange development”, something which there proves to be much of this episode, Ri-chan appears from nowhere.
As Kaoru reached out to pick up a pair of drum sticks, her hand met his – by chance, the two seemingly had the same idea in mind. Ri-chan suggests the two purchase one each and give them to Sentaro as a single gift – quite a crafty idea on part of Ri-chan, yet our protagonist has much more in mind than drum sticks.
Whilst the two walk along under the drab skies of winter – Kaoru foresees snow, and sure enough, flakes of white begin to fall. Ri-chan twirls off distracted by the snow like a child – meanwhile, Kaoru’s visage appears one of solid seriousness. It would first feel a mystery as to what he has in mind – however, then does it all quickly make sense. An ambitious maneuver was decided upon within the seconds of his longing stare – and in a fashion which couldn’t have been predicted, Kaoru boldly steps forward to kiss Ri-chan.
It’s not that our protagonist has no worries as to what his conduct will bring about – however he’s courageous enough to move forward as he so desires. A rarity indeed, anime or otherwise, would it be for one to take such an unwavering gesture as this – a kiss of legitimate love, with the sole issue in it being that it is of one unrequited.
Richie didn’t receive a favorable reaction, nor was his motion truly a respectable one to begin with – it seemed quite an inappropriate action for him to take as it was random in timing and no response has been given to his earlier romantic endeavor. Ri-chan simply runs off in tears at what he’s done – looking to be upset as he stole her first kiss.
Then again however, if she actually responded positively to his deed – then surely one would have viewed him under a more heroic light. Instead however, what we see is far superior in that its not a facade of idealism – rather, it is reality. Our protagonist is treated as a friend by Ri-chan – yet she simply has no romantic interest in him, his commendable efforts all being in vain.
Ironically, the reason for such failed relations walks right up to him – Sentaro approaches from the grey surroundings, making for yet another interesting interaction to unfold. Richie breaks down – he truly has nothing against Sentaro, however his frustrations lead him to act hostile towards him. However, the all takes a positive, teary-eyed spin as Sentaro ultimately shares his own background with Richie – and it turns out the two are far more similar than they so believed.
Time passes, and the jazz gig finally goes live – there’s a few mentionable items here, the first being praise at the beauty of the animation of the band. The strumming and drumming is simply fantastic – and it’s as if for the short scene of the song playing, the amount of frames for each second to transpire doubles as the movement is fluid far more than even most action series. Impressive also is how this burst of high-caliber motion graphics doesn’t remain exclusive to a single element on screen – yet four characters furiously playing their instruments simultaneously.
Indeed, the musical improv truly pays off well in this respect – yet it leads to what is possibly a negative downturn.
Following a successful jazz gig, another spontaneous eruption of events occurs – managing to close the gap of difference present between the personalities and positions of Sentaro and Richie. The girl Sentaro takes a liking to was invited by none other than himself to see him play – although clearly, her heart has been pilfered by Jun instead, who wooed the stage with singing. No one anticipated this, not the girl involved, Jun, any other character, or ourselves of course – who could have seen this coming?
The answer is “no one” – yet what one can see now is that Sentaro and Richie both love a girl who aims her romance elsewhere. Speculation won’t aide any in determining what shall occur from here since it seems this series is quite irregular in manner of delivery – however anyone can realize at this point, another conflict is sure to start flooding the gates.