Sakamichi no Apollon is restless, a problem’s end is met with another’s beginning – our protagonist went in a circle till finding salvation, however, his friend finally shatters as anticipated after one worry too many.
Richie has had issues since the start, they would develop, more would arise, a few would be solved – yet one aspect consistent is that most of them seemed to be his own inability to accept a situation, rather than the scenario itself placing him in any unfortunate position. On the other hand, all the while, hardship has simply been stacking up against Sentaro – who instead of taking the Richie route and whine about it, he would merely compress it all within himself.
Yet aside from his own troubles, Sentaro would also intake Richie’s daily struggles – Sentaro would essentially cast away his own dilemmas in favor of helping Richie, and thus similarly, the series has been unveiling itself with a distinct focus on Richie. However, as this has been happening, Sentaro has simply been gradually falling into a deeper spot of sorrow – his difficulties have been building, although unlike Richie’s, he’s not received any respite.
Beginning on a note awfully unforgiving, the episode starts as news of the runaway girl whom Sentaro had his interest on has now become mainstream – everyone across the school knows she’s run off with some man, and while he may act in contrast, it’s quite simple to see that Sentaro is, in fact, torn up on the inside. The visuals do a magnificent effort of exhibiting this – and it’s very much worth noting the image above, Sentaro smiles, yet his visage is angled downward and entirely covered in a pool of shadow, he’s completely depressed.
However, as usual, the series turns attention back to surround Richie – and Richie’s current contemplation in mind is attempting to determine what to make of mittens he’s received from Ri-chan, the girl who once rejected him explicitly. As the episode tarries on, the two are seemingly drawn together – with many an awkward moment being had, till a certain encounter in particular seems to mark a transition in how Ri-chan acts.
The aspect of romance is very complex in this anime – yet there’s several aspects of importance, the first being that Richie handles it horribly, and not in the manner that most would think. Richie ultimately does manage to successfully establish a romantic thread between himself and Ri-chan – Sentaro dragged the girl to Richie’s home as Richie was ill, then he sent her off to meet Richie alone. Sentaro had the matter figured – and as aforementioned, he placed himself last in it, just as he has been doing with any concern which others have had till now.
Also see, Ri-chan notably becomes more assertive as she speaks to Richie – seemingly pushing him into making a decision as to whether he likes her or not, despite having denied his feeling earlier.
After a moment of mental dawdling Richie does make a solid choice, he goes after Ri-chan, they accept one another, and a kiss is had – yet the flaw in this is that Richie shouldn’t have been so quick to dive into the arms of a girl who once declined his love. He’s well aware that she, either currently, or at some point, had a fondness for Sentaro – and he should have questioned this. He practically disregarded his friend in favor of himself – the same friend who, on numerous occasion, recognizes nothing but what his buddy Richie, our protagonist, is being faced with.
How much that hurt Sentaro, if at all, is uncertain – although regardless, Richie should have been more considerate, and he also shouldn’t have been so easily swayed. He’s an intelligent fellow – and such individuals should ponder their actions more, rather than fall to thinking by vehement emotions. Incidentally, Sentaro follows the former – in spite of everything which raged at him like an oncoming hurricane up till now, Sentaro still lives by the day with a grin on his face as he picks at every subject in his mind.
Though sadly, Sentaro has yet to be able to successfully come to determine a method of solving any of his own predicaments. And unfortunately, while Sentaro did practically succeed in powering through misery by means of strong willpower till now, an aspect he simply cannot brave against comes his way – and with all misfortune he’s met thus far, he can take no more. His father is coming home – a man who originally abandoned him, and even prior to that point, merely served the role of abusive drunkard in the household.
Sentaro was to play with Richie at the next coming culture festival – yet, as long-expected, he’s collapsed on the inside, adversity has rummaged him up, and the return of a man whom he has a near indescribable conflict with is certainly something he did not want. As such, the episode ends with foreshadow – Sentaro’s packed his bags, and he’s seen standing outside a window. Speaking to himself, he apologizes to Richie for breaking a promise of playing jazz together yet again – and with that, it seems that Sentaro intends to take a discreet leave from the picture.
It’s entirely understandable why Sentaro is going the route he intends – though it’s not likely at all that he will actually manage it. There’s still too much time before the series’ end for Sentaro to run away – and to make a presumption based off the series’ direction thus far, the finale may feature a reunite of two as they play a jazz melody which will surely resonate through every heart and soul. Though admittedly, the mood does give the sense that perhaps after such a grand performance – a disappearance into the unknown may not be so far-fetched.
His current state will not stick – Sentaro will have to find some sort of peace, and this will either come with him taking a leave eventually, or the series may manage a method to pull everyone together happily. A positive spin is certain – though with all the emotional rollercoasting we’ve had, one shouldn’t exclude the chance that Sakamichi may end with something worthy of tears.