Aside from being a highly anticipated collaboration between Shinichiro Watanabe and Yoko Kanno (Cowboy Bebop, anyone?) Sakamichi no Apollon is based on an ongoing josei manga from 2007. Obviously with such a high-calibre team behind it, my expectations were quite high.
PLOT (with homolust)
I’ll say it now, I predict that in the months that follow, we’ll be seeing doujinshi of Kaoru and Sentaro engaging in extracurricular activities all over the internet.
Kaoru Nishimi, the MC of this show, is a bit of a pussy. You can call him “sensitive”, or say something about him “having a weak constitution”, but the truth of the matter is that he’s a gigantic pussy. Japan seems to have an affinity for MCs who are pussies, and maybe that says something about their culture, but this isn’t an sociology blog so I won’t talk about that here.
Kaoru has a bit of an issue with feeling severe nausea whenever he’s stuck in a stressful situation. Compounded with the fact that he moves schools frequently due to his father being a seaman (this anime’s lacking a YMCA reference for completion’s sake), Kaoru’s a bit of a loner. So when he meets Ritsuko, naturally he falls a bit in love with her at first sight.
The third member of our merry band is Sentaro, childhood friend of Ritsuko and a bit of a delinquent. Oh, and he’s really good at playing the drums.
The first episode mostly introduces us to these characters, with a kickass jazz soundtrack playing in the background. For those who have read the manga, we do know that there will be more characters being introduced (including POSSIBLE ROMANTIC TENSION), but we’ll withhold that information for later episodes.
THOUGHTS AND FEEL (and homosexual undertones)
I’ll say this now, Sakamichi no Apollon will be one of, if not the best shows of 2012. The animation and art are both gorgeous, the music is top tier and compliments the scenes perfectly, and the “camera work”, if you can call it such, is also top notch (pay special attention to the fight scene on the school roof). The voices fit the characters perfectly, with Kaoru’s (Akira from Eden of the East lolol) being sufficiently pussy-like, Sentaro’s (Arata from Chihayafuru) being cool and manly, and Ritsuko’s (Sayuri from Shinkai’s Beyond the Clouds, so that’s a bonus) being HNNNNNNGG. Actually, Akira and Arata seem to be polar opposites of Kaoru and Sentaro, so we’ll see how that pans out. In any case, it’s quite honestly one of the best opening episodes I’ve seen in anime. That said, I also predict there being quite a bit of drama in the show.
Ritsuko is Sentaro’s childhood friend. Kaoru likes Ritsuko. Kaoru’s a total pussy. Sentaro is manly man. Ritsuko…well we don’t know who she likes. Potential NTR on the horizon?!?
I think, aside from the amazing visuals and music, the direction they decide to take the romance angle will be another thing to look forward to in the weeks to come.
Next Thursday cannot come soon enough. And now, we wait for Sankarea subs…
EDIT (from Forouhar): Here’s some of my thoughts on the episode.