I haven’t updated for some time although I tried to because I just had difficulty coming up with the right string of words to convey how I feel. But I just wanted to write how I felt, because I think Sakamichi no Apollon deserves it. At heart, Apollon is a romance show, but it’s different because it’s a romance show that’s directed by one of the greatest anime directors ever.
Within the dynamics of unrequited love Shininchiro Watanabe constructed a series that also puts the characters forward not only in their romance but in their growth as people. Only the greatest romance series could do so with consistency, as Honey and Clover did. In that sense the second episode served as an intermezzo for the third and first episodes. The third episode was simply beautiful to watch because it was borne of selfishness that is one of the hallmarks of true love.
It was only when it was too late that Kaoru realized Ritsuko’s fondness for Sentaro, that he had realized how much he had hurt her. What he had done in the ending was to confess in his own nerdy way, that he liked Ritsuko and not Yurika, and it was great to watch.
It’s also not hard to love a series whose lead character reminds you of yourself.
There’s always something in a first episode that insinuates greatness in an anime. It’s difficult to describe, but it’s akin to a sliver of pain and happiness that touches the heart. I felt that from the very first minute I tuned in to Sakamichi no Apollon. Perhaps it’s because it’s been years since I heard YUKI in an anime series; perhaps because it’s been years since I’ve seen Shinichiro Watanabe direct an anime, or perhaps it is because of a multitude of factors combined.
I had been touting Sakamichi no Apollon as probably going to be the year’s best even before I saw one episode of it because of its staff, and after the first episode, it seems that I’m not wrong. Although quite unlike Watanabe’s previous two series in that it’s not rooted in action and violence, the characters and the dialogue remain to be sparkling yet minimalistic at the same time, approximating Hemingway’s works. It’s beautiful, in every sense of the word, from its fluid ‘action’ scenes to its character build-up.
It’s so good that to even attempt to summarize it would be to do it a disservice as words cannot, at least for me, express how beautiful it coalesced the characters and the plot together. But if one were to watch only one series this year, I suggest one watch this. I doubt that Watanabe would let up with his excellence, as he had never done so with his two previous masterpieces.