I'm gonna try and record my thoughts while they're still fresh in my mind-- I just finished marathoning the series after having some interest in it for quite a while. I rated Sakamichi no Apollon around a 3.5 in my star rating and here's why, without spoiling too much of what happens, though do read at your own discretion, as it does spoil things about the story even if its not exactly what happens.
The tonality, time setting, and the music is fantastic, and I had a lot of fun with it. Though not outstanding, the little flickers of how the love for jazz amongst characters is represented in the relationships the characters have with each other is heartwarming. I relate to this a lot, mainly because I always love sharing and playing music amongst my friends and loved ones. One of many cherished pastimes, and I believe this to be one of the series strengths, though minimal it was still nice to have.
However, as an audience, aside from the music and friendships portrayed, we are taken on a bit of a broken-down emotional rollercoaster in one form or another. Once I reached the end of the series the only thought I had was "Is that it? Was that really all worth it?"
To be harshly put, some of the things that happened between characters almost seemed useless because they were either never wrapped up or seemed just slathered in there to have some form of scandal. Take it away theres not really too much of a plot; theres parts but not much to have a series built on. A lot of other plot points that were built up were never really tied up either, adding to the uselessness of some of it. It wasn't too satisfying, and though to my own tastes and interpretation, a lot of the drama I found cringe-worthy and oddly cliché.
I genuinely love the main characters, and I cherish the relationship they have with one another, but the character development is rocky. Characters will make progress, but then do something and take a few steps back again, doing this more than one or twice. Tied in with odd story choices that don't really influence the end too much adds to my unsatisfied viewing experience. The ending is bittersweet, but confusing.
But, all technicalities aside; I do believe in this series and the potential it has, and I love the charm of it. Though a part from the music and some of the moments the friends have together when performing, there's nothing really too memorable about it, and I'm not sure if I'd ever watch it again or recommend it a lot. It is, in the end, up to any of those reading this if its worth watching it or not. I definitely would say it is to an extent if you love music and performing with your friends, and you think about the good old days more than once. It definitely took me back there.
Sakamichi no apollon isn't the most amazing anime in my opinion.
the story plays mostly in the 60's (I know because john coltrane died in 67 and it's mentioned) so you can see that the classrooms are mostly wood colored and old fashioned. the story is decent and gave a 'this could actually happen to someone' feeling that a lot of anime really don't give. there were some funny bits, some embarrasing, some emotional but most of it is slice-of-life stuff. and even though towards the end it seems like things won't end well they manage to get a happy ending, which in my opinion was the best part of this anime.
the animation isn't done very well, one of the main characters, Ri-chan (a girl), definitely has the face of a boy. (if you don't believe me then get a frame where you can clearly see her from the front and block the tails on both sides of her head). I also always pay attention to the eyes they use for anime and though I have seen worse than what was used here I've also definitely seen a whole lot better. also in one of the episodes a lot of students were runing but kinda weird as if their feet were going too quickly and they're bodies had tocatch up.
about the sound, overall it was alright but seeing as I'm not a jazzfan most of their sessions just sounded like noise. there were still a few nice pieces being used that even I could appreciate though.
apart from Ri-chan having the face of a boy and some characters I really didn't like, they did manage to get a wide range of personalities in the story. they were wel done and felt realistic compared to other anime.
I gave it 3 stars, which I would translate to say: 'At least try to watch it. I didn't think it was the best but I enjoyed it and I'm sure most people would.'
I love jazz. Some of my favorite memories of my time living in Florida have to be going downtown to listen to the local jazz festival. Sitting in front of that gazebo and getting into the spirit of the musicians is something you can only experience if you listen to jazz. It’s so different from any other musical genre and I was excited as hell to get to watch an anime centered around this amazing style of music.
The problem is Sakamichi no Apollon isn’t as much about jazz as it is about lame characters. There’s jazz in the series, and it definitely plays a part, but it doesn’t play as large a part as I wish it would. This seems to be the theme of music-based anime, not paying attention to the music as much as the boring lives of the characters. Jazz is frantic, it changes with the mood. There are a lot of things about jazz that could have been played out in Sakamichi no Apollon that aren’t. That heart and soul of jazz are only seen during the portions where the characters play music. Other than that, the series falls flat.
Kaoru is a guy. He goes to high school. He’s a bookworm.
Sentarou is a guy. He goes to high school. He fights a lot.
Ritsuko is a girl. She goes to high school. I can’t discern her character besides “love interest”.
Together they are the three main characters of our little drama. Kaoru goes to high school as the new kid. He meets Sentarou who is a pretty violent guy who skips classes (the delinquent). Sentarou is a drummer who plays jazz with Ritsuko’s father and a guy named Jun. Kaoru, who can play the piano, joins in on the fun and learns how to evolve from his classical roots into the realm of jazz.
There are, of course, some bumps on the road. A couple of love triangles (those are the main plague that infest this anime), Sentarou’s problems with his father, and Jun’s becoming a good-for-nothing. The plot is really not that exciting. You’re watching this for the music more than likely, not the duo of love triangles that seem to give way to more of a bromance at the end than anything else.
This is where the plot becomes especially painful. The series plot is loose, and by that I mean nothing is consequential or matters. It’s there to hold the series together and give it a reason for being, but it’s mediocre at best. By the end, nothing really matters and the series goes back to square one.
“BUT RATCHET! WHAT ABOUT THE MUSIC?”
What music? There’s a little bit of music going around, but for a music based anime there’s not enough. As I said in the beginning of the review, there’s not a lot of music going on. There are a few songs here and there, but not enough to warrant being considered as "musically focused". It’s more just a school life anime than anything else and suffers because of the fact it tries to be something it is not.
“BUT AT LEAST IS HAS GOOD CHARACTERS!”
All the characters were generic at best. While Sentarou was a decent character, I grew to hate Kaoru more and more as the series progressed. It reached the pinnacle when he nearly raped Ritsuko. Ritsuko wasn’t a bad character, but she didn’t actually have a lot of character there. She was just there as a love interest and a plot point more so than anything. Jun was okay, but he also had some issues that made him dislikable. His girlfriend, Yurika, was okay.
I wasn’t really impressed by anything that concerned the plot. I was impressed with some of the music (the little that there was) and the animation was especially good during jam sessions and concerts, unbelievably so.
I’m unable to say too much about Sakamichi no Apollon because it’s so average. It’s the definition of average. Good music and good animation, mediocre characters and plot, and an overall disappointment. If the series had been longer I feel that perhaps the plot and characters would have been more entertaining. But as it is, Sakamichi no Apollon is merely adequate. The last episode feels especially rushed and I assumed I was meant to feel emotions of some sort, but was left not really caring. And when, by the end, I could care less what happens, then I know that I’m not watching anything special.
Sakamichi no Apollon is a hesitant pass for me. It's overhyped, and that hype is probably why you decided to jump on the bandwagon and check this anime out. There are some qualities that are enjoyable, but taken as a whole, it’s merely adequate in satiating the thirst for jazz, as well as the search for a good music anime.
Let me start with: this anime is a bit too emotional, idyllic for my taste, so the score to give maxes out at about 8.
This is an anime about musci, friendship, the sometimes ridiculous hardship for a kid to control and get to understand his own feelings.
Its one of my fiances favorites and I can understand why.
If you like the darker side of anime(and here I dont mean echhi and shit like that, but animes like Death Note and collegues), this is a genre-mix that will probably not appeal to you all that much. But from a critics point of view, its not flawles, but its the one that comes closest to it.
Sometimes the characters look like idiots, but to be honest, looking back to the time when I was in school, well, lets just say that sometimes I did truly laughable things of the same manner.
I dont want to spoiler much, I think I said enough to understand it. Ill spoil one thing about the ending, it fits perfectly and I liked it.
Ill warn you, the music here is secondary. Its not Your Lie in April where the musci is the main thing until the last 5 minutes when the story rips your heart out and steps on it. Here, there is a very well done "coming of age" story where the main characters happen to love Jazz. Also, I recommend it more to the female audience.
Music: Im not a big Jazz fandont get me wrong, I like Jazz, but classical and rock are more my things) and would have liked some more music sometimes, so 8/10
Overall: As I said, Im not a huge fan of the genre, so out of a maximum of 8, I give it 7.5.
Kids on Slope
I wanna talk about Sakamichi no Apollon.
I know we all love organized formats but this is quiet a special case, I can't judge it properly when thinking about the overall animation or sound when things don't go clean, so please let me tell you the experience I had, for you to put in your consideration.
The show starts extremely engaging;
The 60s, a great point in history for tons of people. The settings and environment is presented convincingly, the characters are portrayed so clearly and amazingly engaging with the simpleness. I watched a teenage coming-of-age story: 60s kids running on a slope, learning love and friendship.. oh and of course some badass jazz, making jazz sessions, performing in different places, making new challenges for themselves. How could one ever ruin such thing? Oh wait..
So, it seems as if the producers just dove in, made a great job, looked up for a second at the response of the community, saw things were going really well, got excited and ambitiously tried to make drama from nowhere, literally shitting the show off. Since one main character left, called Brother Joon, everything goes to chaos just for no reason.
It seems as if they knew they had to make at least 12 episodes to complete the format but didn't know what to finish it; If I told a child to improvise on the place the result would've been the same: [read in child voice] "and then she wants Sen!... and then... she wants Richi.. and then she wants Sen! and then Richi! and then he just walks away dramatically and Sen also walking, and they all live in an island happily ever after THE ENNDDDD!!"
Seriously? I'm not even talking about how the drama was forced, it was so random so it seemed like they tried to keep you watching even though they had nothing to show so they made random things happen to keep you focused.
I think from episode 9 it got really crappy; Episode 8 was the transition, all of the characters just instantly lost their back-bones, even Sen which was a prescious presious character to fuck up this way. The sessions were paused for a while, but that meant we also had no sessions and so the show just quit the entire facade of 60s, jazz, friendship and went to focus on the potentially interesting charracters, but played with them irrationally, making things that don't fit them; By the last episode non of the characters are the characters but some blank template with graphics ontop of it to decieve you. In the last episode there were NO characters, just bullshit. The last session reminds you one last time the start just to make sure you won't give bad reviews, cause they figured they fucked up. As if I would buy that, additional to the white blanket revealing for the milionth time, and the bipolar disorder of Richi and Rico.
I don't even
Just don't go past episode 8. Finish the show with the great festival performance.
This way, you can get my reccomendation, though the Overall score shall be 6.7 for the great beginning, but just remember kids: you can't like a show just because of the get-go. I say: enough with the fooling those cheap bad producers, look at what you're looking right now rather what you watched 7 episodes ago.
Now pardon me while I listen to Moanin'.
The jazz track not the.. you pervs, you...