Sakamichi no Apollon 2 inches forward in whatever they have in store for story, well, until the last minute, when the love bug hits Sentaro, which actually is a rather large development. We start with Kaoru trying to learn to play that piano lick correctly, absurdly running up and down the stairs to where the stereo or the piano is (with someone looking in behind him, a seed planted that will wait for another episode to sprout), therefore not getting this jazz thing at all. His school woes need to be mentioned, so he’s tied up by some goons, which brings Ritsuko and Sentaro to the rescue, and since Kaoru at least tries to help fight back, solidifies the friendship somewhat. That settled, neighbor Jun comes in and Kaoru plays in his first jam session, awkwardly at first, but he manages to get some swing into it and actually has fun. It’s the old “you either know or you don’t” business, but at least he wasn’t walking funny this week. Things are going so well for Kaoru that I worried about a bad turn, but instead it’s more good. The three go to a beach and Kaoru actually has fun. More seeds are sown–Kaoru sees Ritsuko and Sentaro in church and then there’s that girl. That last bit is interesting because it removes the threat of a love triangle. Maybe it’ll be a love string instead if Ritsuko has a thing for Sentaro. It all breezes along and doesn’t really amount to much, but the show is just getting started.
Of this season’s two noitaminA shows Tsuritama, though weirder, feels like it has a more straightforward story. That is, the show will be more focused on it’s main character than Apollon. But we are introduced to more characters. Agira, the man with the duck, gets tired of just observing and becomes yet another transfer student. And, heaven help us, Haru has a sister, and SHE has a squirt gun! And while the show takes some side trips, the one showing Natsuki’s home life working the best, we mostly watch Yuki finally get angry at something. I mean, wouldn’t a self-styled alien claiming to be a friend forcing your behavior with squirt guns (especially when he observes it being used on Natsume in a moment almost too jarring for this show) and joining your household who has a sister making unfair demands, and another friend who really isn’t who verbally abuses you, finally get you fed up? In the end, everyone seems to come to an understanding. Though I’m not sure what they’re getting at when Yuki decides not to “wing it” anymore. Plot seeds are sown here too. Yuki’s cool grandma is seen coughing, and we’re not sure what’s up with the sister, much less Akira. Some interesting twists in the story this week that show that this show isn’t only going to be bright colors and harmonica music.
Another new show has snuck in: Shining Hearts – Shiwase no Pan. It’s about humans and elves, and there’s a cat girl in there too. But mostly it’s about bread. Lots of bread.
I doubt that the story is going to be much. The hero, Rick, is a baker who sleeps on a ship run aground and makes bread on Wyndaria Island. He is occasionally beset with dark mysterious thoughts, but most of the time he’s just a laid-back guy. He has a harem, Airy, Neris, and Amil (really, you don’t need to remember their names), who help him run the bakery. The first half of the episode is little more than waking up, baking and then selling bread to happy people. Lots of bread. Lots of closeups of bread. Bread everywhere. And I was just fine with that. What little plot there is comes when they go out to gather an ingredient and come across a lost sylph (who looks like a baby Kyubey), who loves bread and when returning it to the Elf’s forest, meet Alvin (a rude elf) and then Lana (a sexy, nice elf), who also loves bread.
They also learn that a storm is coming. And that’s it for episode one. The second episode pans out more or less the same way, but with a storm attached. They bake, deliver and sell bread, and warn people about the storm. We see other villagers wrap up what they’re doing, a girl left alone is cheered up with bread. A night watchman talks about his wife’s delicious pasta, and it almost feels like a sacrilege. The storm hits, everyone stays inside, the storm passes … and that’s it. Right now the show is more set on showing us the daily life of this peaceful village than doing anything dramatic, and again, that’s fine. It’s actually sort of peaceful. But NEXT episode we’re promised some actual drama, with women washed ashore and big ships passing by, and there’s that plaintive voice calling out that no one’s talked about yet. I hope they don’t forget about the bread. I like bread, and I can’t find much of the freshly-baked stuff around here.