Sakamichi no Apollon 7 begins by giving us a twist.
After Kaoru’s temper tantrum last week I expected a lot of episodes of regret from all parties, and I got that. I also expected Kaoru to regress and go back into his shell, to be alone again. But that didn’t happen. Well, it looks that way to start with, but Ritsuko continues to be nice to him, and he’s grown enough to be aware that she is blameless, so he’s nice back to her. Not only that, he’s learned to relax a little. Quickly, the class in general decides he’s not so bad after all. Suddenly, he’s, if not popular, at least likable. The twist is that the one who winds up alone is Sentarou.
We don’t really know what happened to Jun. Ritsuko’s dad says he had a breakdown and that tells us nothing. Yurika sees Jun in that state and freaks, after Sentarou had tried to put the moves on her. I’m not sure what went through Sentarou’s head when he punched Jun, but his walking away alone sums it up. He feels like he’s lost one person close to him after another. Well, he’s got his family (though they don’t appear) and his pop music gig.
It ends with the school festival and a few scenes that are contrived but often effective. The Jazz vs. Pop dynamic felt silly, and I can’t see the entire student body rushing to the auditorium because Kaoru and Sentarou are playing, unless the attraction is that of the biggest brain improvising with the biggest thug. On the other hand, playing a late, great Coltrane standard was a nice touch. Kaoru overhearing Sentarou talking behind the curtain … well, the show’s pulled that sort of trick before. But the important things stand out. Sentarou proves that he will defend the people he likes, and is too big to hold a grudge. While Kaoru discovers that he has a friend who won’t desert him when things get a little sour. Good episode.
Lupin III – Mine Fujiko to lu Onna 8 is a messy one. Nice concept, though. A fortune teller who can tell you the day of your death. Of course, he’s a fraud (or IS he??) who’s been using Lupin as a cover for their deaths, or something. I wasn’t able to figure much of this out. Goemon’s here, too, out to destroy a lithograph that’s already been destroyed, which Shitoto, the fortune teller, was using for his predictions. I have no clue what Fujiko’s doing around, but we get some fascinating information, a man named count Luis Yew Armeid, perhaps an abuser in her past. And now the owl image, used in the past when she’s been in a bind, makes more sense. Otherwise it feels like the pieces of a story that no one thought to tie together. But again, beautiful to look at.
It’s sort of a relief that Yuki isn’t the only source of drama in Tsuritama anymore. Now I wish they’d get to the SF part, but instead episode 7 has features Natsuki’s problems. Well, they’ve been building the problem for ages, it’s about time. It’s also a tad predictable. The father wants to celebrate the boy’s birthday by going fishing. Natsuki, naturally, doesn’t want to go, so he gets Yuki and the rest to join them. There’s the inevitable blow-up on the boat, and the fallout. The fallout was the only real variation, and it’s worrisome because Natsuki’s so devoted to Sakura. Well, it’s his own fault. And his father’s. The rest of the cast spend most of the episode watching or doing damage control. The episode’s slogan seems to be “Just try,” but I’m not sure why. No one tries, really, and those who do either end up in a rage or get hurt. I figure the SF (which appears late and is odd indeed) and the personal stuff will get tossed together in the next episode or two.
Haiyore! Nyaruko-san 7 starts out with Nyaruko at her crazy best and unravels into a simple romance after Mahiro tells her flat out that he doesn’t like her. Actually, it’s sort of pathetic. You feel a little sorry for her when you see how hard she’s taking Mahiro’s statement, but after he realizes he went to far and apologizes she becomes an emotional invalid, ready to turn all-white the moment he says something remotely mean (until he tells her to cut it out), and then blithely treating their time together as completely romantic, utterly blind to how he really feels. It’s sad to see her delude herself, and you have to feel bad for Mahiro, too. He’s utterly trapped. And for Cthugha and Hastur as well, as they can only watch. Too down for a stupid show like this. Bring on some aliens or something!