Interesting conclusion to Sakamichi no Apollon. Not all of it worked, but the conclusion lived up the the show’s standards.
What made the least sense to me was Kaoru’s lunge at Ritsuko, and his unfortunate words while he was doing it. My first response was “what the hell is he doing? That’s not like him.” But when I think back to earlier episodes and how he acted then … it STILL doesn’t make sense. I can remember him brooding and sulking and rejecting people but he’s never gone out and acted so foolishly before. It’s possible that this is his way of lashing out in his loneliness, or there’s a part of him that wants to alienate anyone or thing that reminds him of Sentarou. Or maybe he had to hit rock-bottom before he could learn to get back up. But these answers don’t feel right.
They kept Sentarou out of the episode until the final scenes, and glorious scenes they are! But I wonder if it was a mistake. Having Sentarou run away and stay away said something negative about his character. Just last week the father had returned and accepted him. The accident was bad but a hurdle he and his family could overcome. Well, he went. That meant we had over half an episode of Kaoru moping his way through his last year of school, scaring poor Ritsuko, and avoiding the piano until the flash-forward. Not terribly interesting.
As for that flash-forward, those scenes were a delight. Not just Kaoru finding the drum kit and summoning Sentarou with the church organ, but the stuff before it. Everyone has moved on. Kaoru’s in residency and mostly looks happy. We see Yuriko and can tell that everything between her and Jun is all right. Making Seiji a pop star was a nice touch. I find it odd, however, that it’s Kaoru (and, as it turns out, Ritsuko) who has to seek Sentarou out, as if Sentarou hadn’t felt able to or worthy of reaching out to them, even eight years later, even though he’s doing well. And he’s on a remote island, for chrissakes! It means the show had to turn once again to coincidence (its fatal flaw throughout) to keep the plot moving.
Never mind. The church scenes were a perfect way to bring the boys together again, hitting all the right notes (the kids listening, our heroes running away when the head priest shows up), and if Ritsuko’s sudden appearance was one coincidence too much, well, the moment was too delicious (imagine what was going through her head when she sees BOTH her boys together!) for me to quibble. A very good show. Not the masterpiece that some people want it to be, but definitely one of the best shows of the year so far.
Next, we have another of the year’s best. Tsuritama‘s ending was more predictable, but like in Apollon’s final scene, it put together everything it had worked on and made it exciting.
When Yuki’s mind was desperately searching, film-style, for a way to stop Haru from leaving them, I thought for sure that it would mean using Yuki as the bait. After all, the thing is attracted to the color red, right? What’s he wearing? A red jacket. His hair is even red. I was kicking myself for not seeing it before when the show goes and ignores this solution altogether. What was all that stuff about red before about, then? What did I miss? Because Yuki couldn’t possibly be the bait. He’s the one who has to catch the fish. Well, I figure it could just as well be Natsuki, but in terms of the story that wouldn’t work. It has to be Yuki, because … well, he’s the main character. It’s Haru, more aquamarine and white than red, who must act as bait, with one of Sakura’s bracelets in his mouth, so Natsuki isn’t left with only pulling on Yuki’s belt when the time comes. Yuki realizes all of this from remembering the old painting, with two goddesses, something I wish they had pointed out to us earlier, but frankly, the whole story doesn’t make a whole lot of sense anyway.
Which isn’t to say it isn’t great fun to watch. Like last week, the show does a great job of showing the threat on board the boat, with waves rising dramatically and rain falling everywhere, as Yuki casts Haru up and over a Duck military vessel and fish fly everywhere. Meanwhile, back on land, the growing menace of the Enoshima dance is controlling more and more people and missiles are set to launch. Characters race around and do absolutely nothing. I guess the show included them to show that they weren’t forgotten, and to give us a break from the tensions on the boat.
The end is an afterclimax, but I sort of expected that. And it doesn’t matter. In fact, it’s fitting that the monstrous alien turns out to be a new friend. Yes, it’s silly, but that was the show’s main strength. There’s a tense moment where the Duck chief is begging HIS chief to hold off on the missiles (whicch are never launched–feels like a wasted opportunity), the Bermuda threat is growing, tense music is playing, but nearly everyone is happily dancing and chanting, and those that aren’t are wearing silly squeaky fat yellow suits–and turbans. The threats are real and so are the personal crises that the characters go through, but with such a bright, happy backdrop and the kind spirit that flows throughout the show, you can’t worry too much. This was the happiest and brightest show of the season, and I’m going to miss it.