As you may have heard, it’s been announced that Shinichiro Watanabe will be directing Sakamichi no Apollon, a coming of age story about a high school boy named Kaoru who develops a love for jazz music through the resident bad boy, Sentarou Kawabuchi. I’ve read the manga and I’d talk more about it, but screw that! Just watch the damn trailer before anything else.
Glorious, isn’t it? Pure class and style condensed into a brief 30 second PV. But you know how anime viewers are, no one’s going to comment how beautifully animated Sentarou’s drumming is. No one is going to say: “Oh, they really captured the mood and tension in that scene!” nor is anyone going to comment how it’s not everyday you see ‘airbrush-like’ coloring techniques applied. Heck, people are hardly talking about the music. (Not that I’m an expert in that field, I thought it was a pretty okay beat.)
If youtube comments actually had an ounce of credibility in them, you’d think this was an anime about homolust and space cowboys. Okay, so maybe reading youtube comments is like pouring acid over your eyes while watching Mind Game so maybe they aren’t necessarily good enough a basis to form a legitimate complaint.
Besides it’s not like I’ve never made stupid assumptions before so maybe I’m the one who’s being irrational. Still, it bothers me the same way previous comments on Daily Lives on Highschool Boys have before it started airing. Some people readily dismissed it as another Kimi to Boku on the title alone.
Now imagine what a 30 second PV can do. Forget how uncomfortable male bonding makes other people (and from someone who’s read the manga, they do find themselves attracted to girls, thank you very much), it’s even more disorienting to think that one would assume that just because Watanabe has never directed a slice of life, he’s going to fail at it. I like the idea he’s trying a different genre, to me that shows a director’s willingness to step out of his comfort zone. I’m not a huge Watanabe or Kanno fan, but I do respect their work. I wouldn’t say they’re consistently capable of churning out masterpieces, but are they capable of ‘good’ work? Yes. I know there’s an equal chance this could flop but I doubt it. The manga itself is great, dealing with the bitterness of unrequited love as well as finding a place with your peers. It deals with these things with such sensitivity it’s difficult to imagine how badly they can screw this up. These themes usually annoy the crap out of me but Sakamichi no Apollon is surprisingly refreshing, somewhere being a cross between Nodame and Honey & Clover– two of my favorite Josei titles (and believe me, I don’t even like female targeted material all that much).
Another thing I can’t deal with is how Noitamina is like an anime’s death sentence. It’s not like we can’t get decent 11-12 episode anime shows anymore. I would’ve understood if the problem was that Sakamichi no Apollon is the adaptation of an on-going manga– that’s understandable. After all, how are they going to end it? While Noitamina hasn’t exactly been in top shape, it’s far from being dead. It’s had it’s share of mistakes, but this block and the satellite channel, WOWOW are the two things that come to my mind when it comes to airing ‘unusual’ shows.
Lastly, this is really good source material here. What motivated me to write this post was how the 30 second PV exceeded my expectations. They really went beyond anything I had in mind.
Excuse the haphazardly put together comparison, but you know what I’m talking about. Having such a staff behind this manga was more than any fan could ask for. Not everyone likes Josei, Jazz, the 60’s or even coming of age stories so I’d understand if people weren’t looking forward to it for those reasons. But to go and doubt the staff’s ability just doesn’t sit well with me, given how you’ve got a some big names in that list. The people handling the script aren’t as prolific but that’s about it.
Most of what’s written here is fueled by a grumpy, jaded fan. I’m well aware people are actually happy we’re getting something like this. I don’t think Sakamichi no Apollon is going to change the face of anime as we know it but it does have the potential to be something great.