I have been naughty again. Been watching anime non stop for the last 6 hours. It’s way past midnight here and I’m writing this with one statement in mind: “I shall not hate jazz anymore.”
I have been to a jazz concert and the only thing I could think about then was the fact that I did not understand anything. All that mumble jumble playing weirdly in sync but still disjointed from a theme you could remember.
Why did I change my mind? I found an anime called “Sakimichi no apollon” (Kids on the slope).
I started watching it with no expectations and boy did it deliver some really good insights. The story is centered on a lonesome boy, action taking place in 1966-68 in Japan, post war. This boy has just been relocated to a new school and before the bullying begins, he befriends the class “worst boy” and the class president. And through them, he finds himself drawn in another world.
The girl’s dad has a vinyl music store where all the great Jazz names can be found and the big guy plays the drums with a passion in the store’s basement. Determined to look good in the girl’s eyes (tell me another time when men ever do great things?), he starts listening and then playing on the piano the riffs he hears on the records.
They are wickedly good together and the twists and turn of the plot make the boy fall in love with the girl who is already in love with the big boy who in turn loves a cute girl who also loves another man. That’s a love pentagon!
The boy confesses to the girl. Girl turns him down. Big boy confesses to cute girl, she runs off with the man. Broken hearted teenagers everywhere! Give them razors! 🙂 Kidding. They are not emo but their angst, problems, joys, small or big successes, they shine in the way they play.
There are a few scenes which indicate the state of the nation at that time (grandma banishes big boy’s mother because she slept with an american soldier, got pregnant and then left the “load” at her place and fucked off in the world, there are loads of sailors kissing japanese girls in the park, sailors in the pub, drunken americans screaming for “white” jazz, the way the boy’s mother looks like a modern woman rather than a japanese classic doll).
It’s all fun in the end, with all the misunderstandings, the girl finally realizes she loves the boy, he can’t believe his luck and is insecure, the big boy thinks that the girl loves him as well and everything climaxes when the lonely sick boy screams his confession from the top of his lungs so that he is understood.
Now – this ain’t a love story. There is just awkwardness, tragic love and departures. They do not stay together. The big boy runs off, the lonely boy goes to med school, the girl is left in the provincial town.
It really hit me what one of them said: “It’s not the loves and crushes that you will keep after years and years. It’s the friendships you build.” And it was true – because after 8 years, when our doctor gets news as to where the big boy is, he runs off to find him without even looking back. He did not go see his girl. He went to see his lost friend.
And the way they re-light the fire of friendship was really awesome. They jam together in a church.
I loved it. No words, no teary reunions, no silences. Just doing something together that used to bring them a lot of fun (and by the looks of it – it still does).
(This is from the ending of the series (2 minutes) – the big boy became a priest in training taking care of orphans):
Gave it 9/10 Stars on my list and yes, brought my jazz love back.
Btw – here are the lyrics for the intro song (you might wanna read them as they are beautiful on their own like poetry)
It’s not going anywhere, it’s stuck playing in my ears
This melody, is just like love.