Sakamichi no Apollon – 09

Kaoru attends a Christmas party with classmates but can only think about Sentaro and Ritsuko. When he runs into Ritsuko after, he inadvertently upsets her, and she throws his gloves out. At the music store, Sentaro apologizes to her for not knowing about her feelings, but doesn’t see her that way; she laughs it off. Deciding not to stay silent anymore, she returns to the trash can, and a passing Yurika helps her fish it out. Sentaro challenges Jun to one final rousing jam session before he leaves. Yurika is at the station to see him off, having run from her marraige meeting, and after a brief hesitation, Jun pulls her aboard the train to Tokyo.

As Christmas passes by and the year’s end nears, most everyone is at a crossroads. Kaoru contemplates distancing himself from the friends who he believes will pair off, and find new friends. Ritsuko, who’s developed feelings for Kaoru has to decide if she can accept his after rejecting him before. Yurika has dived into a relationship with Jun, be he’s leaving to join his college buddy at a publisher in Tokyo. Sentaro has to settle things with Jun, who he looked up to as a brother, and acknowledge (if not accept) Ritsuko feels; though he’s kind of late for that, as she’s moved on. That’s what keeps this love polygon interesting…the dynamics are constantly changing up.

This week, some people make some definite choices about which way they’re going to turn, which will dramatically affect the story that follows. Yurika, a model student, is now a runaway. Jun has crawled out of the gutter and is going to face his friend again and have another go at the “movement” (nice nod to the nuclear carrier USS Enterprise not exactly being universally welcome in Japanese ports at this time). A less life-impacting but still important decision is made by Ritsuko regarding being clear about who she likes. We just hope Kaoru doesn’t remain as dense as he was this week. He’s an otherwise sharp kid, and the gloves on his piano should be a dad giveaway. Earth to Kaoru: Ritsuko likes you. This is good. As is this show.

Rating: 8 (Great)