Sakamichi no Apollon Episode 2: Comping on the Piano


A group of bullies gang up on Kaoru and tie him up trying to embarrass him, but Ritsuko realizes what’s going on and calls over Sentarou to help. Sentarou and Kaoru manage to fend off the bullies and they go to Ritsuko’s music shop, where Sentarou finds out his older brother Junichi has returned from Tokyo U. Together they hold a practice session, with Kaoru gradually gaining confidence and improvising along with the rest of them.

When Kaoru asks Ritsuko out on a homework date, she misinterprets it and they end up going with Sentarou out to the sea to swim. Kaoru rows them to the wrong island on their way back, and they run into a girl in trouble, whom Sentarou saves.


I don’t think I mentioned it last week, but this week only confirmed the fact that this is the start of a firm friendship, especially between Kaoru and Sentarou. I had an inkling that Sentarou would come to Kaoru’s rescue, but they did a great job of chasing away the bullies. Everything about Kaoru (the awkward swimming, random tripping on a root) shows him as timid and insecure, and I’m going to love seeing him gradually break out of that shell.

The practice session was beyond awesome. I recognized all the typical instruments of a jazz band of that era – drums, double bass, trumpet and piano. Pity there weren’t any saxes around though, that would have made it even more epic. Kaoru is pretty good at improvising, and I really respect how he’s able to so easily blend in with everyone else’s lead, since playing a solo piece and playing in a band are two totally different things.

Sure, it’s true that jazz is all about dissonants (7ths and 9ths especially) but syncopations and swing rhythms are more on-the-spot things rather than put down on notation. I love how he started with a regular 12-bar blues chord sequence, then moved onto scales then proper jazz comping. If he does use 12-bar blues again (and he should), he should take into account using inversions, or messing around with jazz chords – adding a #9 or b9 to IV7 or V7 chords. It’s definitely a completely different style to pre-20th Century music. Right, better not turn this into an analysis xD

I do feel happy for Kaoru, as it’s obvious that Sentarou’s fallen in love (at first sight, no less) for the random girl that he just happened to save. Heh, no complaints about turning up on the wrong island then xP I don’t think Kaoru’s fallen for her either, but I’m not too sure on his reaction at the end there. Either way, Sentarou’s not after Ritsuko, which is a good thing for Kaoru. Now to fend off the rest of the class xD Also, I’m sure it wasn’t intentional, but props on getting rid of the beach stereotype in the sense that it was central to the plot!

Overall it’s proving to be really interesting, and just as compelling as the first ep, which is surprising considering we see a quality drop after Ep 1 for so many shows.

  • Side Note 1: Maybe it doesn’t mean anything, but the bitchy cousin chose not to act like a bitch this time and just watch from behind the door – maybe she’s taken some interest in Kaoru.
  • Side Note 2: Is there something they’re hinting at by Sentarou stopping Ricchan from going on about the significance of his cross?

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