Music maestro John Lennon was not only a tremedous effect in the music world but also the founder of the beloved band Beatles. Music is the soul of the world and on December 8th, we celebrated the 34th death anniversary of this great legend. Although, people live and pass away, many like Mr. Lennon himself, bless the world with beautiful music for eons to come. Such a thing is music to our soul.
Today, I want to introduce an anime that often does not receive the credit it has earned. Many of us, who have been with anime from a young age or have delved deep enough into this are familiar with the works of Mr. Shinichiro Watanabe – director of the famous Cowboy Bebop. Although Bebop was a 90's hit, Mr.Watanabe has continued to contribute just as marvelously since and has, to his name, a musically charged anime series to his name, called, Sakamichi no Apollon (Apollon on the Slope) or, in English Kids on the Slope.
The era when John Lennon was creating his trademark music is the same time period in which the anime is set. 1966 Japan, when the New World was just beginning to sweep every country on the planet along in it's wave. Sakamichi no Apollon is a story about three friends, Sentarou Kawabuchi, Ritsuko Mukae and Kaoru Nishimi – a vagabond student, the class president and the straight-laced honor student respectively, who come together because of their love for music.
The three form an unlikely friendship and as they come-of-age, they discover the pains of familial tension, growing up and the discovery of love, friendship and more, all through the one thread that connects them – music. Moanin', Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers popularised this song in the late 1950s and Sakamichi which is set in the 60s brings this composition to life in the anime. Following is a clip of the trailer, please enjoy: Sakamichi no Apollon: Moanin'
As these high school students learn, grow and graduate, their lives intertwine. What draws most people to this anime is it's reality and deep-rooted existence in normal day-to-day living. The story is simple and in it's regular simplicity, it is somehow extraordinary. For instance, why the new tranfer student, Kaoru, falls for the lovely Ritsuko or how attached Ritsuko is to her childhood friend, Sentarou, or, how Sentarou's unusual background is a reason for his ostracization from the rest of his society – all these common, simple factors have generated a story worth remembering a lifetime.
It is an age-old saying that we all have problems in our lives and we all need to find one saving grace. For these three friends, their grace turned out to be classical music. That is what brought them together, that is what kept them alive and that is what is responsible for happiness as they grow apart.
If you are looking for a treat to ears, eyes and heart, Sakamichi no Apollon is a must see. With spectacular voice cast, beautiful animation, classy music, Mr. Watanabe has outdone himself, indeed again. A tribute to the 60s – the era when music was reborn to society.