Sakamichi no Apollon 03 – The Very Definition of Unrequited

Kaoru gets a look at an entirely different world.

The 3rd episode of Apollon fully introduces a new character in Yurika, who seems to be driving a wedge in the relationship between Kaoru, Sentarou and Ritsuko even if she isn’t intending it. Kaoru begins the episode by giving Sentarou information on the girl he has fallen for then drafting a plan for an invite to a double date so they can both get closer to the girls that they each like. That doesn’t quite go to plan, nor does the date itself. In the aftermath, Kaoru and Sentarou argue, but ultimately their love of jazz healed that temporary fracture in their friendship. Then after a timeskip, Kaoru finally makes his move after seeing Yurika and Sentarou in a compromising position at school.

Unlike the film reference below, I don't think Kaoru's friends are hallucinations.

The first thing I wanted to talk about was Kaoru’s attempt to arrange the double date. I kept thinking this was a botched attempt at trying to channel Nash equilibrium to try to obtain the best result for all players in this particular game. Actually I was thinking the exact scene below from  A Beautiful Mind when I thought of this. However, without full information he ends up with the worst result of all and has to go on his own in the end. Let’s just start with how he looked at it from the beginning.

He began with the prospect that he liked Ritsuko and Sentarou liked Yurika, and that Yurika would probably be more comfortable going on a first date if it was not alone. Hence the solution he comes up with is having Sentarou invite Yurika on to a double date. Each could be with the girl they liked and they could have their relationships progress individually.

The best laid plans fail when put in the wrong hands.

However, he didn’t have perfect information. For one, he didn’t take into account that Sentarou had no courage at all to ask Yurika on this date on his own and accept responsibility that he was driving it. Second, that Ritsuko had eyes only on Sentarou and only seemed ok with the date idea when she thought that it was Kaoru who invited Yurika. Third, he had nothing on Yurika at all other than basic facts about her clubs and interests. He basically got too excited at the prospect of a perfect plan without knowing it was going to fail for a start.

Sentarou gets closer, though he doesn't even realize it.

So how does he react to his plans failings, he falls out with Sentarou over a handkerchief because he kept the truth of how everyone felt about each other to himself. Ritsuko, to her credit, does the right thing by forcing Kaoru into the basement of the store to play out his reconciliation with Sentarou. It still ignores the fact that Kaoru continued to keep how he felt for Ritsuko to himself.

This performance was all for this one single occasion.

Then came a time skip in which we eventually learn that Kaoru spent hours upon hours learning how to play “Someday My Prince Will Come” so he would have the perfect track to confess to Ritsuko. All he needed was the perfect time to do it. So after seeing Yurika and Sentarou in what appeared to him as a compromising position, he felt he had to act now out of courtesy to Ritsuko, if only to have her know that at least one man out there had feelings for her.

The jazz remains fun for Kaoru, as for the rest of his life that's a different story.

The montage perhaps summed up Kaoru’s fate more than anything else. He put in hour after hour trying to get the moment right for his master plan to make the girl that he loves happy. Ultimately, it would be for nothing because for all his ability and passion playing the piano, it doesn’t have the same amount of influence as time spent with someone to create a deeper love. He seems to be going on the same path as Takemoto from Honey & Clover, where he will end up happy for the time he spent on this journey but still ends up with nothing to show for it.

A pigeon called Sarah Vaughan, nice.

Also in this episode was a look at Sentarou’s family which lived in the same building as Ritsuko’s family. They are clearly a poor family with many kids, but they seem happy all the same when Sentarou is home. It makes such a contrast from the rich home Kaoru lives in which is like a prison to him.

I wonder what fantastic painting will come out of this.

Finally, I think this series is beginning to take on a pattern with the main cast. I can see all of the main cast losing out on their love interests. Yurika is clearly just using Sentarou for a painting, and her future interest probably lies elsewhere. Ritsuko still has eyes on Sentarou even though he doesn’t see her that way. Kaoru, is exactly how I described earlier. There’s enough unrequited love to go around for everyone.

4 thoughts on “Sakamichi no Apollon 03 – The Very Definition of Unrequited”

  1. Your last sentence is a gem. This was a wonderful episode speaking volumes about the healing power of music.

    1. Music does heal to a certain extent, but I think the point made in this episode is that it’s ultimately the people themselves who hold power over relationships.

  2. Well said. This episode was a bit like watching a train wreck in slow motion — not because it was poorly executed, but because the underlying dynamics dictated a disastrous result. Kaoru’s “clever” plan ends up creating confusion and heartache. Fortunately, however things work out in the future, Kaoru eventually found the courage to clear up Ri-chan’s misunderstandings about his feelings for her.

    1. I think that’s going to be the common opinion about this episode. It’s very unsatisfying to the audience because it took all the stability in the relationships prior to this episode and proceeded to blow it up.

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