The 9th episode of Apollon heads for the finish as the relationships at the center of the story reach resolution. Kaoru continues to want to force Ritsuko and Sentarou together, but she would not have any of that. After calling Kaoru an idiot, she tosses her gift to him aside only to later regret it after talking to Sentarou. Meanwhile, Jun plans to head back to Tokyo to take on a publishing job and without Yurika. After Jun says his farewells to Sentarou in what can only be described as a confrontational jazz session, he is confronted by Yurika on the train platform.
I think this was an episode which showed just how similar Yurika and Ritsuko are as well as Kaoru and Jun in just how their relationships have progressed. Kaoru had been spending much of the last pair of episodes determined to do everything possible to make sure Sentarou ended up with Ritsuko. In this episode, that ranged from Kaoru obviously going to the Christmas party where he was clearly out of place to continuously asking Ritsuko about Sentarou. That frustration with Kaoru boiled over in the park and resulted in her throwing the gloves she was knitting away.
Jun does much of the same thing. He explicitly tells Yurika not to see him off. While on the train platform, Yurika is angry that their relationship never went beyond kissing. He, like Kaoru, was trying to place distance between the two of them over time because they each thought that pursuing the relationship would ultimately make it worse. Neither had considered that the path they were choosing was a worse option.
That left Yurika and Ritsuko to make their feelings clear in their own ways. Ritsuko felt some responsibility for how Kaoru felt when she tossed the yarn away. She had rejected him, so she felt that she had no right to give him a gift in the first place. However, when she returned home, she came to realize what she had to do when Sentarou was apologizing for not knowing how she felt. She quickly confirmed to Sentarou that they were just friends, but as an acknowledgement of her previous feelings she is thankful that he didn’t come to her like that earlier.
This set the stage for the scene where the pedestal would be knocked down in the case of the two girls. Ritsuko was digging away trying to get the yarn back while passersby wondered aloud if she was homeless. Her feelings mattered more than how she looked, which was the same sentiment Yurika felt when Ritsuko called her a beautiful girl. In seeing her friend doing something like digging in the trash for something important for a loved one, she felt she had to help.
Yurika’s own effort to knock herself off a pedestal in Jun’s eyes began in the last episode. By acting out in school and cutting her hair short, she was trying to show him that he mattered more than her previous existence. The conclusion to episode finally knocked it down. As Jun stared outside and heard that Yurika had run away from an omiai, he came to the realization that she was crying because the world she would have to return to was filled with profound sadness where she had no freedom. He grabbed her at the end after finally seeing that acknowledging her feelings was the best thing he could do for the both of them, even if life in Tokyo would end up a struggle.
Ritsuko, meanwhile, gives her gift to Kaoru in such a way that he could finally see that it was for him the entire time. As he saw the gloves on top of the piano keys, would he see that her feelings for him had changed? That is a matter for next week of course.
Also in this episode, there were a couple of music related scenes that I found interesting as well. The farewell between Sentarou and Jun will obviously standout. It came as a result of a challenge letter Sentarou had slipped under Jun’s door and it led to a musical battle. As Kaoru noted, it wasn’t so much a duet between them as it was a war of attrition. For a final session together, it was one that would be cherished by both characters. I also have to give some credit to the music actually sounding confrontational at the same time.
As for the other moment, that was the Olympus trio’s Christmas party. With the attendees almost all girls from school, bar Kaoru, it was a case of Seiji’s long-term plan beginning to bear fruit. The rock music they were playing was well known by all of the girls, and Kaoru with his classical and jazz background was behind the times. Also, on a less serious note, I keep noting the requests to play songs from The Beatles, which never happens. I can only think that they are far too expensive to license for this show.
Next week, it looks like everything is on track for Kaoru and Ritsuko to finally get together. That is unless the former is a blockhead far beyond Sentarou when Ritsuko liked him. There will probably be some Yurika and Jun related drama as well since they appear headed to a rough life scraping to get by in Tokyo. That’s not forgetting that the activity Jun is getting involved in is frowned upon by the local authorities.