12 Days of Christmas: Relaxing Through Jazz – Day VIII
On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love for anime gave to me…
8 beats of jazz
7 legendary servants
6 witty lies
5 fun choir members
4 gigabytes of data
3 lovely flowers
2 sides of consciousness
And a wish-granting rock.
The creative Japanese had been marketing niche ideas in their media, and of cause, music had been one of the many genres used in anime and manga. The Japanese decided to dive even more specifically into the music genre, and an anime which focuses on Jazz music was released, another 2012 anime which could pretty much be one of the contender for the best anime of 2012.
Sakamichi no Apollon details the journey of life, love and music of Nishimi Kaoru, a pianist who plays classical pieces. He had to transfer schools several times in his childhood, and in his latest school transfer, he met Sentarou and Ritsuko. Sentarou is a jazz drummer and jam regularly at the basement of Ritsuko’s father’s store. Unused to the versatility of jazz music, he joined the unofficial band and ventured into the world of Jazz music, jamming together with Sentaro, Junichi and Tsutomu.
Although much praise had been given to the music of Sakamichi no Apollon, the anime still gives ample focus on dialogue and the relationships between the characters. It is an interesting balance considering how music were always originally the main focus in such genres, but it fits with how jazz is interpreted in the anime.
I like how the anime uses the concept of jazz music and actually applied it into the atmosphere. Using improvisations, swing and blue notes, jazz is more of a “free music” unlike classical music which focuses more on precise notes and time signature. This freedom which jazz music had, makes the music fun, yet relaxing, and these two attributes are directly implemented into the anime itself. The characters aren’t exactly going for professional musicians, they are just doing jazz music for fun.
One of my favorite scene is the first time Kaoru jammed with the rest, it gives an essence how jazz is like; no need to worry about precise timing and notes, and just have fun and go crazy. After that, my other favorite scene is definitely Kaoru and Sentarou’s duo performance during their school culture festival. I like the medley performance, combining various tracks from a classical piece to Sakamichi no Apollon’s theme song, “Moanin”. In fact, all of the anime’s soundtracks are quite phenomenal.
Through it’s relaxing jazz music and inspiring characters, Sakamichi no Apollon is bound to attract it’s viewers far and wide. Subjectively speaking, Sakamichi no Apollon is one of my favorite anime this year, together with with Fate/Zero, and some others I haven’t mentioned, and I hope you were able to come to love this anime as well, through it’s relaxing journey.