And so here we are, the final episode of Sakamichi no Apollon.
True to the title, the first half of the episode hits those depressing notes. With Sentaro gone, those stupid grades are rising again. With Sentaro gone, those dumb kids get to play on the roof now. The world is a much darker place with him missing, and with every attempt to push Sentaro further out of his mind, something else comes up to remind Kaoru of him. As his best friend has in essence abandoned him, and his attempts to forget about him end up estranging his love Ritsuko, with words which really put forth the breakup of the group, the somber mood carries on.
Yet despite his melancholy, Kaoru shows growth of character after all his time in this small town and doesn’t shy from addressing Ritsuko after his previous actions. Dad also eavesdrops, and it’s at this point when I realized, I will never ever remember his name. With Ritsuko being accepted into a college in town, and Kaoru heading off to the city, the only clear course of action here is a bittersweet train station farewell. Dad plays his farewell cool, and at the last moment, Ritsuko appears to wave Kaoru off with a tearful smile. So comes a close to Kaoru’s time at the small seaside hill town.
Time passes, now 8 years later. Kaoru, now a doctor of some sort or whatever, is in dire need of a haircut. If only Dad were here to tell him that. But other than that atrocity, Kaoru seems fairly pleased with his current life. That is, until he sees that punk Seiji on TV, now somehow a big star on television. Thankfully Kaoru was in a hospital when this happened, as he very nearly appeared to suffer a stroke. The world of the future is a dark dark place. In a more pleasant surprise, Kaoru happens to run into a pregnant Yurika. During their short chit chat, she shows Kaoru a photo with a young familiar looking priest.
In a mad search for the long lost friend, Kaoru finds himself in another small seaside village, and eventually the town church. There is a drum set at said church, god bless his soul. In the final session of the series, the young priest follows the sound of the church piano, where the two finally meet each other once again. We revisit Moanin’ one last time, as if the two men had never been apart in the first place. As what I could only imagine to be the head priest comes and scolds Sentaro for playing the drums, the two run off as they had back in their youth, rushing down the hill with all the joy in the world. This ending was perfect.
Oh, and Ritsuko arrives there too and they’re all together again or something.