Current mood: BEST BROS 4 LYFE MAN
SnA was never in my watchlist to begin with. I stumbled upon a gif on tumblr and haha what do you know I’m really interested in what this anime was about. The captions for the gifset implies something bromance-y and me fujoshi heart is like ‘maybe this is good’. It was only 12 episodes but I was lazy to binge watch it so I went online for spoilers… and it totally ruined the mood for me. Turns out there’s a complex love triangle going on and I hate that very much. I put off the whole thing until the first day of my finals after the paper… I finished the whole thing to unwind.
1966, Japan. You know the deal. War never changes. No I’m just kidding, war is only mentioned or in flashbacks, there’s no real scenes of the battlefield. Kaoru is the new rich kid on the block, transferred to Kyushu due to family circumstances. He gets nauseous on his first day during a school tour by the class rep Ritsuko and tries to get to the rooftop because that’s the only place he can calm down dammit! Unfortunately for him the infamous school thug is there and he doesn’t have the keys to the rooftop because the third-year thugs are being jerks. Said school thug is bored so he fights the seniors to get the key. School thug won but he never agreed to give the key to Kaoru so he up and left.
Later Kaoru finds out that school thug Sentaro is in the same class as him. Ritsuko the class rep is also his childhood friend.
For some reason Kaoru gets along fine with Sentaro, and so Ritsuko introduces the new kid to a secret hangout place – the basement of her family record shop. There’s a piano and drums down there, which Sentaro plays jazz. Kaoru, being the classical kid, does not get the music at all, but he still learns to play some jazz just so he could impress Ritsuko (he has a crush on herrrr). The two boys hang out more in the basement, and are joined by Junichi, the neighbor big brother who also happens to play the trumpet. Surprisingly Ristuko’s dad (referred to as ‘old man’) is a bass player, so all four of them performed their first session together in the basement.
This is where the romance gets real and cringe: Sentaro falls hard for Yuriko, a senior in their school. She is also a rich kid. Yuriko meets Junichi that one time during a bar performance and she’s smitten. So now the whole relationship chart is: Kaoru likes Ritsuko likes Sentaro likes Yuriko likes Junichi and he, her. From another review of this anime: it’s a love pentagon.
The romance situation gets better over time but still. Apart from the cringe romance there’s also Kaoru’s rich kid problems as he takes out his frustration on his friends. They all make up in the end because that’s how friendships grow! Other worldly conflicts occur: Kaoru is conflcited about meeting his mom (but does anyway); Junichi was involved in student protests, gets himself expelled and disowned; Yurika the rich senior elopes with Junichi to Tokyo; Sentaro’s abusive-when-drunk dad is finally back, Sentaro plans to leave home but is thawed by Kaoru… things seemed to have sorted out on its own but guess what, the universe doesn’t work that way!
Their last cultural festival is in a few weeks time. The trio plan to leave some great memories by performing their best during the cultural festival. In a twist of fate, Kaoru accidentally left his notes behind in the basement. Sentaro decides to return the notes and rides his motorbike to Koaru’s house, despite knowing that it’ll be better to return the notes the next day. A car crash happens. Of course.
Kaoru receives news of the accident and rushes to the hospital. He is relieved to know that it’s the sister who is severely injured, not Sentaro. Kaoru consoles his bro on the hospital rooftop. When he wakes up, the cultural festival is over and Sentaro is gone, leaving his rosary behind. His departure broke Kaoru and Ritsuko, but while the latter manages to cope, Kaoru hasn’t been himself for a few days. After graduation Kaoru leaves for Tokyo (I think I rly can’t remember) to further his studies.
8 years time skip and Kaoru is a young and dedicated doctor working his ass off. One day Yurika finds him in the hospital with a photograph of her friend’s wedding – featuring a familiar face. Kaoru dumps his job (not literally) and finds the island town which houses the church. There was no one at the church, and Sentaro is definitely not sleeping by the window covered by cloth (its drums). Kaoru fiddles around with the church organ. Sentaro, who was out playing with children, hears the organ and rushes back to his drums. They make music once more before the head priest comes shouting and they run, just like old times.
That’s not the full story! The manga elaborates more on the time skip, Kaoru’s relationship with Ristuko while he’s in Tokyo and also Kaoru’s search for Sentaro in the city. Pretty sure because of time constraints the full manga could not be put into the anime.
Overall the anime is surprisingly good. I had no idea the main focus was jazz! The music is great but the story could do without all the cringe romance. It is better than most shoujo manga I read in my younger days though. The manga ran from 2007 to 2012 while… wait, the anime is aired in 2012 too, from April to June… the manga is not completed until July… ILLUMINATI CONFIRMED!!!!!
I have a soft spot for extreme platonic trios, so ahaha I was pretty emotional when I watched this. Also, maybe because SNA is from *that* era of shoujo manga, so consent is never a thing. I used to like the trope of ‘shoving feelings in yo face aggressive boy’, but its 2017, in the wise words of a tumblr user I don’t remember: “Consent is sexy as fuck” So write consent in your stories guys!