Gotta feel happy for the train nut... whatever his name is. Never really bothered to remember his name, honestly.
My thoughts on Sakamichi no Apollon:
This is a series that I had my eye on before the start of Spring 2012. It simply had the formula for a masterpiece: Watanabe Shinichiro for director, Kanno Yoko for music composer, and an original manga that won in the Shogakukan awards. Although the genre is all too familiar (summer slice-of-life), it's more about the ups and downs of adolescence, and on top of that, the enjoyment of jazz as its running theme.
The jazz is of course top-notch; you just can't go wrong with Kanno's work. The visuals are great; the shading and differential tones give the visuals that extra depth and the fluid animation upon the jazz session is a feast to the eyes. The setting is unique; you don't really get shows that employs 1960's Nagasaki very often, and more importantly, it uses the setting well to set the mood and fit the theme. And, it goes without saying that the characterization is the best aspect of Apollon: well-written drama and character dynamics among Nishimi, Sentarou and Ritsuko are perhaps the aspects I will remember the most about this title.
The main issue I have with Apollon is the pacing. It feels awfully hasty at times, and it's apparent that the content is condensed from the main source. One event simply leads to another sooner than I could digest, and not enough time was spent on amplify certain momentous scenes e.g. Nishimi and Ritsuko being in a relationship. Also, the time warping. I actually wouldn't expect to see this, and although it wasn't a bad call to use it per se, I'd wish that it was executed better.
Nevertheless, it's an 8/10. It's a huge sign of relief to see noitaminA finally improving and offering something good for once, especially when the timeblock last gave us Guilty Crown and Black Rock Shooter i.e. horrible, horrible titles. It's not exactly amazing, but I'm not gonna complain much about one I enjoyed a lot this season.