[Kids on the Slope]: Episode 4 | But Not for Me

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Jun invites Kaoru and Sen to play an actual gig for Christmas; which also happens to be Sen’s birthday. Kaoru runs into Ri-chan while shopping for a gift and end up purchasing a joint one. Due to an unexpected turn of events, Kaoru ends up lashing out at Sentaro out of jealousy; which causes Sentaro to open up about his past. 

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Picking up from where we last left off in Episode 3, Kaoru’s expressed his interest in Ri-chan with no response just yet. This appears to have a slight effect on Kaoru’s performance as he seems to not be able to play the piano as freely during their jazz sessions.

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Okay, this might be my second favorite scene in this episode. Still the new kid at school, and quite the opposite of Sen, the classmates see the duo as an oddity as they wonder what kind of person Kaoru really is if he’s able to hang out with Sen and also be the one to tease and make fun of the latter which no one would dare to do. They probably think he could be a bigger bully than Sen himself.

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Kaoru learns of Sen’s birthday and decides to buy him a pair of drumsticks. You know I’m curious what drove Kaoru to make a move on Ri-chan so suddenly, I feel like it’s still a mystery how much Kaoru is drawn to her. Is it her friendliness? The fact that she was the first person to approach him at school on his first day? I’m curious to see what it is about her that has him feel so compelled! After the incident he encounters Sen, and my insight from previous episode of jealousy comes to a head when Kaoru lashes out at Sen for having the family environment he could only dream of.

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Kaoru’s outburst forces Sen to share his past, because despite what Kaoru thinks, Sen’s life was also filled with the same loneliness and feeling of being an outsider and being cast aside. This leads to my favorite scene so far the image of them playing at the organ like two kids. Both struggled with the loss of their mother abandoning them and their Father’s trying to cope with the reality of having to raise their kid on their own; eventually leaving them in the care of others to lead their own lives. They’re two people cut from the same cloth. Them playing the organ as children is impactful as it signifies the loneliness they both experienced, and realizing they’re not alone. I think this starts to solidify their friendship a little bit more.

And lastly, the gig. Ah, what a fun little interaction although it was cut short because of a drunkard and Sen losing his cool. Kaoru and Sen again show us that the music they play is expressive of their emotions. Sen is timid because Yurika has shown up, so he’s not his usual boisterous self. Kaoru notices it right away, and decided the best course of action is to rouse Sentaro’s playfulness but taking the lead. Him taking the lead catches everyone in the room off guard except for Sen. He acknowledges the challenge and decides to up the ante.

“Sometimes life is like jazz and goes in an unexpected direction”

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That’s all that needs to be said about this final scene in a nutshell. Another twist in this story. I have to admit I am liking the parallel of jazz music to the story. I don’t remember when it occurred to me..but I had thought about the idea that because jazz doesn’t have structure and can be played however one wants to play it, that there would be a lot of unexpected things happening in the storyline. So far a lot has happened that caught me off guard. I’m so curious what happens now! Yurika had the same “love at first sight” that Sen had; but for Jun. It’s an interesting chain of who is looking at who:

Kaoru -> Ritsuko -> Sentaro -> Yurika <–> Jun

With the last two being the only ones to show a reciprocated interest so far. All the relationships are getting a bit more complicated!

But, if I were to be completely honest. The blossoming friendship between Kaoru and Sentaro is much more compelling to me than the pursuit of their romantic interests.  But who knows, this thought could change as I continue to watch; but so far the bromance that’s happening is certainly the most heartwarming and charming part of the story. As I said earlier they are both similar yet different: while Sen had expressed his loneliness outwardly by fighting also through his eccentric drumming; Kaoru internalized his loneliness and used classical piano and what seems to be more somber melancholy songs as his way to express it.

Gotta admit, I really enjoyed Jun’s rendition of “But Not for Me”. I didn’t anticipate him to be a crooner!


What did you guys think of this episode? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂