[Kids on the Slope]: Episode 5 | Lullabies of Birdland

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Things are awkward for Kaoru and Ritsuko and Sentaro tries to help mediate the situation after accidentally eavesdropping in on their conversation. Kaoru’s Dad is back and delivers some unexpected news about his Mother. The duo head to Tokyo to see his mom and try to meet up with Jun Oni-chan; what awaits them there?

So this post’s flow of discussion is not in sequence of the scenes; but an overall look of what happens throughout the episode because there’s a lot of references to tie each other to.

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Kaoru can’t seem to concentrate with things being awkward between Ritsuko and he. He decides he can no longer go to back to the record shop after she gives him her answer due to heartbreak. Kaoru had made so much progress stepping out of his shell; but this blow has caused him to retreat along with shutting out Sentaro and Ritsuko in the process. I also thought that in a previous episode, that Kaoru had resolved to stand by his feelings despite Ri-chan’s answer since he knew her feelings resided elsewhere, so I was a little taken aback by his retreat; but my memory could be wrong. Also, even though Ri-chan had to tell Kaoru the truth of her own feelings, she feels really bad that she may have just caused a rift in everyone’s relationship to Kaoru overall and is actually really worried for Kaoru overall afterwards. I love that Sentaro really tries to get Karou to get out of his slump. Despite Kaoru’s gloominess he really does view him as a really good friend and like any friend would they try to get you out of your slump and cheer you up. Sentaro isn’t really pushing Kaoru 100% and isn’t really trying to drag him along like he usually does. I think he has the sensibility to know that sometimes there are things that need a bit more finesse. I seriously thought Sentaro was going to hear that Ri-chan was in love with him; but I also think he’s genuinely concerned that Ri-chan is really torn up by what’s going on with Kaoru.

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The trip to Tokyo was a bit emotional for me. I didn’t expect my emotions to be pulled out with the reunion of Kaoru and his Mom. I didn’t expect the mom to be so forthcoming in seeing her son again; I was under the impression that she abandoned him and never looked back. Again another similarity between Kaoru and Sentaro; Sentaro pushes Kaoru to see his mother since the opportunity has arisen. I’m sure if he had the chance he would without a doubt take it, that’s Sentaro’s type of personality.  I feel like there’s something missing in the story of Kaoru’s parents; and I really hope this somehow gets resolved in later episodes. I had hoped that he would ask her why she left but the topic never came up. I teared up when the mom was crying over their shared meal as well as the goodbye at the train track. However, I’m curious about the reaction that both Sentaro and Kaoru had when they found his Mother’s place of work. Kaoru looked highly embarassed by it. Was it a like a burlesque show type? A seedy bar?

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As for Jun being missing for over a month, and the letters from Yurika that Kaoru painfully tries to hide from Sentaro is an interesting turn of events. The dorm mate suggests that he’s in hiding after getting into some altercation or that he could just be shacking up with some girl. I think the latter half of the statement may ring some truth to it; but I have a bit of a theory so just hear me out. As we all know the attraction between Yurika and Jun was there from the moment they met; however I get the feeling I may have been wrong in my previous post when I said that the attraction between Yurika and Jun was mutual. In the basement of the jazz store, Yurika and Jun have a short conversation about his parents store and her having shopped there for awhile. He makes a comment, “The coincidences keep coming…even the names are similar.” Maybe his attraction to Yurika isn’t because of who she is but because she reminds him of someone he used to love perhaps? I don’t know, that’s the feeling I get. What do you guys think?

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This scene was indeed my favorite of this episode; because I said something similar in my previous post about the friendship between Sentaro and Kaoru to be more compelling than their love interests! And I wholeheartedly agree with the statement in the scene. To find friends you can truly be silly and goofy with are so rare to find; especially the ones that you can really let your guard down with little regard to what they make think because really they just accept you for who you are no matter what.

We found out that Kaoru’s Mom used to sing while the Dad would play piano. It seems like music was what brought the two of them together; but unfortunate that Kaoru has no recollection of such a happy memory. When he left, he said he’d promise to visit again and gave her a record to learn to sing to. I thought it was very sweet and endearing that he wants to re-live that memory his mom seemed to cherish and create a new one in which he would play and she would sing.

The jazz song featured in this episode is “Lullaby to Birdland”. It’s considered a jazz standard. I’m curious as to why Kaoru chose this particular song to share with his Mom.


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