So when I read news that one of my favorite manga and anime, Sakamichi no Apollon (Kids on the Slope or Apollon on the Slope) is going to be adapted into live-action movie in 2018, I nearly screamed in utterly joy.
But when I saw the cast list, I was so disappointed.
My favorite character in the series, Sentarou Kawabuchi, the big hafu boy with Rosario on his neck and undeniably awesome when playing drum, is played by a Nakagawa Taishi, who is not a hafu….
Well, things will be getting serious from this point.
For you who doesn’t know what hafu means and how important the hafu issue here on Sakamichi no Apollon‘s storyline, I will tell you.
Sakamichi no Apollon is a story set in the 1960’s Japan, when hates over America and Christian is still overrated. Kaoru Nishimi, a transfer student from Yokosuka, meets with Ritsuko Mukae, a girl who later he crushes on, and Sentarou Kawabuchi, the one who will be his beloved best friend. Both Kaoru and Sentarou become friends after they engage in jazz, when Kaoru plays piano and Sentarou plays drums. To summarize, the story involves the power of jazzbros and sparks of teenage (but not ordinary teenage love stories, I assure you) love.
What is interesting with Sakamichi no Apollon is not only the author, Yuki Kodama, brought up about white and black jazz, she also included other issues, such as Christianity and hafu people during 60’s era. Sentarou is a hafu–a Japanese mixed race. In the story, Sentarou’s mother is Japanese, and his father is an unknown American sailor army. When the mother couldn’t bear the stigma of having affair with American, she left the newly-born Sentarou at Chruch’s door.
Sentarou’s life had been hard. He bullied at school, his friend said that he’s the descendant of devil (during and after WW II, America is considered as demon or devil by Japanese), his stepfather ignored him, and his step-grandmother despised him. But in the end, the harsh environment has made Sentarou a tough kid. He doesn’t hesitate to take up a fight to defend himself, he stands up strong even when people misjudge him as a delinquent, and finds joy when having session with Ritsuko’s father and Brother Jun, the charismatic senpai of Sentarou who lives next door.
Sakamichi no Apollon is a story of the beauty of Christianity and fighting over racism, and when the idea itself is wrongly delivered by the film staff, it becomes a nuisance. It seems not only me who’s kind of disturbed by the idea, because many Japanese netizen went on a rampage because Sentarou is not played by a hafu. The staff didn’t answer the critic, but only said, “We will make the cast as hafu as possible.” Duh…..
This is the fact that Japanese people are still glorifying over pure-blooded Japanese, and hafu is still the second class in Japanese society. Since they have announced the cast, I think it would be impossible to change the lineup cast. Now I just hope they won’t mess up with the bunkasai scene.
or this scene:
( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)