For me, the first episode of Sakamichi no Apollon was hands-down the best first ep of the season so far.
It's a noitaminA show, and it was so outstanding that it had me thinking of Honey and Clover -- for quality, not for content. Not many shows can give me this hollow emotional feeling in my chest. It's like a physical indication of dramatic quality, for me.
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I have never been able to get far into Cowboy Bebop, but if this is the level of Watanabe Shinichirou's work, I'll try again. The flow of the scenes and the flow of the story were both excellent. And so was just about everything else, including the voice-acting.