[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.


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.


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?


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?


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! 🙂


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

  1. One of the saddest butbalso best scenes for this episode was the exchange between Kaoru and Ritsuko over the makeshift phone. It was truly heartbreaking when Ritsuko pretty much told Kaoru that she does not feel the same about him, and you saw the wire drop.
    The rest of the episode was amazing as well. I loved the way Sentaro went along with Kaoru when he went off to search and visit his mom. I think that if Sentaro had not gone along, he might not have even met his mother. You are right in saying that the bestbthing about this series is the friendship between those two men. Every scene so far has been amazing between them 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ahhh the sagging wire broke my heart, as well as the shadow of Kaoru slowly fading as he walked away. It was such a well executed scene.

      I love that Sentaro went along for emotional support as well. it shows just how much Karou has come to mean to this “kid from the wrong side of the tracks.” They are from two very different worlds, but have shared so many of the same feelings. It is such a beautiful message.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Sen was one of my faves from the get go! But I find myself relating more and more to Kaoru..but those thoughts are discussed a bit more in episode 5.

        But I would agree, the sagging string for their telephone game was really sad! Especially when he just walked away and essentially disappeared for the rest of the break. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I was trying to decide what to focus on in the discussion this week. I honestly don’t know how I feel about the scene with Kaoru’s mom. I got a bit emotional over the reunion, but I also found myself feeling a bit angry. Despite feelings of abandonment, Kaoru travels all that way to meet with his mother. Her response to seeing her baby boy all grown up? Let’s feed him, ask him about his love life, and hit on his adolescent friend. It just left a bad taste in my mouth.

    I absolutely agree with Raistlin about the most touching scene being the revelation over the makeshift phone (which is such an iconic 50’s-60’s image). In the beginning, I thought the series was aimed at pairing everyone up nicely and then focusing on the Jazz. Clearly, that wasn’t the case.

    While I’m all already to binge watch the remaining episodes, I’m patiently waiting because discussing with all of you makes it absolutely worthwhile

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I would have to agree with you. The interaction with his mom was jarring, I also felt that initial reaction of like oh…the first thing she talks about is his love life? And then they laugh about it? I thought it felt a bit weird, but maybe she did it to avoid discussion of the past. Maybe she wasn’t ready for a serious talk about what caused her to leave, so she deflected it by appearing to be carefree and to learn more about her son.

      I’m so ready to binge watch it too kimmie!! But I know that if I do, I won’t be able to write these posts the same way. LOL ❤


  3. It’s hard to tell what they’re trying to do with Kaoru and Ritsuko. The scene with the can telephones shows that there is some real sorrow there, as Kaoru kind of realizes he came in and messed things up. Sen, of course, is supportive as ever but he doesn’t seem to get over this malady until they come back from Tokyo. At that point it seems like he accepts the way his relationship with Ritsuko is.

    To answer your question Zel, I think that place Kaoru’s mom works is a restaurant because she let him and Sen inside and gave them food when they were caught out in the rain. I’m not sure why Kaoru was so surprised about it though. There must be something there given how they made it a point for Kaoru to note how different she is now.

    I think the whole trip helped Kaoru understand the importance of the bonds he’s created, and to not let something like the awkwardness between him and Ritsuko ruin things. Time will tell though, because I think Sen is set up for some heartbreak with Yurika being so obviously interested in Jun (but Jun hasn’t been in contact with her it seems?).

    Liked by 1 person

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