Sunday, January 20, 2013

[Anime] Kids on the Slope

Slice of Life/ Music
12 Episodes - Summer 2012


The story of Kids on the Slope really starts rolling when the classical piano-trained Kaoru encounters Sentaro and falls head-over-heels in love with jazz. One thing to look out for is the performance scene of an excellent jazz piece in every episode. Up-and-coming young jazz musicians are employed here, with Takashi Matsunaga (Kaoru) on piano and Shun Ishiwaka (Sentaro) on drums. Yoko Kanno produces the sessions, which are then used directly for the anime. Jazz standards like “Moanin’”, “My Favorite Things”, and “Someday My Prince Will Come” are played along with improvisational performances that reflect the mood of the characters at the time, whether they’re in high spirits, or feel lonely, confused, angry, and so on. How these occasional performances and feelings are portrayed and directed is one more highlight of the show. Director Watanabe’s “sessions” are a mix of images and music, so innovative and exciting visual expressions should be expected.

Click below for my review. May contain spoilers, so proceed with caution.


Kids of the Slope was such a pleasant surprise. From the synopsis, I imagined a typical music anime, just one based on jazz. However, it was amazing to discover that this series was about so much than that. 

Kaoru is the new kid of the slope (their school is atop a hill) and he's feeling out of place. He's moved around a lot since he was a kid, so this is just another awkward day of being the new kid . It's his first day of class and the other kids aren't being too nice, the jerks, except for the class representative, Ritsuko. The class nerd warns him about a trouble making kid named Sentaro. Despite his decision to stay away from him, Kaoru runs into Sentaro anyway. Thus, beautiful relationships are formed between Kaoru and Sentaro and Kaoru and Ritsuko, and all three, tied together by love and jazz. 

This series is such a rarity. I cannot remember the last time that I watched a series (anime or drama) in which I had no complaints, or moments of disappointment. This series was pure perfection. The character development, the storyline/plot, the music, the artwork, and the pacing were all perfectly portrayed. This is a stunning series about friendship, love, and finding one's place in the world. It's the same old themes, but you don't care, because the series is so well-done that it seems as if it's the first time. This series succeeds in that it's so down-to-earth. It doesn't try very hard. Kids of the Slope is simply about true bromance, true love, and real emotions and experiences. Nothing more, nothing less. And it's enough. 

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