TV Talk Anime Edition: Kids on the Slope (Sakamichi No Apollon)- Moanin’

TV Talk: There will be spoilers about the featured episode and previous episodes.  TV Talk isn’t really a recap, or an official review. It’s how I feel about the episode and show in general. I’m writing it with my heart and not my head. Just me, talking about TV. 

I’m head-over-heels for the new anime series, Kids on the Slope (Sakamichi no Apollon). But honestly, what can I expect from director Shinichirō Watanabe (Samurai Champloo, The Animatrix) and composer Yoko Kanno (Ghost in the Shell: SAC, Wolf’s Rain)? The magical duo responsible for the perfection we know as Cowboy Bebop.

Kids on the Slope’s plot via Wiki:

The beginning of summer, 1966. Because of his father’s job situation, freshman high school student Kaoru Nishimi moves by himself from Yokosuka to Kyushu to live with relatives. Until then, Kaoru was an honor roll student who tended to keep to himself, but meeting notorious bad boy Sentaro Kawabuchi starts to change him. Through his devil-may-care classmate, Kaoru learns the attractions of jazz and finds the first person he can call a “friend.” He also discovers how much fun it is to play music with a pal. Other characters include Sentaro’s kind childhood chum, Ritsuko, who is the daughter of a record shop owner; the mysterious upperclassman, Yurika; and Brother Jun, the much-admired leader among their peers.

Adapted from the manga by Yūki Kodama, Kids on the Slope is a timeless coming-of-age tale where ying, Kaoru Nishimi, and yang, Sentarō Kawabuchi, become friends. But when you add Watanabe’s directing and Kanno’s composing, this typical story turns into something beautiful.
I’m a big fan of jazz, all thanks to my father. When I was younger I never cared for it, because I wasn’t ready for jazz. As I got older I started to feel jazz. If you love jazz you know what I mean. So it comes to no surprise that my favorite scene is when Sentarō and Kaoru begin playing the first few notes of “Moanin’” by Art Blakey with my heart skipping a beat. Jazz means a lot to me because my father introduced it to me. Remember when I said I feel jazz? Well certain songs I feel more than others, and “Moanin’” is one of those.

Kids on the Slope illustrates that there is beauty in the big and the small. For example, you have the obvious brilliance of the animation and music in Sen’s fight scene on the roof with the seniors. Or when Kaoru hears Sen playing the drums for the first time. Then it surprises you with the delicate subtleties such as the reflection of Kaoru’s hands on the grand piano. Or the transparency of the boys’ school uniforms after being in the rain, with Sentarō’s striped shirt and Kaoru’s skin showing through. I barely noticed when Kaoru casually takes of his glasses when he sees Mukae because she thinks Kaoru looks handsome without it. But when I did notice it, I smiled. It’s one of those shows you’ll watch again and again to catch something wonderful you might’ve missed before.

It’s not often that an anime is as visually and aurally impressive as Kids on the Slope. The story is good, but still traditional, but Wanatabe and Kanno make it special. This is truly my new favorite show.


Trailer for Sakamichi No Apollon

Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers- Moanin’

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