Kaoru Nishimi is a brainy young man who moves to his uncle's house in Kyushu during his first year of high school. Kaoru has moved from place to place since he was a child, so he has become an introverted person. Kaoru is also a classically-trained pianist.
During his first day of school, he meets Sentaro Kawabuchi, one his classmates who is mistaken by his peers for being a thug. Sentaro may be tall and strong, but he also has a big heart. Sentaro loves jazz music, and is also a musician; he prefers to play the drums.
Ritsuko Mukae is Kaoru and Sentaro's classmate, and she has been friends with Sentaro since childhood. Her family owns a record shop called Welcome Records, and the basement of the shop has a practice studio. Ritsuko brings Kaoru and Sentaro together in the practice room, hoping to get them to play together. Sentaro says that Kaoru doesn't understand jazz and can't play it right. Kaoru learns which jazz piece Sentaro is trying to play on the piano, and he purchases the record in order to learn it. From here, Kaoru begins learning about jazz music, as well as what it means to have friends.
One of the standout features of Kids on the Slope is its musical score. The music was composed by Yoko Kanno, and the pieces sound top-notch. Jazz standards are heard, such as "Moanin'" in the first episode. There are also improvisational pieces that are used in the soundtrack to reflect the mood of the character at the time they're playing the music.
I also thought the writing worked perfectly for the drama that this series is conveying. And the animation used for the series really brings the drama of the story to life. The writing, animation, and music come together to create an anime series that viewers will want to continue following. Personally, after seeing the first episode, I would have to say it's one of the best series I've sampled from the Spring 2012 season. I'm glad that Sentai Filmworks has acquired the North American distribution rights, because I look forward to having the opportunity to purchase this series on home video in order to add it to my collection.
Personally, I would recommend Kids on the Slope to anime viewers who are 13 or 14 years of age and older.
|Kids on the Slope||12||2012||Shinichiro Watanabe||MAPPA/Tezuka Productions||Sentai Filmworks|