Even taking the re-visitation of jazz into account, this show is still a really unexpected offering from COWBOY BEBOP alums. I just wasn't seeing anything in that show that screamed, "But, what I really want to do is period coming-of-age stories." Of course, I know animation isn’t a genre, but a medium that can incorporate a boundless range of genres… but a show like this does certainly test a few limits floating around the very basic question of “Why?”
See, when you’ve got a coming-of-age, period piece manga, you can justify it as very personalized visual storytelling - - a production that can seem big even while coming from one precise point of view. However, once you put the same material through the sort of big, team-powered machine that’s needed to produce a weekly anime show, you can’t help thinking it’d be more sensible to do it in live-action. KIDS ON THE SLOPE isn’t nearly stylized enough for anybody to claim it’s employing animation’s unique advantages, so I can’t help thinking that what I just watched is the result of the Japanese TV business not having the sort of infrastructure necessary to do this with real actors and locations dressed up to look accurate to the 60’s.
You know, because economics are always on my mind.
I go on such a tangent because there honestly isn’t a ton to discuss. It’s a fine drama without too much - - aside from the jazz, perhaps - - to make it stand out. If you’ve ever been looking for a gateway anime you can show to friends whose “Recommend” que in Netflix is almost entirely comprised of offerings from IFC and Sony Pictures Classics, then you might’ve just found it here.
Watch this episode, "Moanin" here and decide for yourself.