Anime Vice News

KIDS ON THE SLOPE #1 - - Watch & Learn #1

Anime for the Sundance crowd.

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.

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of HYBRID BASTARDS! & UNIMAGINABLE. Order them on Amazon here & here. Follow him on Twitter: @tompinchuk

AURON570on May 14, 2012 at 3:10 p.m.

I highly recommend this anime. Great story, music and animation. Possibly best this season. Check out my recent blog if you want a brief intro to the series.

It is also available online at crunchyroll.com for those who can't access Hulu.

metalsnakezeroon May 14, 2012 at 8:03 p.m.

Tom, this show is very well made. The animation of how the characters play, the character development, the attention to details. How can you pass up on something so good while watching some crappy Naruto comedy?

Darokion May 14, 2012 at 8:20 p.m.

Agreed with AURON570 and metalsnakezero on this. Kids on the Slope's by far the best thing running this season and the attention to the little details when they're playing is mindblowing.

Marshal Victoryon May 14, 2012 at 8:48 p.m.

You had me at "a really unexpected offering from COWBOY BEBOP alums"! Just watched it an i stayed from it because of some of what i had heard about it.Which seems to be well off the mark.

Animation is quality . A good quality to high at that.Attention to details is really good.Sound as well is good .Sure its your fish outa water, high school ,slice of life fare that we see alot of.But that seems to be just the frame work because it looks like its gona be about the music as much as the animation an story.

from http://www.crunchyroll.com/kids-on-the-slope

"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."

For a pilot it set things up nicely.Most people in the school seem to be meh to bullies.Even Kaoru's niece to me was predictable as well as the aunt.An since its a visual treat you miss some of the humor i think 1st go threw.Ill watch it again on cruchyroll this time tho.Sure it sets up the triangles fairly probably kinda well.. but i think i see more squares in the school.

Show like this i would not recommend to say any one who hates jazz or blues or even rock n roll ( its gota lead their at some point ) I just don't see this for those who hate slice of life either.Because the oddness to this show seems to be good animation an jazz .I"m just hoping it will not be as predictable going forward.That is why i quit watching network tv an yes the jazz made COWBOY BEBOP cool.But it was not predictable an had its own oddness hooks.

Time will tell tho hope for the best.

Rxanaduon May 14, 2012 at 9:59 p.m.
When it comes to questioning why some anime aren't merely done as live-action shows, I had the same thought when watching BECK and Nodame Cantabile.  Both of them didn't make much use of the medium they were created in, as they turned out to have bland animation used to create stories we've seen one too many times (one a coming-of-age tale, the other a romcom).  Heck, Nodame Cantabile is more of a "Best of..." collection of classical music than any true mix of music and anime.
 
Which make it that much more discouraging when the director of this show was previously head of Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo, two shows which introduces large audiences to different genres of music while making abundant use of the medium they were made in.  
SergioBon May 15, 2012 at 12:13 a.m.

This is the best new series this season - or at least tied for best new series with Space Brothers. Clearly the best music of any series this season. I love Yuki's voice on the OP.

Regarding a live-action adaptation, I wouldn't be surprised if they did in the future. A lot of series get a live-action interpretation.

LifeByDegreeson May 15, 2012 at 7:33 a.m.

I think there are three reasons why this is animated- rather than a full-live action show.

One- there is a part of the show that doesn't want to be taken as seriously as a live action interpretation would be.

Two- the camera work and rhythm bits that the show emphasizes- especially in the "Piece of the Day" portions- is that much better for having the tools and medium of animation.

Three- when I think about this show- I think about books like Harris and Me by Gary Paulsen and a A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck. I think of classic period piece children's/youth literature- something I think is handled really well in world of animation- that might lose a touch of its fantastic nature set a real world environment. It tends to be over-realized to the point of self-parody (Doctor Who) - or under-realized to the point of total abstraction. Few- if any live action shows handle that well- even with the best of budgets- US or otherwise.

zaldaron May 15, 2012 at 6:32 p.m.

@metalsnakezero said:

Tom, this show is very well made. The animation of how the characters play, the character development, the attention to details. How can you pass up on something so good while watching some crappy Naruto comedy?

absolutley agreed. Everything I have heard about this show made me like it. Then I checked out a couple episodes and now I love it.

XChileon May 15, 2012 at 11:12 p.m.

beautifully captivating,Richfully meaningful. Excellent find Tom Pinchuk.

Note: Complete stylization is not a necessity in Anime. Its okay to ground ourselves in semi Realism.

mr8thsamuraion May 17, 2012 at 7:50 p.m.

im baffled by the people here who are saying that they don't understand why this wasn't just done live action. If i understand what you are saying correctly, if i am not go ahead and correct me, that the only reason to animate something is if the special effects would cost too much in live action.

Anime is fucking art, muther fuckers.

This anime has a beautiful feeling too it, a melody, that is added by this art. animation has the power to convey the feelings of the everyday, slice of life, just as well as the shonen fighter. At least that is what I think.

Dig Deeper into Kids on the Slope

"Kids on the Slope" (Sakamichi no Apollon) is a TV anime adapatation of the award winning manga by Yūki Kodama.

Edit/View the Wiki
Hit the Forums (4 Posts)
Add/View Images (493 Images)
Watch Some Videos
Pokemon Black and White Looks Delicious in Motion

First video of a Pokemon battle in Black and White.

Comment & Win: One Piece Vol. 52, 53

Time for a giveaway folks! Now, act civil, we don't want anyone to get hurt in the mad rush to win.

Beginner's Guide to FLCL

Gainax's madcap, surrealist anime, broken down for new viewers.

Ballz Deep

Steve gets intimately close to Dragon Ball Z, for science!

Top 3 Awful Anime Dubs

Grit your teeth and get your ear plugs ready cause this week we're taking on the three most amazingly bad dubs of all time!

How Is NARUTO Like DOCTOR WHO? Catching Up with SHIPPUDEN #371 - 373

Both of these franchises have been around a long time. How do they keep fans engaged?

Were All of Goku's Pals in DRAGON BALL Once his Enemies?

Episode #16 -- Retro Review. Look, it's Launch!

Checking Back on SPACE DANDY and... He's Cleaned Up His Act?

Episode #19. Special review. It's turned upside-down!

ONE PIECE :: Catching Up On Episode #657-659

How does ONE PIECE balance almost a dozen main characters? Careful plotting.

ONE PIECE Ch. 757 Review

Stand back there, lil' lady. The men folk will be take things from here.

ONE PIECE Ch. 758 Review

When Usopp gets to be this heroic, I can forgive almost anything.

JOJO'S BIZARRE ADVENTURE :: STARDUST CRUSADERS #22

This is just what bros do to other bros, all right?

Anime Inspires Comics :: the THANATOS DIVER Interview

Former staff writers Nick Tapalansky and Alex Eckman-Lawn are OTAKU COMING HOME again, telling us all about their new, manga-esque adventure comic -- which Anime Vice actually inspired!

Were All of Goku's Pals in DRAGON BALL Once his Enemies?

Episode #16 -- Retro Review. Look, it's Launch!

How Is NARUTO Like DOCTOR WHO? Catching Up with SHIPPUDEN #371 - 373

Both of these franchises have been around a long time. How do they keep fans engaged?

BLEACH Ch. 593 Review

If you've ever had that feeling as if you're running in circles, Hitsugaya knows exactly how you feel.

Anime Inspires Comics :: the THANATOS DIVER Interview

Former staff writers Nick Tapalansky and Alex Eckman-Lawn are OTAKU COMING HOME again, telling us all about their new, manga-esque adventure comic -- which Anime Vice actually inspired!

ONE PIECE :: Catching Up On Episode #657-659

How does ONE PIECE balance almost a dozen main characters? Careful plotting.

Checking Back on SPACE DANDY and... He's Cleaned Up His Act?

Episode #19. Special review. It's turned upside-down!

ONE PIECE Ch. 757 Review

Stand back there, lil' lady. The men folk will be take things from here.

JOJO'S BIZARRE ADVENTURE :: STARDUST CRUSADERS #22

This is just what bros do to other bros, all right?

Mandatory Network

Submissions can take several hours to be approved.

Save ChangesCancel