[Kids on the Slope]: Episode 1 | Moanin’

Hey hey everyone! And welcome to the premiere of Archi-Anime’s Watch-Along for Kids on the Slope! Pretty stoked to start this one; especially after watching the first episode. So, let’s get into it!

We meet our protagotnist Kaoru Nishimi a new transfer to the local highschool of Kyushu; indifferent about being the new kid because he’s been through it so many times he just doesn’t seem to care. Or so we think; underneath the false bravado he’s a nervous wreck and starts to feel nauseous when he hears about a delinquent classmate named Sentaro Kawabuchi.

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This touching scene between Sentaro and Kaoru made me laugh because of how awkwardly intimate it was considering the way it was animated. Which, by the way, was beautifully animated in slow-motion, and not to mention that wonderful lighting with the reveal of a half asleep Sentaro. If I were in Kaoru’s position, it might have been love at first sight for me. Anyways, I  couldn’t help but think, who could Sentaro expect to come and find him? Which leads me to this scene in the nurse’s office; which I’ll come back to later.

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My favorite scene is Kaoru taking the key to the roof from Sentaro. Running away hoping to get a piece of mind; and all of a sudden Sentaro is following him because he seems interesting. Unfortunately Kaoru just wants to stand on the roof in silence to regain his bearings, which Sentaro finds boring.  I think Kaoru lightens up a little after showering in the rain. I think Sentaro sees that Kaoru is wound a little too tight, and enjoys messing with him to see him get even more riled up.

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When Ritsuko sees Kaoru without his glasses and compliments him on being very “pretty” or handsome. Sentaro interrupts them by messing with Kaoru and ruining the moment. This gets me to think about what I said earlier about Sentaro thinking someone found him. Is it possible it was Ritsuko? She seems to dote on Sentaro a lot! Is this the childhood friend trope that we all know so well (a la Tsubaki and Kousei?)

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We see that the piano holds a special place for Kaoru as it ties him to his Father. Karou plays to escape loneliness. When he plays for the first time in Kyushu it’s Claire De Lune by Debussy. Clair de Lune is often noted to evoke a number of emotions as it progresses through it’s suite. To me it’s a melancholy kind of nostalgic piece, and I wonder if Kaoru plays it because he’s reminiscing over his memories with his father whom he misses so much.

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Sentaro’s drum solo was jaw-dropping and incredibly dynamic. I wasn’t expecting that at all! Much like his drum solo Sentaro has got this bright brash personality, and you can’t help but get caught up in it. I think Kaoru is also curious about Sentaro’s carefree personality. The whole interaction in the basements summarizes their relationship thus far; clashing tastes in music and in personalities. Much like jazz not following a formal structure; they’ll eventually come to a point where it just works and melds together; creating a push and pull type of relationship. Honestly it’s interesting to have both the nostalgic piano piece really show the kind of personality Kaoru has compared to Sentaro’s overpowering drums. How will they work together I wonder?

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A few other things of note: I’ve never really had the “new kid at school” experience, but man those kids are real brutal to Kaoru on his first day, just because he’s a bit of a city boy (apparently Yokosuka is close enough to Tokyo); and don’t get me started on his cousin! Begged him to play piano and then when he got in trouble for if she left him high and dry! He definitely doesn’t have it easy, no wonder he’s such an introvert!

Here’s the song Sentaro was playing on the piano, and the album Karou decided to pick up after Sentaro made a big deal of him not having a “jazz sense”. By the way, this has been on repeat for me on Spotify.

 

So far, so good for the first episode! I absolutely love the fact that these episodes are titled based on jazz songs! It’s the start of a journey into jazz, a blossoming friendship and …a possible love triangle?


What did you guys think of Episode 1? Can’t wait to see what your guys’ thoughts were!

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14 thoughts on “[Kids on the Slope]: Episode 1 | Moanin’

  1. KimmieKawaii says:

    After viewing only the premiere episode, the best way to describe this series is genuine. I noticed that particular attention was being paid to details, like the way Kaoru removes his glasses to wipe the raindrops off them as he watches Sentaro drumming on the desk. When a series makes an extra effort to include these small nuances, it is something that astute viewers can truly appreciate.

    At the risk of getting too “deep,” the comparison between the two focal areas in this episode (the roof and the slope) are interesting choices. The slope signifies, in a literary sense, progression by moving upwards and broadening ones surroundings. With that in mind, Kaoru retreats to the comfort of the rooftop when he becomes overwhelmed. A roof can be used almost interchangeably as a metaphor for protection, a safe haven. Compared to the slope, a roof can also be seen as a stagnant place with no ability to advance any higher. At the end of the episode Kaoru is shown tackling the slope, with a rather comical bounce in his step. So it seems, his dependence on the stagnant comfort provided by the rooftop is slowly diminishing.

    For all the beautiful symbolism of this episode, I felt the pacing was off. In the beginning, Kaoru is painfully ostracized from the rest of the world. Viewers are given glimpses of his family’s separation and how it has influenced his current situation. He appears reserved and avoids in depth interaction with his new peers. Yet by the end of the episode, Kaoru has already warmed up to the other two main characters. Given that this is a 12 episode series, I imagine this sudden shift in temperament is a time saving tactic, but it felt a little too convenient all the same.

    I agree with you, Zel, the animation and lighting is absolutely beautiful. The BG music is addictive and I found myself wanting to hear what the rest of the soundtrack has to offer. Also, the more serious moments are diluted with bits of humor without feeling overly saturated. It has all the trappings of a great series! I am looking forward to the rest of the series and following along with all of you!

    Liked by 2 people

    • heyitszel says:

      Kimmie!! ❤ ❤ I love seeing your comments pop up. I'm a bit behind on replying so sorry about that. I absolutely love what you had to say about the slopes. It's very insightful and something I never would've caught on my own. But you're right his dependence on the roof slope is diminishing; especially when he watches Senataro running down the slope; he wants to see how the view of the slope looks to Sentaro and wonders if he could also ever feel that way…I think…or maybe I'm also getting too deep. haha!

      I agree with the pacing; I wonder if it's because we couldn't tell how much time has progressed between the first day they meet and when the episode ends. It looks like it happened in a day or two, but time may have passed faster than we're imagining. But you're right, the sudden shift in temperament for Kaoru seems to be huge for one episode. You'd think he'd need a bit more goading on from the duo.

      Ah, the music, and the lighting. I'm a sucker for lighting and great OST's! I'm having pretty good thoughts about the series so far! Let's hope the momentum continues! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • KimmieKawaii says:

        I don’t think you’re being too deep! I think that is a spot on observation and one I didn’t consider (which is why viewing parties are so much fun!)

        You’re also right about the passing of time. It seems that just between the premiere and second episode, nearly a season has passed, so by the end of episode one, it could’ve been months later… who knows!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. weekendotaku says:

    So far this has enough to capture my interest. Both Kaoru and Sentarou seem like they have something deeper going on that the series will explore.

    The comparisons to Your lie in April pop up in my mind no matter how much I try to view this with a fresh perspective. In any case it predates YliA by like 2.5 years so if anything it predates it. Anyway, Kaoru has some kind of trauma regarding uncomfortable situations, but rather than it being caused by the piano, he finds some sense of comfort from it. Strange that his aunt is so against him playing it though. That was a beautiful rendition of Clare de Lune.

    The one thing that’s kind of throwing me off is Kaoru’s state of mind. Sen is clearly trying to goad him out of his comfort zone by doing things like throwing his umbrella away, but his willingness to step out of it on his own so early is harder to understand. Something about Sen and his unwillingness to stick to the rules is compelling to him, and he can’t seem to resist the urge to bend a little himself.

    Thus far they’re depicting classical music as very rigid (something YliA challenges) and jazz as a more free and emotional art form, personified by Kaoru and Sen, respectively. The most interesting thing about this right now is seeing how the show plans to shape their relationship to one another.

    Liked by 1 person

    • heyitszel says:

      I agree that there’s a lot more than what meets the eye between those two. And I like how they’re almost polar opposities in terms of personality; but the introduction of jazz has been a positive impact on Kaoru as he’s actually become interested in something.

      I know, I can’t help but see YLiA in a lot of music anime to be honest; well, except the idol ones haha! I really did enjoy his version of Claire de Lune also, Been listening to the song pretty frequent since. I personally want to learn it on piano, but after I saw the sheet music I was very much discouraged as that’s not my skill level. haha.

      Hmm, I did find it jarring that Kaoru’s sudden willingness to change so early is a bit harder to understand in the initial episode. I wonder if Sentaro’s annoyance just breaks him down in the end; like there’s just no fighting against someone that’s so imposing.

      Agreed, the depiction of jazz and classical is very black and white so far. I do wonder if this will start to change as the show progresses and the both of them develop.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. raistlin0903 says:

    And…we are off 😀 Watched the first episode yesterday and I have to see it really has me intrigued so far. The animation is very beautiful, and I also like the fact that you don’t exactly know in which time period this series takes place.
    Right from the very first moment the atmosphere for this one really had me going 😊 Sentaro’s drumsequence reminded me off the movie Whiplash. If you have not yet had a chance to see this one, I highly recommend it. Especially if you like jazz, it is a great movie.
    This series is definitely off to a good start, and I am looking forward to where it is going to go 😊And speaking of good starts: this first post for the series was highly enjoyable to read 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • heyitszel says:

      I’m finally getting around to the first episode comments! I agree, you can’t tell the time period of this anime unless you read the synopsis. But I wonder if it’ll eventually the time period will show through as the time progresses.

      I’ve been meaning to see Whiplash! I’m fairly new to Jazz; I’ve only listened to it here and there, but that movie did look pretty awesome. I also enjoyed the first episode. It’s taking a lot out of me to not just blow through the entire series. I’m thinking of binging it and then coming back to do analysis..but at the same time I don’t want to because I want the surprise to show through as we progress through the show!

      Thank you so much for participating! It makes me incredibly happy! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • raistlin0903 says:

        Haha, yes that’s what happened when I was watching Your Lie in April as well had wanted to binge through the entire series in a hurry, but in the end I managed to restrain myself (and yes it is happening again with this series). Whiplash is really, very, very good. I might do a review for that one later this month, as I truly love that film. Well, I haven’t read the synopsis, seeing that I wanted to be surprised. Maybe if the timeperiod won’t shine through, I might check out the synopsis after it is done 😊 Ps: tomorrow evening I will respond to your email. Sorry it has taken me a while to do so 😅

        Liked by 1 person

    • KimmieKawaii says:

      I’m going to have to check out Whiplash. It seems right up my alley in terms of movies. I agree, I am not entirely sure the time period, but it is certainly a “simpler time,” of vinyl records and the great outdoors for entertainment.

      Liked by 2 people

      • heyitszel says:

        I think the time period is summer of 1966 as per wiki says lol but yes, it is definitely a simpler time…no technology outside of vinyl records…honestly..this show so far has made me think about vinyl records…*sigh

        Like

          • heyitszel says:

            Ahh yes, I’d love to collect records, and I’m sure my family has a ton stored somewhere in the house too. I remember us having one a long time ago. 🙂 My bff just recently got one *sigh* classic vinyl..I don’t think you can go wrong with it! 😀

            Like

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