[Kids on the Slope]: Episode 2 | Summertime

note: I want to give a quick shout out and a huge thank you to weekendotaku for helping me out and creating the header images for the watch-along series!! 


Kaoru is attempting to self-study jazz after being told he doesn’t have a sense for jazz; trying to learn it to spite Sentaro and to impress Ritsuko. As summer vacation approaches he tries to set-up a date with Ritsuko, but that doesn’t go exactly as planned..

Kaoru_smiling.png

The impromptu jazz session brought on a very different side of Kaoru; he was full on smiling the entire time. I’m a bit surprised he was able to catch and participate almost fluidly with the trio even though he’s a complete newbie. Kaoru still doesn’t see Sentaro or maybe even Ritsuko as more than classmates; but the more he spends time with them, I think his view of friendship is slowly changing. We also met Jun, an older brother figure and another childhood friend to the duo. I wonder what kind of role he’ll have going forward!

kaoru_kidnapped.png

Karou’s failed attempt at a date is ruined by Sentaro tagging along. I think Ritsuko realized that Kaoru doesn’t know how to have fun which is probably why she talked to Sentaro into helping her kidnap him for a beach day.  In the span of a few weeks, the duo seems to have done quite a bit to pull Karou out of his unsociable state. They have been very open to him whereas he’s still unsure – an issue of trust since he has moved around so much? It’s easier to not get attached to people that way.

The beach scene was a great look at the beginning of love stories that will probably complicate one another and further impact the blossoming friendships and probably test long-standing ones. First we have Kaoru realizing his attraction to Ritsuko, and wanting her to smile all the time; which causes him to be a little less uptight and actually gets him to have a fun day at the beach. Second is Sentaro’s love-at-first-sight moment. It’s possible that Kaoru may use this to his advantage in the next episode; but where does that put Ritusko? I know I originally said that Sentaro may have been pining away for Ritsuko; but this episode seemed to really focus on the fact they really are childhood friends.

Overall, I thought this episode had a more fun playful side that’s definitive of ‘summertime’ since I found myself laughing most of the episode. Especially with Kaoru trying to break out of his shell and be more of a man like Sentaro. It’s almost a stark contrast from the first episode where Kaoru was indifferent and uninterested in really making friends. I also, find the pacing of the show to be a tad unclear, not that it’s a deal breaker for me, I just can’t tell if the episode is happening within a span of days or week. It seems to be weeks; since it’s stated that Kaoru has been playing jazz the last two weeks.

Also, totally random, but I don’t know what it is, but I’m finding the animation really refreshing…? I can’t explain it!

This is the song the jazz trio turned quartet played (if my research was correct):


What did you guys think of this episode? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂

[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.

KotS_1

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.

Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 11.12.46 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 11.16.06 PM.png

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?)

Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 11.17.57 PMScreen Shot 2017-04-28 at 11.18.16 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 11.54.18 PM.png

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?

Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 11.27.32 PM.png

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!

[Watch-Along]: Kids on the Slope Announcement!

Hey hey everyone! As I mentioned on my OP/ED of the week, I’m going to start a watch-along of Kids on the Slope. I’m excited a few people have shown some interest in it! 😀

I found this anime on a whim based on a clip I saw on Facebook that Crunchyroll had posted. As a music lover and a musician, I loved it. I have not seen it, nor do I know much about it. This anime, this will also be completely brand new to me as it is for many of you as well!  Judging from what I’ve seen, it looks pretty solid. It’s not far behind in ratings if I were to compare it to Your Lie in April.

So hopefully this won’t be a huge dud! XD. Can’t wait to get this one started with my fellow bloggers! I’ll be starting this blog series this Friday, April 28, 2017. I’ll try to do it daily, but it could end up being every other day.

Kidsontheslope2.jpg

Kids on the Slope or “Sakamichi no Apollon”, is a heartwarming story of friendship, music, and love that follows three unique individuals brought together by their mutual appreciation for jazz set in the summer of 1966 in Japan.

Introverted classical pianist and top student Kaoru Nishimi has just arrived in Kyushu for his first year of high school. Having constantly moved from place to place since his childhood, he abandons all hope of fitting in, preparing himself for another lonely, meaningless year. That is, until he encounters the notorious delinquent Sentarou Kawabuchi.

Sentarou’s immeasurable love for jazz music inspires Kaoru to learn more about the genre, and as a result, he slowly starts to break out of his shell, making his very first friend. Kaoru begins playing the piano at after-school jazz sessions, located in the basement of fellow student Ritsuko Mukae’s family-owned record shop. As he discovers the immense joy of using his musical talents to bring enjoyment to himself and others, Kaoru’s summer might just crescendo into one that he will remember forever.

– MAL Synopsis