Kaoru, an aloof honour student, has always moved from town to town due to his father's work, this means he never really settled anywhere either. Moving to Kyushu he expected it to be the ... See full summary »
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2012  
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Cast

Series cast summary:
Ayumu Murase ...
 Boy / ... (2 episodes, 2012)
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Storyline

Kaoru, an aloof honour student, has always moved from town to town due to his father's work, this means he never really settled anywhere either. Moving to Kyushu he expected it to be the same as always, yet this time something was different. He first grew close to the class president, but even more interesting was his shared connection with her and the class 'bad boy' over music, more specifically Jazz. Here in Kyushu, he finally forms his first real friendships. Written by Mattias1

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Animation | Drama | Music

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12 April 2012 (Japan)  »

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Kids on the Slope  »

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claire de lune
Written by Claude Debussy
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Like a great jam session
29 September 2012 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

One might expect something a bit different for Shinichiro Watanabe's first anime series in ages. Rather than the kind of genre-fusion madcap adventures for which Watanabe became famous for (Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo), Kids on the Slope is a gentle coming-of-age drama about a pair of teenage boys who don't fit in and find release through jazz music. Well, it's not that much of a surprise if you saw his short film Baby Blue, but it's still worth applauding such a doggedly realist show in a medium that specializes in flights of fancy.

Indeed, Kids on the Slope is at its best when it flows with the languorous, irregular rhythm of jazz, letting us soak in the aesthetics and hang out with its characters. The animation is beautifully done, and the music is of course excellent (and what's more, we actually see the characters playing the notes -- no Nodame Cantabile-esque still frames here). The attempts to interject drama, especially towards the back half of the series, take away from this appeal a bit, but even at its most serious Kids on the Slope is never melodramatic.

The main attraction here is the relationship between Kaoru and Sentaro, a curious mix of friendship, rivalry, and admiration. They drag each other towards something approaching adulthood, even if there's always a distance between them. Anime has plenty of shows about male-male bonding, but few have a central relationship as complex as this one. Ritsuko, the third wheel to this bromance, is handled less well and never really comes off as more than a love interest.

Along the way there are historical subplots, moments of ambiguous redemption, a hilarious wannabe pop band, and more jam sessions than you can shake a drumstick at. It doesn't live up to Cowboy Bebop, but nothing does, and unlike Samurai Champloo, Kids on the Slope doesn't really try. Instead, it's its own thing, strange and a little funky, but ultimately pretty enjoyable.


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