Aki no Kanade

Movie (1 ep x 25 min)
3.47 out of 5 from 950 votes
Rank #6,931
Aki no Kanade

Aki Miyagawa moved to Tokyo to pursue her dream to be a taiko drummer, but had a hard time balancing her strict training regimen with her part-time job. Now, after 15 years, she's returning to coach others for a taiko festival.

Source: ANN

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Usually when an anime is about a specific hobby/passion of a character like music or sports, its portrayal makes you more passionate about that topic regardless of your initial interest. Aki no Kanade, on the other hand, did not make me more intrigued by taiko drumming in the slightest. Excusing this anime for its short runtime seems unfair to the Anime Tamago that actually make good use of your 22 minutes. So let's talk about the pacing. We start from the perspective of jaded 30-year-old Aki. As she recalls her past, we get into the long flashback portion. Here the short really detracts from its message. From the first half of the flashback the audience already clearly sees Aki's passion, failures, and resulting regrets that formulated her adulthood. We didn't really need more development from her younger self. What we do get is a drawn out struggle which introduces more elements (e.g. her father's disapproval) and makes it harder to tie up when the story concludes with her older self. As much time as the anime spends on Aki, her character as an adult still seemed underdeveloped. She seemed pretty listless as an adult, but extremely energetic and self-confident (to the point of even being self-centered) as a child. People can change, sure, but for the story the change didn't serve its purpose. What the short seemed to go for was a contrast between her older and younger self, and an eventual rediscovery of that younger self. But we don't see that remembrance affect her character. She essentially carries out what she promised to do from the beginning of the short. This whole re-discovery journey of Aki's could have been portrayed perfectly just through the music scenes - as an less passionate adult, as an energetic child, and as a reinvigorated adult again. But the only emotion we get from the drumming scenes is a :D from Aki, even in the opening scene as a supposedly jaded adult. The sameness of the opening and ending performance implicates that her experiences in this short didn't affect her as a musician, thus making the music theme purposeless. While this short had a lot of potential, it left me with some mild confusion but more overwhelmingly a "meh." (Recommendations: If you only care about better pacing and the music element, maybe check out Hakubo - although do read Nekus's review where I also call it "meh" haha. If you are not short on time, then watch the entirety of Sound! Euphonium, which is the reverse of this - an indifferent girl growing into a passionate, ambitious young woman.)

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