Dai lived a normal high school life in Sendai: a city of hot summer days and rainy nights. Between basketball, part time jobs, and an uncertain future, something was missing. And that thing was music. With his days in senior year running out, Dai swears a heartfelt vow: “I’m gonna be the best jazz player in the world.” But what do you need to be the best? Talent? Effort? A lucky break? Or maybe just a deep, pure love for music, and too much stubbornness to know when to quit.
Source: Seven Seas Entertainment
Shortened Opinion: Overall the movie was kinda okay-ish. The story was super cliche and the character development was so-so. The fact that the main character breaks into the professional scene so fast broke the emersion for me… sort of. Although I was looking at this movie mostly from a musician's stand point, there were some parts I really enjoyed. Animation was super mid and you could tell. This movie does a good job of representing jazz with mentions of a few well-known jazz musicians and the setting where most performances take place. It’s good to see more jazz representation in media like this and I hope there will be more in the future. ━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━ Let me start by saying that I feel like I can speak on this movie with good insight because I am a collegiate-level jazz musician (saxophone) and I LOVE most things anime. Although I barely stepped foot into the professional level of jazz musicianship I feel that I have an inkling of an idea on how normal jazz environments operate. Also, I love anime. (Did I say that again?) LOOOOOONG Summary: Okay, I’m gonna break this down into 3 categories; Story/Character Dev, Animation, and Music. I’ve got a lot to say and the Story section is definitely gonna be the longest. Story/Character Development: Let me just say that the main character, Dai, is your typical shounen “I’m gonna be the best in the word” archetype. For some, that's totally cool and easy to digest but from my perspective, it’s hard to believe. Jazz is a dying medium and because of how it’s practiced and performed (they even explain this in the movie) it's really hard to determine who the “best jazz musician in the world” is. That idea could probably pass 60-70 years ago but even then it was a toss-up for who was the best. What I’m trying to say is that music is subjective and his goal is unrealistic. BUT, even if it is, it’s still a valid goal that could help motivate someone to improve their musicianship to a higher level, which I enjoy👍. Here's another thing that really broke the immersion for me. The fact that not one but TWO characters were able to pick up an instrument and play at a high professional level in a short time frame astounds me. Again, this is probably because I was looking at it through jazz eyes. It would probably be fine if any other anime viewer saw this because it’s a pretty common type of character development you would see in any other anime. So you're telling me, that this guy has been playing saxophone for ONLY SIX MONTHS and has lessons maybe twice a week, more or less, and he can now start learning the ropes of playing in a professional combo? Yeah right. HE DIDN’T EVEN KNOW HOW TO FOLLOW CHORD PROGRESSIONS UNTIL NOW!!! ARE YOU SERIOUS!?!?!! Ya, he’s got good chops on the horn, but this is seriously out of touch. Eventually, he learned how too but guess what… he learned it in about a few weeks give or take. Bro…. really? This is also the case with his best friend, Masayuki, who quits his soccer team and joins the band because they conveniently didn’t have a drummer and he becomes an amazing set player in about a month or so. *Beats tin can with stick* “Dai, am I jazzing?”, “YES now join our band”. Anyway, I do have a few more gripes with how the story develops but I don’t want to go into it because this is getting a bit long. Ignoring that, the main trio of characters has good chemistry and you could really tell they were passionate about their craft and coming together to form a cohesive ensemble to make good music and be recognized for their good performances. I find it commendable how they mustered up the courage to form a band and go to multiple different clubs/bars and ask to perform. Most people would just audition for an ensemble and hope and pray they get in. Hell, that’s what I do. I also love how real the jazz environment is portrayed. Jazz isn’t a super high-paying career anymore and that shows here. it’s niche and we only see it take place in bars and clubs. When it is portrayed, the audience is relatively small and put in a warn somber environment. Very typical for most performances held today. I’m also glad this takes place in Japan (it would obviously most likely take place in Japan because it’s an anime but anyway…). When most people think jazz, they think of 1960s New Orleans, New York, or Paris but most don’t know that Japan is the Jazz epicenter of Asia. It’s a cool perspective to see and I really enjoyed making comparisons to Eastern and Western Jazz practices (It’s mostly the same). When it comes to Blue Giant, I’d say that looking at it through a jazz musician's eyes could make the movie seem a lot worse than it was but… it’s fiction. I realize that if I had just suspended my disbelief a bit and watched like an average viewer then I probably wouldn’t be as harsh and enjoyed it just a bit more. To me, it has an average story. It’s okay. I did mention a lot of negative opinions and decided not to say any more of them. That's only because I know a little too much for my own good and jazz is a big part of my life. The positives, in my opinion, balance out the cons. Animation: Holy crap. The animation is horrendous. You could tell that this was a really low-budget film coming from a studio I’d never heard of before called “Nut” (haha). I looked into Nut and could only recognize Tanya the Evil and the FLCL spin-offs. Along with Blue Giant, that's 3 of their 6 IP’s. Obviously not a big studio. I’m not an animation expert but you can tell that 75% of their budget went to the 3-4 big music moments in the movie. The amount of times they use 3D makes me wanna 🤮. I absolutely hate 3D anime animation and only a few shows have done it justice. Not this one. If you go to the timestamp 1:26:00, you can just see how bad it is. LOOK AT THE BASSIST IN THE BACK!!! WHAT IS HE DOING!?!?!?!?! This happens many times throughout the movie and it really breaks the immersion for me. Music: Wow. Just Wow. What can I say? I love jazz. The score in this movie is SO GOOD! I love that they play Sonny Rollins in the beginning. Hiromi Uehara does an amazing job on compositions and Tomaki Baba KILLS it on the saxophone (He’s WAAAAAAY better than me and I hate that😂). It’s a movie about Jazz music. Of course, it’s gonna be good.
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