Kids on the Slope - Reviews

Alt title: Sakamichi no Apollon

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hamletsmage's avatar
Jul 15, 2012

Story: For once, I actually wanted the storyline to slow down a little. I so thoroughly enjoyed the plot and the intricacies between characters that I wanted to see more. But, with what I was given, I can't really complain. The story is of a lonely boy that's been on the move his entire live. Now that he's finally been allowed to settle down, he's a fish-out-of-water in post-war Japan. The story is a whirlwind of love, friendship, music, and coming-of-age. At one point, the protagonist comments that his life is like a jazz number, full of improvisation. The plot seems a little like that sometimes, but somehow, it remains easy-to-follow. 

Animation: I've only seen a couple pieces down by this studio, so I can't say much about their animation style as a whole. This anime, however, had very subtle animation points, such as the smallest widening of the eyes to convey serious emotions, to the harsh movements of Sentaro's drumming. The facial features remind me a bit of the older Ghibli style, actually. 

Sound: Do you like Jazz? Because that is what this anime is all about. I loved both the opening and ending themes, but the interwoven jazz really tied it all together for me. There are some references to period pop pieces, like "Some day my prince will come" and "My Favorite Things", but mostly it's all about the jazz. And usually, I would critique on a musical anime's ability to convey the style they chose, but I'm too busy swaying to the riffs. 

Characters: The main cast, Kaoru "Richie", Sentaro, and Ritsuko are given a rich, beautiful storyline all their own. They are given grand, sweeping emotions that made me attach to them. Their emotions, their feelings were the main points of the plot. The side characters, like Jun, are given backgrounds, depth, and a little flair that makes them more than simply background (which I have seen far too often). I think my only critique is how quickly the characters change emotions, but with the plot flying past, I guess that's to be expected. 

9/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
9/10 characters
9.5/10 overall
spookysoup's avatar
Sep 8, 2015

I'm gonna try and record my thoughts while they're still fresh in my mind-- I just finished marathoning the series after having some interest in it for quite a while. I rated Sakamichi no Apollon around a 3.5 in my star rating and here's why, without spoiling too much of what happens, though do read at your own discretion, as it does spoil things about the story even if its not exactly what happens.

The tonality, time setting, and the music is fantastic, and I had a lot of fun with it. Though not outstanding, the little flickers of how the love for jazz amongst characters is represented in the relationships the characters have with each other is heartwarming. I relate to this a lot, mainly because I always love sharing and playing music amongst my friends and loved ones. One of many cherished pastimes, and I believe this to be one of the series strengths, though minimal it was still nice to have.

However, as an audience, aside from the music and friendships portrayed, we are taken on a bit of a broken-down emotional rollercoaster in one form or another. Once I reached the end of the series the only thought I had was "Is that it? Was that really all worth it?"

To be harshly put, some of the things that happened between characters almost seemed useless because they were either never wrapped up or seemed just slathered in there to have some form of scandal. Take it away theres not really too much of a plot; theres parts but not much to have a series built on. A lot of other plot points that were built up were never really tied up either, adding to the uselessness of some of it. It wasn't too satisfying, and though to my own tastes and interpretation, a lot of the drama I found cringe-worthy and oddly cliché. 

I genuinely love the main characters, and I cherish the relationship they have with one another, but the character development is rocky. Characters will make progress, but then do something and take a few steps back again, doing this more than one or twice. Tied in with odd story choices that don't really influence the end too much adds to my unsatisfied viewing experience. The ending is bittersweet, but confusing.

But, all technicalities aside; I do believe in this series and the potential it has, and I love the charm of it. Though a part from the music and some of the moments the friends have together when performing, there's nothing really too memorable about it, and I'm not sure if I'd ever watch it again or recommend it a lot. It is, in the end, up to any of those reading this if its worth watching it or not. I definitely would say it is to an extent if you love music and performing with your friends, and you think about the good old days more than once. It definitely took me back there.

3/10 story
7/10 animation
8/10 sound
6.5/10 characters
6/10 overall
tinaditte's avatar
Feb 6, 2013

This anime is not overranked!

I Must say this is far one of the best anime i've watched. It has it all! I love the plot is about this boy having a tough time with life. Im a sucker for these kinds of main characters! Then he starts to make friends and experience feelings he never have experience before.

Though I will say that if you're not a fan of music, this might not be for you. Since Im myself is a piano player, I love that the music is getting them together.

The anime have a great distribution with friendship, life story, love and obstacles. Its really fit for a 10/10 rating!

It is really worth trying!

The story takes place in the 60'es, or at least thats my guess. Im actually not sure. But they love Jazz, their outfits and the way they act, the surronding tecknology is all saying that this takes place somewhere after WWII.. (Just checked it up on Wokipedia, 1966, I was right!)
Even though Im not a fan of historical animes i must say this one took away my heart. Im head over heels inlove with this, even though its having so many parts to it, that i normally would avoid. There is nothing to complain about in this anime, its not slow paced at any rate, I wasn't borred at anytime. There is really not a single episode that made me wanna skip it. I simply love the story... I love the ending as well.. You NEED to watch this!

10/10 story
9/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
ThatAnimeSnob's avatar
May 23, 2012

This show was the most overhyped title of the first half of 2012 and the fandom was going crazy about it months before it began to air. The reasons were rather easy to pinpoint.
1) It had the director of Cowboy Bebop, Watanabe Shinichiro. And because Cowboy Bebop is awesome, this show must be awesome too.
2) The show would also be about a Jazz band. Jazz is considered to be the classiest type of music ever made.
3) The main genre may be the simplistic slice of life, but since Nodame Cantabile was a great slice of life around music, this one must be awesome too.
4) The setting of the series takes places in the 60’s. It is an era no other known modern anime dealt with, and thus it will be very original and interesting.
5) It would be part of the NoitaminA timeslot, which for most translates to amazing production values and quality storytelling.
6) 2012 is a shitty year for anime and the fandom is grabbing at straws.

So sure, one could easily expect it to be the anime of the year with all those reasons above. I on the other hand didn’t have high expectations for some very simple counter-reasons.
1) Cowboy Bebop was an awesome space western full of action, suspense, interesting sci-fi stories, and tributes to various retro movies. Unless this anime would head for that direction, there is no way to expect the director to pull out something equally entertaining. And all the info pointed out this would be a very down to earth show; so why would I expect it to be awesome?
2) I don’t like Jazz; I am a fan of rock and metal. And it’s not about the size but the way you use it.
3) Nodame Cantabile was great because it was set in university and dealt with the adult lives of grown up people. This anime would deal with the naive lives of immature high school kids; something commonplace to hundreds of shows and thus hardly mature or special.
4) So what if it takes place in the 60’s? What special did that era have next to the 80’s or even today? They didn’t have internet, or cell phones, or colour television, and that is pretty much all of it. People didn’t live or behaved that differently than they do today, aside from using a slightly different vocabulary and women being nothing but housewives. Ok, there were also hippies back in the 60’s. Lots of stoned flower people dancing and preaching about the happiness of life. Too bad this show is not about them; it would be awesome if it were.
5) NoitanimA stopped being a guaranteed source of quality anime years ago. It has produced some of the most terribly executed shows of all times; although this is restricted to those including sci-fi and not slice of life. So it might not have been much of a minus in this show, yet I stopped believing in them offering something great all the time.
6) Ok, we were desperate for good shows but I would never place my hopes on a slice of life anime. I find them boring.

So after the show finally aired, what were most of the viewers saying? Nice production values, nice atmosphere, nice high school feeling. But nothing more. As I foresaw it was just your average romantic school comedy with the usual stereotypes, and predictably simple lives of normal kids living the peak of their youth. Motivational and inspirational? Yes. Special in any way? No. And the biggest disappointment was the Jazz part everybody was so thrilled about. There is barely much music in this; it is used only as a subtle excuse for the main heroes to form a band and interact with each other for a common goal. And sure, there is romance too but damn is it simple and linear. It is not even a love polygon since all you get is A loves B who loves C who loves D who loves E. That’s it; nothing to spice things up like two guys after the same girl. Or a threesome. Or gays, traps, cat girls, stoned hippies, WHATEVER. And their personalities are your standard fare of simplistic caricatures. I can hardly say anything to describe them other than the insecure boy, the cheery girl, the motivational sailor, and so on.

In all, it makes a fine time killer if you are into school romance with some Jazz for BGM but it is hardly something we haven’t seen before or worth to talk about in a few years from now.

4/10 story
7/10 animation
7/10 sound
6/10 characters
4.5/10 overall
JadedDragos's avatar
Mar 20, 2019

It took about 3 episodes before I started loving this anime. Sometimes for one I'm not sure about it takes more, but this one didn't take long at all. It has a great plot and I pretty much loved this one all the way to the end.

Animation was fantastic and I really liked this style all through the episodes as well as the music. Great music throughout, favorite is the opening song, by far one that will go on the best list of music for me.

Character development and interaction was good. Each character had a good back story and the love triangle/pentagon(maybe) came together and fell apart well between everyone involved.

Overall I would recommend anyone to watch this, it's a very well done anime and was thoroughly enjoyed.

10/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall