Piano no Mori (2018)

Alt title: The Piano Forest (2018)

TV (12 eps)
3.911 out of 5 from 1,721 votes
Rank #1,745

Kai was born as the son of a prostitute and he's been playing the abandoned piano in the forest near his home ever since he was young. Shūhei, on the other hand, was practically breast-fed by the piano as the son of a family of prestigious pianists. Yet it is their common bond with the piano that eventually intertwines their paths in life.

Source: ANN

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Yet another anime which suffers from the "should have been a 24 episode series" disease.  Though it still manages to be interesting and convey quite a lot of emotions through the piano playing, other emotions are done sort of wishy-washy...and even worse, it ends in the middle of a competition. I don't know why this seems to be a trend (ending an anime after 11-13 episodes even if the anime is in the middle of an arc), but the "trend" needs to stop.  Story Shuhei moves to a small town and winds up befriending a sort of "wild" kind of kid named Kai.  The two soon discover that the other both loves playing the piano, and Shuhei is amazed at Kai's interesting style and way of playing (and a little jealous as well).  Life in the red light district has made it difficult for Kai to get a teacher, however. Eventually, Shuhei has to move again...but the two meet once more in their teens. Characters Shuhei Amamiya - A rich boy who is the son of a well known pianist.  A lot is expected of him, but he rarely seems to bow to the pressure.  He becomes both amazed and jealous of Kai, particularly at the end of a competition Kai had agreed to enter. Kai Ichinose - A free spirit who found an old piano in the forest near the red light district where he lives and learned to play it on his own.  His style isn't exactly in the same format as what is expected of strict competitions, but the emotion he manages to produce with the sounds can move the audience. There are other characters, but they are rather minor ones and not really worth mentioning as their roles are small or sort of "in and out".  Animation and Sound The piano playing uses actual songs composed by famous classic composers such as Mozart, and there is a huge focus on Chopin.  The soundtrack certainly brings the story and playing to life, and there were many times I wished the audience and other characters would just silence their internal thoughts so we could just listen to the music. The animation, on the other hand, leaves a lot to be desired.  It's fine as long as nobody is playing a piano, but in an anime about playing the piano...yea. The problem is that a rather choppy and awkward CG animation is used whenever someone plays the piano; a couple of times it's even used when they're walking across the stage to the piano!  By "awkward", I mean that it's very unnatural.  I've seen CG inserts in anime; I've seen shows with CG aspects.  Even those were less clunky and awkward as this. This felt like a really bad video game which used even worse CG models and movements for cutscenes. And for the short moments when the pianist isn't in the horrific CG animation, they're just in some still shot.  I'd honestly prefer the still shots to the CG, but it screams "low budget" and "don't care". Sometimes, one can close their eyes and just listen to the music...but again, as I mentioned before, other characters are often running some internal dialogue during the piano performances, meaning that the viewer can't even close their eyes and listen to only the song (in order to block out the poor CG). Overall Kai's character was done very well, but Shuhei feels a bit flat from start to finish.  Even when he gets jealous and such, he just doesn't have an impact. The CG during the piano performances does ruin a good amount of it, as does the fact that I wouldn't even call this anime "finished" since it left off in the middle of a Chopin competition. That said, there are some positives about it.  This anime is very "slice-of-life", and since the focus is on Kai, it goes into the things he has to deal with while living in a red light district; being poor, working even at a young age, having to hide that he's even playing the piano, ect. Everyone else sort of falls flat (a character introduced during the first competition, Takako, is more interesting than the majority of the characters who appear). The story is fairly straightforward and continues to move in a direction of the characters learning and improving (particularly Kai, who manages to both remain the same in terms of peresonality but improve vastly at the same time). That said, it's a little difficult to see where exactly the story is going.  World-famous pianists, perhaps?  With something like this, as opposed to a typical high school slice-of-life music anime, the worlds are very different (there are no clubs, for one, and the end goal is night and day). While it's a good anime which remains true to the manga from what I've seen (and what I remember of the manga), I recall dropping the manga because of time skips and not holding my interest. The anime manages to hold my interest a little more since there is sound to accompany the piano playing which makes it easier to get into the moods.  On the other hand, nothing is too riviting when it comes to either; this is probably a good series to pick up if you enjoy slow slice-of-life anime with plenty of places to stop and put it down to come back to, but it's still not for everyone...and there isn't much in the way of re-watchability. That's subjective, I know, and there aren't many anime which focus on piano playing.  Just don't expect to really learn anything if you're new to the piano (it's not going to teach you anything except perhaps that running the scales is a warm-up exercise).  If you're at least a little familiar with the world of classical music, particularly if you're a Chopin fan, you'll definitely get more out of this anime. That said, it's still on the "meh" side.  Kai is a strong lead of a character, but there are times when it's difficult to really feel the characters out and understand them.


Sigh, Only at 2 episodes and have been kinda annoyed with the CGI graphics when Kai is playing the piano.  Another thing I was hoping it would be the follow up of what was adapted in the film, so i am gonna guess that the first few episodes are particularly copy paste from the film with the obvious CGI changes.) I will continue to watch it, since i enjoyed the movie. (which almost a week after i watched the movie the series was announced. So i got excited.)  Before completion of watching. _______________________________________________ However, this is a premature rating. So whether or not it stays on my list will determine this factor.  I rated the story a 7/10. Because it starts out with what happened in the film with a bit of a few differences.  I rated the animation a 2/10 because of the obvious CGI while the piano is being played. Similar to how some 2D videogames look.  The sound is rated 9/10 just because i want to have an over all of 7.  The Charactors are rated 10/10 because of the minor changes they made. (which makes the side charactors pop out a little more.  Overall 7/10  (7+2+9+10)/4=7  I think I can edit this later on,  so if my thoughts change after watching it. I shall change it.  Basically, only thing i can say that i dislike is the obvious CGI. But I would recommend you watch the movie first. To see the differences.  Stop being lazy animators.  ___________________________________________ Afterwards.  a few changes,  Story 9/10 due to the increased structure and beauty of the remaining after the movie parts were through. But they kinda rushed through it all, i feel there should have been more to the story.  Animation 3/10 simply from getting used to the CGI...  Sound 8/10 which when they played Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2... it was the same recording which they used in Nodame Cantabile, it is a good recording, but one would expect that different players would have a different sound. This also includes the two different times they played it. but the last episode really changed it all. And made it higher. Character 10/10 still. some characters need more background. While others are just perfect for explainations. Yet, the qualities would be closer to 9.5... and i am not sure if i could put 9.5...  but since the limit is 10... i gotta go with that. i will keep the overall at a 7 since it has been a bit of an up and down experience.  I do recommend anyone to watch it, it could very well spark your inspiration in music. But i still like the Movie a lot better than the first episodes of the series in my own opinion.

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