Introverted classical pianist and top student Kaoru Nishimi has just arrived in Kyushu for his first year of high school. Having constantly moved from place to place since his childhood, he abandons all hope of fitting in, preparing himself for another lonely, meaningless year. That is, until he encounters the notorious delinquent Sentarou Kawabuchi. Sentarou’s immeasurable love for jazz music inspires Kaoru to learn more about the genre, and as a result, he slowly starts to break out of his shell, making his very first friend. Kaoru begins playing the piano at after-school jazz sessions, located in the basement of fellow student Ritsuko Mukae’s family-owned record shop. As he discovers the immense joy of using his musical talents to bring enjoyment to himself and others, Kaoru’s summer might just crescendo into one that he will remember forever. Sakamichi no Apollon is a heartwarming story of friendship, music, and love that follows three unique individuals brought together by their mutual appreciation for jazz. – My Anime List
Based on 21 review scores:
I think the pacing went well for this show. Usually drama and love story shows tend to keep beating a dead horse with flashbacks rather than moving on. Kids on the Slope was trying to cover a lot of material quickly though and did not have the luxury of flashback time. While there were time skips and they did not dwell on the pain of certain situation likes being rejected, I do not think they took away from the show that much. Especially the dwelling on pain, usually too much time is put into showing how much someone hurts from rejection. But don’t we already know it hurts? Do they really need to shove it up our collective noses?
Kids on the Slope is the best anime show I have seen in years, which makes it all the more disappointing that it gets one of the worst English dubs I have heard in years.
This isn’t simply anime, this is life in moving pictures, the blues of it all – the melody of an honest heart and a warm soul. Kids on the Slope may not be perfect by design – nothing ever is – but it is a perfect experience and that is all that matters to me.
Bottom line, watch the anime. NOW! If you’re left with unanswered questions by the end of it like I was, check out the manga!
At only 12 episodes it is the shortest anime I’ve ever seen. But I wouldn’t change a thing. Play on.
Every episode, I found myself tearing up. Just a wonderfully told story about friendship, love, desire, repression, dreams, and, of course, music. The animation, especially when it comes to the characters playing instruments, is superb. You’ll learn about jazz, too. About how musicians use their instruments to communicate with each other — sometimes in complementary ways, sometimes in challenging ways. This series made me — a casual fan of jazz — want to buy a turntable and go to a used record store and buy all the jazz classics.
Slice Of Life
Sakamichi No Apollon is one of these few Anime that will captivate your heart right off the bat. It’s perfect story telling, relatable characters and mesmerizing melodious acts will leave a mark in you heart. It’s a short series about finding the hidden message behind love, friendship, sacrifice & passion. I highly recommend this show.
Visually sumptuous, intelligent and beautifully delivered, Kids on the Slope looks set to raise the bar for anime of its ilk.
Anime News Network
Even with its flaws, Kids on the Slope is still a quality series, one which does not quite achieve greatness but does not fall far short of it, either. Despite its plot ambling along in places, it might have actually worked better with an extra episode or two to give it room to smooth rough patches out and develop certain points in more detail. As is, it manages to take a fairly typical story about how relationships develop as characters come of age, add some great music to it, and hence turn it into something better than the norm.
Kids on the Slope is a series that had so much build up before it came out because of the people involved that it couldn’t live up to what had been imagined. When you take the show for what it is, and its source material, it’s a strong character work period piece that works very well. It’s not a show that radically changes the game, but it’s a very welcome departure from the normal high school relationship shows we get. The infusion of music is a big plus and it doesn’t feel tacked on, giving us characters who have passions and try to follow them, to let them rule their lives at times, rather than fighting against it or just being bland without anything that drives them. With a strong visual design, a great setting and excellent production values overall, it’s little wonder that Kids on the Slope drew in a lot of fans and proved to be pretty emotional for many. It’s the kind of show that you can give to fans of live action period pieces and jazz and they’d completely get into it.
Now, this series is a teenaged romance, which unfortunately is a very, very over-saturated genre, so the creators really had to do something in order to stand out. They found several ways. The first way is bringing in music. Playing instruments is a huge theme for many characters in this series, and it deserves to be praised how well the musical performances in this series look. the creators made use of Rotoscoping in order to make the animation of every single musical performance play synchronous with the actual music. This is something i have never seen before in a Television-series, especially with so much detail. Because of this, the creators are able to say so many things throughout these performances alone, and they often are the stand-out moments for every episode.
The Geek Clinic
Sakamichi no Apollon is a straightforward and fun romance anime that fits the word “genuine” more than most others I’ve seen. The conclusion can only be described as botched, failing to grant the satisfaction one might have expected, but that doesn’t stop the show from being a great watch. Each episode was grandly entertaining and the events portrayed are backed up by both some very fitting art and enjoyable jazz music. The Geek Clinic happily recommends Sakamichi no Apollon.
If you’re debating watching Kids on the Slope, stop debating and watch it, period.
My Anime List
Sakamichi no Apollon is a hesitant pass for me. It’s overhyped, and that hype is probably why you decided to jump on the bandwagon and check this anime out. There are some qualities that are enjoyable, but taken as a whole, it’s merely adequate in satiating the thirst for jazz, as well as the search for a good music anime.
If you go into this series expecting a light-hearted comedy with a music focus, you may be disappointed. What it does present is a slow romance with a musical base drawing the characters together. A nice collection of jazz music, good animation, and a solid romance between the main cast was all tied up together nicely for a twelve episode series.
I’m frustrated enough with the angsty moments, underwhelming first episode, and imperfectly-written romances to take a star away, but on the whole I quite enjoyed this series. I wouldn’t really recommend this for those who have no tolerance for slow-paced anime, but the rest of you should give it a go.
The Nihon Review
To say the production decisions that contributed to the failings of the ending are disappointing would be an understatement. Regardless, the journey is often much more captivating than the eventual destination. I truly feel Watanabe delivers the heart and soul of everything he wanted to in this work, and until the very end it is very entertaining. In my mind it is a flawed classic, one that could not achieve perfection due to the unfortunate limitations of the industry decisions around it.
It may not be with all the razzmatazz and flash as other shows directed by Watanabe, but Sakamichi no Apollon is easily a solid in my book. I’d easily add this to my list of “show to normal people” anime. Join me next time when I teach professional barfighting.