NB: Some of my earliest blogs no longer have their accompanying images but enjoy the copy!
I am totally in love with ‘Kids on the Slope’ and it is, hands down, the best thing I have seen in months! So, what better way for a blogger to share something they love than with a giveaway?
For your chance to win one of two, yes, two, copies of ‘Kids on the Slope’ (one blu-ray and one DVD) and an A4 print of the show, simply like MVM Entertainment on Facebook and post a comment below this blog post, saying which kind of DVD you would like! Entries will close at 10pm Friday 14th June and two winners will be drawn at random and emailed for their postal address. You must live in the UK to enter!
OK, I know the thing you’d most want to know about was how to enter. With that done, here’s a first look at ‘Kids on the Slope’, available in the UK from MVM Entertainment 24th June.
I love this show!
There are six reasons why ‘Kids on the Slope’ has quickly become my new favourite anime:
1) Smooth jazz, lots of smooth jazz. Yoko Kanno is responsible for the OST, so you know it’s got to be good
2) Romance. Not usually something I go for in films or books, but the story is so charming
3) Bromance. Who doesn’t love bromance?
4) Amazing animation. The jamming sessions are extremely well done
5) Sentaro. Best anime badboy I’ve encountered in a long time
6) Universal appeal. I could easily show this to my mum, or anyone else who had a low opinion of what anime is, and she would love it too!
‘Kids on the Slope’ is set in a small seaside town in Kyushu, 1966. Kaoru Nishimi, an aloof and gifted student has moved to live with his relatives as his father is away in the navy. His family situation means that he does not stay at one school for too long, and so he refrains from making friends and instead plays classical piano. Everything changes when he makes an unlikely friendship with the notorious bad boy Sentaro, who nicknames him “Richie”, and introduces him to the world of jazz. “Richie” soon becomes the member of a rag-tag jazz group, jamming in the basement of a record store.
I had high hopes for this anime as soon as I came across it. The story was relatively simple but it was charming and the unusual jazz element set it apart from a lot of the other TV shows, let alone anime, that have come out in the last few years.
The director behind this series is no other than Shinchiro Watanabe, who is responsible for brilliant action-packed series such as ‘Cowboy Bebop’ and ‘Samurai Champloo’, so ‘Kids on the Slope’ is a rather different genre of anime for him to get behind. The music is also second to none, especially those amazing jazz medleys, thanks to Yoko Kanno, who has worked on ‘Cowboy Bebop’, ‘Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex’ and ‘Honey and Clover’. If you needed even more convincing, the opening song, “Sakamichi no Melody” is sung by YUKI.
Of course, if you’re not big on your anime and have no idea who any of these people are, that doesn’t mean this show can’t be appreciated for what it is: charming, funny, emotional and an all-round enjoyable watch. There are no explosions, robots or magical girls here, so there’s nothing to distract you from the relationships between characters and smooth jazz. Don’t forget that smooth jazz. The only thing that could improve this series for me would be a whole episode dedicated to the jam sessions.
Right, so we’ve got the smooth jazz covered pretty thoroughly. What about the romance? Let’s look at our four main characters: Kaoru, Sentaro, Ritsuko and Yurika. I obviously don’t want to spoil too much about how things progress, but let’s just say “A fancies B but thinks B fancies C, but C actually loves D. And B’s pretty dim and loveable throughout the whole thing. Then along comes E and we’ve gone from a love triangle to love square to love pentagon”.
There’s no shortage of romance anime out there, and I’m usually not particularly partial to it. However, the story for ‘Kids on the Slope’ just… it just works! I don’t even know how to explain it. I made a lot of sad faces and weird ‘noooo!’ noises with the end of each episode but I genuinely liked all of the characters and wanted to see how it all ended. I guess you can’t make jazz sessions stretch into 12 episodes, after all…
Of course, with romance comes bromance. Kaoru and Sentaro are a brilliant male duo and far from two-dimensional, so don’t let the pictures fool you. As the story develops, so do the characters and there’s a lot more to these guys than “one of them picks fights, and the other is a prissy nerd”. I can’t say much more without spoiling it so will resort to internet slang: “right in the feels!”
I realise this review is unusually long but I just have so much I love about it! I’ve already said that the animation is wonderful – just watch the trailer and I’m sure you’ll agree – so I think that just about covers it. ‘Kids on the Slope’ has quickly become my new favourite anime. By the opening sequence I was hooked, and rushed through the series in three nights, and would happily watch it again. To put it simply, this is just a lovely series and I really can’t fault it. If you’re a fan of anime and have a parent, friend or significant other who simply thinks it’s far too weird for them to comprehend, sit them down and watch ‘Kids on the Slope’ together. I’m getting teary just thinking about it.
Whether you’re an anime fanatic or someone who has never watched it in your life, this show is a winner. I challenge you to watch ‘Kids on the Slope’ and not love it!
So, what are you doing? Enter the competition now!