Kids on the Slope is directed by Shinichirō Watanabe who is known for his amazing work in Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo and the most recent Terror in Resonance.
This anime however is quite different from the ones he has directed before, unlike others this is more of a Slice of Life kind of anime and yet Shinichirō Watanabe delivers it to perfection.
Kids on the Slope is about finding something you love, it is about the ups and downs of Adolescence age, the beautiful bonds of friendship and Jazz music.
The story starts in the summer of 1966, when Kaoru Nishimi who usually moves places because of his Dad’s job situation thinks of settling in Sasebo in Kyushu with his relatives. Kaoru is more of a honor student who is an introvert because of his situation but after meeting Sentaro Kawabuchi his life changes drastically.
Along the lines he also meets Ritsuko Mukae, who owns a record store and is in the same class as Kaoru. Together with them Kaoru learns how much fun it is to play jazz and discovers real friendship after a long time.
Beyond those three there are quite a large number of influential characters in the series but describing them would only be a blatant spoiler.
I liked how this anime focuses more on relationships rather than tragedy, and with relationships it just doesn’t just mean romance but friendships & family bonding. Still the romance in this series amazing, unlike many other series, in Kids on the Slope relationships take their pace and deliver it naturally.
The one thing this show couldn’t get right is the ending, which kind of felt too rushed, I mean one extra episode for the ending couldn’t had hurt.
I would just recommend everyone to read the manga after watching the anime for a closure, if not complete then just the Vol 9 and Vol 10 of it.
Kids on the Slope was animated jointly by MAPPA & Tezuka Productions, they surely made this anime pleasing to the eye. The color palette was pleasingly warm which successfully complimented the character designs.
Music is one of the key parts of this anime because duh! Over the course of anime you are presented with beautiful jazz music because music here is a feeling of life.
I watched this series with English dub and I was surprised by the quality of it. Especially the performance of voice actors of Kaoru Nishimi and Ritsuko Mukae.
Lastly I would say that this show is just amazing, a musical journey of coming-of-age. As realistic it could be, this show is just impressive. Just watch it.