Story – 8.5/10
Characters – 8.5/10
Visuals + Audio – 9.5/10
Watching the first few episodes of this series instantly reminded me of Honey and Clover, one of my absolute favourite anime. The art style is a little similar, and both stories combine drama, romance and comedy seamlessly. But in many ways, this anime impressed me and touched me even more. Probably because I can relate more to music, being a pianist myself.
Before I go into my compliments for the story line, let’s just talk about the technical side first. Compared to the manga (which I briefly browsed), the anime obviously triumphs. Visuals-wise, the art is a definite above average, not just in looks but also in the number of frames and attention to detail. I was especially glad with the amount of detailed animation that was put into the performance scenes. Major thumbs up for animating all those runs on the piano (Y)
As for audio-wise, it’s obvious that you can’t properly tell a story about music without actual music, and the soundtrack for this anime was a major eargasm. Even though a lot of it weren’t original tracks, I still loved the usage of classical music melded with their own tracks in the BGM.
Moving on to the story, I have little to no problems with it. The way it was told was incredibly touching, captivating, subtle and gentle with the message it was trying to send across – though probably quite repetitive about it at some points – and also very inspiring. I suppose it’s just like how people who like to watch sports anime immediately feel inspired to begin playing whatever sport it is after watching the respective anime; I constantly felt like dropping everything to go practice piano while I was watching this anime.
I could also easily identify with the trauma that the main character was going through. Even though I’ve, of course, never been in the same situations as he, I could really emphatise with his situation, which shows that the portrayal is good. And as a plus, the character development for him is also above average. It may be a bit unequal though, since it is more focused on him with significantly less development for all the other main characters.
On the other hand, I do realise that a lot of what I love about this anime is also dependent on how I love music – classical music included – and am a musician, which most importantly allows me to identify with the characters more easily. For those who don’t share these kind of interests, this anime may not have that much appeal; just like that time when I tried reading (and ultimately didn’t quite get interested in) a sports manga. That would be one of the major flaws to this series, as it is quite specifically catered to a group of people. It also probably wouldn’t sit well with people who prefer action over drama and emotional development, which this series seems to prioritise.
However, for those who are more tolerant, the story actually progresses at a comfortable pace; not too slow, which I’m thankful for since these emotional pieces can be aggravatingly slow moving, and also not too fast, which would have been too much to take in at once. And besides the dialogue being a bit repetitive at some points, it is quite insightful. If I’m being picky about it, I could say that the story could have used a bit more depth (and it certainly had the potential for deeper story telling judging by the way they portrayed the trauma that the main character had to go through).
I could also say that the story was the tiniest bit cliche [spoiler alert] with the secretly terminally ill person and childhood friend falling in love with main character/jealous that there is another woman closer to him than her. In fact, the latter I predicted in the first episode itself. [spoiler end] But since I am not being picky, I feel mostly satisfied with how the anime was done. I was captivated episode to episode, and I think this is definitely a must-watch from this season.