Kids on the Slope
The story of Kids on the Slope really starts rolling when the classical piano-trained Kaoru encounters Sentaro and falls head-over-heels in love with jazz. One thing to look out for is the performance scene of an excellent jazz piece in every episode. Up-and-coming young jazz musicians are employed here, with Takashi Matsunaga (Kaoru) on piano and Shun Ishiwaka (Sentaro) on drums. Yoko Kanno produces the sessions, which are then used directly for the anime.
Jazz standards like “Moanin’”, “My Favorite Things”, and “Someday My Prince Will Come” are played along with improvisational performances that reflect the mood of the characters at the time, whether they’re in high spirits, or feel lonely, confused, angry, and so on. How these occasional performances and feelings are portrayed and directed is one more highlight of the show. Director Watanabe’s “sessions” are a mix of images and music, so innovative and exciting visual expressions should be expected.