Kids on the Slope is nearly impossible not to recommend. It’s a fantastic piece of art. Yes, art. There aren’t many other words that can be used to describe a coming of age piece that so perfectly captures the ideas, angst, and struggles of young teens looking to do nothing else but find friendship, love, and success. Set to a beautiful jazz background, the animation style as well as the storytelling aspects find a near perfect blend of rhythmic intertwinement that so perfectly encapsulates the soul the series seeks to draw the audience into.
The plot is simple, Bon (which is his nickname) comes to a small town in a small Japanese province. His family is wealthy, and he’s a genius. He’s become so unapproachable that most people won’t even talk to him because he’s constantly moving from place to place. His dad is a sailor, which makes any consistency nearly impossible. It’s only until a fateful meeting with a delinquent student named Sentaro that his life changes forever. Finding his way through life with jazz, he ends up putting his heart and soul on the line for his friend, and learning important facts of life along the way.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. This all sounds extremely nineties cookie cutter kid stuff, right? Wrong. Like I said, this is a Picasso piece that exudes elegance with every step it takes. From the subtle plot points that never feel contrived to the absolutely beautiful backdrop and animation that constantly remind you what a fascinating story is being told, it’s hard to look away. The inclusion of different dialogues and love stories that make sense back the story’s heart, and help to keep things fluid and fascinating. Realistic curveballs are thrown over and over again, and it’s hard to really predict where the story is going to go next, it’s one of those instances where I was grabbed absolutely from the beginning, and it kept me close until the very end.
My only true complaint is that the story is extremely short. It feels like there would’ve been a lot more room for growth as well as a potential for more plot points to unravel as time went on. However, the ending itself is beautiful in its own right, and while it doesn’t leave much room for interpretation, it gets the job done with the same grace that is shown throughout the series.
If you haven’t seen this already…why? Go see it! Watch it, support it, love it. It’s a beautiful coming of age drama that has cemented it’s place in anime history for good reason. Fantastic artwork, lovely characters and a beautiful soundtrack all keep Kids on the Slop in contention for one of the best animated pieces of all time.