DVD Review: Kids on the Slope – The Complete Series

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It’s time go back to the swinging sixties as we join Kaoru and Sentaro in Kids on the Slope, but is it a worthwhile performance or does it slope down hill? Find out in our DVD Review of Kids on the Slope – The Complete Series.

Synopsis:

It’s the summer of 1966 and high school freshman Kaoru Nishimi is struggling to adjust to the latest of many moves in his young life, this time to his uncle’s home in the seaside town of Kyushu. It’s never easy adjusting and it’s never easy fitting in, but this time will be different. This time he’ll meet friends who will change his life forever, and he’ll discover a new passion, one that grabs his heart and rocks him to his very soul. It’s music. A beat. A whole new way of looking at life. It’s called jazz, and together with bad boy Sentaro and music store girl Ritsuko, they’re going to follow their muse to wherever their music takes them!

Our View:

Kaoru, who is portrayed as a bit of a loner, is used to living in different locations due to his father’s working habit’s, but when he attends his new school at Kyushu and interacts with Ritsuko Mukae, the class rep, he realises that this school will be different from the rest. Ritsuko isn’t the only person Kaoru interacts with on his first day either, as during a visit to the school’s roof he encounters the schools constant fighter, Sentaro Kawabuchi, asleep in front of the door and an interesting encounter ensues. This is how the main characters are introduced to the viewers, but the unique bond between them has still yet to surface.

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This unique bond between Karou and Sentaro only surface’s when they both discover that they have a talent for music and so, with some encouragement from Ritsuko, a friendship is formed whereby they share musical tastes and experiences, during which they perform on stage at school and at the local jazz bar. Throughout the series Karou and Sentaro are found praticing Jazz Music in the basement of the music shop owned by Ritusko’s family, it’s also here where viewers are introduced to another notable character, Brother Jun, a friend of Ritusko and Sentaro as he too also joins in on the music. It’s not all about the music though as throughout the series both Sentaro and Karou fall in love, suffer heartache and learn shocking truth’s surrounding each other’s family past.

While Kids on the Slope features plenty of musical noriety, majority of which has been composed by legendary composer Yoko Kanno, the story isn’t driven by the music, like in BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad, as in this story the music is used as a past-time rather than a goal. Instead of the music being used as a ‘goal’ the music is used as a way for the characters to share their feelings and thoughts with each other, with most arguments being fixed by Kaoru and Sentaro preforming music in front of each other.

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Kids on the Slope shows that a perfect combination of music, storytelling and emotion does create an enjoyable emotional story, however the pace of this story does affect the overall performance. Over the course of the series not only is a lot of content covered, such as Kaoru’s background, Sentaro’s background and awkward character relationships, but it’s also the fact that a single episode could equate to several weeks’ worth of progression in the story, leaving some viewers a little confused on the timeframe. This pacing becomes notoriously noticeable towards the second half of the series whereby past revelations unexpectedly spring into the open along with the shows sudden, but obviously expected, closure, that leaves some questions un-answered.

Extras:

Considering Kids on the Slope is a relatively short series it features an impressive quality of extra content, with the most interesting content being the interviews with Shinichiro Watanabe, Takashi Matsunaga and Yoko Kanno.

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Since there is so much extra content it has been spread out across the two DVD Discs, with the first disc featuring two interviews and the second disc featuring promotional trailers and text less videos.

Disc 1:

  • Interview with Shinichiro Watanabe (16 minutes)
  • Interview with Takashi Matsunaga & Shun Ishiwaka (13 minutes)

Disc 2:

  • Text Less Opening & Closing Video
  • Japanese TV Previews
  • Interview with Yoko Kanno (21 Minutes)
  • Japanese Promo Trailer

The most notable extra features on this DVD are the interviews with Shinichiro Watanabe, Takashi Matsunaga and Yoko Kanno, as each interview lasts around 20 minutes and provides an in-depth insight into the production of the Kids on the Slope anime. All of the interviews are presented in Japanese with English subtitles. If Japanese interviews aren’t your thing then there is the inclusion of Japanese promotional videos from when the series was being aired on TV along with the text less opening & closing videos.

Specs:

Media: DVD 9 x2
Running Time: 2:24:13 (Disc 1), 2:21:47 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-2
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 224Kbps (English & Japanese)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 25 fps

Overall:

Kids on the Slope tells the story of Kaoru Nishimi, a seemingly ordinary student, along with his newly found friends Sentaro Kawabuchi, the school’s bully, and Ritsuko Mukae the class rep as they discover friendship, love and jazz throughout their school life. This is the general overview of Kids on the Slope and while it seems like a music-inspired-anime its infact an extremely clever, slightly addictive, coming-of-age story that many will enjoy.

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In regards to the quality of the show there is the inclusion of English and Japanese Audio, both of which are presented in 2.0 Stereo, with Japanese voice track providing a far superior vocal performance. The reason for this is because the English Dub doesn’t provide the emotion needed from the voice actors, whereas the Japanese actors seem to get everything spot on. Subtitles are presented in Yellow and are clear to read on a variety of screens (and sizes). The visual quality of the show also matches the Japanese voice talent, with musical instruments such as Guitars, Piano and Drum Kits being highly detailed while backgrounds and characters have minimal details qualities – while this may seem odd it actually gives the series a nice unique flair that many will find interesting.

Finally there is the included extra features, which for a TV Series release is extremely impressive, as not only are interviews from the main director and music composer included (both of which are around 20 minutes long) but we are also treated to the original Japanese TV Commercials from when the series aired on Japanese TV. Compared to previous anime releases this is a lot more than we are used to getting and hopefully it is a trend that will become the norm in the future.

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Overall Kids on the Slope is an interesting combination of music, school and developing relationships with a unique way of telling the story. it’s not something I’ve seen done before but I feel Kids on the Slope hits it spot on with the only real downfall being its pacing of the series. At times the series feels too fast and at other times too slow, it’s a bit like jazz music – it’s never quite the perfect tempo but still sounds great nonetheless.

Score: review-stars-5

Kids on the Slope – The Complete Series will be available on DVD and Blu-ray from the 24th June 2013.

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About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

2 Responses to DVD Review: Kids on the Slope – The Complete Series

  1. BurtKenobi says:

    Cannot wait for my blu ray to come!

  2. Pingback: Unboxing: Kids on the Slope – The Complete Collection (Blu-ray) [UK] | AnimeBlurayUK

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