Piano: The Melody of a Young Girl's Heart
Keywords: , , , , , , , , , ,
Notables: FUJISHIMA Kosuke
HOSHI Souichiro
NEYA Michiko
R1 License - Right Stuf Intl
A slice-of-life story about Nomura Miu, a second class middle school girl who has been playing the piano for six years already. She is a very quiet girl; there's a senior in her school who she secretly admires and likes. Learn what happens with her family, her cat, her best friend Yuki at school, and her piano teacher - and watch her life experiences being depicted by the rhythm of the tunes she plays with her piano, such as happy times being with friends and family, not to mention love of course.

[OVA, 2002, 10 episodes, 24 min; Animation by OLM, R1 by Right Stuf]

Images: 1. title, 2. Miu and her piano teacher, 2. Yuki at the track&field club, 4. Yuki and Miu, 5. Miu with her mother and her older sister, 6. Christmas Party with school friends.

1:30min Series Opening - YouTube Video
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent 8 7 8 8 7 7 Ggultra2764 [series:1253#1552]
For a slice-of-life title, Piano does a solid job with delivering a coming-of-age look into Miu regaining her love for playing the piano. The show retains a subtle and mundane feel consistently throughout its short 10 episode run looking into the typical every day life of Miu as she deals with her family, friends and piano playing. For the most part, events in the series are subdued lacking any intense moments of drama. Even in the occasional moments featuring tensions between characters, Piano never goes overboard with its drama. In addition, characters for the series didn't meet the typical archetypes you would expect for middle/ high school dramas. While Miu does have her introverted moments, they are low-key and are nowhere as over-the-top as say, Mugi's character from Hitohira in a somewhat similar coming-of-age drama. Miu seems like a typical girl of her age: growing up has made her lost interest in something she strongly liked as a child due to lacking any motivation for it, she can find herself pressured with what she is involved with and there comes a point where she regains that confidence thanks to the support of those around her, even during a low point during the critical moments leading up to the major change in her character. Of course, this series can be an acquired taste thanks to the lack of conflict and buildup viewers would typically expect of the slice-of-life drama genre as Piano is quite mundane with its focus on Miu's ordeals.

But that's not to say the show's approach to depicting Miu's everyday life is perfect. Because of placing such a strong focus on her character developments, any focus on her efforts with the piano and her family and friends, for the most part, get less focus compared to Miu's character developments. The show doesn't explore in great detail how music plays an influence on Miu's life and the efforts that she goes through on the piano thanks to the motivation she gains from her family and friends. Not to mention the viewer never explores a number of its other characters in as much focus as what Miu receives. As a result, characters like Miu's piano teacher do mostly come across as a bit shallow due to the lack of focus in figuring out what makes their characters tick. As a matter of fact, the show drops hints at some points regarding Miu's older sister and her piano teacher having some sort of past relationship yet Piano never seriously explores it.

On the visual end, Piano does sport decent looking character and scenery designs which sports a good amount of detail and keep colors somewhat subdued to fit the show's normal feel. The show's music also does well in complimenting its mood featuring subdued and gentle musical pieces, as well as some classical music pieces from composers like Chopin to compliment the show's piano-playing theme with Miu.

Piano's mundane and subdued mood and focus on the coming-of-age trials of Miu was something that I enjoyed as a break from my frustrating run with Lucky Star. But the large focus on Miu's developments did kill focus on other characters and the developments of Miu's piano playing seemed to have less focus compared to her character developments. This, combined with the show being an acquired taste, leaves me to rate Piano with a Rent.

Last updated Sunday, November 21 2010. Created Sunday, November 21 2010.
Buy 8 9 9 9 7 7 Devil Doll [series:1253#752]
[Score: 83% = Buy-. Other recommended Silent Drama animes: Haibane Renmei, Uta Kata, Asatte no Houkou, Aishiteru Ze Baby, Binbou Shimai Monogatari, Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto]
  • Drama: Low/Med (developing slowly throughout the show)
  • Comedy: Low (if any)
  • Action: None (it's just normal school kids)
  • SciFi: None (plain old earth, normal people)
  • Ecchi: None (clean and pure, recommended for teenagers)
One of the "silent" slice-of-life stories I like a lot in anime: Nothing offensive at all (no fighting/violence/mecha, no nudity/fan-service/ecchi), and nothing supernatural, magic or science-fiction. Not even a lot of comedy but a slight dose of drama, just as everyday life happens to be. Which can be a refreshing experience once in a while.
The Art is fine, not too childish and not overly kawaii; Animation is very good (e. g. no blunder in any of the piano scenes although every piano player will instinctively look at Miu's hands whenever she's playing). The Music contains mostly light tunes easing up the atmosphere, supplemented of course by classical piano tracks (Chopin, Beethoven etc.; even the OP is instrumental piano). The Story isn't that special and the narration speed rather low; while the first half looks a bit episodic the different story lines get connected later in the series. And the ending is where it belongs in a Japanese story - not where you might expect it. Some questions are better left unanswered.

Character interaction and development is the focus of this series but going into details would be spoiling the best part of it. The protagonists are:
  • Nomura Miu (a shy girl with playing piano being her only remarkable attribute)
  • Nomura Hitomi (Miu's mother, a caring housewife)
  • Nomura Seiji (Miu's father, often working until late at night)
  • Nomura Akiko (Miu's big sister, working as overseas tour conductor)
  • Shirikawa-sensei (Miu's piano teacher, always sad and grumpy, a friend of Akiko)
  • Matsubara Yuki (Miu's best friend at school, a tomboy and track&field athlete)
  • Takizawa-senpai (track&field athlete, Yuki's crush)
  • Takahashi-senpai (track&field athlete, Miu's crush)
All in all this is a scenario like in Mimi wo Sumaseba put into a series structure like Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto - some down-to-earth shoujo story about a middle school girl growing up, her family, her best friend (and the first romantic feelings of these girls for their senpais) - and her piano play, with the perspective of participating in some public recital.

Last updated Friday, June 06 2008. Created Monday, November 21 2005.

Other Sites
Right Stuf (R1/English) Series Web Site http://piano.rightstuf.com/

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