Kono Oto Tomare!

Title:Kono Oto Tomare!
Kono Oto Tomare!: Sounds of Life
Keywords: , , , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - Platinum Vision
Takezo is the last remaining member of the club that is dedicated to carrying on the skill of playing the Koto, a traditional stringed musical instrument. Since everyone else has just graduated, he desperately needs to recruit new members, or the club will be disbanded. As if things weren't bad enough, delinquents have appropriated the club room as their place to hang out. One day Chika Kudou, an eager volunteer to join, appears--but this guy has a reputation that makes him seem like about the last person anyone would want in a club, and makes Takezo highly skeptical of his motivation.

13 episodes

See also: Kono Oto Tomare! S2
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent 8 7 7 8 7 7 Ggultra2764 [series:3680#1552]
Kono Oto Tomore follows a recent trend of anime involving high school aged characters overcoming adversity to find success with their involvement in a school club, in this case Chika Kudou's involvement with his high school's koto club to get past his reputation as a troublemaking delinquent. Being aimed for the shounen demographic, the series often gets on the not-so-subtle side with planting obstacles in the path of Chika and the Koto Club having some antagonistic characters and some of the major characters having personal problems to overcome. Said antagonistic characters aren't so interesting to see due either to being rather shallow or having nonsensical motives.

The developments with Chika and several of the koto club members make for the more interesting developments of the series as each have their personal flaws to overcome, learning to improve their relationships with each other, and learn to work together in koto performances to improve their playing skill and cohesion. This is also reflected in the koto performances of the club members as the efforts of their cohesion are on display to others, and make for the musical highlight of the series. Only parts of the koto club interactions I wasn't interested in were the trio of Chika's delinquent friends who aren't as well developed compared to the other members and the anime's insistence on getting rather over-the-top with character interactions during the title's more comical scenes.

In short, Kono Oto Tomore doesn't necessarily break any new ground when it comes to following the trend of high school anime focused on a club with a major character undergoing developments in it. The series has its equal share of high points and low points exploring the developments of the koto club that stem from its source material focused on the shounen demographic. If you've enjoyed similar anime of its ilk in recent years, you're likely to get decent enough enjoyment out of the series.

Last updated Monday, June 07 2021. Created Monday, June 07 2021.
Rent Stretch [series:3680#628]
(All episodes watched):

The premise here seems pretty familiar: a struggling club, one person determined to save it, punks who exploit him, and an unlikely savior in the form of an ass-kicking dude who has a bad reputation but has been misunderstood. It reminds me of the show about a sumo wrestling club a couple seasons ago. As a result a terrible situation is turned around in the blink of an eye and the club is granted a new lease on life. I don't know if there will really be much that is novel about this show, but it is too soon to be sure. Maybe the additional members that the club will attract will be interesting, and I wonder if the club as a whole will accomplish much. It looks like there are three principal characters--Takezo, Kudo, the sort-of delinquent, and Satowa, the haughty expert musician girl--and four or so supplemental ones. Satowa is pretty stereotypical, that is, fantastically good at playing the instrument but also arrogant and demanding. But she also seems to have some sort of personal issue which I was curious about. I initially didn't think it would amount to much, but it does. The club must make some serious progress in a hurry in regards to training the less dedicated--actually, totally ignorant--members how to play the Koto credibly, or it will be shut down. That, too, made me curious. The comedy isn't outrageously funny but unlike many shows there's a fairly interesting plot to fall back on.

In episode five the club gives the performance on which its existence is riding before a packed auditorium. I was genuinely eager to see how it would go; it didn't feel predictable, and I didn't feel there was any guarantee that they would ace it. The trick they used to shut up the hostile assistant principal afterwards was clever and amusing. This show was looking less and less like a prefabricated, generic anime and more like one with some heart to it. The characters--at least the three principle ones--expand their personalities and the thought occurred to me that there might even be some romance developing between two of them. The seventh member comes along, but this girl actually gets a kick out of sabotaging healthy friendships, due to some sort of repressed anger. The way she tricked (most of) the club members so easily seemed shallow and unconvincing; it was a relief that at least one of them refused to fall for it. I was glad that the problem is solved relatively quickly, so the story could get back to the main question of just what the club would manage to accomplish. Better was the humiliation Takezo feels in episode nine when he runs into some old friends who got into a fancier school than he did. An unusual touch in this anime is that the club's advisor is a lazy, negative guy who would rather the members not accomplish anything noteworthy, because that would be a hassle for him. You feel all the realistic headwinds the club members must deal with, and it makes the show more believable and interesting.

One problem (sort of) is the way the series concludes. The club has just given an important performance before a large audience--and the episode abruptly ends. All we know is that they were able to give a good performance in spite of an unexpected problem; we never learn how they scored (first place seems like a stretch), and they have hardly realized their ultimate goal of winning a national championship. It just cuts off. It feels like a second season is needed, and as it turns out one is indeed forthcoming. At the time, however, I wondered if the way the episode ended was a clever touch, or had they just run out of time, or what? Still, Kono Oto Tomare was a fun show and I don't mind the ending all that much. This was hardly an outstanding season, but KOT slowly but surely crept upwards in my estimation of quality until it became my favorite show of it.

Last updated Wednesday, December 18 2019. Created Wednesday, April 17 2019.

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