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Sakamichi no Apollon from the Cowboy Bebop team
April 22, 2012 4:41 PM   Subscribe

Cowboy Bebop director Shinichirō Watanabe and composer Yoko Kanno have reunited for an anime adaptation of Sakamichi no Apollon (Kids on the Slope), a Shogakukan Manga Award-winning manga by Yuki Kodama. Fuji TV started broadcasting the series on April 12, 2012 (trailer). The series is currently being streamed on Crunchyroll, and will later be streamed on Hulu and The Anime Network.

The manga is a coming-of-age story set in in a provincial town in Japan in the late 1960's. The main characters are brought together by a love for jazz music: the studious piano-playing model high school student Kaoru, the bad-boy jazz drummer Sentaro who introduces his classmate Kaoru to jazz, and their classmate Ritsuko whose father owns a record shop and provides practice space.

Sakamichi no Melody (opening credits song)
Altair (closing credits song)

Commentary on the trailer focusing on the music
Episode reviews with screenshots
posted by needled (50 comments total) 72 users marked this as a favorite

 
Cowboy Bebop director Shinichirō Watanabe and composer Yoko Kanno have reunited for...

Shut up and take my money!
posted by Winnemac at 4:47 PM on April 22, 2012 [32 favorites]


This has finally got me off the fence on checking out Crunchyroll. Tanks!
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:49 PM on April 22, 2012


Tanks!

Tanks?
posted by Winnemac at 4:56 PM on April 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


rad.
posted by juv3nal at 4:57 PM on April 22, 2012


It's weird, the things that make you fall in love with a show. In the first episode when I heard "Waruka, waruka!" (Sorry, sorry!) I recognized that right away as being, of all things, Nagasaki dialect -- turns out that the story takes place in Sasebo, just a little bit up the road from Nagasaki, where I spent a year abroad. It was an incredible shot to the heart of nostalgia.

I've largely gotten out of anime fandom lately because so much of what was being produced was samey and fanservicey, but I was enough of a Cowboy Bebop fan to be looking forward to this one, and I wasn't disappointed. They really capture what it's like to be in love for the first time, to be in love with music for the first time, and they capture the way that the sun glints off the sea right around Nagasaki.
posted by Jeanne at 5:03 PM on April 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


After 3 minutes of ads on Crunchyroll I gave up.
posted by Xurando at 5:04 PM on April 22, 2012


Shut up and take my money!

Except they're even asking for money, apparently. It's free to stream.
posted by delmoi at 5:04 PM on April 22, 2012


Forever golden hour in anime Japan. Has it ever been, like, 2PM in the afternoon there? Every shot is the golden hour.
posted by clvrmnky at 5:09 PM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Man, I love Yoko Kanno. The Cowboy Bebop soundtrack is just the best soundtrack for anything ever.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:11 PM on April 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


This is finally airing???

This is finally airing!!!
posted by byanyothername at 5:15 PM on April 22, 2012


Man, I love Yoko Kanno. The Cowboy Bebop soundtrack is just the best soundtrack for anything ever.

I think her work for Ghost In The Shell, SAC is also just excellent, excellent stuff. In fact, I'm gonna listen to it right now.

Will be interested to see what this is like. I had high hopes for Samurai Champloo based on Watanabe's direction of Cowboy Bebop but found myself a bit let down; it really lacked the through-line (and also characterisation, imho) that propelled Bebop into another sphere.

Nowadays there's so much anime I find it really difficult - not being a university student with oodles of time to spare - to parse the things I might enjoy from the mountains of shit out there. This is compounded by the fact that most reviewers of anime have - if not actively terrible - tastes that don't align with mine, at all.

Mushishi was the last anime I watched and really enjoyed. Also had great music. It's amazing to think, when we were all getting into anime in high-school, the fundamental issue was finding enough of it (on VCR! Ha!), now there's just so, so much stuff out there.
posted by smoke at 5:27 PM on April 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


Ghost In The Shell, SAC

Yes

I had high hopes for Samurai Champloo based on Watanabe's direction of Cowboy Bebop but found myself a bit let down

On the upside, it introduced me to Nujabes for which I'm quite grateful.
posted by curious nu at 5:34 PM on April 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


I discovered that it really ticks me off when ads play in pairs. WHY IS THE ONE LONG ANNOYING AD NOT ENOUGH, CRUNCHYROLL?

I saw the first episode; thought it was okay. Actually it was pretty cool that so much seemed to happen in that first episode alone. And I like the characters. For some reason, the OP and ED don't fit very well here for me. Meh. *goes to watch Uchuu Kyoudai instead*
posted by The Biggest Dreamer at 5:36 PM on April 22, 2012


Okay, watched the first two. I feel like the high school bits are fine but aren't anything I haven't seen in a million other anime. And I didn't really pick up on the 60s setting until the scene in the record store that had actual vinyl. It comes alive in the jazz and fight scenes though. I can see sticking with it for a bit.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 5:52 PM on April 22, 2012


Something I have always wondered about: Yoko Kanno's "Cyberbird" (2004) vs. Hooverphonic's "Battersea" (1998).
posted by chrominance at 6:04 PM on April 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


chrominance: Damn. That's uncanny. I've had Cyberbird on heavy ipod rotation for years, and the similarity is really obvious.
posted by figurant at 6:16 PM on April 22, 2012


I find Cowboy Bebop to be incredible watchable and accessible. However, when I try to watch other anime series and films I just can't stomach the style, acting and story, which is kind of the reaction I'm getting watching Kids On The Slope. One anime enthusiast told me that Cowboy Bebop isn't even considered a proper anime, which I guess is debatable. My question, are there any animations from Japan that don't look like they can only be enjoyed by someone who goes to comic conventions?
posted by Arthur Phillips Jones Jr at 6:45 PM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I understand that one can give Crunchyroll money, like Netflix, and there will not be ads. (At least in Canada; the anime subscription is $7/mo.) Is this not actually the case? Because we're thinking of giving it a go this summer once we have time.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:46 PM on April 22, 2012


Alright, that settles it for me - picked up. This season has been pretty bleak for anime - I'm only following two series from this season, when normally it'll be around four or five. And one of the ones I'm following, Sankarea, has some pretty wince-inducing fanservice moments here and there within a solid story. Hyouka looks promising, and my current favorite, well, you can't go wrong with making a magical girlfriend parody using Nyarlathotep from the Lovecraft mythos.

But this? This looks pretty damn solid. I was on the fence, but you've sold me, needled.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:53 PM on April 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


magical girlfriend parody using Nyarlathotep from the Lovecraft mythos

*boggles, then carefully bangs head on wall till reset ocurrs*

There's something that (retrospectively, once you get over the WTF) reaches the level of profound wisdom in having Nyarlathothep choose a cute anime girl as his avatar for Japan.

In other words: to the Downloadmobile, Robin!
posted by Iosephus at 7:06 PM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


My question, are there any animations from Japan that don't look like they can only be enjoyed by someone who goes to comic conventions?

I feel the same way actually, which is why I hadn't even heard of this until now despite it being very in my realm of interest.

Best I can tell you is to watch everything everything by Satoshi Kon and then call it a day.
posted by Winnemac at 7:10 PM on April 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing, what did you think of Chihayafuru, if you've watched it? I've enjoyed it quite a bit, as well as learning about a Japanese game I'd never heard of before, karuta.
posted by needled at 7:16 PM on April 22, 2012


My question, are there any animations from Japan that don't look like they can only be enjoyed by someone who goes to comic conventions?

Serial Experiments Lain, Haibane Renmei, Trapeze, Cromartie High School, Eve no Jikan, Kino no Tabi, Bakemonogatari, Paranoia Agent ...

Like any other medium, while about 90% of what's produced rushes to follow templates of story, direction and design, there's still plenty of groundbreaking and outside-the-norm material.

Marisa Stole the Precious Thing, what did you think of Chihayafuru, if you've watched it?

Haven't watched it, and to be fair this was because of my own knee-jerk reaction of "an anime about a game I know nothing about? Yeah, no thanks," but like I said - bleak season. Yet another series to give the ol' three-episode-rule!
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:19 PM on April 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


Winnemac: Thanks for that live link. That was incredible. I have a live album of the CB soundtrack, but it doesn't sound anywhere as good as this (the live version I have was not performed as skillfully--or as exuberantly--as this one).

CB, and Tank! specifically, is what got me interested in jazz at such a late age (mid-30s at the time). I enjoy the series very much, but I love the music. It's still in heavy rotation on all my music devices.

I'm pleased to hear about this anime. I'll watch a few episodes just because of Yoko Kanno. Thanks for posting it here -- I'd've never heard about it otherwise.
posted by malthusan at 7:28 PM on April 22, 2012


I'm also something of a lapsed anime enthusiast, for many of the samey, fanservicey reasons cited by Jeanne and the others above. Although this new series doesn't seem press the same genre-mashup buttons as Cowboy Bebop, I'll be interested to check it out all the same.

But what I'd really like is for there to be a large enough resurgence of interest in Kanno's music to fuel an actual (non-bootleg) release of her Bebop soundtracks for western listeners-- maybe an anthology box set or some such, with detailed liner notes about the composition and production thereof. I know that the anime-convention bootleg circuit sort of killed the market for the soundtracks here, but I'd like them to at least have a legitimate US release for downloading/streaming/etc. It's a crime against humanity that I'm not able to queue up "WHAT PLANET IS THIS?" on Spotify whenever I need a funky car-chase jam to spice up my commute.
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:31 PM on April 22, 2012


Well, yee-ha, Space Cowboys!!!

I let my ex have the (non-pirated! Genuine!) boxed set of Cowboy Bebop in our break-up years ago. I don't begrudge it, but I do miss it from time to time. And one of these days, I'm going to learn *all* the Japanese lyrics to the Real Folk Blues and bust that out in karaoke.
posted by smirkette at 7:41 PM on April 22, 2012


I loved Cowboy Bebop. Samurai Champloo was pretty good, not great. This doesn't look all that good, but I'll still check it out. Wary about the ads on crunchyroll though.
posted by Malice at 8:05 PM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I too enjoyed anime mainly beginning with Bebop and found myself getting less enjoyment out of other "less accessible" series.

To those of you in the same boat I humbly suggest you begin watching Monster (available in its entirety in both subtitles and dub on Hulu). It is frankly just plain good art. Not good anime, not good television, just good art. I am 3/4 of the way through it and it explores morality in ways that some literature fails to. Seriously, check it out.
posted by sendai sleep master at 8:09 PM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Omg omg omg omg omg omg
posted by Occula at 10:03 PM on April 22, 2012


someone who goes to comic conventions?

...like the lower middle class?
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 11:56 PM on April 22, 2012


The Escaflowne anime series (not so much the movie) is another good one to watch, though older now, and you kind of have to let the drawing style grow on you. Once you're a couple episodes into it, the story and the music carry you. Yoko Kanno's music for it is just wow.I still listen to that soundtrack regularly. There are only a couple new pieces she did for the movie that I like; otherwise the Escaflowne movie is fine to miss out on. Kanno's work on "Ghost in the Shell" is incredible too, yes.

Seconding "Haibane Renmei". Beautiful (and it made me cry >.<; ). I liked "Mushishi" as well, a bit like a cross between "Princess Mononoke" and fairy tales.

Kanno also wrote pop music for Japanese singer Maaya Sakamoto. Very sweet, it definitely depends on personal preference, but I like how Kanno's work so often uses strong melodies. Love Sakamoto's albums Grapefruit and DIVE. I haven't listened to it for a while and yet just thinking of them has brought to memory a couple songs... "Kaan-ji-te to koto sa, zutto zutto mai karaaa..."
posted by fraula at 1:34 AM on April 23, 2012


Second Escaflowne, second the new Nyarlethotep show (watch for gambrel roofs!). This season actually has no fewer that four horror-comedy series, which is odd.

As far as shows this season you might enjoy if you don't usually watch anime, there's Tsuritama (Fishing Ball, sounds like Fishing Soul), which is about a fishing club of four guys, all of them a bit odd and one possibly an alien.

The new Lupin III is fun if you like goofy seventies crime or heist movies, particularly the slightly pretentious ones, though as a result of being in that style it has a lot of nipples in the opening sequence.

Apollon seems kind of boring so far; ridiculous premises always seems more interesting than realistic, slice-of-life dramas, but to each their own.

If you don't watch anime, you can get most of the nutritive content by just reading premises.
posted by 23 at 6:47 AM on April 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I knew I wanted to watch this series as soon as I saw the previews for Spring 2012.

So far after watching 2 episodes, I admit I am a fan of calming atmosphere of the show and music for OP/ED. So many series have this kind of breakneck speed where characters and sub-plots get crammed into a few episodes and the viewers feel lost in the end.
posted by chrono_rabbit at 4:21 PM on April 23, 2012


Seconding the recommendations on Mushishi, Monster, Escaflowne, Ghost in the Shell: SAC, and everything Satoshi Kon. They're all definitely what I'd consider more thoughtful or introspective shows, like Cowboy Bebop.

I also am a lapsed anime watcher. I don't watch many shows anymore. I really liked Puella Magi Madoka Magica from a couple years ago--it looks like a Sailor Moon clone at first glance but is very much darker and more existential. Last Exile is also quite good.
posted by impishoptimist at 4:22 PM on April 23, 2012


I really liked Puella Magi Madoka Magica from a couple years ago--it looks like a Sailor Moon clone at first glance but is very much darker and more existential.

I agree with you 100%. Madoka was an instant classic, a masterpiece. It took all the classic elements of mahou shoujou - the lovable girl from a loving family, her insufferably nice friends, the mysterious but decidedly adorable magical being who comes out of nowhere to propose she become a magical girl, the first fight with a bad guy - carefully piecing these elements together in the first three episodes - right until the final five minutes of said episode, where things take a turn for the WTF. And then it gets darker and darker still, where you sit there, jaw-dropped, episode after episode, telling yourself it couldn't possibly get more cruel, but then it does.

The icing on the cake is the taste of the delicious tears of magic girl anime fans when you ask, "So, I thought Madoka was a deconstruction of the magic girl genre, and one of the best examples of it. What did you think?" You will be treated to a 600-word frothy rant about how no, it is not mahou shoujou and people who say that just don't get the genre!
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:36 PM on April 23, 2012


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing: aside from the bash-over-the-head ecological messages, how do you think Arjuna stacks up as magic-girl stuff?

Last Exile

Too much anime, not enough dieselpunk podracing. (My feelings on Eureka 7 were the same; why would you not have every episode be about sky-surfing mecha?! WHY)
posted by curious nu at 6:17 PM on April 23, 2012


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing: aside from the bash-over-the-head ecological messages, how do you think Arjuna stacks up as magic-girl stuff?

I think it's a pretty solid example, and one I'd recommend as far as mahou shoujou that isn't Sailor Moon or Utena is concerned. I'd also recommend Rozen Maiden which, while not strictly mahou shoujou, does some amazing things with elements of the genre (although you can pretty much skip the first season without missing anything) - a group of living, magically powered dolls all created by the same unseen "Father" attempt to fight each other to the death, with the ultimate prize being becoming a living girl, while the villain has the most fleshed-out, sympathetic backstory of any of them? Oh hell yes.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:29 PM on April 23, 2012


My question, are there any animations from Japan that don't look like they can only be enjoyed by someone who goes to comic conventions?

Others have given their recommendations so I'll throw out mine, assuming you liked the space and future world bit of Cowboy Bebop: All of the above are set in space or in a technologically more advance Earth and let their characters explore and show their world, and some of the consequences of the technology they live with.

For example, Kaiba's art looks fantastical but it's set in a world where memories and the soul are transferable for the rich. PLANETES is about a world where there is a moon colony, space debris is a serious problem and the first manned flight to Jupiter.
posted by tksh at 7:43 PM on April 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


My question, are there any animations from Japan that don't look like they can only be enjoyed by someone who goes to comic conventions?

ditto anything Satoshi Kon, also Cat Soup and Mind Game
posted by juv3nal at 10:27 PM on April 23, 2012


I'm paid to watch this show. It's pretty rad!

No, seriously, I'm quality check for this and many other simulcast animes. A lot of the time it's a chore and a half, because having to pay precise attention to the subtitles takes out most of the enjoyment of a show, and let's face it, the vast majority of anime, just like any other narrative format, is awful. Forcing myself to marathon a 24 episode run of some murderous psychopath lolita ero show or whatever for DVD release is enough to make me call it quits, sometime.

But then we get a contract for a show like Kids on the Slope.

My boss, who is the editor on this show (we sort of make teams among the subcontractors of Translator & Editor, then I QC most things and we have a couple different people who time the scripts depending on the process), has been a huge music nerd his whole life, so there's the added pleasure of knowing that we really do have the best people for the anime on this job, getting the jazz terms right and the era-appropriate slang from our very enthusiastic translator. Shows like this don't come along very often, but they are absolutely what make the job worth doing.

The best part about the enthusiastic English-speaking response to this show is that I have yet to hear one peep about the subtitles. When the show is good, my personal goal as quality check is to make sure that things are seamless. We try to make it so the viewer can enjoy the show without subtitles getting in the way. If the translation is good, and the editing is solid, and there aren't any typos or timing errors getting in the way, the viewer can forget the subtitles. Only a few days until I get to work on episode 4, and I'm really hoping we can keep it up. I want people to talk about the smooth dialog and the authentic voice and not once mention the subtitles for the entire run of the show.
posted by Mizu at 10:08 PM on April 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


Seconding Crest of The Stars/Banner of The Stars (compellingly watchable, even with the teen protaganists) and the Patlobor movies (some of the best SF police procedural's ever made). Do not watch the Patlabor TV series-- completely different in tone from the movies.
posted by KingEdRa at 2:10 PM on April 27, 2012


a 24 episode run of some murderous psychopath lolita ero show

torrent plz thx
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:12 PM on April 27, 2012


Actually, wait, are you talking about Mirai Nikki? Because that comes close.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:16 PM on April 27, 2012


I worked on Mirai Nikki too (that one was... complicated for businessy reasons actually unrelated to the enormous amounts of onscreen text. Let us forget the show ever happened. If I never read the letters "Yukki!" in that order again it will be too soon.) But alas, although I've done a murderous ero show and a murderous lolita show and a psychopath lolita show and a murderous psychopath show and a lolita ero show... well I just kinda picked a bunch of junk I generally dislike having to QC and made that line up. My taste in "shows to watch" and "shows to QC" are quite different, with very little overlap. Primarily, if I really *like* a show it's harder to QC because I have to NOT watch it to watch the subtitles. Only shows like Kids on the Slope, and (my all-time favorite job so far) Kaiba (for Australian DVD release), manage to straddle that divide. That's when I know I can rec it to people.
posted by Mizu at 5:36 PM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also grr argh no torrents, legally licensed digital distribution only plz k thx, I don't get enough work as it is

wait this is not the thread for that argument

i mean, lolololol, have you tried Higurashi no Nako Koro ni?
posted by Mizu at 5:48 PM on April 27, 2012


Let us forget the show ever happened.

I'd prefer to forget the last four episodes ever happened. Loved the concept, loved a lot of the characters, really loved where it seemed to be going and then ... the whole thing sort of fell apart, tripping over itself to explain away inconsistencies and twists of logic that made so little sense that I couldn't be bothered to go back and re-watch anything in the hopes of making sense of it all.

I just kinda picked a bunch of junk I generally dislike having to QC and made that line up.

Oh I hear you. I agree that the great majority of anime - like the great majority of Hollywood films, television sitcoms, major label albums etc. - is garbage. It's gotten to where I'll skim over the charts for the new season and be like "Hm ... visual novel remake harem, nope ... normal high school boy inexplicably granted enormous supernatural power, nope ... oh, look, more moeshit, nope ..." and so on. My three episode rule has become my "read the chart" rule! It's amazing how readily studios reach for the easy templates.

Maybe this is why so many of the titles I really love are parodies of these themes. Of course I also love a great many sincere series, too, but it's a lot of fun to see how studios satirize the very themes the industry milks. Perhaps Haruhi is to blame for that.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:50 PM on April 27, 2012


Also, no, haven't tried Higurashi because of the art. Does the story make up for it?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:53 PM on April 27, 2012


Nope.
I mean. Um. I cannot say. Semi-legally.
posted by Mizu at 6:11 PM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Yoko Kanno soundtrack is out. There are 24 tracks, most of them instrumental, and the opening and ending credits songs are not included.
posted by needled at 2:17 PM on May 11, 2012


So just to get back in before the thread closes, it gets terrific around the third ep and I'm really glad I stuck with it.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:28 AM on May 19, 2012


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