Posted from my Facebook June 18, 2012.
Kids on the Slope (Sakamichi no Apollon, in Japanese romanji) takes place in mid-1960s Japan and focuses on the lives of a group of high school kids who have a love for American jazz. Through the romance, the music, and of course, the drama, this josei series created by Yuki Kodama tells how life itself is like a jazz compilation: spontaneous, beautiful, and always finishes with an unpredictable outcome. This can certainly be a reflection on the 1960s culture worldwide as well; but let’s face it, the only sixties stuff I recall from history class was more on the lines of the Cold War and Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Oddly enough, Kids on the Slope is also the first anime I’ve seen where Christianity (or at least the fact that a character is a Christian) plays a significant role in the story. Metaphors such as futuristic priests who carry crosses for machine guns, as cool as it is, doesn’t count. Since the majority of Japanese people are Buddhist or some modern version of Shinto, anime and manga are more likely to have themes around their cultures (and trust me, there’s a lot of them). Having Christianity in the mix is certainly not a new idea in incorporation with anime, but Kids on the Slope has definitely opened the door for more possibilities. Two of the main characters are in fact Christian, and one of them styles the rosary as a necklace rather than a charm, for a very heart-warming and positive reason.
Although this series is josei (and therefore is geared more toward women than men), Kids on the Slope comes highly recommended, especially if you are an avid lover of music.