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Anime Spotlight: KIDS ON THE SLOPE

by Justin Sevakis,
April 2012 (Japanese Premiere)

Key Staff

Director - Shinichiro Watanabe
    (Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, Animatrix: Kid's Story)
Music - Yoko Kanno
    (Macross Frontier, Escaflowne, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex)
Character Design - Nobuteru Yuki
    (Escaflowne, Paradise Kiss, Space Battleship Yamato 2199)
Animation Production
MAPPA/Tezuka Productions

Original Work: Kids on the Slope (Sakamichi no Apollon), by Yuki Kodama (Shogakukan, serialized in Monthly Flowers)
Winner of the 57th Shogakukan Manga Award (general audience division)


A new standard in coming-of-age anime performed by noitaminA!

Creator Comments

"When it comes to adapting this manga to anime, I can say with no reservations that the series has been blessed with a brilliant combination of staff members that couldn't be any better. I'm so thrilled about this that I feel a tightening in my chest. I can't wait to see the collaboration of imagery and music that's in store for us."

—Original Work: Yuki Kodama

"Actually, this is my first time directing a series based on an original work. After reading the manga, I thought it was a series that I should do. I like to think that I'm bringing out the delicious flavor of the original work while doing a “session” with Ms. Kodama."

—Director: Shinichiro Watanabe

"I originally read Ms. Kodama's series out of pleasure, getting to be a part of the anime version was a surprise. I'm worried about destroying the image fans have of the characters, but I'll do my best!"

—Character Designer: Nobuteru Yuki

"Coming of age and jazz. This is exactly the kind of series I've been waiting for. I entreat everyone to listen to the heartbeat of life of the brilliant young jazz musicians who performed the sounds that could be heard from the original work."

—Music: Yoko Kanno


The beginning of summer, 1966.
Because of his father's job situation, freshman high school student Kaoru Nishimi moves by himself from Yokosuka to Kyushu to live with relatives. Until then, Kaoru was an honor roll student who tended to keep to himself, but meeting notorious bad boy Sentaro Kawabuchi starts to change him. Through his devil-may-care classmate, Kaoru learns the attractions of jazz and finds the first person he can call a “friend”. He also discovers how much fun it is to play music with a pal.

Other characters include Sentaro's kind childhood chum, Ritsuko, who is the daughter of a record shop owner; the mysterious upperclassman, Yurika; and Brother Jun, the much-admired leader among their peers. Set against the backdrop of a seaside town with a scent of American culture, this series is a drama about young people coming into their own, crossing each other's paths, and finding friendship, love, and music!


Kaoru Nishimi
VA: Ryōhei Kimura
Kaoru is a brainy young man who moves during the summer of his first year in high school, from Yokosuka to his uncle's house in Kyushu. In fact, Kaoru has been moving from place to place ever since he was a little kid, a lifestyle that has made him introverted. But after Kaoru encounters Sentaro, he starts to change, all while learning the joys of jazz. Kaoru has been familiar with classical music for many years and is quite the pianist, so naturally he's on piano.
Sentaro Kawabuchi
VA: Yoshimasa Hosoya
Sentaro is a wild 1st-year high school student who meets incoming student Kaoru at Higashi High School. Sentaro is mistakenly thought of as a thug by his peers, who fear him. Though tall and gifted with prodigious physical strength, Sentaro is also straightforward and bighearted. He's the exact opposite of Kaoru, yet somehow they hit it off when Sentaro starts to share his boundless love for jazz. The drums are Sentaro's instrument of choice.
Ritsuko Mukae
VA: Yuuka Nanri
Ritsuko is a classmate of Kaoru and Sentaro and an old friend of the latter. This kind, always cheerful and charmingly-freckled high school freshman is also the poster girl for Welcome Records, her family's record shop. The basement of the shop has a practice studio that serves as a hang-out for Sentaro, Kaoru, her father, and assorted jazz cronies.
Yurika Fukahori
VA: Aya Endō
Yurika is a fellow freshman at Higashi High. Though the daughter of a well-to-do family, Yurika has a spunky personality and is brimming with curiosity. She becomes acquainted with Kaoru and the gang after Sentaro helps her out by chance. And then, through them, she meets college student Junichi…
Junichi Katsuragi
VA: Junichi Suwabe
Sentaro idolizes Junichi, whom he affectionately calls “Brother Jun”. In fact, the friendship between Junichi, Sentaro, and Ritsuko goes way back to when they were kids. “Brother Jun” goes to college in Tokyo now, but whenever he comes home, he always stops in at Welcome Records and jams on the trumpet, playing jazz with Sentaro and whoever else is around.


Kaoru Nishimi
Ryōhei Kimura
Sentaro Kawabuchi
Yoshimasa Hosoya
Ritsuko Mukae
Yuuka Nanri
Yurika Fukahori
Aya Endō
Junichi Katsuragi
Junichi Suwabe


Original Work
Kids on the Slope (Sakamichi no Apollon)
by Yuki Kodama
(Shogakukan, serialized in Monthly Flowers)
Shinichiro Watanabe
Ayako Katō
Yūko Kakihara
Character Design
Nobuteru Yuki
Director of Animation
Yoshimitsu Yamashita
Yoko Kanno
Animation Production
MAPPA/Tezuka Productions

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