No music, no life.
To melomaniacs, a world without music is inconceivable. Music not only acts as an outlet for people to voice their genuine emotions to the world, it reciprocally stimulates one's memories. It has helped many in overcoming challenging circumstances.
Whether you're an avid musical instrument player or someone devoted to trying out one or more musical categories from jazz to punk rock, these anime films and series dive into various musical genres while sharing inspiring stories that will tug at your heartstrings.
The josei series sees the journey of two students: Shinichi Chiaki, who strives to overcome his fear of airplanes to attain his goal of becoming a first-rate conductor, and Megumi Noda (refers to herself as Nodame), a carefree girl with a raw talent for playing the piano and whose weirdness draws Shinichi's attention.
Fans of classical music composers such as Frédéric Chopin and Wolfgang Mozart should not miss out on Nodame Cantabile. As many would deem symphonic music pensive and dramatic, classical music enthusiasts will not be disappointed by its stellar symphony performances. However, its light-hearted approach to depicting the students' passion for symphonic music with congenial humor and charming romances indeed welcomes newcomers.
One of the hidden gems released in 2019, Stop This Sound! introduces international audiences to koto, a zither instrument and the national musical instrument of Japan.
Chika Kudou is a juvenile delinquent who decides to join his high school's koto club after the death of his grandfather, a koto maker. Although the Tokise High School Koto Club has been in dire need of fresh blood since the graduation of senior members, new club president Takezou Kurata is reluctant to easily accept Chika's application due to the latter's troubled history.
Detroit Metal City (DMC) is a popular underground death metal band known for blasphemous acts brimming with profanity and BDSM acts. The lead singer, Demon King Johannes Krauser II, is worshipped by his hardcore fans as the demon emperor who manifests a disdain for human beings and a taste for bats.
Unbeknownst to his loyal and obsessive followers, Johannes is just an alter ego of college graduate Souichi Negishi, a calming and peaceful musician who prefers Swedish pop. The series details the chain of unfortunate but hilarious events Souichi/Johannes has undergone to make ends meet.
Yukio Tanaka is an eighth-grader with a boring life until he saves an odd-looking dog named Beck from a group of local kids. The owner of Beck happens to be Ryusuke Minami, an emerging rock musician who subsequently becomes Yukio's primary influence for developing an interest in guitar playing. The two boys with larger-than-life dreams start launching their careers in the world of glamorized rock & roll.
Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad sees the trials and tribulations of their rock band BECK as they endeavor to conquer the hearts of every rock & roll fan in Japan.
Currently streaming on Netflix, Carole & Tuesday is in a future where humanity has the alternative option of migrating to Mars. Carole Stanley is an orphaned teenager working part-time to serve her primary goal of becoming a musician. Tuesday Simmons, a politician's daughter, runs away from her affluent lifestyle with her guitar to chase her dreams.
After a fateful encounter, the two lonely souls decide to team up and perform their original music together under the name Carole & Tuesday. Up against a world dominated by Artificial Intelligence (AI) singers, can Carole & Tuesday convince listeners with their heart and soul conveyed through lyrics and music?
Joining clubs in high school can be pretty daunting to some. In the case of freshman Yui Hirasawa, joining the Light Music Club with no experience playing musical instruments is terrifying and embarrassing. Before she could quit, the remaining members of the Light Music Club sparked Yui's zeal to stay with their impassioned band performance.
With the aid of bassist Mio Akiyama, drummer Ritsu Tainaka, and keyboardist Tsumugi Kotobuki, Yui spends time playing and practicing her musical capabilities, eventually becoming an excellent guitar player with an absolute pitch. The slice-of-life moe series is permeated with silly and adorable shenanigans that remind one of the good times hanging out with friends at high school.
Based on a Japanese novel series written by Ayano Takeda, Sound! Euphonium is a popular series focusing on students in the Kitauji High School Music Club. Its success even spawned a few sequels and spin-offs like the hidden gem Liz and the Blue Bird.
Centering on first-year high school student Kumiko Oumae, the freshman succumbs to her friends' persistent coaxing and joins the school's music club despite her previous less-than-satisfactory experience. While both Sound! Euphonium and K-On! were produced by Kyoto Animation, Sound! Euphonium is comparatively more drama-focused.
Haunted by grief over his ex-lover, Ritsuka Uenoyama 's chance encounter with fellow high school student Mafuyu Satou inspires him to pick up guitar lessons with the latter. Impressed with Ritsuka's impressive vocals and heartfelt motive, Mafuyu is determined to convince Ritsuka to join his music band as the lead vocalist.
With two other members consisting of university students: bassist Haruki Nakayama and drummer Akihiko Kaji, Given is an emotional anime series that employs music as its main instrument in conveying the band members' unspoken feelings while its bifurcated romantic plot line between the band members is undoubtedly a feast for the eyes, especially towards the LGBTQ+ community.
In this tale of heartbreaks and rock and roll, strong female friendships remain the centerpiece in overcoming the barriers and hurdles in life. NANA focuses on two girls with the same first name, Nana. Undeterred by their seemingly different personalities, the two Nanas strike a bond that is more solid than any relationships the girls ever had or will have.
Nana Komatsu is a naive but unpretentious girl with a heart of gold and a penchant for romantic relationships that will never last. Nana Osaki is the cool lead singer of the rock band The Black Stones, determined to conquer Tokyo with her natural musical talent in addition to revisiting past correspondences.
From the same creator of Cowboy Bebop comes an anime series with its pivot of storytelling lies in its impromptu jazz music sessions.
Taking place in the summer of 1966, local delinquent Sentarou Kawabuchi's salubrious appreciation of jazz music rubs off on transfer student Kaoru Nishimi. With Sentarou's exceptional drumming skills and Kaoru's top-notch piano-playing abilities, the dynamic duo sets off to make delightful memories in the basement of Ritsuko Mukae's family-owned record shop, which happens to be Sentarou's childhood friend and Kaoru's classmate.
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A recent Monash University graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Media Communication and a Specialisation in Film Studies. She’s fresh freelance writer with a passion for international cinema. Her favorite directors are, but definitely not limited to, Martin Scorsese, Wong Kar-Wai, Krzysztof Kieślowski and Juzo Itami. When she’s not busy writing or daydreaming, Jia Yee Bridgette enjoys spending her free time watching whatever films she could rummage up, listening to songs mostly released in the pre-2010s era and the ocassional indulgence in the act of beer-drinking. Follow her on Letterboxd for personal reflections and rants: https://boxd.it/1PrwF.
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10 of the Best Anime Films and Series For Music Lovers – Collider
No music, no life.