Honestly, sometimes, when I watch Slice-of-Life anime, I have to wonder why I even bother watching Shonen or Isekai anime. Kono Oto Tomare was definitely one of the anime that made me remember why I absolutely love watching Slice-of-Life anime.
This anime doesn’t really focus on a single character for any longer than one or two episodes. Instead, it focuses on the entire Koto Club of Tokise High School. Going in, I had no idea what a Koto was, so here’s a visual aid.
Traditionally, these are played by women in Japan, and it seems like while it’s not particularly unacceptable for men to play them, it’s fairly rare. The anime touches on this topic lightly a few times, but doesn’t really focus on it too much.
In the beginning, the Koto Club consists of a single member: Takezo Kurata. Kurata is desperate to find new members for his club, but when the school’s most popular delinquent, Chika Kudo, approaches Kurata about joining, the concern that Kudo will scare away all other potential members begins to make Kurata panic.
Luckily, the two boys end up figuring out how to work with each other and Kudo is able to prove that he’s serious about playing the koto. The club ends up recruiting the requisite number of members to stay active and suddenly, they all have a single goal. That’s right, you guessed it, it’s an anime about a school club so their goal couldn’t be anything other than Nationals!
It almost feels unfair to give such a high music rating to an anime that’s literally about a musical club, but I couldn’t help it. The music in this show was absolutely phenomenal. When combined with the touching stories of the club members, the music hits home in the feels pretty hard, pretty often. I can’t tell you how many times I cried watching this, both from joy and sadness. Seriously, I can’t tell you, it’s kind of embarrassing.
I also love that I learned quite a bit about a new instrument I knew nothing about, so that was really nice!
Aside form all that, the art in the anime admittedly came across just a little on the low-quality side. That being said, the studio spared no expense on animating the musical scenes when the club performed, turning what was already a great musical performance into an audio-visual experience that is absolutely worth experiencing.
My only complaint about this anime is that while I know it’s not about romance… it did touch on the topic quite a bit and didn’t bother to follow through. It would have been nice to at least know whether or not my favorite ships ended up together or not.
I honestly have very few negative things to say about this show. I recommend it to anyone who likes music and appreciates a touching story. When a show makes me want to jump at my television screen and hug the characters, I know it’s going to make its way to my favorites list. Kono Oto Tomare did just that and more.