I never thought that I would cry so much (in a good way) from watching an anime, but Kono Oto Tomare, effortlessly calls on the waterworks because if its purity and beauty. It’s a definite must watch.
Synopsis: As the only member of the Koto club left, Takezo Kurata tries to save it by recruiting more members. Unfortuantely, playing Japanese traditional music is no longer popular among high school students. He finds an unlikely candidate in Chika Kudo, a “juvenile delinquent” who insists on joining the club. Before long, they recruit music prodigy Satowa Hozuki and the unlikely union fuels the dream to go to nationals.
I loved how the story for Kono Oto Tomare unfolded. I loved how it alternates telling the backstories of Chika, Hozuki, Takezo and the rest of the members of the Tokise High School Koto Club and how each story just hits home.
In particular, Chika’s story is the one that truly got me hooked into the series. On the surface, he may look like a ruffian, but he is definitely one of the best characters in the series. His earnestness and longing to connect with his grandfather was both heartwarming and heartbreaking. I cried so much in every scene involving Chika and his ojisan, the old man’s unwavering faith in his beloved grandson, and the love they both shared for the koto.
Despite his background, Chika has the ability to reach out to people with his heart. He may have a simple way of viewing things, but he is a good judge of character and treasures his friends. .He is humble and unafraid to acknowledge his shortcomings. I love that even though he is talented, he is not classified as a genius, and his journey was driven by hard work and passion. Of course, I love his chemistry with Hozuki, a tsundere of the highest order.
Suffice to say, I would have loved to inject more romance into the series because believe me, there were plenty of ships to sail — Satowa x Chika, Hiro and Takezo, and even Takenami and Akira. While there was a lot of cute scenes and interactions, in the end, its still the music that was the star of the show and we got plenty of good and unique performances.
It’s not just Chika that fans should root for because every character evolves throughout the 25 episode run of the first two seasons, and each journey is different. Hozuki’s conflict with her mother and Hozuki School takes center stage in the second season but we also see how a newfound passion for music motivates Sane, Mitchitaka and Kota.
It’s also interesting how this ragtag bunch manages to impress their rivals from Meiryu, Hakuto, and Himesaka. It’s cool how Chika’s straightforward attitude earned him formidable rivals in Kazusa (who always wants to take Hozuki from him), and Mio (who always lurks behind Chika and wants to follow him around).
The main strengths of Kono Oto Tomare was its very very compelling script. There were countless times that I found myself tearing up over a particularly honest line which really pulled at the heartstrings. The words perfectly depicted triumph, loss and hope, which was perfectly intersped with a great musical score. The animation was beautiful. The music was magnificent.
I sincerely hope that the studio won’t stop at Kono Oto Tomare Season 2 and continue to develop the anime. We really need shows like these to lift us up during our trying times. Binge it on Netflix. It’s a journey you won’t want to miss.