It’s everything that you’d expect from a slice of life anime, and beyond it. The tittle could be literally translated as ‘Stop this sound!’ or better rephrased as Sounds of Life. It has a competitive vibe and spirit similar to Haikyuu!!, bittersweet background stories that reminds me of Fruits Basket, light-hearted comedy on playful interaction between characters like ReLIFE and lovely ( maybe a bit cute ) romance that doesn’t just throw in drama for fun.
What’s the story about?
Kono Oto Tomare! tells the story of Takezo Kurata, a diffident second year student and a sole member of Koto club who is seeking to recruit new members after his seniors have graduated. Unexpectedly, the school’s infamous delinquent, Kudo who was once arrested for destroying his own grandfather’s koto shop approached Kurata and submitted club application. Then, a Koto prodigy girl, Hozuki also joined and insisted on taking the club to national competition. As more events unfold, Koto club gain more members where an unlikely friendship is created.
As overwhelming as it could be, with sweat and tears, the fate of the undermined Koto Club and their high school life could be changed forever.
Why is this recommended?
It’s unfair to just say that Kono Oto Tomare! did something no other anime could but then again, everything it does just feel right and engaging. It’s like watching a bewitching story on how the characters confront their struggles themselves, with each other and their effort to achieve something bigger than themselves. It’s like watching a heart-wrenching story of their past that makes one wants to root for them. Everything is a real enjoyment.
The power of its charm shines on these 3 aspects that it’s done right.
1. The chemistry created between the characters.
One of the most important element of a story is the characters living inside them, and Kono Oto Tomare! got this right on the hook.
The story flows in a way that it befits the various personalities of the characters, so it doesn’t feel forced when their background stories are slowly revealed as the story progresses. To rephrase it, their character development advances linearly together with the plot. The warm interaction, the hilarious exchange of words and the determination behind every single member just match perfectly to the story. We know who they are, we know what they want and we can even anticipate what will happen next. These are the moments that made up their characters, and moves them forward.
2. Blending shounen into music
Still remember all those never-giving-up or keep-improving vibe from Haikyuu!!, My Hero Academia, Your Lie in April or any anime with insane competitive spirit?
What if a music battle with the beautiful tunes of Kudo can pump just the same amount of adrenaline out of your heart? We’ve got straightforward Kudo that is bad at hiding his real intention and do things in a way that he sees fit. He is the type of guy that doesn’t even try to sugarcoat his words, be it advice or insults but yet his words reach others when they need it the most. Kurata, is one who lacks self-confidence and always carry the burden by himself. He sees the best in others, even strive to care for them but never really to himself. Hozuki, is the typical self-centered girl that is usually described as a tsundere. She is a talented player, a bit caring but keeps everything to herself.
And their story only begins from here onwards. This trio takes the spotlight among the diverse characters, and added much more depth to the side characters, taking them into the spotlight as well. Their connection is what makes the shounen more credible and the story, much more interesting.
3. The heart-tugging romance
Of course. Of course! If foods need spices to enhance the flavour, a story would nonetheless require a good ol’ romance to make it much more interesting and realistic, especially a slice of life anime.
And honestly, nothing is more powerful than a few blushes and a genuine smile to fill the void inside your empty heart ( even if it’s not ) and depicts the emotional state of the character without any words. The way they act around each other, stood up for each other, their words that shows a hint of care and the art that creates this lovely ambience are something you can very much look forward to. And it will deliver. Guaranteed.
There is no overwhelming inner voices flooding, and in contrast, action takes the romance further instead. This is why I really appreciate how romance is approached here rather than fixing on a last-minute-event and only building everything up for it. Also, a small spoiler here, there is more than one couple-shipping going on.
Kono Oto Tomare! is at the first glance, just an ordinary slice of life story but what it did is far more than just portraying a school story.
It is an experience that I’d recommend to everyone to enjoy, just how heart-warming and touching it can be. To listen to, their sound of life.
As always, you’re awesome, thanks for reading.