Kono Oto Tomare!: Sounds of Life – Anime Preview
Synopsis: Down to its last member, the koto club will accept anyone who is interested in the traditional Japanese instrument. But when a delinquent and a prodigy player sign up, finding harmony isn’t going to be easy—especially not with ensemble competitions looming around the corner. With enough time and some incredible skill at the strings, perhaps this motley crew can strike a chord with the judges. (Official Funimation Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Kono Oto seems poised to be an ensemble cast show thanks to its opening credits featuring a bevy of characters, 5 guys and 2 girls. But in this first episode we only really get to meet and learn about two. Both feel like familiar staple personality types you’ve encounter throughout so many anime. First up, the timid nerdy one, Takezo Kurata, who’s being bullied but takes it all in stride due to his lack of self-confidence, friends and supporters, solely trying his best to keep the Koto Club alive. Enter the misunderstood delinquent, Kudoo Chika, who suffers a tragic past that’s made him jaded and gruff around the edges but still secretly harbors a heart of gold. Neither of these characters are mold breaking and unlikely to impress anyone except those already drawn to these kind of characters and the predictable dynamic their meeting forges.
Tom: Kono Oto has the makings of something interesting, thanks to an intriguing premise based around a non-typical musical instrument. But what’s here is littered with predictable twists, contrived villainous plans and convenient turn around when things get a stacked a little to high for our heroes to counter on their own. None of this is helped by a rushed pace that doesn’t allow any of its cliched characters to breathe and perhaps showcase aspects to their personalities that might set them apart as unique. The episode almost has a “This happens and then this happens” quality to it. There’s no flow to events, giving the entire episode a disjointed feel.
Linny: Although the show revolves around the Koto Club, so far there is no actual Koto music showcased. Even in the one scene where Takezo is watching a Koto performance at his school, we never get to hear the music being played. This convinces me that the show is potentially less about the Koto instrument and more about showcasing the friendship, friction and bonds that will form between the club members themselves. The Koto Club is likely going to be the catalyst for the story but you’re probably meant to be watching this for the characters and their journeys instead of learning about or getting to enjoy the sounds of the instrument. If you enjoy such stories in general, aka a mishmash of (so far predictable) characters coming together and growing closer under the banner of their Koto club, offering up lots of drama along the way, then Kono Oto Tomare! is likely to be up your alley. However, if you were hoping for something unique or were genuinely interested in the Koto, traditional Japanese instrument, element, you’re likely to be left underwhelmed.
Tom: Kono Oto isn’t exactly a visual feast either. The art is largely dull, with washed out colors and topped off with music that feels perhaps too splashy and grand for what still amounts to a low-key, high school club story. If you don’t mind, hell even appreciate, melodramatic turns you could do worse, but Kono Oto has little otherwise going for it, making it a pass for Spring.
Kono Oto Tomare!: Sounds of Life is available for streaming via Funimation.