I usually do not review or talk about specific manga or anime because I can get quite biased about my favorites (let alone admit to liking this particular shoujo comics because I usually tell people “Oh I *never* read shoujo manga because I don’t understand the logics”). But I wanted to briefly mention about an anime called “sakamichi no APOLLON” (Apollonians on the hill road, or subtitled as “Kids on the Slope”) because I’m very impressed.
The story takes place in the mid 60′s (for example, there are mentioning of “Sound of Music” just being played at the theatres, or mentioning of playing musics by the Beatles) and the art style reminds you of story expectations to be more serious and dramatic, so be it…
I usually prefer manga over anime but what makes it most entertaining about this anime and the justifications of mentioning is that the animators takes extreme details to the synchronizations of drum and piano players (was it rotoscoped?). You may notice the rest of the character animations are less expensive (you commonly see still character shots almost like you’re reading a manga), but you will notice how detailed and well animated it is when the two main characters are playing the drums and piano and you can never (or quite difficult to) express that as a manga (it’ll take too many pages)… As compared to other anime such as “K-ON!”, you may notice that they sync quite well on drums on “K-ON!” but it never felt to me like what I am watching is what I am hearing (if that makes some odd sense)
I think the story itself is great (although it is common cliche’ of triangle relationships at high school and so on) and it is something that can touch the readers/audiences, but because I’m not used to jazz, I cannot possibly imagine the music in my mind as I’d read about it, so the animation with the joy of hearing “My Favorite Things” (from “Sound of Music”) in jazzy flavor was very entertaining and fulfilling (I don’t have the imaginations to be able to convert “Sound of Music” in my mind to jazz mode if I was reading about it).
Overall, this anime is what justifies conversion from manga to animations mainly because I believe the animators took extreme details to rotoscoping (???) drum and piano players as well as soundtracks, which you cannot do as pages…
I’ve only purchased the first book (by Kodama Yuki) even though it is shoujo manga, just because I thought I should try to read it (but I am not purchasing the rest), but I’m pretty sure I’ll continue to follow the anime as long as the soundtrack and instrumental playing animation continues to please me.
Addendum: Other recommended anime that does well synchronizing to musical instruments: “God Knows” video for “Suzumiya Haruhi no yuutsu” (wow!), tid-bits of scenes in “kei-on”‘s opening theme songs, “Angel Beats” solo scene “My song”