Ensemble a Cast: Kono Oto Tomare!

This post contains spoilers of the anime.

Kono Oto Tomare! has been a solid show from its debut to its recent sequel this season. Yet, it got overshadowed by many other anime to choose from. Sure it had a rocky start but as time goes on seeing the characters grow is worth the wait. Almost everyone is a member of their club, and most people would watch it. What went wrong? Let’s get right to it.

First things first: have you ever heard of the koto instrument? Well, this anime basically introduces you to the stringed instrument along with snippets of songs which was used in the show’s run. Each character has their own reason why they play the koto. Takezo wanted to renew the club’s image since his seniors weren’t able to be serious in competing at the nationals. His responsibility as club president, on paper, does fulfill the role to an extent. He then realizes he cannot do this on his own until Kudo came in. This sounds like this premise has been done so many times but stay put, there’s more to it. Despite having a delinquent background, Kudo played the koto in honor of his late craftsman grandfather, who also played the instrument. Also at one point in the show Kudo even gets the chance to play a customized one created by his grandfather for the final performance in Season 1.

The effort in the anime shows in shots like this.

Then comes in Hozuki. She’s shown to be the prodigy of her family’s school. But it turns out she only became good due to internal problems with her mother. Hozuki was given endless mandatory lessons and never had an idea of having a friend to reach out to. When she got the chance to be free from her chains, being accepted by her club wholeheartedly was the turning point in her life. Hozuki was able to overcome and grow at her own pace.

Another character, Kurusu, seemed to show disdain at the club and she also despises other people too. Kurusu “pretended” to learn the instrument so she could achieve her goal of losing the club’s unity. Hold your pitchforks, characters like her can turn a new leaf. After being proven that human relationships can last long with proper communication through Takezo, she learned her lesson and she slowly found her place in the club. And did I say communication? Because that’s how it should be done.

Kudo also has three more friends named Adachi, Sakai, and Kota. At first they filled a background role similar to the three guys from Maid-sama, but their individual personalities make them stand out in their own way despite their minor roles. Except for Sakai since the anime hasn’t covered his backstory for now. On the other hand, Kota’s problem was addressed right away. His insecurity to fit in since everyone else outshined him is relatable to almost anyone who’ve felt this before. Adachi became more active in Season 2 where he doesn’t want to let Kudo down where the two have their own duet.

The koto club as depicted in the manga. Don’t know why similar art in the anime shows up only for a few seconds.

More characters are introduced as the series goes on and at that point it does get difficult to remember all of their names. They’re not the only koto club that’s for sure. The goal of winning the nationals is basically a long tournament arc that doesn’t feel like one. A person could say it’s the journey between the characters. No matter how much you’ve been through someone will accept you even with the flaws one carries. Even with its strengths, it’s still a bit sad to see it doesn’t get the right amount of acclaim.

At least I’m happy to see that it’s still possible to see an anime where most characters have their own time in the spotlight. Plus there’s no need for extra drama to lose my interest. When there’s a conflict it’s resolved and the story goes on.


5 thoughts on “Ensemble a Cast: Kono Oto Tomare!”

  1. I read the manga of this a while back, and though I couldn’t listen to their actual songs, it is still one of the most addictive series I’ve ever read. Do you personally think the anime is up to par with its adaptation? (things such as character development and the overall vibe)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As an anime-only, the adaptation is gets a good pass. The characters are keeping it afloat with the drama they face. Development is natural for the main cast but the koto performances tend to get shoved into the background or get cut abruptly. If it was animated by a different studio then the koto performances would be a bigger selling point. As of Season 2, there’s more koto to hear and it that’s a plus for me. Pacing is a bit jarring from the start and it found its footing by the later episodes. Also the ships are so good here.

      Liked by 1 person

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