Forest of Piano is an anime I kept on skipping simply because it just seems boring. But now because I am running out of anime to watch on Netflix (as Netflix India carries limited anime series). But if you want to get series that are not available in your country, VPN. sponsored us today is… just kidding. Do hit us up though VPN companies.
Anyway, some of the other series I’d recommend would be anime like Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop or Arakawa Under the Bridge. But my favourite would be this small anime called Fumetsu no Anata e Review: Never Ending Evolution.
Off the bat, I like the story of how a piano in the forests raised a prodigy of the arts. Not literally, but it honed his ability as a pianist. The child, Kai Ichinose, was born in a rundown part of Japan. Ichinose did not have the luxuries of life as other children would and his only refuge is the Piano in the forests. He has tremendous love for his mother and even for the place he grew up in.
He made a friend in school who is aspiring to be a famous pianist and whose father was also a famous pianist and his name is Shuhei Amamiya. Who later becomes Kai’s Rival as well. Although we can say this rivalry is only from one side by Amamiya. He became jealous and obsessed with defeating and being better at piano than Kai. Kai has his natural adaptability to the piano, while he himself has to struggle to be the best. Which further frustrates him.
Kai initially rejected the idea of training and refining his piano techniques. This wasn’t until after hearing Sosuke Ajino–his mentor, teacher and a former famous pianist. The teacher had to resort to teaching in a school because of an accident in the past. Ajino played a Chopin piece, which Kai could not emulate. He had to relent and request Sosuke for piano lessons and started his journey as a pianist.
Takako Maruyama aka Toilet Princess
Kai’s journey to becoming a pianist got us to follow him and his journeys. Meeting and experiencing many kinds of relationship where some are very true to our real-life situations. In his very first competition, Kai meets another talented pianist he lovingly calls “Toilet Princess”. This is because of the circumstances of how they met. As Kai has a very caring personality, almost everyone he meets, he treats them with a kind of compassion and kindness. Which is maybe because he came from a certain upbringing himself and he treats others the way he wants to be treated. But that’s how he met ‘toilet princess’. He consoled her and helped her at his very first competition. She later on stood by him and fought for his cause because she will always remember the kindness he had shown her.
The first twist to the story and to Kai’s journey came at this very first competition. His rejection as a pianist by a panel that was a biased with an outdated system. The panel had people who feared progress and talent and would rather follow strict rules and traditions than acknowledge a new progressive path to the future. It brought to light a very relatable situation where the system thwart and reject progress and development. It forces individuals, mostly youths, to either play by the rules and win big in this society or rebel against it. Stand by our ethics and principles but never be accepted or climb up the social ladder. Sadly, this pressure of survival in this outdated and unfair world would always lead a young innovator to bow down and accept that there is no longer a need for innovation.
Kai, however, just got stronger and freer in his way and method of connecting with the sound of the piano. The Anime had some good story plots. The most appealing being the relationship between the two great pianists–Kai Ichinose and Shuhei Amamiya. One with natural talent, an ear for the sound of the piano, a free flowing and unchained sound, a prodigy but with a difficult and hard-hitting life, circumstances, upbringing and choices. The other, a perfectionist in the technique who can play to the exact pin-drop sound of a note, comes from an entitled family and provided the opportunities to grow but is also an extremely hard worker of the trade. Their relationship is so complex that we can take it as something that can actually happen.
We have Kai, who seems to only want to please Shuhei and become the best friend that one can be. And Shuhei, who has an immense love for Kai but becomes corrupted by jealousy and his own competitive spirit. Their journey in discovering the sound of the piano makes the story that much interesting.
It’s important to note that what Shuhei Amamiya feels is not a rare thing to happen. In fact, almost everyone of us has within us a degree of competitiveness and desire to exceed another human being. Even if that person is the closest friend we may have. It’s only natural to tap into our instincts and want to be the best at what we can do. However, we only have to be careful in understanding that everyone has their limitations, their own potentials, own aptitudes, own interest and talents. But sadly, in the way this education system caters to one’s memory and not their individual ability, we are, but force to compete in the same fish pond where the predators swim.
Conclusion of Forest Of Piano
If you decide to watch the anime, you will meet many other interesting characters. Each with their own story and reasons for achieving greatness. But let this serve as a warning: if you are not someone who likes classical music. Since this anime covers mostly the works of Chopin, a few Mozart and an honourable mention of Beethoven, then it will bore you halfway through. Especially during the competition at Warsaw. In terms of execution of the competition and the musical arrangement, I liked the way they did it in the Anime “Kono Oto Tomare! Sounds of Life”. Of which I did a review for Neotakus as well. The difference was while I was excited and was fully immersed in the music in Kono Oto Tomare, this one felt like draggish. I couldn’t get the excitement as some of the piece starts and ends abruptly.
To add, I felt that the Animation had a lot to do with that. The art of the forests, for example, was really nice. But then, for the performances, they had, I presume, used a lot of CGI. Which was not blended well from my point of view with the rest of the anime. The hands and finger movements and even Kai’s expression, for example, felt very PlayStation 2 kinda graphics. Even how the other instruments were animated was very poorly done. It just takes away from the music no matter how beautifully Chopin has composed them. In terms of character development, it wasn’t enough for a story. There is barely any difference in their characters whilst they were kids and when they were supposedly grown up performers.
Overall, it’s an okay 5/10 kinda anime. People who like Chopin and are into classical music may like it. And maybe people who like drama series may also find it appealing. Mainly because while there are quite a few glaring disappointments, it still had a good storytelling. But I suggest you watch a few episodes, as I am positively sure that is more than enough to either keep you watching or quit.
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