Kids on the Slope has all the ups and downs that are characteristic of adolescence. It has the beauty of being young and coming of age as well as the pain. While it has a lot of drama and relationship problems, so do most teenagers.
Kids on the Slope brings the joy of finding something that you really love to life. We see Kaoru, who has always done as he is supposed to, find the thing that makes him want to do something for himself. He works hard at it because it makes him happy to. He tries to integrate jazz into other aspects of his life, like how he asks out Ritsuko the first time or how he solves his problems with Sentaro. He tries to surround himself with people that feel the same way he does about the music. Finding these things out about yourself is generally a key part of adolescence and it was handled so well in Kids on the Slope. It made me remember back when I truly got into anime and the joy it brought into my life.
The whole world of Kids on the slope revolves around the relationship between Kaoru and Sentaro. When they are happy together it is more light hearted and when they are not it is gloomy. The way they can solve a conflict by going back to their love of jazz is so touching. No matter the problem or amount of time jazz brings them back together. Their closeness at times borders on sexual. Especially when Kaoru is acting like a jealous girlfriend. Throughout the whole show their relationship is the best part of the show.
First love was another major theme of Kids on the Slope. This one was more of a mixed bag though. Kaoru felt the pure feelings of first love and would do any crazy thing to get the girl. I can appreciate that and it feels real. Ritsuko’s responses all the way to the end of the series though are stilted and cold. I know at first she is supposed to have feelings for Sentaro, but even after she switches over to Kaoru she is still not really good to him. I already went into that here though, so I will move on. Sentaro’s relationship with Yurika was more palatable to me though. Yurika treated the boys with more respect and no name calling. Also I feel for her leaving everything she knows to an uncertain future for the one she loves.
I think the pacing went well for this show. Usually drama and love story shows tend to keep beating a dead horse with flashbacks rather than moving on. Kids on the Slope was trying to cover a lot of material quickly though and did not have the luxury of flashback time. While there were time skips and they did not dwell on the pain of certain situation likes being rejected, I do not think they took away from the show that much. Especially the dwelling on pain, usually too much time is put into showing how much someone hurts from rejection. But don’t we already know it hurts? Do they really need to shove it up our collective noses?
The ending for the show was quite wonderful. It stayed true to the heart of the show which was the relationship between Kaoru and Sentaro. Their relationship was shown to be timeless and something they could pick back up at anytime due to their mutual love of jazz. I was afraid it was going to end with Ritsuko, but luckily she was not involved much.
In the end the show comes full circle and ends with a slope again. Seeing how being on the slope evolves through the show is interesting.