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RIP Ralph Baer (1922-2014) I really, really hate writing obits. I really do. But I take it as a personal honor to be able to say good things about the men and women I respect, whether in this industry or just in my life, and Ralph Baer is the reason all of this exists in the first...

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Kids on the Slope - Best Anime This Year, Watch For Free?!
Posted on Wednesday, July 11 2012 @ 15:32:02 Eastern


Kids on the Slope has just finished its 12-episode run and I highly recommend watching all of it, perhaps in one sitting if that's your style. Jazz is a central theme that brings the characters together, which is a great thing considering that this has reunited Shinichiro Watanabe and Yoko Kanno who both worked on Cowbop Bebop (an animé that does not need an introduction).

It's been a terribly long time since there's been a Japanese animation that doesn't flaunt any gimmicks and concentrates on the characters, treating them fairly and as realistically as a slice of life drama can (since Honey and Clover, for me). The relationship between the loner nerd Kaoru, (usually) unflappable tough guy Sentaro, and potential sweetheart Ritsuko reveals why they need each other.

Still, things don't work out just because it would be uplifting or poetic. Admiration usually doesn't meet its expectations. But there's always a silver lining to the resolution, and nothing speaks to this more than the ending.

Both the animation and music are incredible, with strong interpretations and improvisations of jazz classics as well as gorgeous, soft artwork that are almost Miyazaki-like in detail. There are even some scenes where you can see the hands animated on the piano keys, and they are actually playing the right ones.

The full season of Kids on the Slope can be legitly viewed on Crunchy Roll [http://www.crunchyroll.com/kids-on-the-slope]. The animation is English-subtitled... as it should be.
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