Updated: Aug 15
Anime has many categories and genres to explore and sometimes some genres are overshadowed and underestimate. The music genre in anime is one of those categories that I believe is undervalued. Yes, there are many animes that have fantastic soundtracks or songs that accompany the anime so well. For example, Cowboy Bebop’s Jazz soundtrack or Samurais Champloo’s Low-fi Hip Hop soundtrack accompany the animes so well, it hard to separate the two. However, those examples are not considered in the music genre. This genre would consist of anime such as Your Lie in April, K-ON, and Love Live School Idol Project. Where the animes are heavy based on music or music clubs. The following list are some anime that enjoyed the music and the story.
10. Hypnosis Mic: Division Rap Battle
1 Season, 13 Episodes
Genres: Action, Sci-Fi, Music
In a world overtaken by war and conflict, "Hypnosis Microphones" were created to control anyone who listened to the microphone. Revolutionizing warfare, Hypnosis Mics have transformed words and music into the sole weapons, banning all other forms of weapons. Resulting in the Japanese government to be ran by an all-female government called the Party of Words. With unknown intentions, the Party of Words is creating the first Division Rap Battle. And so, the story begins…
Now this is a hit or miss anime. This anime is based on musical group and can be a bit confusing for those who have not heard of Hypnosis Mic before. When I heard this was becoming an anime, I was excited to see. Mostly for the good-looking characters but also for the music. I have a few songs from the Hypnosis Mic on my playlist. Watching the fight scenes being animated made me smile and laugh a bit. This anime to watch for fun and enjoyment only. Not if you are looking for something with a good story + good music like Your Lie in April. If you are looking for a fun and casual music anime to watch then this is the anime for you.
9. Fukumenkei Noise (Anonymous Noise)
1 Season, 12 Episodes
Genres: Music, Drama, Romance, School Life, Shoujo
Every day, Nino Arisugawa stands by the beach and sings. Bound by a promise made with her two childhood friends-Momo Sakaki, and Kanade "Yuzu" Yuzuriha. Having been separated from them, her voice would be the beacon to reunite them once again. However, 6 years have passed since that promise. Will they be able to reunite? What will Nino do? Will she continue to sing?
If you watched Fuuka then you may enjoy this anime. However, this is another anime that many people enjoy or hate. The characters charismatic in their own way. Our main characters, Nino, Yuzu and Momo form the cliché love triangle with some cringy melodrama. Nino is your traditional air head unless it comes to music. Yuzu is your traditional one-sided love character and Momo is your melo-dramatic character “she can’t see me like this even though I love her.” Even with all its melodrama and cringiness. I found myself being drawn back to series and completing it. there is something about this series that draws people in, even the ones that dislike the anime finished it. This a unique anime since it dabbles in the alternative music genre, in comparison to other animes that are versed in the classical or jazz setting. I give this anime a 6 out of 10. Making it an okay anime. You are just going to have to watch this series to see how you feel about.
*8. La corda d'oro: primo passo
2 Seasons, 25 episodes
*Season 2 is more of a spin-off then a continuation (new characters)
Genres: Reverse Harem, Music, Comedy, Drama, Magic, Romance, School Life, Shoujo
Kahoko Hino has her normal life turned upside down when she encounters, Lili the fairy of music. Lili gifts her a magical violin and her musical journey begins.
This is an older anime that appeared about 15 years ago. However, it is a great watch. Given the art isn’t the best but it is palatable in regard to today’s animation. A definite strong point in the series was the music. Though I did already have a liking for classical music, because of this series, I have come to like it a whole lot more. The appreciation and compassion the character show for the music makes it enjoyable. The main character, Kahoko is your average teenage girl with nothing truly significant about her. However, dedication and love for the violin definitely help with the character development. The male characters each bring something different to the table since it is a reverse harem. In regard to plot it can be bit confusing and seem a bit scattered with the romance. It can seem a bit boring and slow on the up take, but I feel like the pacing is right for a classical music anime. overall, I really enjoyed this anime and I recommend you check it out.
7. Forest of Piano
2 Seasons, 12 Episodes
Genres: Adventure, Music, Comedy, Drama, School Life, Seinen
This anime is beautiful tale of two young boys from very different upbringings brought together by music. We have Kai, born from prostitute, striving to survive in the red-light district, and we have Syuhei, a son of a prestigious family. These two unlikely characters traverse the world of classical music as adversaries and friends. A wonderful tale of friendship, music, and youth.
When I first started the Forest of Piano, I felt a little worried since this anime it was one of the first animes I watched with CGI. This anime is beautifully done tastefully done CGI piano exhibitions and beautiful forest backdrops make this anime wondrous anime to behold. The story is compelling but does lack a bit of depth. However, I believe that is compensated by the character dynamics and music. The character relationships realistic and the flaws/ weaknesses are believably. Making it easy to sympathize with the characters. The music in the anime is fantastic. This anime is for anyone who enjoys music will feel at home here. The way the characters play the music portray their emotions and intentions. In other words, their actions speak louder then words. Although, anime can get a bit repetitive, it is a music anime. Overall, this is a fun anime to watch. It is a great anime to throw on in the background and relax while watching it.
6. Sound of the Sky
1 Season, 12 Episodes, 1 special
Genres: Military, Sci-Fi, Music, Slice of Life
The 1121st platoon of the Helvetian army, stationed at the Clocktower Fortress in Seize, receives a new recruit in the young and spirited Kanata Sorami. Having joined the military to fulfill her dream of learning to play the bugle. As Kanata Sorami strives to achieve her dream, she encounters many different characters and their personalities creating enjoyable environment.
If you liked K-ON then you will enjoy this anime. Sound of the Sky is an episodic anime, with a well-crafted storyline. The pacing is extremely good throughout the series, and slow progression promotes a feeling of relaxation rather than boredom. The animation is good, and the backgrounds are gorgeous. What we calls to me in this series is the bittersweet yet hopeful undertone running through the series. At times we forget that this taking place during a ceasefire, meaning they can go back to being at war. What also captivates me with this series, the music is played on bugles (trumpets). The rage and variety of musical isn’t extravagant as other music animes but it is unique. You don’t often see just trumpet based solos let alone animes. This anime is a guilty pleasure anime. And one you will not be disappointed in.
5. Carole & Tuesday
2 Seasons, 12 Episodes
Genres: Drama, Music, Sci-Fi
Having colonized Mars thanks to the help from AI’s, humans are able to live in comfort. Our story begins with two young women with the same dream and a fateful encounter. Carole lives in the metropolis of Alba City, trying to make ends meat and purse her passion for music. Tuesday a runaway trying escape the grip of her wealthy family and trying to pursue music. When their two world collide, will they be able to break into the musical world? Will hard work and luck be enough for the duo?
If you like the anime Cowboy Bebop or Space Dandy, then you will enjoy this anime. Is Jazz based anime with a futuristic twist. These young girls follow their dreams and try to purse a career in the music industry. Being a music industry is a very competitive and “cut-throat” atmosphere. As these two unlikely characters learn about each other and rely on each other in order to make it in music industry. The music is catchy and captivating. The songs capture the struggles, turmoil and many more emotions the characters are going through. As you watch this anime and listen to the songs you find yourself swaying and fixated on the screen. You’ll be yearning for more as you watch the series. This is anime you will not be disappointed in starting.
4. Nodame Cantabile
Genres: Drama, Romance, Music, Slice of Life, Comedy, Josei
2 Seasons, 23 Episodes (S1), 11 Episodes (S2) + 1 Special
Shinichi Chiaki is a first-class musician whose dream is to play among the elites in Europe. Coming from a distinguished family, he is an infamous perfectionist. Shinichi happens to meet Megumi Noda or, as she refers to herself, Nodame. On the surface, she seems to be an unkempt girl with no direction in life. However, when Shinichi hears Nodame play the piano for the first time, he is in awe of the kind of music she creates.
If you like Your Lie in April or Forest Piano then you will like this anime. Nodame Cantabile is spectacular musical anime however it may not appeal to everyone. This is an older anime that was created about 15 years ago. Many things have changed from that since then but in ways we are still the same. This anime many is for a more mature audience then a young adolescent. Not saying they cannot enjoy the series but some concepts may not resonate the same to them. As you watch the series, you are able to see two people struggling yet are serious and motivated to reach their goals. The struggles the protagonist face with each other and themselves feels a bit different when you are older and more experienced in life; in comparison to your youth. Moreover, the story is rich and flavorful but not complex enough for you to disassociate from it. The characters have their own charm and quirkiness that makes you love them. Nodame Cantabile is a sensational, all-around compelling watch, not only for its masterful depictions of love, life and the beauty of music, but also for its comedic aspects. It's at times a lighthearted series, full of laughs and humor with precise comedic timing and intelligent punchlines.
3. Kids On The Slope
1 Season , 12 Episodes
Genres: Drama, Music, School, Shounen, Slice of Life
Kaoru Nishimi has just arrived in Kyushu for his first year of high school. Constantly moving from place to place doesn’t make a social butterfly instead Kaoru prepares himself for another mundane year. However, Kaoru world beings to open in ways he didn’t believe was possible when he meets Sentarou Kawabuchi and Ritsuko Mukae. This is wonderful tale of friendship, music, and youth.
If you like Forest of Piano or Your Lie in April, then you will enjoy this anime. This anime is about 10 years old and some have probably not heard of this anime. However, it is another Jazzed filled anime. This is a wonderful coming of age story. We lay witness to the power of music and friendship. How bonds are formed and cemented, changing who we are and what we believe. What makes this anime is the music and the character dynamics. The music captivates your soul with jazz making you crave more. “Jazz washes away the dust of everyday life” and that is exactly what happens to Kaoru when he meets Sentarou and Ritsuko. One complaint about this anime is the animation style; it is bit plain and off putting. Even though this anime was made 10 years ago, the lack of vibrant color and the usage of soft pallets doesn’t capture the emotion behind the characters or the music. However, this is a great anime to watch with friends.
2. Those Snow White Notes
1 Season, Currently Airing
Genres: Drama, Music, School life, Shounen, Slice of Life
Setsu Sawamura mourning the death of his beloved grandfather, a legendary shamisen master, Setsu leaves his hometown for Tokyo in search of something to replace his grandfathers’ sound. Will Setsu be able to find it? Will Tokyo inspire him or swallow him in its dazzling lights?
This anime is currently airing. However, I wanted to mention this anime because I truly enjoy it. The usage of shamisen is truly beautiful. The characters and art are not outstanding or high caliber like other animes, but they are good. The plot is more like a coming of age story. We watch our protagonist traverse the stages of mourning. Feeling lost, he travels to find himself or something. Stumbling upon the shamisen club providing an opportunity to learn and grow as a person. Alongside the characters we watch them grow becoming different people. This anime draws me in with its melancholy undertones and gorgeous performances. Every episode has at least one amazing performance. The music resonates throughout your whole being. There are times I rewind just to listen to them play again. Moreover, the first opening of the anime is shamisen playing. You watch how the characters react to the music and how they strive to become better. This is a must watch anime in my book!
*Not the main characters but part of the series!
1. Uta no Prince Sama
4 Seasons, 13 Episodes, 1 Movie, 1 Special, Stage Plays
Genres: Harem, Music, Comedy, Romance, School Life, Shoujo
Haruka Nanami, an aspiring composer from the countryside, longs to write music for her beloved idol, Hayato Ichinose. Determined to accomplish this goal, she enrolls into Saotome Academy, a highly regarded vocational school for the performing arts.
This is one of my favorite series. I have re-watched this series multiple times! It is your traditional reverse harem and idol anime. The male leads are charismatic, the singing and songs are enjoyable. The songs are catchy and always put a smile on my face. I’ll gladly admit that I have a few songs from this anime on my playlist. My only complaint is the female lead…she isn’t outstanding or spectacular in a way. However, she is cute and has cute interactions with the characters. The plot does go a bit fast in regard to development of the relationships and likeability of main character and other characters. If you want a great reverse harem with a decent plot, handsome characters and fantastic music then check out Uta No Prince Sama!