Piano

PianoType: TV Series
Episode Count: 10
Genre: Slice Of Life / Drama
Vintage: 2002

Version reviewed: Japanese Subtitled
Date of Review: 04 Jul 2007

Grade: B

If you enjoy purely character-driven shows, Piano delivers.

Plot Summary
Miu Nomura has played the piano since she was little. Now in her second year of middle school, she is finding it difficult; it’s as if she’s lost the passion. Piano follows Miu over a year as she tries to recapture the feelings that inspire her to play the piano.

The Review
Now here is a very understated series. Similarly structured shows such as Someday’s Dreamers are action packed compared to Piano! Piano is a series whose strength is its lack of excitement. Because of this, unless you are a fan of the genre, you’re likely to find Piano very boring and plain. But if you are a slice-of-life fan, the lack of a pronounced plot won’t bother you, since Piano isn’t so much about anything as it is about Miu. You don’t even have to be an eighth-grade girl like Miu is to enjoy the series. All you need is an appreciation of the everyday.

Piano is a series that lives in the world as we know it. No magical fairies, no talking mascots, and none of the other trappings that would put Piano into the realm of fantasy. The idea is very simple. Miu has lost her inspiration to play, and the things that happen between her and her piano teacher, family, and friends all help to shape the way that she acts and feels as the series progresses. At times, even Miu’s playing of the piano (the central theme of the series) takes a backseat to her everyday life. Watching Miu grow emotionally over the course of the series is the primary narrative.

And that’s about it. Piano is a series that only asks that you be willing to watch a girl go through her daily struggles as she tries to come to terms with feelings that she’s not entirely in control of at this stage in her life. At times, Miu displays some of the most understated and subtle examples of teenage girl angst that I’ve ever seen in an anime series. Sometimes she would be brooding but I didn’t even realize it until she did something more upfront about it. If this sounds boring, then Piano is probably not the show for you; but if you enjoy shows that are very easygoing and entirely character driven, Piano may be well worth your time. Fans of Kosuke Fujishima (Ah! My Goddess, Sakura Wars) may also be interested, as he did the character designs for Piano.

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