Everyone likes to watch stories that play a big part in the animation, and anime is no different. There are so many wonderful and very different types of music stories out there, and so many different styles of music to be portrayed in storytelling, with everything from a group of friends seeking to get a rock band together to a kid who’s involved in jazz to a young man who wants to be a pop star.
These tales are still told with a great character drama and their own unique tones and moods, so they’re both certainly worth checking out.
1. Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad
Beck has been known to people and has been famous for quite some time now, from his manga to anime, and even a live-action movie. The plot is based on a 14-year-old boy named Yukio Tanaka, who is on a quest to discover his identity in life. Feeling confused and ultimately cut off and mistaken from the rest of the planet, Yukio finally came across a mysterious dog called Beck, who was abused by some girls. Upon rescuing a curious dog, Yukio encountered Ryusuke Minami, the owner of the pup, as well as the lead guitarist of the BECK band.
What’s so amazing about this anime is how many teens have been able to connect to Yukio, the star of the series. The emotional rollercoaster that any teenager has been through during their teenage years has been illuminated in this series, making this anime, not just a wonderful music anime, but also a touch of the anime genre. So sit back and relax, dress your guitar, and get ready to join Yukio and Ryusuke in BECK!
2. Angel Beats
Angel Beats, too! It’s not exactly a music anime, but this anime also merits praise, due to its fascinating narrative flow and storyline. If you’re the one who enjoys shooting, acting, action, and music as a side dish, so this anime will definitely cater to you because it gives you the thrill of the battle against life and death, yeah, actually, they’re already gone, but still Angel Beats! This is the anime to watch!
Upon waking up, Otonashi Yuzuru discovered that he was indeed dead and that he lived in the afterlife. After some time, Yuzuru eventually acknowledged his destiny as dead and was recruited by Yuri Nakamura to join the Shinda Sekai Sensen or the SSS in an uprising to fight Angel or Tenshi.
3. Your Lie In April
Adapted from the manga series of Naoshi Arakawa, Your Lie in April is a series about love, desire, loss, and life. It’s a music-centric aspect of life animation, serious rather than simple and light-hearted. Kōsei Arima, a piano prodigy, suffers from extreme depression after his mother died, leaving him unable to recognize the sound of the piano.
He had a change of heart when he met a young violinist named Kaori Miyazono and began to relive his passion for music and life. It’s a beautiful tale of love, music, and free-spirited life that will make you feel emotional and leave you wanting more. This is a musically and visually spectacular series showcasing spectacular musical scores and a remarkable depiction of the heartbreaking loss of children.
K-On captures the excitement of having to form a band with your mates in such a simplistic way that it’s not shocking that the show was an instant breakthrough success in Japan. The light-hearted slice-of-life program follows four high school girls who join their light music club in the hope of saving them from disbanding.
The series captures every medium and high school fantasy of starting your first rock band with friends, of selecting your first instrument, of spending endless hours practicing how to play, of performing live for the first time at the school talent show. Well, the cultural festival in this case. K-On, man! It’s the ultimate bite-sized slice of escapism and nostalgia scored by some pretty fine J-rock and J-pop.
5. BanG Dream!
Kasumi Toyama is the new girl at kindergarten, and she introduces herself as someone looking for the “Star Music,” a magical sound created by the stars. One day, on her way back home, she follows a strange trail of shiny star-shaped stickers that brought her to an old pawn store, where she discovers a star-shaped guitar. She’s shocked, though, by a girl who appears to be working there and who confuses her with a robber!
After a few misunderstandings, Kasumi and Arisa end up in a venue called Room, where they are both witnessing Glitter’s success. And that’s what the Kasumi bell rang: she wants to launch her own band! After a few days of convincing her classmates and training in Arisa’s basement, the girls shape Poppin’Party, dreaming of one day performing on Space’s stage. This is the story of 5 girls searching for the “Star Beat,” rocking in trendy uniforms and facing every obstacle in their musical career.
NANA is one of the most beloved josei series of all time. It’s a story about two young women named Nana who, by accident, are sitting together on a train to Tokyo, where they’re both going to start new lives.
Nana Komatsu meets her boyfriend, who went to Tokyo for an art school, while Nana Osaki intends to do it as a punk artist. The series is as much about their friendship as it is about their goals and aspirations, with brilliant inner humor and beautifully stylized animation.
7. Kids On The Slope
If Watanabe is a name that you’re not familiar with right now, well, mate, you’re missing. Directed by none other than Watanabe, Kids on the Slope tells a coming-of-age tale wrapped in drama, self-discovery, and most importantly, jazz.
Set in Japan in 1966, Kids on the Slope follows Kaoru Nishimi who, because of his father’s work condition, moves to the remote seaside town of Sasebo. A traditional honor student, it’s not until he triggers a bond with the legendary delinquent Sentarō Kawabuchi that he seeks an outlet in the free-form and revolutionary essence of jazz. Featuring appearances by Chet Baker, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, Bill Evans, John Coltrane, and more, Kids on the Slope is a master class in the compassionate impact of jazz.
8. Carole & Tuesday
Carole & Tuesday might not only be the best music-related anime I’ve ever seen but the best music-related show I’ve ever seen, indeed. Driven by the iconic Shinichirō Watanabe, the guy responsible for Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo-more on that in a moment-Carole & Tuesday reveals the tale of the title pair trying to make music in the near future, where almost all music is generated by artificial intelligence.
Carole & Tuesday’s beautiful elegance lies in how much thought and commitment has been paid to both the world of the show itself and the music that brings it all to life. From nods to Pitchfork, SXSW, and Vogue’s 73 Questions series to full-length sets covering styles ranging from French pop, EDM, neo-soul, trap opera, and anywhere in between, never before has a display so expertly captured the broad spectrum of music appreciation.