Kono oto Tomare! Premiere: Episode 1 Review

Title: Kono oto Tomare! / Stop This Sound!
Length: 24-26 x 24 minute episodes
Genre: Drama, music, slice-of-life, comedy
Year of release: 2019

Kono oto Tomare! paints in such huge strokes that it is honestly kind of impressive. Whether the shadow-protagonist, Chika, is shouting at four-eyed actual-protagonist Kurata, or surprisingly fatal punches and literal throwing of each other, or even a dramatic monologued backstory, there’s the constant over-exaggerated sound-design and musical cues to make sure it is consistently going way, way over-the-top. And that’s kind of charming, in its own way. Despite the slice-of-life tagging, this is one show that’s quick out of the gates to assure us that it’s not that grounded, and because of that, I didn’t find myself nitpicking this dramatic whirlwind all too much.

Bullying scenes are over-the-top, yes. This episode is a lot of bullying and a mediocre comeuppance for those bullies, but it works as more of a scene-setter. Kurata is pathetic and weak and a target, especially as he is the president of a club of 1. Then, along comes Chika to bring Kurata out of his shell… and fight the bullies (and clean, which is oddly adorable).

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The two instantly form a relationship like oil and water. Kurata hasn’t got a lot of confidence, yet the loud-mouthed street-fighter gives him a scribble saying he’s joining his club. It’s natural he finds the courage to say “go away”, in oddly amusing ways, yet Chika doesn’t stop. Because of this huge disparity in personalities, the series instantly recalls BL tropes with the clearly defined seme and uke.

And what’s more, Chika’s backstory watches like the classic, edgy seme backstory. My eyes rolled as we see the classic delinquent crusader story. Chika fights for kicks. He has a strained relationship with his grandpa. His grandpa passes away, and Chika turns over a new leaf. Yada yada. The over-the-top nature followed into over-dramaticism, and was not too appreciated, and not just because of the large suspension of belief required for its finer plot points. Kono oto Tomare moved into bland sobstory territory – and it’s a second hand account rather than a true reenactment. Still, the prior foundation for taking everything to the nth degree at least meant that I didn’t have to swallow any deeper meaning here. I just wish it wasn’t so reliant on exposition.

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In just over 20 minutes, Kono oto Tomare covers a lot of ground. As it comes to a close, it draws on all the ground covered to make a surprisingly cathartic finisher that is absolutely no surprise – though, the watercolour still to mark that finisher was definitely novel compared to the prior art that was nothing to write home about.

There are no bonus points for originality on offer, but Kono oto Tomare is an odd sort of fun. But it is merely dipping its toe in, giving us a feel for the cornerstones of the cast moreso than what the series is going to present. There’s some hinting at a competition in the future, but we’ve yet to even hear the signature instrument in motion! Because of this, it’s hard to read too much into this premiere. A strong but unexceptional Opposites Attract pairing, and a silly tonality… that’s what this premiere is hopefully offering. That is hopeful, of course. If faux tragedy is out of the way, then it could move into actual drama territory – and the chops are certainly there to deliver that. But it’s hard to tell if the exposition dumping will continue and if the pace will remain this frantic as the pair go off to collect bandmates.

Rating: 2.5/5

Back to Spring 2019 Premiere Reports

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