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Anime Mirai 2015: Aki no Kanade

I love music. Music instills an individually tailored adventure into each person's life. For most of us, music is just like the oxygen that we breathe in. It plays an important role in our daily lives. Music is an extremely broad universe in itself, so it would be rather challenging to attempt to weave several elements together into a seamless narrative. Nonetheless, even at the height of madness the melodies unite strongly to spread colours that would inspire life through difficult moments. I have stumbled across not one but two short anime which elevate the power of music to inspire the senses. First in line is 'Aki no Kanade' or 'Aki's Music-Playing' in English.

'Aki no Kanade' is one of the four anime shorts which premiered at Tokyo Anime Festival on 22nd March 2015. These shorts make up this year's Anime Mirai, which first began in 2010 as a project to nurture young animators and such. I didn't realise that such a brilliant project exists until about a few hours ago. It brings fresh appeal and a whole new level of anticipation in the world of anime. The four animation studios involved in this project are J.C.STAFF, SynergySP, STUDIO DEEN and TEZUKA PRODUCTIONS. According to the official website, the four anime shorts will be showcased in Toho cinemas nationwide beginning from Shinjuku on 17th April.

(Some spoilers alert)

'Aki no Kanade' is produced by J.C.STAFF, and tells the story of taiko and the protagonist who has an undying passion for it. Meet Aki (age unknown but probably in her late twenties), whose dream of becoming a professional taiko drummer has led her on board the train to Tokyo after graduating from high school. A good ten years have passed since then, and the opening sequence of the anime reveals a group of taiko drummers performing for the crowd at the matsuri. Aki and her fellow drummers then celebrate over beer and food at a restaurant. An early departure of a fellow drummer (presumably due to work commitments) seems to affect Aki a little, but she brushes it off quickly upon her friend's concern. The next morning, a phone call from her ex-taiko instructor and high school teacher wakes Aki up from her groggy state. Through their conversation, it is revealed that Aki's hometown will be bringing back its taiko matsuri after 15 years. Aki is asked to return and act as the coach for the upcoming event.

Through flashbacks, Aki reminisces about her affinity with taiko and how it has impacted her life over the years. It was love at first sight when Aki clapped her eyes on the taiko as a kid. She would later learn the techniques from the taiko instructor Yoshioka. Alongside other children, teenagers and adults, Aki was to perform at the local matsuri at the shrine. However, an unfortunate incident due to a prior heavy rainfall prematurely ended everything. Still, Aki's passion for taiko continued through her schooling years. She even started the taiko club with the help of Yoshioka who became her homeroom teacher. An appearance on television became a catalyst for an opportunity, however Aki had developed a strain in her relationship with her father.

Back in present time, Aki is encouraged by Yoshioka and her childhood friends to re-ignite what was lost during the premature closure of the local matsuri. Supported by the students and local folk, Aki lives out the taiko drummer's spirit once more. The one which originated back home many years ago. Towards the end, Aki receives a pleasant surprise.

Despite the short length, I feel that 'Aki no Kanade' dishes out a lot of meat within that limited time frame. The soundtrack is awesome and uplifting. I have always appreciated taiko music, and even imagined that I would actually play one for real. Well, the closest that I have ever achieved is Taiko no Tatsujin...

Eccentrically Yours.

Written by J.Fluffysheep ♪

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