After holding off for the longest time, I just started watching Kids on the Slope. Following a two-day mini marathon, I can gladly say that I’ve caught up on all 10 episodes. Suffice it to say, the series is top shelf in almost every respect, and I look forward to however many episodes remain. Yet, there is one thing that holds this series back, despite all the concerted efforts to the contrary, and that is the frequent time skips the series uses.
Of concern is the dynamic between the three main characters. These Mad Men like look ins we get into their lives certainly makes for a more interesting story as, let’s face it, real life is far from exciting on a day-to-day basis. That said, I when something happens regarding the relationships in the show, I don’t feel as much as I believe I should. Now the show does such a good job in every other respect, so the drama does feel real and enthralling. Then again, having drama every week kind of cheapens the experience. But what level of drama and character build up is the perfect mix?
To crack the code, let’s investigate a show with practically no drama to speak of, K-On. Ostensibly, these two shows are about the same thing; friends playing in a band. However, nothing happens in K-On!. More to the point, it seemed like we were practically going to school with Mio, Yui and the rest of the gang in K-On!!, as the series was 26 episodes long and focused on one school year. Still, nothing happened. We rarely, if ever, saw any of the Ho-Kago Tea Time’s member’s parents, and god forbid there be any sort of actual adolescent drama. Imagine the shock of fans if Mio was suddenly diagnosed with a rare incurable form of cancer or if we found out Azusa had a drunken father do who knows what to her. It would have been the end of the world to some. Taking it to the next level; How would Mugi have tried to help her friends if these things become known. What would Yui do if she found out Ui was pregnant.
An exaggeration at the end there, but you get the point – People would care. Would they care for the novelty and sacrosanct of it – No doubt. But the characters in the show had spent so much time together through good and light-hearted times that seeing them in these situations would have some appeal. Sakamichi no Apollon is not as outlandish as some of the examples I illustrated, but the events are still high stakes to the characters involved. Yet, even though we are supposed to believe that Kaoru and Ritsuko could be a couple, they have had little interaction in the series. I’m not saying it didn’t happen, but we just didn’t see it. A small fault to be sure, and one easily overlooked. Still, this series could have taken at least a small page from K-On and included just a bit more characterization.