Anime Review: On-Gaku: Our Sound (2019) by Kenji Iwaisawa

“If you wish to be within the gig, select one: First, you get overwhelmed up by me otherwise you destroy the bass…” threatens Marutake Excessive’s Oba, the mohawked antagonist who has been gunning for a struggle with Kenji, Ota, and Asakura because the very starting. With one swift unforeseeable motion, this deadpan slice of animated mumblecore tears up its already ineffective rulebook, pours gasoline over it, then units it on fireplace. However these flames aren’t what you’d come to anticipate from a typical fireplace: that is one thing altogether extra vibrant, extra primal; one thing so liberating it makes the avant-garde look as predictable as the following hit Avex single. Primarily based on Hiroyuki Ohashi’s manga of the identical title, “On-Gaku: Our Sound” faucets into the unpredictability of Japan’s psych rock heritage, runs freakish with it, and has far an excessive amount of enjoyable doing so.

“On-Gaku: Our Sound is screening at Vesoul International Film Festival of Asian Cinema

Kenji (voiced by the good Shintaro Sakamoto of Yura Yura
Teikoku fame) will get bored simply. From in the future to the following he modifies his thoughts
with what pursuits him; however when he comes into the possession of a bass guitar –
not figuring out exactly what it’s – and insists he, Ota and Asakura (Naoto
Takenaka and Tateto Serizawa) kind a band collectively, a bizarro concoction of
electrical amusement and sonic stimulation resonates among the many in any other case
lackadaisical bunch. After all, neither one is aware of the slightest factor about
music, not to mention find out how to play their devices; true to rock’n’roll’s free
spirit, what they challenge in that very first plunge is one thing charming.

Upon realising one other band exists underneath an analogous moniker to their very own Kobujutsu –Kobijutsu – they confront them solely to search out an acoustic trio fronted by the eccentric Morita (Kami Hiraiwa); after witnessing Kenji’s band “play”, Morita invitations them to a neighborhood rock pageant and, by the way, goes via a sort of existential metamorphosis, progressively reworking into heavier, extra dynamic entity. As per his common habits nevertheless, Kenji continuously quits and rejoins his personal outfit, virtually threatening Kobujutsu’s debut efficiency.

Free from construction, kind, and melody, the thumping dirge escaping Kobujutsu’s spontaneity strips again the superfluous layers of compartmentalised music to its barren core. The epitome of a free-form jam (which paradoxically turns into their signature rhythm), this proto-howling rumble ignites a hearth first in Morita after which within the different members of Kobijutsu who erupt onto the stage alongside Kenji and co, whose salvation is discovered within the psychedelic fluttering of a humble recorder, in some of the intense performances dedicated to movie not simply in Japan however in cinema the world over. Intoxicating in each sense of the phrase, it’s a climax which comes fully out of nowhere.

It solely takes an hour for Iwaisawa to mutate his slow-minded, blank-staring topics into protégés of teams J.A. Seazer, Far East Household Band and Yuya Uchida and firm, however watching their unwitting ‘genius’ unfold leaves for a lot of laughs available. This type of humour received’t be to everybody’s tastes and far of it really works solely on the type of animation, nevertheless it solely fuels their haphazard journey additional. If there’s one factor everyone can agree on nevertheless is that “On-Gaku” may be very a lot a music afficionado’s movie: dropping a smorgasbord of prog rock references, with Morita as our awakening conduit, from ELP’s Tarkus tank to Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells insignia, Iwaisawa ensures his viewers is absorbed not simply sonically but in addition in heavy iconography.

He does this additionally in his uniquely hand-drawn animation, which boasts an virtually pristine comic-book high quality. That’s, after all, till the music kicks into overdrive: from Asakura’s first pound on the drums, to Morita’s enlightenments and the kaleidoscopic rotoscope of the finale, the plush type always breaks its personal chains and is let unfastened with sensational power. It’s greater than only a breath of contemporary to air to observe – it’s dizzying, hypnotic, and completely frenetic. Not solely does this befit the primeval synergy of those novice musicians but in addition the pure, care-free nature of rock’n’roll.

To anybody who burrows deeper into the immersive undergrowth of rock, they’re rewarded with astonishing treasures many fake to hunt out however by no means really discovered. It’s a universe the place guidelines seldom stick, the place boundaries are pushed to their excessive limitations; like Lewis Carrol’s “Wonderland”, nothing is kind of because it appears right here. All the time anticipate the sudden – that is the common fact maintaining rock’s myriad varieties collectively. In Iwaisawa’s seven-year labour of affection these similar ideas additionally apply; one ought to anticipate nothing lower than whole subversion of expectation, and irrespective of how acquainted you might be with these musical stylings, put together to be blown away.



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