Memories on the slope

Takahiro Miki, a true master of youth movies, is a much underrated director outside Japan. The man has a special touch and more often than not he has the ability to change what could just be an average romantic story into something deep with elements of poetry, nostalgia and sometimes fantasy.

Kids on the slope/Sakamichi no Appollon is a bitter sweet tale of love and friendship set in the sixties in the lovely city of Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture. Those were the days when Western music, in this case Jazz, was hitting Japan.

Jazz Rehearsal

The two young male leads do an excellent job as Kaoru (Chinen) and Sentaro (Nakagawa) plus the supporting cast is great, especially Dean Fujioka, Erina Mano and Baijaku Nakamura. Nana Komatsu is Ritsuko and she is adorable on all counts, not just because of her pigtails and ponytails, she impersonates someone who is possibly her nicest on screen character so far.

Ritsuko is generous, considerate and loyal, a true gem of a girl, to the point you might wonder if people like that exist in real life. Nana Komatsu uttering her lines with the melodious intonations of the Kyushu accent is sheer delight.

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