The Sound of a Heart – First Impressions: Mashiro no Oto

What is up my weebs and otakus alike? Welcome back to Otaku Thursday! Today I’m back to one of my favorite kinds of posts: First Impressions! It’s finally spring and there’s a whole new season of anime just waiting for me to watch–and boy have Star and I started watching! So I thought: what should I start with for first impressions? Obviously the one that had my attention way before the season began. Mashiro no Oto.

Mashiro no Oto
those snow white notes
shamisen anime

mashiro no oto
those snow white notes
setsu sawamura

So Mashiro no Oto had my attention from the start–I read that it was about a kid–a prodigy pretty much–who played the shamisen after his grandfather taught him. The premise immediately gave me Kono Oto Tomare vibes, and I was a complete and utter sucker for that show. So I thought hey–this is probably going to be just as good right? Just as good and actually maybe even BETTER. So I was waiting anxiously for it to come out. So when we watched the first episode I was…well, not sure what to think. It was a good show. I really liked the animation of it, the characters and all, but…the first episode was not what I was expecting. I think I actually said that aloud. I guess I didn’t really know what the show would be about, but a teenager moving in with a girl who then gifts him the apartment was just–wow. And he made pseudo friends with her suddenly ex-boyfriend? I was a wee bit confused. For a moment I thought this show was gonna turn around and be a romance suddenly.

Mashiro no Oto episode 2
Those Snow White Notes
Setsu and his mom

But then the second episode happened, and I felt like the show once again became different–and this time it was exactly what I had imagined. The minute our main character’s incredibly young mom shows up, I feel like Mashiro no Oto hits its stride, and we see that beautiful shamisen music we’re promised. His mother being a singer too to match and challenge him was really amazing and a bit telling to their dynamic as a whole. She’s really just pushing him along to become better at the shamisen. We also get introduced to other characters, like the high school gang from the shamisen club (or should I say, the eventual shamisen club). Which officially brings us into the territory of — yeah school music anime yay! Except not. One thing I find very great about this show, is that it doesn’t skimp on shamisen performances from homeboy. We hear him play quite a few times in the first episode–sometimes great performances, others only alright. He seems almost inconsistent but we KNOW he’s good. However, the culmination of his skills comes when he plays for a classmates grandmother who had heard his grandfather play. This moment–this performance–hell, this entire story was top tier. It was so good, Star said it could’ve easily been season finale content if they’d spent the entire season building up to it(which I agree). It gave us a moment to see what his music can do, to feel the music really well, and to see how the shamisen could act as a bridge between new and old–between MC and his grandfather. It was great.

Mashiro no Oto
Those Snow White Notes
Setsu shamisen playing

But it’s not til the episode after do we find out why homeboy has such varied performances, and that’s because he never learned how to play the shamisen technically. Never read sheet music, never studied in a music school. He always played from his heart and therefore his sound was the sound of emotions. However he felt, was how the notes came out. Which in itself is beautiful–why his music was so good. And speaking of music–can I just take a moment to applaud whoever performed the shamisen pieces for this show? Because honestly it’s gorgeous. You really can hear the emotions in his playing, and you can tell the difference between the different sounds of each shamisen player. We also have to applaud the animation crew who made each performance breathtaking. Especially the ones where we see the story he’s playing–or what was it–the scene of his grandfather’s song where we walk through the tale it tells? Absolutely stunning. Kono oto Tomare did a little bit of this as well–but usually only for their big performances, whereas this show likes to show off the music often. I appreciate that.

Mashiro no Oto 
Those Snow White Notes
shamisen playing
Setsu Sawamura

I always really like the characters. Homeboy is a little socially awkward (just a little) but earnest. His mother is cunning but clearly wants the best for him. The cute short haired girl is adorable and determined. And the rest of the members seem like really decent people, though I want to know more about them. Which I’m sure will come in time. As of right now in the story, I’m not sure where we’re going in Mashiro no Oto, but I’m totally here for it! I can’t tell if we’re going to be following the shamisen group, if there’s a larger plot with just homeboy happening, or what, but so far this show has been really enjoyable. Between the music, the amazing opening & ending, and the gorgeous animation, there’s little for me to dislike.

I think this anime is definitely one of the best we’ve seen all season. But I don’t know, what do you all think? If you’ve seen Mashiro no Oto are you fans too? Or is there another show this season that’s catching your attention more? As for me and Star, we’re working down our list of anime for this season. So far? So good.

Stay weebtastic




4 thoughts on “The Sound of a Heart – First Impressions: Mashiro no Oto

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