Posted by psgels on 14 February 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews


Piano no Mori can easily be considered as the brother-movie of Miyori no Mori. Both got originally released around the same time, both are slice-of-life movies, both place a lot of emphasis on a forest, and both have a kid of about 11 years old as their main character. In Miyori no Mori, the forest was filled with spirits, in Piano no Mori, the forest has a piano in it.

Both movies have their own strengths and weaknesses. The main characters for Piano no Mori just don’t match up to Miyori, but in exchange Piano no Mori doesn’t have any cardboard-box villain that plagued Miyori. And even though the main characters aren’t as likable as Miyori, this doesn’t mean that they’re bad. This movie portrays quite an interesting rivalry between two polar opposites. Along with the side-characters, they turn into quite an interesting smörgåsbord of a cast.

The major problem with Piano no Mori is the direction. It really felt to me like the creators were going down a checklist of some sorts, to get the necessary developments set up right for the finale. Whenever the creators had to choose between a flowing story and this checklist, they went with the checklist. What’s strange about this is that the director for this movie is top-notch: he’s been behind the critically acclaimed series of Monster and Master Keaton, and his work on the first half of A Spirit of The Sun was terrific as well. While I haven’t seen the first two, I just can’t say that Piano no Mori has been his best work.

Nevertheless, Piano no Mori is a very capable movie, which provided the satisfying ending that I missed with Miyori no Mori. Both movies (or tv-specials in Miyori no Mori’s case) are greatly recommended if you’re looking for a relaxed slice-of-life movie, just don’t expect to be blown away. The tournament at the end of the movie was nicely done, although it would have been better to see more different contestants (some who actually weren’t some kind of reincarnation of Beethoven). Still, this movie did what it set out to do, and that’s enough to make up for two hours that won’t disappoint.

8 Responses

  1. Gottis says:

    I’ll be checking this out! =D

    … And it just dawned on me, watching you type “smörgåsbord” completely correct… You have to live somewhere in Europe, no? =D;;

  2. psgels psgels says:

    Holland, yes. It’s not an actual word here, but I like the sound of it. :P

    What’s interesting is that even my spelling-checker seemed to suggest that the special signs were unnecessary.

  3. Gottis says:

    Ahahahah~ The Å and Ö, along with the Ä are the three final letters in the Swedish alphabet, coming after Z, (Swedish alphabet reads: ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZÅÄÖ) and they’re really important, as there isn’t a word in Swedish that reads “smorgasbord”. At all. ^_^;;

  4. totoum says:

    “The major problem with Piano no Mori is the direction. It really felt to me like the creators were going down a checklist of some sorts, to get the necessary developments set up right for the finale.”

    can you explain that (like with an exemple) because i have no idea what you mean by that.

    Though yeah,i wasn’t blown away,it was a definite nice watch,i seriously got scared at the start since i thought that with kai we’d get one of those extremely annoying shounen heros but he turned out better than that.
    And my dad’s a musician so it was fun to see an anime with so many messages he’s told me.

    also,i predicted you’d give it a 82 and you did!Though i guess i don’t win anything for that lol

  5. psgels psgels says:

    Well, to me it felt like the creators were really trying too hard to make Kai and the other main character (forgot his name) end up competing against each other, that’s why I mentioned it.

  6. petran79 says:

    I’d also recommend checking the 2003 series “Hanada Shonen-shi”, based on another manga of the same author. It is a surprising change from the trend most anime series seem to take.

    The movie should have been turned to a TV series since a lot is lost in just 100 minutes.

    The series succeeds where the movie fails

  7. Suny says:

    I really liked how you stated your feelings and compared the two anime movies, but I still have no idea, from your review, what they are really about- aside from the age of the main characters, and a piano in the forest vs spirits in a forest.

  8. .., wow… this is fascinating… wish to check this out…

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  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 01:59 AM)
    It’s difficult to put into words but essentially while the first game isn’t good, it does work as a tool for introducing and endearing you to the characters. Then Unlimited sets down the rules of the new world. And finally alternative proceeds to kick your ass into next Tuesday.
    That’s sort of why I don’t think it would have the same effect if it was an anime. VNs allow you to get a more personal connection with the characters.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 01:55 AM)
    It’s not quite the same. It’s more like there are things in extra which seem insignificant but turn out to play an important role later. It wouldn’t really work the same if you did it in reverse order. Character history is a bit different too as each game is essentially an alternate universe. The character histories in extra are different from those in alternative.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:38 PM)
    And also remember how Darker Than Black had a big jump between the main series and Gemini of the Meteor. They later made a 4 episode OVA that covered the gap, and although you knew the outcome it was still entertaining; or at least more than the Gemini one. There’s merit to non-linear chronology and storytelling, but it is usually very hard to pull. The audience is intrigued by secrets that can later be uncovered, although in anime the pay-off is not always substantial.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:32 PM)
    I don’t know, the audience usually only needs very limited information to figure out dynamics and histories between the characters.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:27 PM)
    A 13 episode series would work for the second title unlimited. But Alternative is a pretty long visual novel. You need at least two cours to give it justice. Making extra an OVA could work but you do need it for alternative. But it’s not an optional part of the trilogy. It needs to be read first, so that events later have a greater impact. Personally I am not even sure Muv Luv can even work in another medium.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:12 PM)
    That might compress things, but I think a good screen-writer can fit pretty much any VN in 12-14 episodes (covering just the main route).
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:07 PM)
    @Aidan: then the best solution would’ve been to make a two cour season covering the 2nd and the 3rd book. Have the cours air two anime seasons apart, and in the middle have an offshoot short OVA that covers the 1st book, but has a more harem comedy feel to it. Think Full Metal Panic and Fumuffu.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 01:34 PM)
    @bam, Muv Luv has the problem that most of its brillence lies in the third title. But in order for the third title to have the same effect you need to read the first two. Successful or not, I doubt theres animation studio willing to go all in and adapt the full trilogy. There’s also the issue of the first title being a really mediocre harem.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 12:48 PM)
    just a glimpse at the tip of the iceberg of reasons why y’all need a PS4 for the upcoming year:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3Hz8eXWHNY
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 08:09 AM)
    Why they didn’t adapt the original Muv Luv novel or Alternative is a mystery to me. Wasn’t the VN really successful? Whats with these offshoot shows instead of doing the real deal? They are avoiding it for some reason.

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