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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  • k-off
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 09:29 PM)
    @Kaiser Someone who actually still likes Nicholas Cage outside of his internet memes? To me he’s one of those actors who at this point, I can’t visualize playing a role outside of himself. Similar to how I can’t see any of Steve Carrell’s movies without seeing Michael Scott.
  • k-off
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 09:19 PM)
    @Bam Yup, asking for money online is flawed in almost every way from the donor’s point of view, a lot of my former art history degree friends have taken to Patreon in a last ditch effort to float their poor career choice.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 07:46 PM)
    With synecdoche it has the benefit of Hoffman’s performance and to get it you just have to “Feel it”.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 07:45 PM)
    Adaptation is one of those films with Nicholas Cage where you really wish he’d do more of, I wasn’t expecting that to go so off the rails near the end.
    Being John Malkovich, I dug the crazily creative premise.
    Anomalisa felt so human that the characters are puppets you can easily forget that.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 07:42 PM)
    @Bam: I really want to use Urotsukidouji as my reasoning for why more messed up stuff should be adapted, namely kara no shoujo but the industry will just never be that hardcore anymore.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 10:44 AM)
    In a world where Urotsukidoji gets 3 series of OVAs there is nothing you want to make that is too risqué or edgy that nobody would want to pick up. I get a small startup trying to push their fist film out, but most big Kickstarters are ran by bigname talents that already have a string of hits on their resume. C’mon, just have some faith in your work, it’s just crazy to ask for money upfront.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 10:37 AM)
    SuperMario: I assume you mean Charlie Kaufman’s new film, in which case he already did pretty much whatever he wanted. Have you seen Synecdoche, New York and Adaptation? Now I’m a big ran of the man, but this creative control card gets a bit overplayed. The Under the Dog producers claim the same thing, but looking at their trailer it doesn’t look like anything that Japanese studios don’t already greenlight.
  • SuperMario
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 09:01 AM)
    for me though, I only pay for projects that I’m certain to watch (and have to pay for it eventually), so I don’t see the point not to “helping” them out. It’s all the same for me.
  • SuperMario
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:58 AM)
    @Bam I think the core concept is 1) with Kickstarter, many projects that otherwise never could have made is get supported here and 2) creators have more artistic control over their project. Take Amonalisa for example, big studios was very hesitate to fund the film, because of the commercial failure of his first film, but he insisted to get crowdfund and we have one of the more creative animation output last year.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:53 AM)
    A lot of the tech stuff is things you will never use twice; like a smartphone microscope attachment. they’re usually pretty shifty with it too. Yeah I’m sure it takes the price of a house to make a video series about sexism in videogames- right? And it takes almost a million dollars to make a 4 level indie game with three guys- seems legit. Must be pretty nice to basically do business with zero chance of failure.

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