There are a lot of TV shows out there and in this golden age of TV streaming, the choices have never been greater. So how do you cut through the noise and find the “Best of” for any chosen topic? Well, we’re here to help celebrate and shine a spotlight on some of the latest, greatest and unforgettable shows through the years.
For our ongoing series of articles depicting the best anime, our attention this time turns to music. From energetically comedic anime to intense dramas, there’s a good choice to whet your appetite.
Of course, if we’ve missed any of your favorites, feel free to comment below and we’ll get them added on!
Love Live School Idol Project
Love Live School Idol Project is a remarkable slice of life and idol anime. It features likable characters, genuinely comedic moments, and a great assortment of music tracks. There are a lot of musical numbers in this anime, so fans of theatrical plays or stellar musicians and vocalists will adore this anime a lot.
Love Live School Idol Project takes place in a metropolitan city where its major high school is in danger of shutting down due to lacking enrollment numbers. Not wanting her favorite school to close, our protagonist, Honoka Kousaka searches for a solution. This leads to Honoka discovering a popular school idol group called A-Rise, granting her the idea to form something similar at her high school.
Although Honoka’s friends hop on board, she runs into two major hurdles involving school council president Eri Ayase and recruiting more members. However, Honoka and her friends find out about the Love Live school idol competition, which will give them the needed attention they’re struggling to gain. Therefore, the anime follows Honoka and her friends’ quest to save their school by entering and winning the Love Live competition.
Despite being a heartwarming anime about music, Love Live School Idol Project contains many emotional scenes that’ll tug at friends’ heartstrings. This anime tackles many familiar and relatable school issues non-music fans can resonate with, too. You’ll see these girls tackle stressful circumstances and utilize music as a means to resolve those issues.
Kyoto Animation is a studio known for producing anime fans can relate to. While Hibike! Euphonium has a music focus, and the characters in this series face issues that go beyond fans’ expectations. With a hint of romance and friendship, Hibike! Euphonium offers an emotionally-driven storyline that’s sure to kick-start anyone’s waterworks.
This anime is about a girl named Kumiko Oumae, who wants to live the best high-school experience possible while avoiding everything related to her middle school endeavors. This dream is eradicated instantly when she is forcefully tossed into her high school’s band club as a euphonium player.
To make matters worse, she must contend with her former bandmate, Reina Kousaka’s presence while needing to swiftly rekindle her passion for music due to her band advisor’s strict orders. Faced with two stressful situations, Kumiko must find a way to reignite her and her fellow bandmate’s passion for the band in hopes of safeguarding its national legacy.
A lot of passion and thought was put into Hibike! Euphonium. Its characters undergo stressful circumstances and tackle those situations in realistic manners. At the same time, everyone receives a great amount of screen time and development. These characters’ designs mesh well with the series’ wonderful environments.
This is a great music-oriented anime to watch if you’re a fan of phenomenal storytelling and well-written characters.
Your Lie In April
Your Lie In April delivers an astounding narrative of loss and passion. It presents stellar life lessons for anyone coping with a tragedy of any kind. The characters in this anime undergo traumatic circumstances but ultimately find a way to free themselves of their past agony.
This is an anime about a grand piano player named Kousei Arima, who has given up his dreams because of the death of a family member. Like in real life, Kousei gains a chance to reignite his passionate flames after a fateful encounter with a mysterious female.
While it presents remarkable messages regarding self-motivation and discovery, this anime isn’t afraid to tackle harsher topics. You can expect the anime to delve into the realm of suicidal ideation, depression, and hopelessness. However, if you can manage to sit through its dreadful content, you’ll find yourselves gaining a grand experience by the series’ conclusion.
This is an anime with a grand tale full of optimism and friendly themes. It is heralded for popularizing the moe sub-genre because of its incredible female cast. The activities and shenanigans these girls end up in will cause fans to remember the good moments of their past life, either mundane or random.
K-On is about a girl named Yu Hirasawa, who attends her school’s club fair in search of something fun. She signs up for her school’s Light Music Club, despite not knowing how to play an instrument. When she realizes the truth about the club, she resigns. However, the other club members convince her to take back her resignation after they play a catchy song.
This leads to Yu rejoining the club, and kicking off the anime’s exploration of the daily antics she and the others involve themselves in. The hilarious scenarios they endure are downright innocent and wholesome. You’ll see these girls laughing and smiling throughout the anime, as these moments will flash you back to your childhood days.
Seeing Yu develop her instrumentation skills over time will bring viewers extensive joy, too. If you’re looking for a relaxing and joy-filled anime to watch, K-On’s worth your time.
Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad
Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad is a great music-centric anime that will let you peer into a musician’s mind. With its relatable characters, gritty environment, and wonderful storytelling, this anime delivers a passionate and well-crafted narrative about the qualms people face when seeking popularity.
Our tale centers around a Koyuki, a boy who is trying to find a purpose in life. An answer shines toward him after he saves a strange-looking dog named Beck from a group of obnoxious kids. Upon saving him, he meets his owner, Ray, who happens to be an emerging guitarist and a former member of a well-acclaimed rock band.
Ray leads Koyuki to his band’s meeting place and dazzles him with his epic guitar skills. Stunned by his performance, Koyuki decides to play the guitar and help Ray reach his goal of leading the greatest rock band. With Ray’s sister Maho and others, the two gentlemen launch their rock-infested career and form BECK.
While everything seems simple and easy, this anime does a wonderful job at showcasing BECK’s struggles for achieving worldwide popularity. You’ll see these characters stress out during practice and argue with each other whenever they fail to deliver a worthwhile performance. It captures the realistic problems most bandmates or musicians face on a daily basis.
All the characters are explored in this anime and have wonderful personalities that allow them to stand out. If you’re looking for an anime with meaning, passion, and reliability, check out Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad.
Are you looking for an anime that solidly mixes romance, fashion, and music well? Nana has you covered. This anime features a stellar cast of relatable characters, an engaging narrative, and a beautiful world.
This story follows two women named Nana. These two depart to Tokyo in hopes of achieving something grand in their lives. One of them seeks a romantic partner while the other hopes to achieve fame and popularity in the music business. As one can expect, our two Nanas meet, leading to a beautiful friendship between them.
Music, friendship, and competition are all prominent themes in this anime. Romance is a theme that binds our two females together, despite one of them wanting to achieve popularity with her music. This aspect of her life affects her mentality, showing how far she has fallen from grace. As the anime progresses, the side characters’ relationships get more attention.
Their struggles follow suit of our two protagonists, as they find it troubling to attain and maintain healthy connections. Despite tackling multiple forms of entertainment, the show keeps its viewers hooked on its romance and music elements. Therefore, this is a worthwhile anime for fans that enjoy character-driven narratives.
Detroit Metal City
Detroit Metal City has the most metal music-themed anime I’ve ever seen. While you expect it to portray Rock n’ Roll and Heavy Metal fans as slightly bizarre individuals, it subverts your expectations and presents you with a protagonist that’s anything but over-the-top.
Our tale follows Souichi Negishi, a soft-spoken and kind-hearted college student who happens to be the lead singer for the well-acclaimed band Detroit Metal City (DMC). Under the alias Johannes Krauser II, he’s known for being a slightly maniacal rocker that can bring the world to its knees. Although he’s a famed musician, Souichi doesn’t like the music he plays and would rather opt for something peaceful.
Therefore the anime chronicles Souchi’s twisted lifestyle, as he struggles to balance his hectic band life, a budding romance, and the onslaught from his obsessive following. Detroit Metal City is an excellent anime that tackles the “never judge a book by its cover” life lesson to a tea. You’ll find yourself entertained at Souchi’s attempts at juggling the activities of his livelihood.
Gauche The Cellist
Gauche The Cellist is another dramatic anime featuring a musician who is in a tight spot. Our tale follows a professional cellist named Gauche who doesn’t have the same passion for music as he used to. That all changes when he meets a random cat who tricks him into understanding the meaningful aspects of music.
He’ll also learn the importance of tenderness, practice, and rhythm from three different animals. Within four days, Gauche obtains the true meaning of music and develops into a great musician. This anime highlights Gauche’s progress in becoming a professional musician.
This is an incredible OVA special full of inspiration and charm. While the anime’s animation doesn’t hold up to today’s standards, its retro look will make many viewers recall the times when they wanted to practice and become a professional at their favored hobby.
Fans will adore seeing Gauche fail and pick himself back up again as it makes him feel realistic and relatable. The animals serve a larger purpose in this narrative besides being cute eye candy for viewers. The music in this anime holds up better than the animation. Every piece will leave you feeling comfortable and refreshed. If you’re looking for an anime full of wonder and delight, Gauche The Cellist promises to entertain.
Kids On The Slope
An anime with a captivating story and stellar cast, Kids on the Slop delivers a grand coming-of-age tale with romance and music elements. With its focus on companionship, music, and love, fans are sure to walk away from it feeling pleased.
In it, we follow Kaoru Nishimi, who meets an aspiring jazz musician named Sentarou Kawabauchi. Seeing his passionate stance on music fills Kaoru with inspiration to the point that they become close friends. This friendship spirals into a music-playing partnership. The anime follows Kaoru, Sentarou, and their friends’ lives–playing music and bringing joy to those around them.
Although this anime suffers from a slow-paced beginning, it gradually spirals into something grand and entertaining. The chemistry between our music-loving protagonists is phenomenally developed. Their colorful personalities and passion for music will relate to viewers who recall spending long nights in their friends’ garage playing music.
Check out Kids on the Slope if you’re looking for an anime that explores the mindsets of aspiring musicians.
Carole & Tuesday
With the amount of praise he received for Cowboy Bebop, many fans were excited to see what Shinchiro Watanabe had planned down the pipeline. While Carole & Tuesday doesn’t feature the same degree of action as his well-acclaimed work, Watanabe crafted a beautiful sci-fi world that left quite the impression on fans.
Set in the distant future, Carole & Tuesday shows humanity living with intelligent AI companions on Mars. As a hard-working keyboard player by day and a hard-working woman by night, Carole lives in Alba City (a place on Mars). As for Tuesday, she has run from home to pursue her acoustic guitar career as an aspiring musician.
The two lives eventually intertwine, leading them to form a powerful music duo. Carole and Tuesday embark on a spiritual quest to restore admiration for human performance in this AI-controlled world. This is a music anime fans will admire for its soundtrack and well-written narrative and characters.
While its portrayal of a technologically advanced society has been done plenty of times before, Carole & Tuesday offers enough emotional turns to keep fans invested. You’ll find yourself resonating with the characters during their darkest moments and appreciating them during their bright ones. Fans looking for music and futuristic-themed anime with a lot of charm should check it out.
So, there we have it, our picks for the best anime through the years about music!
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!