Forest of Piano Review

Forest of Piano Review

Forest of Piano anime series cover art
Forest of Piano

Listening to Piano Music, the Anime

I hadn’t heard of Forest of Piano (Piano no Mori / ピアノの森) until Roman requested it for this month’s Patron review. Yes, if you’re a Patron at the Heika tier, you get an anime review of your choice each month.

Anyway, Forest of Piano is an anime about playing the piano. And it apparently has two seasons, which is what surprised me most about this series. How had I not heard of this series until now? It’s good and has multiple seasons. I’m a failure as an anime reviewer.

Though, I guess this isn’t exactly the kind of series I tend to seek out on my own. It’s a seinen drama, which I love. But, I have a lot of mixed feelings about music anime. There are certainly good ones. I gave both Kids on the Slope and Your Lie in April 9/10 ratings. But, there are also a lot that are just fine.

Kai Ichinose showing Shuuhei Amamiya the forest piano from the anime series Forest of Piano
Kai Ichinose showing Shuuhei Amamiya the forest piano

Forest of Piano isn’t as good as either of those series. At least, Season 1, which is all I’ve watched, isn’t. But I feel pretty confident saying that it’s better than most music anime I’ve seen. And I’m a little surprised to be saying that since it has a heavy focus on the music.

Obviously, the music should be a big part of any music anime. I’m not a musician, though. I don’t play any instruments. So, when series focus heavily on the music, I sometimes feel like I’m missing out.

For example, I often can’t tell when characters are playing poorly. The other characters say they are. But I can’t tell. That could have been an issue in this series since there’s a lot of piano playing. However, Forest of Piano managed to hit a sweet spot.

The Boy from the Forest’s Edge

The two main characters of Forest of Piano couldn’t come from more different backgrounds. Shuuhei Amamiya comes from a wealthy family. His father is a famous pianist who raised Shuuhei to follow in his footsteps.

At first, I thought this was going to mean that Shuuhei had a strict father who forced him to play the piano all day. But once we meet Youichirou Amamiya, it’s clear that’s not the case. Yes, he wants his son to become a great pianist and accomplish the things he couldn’t when he was younger.

However, he also recognizes that his son is an individual and supports him in whatever he wants to do. This is the one thing Shuuhei’s family situation has in common with Kai Ichinose’s, the other main character.

Kai introducing Shuuhei to his mother, Reiko from the anime series Forest of Piano
Kai introducing Shuuhei to his mother, Reiko

Kai is from a poor family. His father isn’t in the picture, and I’m pretty sure nobody even knows who his father is. That’s because his mother, Reiko Ichinose, works as a prostitute and gave birth to Kai when she was only 15. Even if Reiko knows who the father is, she hasn’t said anything.

Because of her profession, Reiko isn’t able to provide Kai with much. His clothes aren’t as nice as those of the other kids in his class. He lives in the brothel where his mother works. And, he’s even forced to work there as well, doing dishes and mopping the floors.

But, like Shuuhei, Kai has a parent who supports him in everything he wants to do. In Kai’s case, the thing he wants more than anything is the same as Shuuhei: To play the piano. Of course, he can’t afford a piano. However, he plays on an abandoned piano he found in the forest near his home.

Modern Day Chopin

If you like listening to classical piano music, you’ll probably like Forest of Piano. And if Chopin is your favorite composer, you’ll really like it. The majority of the songs played in this series are by Chopin, and there’s a reason for that.

Both Kai and Shuuhei want to win the Chopin Competition in Poland. As I’m sure you can figure out by the name, it’s a piano competition dedicated to Chopin’s work. So, while there are songs by other composers early in the series, the second half is pretty much all Chopin.

Now, could I name a single song by Chopin after watching this series? Absolutely not. I’m not a nerd. But they were nice to listen to. If you’re going to binge a series (which I did for this one), it’s at least nice to binge something with good music in it.

Kai Ichinose playing in the Chopin Competition from the anime series Forest of Piano
Kai Ichinose playing in the Chopin Competition

While I liked this whole season, the second half, which focused on the start of the competition, was definitely better. It made me want to watch Season 2 to see how things turn out. I don’t know when I’ll eventually get around to watching it. But I plan to at some point.

Will Kai or Shuuhei win the competition? At this point, I’m not actually sure. Kai makes sense since he’s a prodigy and really the protagonist of the story. But I also feel like it would be better for Shuuhei’s character arc if he wins.

Then, there are the other competitors who could win. In particular, there are Lech Szymanowski of Poland and Wei Pang of China. Those two are on par with Kai and Shuuhei in terms of skill.

Also, I hope Takako Maruyama returns as a more important character in Season 2. I liked her character.

Final Thoughts

Although Forest of Piano is a terrible English translation for the title of the series, it’s a good series. If you’re looking for a music anime to watch and have already seen the other two I mentioned earlier, I’d recommend this one. I ended up giving it a 7/10, and I hope the second season is even better.

If you enjoyed this review, remember to share it with everyone you know. Also, follow me on your social media of choice so you don’t miss out on any future articles — links are in the footer.

Finally, I’d like to thank Roman and JasonHK for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about the perks of supporting this blog, check out DoubleSama.com/support.

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