Kono Oto Tomare! Ep. 1: Dialed up to eleven

Takezo is now the sole member of his school’s koto club after his upperclassmen all graduated. It’s up to him to keep it alive by recruiting bright-eyed first years. Unfortunately, he’s not remotely likable, and that’s because everything in this show is dialed up to eleven. For instance, simply bumping into him is enough to make him drop everything in his hands. You can thus imagine how useless he is against bullies. A bunch of delinquents have since taken over his club and pretty much trashed the place. They’ve even defaced the club’s wooden sign. Of course, Takezo can’t get the school to help him out with this. Of course not. What self-respecting teacher would defend a kid from bullies? When Takezo tries to reason with them, they throw him against the wall, step on him, and treat him like dirt. Surprised? Not me! We all know Japanese high schools are basically like the Mad Max universe. Luckily for Takezo, this is when Chika, a former delinquent (and a first year to boot), shows up and teaches those mean bullies a lesson! But when he tells Takezo afterwards that he wants to join the club, the latter just keeps whining, “STOP M-M-MAKING FUN OF ME! THERE’S NO WAY YOU WOULD WANT TO JOIN THIS CLUB T-T-THAT MY CUTE PRECIOUS SEMPAI LEFT TO ME.” For fuck’s sake, no wonder nobody likes you. You’re an asshole too. The only difference is that you’re a weak asshole, so you tend to keep your prejudices to yourself. But again, this falls in line with how the show turns everything up to eleven. It’s one thing to have doubts about Chika. I would too. It’s another thing to completely reject the guy when he hasn’t done you wrong. This isn’t even about the show not being subtle enough. This is about the show just hammering the audience in the face with drama.

At this point, the episode delves into Chika’s troubled past. His best friend takes time out of his day to let both Takezo and the audience know that he’s not such a bad guy! As a former delinquent, he used to run with a bad crowd and get into all sorts of trouble… as a middle schooler. He could beat up nine kids on his ownas a middle schooler. His dad then proceeded to disown his middle school son. Like c’mon, that shit can’t be legal, right? We also get fun stuff like people openly trash-talking the main character as he walks by, but I’ve seen my fair share of j-drama so I’m used to that. With nowhere else to go, Chika eventually went to live with his grandpa, a koto maker. Filled with all his impotent adolescent rage, the kid lashed out and kicked one of the instruments in the shop, so the old man got up and socked the kid in the face. Y’see, sometimes you just gotta put these punk kids in their place then they’ll respect you! If only his father had socked him too… I’m sorry, but I’m laughing my ass off at this show. It’s just so over the top. Eventually, his grandpa got through to him, so Chika started to mend his ways. That’s when his delinquent buddies got mad and jealous, so they trashed his grandpa’s place. Naturally, everyone pinned the blame on Chika, ’cause who has security cameras? Who even bothers with obtaining evidence that proves someone’s guilt without a shadow of a doubt? The old man would shortly die afterwards. Good lord. But we’re not done yet! The bullies picking on Takezo are now scheming to take Chika down.

When Takezo returns to the club room after hearing all about Chika’s sob story, the bullies jump him from behind and beat him up real bad. Chika predictably finds the bruised and battered Takezo first. All of a sudden, those absentee teachers who were nowhere to be found before can suddenly hear all that racket! Dun dun dun, Chika is framed again. When Takezo wakes up in the school infirmary, he tells the nurse that he doesn’t think Chika is responsible. So what does the lady do? She tells the kid to not even bother. Yep, that’s exactly what a responsible adult should do. When you hear that a kid is potentially innocent, you steer clear of that situation! And the saddest thing is that Takezo listens to her. This weak-willed loser would’ve allowed an innocent guy to go down out of some deluded idea that he’s protecting the club that he inherited from his cute sempai. Sorry, I gotta harp on that. So when he trudges back to the club room with his tail between his legs, he sees that Chika had cleaned up and restored the club’s wooden sign. Only then does Takezo decide that he needs to stand up for Chika. Oh, so we only protect the innocent if they’ve done something for us? The kicker, however, is that this isn’t even the first nice thing Chika has done for Takezo. He’s cleaned up the club room and he’s defended the kid from the bullies. The lesson here, basically, is that you doesn’t deserve any kindness from society unless you prostrate yourself. If you don’t naturally fit in, you don’t deserve justice. You don’t deserve basic human kindness… unless you do a dramatic, sob-filled song-and-dance for us. Dance, monkey, dance!

Oh man, a brief glance at the Wiki page for this show reveals that there is yet another major character to be introduced. I’m sure that event is gonna be as drama-filled and ridiculous as this first episode.

2 thoughts on “Kono Oto Tomare! Ep. 1: Dialed up to eleven

  1. whentheloliscry

    Every season there just has to be one show about forming a high school club around some obscure and almost forgotten traditional Japanese cultural item. Mahjong, Shouji, yosakoi..koto…


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