Anime and music have long gone hand in hand, with even the biggest series like My Hero Academia and Attack on Titan defined by their unforgettable soundtracks, but good series about classical music can be harder to spot. Apart from the very popular series Your lie in Aprilwhich is considered to be one of the greatest anime of all time, anime that pay tribute to classical music is rarely talked about enough.


Fortunately, this does not mean that there is a shortage. With newer series like Forest of piano and Kono Oto Tomare!: Sounds of Life only adding to the list of high-quality anime series focusing on the beauty of classical music, it’s a great time to be a fan.

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Your Lie in April (2014-2015)

Available on Hulu

Classical music is a fairly niche interest, so it takes something special for a series focusing on it to become extremely popular. Fortunately, Your lie in April It certainly had something special. The show centers on former piano prodigy Kousei Arima, who quit playing after being unable to hear the notes, and Kaori Miyazono, the mysterious violinist who rekindles his interest in music.

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An emotional romance that gives the viewer time to enjoy stunning musical performances of pieces like Saint-SaĆ«ns’ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, it’s a crowd-pleaser for classical music fans and drama lovers alike. When it comes to music anime, Your lie in April considered the top.

The Cellist Gauche (1982)

Currently not available to stream

Gauche plays the cello surrounded by animals in Cellisten Gauche

Although technically made before the establishment of Studio Ghibli in 1985, Cellist Gauche informally considered a ghibli film, mostly thanks to the involvement of director Isao Takahata, and a very underrated film. As the title suggests, it’s all about a professional cellist named Gauche.

However, Gauche has lost touch with playing, and is scolded by the conductor until he returns to his cottage to practice. There, a whole cast of animated animals help him change his ways and remind him of the true meaning of music. While the animation hasn’t aged too well, the music and heart has Cellist Gauche are timeless.

Forest Of Piano (2018-Present)

Available on Netflix

Kai plays the piano in the 2018 Forest of Piano anime series

For everyone who loves amazing piano pieces and interesting drama with unique characters, Forest of piano is a must watch series. At the heart of the show is the relationship between Kai, who learned to play with an abandoned and supposedly cursed piano in the woods near his home, and Shuuhei, the son of a long line of prestigious pianists.

At the root of their relationship is a love of music, which is strongly communicated to the audience throughout. While the touching 2007 anime film of the same name is also worth watching for lovers of classical piano, the series allows far more time to sit back and appreciate the music.

ClassicaLoid (2016-2018)

Currently not available to stream

The core cast of ClassicaLoid gathered around one entity

While there are plenty of emotional anime out there focused on classical music, comedy is rarer and that’s why ClassicaLoid perhaps just the show some classical music fans are looking for. With the ridiculous premise that figures like Beethoven and Mozart have been resurrected and seek to enjoy idiotic antics in the modern world, it’s a chaotic show to say the least.

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Classical music fans will either be thrilled to see their favorite composer as an over-the-top anime character or disappointed by the characterization that doesn’t quite do them justice, but the show gives plenty of reasons to keep watching regardless. ClassicaLoid also features some fun events, but it’s a show that’s far more about the laughs than the music.

Sound! Euphonium (2015-2016)

Available on Crunchyroll

Sound Euphonium

Although not strictly focused on classical pieces, Sound! Euphonium is more than worth watching for anyone interested in classical music for its inspiring tale of a high school band club aiming to compete at the national level. A character drama with plenty of memorable performances, it’s a series with no shortage of fans.

Its premise may not be anything particularly memorable, but it’s one made compelling by distinctive characters and the relatable situations that arise as the group tries to pull together towards a common goal. Kyoto Animation’s typically beautiful art style is the perfect complement to great music.

La Corda D’Oro (2006-2009)

Currently not available to stream

Promotional art for La Corda D'Oro anime

Set in a prestigious high school where students are strictly divided into those studying music and students in general studies, La Corda d’Oro tells the story of a general student named Kahoko Hino, who is suddenly selected to compete in a school-wide music competition.

Instead of turning back, Kahoko decides to face the terrifying world of classical music competition head-on with the help of a benevolent fairy and the magical violin it gives her. La Corda d’Oro’s humorous and romantic moments may not always hit the mark, but the music is superbly chosen with tons of iconic pieces represented.

Kono Oto Tomare!: Sounds Of Life (2019-Now)

Available on Hulu

Promotional art for Kono Oto Tomare Sounds of Life featuring the main characters holding Kotos

For classical music fans interested in traditional Japanese musical instruments, Kono Oto Tomare! is one of the best musical anime in recent years. Its focus on the ‘Koto’ instrument gives it a unique selling point. Like the show, the criminal protagonist Chika is a boy with hidden depths.

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Despite his bad reputation, Chika wants to honor his late Koto creator father by learning to play, which leads him to join the school band with three of his friends. Kono Oto Tomare!: Sounds Of Life‘s tale of the group’s trials and tribulations as they strive to qualify for a national competition is nothing revolutionary, but the Koto performances form the heart of an endearing show.

Kids On The Slope (2012)

Currently not available to stream

A jazz performance in the Kids on the Slope anime

Although more accurately described as a jazz-focused anime, Children on the slope will quickly make any classical music fan who watches realize why it is considered one of the best music anime ever made. Kaoru Nishimi is a high school student who excels as a classical pianist, but is lonely and lacks friends.

What breaks him out of his shell is the help of local criminal Sentarou Kawabuchi, who encourages Kaoru to join him in after-school jazz sessions. In the process, he discovers the joy that music can bring, along with friendship and love, all set against the backdrop of a superb musical score. With Cowboy BebopIt’s Yoko Kanno who arranges the music, that’s no surprise either.

Piano: The Melody Of A Young Girl’s Heart (2002-2003)

Currently not available to stream

Miu and a friend on the poster for Piano Melody of a Young Girls Heart

As the name suggests, Piano: The Melody of a Young Girl’s Heart is about a young pianist named Miu, whose talent at the piano is only diminished by the fact that there seems to be no real emotion behind her playing. For that to change, she needs to discover that melody in her heart.

Piano is slice-of-life anime in its purest form, and those hoping for dramatic moments or twists would be disappointed by how the show dwells on mundane details. But for those who just want a relaxed anime where classical music plays a big role, this could be the perfect show.

Nodame Cantabile (2007-2008)

Currently not available to stream

Nodame and Chiaki in Nodame Cantabile anime

For a lovingly crafted tribute to classical music that also happens to be a superbly executed romantic comedy, fans should look no further than Nodame Cantabile. The show centers on perfectionist Shinichi Chiaki, whose dream of playing the violin at an elite level in Europe is hindered only by his fear of flying and directionless but lively pianist Nodame.

Their clash of personalities is emphasized by their different approaches to playing music, but the music is also what brings them together. It is not surprising Nodame Cantabile goes all out with its soundtrack to drive this home, pleasingly weaving pieces from composers like Bach and Chopin with original scores from Suguru Matsutani.

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