People love anime music. But sometimes, having a good soundtrack doesn’t cut it. True music connoisseurs crave anime in the musical genre, anime about musicians, or even both! Grab a favorite pair of headphones and maybe even a guitar because we’ve rounded up wild anime that will bring music to even the hardest soul.
Building off the work of Mamoru Hosoda’s previous films, “Digimon: Our War Game” and Summer Wars, Belle brings a story of musical fame for the modern age. In the online world of U, Suzu Naito lives as the virtual pop sensation Belle. Her adoring fans don’t know about her real identity as a simple high school girl who uses her digital persona to process the trauma of witnessing her mother’s death. This sci-fi musical inspired by Beauty and the Beast explores how humans form connections and heal each other online and IRL.
2. Sound Euphonium
Even high school band geeks have a wild anime they can call their own. This anime follows euphonium player Kumiko Oumae in the first year of her school’s concert wind band. She and her bandmates must work their hardest to prove their school worthy of winning competitions.
3. Your Lie in April
Prepare to cry—a lot. Prodigy pianist Kōsei has spent the last two years unable to play music following the death of his abusive mother. But when a cute violinist named Kaori takes an interest in him, he begins to heal and learn to love music again. Your Lie in April’s bittersweet story and beautiful classical soundtrack show that it’s truly possible to find love and passion even amidst trauma and tragedy.
K-On holds a high-exalted spot in the minds of fans who pride themselves on loving “cute girls doing cute things” anime. It follows a group of high school students who join the light music club to keep it alive. The animation quality for the instrument-playing exceeds what most would expect from a simple slice-of-life anime.
5. One Piece Film: Red
Don’t be intimidated by the massive size of the One Piece franchise. Even first-time viewers can jump in and have a good time. The Straw Hat Pirates attend the concert of the world’s biggest pop sensation, Uta, who happens to know Luffy from childhood. But the true nature of the concert puts the whole world in peril, so Luffy and the gang have to stop it. Vocalist Ado gives a performance as Uta’s singing voice so incredible that it alone justified bringing this to the big screen.
6. The Night is Short, Walk On, Girl
One can never tell where a night of drinking will take them. The sweet scent of alcohol led the protagonist of this movie right to the center of a guerrilla musical production happening at her college’s night festival. The musical tells the story of true love at first sight, a story so important that performers dare risk arrest so that the director can reconnect with his love (and finally wear fresh underwear).
7. Bocchi the Rock
All caught up with Watamote and Komi Can’t Communicate? Well, check out one more wild anime with a high school girl held back by devastating social anxiety. But this time she plays guitar! Bocchi the Rock stands out from similar series with its musical flair and the intense lengths the show goes to in visually representing Bocchi’s emotions.
8. Blue Giant
In the words of Barry from Bee Movie, “Ya like jazz?” Blue Giant brings together the saxophonist Dai, the pianist Yukinori, and the drummer Shunji to form a jazz trio fueled by their burning passion for the genre. They experience the difficulties of professional musicianship firsthand, but their love for music won’t let them back down.
9. Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad
Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad provides the audience with the whole experience of a chance childhood meeting turning into a band, which becomes an actual professional touring act. Making it big as a musician can involve broken relationships, setbacks, and heartbreak. But Beck captures all that and the happy times that make it all worth it.
Who would ever suspect that the timid little lady in the accounting department spent her nights screaming her head off to heavy metal music? Aggrestsuko (short for Aggressive Retsuko) won viewers’ hearts by showing the true struggles of a young worker in the modern age. So, what better show to scream along to after a long day at the office?
11. Tonkatsu DJ Agetarou
Fun fact: DJ’ing and cooking Japanese food take the exact same skills. Well, at least that’s the way Agetarou looks at things. Out one night on a delivery, the listless heir to a family-owned tonkatsu restaurant experiences love at first sight for DJ’ing. This love also reignites his passion for his family’s craft of deep-frying pork. He fuses them as he strives to light the DJ world on fire with the stage name Tonkatsu DJ Agetarou.
12. Carole & Tuesday
Fans of Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, and Space Dandy know that Shinichiro Watanabe has built a legacy on wild anime with a strong musical identity. But he didn’t create an original show actually about music until 2019’s Carole & Tuesday. Acoustic guitarist Tuesday and pianist Carole come from opposite backgrounds, but their love of music bonds them in their quest to reach success in the Martian music scene.
13. Detroit Metal City
This wild anime walked so Aggretsuko could run. Soichi dreams of making flowery pop music. But instead, he lives the waking nightmare of being the frontman of the metal band Detroit Metal City. The sweet man leads a dual life where, by night, he transforms into his musical persona, Johannes Krauser II, a pure embodiment of terror and depravity. The blurring line between his two identities makes for comedy that even non-metalheads can enjoy.
Norbert was born in Detroit, MI but has recently located to Long Beach, CA. He got his start writing on his own personal video game blog before writing in publications such as IGN, Otaku USA Magazine, Anime News Network, Nerdist, and Black Detroit Magazine. He also researched and wrote several videos for Channel Frederator Network’s 107 Facts series with the most-successful video reaching 6.5 million views.