If you are a fan of refreshing coming-of-age dramas, why not choose an anime based on “music”? There are many kinds of music, from band sounds to classical music, and all of them are masterpieces.
In this article, we will introduce some of the best anime with a wide variety of music, story, and performance scenes, along with their highlights. There are many music anime that make you groove unintentionally to the music and have you downloading their tracks instantly.
1. Hibike! Euphonium
Hibike! Euphonium is a Japanese novel series written by Ayano Takeda. The story is set in Uji, Kyoto and focuses on the Kitauji High School Music Club, whose concert band is steadily improving thanks to the newly appointed adviser’s strict instruction. Kyoto Animation was in charge of its anime adaptations.
Hibike! Euphonium follows the Kitauji High School Concert Band, a group that sounds fairly mediocre, and follows their journey as they grow both as musicians and as people in their efforts to truly accomplish what they before just claimed as a pipe dream: make the nationals of the Kansai Band Competition.
If you love come-up stories, this anime is perfect for you. The growth of the cast is paced well and it’ll blow your mind at times how well they’ve improved.
- The story itself is fairly simplistic, but the real meat of it is focusing on the journey that is walked to achieve their goals
- A third season focused on Kumiko in her third year of high school has been announced for 2024, preceded by a theatrical OVA in 2023 based on the “Ensemble Contest” arc
- All the instruments were made with polish and shine that made them look like real instruments, and when they were being played, they even used correct fingerings
2. Your Lie in April
Your Lie in April is a wonderful rendition of the West’s The Last Song. The anime is produced by the popular studio A-1 pictures, which is known for working on many popular works such as Sword Art Online, Kaguya-Sama: Love is War, fairy Tail, etc…
Kousei Arima is a child prodigy known as the “Human Metronome” for playing the piano with precision and perfection. Guided by a strict mother and rigorous training, Kousei dominates every competition he enters, earning the admiration of his musical peers and praise from audiences. When his mother suddenly passes away, the subsequent trauma makes him unable to hear the sound of a piano, and he never takes the stage thereafter.
If you like to have your heart tugged, this anime is for you. It offers both love and tragedy for you to experience.
- If you love piano/classical instruments, this anime is up your alley
- It delves into the reality of post-traumatic stress disorder, childhood abuse, and chronic illness
- We were all at that point when we found our first love when we thought it was forever when we poured our passion into something that ultimately would not come to fruition or last. That’s what being young is about—and that’s what Your Lie in April gives us
3. Tari Tari
The story centers around five Japanese high school students who are too young to be called adults, but who no longer think of themselves as children. Tari Tari ~Budding, Shining, and Sometimes Singing~, is a sequel novel to the anime and is set 10 years after the events of the anime story.
Konatsu comes up with a new plan to get involved; instead of joining the official choir, she’ll form her own singing club with her friends! Unfortunately, this proves to be harder than she imagined. Her friend Wakana Sakai has given up on singing, for one, and Konatsu needs more than just two members. With only a month left until the recital, will Konatsu be able to find enough members for her club?
Tari Tari is both a nice anime to relax to and will always have you rooting for the MCs dream to come true. This anime is recommended for those who like wholesome stories.
- The climactic song performed in the final episode is also well-executed, having full instrumentation to back it up and give it a more professional approach
- The background music is barely noticeable and the songs that the characters perform are all fairly juvenile and amateur, though the emotionally driven “Kokoro no Senritsu” is a great addition to the soundtrack
- Overall Tari Tari pretty much has everything you can ask for from a slice of life anime, from drama to comedy
A 13-episode anime television series adaptation was done by Kyoto Animation. The series received a Best TV Animation Award at the 2010 Tokyo International Anime Fair. At the beginning of September 2010, the Kyoto prefectural government began using K-On!! to promote the census and encourage people to be counted.
A fresh high school year always means much to come, and one of those things is joining a club. Being in a dilemma about which club to join, Yui Hirasawa stumbles upon and applies for the Light Music Club, which she misinterprets to be about playing simple instruments, such as castanets. Unable to play an instrument, she decides to visit to apologize and quit.
This anime is recommended for those who want to enjoy a Kyoto Animation classic and need something to kick back and relax to.
- There’s a variety of musical instruments used in this anime, but they mostly focus on generic band instruments
- K-On! has influenced a string of tourism for the rural town of Toyosato, related to the phenomenon of the anime pilgrimage, home to the elementary school that was used as a model for the high school in the anime
- The anime has also inspired real-life musicians. Hiroto, the bassist of The Sixth Lie, joined a band that was influenced by K-On! when he was in junior high school
5. Kids On the Slope
The series has been adapted twice: as a television anime series in 2012, and as a live-action film directed by Takahiro Miki in 2018. The anime adaptation is directed by Shinichirō Watanabe with music by Yoko Kanno, making it the third collaboration between Watanabe and Kanno following Macross Plus (1994–1995) and Cowboy Bebop (1998).
Kids On the Slope is a heartwarming story of friendship, music, and love that follows three unique individuals brought together by their mutual appreciation for jazz.
If you like stories with characters whose traits are complete opposites, yet work together, this anime is for you. It really explores the differences in people and how they can come together to create something special.
- The anime adaptation of Kids on the Slope was acclaimed by critics and was listed as among the best anime of 2012 by Anime News Network
- Like Cowboy Bebop, Kids On the Slope is a thing of visual and aural beauty, a celebration of art that lives in its smallest details
- The live-action film adaption of Kids on the Slope opened in eighth place at the Japanese box office
6. Nodame Cantabile
The series has been adapted into four different television series: as an award-winning Japanese live-action drama that aired in 2006 followed by a sequel television special that aired in January 2008, as an anime series spanning three seasons with the first broadcast in 2007, the second in 2008 and the third in 2010. Two live-action movie sequels to the Japanese television drama, with the same actors, were produced with release dates of 18 December 2009 and April 2010.
During his fourth year at Japan’s top music university, Shinichi Chiaki happens to meet Megumi Noda or, as she refers to herself, Nodame. On the surface, she seems to be an unkempt girl with no direction in life. However, when Shinichi hears Nodame play the piano for the first time, he is in awe of the kind of music she creates. Nevertheless, Shinichi is dismayed to discover that Nodame is his neighbour, and worse, she ends up falling head over heels in love with him.
This has both musical and romantic elements to it, it’s like the perfect mix of the two.
- Piano enthusiasts will love this series!
- The live-action drama received the 2007 Japanese Drama Academy Awards for Best Drama, Best Lead Actress (Juri Ueno), Best Direction (Hideki Takeuchi), Best Music (Takayuki Hattori), and Best Title Song
- Reviewers have called Ninomiya’s character development subtle while noting it is the character interactions that drive the story, and that “each character has a real and lasting effect on others
7. Macross Series
The franchise features a fictional history of Earth and the human race after the year 1999, as well as the history of humanoid civilization in the Milky Way. It consists of four TV series, four movies, six OVAs, one light novel, and five manga series, all sponsored by Big West Advertising, in addition to 40 video games set in the Macross universe, two crossover games, and a wide variety of physical merchandise.
In an attempt to escape, the Macross tries to launch itself into the Moon’s orbit, but the ship—as well as the city it was in—is teleported to the far reaches of space. Caught up in this mess are Hikaru Ichijou, a free-spirited acrobatic pilot, and Minmay Lynn, an aspiring singer. These two, alongside Macross’ crew, experience an epic journey rife with grief and drama, coming face-to-face with the cruelties of war along the way.
If you love upbeat 80’s style Japanese music this series is for you, especially if you like that city pop vibe.
- Macross was the basis for the Robotech franchise in North America. Super Dimension Fortress Macross was adapted into the first saga of the Robotech television series (1985–1986), called The Macross Saga, which spawned the Robotech franchise
- Macross popularized the concept of transforming mecha, which can transform between a standard vehicle (such as a fighter plane or transport truck) and a fighting mecha robot
- Macross set the template for later virtual idols in the early 21st century, such as Hatsune Miku and Kizuna AI
8. Forest of Piano
The movie adaptation debuted in 9th place at the Japanese box office the week it came out, unusually high for a non-franchise animated film. In South Korea, the film played for 50 weeks and grossed the equivalent of $182,884. The film was nominated for the 2008 Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year.
Forest of Piano tells the story of Shuuhei Amamiya, a transfer student, and Kai Ichinose, a problem child from the rough areas of town. Upon transferring to Moriwaki Elementary and telling the other kids about his talent for piano, Shuuhei quickly finds himself as the victim of bully Daigaku Kanehira.
Pianists and hardcore plot centralized enthusiasts will appreciate this fine art of an anime.
- The film featured performances by the renowned pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy
- A lot of classical piano pieces are played in this anime
- Beautiful visuals, absolutely stunning art as well
The manga was adapted into a live-action film in 2005, with a sequel released in 2006. NANA was the top favourite shōjo manga for Oricon Style in 2005.
The series is centred on Nana Osaki and Nana Komatsu, two women who move to Tokyo at the age of 20, with the story focused on Nana O.’s pursuit of fame and Nana K.’s pursuit of romance, all while struggling to maintain their friendship.
This is an anime for those who like to be challenged emotionally and for those who like a slice-of-life story.
- In the United States, volume twenty-one debuted at number 9 on the New York Times Graphic Books list
- You see a lot of generic band instruments used in this anime
- Nana has inspired several images and tribute albums, including Punk Night: From Nana and Nana’s Song is My Song in 2003. Love for Nana: Only 1 Tribute, an album released by EMI Music Japan on March 16, 2005. Several famous artists contributed to it, including English musician Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols, Canadian singer-songwriter Skye Sweetnam, and various Japanese artist
10. Kono Oto Tomare!: Sounds of Life
The series is animated by Platinum Vision and was directed by Ryōma Mizuno, with Ayumu Hisao handling the series composition, and Junko Yamanaka designing the characters. Shouta Aoi performed the series’ opening theme song “Tone”, while Yuma Uchida performed the series’ ending theme song “Speechless”.
The story focuses on the Koto club of the Tokise High School in Kanagawa Prefecture. Takezo Kurata, in his second year, is the only member left in the Koto club, after all the senior members have graduated. While he is trying his best to recruit more members into the club, Chika Kudo submits his application. But, since Kudo is known to be a delinquent, one who destroyed his own grandfather’s koto shop, Takezo is apprehensive about him. Things change when he discovers the truth.
This anime is recommended for those who want to learn about Japanese instruments. Also, this series is great to watch when you have a lot of free time due to lots of aspects you do not want to miss.
- Those who know of the Japanese Koto will find this anime very intriguing
- A stage play adaptation ran in 2019 in three locations: August 17–25 in Tokyo, September 7–8 in Fukuoka, and September 14–15 in Osaka
- Funimation has licensed the series and released the dub as it aired
11. Carol and Tuesday
It was animated by studio Bones, in commemoration of the studio’s 20th anniversary and the 10th anniversary of the record label FlyingDog. A manga adaptation by Morito Yamataka began serialization in Young Ace in May 2019 and ended in July 2020. An English dub version premiered worldwide on Netflix on August 30, 2019.
Carole lives in the metropolis of Alba City, working part-time by day and playing the keyboard by night. Tuesday has run away from her home in Hershell City to escape the grip of her wealthy family and instead hopes to pursue music with her acoustic guitar.
If you like stories where the MC was born rich but wants to live a normal life, this one is for you. This anime has a really big creative side to it that many viewers can connect with.
- A guitar and keyboard is the making of this indie duo
- LGBTQQIP2SAA friendly
- An anime cast with other ethnic characters as well
12. Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad
It was directed by Osamu Kobayashi, animated by Madhouse and produced by Takeshi Shukuri and Yoshimi Nakajima. Red Hot Chili Peppers and Oasis provide the opening and ending theme songs, “Around the World” and “Don’t Look Back in Anger” respectively.
Fourteen-year-old Yukio “Koyuki” Tanaka is a dispirited young boy with no goals in life. However, this all changes when Koyuki saves a strange-looking dog named Beck from being harassed by a group of local kids. The dog’s owner, 16-year-old Ryuusuke “Ray” Minami, is an emerging guitarist and a former member of a popular rock band. Beck follows the group’s struggles and successes as they spread their fame across Japan.
Japanese rock is pretty hardcore if you ask me, but it also has many sides to it that a variety of viewers can enjoy.
- Japanese Rock and Punk music can be wholeheartedly enjoyed by watching this anime
- In 2002, the manga received a tribute album featuring several different artists. The songs used in the anime that was performed by the character’s voice actors with Beat Crusaders were released on a soundtrack in 2002
- Despite the fact that this is a shōnen series, the show was rated TV-14 for its language and violence, but the DVD edition is rated TV-MA for strong language, including near-constant use of the word fuck in the first episode and frequently in subsequent episodes
The majority of the episode titles in Given are references to British alternative rock songs. The series has been adapted multiple times, notably as an audio drama in 2016, an 11-episode anime television series in 2019, an anime film in 2020, and a live-action television drama in 2021.
Given is roughly divided into two major story arcs. The first arc, which focuses primarily on the relationship between Ritsuka and Mafuyu, follows the formation of the band and the lead-up to their first live performance. The second arc, which focuses primarily on the relationship between Akihiko and Haruki, follows the band as they prepare for their first music festival.
This anime is Rock heavy, so if you’re into electric guitars and drum solos, this anime is a perfect fit for you.
- Ritsuka’s favourite genre of music; is episode nine is titled after the original song performed in the episode
- LGBTQQIP2SAA friendly
- A great binge-watching series
14. Love Live! School Idol Project
Love Live! School Idol Project is a part of the “Love Live!” multimedia franchise, co-developed with Dengeki G’s Magazine. In 2015, idol group μ’s was Japan’s eighth best-selling musical act, selling over eight hundred thousand CDs, DVDs, and Blu-Rays.
Otonokizaka High School is in a crisis! With the number of enrolling students dropping lower and lower every year, the school is set to shut down after its current first years graduates. However, second-year Honoka Kousaka refuses to let it go without a fight. Searching for a solution, she comes across the popular school idol group A-RISE and sets out to create a school idol group of her own. With the help of her childhood friends Umi Sonoda and Kotori Minami, Honoka forms μ’s (pronounced “muse”) to boost awareness and popularity of her school.
With cute girls, a sweet storyline, and real-life impact, this anime has it all. This anime is a staple in the music genre and one you don’t want to miss.
- The series also released a mobile rhythm game titled Love Live! School Idol Festival for iOS and Android, developed by KLab, was released in 2013 for Japan and in 2014 for English users
- A new project that focuses on musical theatre performances titled School Idol Musical was announced on September 26, 2022. It features 10 girls, five of each of who are students of two “legendary schools” located in Osaka and Hyogo
- Genjitsu no Yohane: Sunshine in the Mirror, a fantasy spinoff featuring the cast of Love Live! Sunshine!!, was announced for 2023
15. Bocchi the Rock!
Bocchi the Rock! is an overflow of creativity and relatability, a fantastic comedy with charismatic and human characters.
Hitori Gotou is a high school girl who’s starting to learn to play the guitar because she dreams of being in a band, but she’s so shy that she hasn’t made a single friend. However, her dream might come true after she meets Nijika Ijichi, a girl who plays drums and is looking for a new guitarist for her band.
Having recently aired, this anime has all the qualities of a wholesome classic masterpiece. From its dynamic development of the MC to the sick soundtracks they craft, this anime is nothing short of awe-inspiring.
- It is produced by CloverWorks and directed by Keiichirō Saitō
- In 2019, the series ranked eighth at the Next Manga Awards in the print category
- This is one of the most heartwarming moé that I have ever seen and it is truly an example of authentic art created by authentic artists
In this article, we introduced 15 of the best music anime, and it was such a cheer to do so. One thing that’s very popular in the anime fandom is that music has to be on point.
It should not lack because it both hinders the anime’s performance, but also harms the creativity of the author as well. However, an anime that has great music shows the masterclass creativity the author has, as well as, giving the viewer an experience they will not forget. Music is a creative outlet and can even be considered a universal language as well.
Be sure to keep checking back on our site for more great anime recommendations.