I’m a lover of music anime. Kids on the Slope shows how music can provide deep connections to otherwise completely different people. Beck: Mogolion Chop Squad shows the real-life struggles of becoming successful in music, and how much work and luck is required. What makes them both great is they explore music as a gateway to the human soul. Blue Giant understands this well and takes full advantage, even if it takes a short while to get going.
Dai Miyamoto (whose first name means “big” according to the manga) loves jazz. Not just in a listens-to-jazz-all-the-time kind of way. He plays the sax everyday on the banks of the Hirose River, and in tunnels when it’s raining. He says to himself, as much as possible, “I’m going to be the greatest jazz player in the world.” Dai marries love for jazz with commitment to practice, even though he starts with no teacher and no way to know if he’s actually good or not. What he does have is an understanding of jazz, even though it’s hard for him to explain.
I love Dai because he feels different from most manga and anime protagonists I’ve been watching and reading recently. In the face of most protagonists being cynical loners, Dai plays on his high school basketball team, has a part time job at a service gas station, and has many friends to get into stupid shenanigans with. He feels like an actual person who isn’t confined to moping around his house when he’s not in school. Blue Giant’s supporting cast is also memorable, from his boss at the gas station to his friend Tamada, they leave an impression and offer something unique to Dai’s journey.
That journey does start off a little slow. The early chapters are all about set-up, and it’s a paced set-up. Dai practices, talks to his friends, plays jazz, and that’s about it. But then it starts tugging at your heart strings, and Dai’s story lifts off. It’s kind of like a train that is slow to start, but keeps gaining momentum until it reaches a good speed.
Oh, and there’s jazz. Without an audible component, it can be hard to portray music in manga. But I think this series gets it. With strong action lines, you can tell the passion in Dai’s movements as he swings his sax around. You also get to see the character's reaction to his music, and how the music inspires them. Dai’s playstyle is also reflective of his personality; upbeat, fast, and full of energy. It makes it easier to imagine what it may sound like. Imagination is required from the reader, but as a guy who does, in fact, like jazz, it was easy for me.
Blue Giant joins a special group of great music anime and manga. It has a strong cast and can communicate what makes music so inspiring and moving. It can be hard to communicate music with words, but images do it just fine: Blue Giant stands tall as an example of this.
Dai lived a normal high school life in Sendai: a city of hot summer days and rainy nights. Between basketball, part-time jobs, and an uncertain future, something was missing. And that thing was music. With his days in senior year running out, Dai swears a heartfelt vow: “I’m gonna be the best jazz player in the world.”
But what do you need to be the best? Talent? Effort? A lucky break? Or maybe just a deep, pure love for music, and too much stubbornness to know when to quit.Add to CartLearn More