The story concerns Gauche, a professional cellist. During rehearsals for a performance, he is scolded by the conductor because his playing is not good enough. His timing is off and he seems to have no "feel" for the music.
Gauche returns to his lonely cottage and starts practicing. Then a cat enters who tricks him into understanding the inner meaning of the music. The importance of practice is shown by a cuckoo, rhythm by a badger and tenderness by a mouse. In four days he learns the true meaning and feeling of music and develops into a great musician.
Laced with popular classical music this special combines fun and inspiration for all ages and audiences.
Classical music really does have some good stuff with it.
Gauche the Cellist is a movie that tells the story of a guy named Goshu that just tries his best to be a better cellist player. His hopes are put down by the conductor that's managing the orchestra. Surely, this was a big downer for Goshu. Being bad already and out of tune at playing his instrument, he doesn't get any support from anyone at all. He then decides to practice harder back at his cabin so he can prove his master wrong. As he does, random animals appears out of nowhere. That's where the fun
starts. The plot is really very straightforward, until those talking animals just showed up mysteriously.
The movie's animation, I'd have to admit, isn't all that great. Considering that it's made back in the '80s, I consider the bad quality of the animation. I wouldn't be too generous giving it a higher mark, but below a 'fair' score would also be too harsh, with the account that it is an old movie. There's nothing much really to talk about concerning the art. The setting takes place for a short time at the school building where the conductor and other students were, and most of the movie focuses on his cabin, where most of the story happens. The cabin is in the middle of a rice field, and maybe on the outskirts of a jungle just across a bridge. But it's really nice to see a view of that place, which reminds me of how a simple life should be lived as back then. Even dragonflies are focused by the animators flying around, along with other insects/birds that usually just get ignored.
The sound was good. Gauche the Cellist focuses on classical music obviously, since a cello is part of the title in the first place. If you appreciate this kind of music, then this will surely be a good movie to watch. I'd say the voice acting could have been done better though, since some parts of the movie I can't even hardly hear the voices at all (it just lowers all of a sudden sometimes). But again, an old movie, so I gave it some considerations. The playing of the cello by Goshu was also enjoyable for me, and when he actually got better at it, which was really a good listen.
The characters are mainly a person, then a bunch of animal creatures. Each of those animals seemed to teach Goshu about something that he has yet to discover for himself. It's like one of those stories with moral lessons where animals talk. Exactly just like that. Those animals really got the smarts to pull off helping out a guy in need. Even the conductor back at where Goshu performs have that angry-looking face that just makes one wants to punch him right on the face. He's that irritating that I laugh it out for being irritated at that guy. Really unique characters, with added flavor, making animals do the work.
As I said, if classical music doesn't bother you, then this movie is worth checking out. Despite the old animation, it's really a movie that I enjoyed. Nodame Cantabile was also a fun series that focuses in classical music, and this movie should just be added to anyone's collection if they're into that.
I really recommend Gauche the Cellist mostly to music enthusiasts, specifically to Nodame Cantabile fans that watched the show because of the music as part of their reason. I can see why this movie isn't all that popular, but I really recommend it to anyone that likes something new to watch, something different.
Before Studio Ghibli was officially formed in 1985 and after Miyazaki directed Castle of Cagliostro in 1979, Takahata directed Gauche the Cellist in 1982. Standing at only an hour long, this is the perfect pop-in (vhs reference) movie for that day when you just cannot agree on what to watch.
This film features Gauche, a cellist, and by the way the conductor is super disappointed in his playing during a rehearsal, is not all that great a player. With the big concert just around the corner, Gauche must step up his game or else risk disappointing everybody. Motivation being on his side, he goes back to
his small lonely little cottage house and starts to practice. Each concurring night, he is visited by a different animal, which in turn, helps teach him different techniques that end up improving his playing. A nice story told basically in music form.
If it has not been guessed yet, the music in this anime is superb. The old classical music seems to match and blend perfectly with the old coloring and hashing style of the art. Most would think that the art is out dated, but in some realities it is simply unique and different.
Gauche the Cellist really puts the viewer into the audience chair during each of Gauche’s performances. A different technique, some light humour, just a really simple and nice story that brings some peace to the anime world.
From a storytelling perspective, Gauche The Cellist is fairly bare bones. Gauche is a young man that lives alone in a run-down cottage. Occasionally he gets out of the house to practice with the local orchestra. During those practices, he is consistently scolded by his conductor. He is told that he’s bringing the orchestra down, because his playing is expressionless and he tends to lag behind everyone else. Gauche proceeds to vigorously practice at home to get better. Through the help of some curious animal visitors (yes, animals), he eventually does improve. That’s about it.
Gauche was serviceable as a lead. There isn’t anything particularly
special about him. He aspires for greatness, but doesn’t know how to get there. You can tell throughout the movie that he is frustrated with himself, because his conductor and animal visitors are unsatisfied with the way he plays, but he doesn’t seem to know what he could do to fix that, other than to keep practicing as he always has. He practices so much that he often sacrifices sleep. Otherwise, he’s a fairly normal guy leading a boring life.
The animal visitors were probably the highlight of the movie for me. It was Gauche’s interaction with these creatures that brought out the most entertainment. There was a lot of interesting dialogue thrown between him and the animals, and their presence allowed me to learn more about Gauche’s character. For instance, he is easily offended, typically happy to help someone in need, and has a hilariously dark sense of humor.
As one might expect, the standout feature of Gauche the Cellist is the music. In some anime, music is just a part of the background, used simply to set the desired tone of a scene. There’s nothing wrong with that, but in Gauche The Cellist, music seems to be used much more prominently. The music is almost more of a main character than Gauche himself.
The music and the animation communicate with each other in a way where one doesn’t seem to be more focused on than the other. In the opening scene of the movie, you hear an orchestra playing, and as the music ramps up it begins thunder-storming. As the rain starts falling and the music continues, flashes of lightning begin to sync with each movement of the bow of the cello; each beat of the drum.
Music is used in the background to set the tone of scenes, yes, but in many cases, it’s almost like it steps out of the background and begins to play with what’s happening onscreen. For example, the first animal that visits Gauche is a cat. It asks Gauche to play a specific tune on his cello, one that is soothing and gentle. Defiantly, Gauche plays a much rougher-sounding song, and the cat reacts by bouncing around the room in comedic fashion. What makes the scene both so cool and so funny is that each unnatural movement of the cat lines up with each note that Gauche hits on his cello.
In some cases, the music will completely alter a scene visually, where the characters will look like they’ve been transported to another location as they’re playing. It’s a neat directing decision that makes the scenes worthwhile from an audio and visual perspective.
Ultimately, I thought the movie was fine. This is a children’s movie based off a children’s short story. It doesn’t do anything crazy or outstanding narratively. There are no deep underlying themes. There are no references or jokes sprinkled throughout that only adults would appreciate, or anything like that. It’s a simple kid’s movie that anyone can watch (so long as they don’t mind subtitles), and it doesn’t really set itself above other films of its kind in any way.
If you’re coming in to this movie looking for an intricate plot, with a complicated main character surrounded by a fleshed out and interesting supporting cast, you’re likely going to leave disappointed. If you’re looking for a short, feel-good film to help you relax and give you a little nostalgia for the old days, Gauche may scratch that itch, but I think there are better things out there to watch in its place. On the other hand, if you’re really, really in to classical music, this might be up your alley.
- To this day, Oh! Production doesn't have many original creations to its name, but in the past they have assisted in the animation or production of some heavy hitting titles such as Lupin III, Eva, the original Fullmetal Alchemist, several Ghibli movies, and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.
- Isao Takahata: very famous anime director. He’s responsible for co-founding Studio Ghibli and has directed 5 films from Studio Ghibli including Grave of the Fireflies, which is considered one of the greatest animated films ever made.
- Kenji Miyazawa. He’s a popular children’s story writer, and this movie is based off of one of those stories. Studio Ghibli also adapted his books From Up On Poppy Hill and Pom Poko (which Takahata is also responsible for directing).
- In the 2016 anime Bungou Stray Dogs, which has characters based off real-world authors, Kenji Miyazawa (the author of Gauche the Cellist) is represented as a blonde, freckled 14-year-old boy.
- The lead key animator, Shunji Saida, took cello lessons so that he could accurately capture finger movements. (Wikipedia)
- The 63 minute film took 6 years to complete and was highly acclaimed as one of the best film adaptations of Miyazawa's works. (Wikipedia)
- The story had previously been adapted for the screen three times, in 1949, 1953, and 1963. The 1953 adaptation was produced using puppets and dolls. (Wikipedia)
- Osamu Tanabe, the main animator of “The Tale of Princess Kaguya”, began his animation career at OH Production. The Tale of Princess Kaguya is often referred to as the successor to Gauche the Cellist.
Let's take a quick jog around memory lane and remember those anime you used to watch and enjoy as kids. Feel the nostalgia and see if your favorites made the list and discover more that other children enjoyed.