The piano is a highly valued and widely played instrument. Its melodies can touch the soul of all who hear it, captivating them with a whirlwind of emotions.
But did you know that these emotions can also be experienced by watching an anime?
That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best anime featuring characters who play the piano, all based on our personal opinions and experiences.
Table of Contents
13. Tokyo Ghoul – Shu Tsukiyama
Tokyo Ghoul is a well-known and highly debated anime in recent years, primarily due to its inconsistent animated adaptation.
The story centers around Ken Kaneki, a college student living in a town plagued by strange and violent murders. The agents suspect that the culprits are Ghouls, mysterious creatures that feed on human flesh, yet no one has ever seen them.
While the animated adaptation of Tokyo Ghoul is often confusing and inaccurate, we recommend reading the manga for a more faithful representation of the story.
As for musical elements, there are a few scenes featuring Shu Tsukiyama playing the piano or organ. However, it’s not a primary reason to watch the anime alone.
12. Komi Can’t Communicate – Komi Shouko
Komi Can’t Communicate is a recent anime that has received a lot of positive attention. With 24 episodes so far, the series is still ongoing.
The story follows Komi, a beautiful girl who is seen as unapproachable by those around her due to her aloof behavior.
However, Tadano knows the truth: Komi simply doesn’t know how to socialize, which is why he asks for her help in finding 100 friends.
And one secret that only Tadano knows is that Komi can play the piano, which he discovers in an episode when he visits her house and sees an old picture of her playing it.
Komi Can’t Communicate is a charming and humorous school romance anime that features gags and absurd situations as Komi and Tadano grow closer.
The romance subplot continues to develop, creating an intimate and heartwarming story.
11. My Hero Academia – Momo Yaoyorozu
My Hero Academia is one of the best anime in the fighting genre released in recent years, authored by Koei Horikoshi, with both the manga and the anime still ongoing.
The story focuses on quirks, which are essentially superpowers, in a world where 80% of the population has developed a unique power due to genetic mutation.
The Pro Heroes are superheroes who use their powers for good, while the Villains use their powers for evil.
The main character, Izuku Midoriya, dreams of becoming a Pro Hero and following in the footsteps of his idol, All Might. Despite being born without any superpowers, Deku’s chance encounter with All Might sets off the events in the story.
While My Hero Academia as you surely know is not based on music at all, there are occasional slice-of-life moments in between the action scenes.
In one of these moments, we learn that Momo Yaoyorozu, one of Deku’s classmates, can play the piano.
10. Soul Eater – Soul Evans
Soul Eater was a hugely popular and well-known battle shonen anime that aired in the 2000s.
It takes place in the Shinigami World where the main enemies are Kishin, dark humans who become more powerful by killing others.
The two main characters are Maka Albarn and her human-weapon partner Soul Eater, who can transform into a scythe to reap the souls of their enemies. They attend the Shinigami School along with their classmates to prepare for the threat posed by the Kishin.
Although it’s not a musical anime at all, Soul Eater is still worth mentioning here because we do see Soul playing the piano in some moody and super cool scenes.
But overall and aside from that, Soul Eater is a must-watch for its action, fights, and well-written characters.
9. Love Live School Idol Project – Maki Nishiko
Love Live! is a beloved franchise in Japan, centered around the world of music idols. Specifically, we’ll focus on School Idol Project, the first animated series.
The story takes place at Otonokizaka High School in Tokyo, which is facing closure due to declining enrollment.
To prevent this from happening, Honoka joins forces with her friends Umi and Kotori to form a school idol group to boost the school’s popularity.
They are later joined by other female students, including the pianist Maki, and together they become the μ’s.
Love Live! is a cheerful and entertaining anime with a lot of music and cute moments. The characters are well-developed and diverse, and the story also has some unexpected twists and turns.
8. Piano – Miu Nomura
Piano is a 2002 anime with only 10 episodes that combines themes of school and sentimentality with a focus on music.
The main character, Miu, loved playing the piano as a child and found deep emotions in it. However, when the series begins, she has lost her passion and becomes an introverted and quiet girl.
Her first crush only adds to her confusion, making her feel emotions she’s never experienced before. Will Miu be able to rediscover her love for music and navigate the challenges of adolescence?
Piano is an introspective series that explores personal growth through music, as Miu embarks on a journey of self-discovery.
The girl will find herself on an introspective journey as she experiences the problems of adolescence that we all went through.
7. Trigun Stampede – Knives
Trigun Stampede is the recently released reboot of the legendary Trigun, which premiered in the winter of 2023. This new version features updated animation compared to the 1998 release, and it aims to include the omitted details from the manga that were not present in the previous adaptation.
The story revolves around Vash the Stampede, an infamous outlaw who leaves a trail of destruction in every town and village he visits.
To put an end to the chaos and save their failing insurance companies, two agents are sent to apprehend him. However, upon encountering Vash, they discover that he is actually a kind and generous individual.
Trigun Stampede is an excellent choice if you haven’t had the opportunity to watch the 1998 version. The animation is modern, and it provides a more faithful adaptation of the manga, although it sacrifices some of the vintage atmosphere of the original series.
Nevertheless, if you’re seeking an exceptional action-packed post-apocalyptic anime, Trigun remains a perfect choice. And while music does not play a significant role, there are several noteworthy scenes where Knives, the story’s antagonist, showcases his piano skills.
6. K-On! – Tsumugi Kotobuki
K-On! is a 2009 anime series with 12 episodes that combines music, comedy, and the cute girls doing cute things trope.
The story revolves around four female students named Yui, Mio, Ritsu, and Tsumugi. Yui plays the guitar and sings, Mio plays the bass, Ritsu plays the drums, and Tsumugi plays the piano.
The girls come together to join their school’s light music club to prevent it from being disbanded, and they soon become the only four members.
Despite being inexperienced, they band together and form a tight-knit group. The group is later joined by Asuza, and the club becomes like a small family.
K-On! is a delightful mix of music and slice-of-life elements, with technical animation and cute humor that make it special.
The show is about the girls’ journey as they explore music and life, and it’s sure to bring a smile to your face.
5. Forest of Piano – Kai and Shuei
Forest of Piano is a 2018 anime that features 24 episodes and is highly underrated in our opinion.
It revolves around two main characters, Kai and Shuei, whose lives are intertwined by their shared love of the piano.
Kai, the son of a prostitute, finds solace in playing the piano abandoned in the forest near his home.
While Shuei, born into a wealthy and privileged family of pianists, grows up with strict discipline and finds the piano to be his only friend.
Forest of Piano is a deeply moving anime that explores mature themes and tells an emotionally impactful story.
With its poignant themes and excellent storytelling, it is sure to leave a lasting impression on you.
4. Carole and Tuesday – Carole Stanley
Carole and Tuesday is a 24-episode anime produced by the renowned animation studio Bones.
In a future, sci-fi era where Mars is colonized by humans, Carole leads a simple life and dreams of becoming a musician with her piano skills.
When she meets Tuesday, a wealthy runaway girl with an acoustic guitar, their friendship and musical careers quickly blossom.
They aim to revolutionize the futuristic music industry, which has become mostly digital and dominated by AI.
With its original plot blending music and science fiction, Carole and Tuesday is an innovative and captivating anime with 2 cool female MCs that you shouldn’t sleep on.
3. Kids on the Slope – Kaoru Nishimi
Kids on the Slope is an anime from Mappa studio, based on Yuki Kodama’s manga Jammin’ Apollon.
It tells the story of Kaoru Nishimi, a brilliant student who moves to live with relatives due to his father’s financial struggles.
In this new town, he meets Sentaro Kawabuchi, a rebellious teen with a huge love for jazz music. The two soon form a close bond through their shared passion for music, with Kaoru playing piano and Sentaro playing drums.
This anime showcases a strong and relatable friendship dynamic and is a must-watch for fans of jazz music.
It portrays a relatable and beautiful friendship, and the characters are written in an almost perfect way.
2. Nodame Cantabile – Megumi Noda
Nodame Cantabile is a criminally underrated romantic comedy with dramatic elements, following the story of the first-class Japanese musician Shinichi Chiaki.
His goal is to attend a music school in Europe and play with the best musicians, where he lived as a child, but he can’t pursue it because of his fear of flying.
However, things change when he meets Megumi Noda, a talented pianist, who tries to convince him to go back to Europe and follow his dreams.
The story offers a unique tale of love that helps to overcome trauma and fears while pursuing their dreams.
If you’re looking for a fresh romance story centered around music, Nodame Cantabile is a must-watch.
1. Your Lie in April – Kosei Arima
Kousei Arima, the story’s main character was a talented piano player from a young age. He was even recognized by older and famous musicians.
But that all changed when he lost his mother and became depressed, causing him to quit playing music.
That is until he met Kaori, a gorgeous blond-haired violinist who plays with all her heart. She reignites Kousei’s love for music but in a more relaxed way compared to how his mother taught him.
Your Lie in April mainly revolves around music, but also has fantastic romantic moments that will warm your heart, before breaking it with one of the saddest endings in anime history.
Kousei is probably the most iconic anime pianist, so it’s no surprise this anime made the first spot on the list.