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On-Gaku: Our Sound film image; anime trio rocking out in living room band

On-Gaku: Our Sound

Beyond Ghibli


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BC Theatrical Premiere

When you’re a bored teenager looking for thrills, sometimes the only thing you can turn to is rock-n-roll. Having no skill, money, or even a full set of drums, a feared trio of high school delinquents nevertheless decide they are destined for musical glory in a quest to impress their only friend Aya, avoid a rival gang, and – most importantly – jam out.

Animated almost entirely by director Kenji Iwaisawa (who worked independently on it for seven years), and featuring a lead performance by Japanese alt-rock legend Shintaro Sakamoto, On-Gaku (Japanese for “Music”) brings its own sound and vision to the Hiroyuki Ohashi manga from which it was adapted. With pitch-perfect deadpan humor, the film presents a highly original take on the beloved slacker comedy: a lo-fi buddy film with a blaring musical finale that will leave you wanting an immediate encore.

Rock-n-roll is here to stay, and so is On-Gaku: Our Sound, a quirky homage to classic animation and 1960s-70s rock with an idiosyncratic style and the thrumming heart of a musician […] This offbeat jam session is also peculiarly funny; the deadpan absurdism of the writing is accentuated by Iwaisawa’s bold direction, which uses long periods of stillness and silence and odd shifts in action. The guys in On-Gaku may be new to the stage, but this droll musical comedy tops the charts.

Maya Phillips, New York Times

A labour of love and a triumph of independent animation; funny and human storytelling; visually innovative and varied… The movie has ‘cult classic’ written all over it… The film’s climax is strange, comical, and deeply cathartic, bringing everything together perfectly into a moment that is both cacophonous and harmonious, just like their music.

Caitlin Moore, Anime News Network


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Kenji Iwaisawa

Country of Origin





In Japanese with English subtitles


Grand Prix, Ottawa Animation Festival

Content Warning

Coarse language


Open to youth!

71 min

Book Tickets

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Norihisa Nakama


Kenji Iwaisawa, Norihisa Nakama

Original Music

Tomohiko Banse, Grandfunk, Wataru Sawabe

Art Director

Kenji Iwaisawa

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