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Monday, June 11, 2012

It's Just Another Manga Monday: La Corda d'Oro by Yuki Kure

I have a confession to make. I was a band geek. I was in marching band, concert band, pit band, chorus, concert choir, I was a baton twirler and I used to be in the stage productions as well. An all around nerd. I have to be honest, while the theater geeks were usually kind of cool kids, the beatniks, the band geeks were always kind of looked down at as the freaks of the school, the unpopular crowd. And while we band geeks did have a lot of friends, they were more of our kind and not the A crowd. In La Corda d'Oro by Yuki Kure, the roles are reversed. Seisou Academy is broken up into two separate schools. There is the music program and general ed. The students of the music program are the elite at the academy, they have the nicer uniforms and they look down their noses at the general ed students. There is really no interaction between the two campuses and it is very clear that not all students are equal. But with a little bit of fairy magic, that is about to change.

Series Description:
Reads R to L (Japanese Style), for audiences T.
Every few years, the prestigious Seisou Academy holds a prominent musical competition, and only the very best students at the Academy are allowed to participate. Though all are eligible to apply, only students from the music department actually make it to the competition...until now.

Kahoko is a normal student in the general education department with absolutely no musical skill, but all that changes when she catches a glimpse of an elusive fairy who lives on campus. The fairy grants Kahoko a magic violin, and before she knows it, she's nominated to participate in the school's music competition with five very attractive boys. Will she win love and fame, or will bitter rivalry rule the day?

Publication Date: March 6, 2012 | Series: La Corda D'oro (Book 15)
As Len leaves Japan to study abroad, Kahoko struggles with the changes in her own life. Can she find a way to say farewell to Len before it’s too late? Can she ace the upcoming music contest without Len’s tutoring—or the help of her magic violin? And what will she do when both Ryotaro and Azuma decide it’s time to make a move?

My Review:
Kahoko Hino is in the general ed program. There is really nothing remarkable about her, but she is able to see a fairy that no one else can see. The fairy gives her a magical violin and she finds herself auditioning for the school musical competition, one in which general ed students never make the final cut. Kahoko is one of the finalists, but it is only because she has the magical violin.

The other contestants are:
Len Tsukimori, violin, who has a real attitude problem. He seems very conceited and looks down his nose at everyone, including other music program students.
Keiichi Shimizu, cello, who is very sweet tempered, but he is usually asleep or snacking on junk food.
Kazuki Hihara, trumpet, who is probably the most likable of the contestants. He has a real positive attitude, is friendly with everyone and really just enjoys himself.
Azuma Yunoki, flute, who is the demon of the group. He shows one face to his fellow students, but to Kahoko, he shows a dark, twisted, demonic side. He may seem like a pleasant guy, but he has a mean streak.
Ryotaro Tsuchiura, piano, who is also a general ed student. As it turns out, he is a bit of a piano child prodigy and he is a later addition to the competition. He's also on the soccer team.

Kahoko finds that through her experience with the competition, she really does love music. She really respects Len and his talent, even though he acts like a jerk more often than not. She makes it through the competition, doesn't win, but decides she wants to keep learning how to play for real. She may be rough around the edges and needs to learn finesse, but she still has a pure passion for music and the violin that wins people over.

Like so many other shojo manga, it seems the course of love doesn't run smooth. It seems Kahoko is developing feelings for Len, but is it possible he is starting to reciprocate? Kazuki is certainly crushing on her. Then there is is Ryotaro, who looks out for her, but is there something more to it that motivates him? And what is up with Azuma? At times he seems cruel to Kahoko, but then there are times he seems to like her.

Len seems to soften towards her when he agrees to help Kahoko by tutoring her on the violin. Matters are complicated further for her when Len decides to study abroad and annouunces he is leaving Japan. Has she become proficient enough to be able to compete on her talent alone without the aid of a fairy and magical violin?

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