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November 18, 2013

Bento Bako Weekly: La Corda d’Oro volumes 14-15

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Written by: Kristin
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lacorda14Title: La Corda d’Oro
Author: Yuki Kure
Publisher: Viz Media (Shojo Beat)
Volume: Volumes 14-15 (of 17)
Vintage: 2010 by Hakusensha, 2011 and 2012 by Viz Media
Genre: Music, romance, reverse harem

The big music competition is over, and things are back to normal at Seisou Academy. Kahoko Hino’s magical violin is gone, but she continues to practice diligently, driven by her love for the instrument. With the immediate pressure off the full cast, it’s time for everyone to enjoy the school’s sports day. Kazuki Hihara runs the races for his class, while Keiichi Shimizu performs remarkably well in the cavalry fight. Kahoko gets hurt protecting Shoko, and while Ryotaro Tsuchiura treats the injury he mentions wanting to talk to her about something, but decides it can wait until after the upcoming music contest they are both participating in. After the sports festival, Kazuki has a talk about his future with Kanazawa. The school festival is next, and the contest members (minus Len Tsukimori, who has his own performance to practice for, as well as preparing to study abroad) are getting ready for an ensemble performance. While practicing on the roof, Kahoko learns that Aoi used to play the violin (and now plays the viola, but hasn’t told anyone), and he swears her to secrecy. To promote their concert for the festival, Kahoko and the others perform impromptu sessions around campus. They’re not the only ones generating attention, as Kahoko’s class is rehearsing for their performance of Romeo and Juliet, staring Aoi as Romeo. Kahoko convinces Aoi to lead the ensemble in a performance of Prokofiev’s “Montagues and Capulets” to promote the play, Later, Aoi invites Kahoko to be his date for the evening’s closing dance. Before that, Kahoko, Aoi, and Ryotaro pick up Len so they can all experience the festival together. That is soon followed by the big concert, which is possibly the last time they will all get to perform together. Len surprises everyone by playing a complicated piece followed up by “Ave Maria.” At the dance, even Keiichi wants to dance with Kahoko, and afterward Azuma also takes a turn. Volume 14 wraps up with a chapter featuring Kanazawa and Kira talking about the past and the future.

lacorda15Volume 15 opens with a light story about Keiichi’s family. His older sister Tomomi, excited about meeting the people Keiichi has told her about in his letters, absconds with Keiichi’s school uniform and heads to Seisou. In the aftermath of the school festival, everyone wants to know why Len chose to play “Ave Maria” for his second piece, which of course also happens to be the piece Kahoko played during the final selection of the contest. Mostly people are confused because it’s not technically complicated like the pieces he usually tends to play, and even Len isn’t sure why he chose it. When he questions Kahoko about it, she confesses that hearing Len play the song was what inspired her to play. As they play the piece together, Len finally realizes his true feelings for Kahoko. On the flip side, while confronting Azuma about his stunt after the festival, Kahoko (sort of kind of) learns more about Azuma’s feelings, such as they are. Azuma and Kazuki do a little bonding, as well, and Azuma lets slip his decision about his future. With one week until the music competition, the pressure is building, but poor Ryotaro is distracted by his feelings for Kahoko, in particular how close she seems to be getting with Len. Even so, he finds himself giving Len some advice, despite how frustrated he is with the violin player. After all, Len still hasn’t told Kahoko that he’s leaving earlier than originally planned, leaving her blissfully ignorant of his upcoming departure. When Ryotaro hears Kahoko say she’ll miss Len, he confronts the other young man, demanding that Len consider Kahoko’s feelings. The volume wraps up with a teaser chapter for the third La Corda d’Oro video game.

The series is nearing its end, which means feelings. Feelings everywhere. Confessions, realizations, the things readers expect from a series of this nature. Certainly what fans didn’t get with the anime (unless you have the Japanese DVDs which I think include endings for each of the boys). It’s pretty clear that the story is heading toward a Kahoko and Len finale, in any case. Most of volume 14 is the gang having fun together, enjoying some of their last moments before some of them move abroad or graduate and go on to college. Volume 15 is filled with angst and realized emotions. Ryotaro and Len are both struggling over what to do about their feelings for Kahoko. Ryotaro realizes Len has feelings for her, and that she has them for Len, which puts him in a rather awkward position. Especially since he knows Len is about to run off early without even informing Kahoko. Of course, we can’t forget about Kazuki, who is in the same predicament of knowing he has feelings for Kahoko, but realizes that she has feelings for Len. Apparently it’s obvious to everyone but Kahoko and Len themselves. It’s playing out like every other story of its ilk, which isn’t exactly a bad thing, it just makes things predictable. La Corda d’Oro is a cute series that is sure to leave readers feeling warm and fuzzy. You could do better (Ouran High School Host Club is still one of my favorites), but you could also do worse. At least it feels genuine, the characters are well formed, and it gets points for its focus on classical music. 

Kris
kristin@comicattack.net
@girlg33k_kris

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