Before you read this review, please note that this is the final volume of the series, so spoilers are likely. Len is out of sight in Europe, but not out of mind, especially Kahoko’s. Even Ryotaro is thinking about their famous friend, as he strives to make plans for his own future. Kahoko, on the other hand, is certain she wants to continue pursuing the violin, but suffers a setback when Saotome refuses to give her lessons. At least she has a reason for continuing to play, which makes Ryotaro realize his reason for playing is Kahoko. A quick confession, and his mind clears, though it does leave Kahoko quite flustered. While everyone else is concerned with getting into college (or staying in, as is Kazuki’s case), Len is soaring abroad. He’s formed a quartet and has even appeared on TV. As Kahoko reminisces about the time she was in a quartet, Shinobu suggests they form a string quartet with Keiichi. Then Kahoko convinces Aoi to join as well. They plan to perform at the college’s campus festival. Azuma pays his former classmates a visit, and reveals to Kahoko that he’s been going against his grandmother’s wishes by continuing to play the flute and choosing his own study path through college. After watching Len’s performance, Kahoko realizes that the gulf between her and Len is growing more and more, but seeing that Azuma refuses to give up gives her courage to keep trying. Still, watching Len perform in person when he comes back to Japan, and seeing how popular he is, is difficult for Kahoko to handle. He keeps getting better, while she continues to struggle. Of course, the more frustrated she gets, the less she tends to simply enjoy playing, which effects the quality of her music. When Kahoko tells Len that she feels so far behind him it seems pointless to even try, Len bluntly voices his disappointment, which shakes her to her core. With Len’s words ringing in her mind, and their concert canceled to make way for Len’s quartet’s performance, Kahoko finally snaps out of her depression, and falls back on the promise she made to him to work hard and try her best, no matter what. She organizes the quarter for an outdoor performance, and they play from their hearts. It’s not about being perfect, or playing in some concert, but about enjoying the music and the friendships it’s created.
It’s the final volume, so story lines are being wrapped up, though there is a loose end here or there. Kure encourages readers to look into the anime series and the video games for more stories of the La Corda d’Oro group. Here, Azuma comes to a solid resolution, as does Ryotaro. Plus he gets to confess his feelings to Kahoko. Kazuki doesn’t get that far, but he does settle into college life at the accompanying university, and looks forward to being able to attend the school with Kahoko. Aoi is, well, Aoi. Infatuated with Kahoko, but mostly content to watch her from close by. Keiichi doesn’t have much presence here, but his story was mostly wrapped up in previous volumes. Unfortunately, since she isn’t part of the ‘harem’ or one of Kahoko’s ‘choices,’ Fuyuumi is largely left out of the series’ ending, though she makes an appearance in a panel or two. That’s the downfall of being the female who isn’t the heroine in a story like this. Len sort of has his confession moment with Kahoko, though he doesn’t come right out and say it. Well, in terms of Len’s willingness to put anything of that sort into words, he actually does say quite a bit. Enough for Kahoko to understand. And just not enough to leave readers a touch unsatisfied (and Lili, too, apparently). Overall, it’s a satisfying ending that allows readers to clearly see the future paths of the characters. What else could you ask for?