La Corda d’Oro – Yuki Kure: Series Review

La Corda d’Oro the manga ran in LaLa magazine in Japan from 2004 to 2011.  The story originally started out as a role-playing video game aimed at a female audience. The character designer for the game Yuki Kure, then went on to adapt the story into a manga. It’s no surprise then that this shoujo series contains a reverse harem full of noncommittal relationships.

The Gist: Kahoko Hino attends Seiso Academy, a high school known for its music department of talented students. Kahoko isn’t a musician, though. She attends the general education branch of the school. That is, until she sees a fairy on campus. The next thing she knows she’s been entered in the school’s prestigious music competition!
At a loss, she confronts the fairy, only to be given a magical violin and told to do her best to show others a love of music. Competing against a meek younger girl and five handsome young boys is intimidating when you only have magic to rely on. While Kahoko learns how to play music from her heart, the others discover a deeper meaning behind their own love of music.

Front to Back:

Front to Back:Lili, Kahoko, Len, Kazuki, Azuma,Ryotaro, Keiichi, Shouko, Nami, Hiroto, Shinobu

The Characters/Romance: With a reverse harem full of musicians I’d say we have an ensemble cast. (tadump-ching!) There’s Kahoko Hino, our protagonist, who is learning to play the violin. Third years Azuma Kunoki and Kazuki Hihara play the flute and trumpet respectively. In second year with Kahoko is Len Tsukimori, also a violinist, and Ryotaro Tsuchiura, a general ed student like Hino who plays piano. To round out the cast we have first years Shouko Fuyuumi on the clarinet and Keiichi Shimizu on the cello.

Of course the roles are all type-cast to be a pick of which character the readers would most like to date, including Shouko. While Kahoko has interactions with all the boys, the ones that are shown as the most potential love interests are Kazuki, Len, and Ryotaro. The boys all fall for Kahoko in some manner, and that is what I find the most annoying aspect of this story. A couple of boys is believable. ALL of them is overkill. Coming in close second to that would be the fairy story element. A magical violin, sure I’ll buy that. A talking fairy that gives you magical music and costumes, not so much. Yuki Kure adapted the storyline, but she should have rewritten that part. Once the music competition is over there is no need for the fairy anymore and the story goes from being a fantasy to a drama.

The most enjoyable part of this series is not in watching Kahoko fall in love with any particular boy, but experiencing her love affair with music. Even if you’ve never played an instrument before, it’s easy to relate to Kahoko’s awe at all the talented musicians. Then there’s the desire to want to play as beautifully as what you’ve heard. Kure’s message of not worrying about your ability to play, but playing from your heart is admirable. Music can be a very competitive and lonely field, yet Kure shows how bonds are formed when musicians perform with one another.

Character Details

The Art: La Corda d’Oro is full of bishies! Most of the scenes include some awesome eye candy, so be sure to take it all in. The panels are made up of social interactions or musical performances, so don’t expect any fast paced action sequences. Clearly Kure’s strength is characters. Anatomy and expressions are well drawn, and a lot of detail is paid to the faces, clothing, and props. Backgrounds tend to be sparse or generic in comparison, but improve as the series progresses. But hey, who cares about the backgrounds when there all all those gorgeous guys to stare at! 😉

The Media: La Corda d’Oro started out as a video game, and the story continues to be told in that format. There are two sequels to the first game, only available in Japan. The manga finished its run in Lala last year, but we’ve gotten up to volume 14 from Viz here in the states. A 26 episode anime was also produced based on the first game and remains a popular shoujo staple on streaming sites.

Heart of Manga Rating: ❤❤❤

I recommend this series for shoujo fans who love bishies or music. Word of warning though, it can start to get frustrating after a while when Kahoko doesn’t make it exactly clear which guy she favors. What’s that? Which one did I pick? My favorite was Ryotaro because he was smart, athletic, talented, and protective. But, I’m a little biased since I did marry a pianist. 🙂

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Super mom and teacher until the kids go to bed, then romance manga addict and writer until the caffeine wears out! Specializes in the shoujo and josei genre of manga and anime.
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