La Corda d'Oro Vol. #13 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, February 24, 2011
Release Date: Tuesday, March 01, 2011
Len grapples with his feelings for Kahoko as his departure date approaches.
Writer/Artist: Yuki Kure
What They Say
Every few years, the prestigious Seiso 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 will do anything to study under Mr. Saotome, a stern instructor who's taught generations of top performers - including Len, the musician Kahoko admires most. But to get into his class, she'll have to ace a grueling music competition. Can Kahoko play without the help of magic? And can she keep her mind on music when she learns that Len is leaving Japan?
Whereas Volume 12 had more of a focus on the seniors of La Corda, Volume 13 shifts the spotlight to the second-years, in particular Len. In addition to his lessons to Kahoko and his ambivalence about going abroad, Kure-sensei also includes a bonus short about Len's childhood. (As an aside, Volume 13 only contains four chapters; the last quarter of the book is comprised of extras.)
Although the plot maintains many elements that keep La Corda in the category of music manga, the story at this point seems more like the script of a bishounen dating videogame. Kahoko has a lot going on with her violin – trying to impress instructor Saotome, striving to place in the upcoming music competition, and having to perform at the school festival – but the tension comes less from those challenges and more from Len's acts of kindness to Kahoko outside the practice room and Ryotaro's jealousy. There's plenty of artwork to make fangirls squeal and swoon, but don't expect much about music in this volume.
True to his word, Len helps Kahoko prepare for the upcoming music competition, but with his departure fast approaching, he realizes just how fascinated he is by Kahoko. Len looks to be yet another member of the La Corda cast on his way out, but considering his rivalry with Ryotaro and Kahoko’s admiration for his music, I have to wonder if Kure-sensei might just finagle a way for him to stay in the story.
Mania Grade: B-
Art Rating: A
Packaging Rating: B+
Text/Translation Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Released By: Viz Media
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: La Corda d\'Oro