La Corda d’Oro: College Arc Review

After all these years, it is time to take a look at the sequel to the first La Corda De Oro. This one doesn’t really bring the supernatural elements back though so say goodbye to the magic fairy that would help Hino play her instrument. He does appear briefly in the story but those adventures ended up just being filler in the end since the story wasn’t impacted. I want to say the original one was better than this sequel but I suppose it wasn’t a bad continuation. It’s always interesting to see the reverse harem style where everyone is desperate for the main heroine and she has to make her choice. There is a choice here which is good so even if we are getting bonus routes in the next few chapters, I would consider this ending as the main canon one. (I wouldn’t mind if more titles started having alternate endings though. It’s an interesting concept and a good way to stretch a series out for a bit longer.

The series starts off by explaining that Hino is still not together with Tsukimori yet. He ended up moving out to Vienna to improve his musical skills. They keep in touch through mail but neither one of them really seems to be able to reach out to make their status official. As a result, Tsuchiura, Kaji, Hihara, and Yunoki all figure that they still have a shot at Hino. Perhaps they can seduce her away from Tsukimori while he’s abroad. There’s even a new student named Kamata who may be interested in her as well. Can Hino stay strong and wait for Tsukimori or will she ultimately choose someone else?

Now from the start you’re probably going to be blaming Tsukimori here. Moving out to go practice his instruments is all well and good but he should have taken Hino along with him. Leaving her alone for such a long period of time with no return plan is really asking for trouble. You get the feeling that they will end up being together anyway but it really doesn’t make things easy on their relationship. Mix in the fact that he’s not great at communicating and it only makes sense that they would continue to drift apart.

I also thought that he does a horrible job of handling the situation when he appears. The series loves to get dramatic so of course he is super jealous of the other guys and says some hurtful stuff to Hino. He has no reason for this other than that he was envious of the others who got to be with Hino this last year but it was his choice to leave. I’m sure Hino would have gone with him if he asked. Also, you mean to tell me that he didn’t travel back to hang out with her a single time? That’s just a bad look on him. It’s been a while since the original series but the fact that he’s made no improvement is concerning.

As you can probably tell, I wasn’t exactly rooting for him and his romance to take off. Hino doesn’t handle all situations great either but at least she has been working to improve her own abilities throughout. The characters are all impressed at how she has improved and she has done all of this without any fairy to help her out this time. It’s pure skill and that’s good because she is in a music school surrounded by geniuses so it makes sense that she would improve. My only real issue with her character is how indecisive she is.

Each of the guys are able to cause her to be flustered at one point or another. They’re constantly flirting or threatening to make a move and she just acts shocked each time. They always end up leaving her alone and instead of reflecting on this or rejecting them she will head off to the next guy to be woo’d again. She doesn’t keep up any defenses around them like when she goes to one of the guy’s places to take a nap. It’s great that she trusts them all so much but it’s hard to believe that she hasn’t noticed how they’re all completely obsessed with her. She needs to be a little more self aware here and start friend zoning each of them so this isn’t up in the air.

By the end of the series the characters all start to give up on her one by one. It’s just annoying that they have to give up on their own as opposed to Hino telling them off. I would have liked if it was Nisekoi style where one by one the guy would have a heart to heart with the girl and explain why they had to stay as friends. Hino having a conversation with each of them like that would have been really nice and a solid way to give everyone some closure. They each got their own little mini arcs/adventures with her so that really could have worked.

Lets talk about each of the guys now. As you already know, I didn’t like Tsukimori. There’s not much more to say about him so we can skip the guy. Next up we have Tsuchiura who is the classic “Nice Guy” of the group. He can’t make big bold moves the way that the rest can. He treasures his friendship with Hino which is also what stops him from asking her out. He had the best chance to be with her at one point when she’s in a vulnerable spot but decides to help her get back with Tsukimori. He’s a good guy through and through but you know that he is doomed right from the start. In a way it felt like he was never in the running as a result. He’s easily the best out of all the guys but that’s not saying a lot I suppose.

After all, I was never going to like these guys much because they’re all trying to get together with Hino even though they know that she likes Tsukimori. I mean, I suppose it’s fair game until they are actually together but then they needed to be up front about that. Since she trusts them so much, it’s only right to do so immediately. Next up is Yunoki. He’s the rich one of the group who always tries to impress Hino with flashy displays. The guy has an edge there for sure since he can make her biggest wishes come true. That said, it also feels like he never had a shot here since he seems a bit older than the others. Might just be the way that he carries himself though, I assume they’re all around the same age. The series even plays into that later on as he acts more like a father figure.

He can be nicer than he acts but I still wouldn’t trust the guy too much. Shimizu is probably the most serious rival out of the group. He’s more straight forward about liking Hino the whole time and also does so in a mature way. He has his own character development as he learns to accept his feelings and he even gives her some pep talks. The guy isn’t really as friendly as some of the other characters but he knows how to behave around Hino. From the guys he would easily be the best aside from Tsuchiura.

Hihara likes Momo as well but has the hardest time really getting close to her. The guy just isn’t really ready for romance which is one of the main reasons he has to give his feelings up. He would have needed a lot of help from the other characters to make a move and so it was just too soon. If Tsukimori blows it later on then I guess he’ll have another shot. Hihara’s a nice guy and someone you can find on so hopefully he will stay as a dependable friend. There is a random new student named Kamata who seems to like Hino but he only appears for a chapter or two and promptly vanishes so we don’t need to talk about him much. I don’t even know what the point of his character was.

Lili returns briefly, but as mentioned earlier the whole fairy part feels like filler here. So Lili randomly shows up to wrap Hino into the past where she is able to meet up with all of the characters before they actually met her. It’s interesting and doesn’t seem to have been a dream but it literally doesn’t change anything. Hino doesn’t treat the characters differently and the event didn’t change her so it is really filler. There’s another time Lili appears which causes the characters to all be warped to a remote island along with their past selves. Again, this has nothing to do with anything so it was really filler. It’s interesting that we have some time magic going on but Lili could have really been used in a different way. The fairy affecting Hino’s music skills was a fun plot in the original so I’m not sure why it was completely ditched here.

While the series is mainly episodic, I should mention that the plot line which connects this all together is that there is going to be a big concert soon. So the characters are prepping for it and that’s one of the excuses for Hino to be alone with each guy for a chapter. Each one gives her some advice to further hone her skills and make the Vienna guy jealous since he couldn’t help out. The actual concert barely appears and is mostly off screen though which is why I would consider it as more of a plot device than an actual sub plot.

As for the art, it’s pretty good. I thought each of the pages was really clear in pure quality as well as layout. It’s always easy to tell exactly what’s going on and it makes reading the series really easy. You’ll be breezing through the pages. I would occasionally mix up the characters as a lot of the guys look so similar but fortunately their personalities are very different so as soon as they start talking then I’m good. The more you read the easier it gets in that respect.

The sequel had a fairly decent run with several volumes out. If the alternate endings each get a volume or so then this will really have a good run. I decided to do the review now though since I consider those to be bonus chapters as opposed to continuing in the main series. This ending feels like it’s the proper one after all. I may not be a big fan of the pairing but the whole series seemed to be leading up to it. It’s why I’m curious how they’ll play out the alternate endings. At what point does the manga diverge and how will they have Hino end up with each character? At the very least it’ll be interesting to see how it’s played out.

The writing in the series is good but as expected, the romance is really what holds the title back. It’s what keeps me from saying that the series is good. Hino is just way too passive the whole time. She lets each character drag her around and I’d have liked her to have taken a more active approach. If she goes with someone it should be her pick, not that everyone just gave up and helped her find the right guy. Tsukimori is also just such a jerk the entire series. There’s no way to root for him as a result and his excuses get pettier and pettier throughout.

A lot of the characters clown on Tsukimori for his decision and instead of feeling bad for him I just agreed with them. Here you have a guy who has a girl who is super devoted to him and he just ghosts her for long periods of time. Then whenever we cut over to him in Vienna he tries to say that she means a lot to him and he just doesn’t know how to contact her. That’s just not a good excuse and running away to Vienna for a second time made him look even worse. The only reason why their relationship works at all is purely based on her efforts. I can’t give him any piece of credit.

Overall, La Corda d’Oro is a very serious romance. You won’t really find a lot of humor here at all. It’s not dark in the slightest, it’s a light hearted series but you won’t find a lot of gags or anything like that. I’d call it a serious romance because each guy is doing his best to win Hino over and the manga plays it straight. It makes for a suspenseful read as a result but you probably won’t be smiling much. It’s like reading a chemistry textbook or something, you might be interested in what you’re seeing but there’s no time for laughter. I think the series could have used a bit more levity. Throw in the fairy and have some more adventures. Instead with all the romance chapters back to back, there was never any room to really rest. Off the top I would say the original series was better although it’s been ages since I’ve read that one. If you want to revisit the cast and see how things have gone along for them then this is the sequel you’ll want to check out. It’s not bad but I wouldn’t say it’s good. It’s interesting to say this but you won’t really have strong opinions about the series one way or the other. Not to say it’s boring but there isn’t a whole lot to talk about. Ultimately it’s a series of romantic adventures and Hino chooses one as we cut to the ending. I don’t think you’ll be thinking about it the very next day you finish it. I can’t think of the last time a manga just felt empty like that for me after I finished it. Again…it’s not bad but it sorta leaves you a bit empty. Hmmm….that’s the best way I can put it.

Overall 5/10