Kiniro no Corda: Primo Passo
All Kiniro no Corda: Primo Passo released episodes
An Unbelievable Prelude
Episode one introduces the main characters, Lili and Kahoko Hino, and the Seiso Academy setting. Lili is a fairy involved with the school's music contest, the Intramural concours; Hino is a student who is chosen to enter the competition by Lili, despite not being a music student, because she is able to see Lili. Lili presents Hino with a magic violin, which can be played by any true lover of music. Another character introduced is Shoko Fuyumi, a first year student who is bullied by other music students because she was entered into the concours. When Hino defends Fuyumi, the music students challenge Hino to play, and she agrees to play before the concours in one week's time. Also introduced is Ryotaro Tsuchiura, when he accidentally bumped her and she nearly fell off the stairs, but catching her just in time.
The Impending Troubles of Gavotte
Episode two introduces Len Tsukimori, a highly talented but very conceited second year music student. He is disdainful towards Hino and her friend Ryoutarou, a member of the Soccer Club, when they meet. Despite this, when she hears Tsukimori practicing the violin, she is greatly moved and give him great praise, which he haughtily dismisses. After hearing him play, Hino is able to recall the feelings and with the magic violin, she is able to play the piece, which Lili tells her is Schubert's Ave Maria. Hino also meets the friendly, outgoing third-year music student, Kazuki Hihara, on the rooftop. Hihara tries playing Gavotte, Hino's practice piece, on his trumpet, but Hino is puzzled that the melody sounds different from when she plays it.
The Anonymous Chopin
Hino has decided to help Lili and practice hard. Hino rescues Tsukimori from being cornered by two other music students by splashing them with water from a vase; however, the vase breaks and cuts her fingers. Tsukimori shows concern, though ostensibly because this will affect the overall performance of the concours, and not on Hino's behalf. Later Tsukimori and Tsuchiura get into an altercation over Hino and music. Tsukimori informs Tsuchiura disdainfully that general education students have no right to say anything about music. Afterwards, Hino was informed that she needs an accompanist for the first selection. Then, Hino discovers Tsuchiura playing the piano beautifully in a music shop. When Tsuchiura notices Hino, he becomes upset and makes Hino promise not to tell anybody about it.
Waltz Of The Bewildered Heart
Hino seeks a piano accompanist, which proves difficult because she is a general education student. She is wary of an offer by Azuma Yunoki to find her an accompanist. Eventually another girl offers to accompany her and she accepts. She visits the shop after practice, where the manager offers to show her a video recording of a young prodigy, who turns out to be Tsuchiura. She is amazed at his piano playing, and is overwhelmed with emotion, which makes her cry. She laments that as a violinist, she cannot play Chopin’s pieces. The manager manages to find the score, Chopin's Allegro, for the violin. She makes up her mind to play this in the concours. Later, Hino encounters Tsuchiura, and on her request, he plays for her. When she tells him about the video she saw, the feelings about his playing, and her regret that he no longer plays the piano in public, Tsuchiura becomes upset and leaves but then regrets it.
The Barefooted Vibrato
On the day of the first selection, Hino turns up dressed informally through her ignorance. Thankfully, Lili shows up in her dressing room and uses magic to provide her with a selection of dresses. At one point, Hihara enters without knocking and sees her wearing a nun's habit. However, Lili quickly switches her back to the school uniform and Hino attempts to pass it off as "seeing things". A teacher then directs Hihara away from the girls’ dressing room. Hino and Lili eventually choose a knee-length white dress. During the performance, Hino's accompanist ducks out, criticizing Hino's lack of commitment to music practice. Tsukimori arrives at the scene and defends Hino, while her accompanist runs away crying. Hino goes on without accompaniment; after a few notes, she is asked to leave the stage because all participants are required to have an accompaniment. Tsuchiura steps forward from the audience and takes the place of Hino's accompaniment. Tsuchiura tells Hino to forget their arguments, and the two take the stage. Hino plays Chopin's Tristesse, or "song of parting" but she feels that it is not an ending, but a beginning, during the performance; Tsuchiura admires Hino and her way of performing. Everybody, even the judges, remarks on how joyful and vibrant the piece sounds when Hino plays it. The concourse members, too, are overcome with emotion. Then Tsukimori goes on and gives a powerful performance. In the end, Hino comes last in the selection and Tsukimori comes first.
An Uneasy Polka
After the first selection, Tsuchiura was added to the participants for the concourse. All the seven participants including Kanazawa went Fuyumi's family villa for four days and three nights. Hino apologizes to Tsuchiura about him being in the concours and he rubs her head and says that its alright and she begins to blush. After a night of sharing a room with each other, i.e Tsukimori and Tsuchiura, they immediately demanded Kanazawa to change their rooms. So,Len is with Azuma and Ryotaro gets a room with Kazuki and Shimizu. Hihara is shown for the first time as being serious in his huge crush on Kahoko, which comes out when he falls on her by accident. He also is shown as someone who thinks of girls as very different from guys....'smell like sunshine and butterflies" to be exact and Tsuchiura gets irritated when that happened.
The Secretive Duet
Kanazawa asks Hino to come with them shopping for food and souvenirs, leaving Tsuchiura, Hihara, Yunoki and Tsukimori at home. Kanazawa left a note saying that they can pre-heat the food for lunch. Unfortunately, Tsukimori burnt the food thus having Tsuchiura make lunch. After the dinner, Tsukimori fell asleep. When he woke up, he heard Hino playing and he made a duet with her. Upon returning to school, Tsukimori is chased by school newspaper reporter Nami Amou. He stumbles upon Hino who just finished practicing her violin and covers her mouth when Amou's voice is heard just outside and after she passes, he releases his cover over her mouth prompting her to leave. While walking away, Hino comments on how she felt Tsukimori's cold hand before and this time it was hot with a burning feeling, realizing what's happened she runs back to the practice room to discover Tsukimori leaning against the wall almost unconscious. As she is about to call for a doctor Tsukimori stops her and losing complete conscious his head falls on her shoulder.
The second selection is coming close and Hino still hasn't decide what song she will play. Being stressed like she is, practicing violin every time she has the chance causes her to be in a fight with her friends. At home, Hino accidentally broke her music box, which was a birthday present from Mio and Nao which played Pachelbel’s Canon. After fixing her music box and reconciling with her friends, Hino decides to play the Canon for the second selection.
A Peaceful Concerto
Hino is having problem with her performance because she thinks that her performance is not good enough. Tsuchiura advises her that she can perform in a public place to have more confidence. The next day, Hino goes to practice outside but Amou sees her and Fuyumi. Amou helps the both of them to choose the clothes for the upcoming selection. When she is going back home, she meets Manami, the owner of the music shop; he tells her about a concert so she goes to watch it. There she meets Shimizu and they watch the concert together. They also get to meet the players. Hino is asked to play her violin. Then Hino played Ave Maria for them.
The Aloof Virtuoso
The second selection has started. After a few performances, Tsukimori goes to the waiting room. It's almost his turn but he still hasn't come back yet. Therefore, Hino, Tsuchiura and Hihara look for him. Hino finds Tsukimori in the locked closet. When they go back to the concourse, everyone is already leaving the auditorium. When everybody has gone home, Tsukimori's mother and Hino hears him play in the auditorium.
In the wake of finishing "Nodame Cantabile Finale", the latest series of a superb franchise that blew me away and got me into classical music, I found myself wanting to watch more anime about classical music. And that's why I decided to check out "La Corda D'Oro: Primo Lasso". I went into it fully expecting a poor man's "Nodame Cantabile" - such classics don't just grow on trees after all - but still, I couldn't help feeling disappointed even though I got exactly what I was expecting."La Corda D'Oro: Primo Lasso" (to be abbreviated as "La Corda" for the remainder of this review) tells the story of a normal girl Hino Kahoko coming into possession of a magical violin and taking part in the concours, the school's premier music competition, where she has to compete against a bunch of other students, most of whome study music.There's not much to complain about the presentation of "La Corda". All the character designs are pleasing to the eye, and a sense of beauty and elegance often shines through particularly when a character is performing. But you can guess where the priority of this show lies from the opening credits featuring shoulder up portraits of all the main characters - none of them appear to be wearing anything! Not that it's a fiery, passionate tale about complicated love triangles or anything like that, but it does come off as an anime that's more concerned about superficial imagery than solid substance.And from the very first episode, "La Corda" does little to help you shake off that impression. Aside from its almost non-existent attempt at preserving story integrity by sweeping the concour selection process under the carpet, it soon becomes clear that the show is very much a reverse harem as Hino is quickly surrounded by more bishounens than you can shake a stick at. There's the Proudly Aloof Bishounen, the Mysterious Prince Bishounen, the Playful Bishounen etc - all the most common bishounen architypes in shoujo are here, and then some. They are, of course, her fellow students and competitors in the concours and, together with Hino, they make up the selection of characters featured in the portraits in the opening credits. The only person from the concours who isn't featured in those portraits is, unsurprisingly, the Other Girl in the competition. Because as everyone knows, in a reverse harem, the Other Girl is, of course, unimportant.The main problem is that most of these bishies have totally flat personalities. Proudly Aloof Bishounen is like Chiaki from "Nodame Cantabile", except without any depth and taken to unbelivable extremes. Dopey Bishounen's characteristic dopeyness is also excessive - he can't even talk in a normal voice. Yes, we know he's not supposed to be quite "with it", but does it have to be so obnoxiously obvious?? And no, I don't find his dopeyness to be particularly amusing.Fortunately, not all the characters are like this. Surrounded by the other princely bishies, Tsuchiura is refreshingly down to earth - as shown by the fact that I was unable to think of a nickname that shelves his personality into a stereotypical mould. Best of all, Hino herself is a good main character. Unlike most of the others, she actually plays a very genuine "ordinary girl" role. She'd never played the violin before, and her understandable anxiety and reservation for entering the concours with her magical violin, along with her gradual change of attitude towards music and in particular the violin are all aspects that are smoothly handled for the most part. Hino's involvement in a competition that's mostly reserved for specialised music students also means that she does have to cross some tall barriers to gain acceptance, and her refreshing "outsider's" approach to music as a non-music student goes some way towards breaking down the elistist attitude prevalent amongst the music students.Having said that, I do have largely mixed feelings for the musical aspects of "La Corda", and it's especially interesting to compare this with "Nodame Cantabile". Firstly, it has to be said that there are no shortage of variety in the pieces performed in "La Corda". Beyond the standard selection of great composers such as Chopin, Beethoven etc that are covered by "Nodame Cantabile", "La Corda" also features quite a number of lesser known composers such as Boccherini, Reger, Vitali etc. It's a selection that I, as a casual listener to classical music, am largely unfamiliar with, and it's a selection that far exceeds the variety and perhaps even the quantity of music on offer in "Nodame Cantabile". Whether this is because the characters of "La Corda" focuses on the solo performances of so many different instruments while "Nodame Cantabile" is mostly involved with either orchestral symphonies or piano (both of which have a staggering number of well known pieces), it's hard to say. And along with those bits of trivia at the end of each episode, "La Corda" certainly gives the impression of having a broad knowledge of classical music. In addition, like "Nodame Cantabile", the music played in "La Corda" is also tailored to suit the story line (as in, if it's supposed to be a bad performance, you'll be able to hear from the music, although the tailoring isn't quite on the same scale as "Nodame Cantabile").On the other hand, I have no problem in saying that I enjoyed the music of "Nodame Cantabile" far more than the music of "La Corda". Is this because the music in "La Corda" is simply not as good? Perhaps, but I feel there's a lot more to it than just the quality of the music...The thing about "Nodame Cantabile" is that it simply comes off as far more passionate about its music. Everything about the show revolves around the music - it is woven seamlessly, inseparably into the very fabric of the show itself, with the story, the atmosphere and the music all complementing each other. And during the performances, the characters are often reflecting on the music itself. This means that it's easy to get affected by the show's infectious enthusiasm, and I found myself enjoying every performance, even when the music being played is not to my taste. In constrast, "La Corda" is too often caught up in its reverse harem aspects, with the incessant posturing of the sparkling bishounens and various love polygons ("love triangles doesn't even come close to discribing it) proving to be a constant distraction. During the performances, the characters seem more concerned with their respective love interests than with the music they're playing. In addition, its philosophy towards music also seems to subtly change to suit the latest story arc. The result is that, despite certain similarities between the messages that "La Corda" and "Nodame Cantabile" are trying to get across, the former's attempts are sometimes undermined as it seems far less sincere in its attitude towards music. Also, "La Corda"'s music production feels mostly like a separate entity, isolated and often forced to stand by themselves, as though the people who worked in that area were working largely independently from the script writers and the storyboard (with the notable exception of the aforementioned tailoring of music). So while "Nodame Cantabile" seems to be capable to getting people interested in classical music, I have a hard time imagining "La Corda" to be capable of the same feat.To its credit, the last third of the "La Corda" improves significantly. Most of the one dimensional characters develop some kind of depth to become 1.5 dimensional. Hino, who was by far the best character to begin with, goes through even more development. In particular, the way she chooses to deal with her final obstacle is surprisingly and admirably direct. If I have any complaints, it would be how unbelivably fast she manages to improve on an instrument as difficult to play as the violin - it usually takes people ages just to produce a sound that's not harsh! But minor gripes aside, the show really takes off and proceeds to pull out all the stops in the final concours. Here, the story, the atmosphere and the selection of music are finally all pulling in one direction. The performance of Bach's cello prelude that radiated a sonorous beauty, the performance of Lizst's "La Campanella" that grew from a delicate beginning to a tempestuous climax, and a dignified, graceful performance of Schubert's "Ave Maria" are just some of the highlights that bring a sense of elation, satisfaction and closure to a colourful final proceedings. For "La Corda", this is a rare occasion on which it manages to emulate the kind of magic that "Nodame Cantabile" produces with such casual regularity. After the final episode, some may feel the omission of a certain detail to be a bit of a cop out, but I'm of the opinion that the omission actually has the effect of highlighting what they DID show - Hino's courage and love of violin - to be the things that truly matter.Thanks to the last third of the series gaining a focus, "La Corda" just about qualifies as a "good" anime rather than an "okay" one. Just like Tsuchiura is accused of being half hearted in his pursuit of music and football, for the majority of the series "La Corda" also seems guilty of half heartedly going for a lot of things. It playfully toys with the idea of romance but does not go anywhere with it; it tries to do some character development, but is hampered by its reverse harem elements and overly stereotypical characters it shackled itself with in the beginning; it seems to want to give off the impression of being serious about music while at the same time rarely displaying an inclination for exploring the subject past the surface. The result is that it's well beaten in all areas by "Nodame Cantabile" and ends up as little more than a genre specific show with an appeal that is unlikely to extend beyond its targetted audience. But while all of this may sound like very harsh criticism for a series I'm labelling as "good", it's more to do with me being spoilt by "Nodame Cantabile" than anything else. Would I be scrutinising this show - in particular its musical aspects - so closely if it isn't for "Nodame Cantabile"? I doubt it. It's not so much that "La Corda" doesn't measure up as the fact that "Nodame Cantabile" set the standards far too high, and it's a tall ask for any similar anime to compete without coming off looking a lot worse. At the end of the day, "La Corda" is by no means a poor series - it's simply a poor man's "Nodame Cantabile". And that, to be fair, is nothing to be ashamed of.
La Corda D'Oro is pretty much the first anime I ever watched, so I have somewhat of a nostalgic attachment to this show. It’s a sweet and relaxing anime about a music competition and explores the effect music can have on one’s life and the people around them. If you have an interest in classical music and don’t mind somewhat simplistic characters, I would encourage you to give it a try. STORY: This show is about a music competition, and centers around Hino Kahoko, who was named as a competitor despite having no knowledge or experience in playing the violin. It’s a character-driven story, and focuses on the interactions between Kahoko and the other participants, and explores what music means to each of them. It spans the course of the entire music competition, and I like how the four main events serve as major turning points in the story and the characters’ development. It’s a simple and somewhat predictable plot, but the use of music and the structure of a competition makes it an enjoyable and relaxing ride. CHARACTERS: The characters all seem to fit into a stereotype, which makes their behavior somewhat predictable and lacking in complexity. But all of the characters are likable (though some more than others) and they all have a decent amount of character development (though again, usually predictable). All of this character development centers around Kahoko and her genuine love for music. It’s fun to watch how much of an effect Kahoko has on her fellow competitors and her classmates, and especially the effect this music competition has had on herself. One thing to note is that this is a reverse harem, so most of the guys develop some kind of crush on Kahoko. But these feelings don’t lead to an actual romance, and merely serve to influence each character’s behavior. I have no complaints about the lack of concrete romance, and prefer to have it open-ended given that it’s a reverse harem (and I’d rather not see the show choose one pairing and leave everyone else disappointed). All the guys care about Kahoko in their own way which I found sweet, and I was satisfied with the way the show handled it. SOUND: Since this show is centered around classical music, you’ll get to listen to a variety of short pieces throughout the series. Each song fits the scene, and it’s one of the show’s strength (since there aren’t a whole lot of anime about classical music). ART: It looks decent, and I have no major complaints about the animation. ENJOYMENT: I found this show sweet and relaxing, and I enjoyed the competitive spirit and the focus on classical music. It’s a simple story and doesn’t have anything unique or complex to offer, but it does a good job for what it is. Its biggest flaw is its simplistic characters and predictable plot, but the abundance of music is what made this show enjoyable for me.
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