La Corda d’Oro Volume One is a manga written by Yuki Kure, and it was published in North America by Viz Media’s Shojo Beat imprint in 2006. The series is rated “T” for teens; after reading this volume, I would agree with this rating.
The setting for La Corda d’Oro is the Seisou Academy, which is a prestigious school. The school was founded by a Japanese man who traveled to Europe and encountered a fairy, which he saved. The man said he wanted to start a music school in Japan, and the fairy granted his wish.
Seisou Academy is about to hold its prestigious musical competition that’s only held every two or three years, and usually it’s only the top students in the music portion of the academy who participate. However, it turns out that anyone who can see and interact with the fairy that helped the school’s founder can also participate.
One day, a female general education student named Kahoko Hino sees the fairy, and then discovers that her name is included on the list of students participating in the musical competition. For the competition, the fairy gives Kahoko a magical violin, but Kahoko quickly learns that even with the magic, she still has to put her heart and soul into playing the instrument or it won’t work right. Kahoko also has to deal with jealous students from Seisou’s music program who didn’t make it into the competition.
It wouldn’t be a shojo manga without potential love interests for the main female character, and by the end of this volume, there are definitely two young men who are stepping in to fill this role. The first is Ryotaro Tsuchiura, a general education student who is in the same grade as Kahoko, but in a different class. The other is Len Tsukimori, an aloof violin major who is the same age as both Kahoko and Ryotaro.
When it comes to shojo titles, I have to say that while La Cordo d’Oro isn’t one of the best titles I’ve read from this genre, it also isn’t one of the worst. Some of the basic setup is pretty typical for a shojo title, but the inclusion of the fairy into an otherwise typical manga story set at a school does give this story something unique. However, since this manga series is based on a Japanese video game, I don’t know if the fairy was part of the original video game, or if that element was added by Kure.
My 14-year-old daughter also read this manga volume, and seemed to enjoy it. After comparing our reactions to this title, I’m left to conclude that La Corda d’Oro will have a stronger appeal with teen girls than it will with older readers. If you enjoy shojo manga with fantastical and musical elements, then you might be able to enjoy the story of La Corda d’Oro.