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Favorite Episode
My favorite episode is the one where the concours participants went on a music retreat. Of course, this music retreat is nothing but a shameless ploy of the writers to put Hino and five gorgeous guys in one house. The writers actually pull this same trick twice in this series. Anyway. Len and Tsuchiura end up as roommates, much to their displeasure. On the first night of the retreat, Tsuchiura is still debating whether he should join the concours. Then Len bluntly informs Tsuchiura that the gen ed students are nothing compared to the music students. That is the last straw for Tsuchiura, and he informs Len that he will join the concours to kick his ass. The following day, Len and Tsuchiura storm out of their room and demand to be put in separate rooms.

Len and Tsuchiura's bickering does not stop there. One day, Hino, Fuyuumi, and Shimizu are whisked away to town by their music teacher. Len, Tsuchiura, Hihara, and Azuma are left at the retreat house. They have plenty of food that simply needs to be heated, so Tsuchiura tells Len to heat the food while he looks for Hihara and Azuma. Then the next scene shows a very irritated Tsuchiura cooking. Len is sulking nearby. When Hihara and Azuma ask about the food that just needs heating, we find out that Len ended up burning everything. Hihara's expression as he stares at one burned plate to another is hilarious.

One night, Hino is practicing "Ave Maria" on her violin in the garden. Len happens to hear her from a balcony window, and he joins her with his violin. "Ave Maria" turned into a beautiful serenade.

La Corda d'Oro
Synopsis | Review

Do you feel like the Ouran High School Host Club anime left you hanging? Well, why don't you watch La Corda d'Oro to take your mind off it? This anime can be considered a male harem series, and the guys here are way hotter than the Ouran Host Club guys. I mean, come on, the Ouran Host Club guys focus on being pleasing companions to women. The guys in La Corda d'Oro are all accomplished musicians and have a passion for classical music. No contest. At all.

Unfortunately, this anime will leave you hanging in the same way that Ouran will (or did).

So now, instead of impatiently waiting only for the Ouran manga to finish, I am also impatiently waiting for the La Corda d'Oro manga to finish, in hopes that Haruhi and Hino will actually end up with someone from their male harems.

La Corda d'Oro started as a console role-playing game from Koei's Necromance series (okay, I have no idea what that just meant, but I hope it'll be more meaningful for you). It has been adapted into manga by Yuki Kure. Its subsequent anime has 26 episodes, the first of which aired in late 2006.

The title is Italian for "the golden string," which I assume refers to the remaining intact string on Hino's enchanted violin.

Synopsis
Hino Kahoko is a second year at Seisou Academy, which has two departments. There's the general ed department, with students who take a regular high school curriculum. And there's the music department, with students who specialize in a musical instrument and take several music courses. The music department is considered more prestigious, and it is not unusual for music department students to look down on general ed students.

Hino attends the general ed department. She never really considered getting into music, or at least playing a musical instrument. Then, one day, she happens upon a little music fairy named Lili. Hino freaks out at the sight of Lili and rushes off before he could say anything.

During school, Hino is on an errand when she runs into a fellow general ed student, Ryoutarou Tsuchiura. He helps her with her errand, which involves delivering things to a classroom in the music department. When they get to their destination, they meet a very cold and aloof second year music student.

Not everybody can see Lili, so he is delightened that Hino can. Through his magic, he enters Hino in the school concours (annual musical competition) and gives her an enchanted violin. With concentration and the right intentions, anybody can produce beautiful music with this violin. Hino reluctantly agrees when Lili pleads with her, explaining that he needs her to spread the joy of music.

Hino's participation in the concours causes an uproar in both departments of Seisou Academy. Music department students compete fiercely against each other for spots in the concours. Some even go as far as bullying the concours participants in hopes that they will relinquish their spot.

Hino's male harem consists of the concours participants. There's Len Tsukimori, the very cold and aloof second year music student. He is the child of a famous pianist and a violinist, and he plays the violin as well. There's Kazuki Hihara, a very energetic and friendly senior music student who plays the trumpet. There's Keiichi Shimizu, a very sleepy first-year bishounen music student. He plays the cello and is completely immersed in his music. And there's Azuma Yunoki, a very handsome, very nice, very popular, very intelligent , very rich senior music student. He plays the flute and has a fan club composed of screaming and swooning music department girls.

Only one other participant is a girl, and that is Shouko Fuyuumi. She is a first year music student and plays the clarinet. In the anime, she is very meek and looks up to Hino.

Tsuchiura becomes Hino's personal cheerleader, and he encourages her whenever her confidence in her music falls. Hino later finds out that Tsuchiura, aside from being a great soccer player, is also a very talented pianist. However, he refuses to play in public... that is, until Hino finds herself without an accompanist in the first quarter of the competition. He steps in to help her. The following day, through Lili's mischievous magic, Tsuchiura becomes the seventh participant in the competition. And so he becomes a bona fide member of Hino's harem.

The anime shows how the music students and the general ed students interacted with each other as a result of having general ed students in the concours. It also shows, to some extent, the stories behind each participant of the competition. And of course, it is about Hino and how she deals with her guilt over being proclaimed an accomplished musician when she knows nothing about music, especially when she is surrounded by people who live and breathe music. As the competition wore on, she finds it harder to hide her secret from Len. Since Len spent years playing the violin, he finds it hard to believe that Hino learned to expertly play it overnight.

Hino's enthusiasm, friendliness, earnest nature, and good looks did not go unnoticed by the guys who are competing in the concours. Hihara is the first to admit to himself that he likes Hino. It is also possible that Tsuchiura has been drawn to Hino ever since they first met. Azuma finds pleasure in teasing Hino and in revealing his dark, bitter nature to her. Shimizu is probably too sleepy to pay any attention to women, but there is something about Hino's music that draws him to her. And finally, there's Len. He goes to extremes to show that he doesn't care about Hino (or anybody else, for the matter). Despite himself, Hino becomes a very important person to him.

Review
Argh. Argh. And more argh. There wasn't even a puny little kiss between Hino and Len (okay, I'll settle for Tsuchiura or Hihara, if I must) to make fans scream. This anime teases you all the way through with all these bishounen coming to Hino's rescue and about how all of them fall for her, and she ends up with nobody at the end. I was so frustrated that I was almost ready to look for fanfic to satisfy my Len + Hino cravings. I mean, honestly, it is just cruel how you are led through the anime believing that Hino will definitely end up with a guy... and she doesn't! It's not even because she got rejected: she's just not really attracted to any of the guys, and the guys do not do anything about their attraction to her. Wusses.

So that's my main beef about this anime. Okay, okay, this anime is not all about romance, although with all the romantic tension you'd think it is. It's also about how Hino comes to terms with her guilt and her musical abilities. Although her guilt and her depression gets old after a while. Why can't she just enjoy her enchanted violin? I suppose if she did, there won't be much left to propel the anime forward.

Since this is an anime about music, the classical music played by the concours participants are amazing. I'm not really into classical music myself... actually, I'm not into playing music at all... but I love how the characters' personalities shine in their music, especially Len's and Tsuchiura's. Notably, however, the opening and closing sequence music aren't really good, and I found myself fast-forwarding through them.

Anyway, I am placing all my hopes now on the manga. But if you're looking for musically talented bishounen who are fighting over one girl, this anime's for you.

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