The Spring 2014 Anime Preview Guide La corda d'oro -Blue Sky-
Rating: 2.5 (of 5)
Review: Although Blue Sky is technically a sequel series to the 2006-2007 series La Corda d'Oro, no familiarity with the original is required. The setting of the series, Seiso Academy, may be the same, this looks like it is also going to follow a music-themed reverse harem path, and hints are dropped that the music fairy so prominent in the first series may eventually pop up here, too, but otherwise this is a different story with an independent cast.
This time around Kanade is a teen violinist who was apparently a music prodigy at a young age (although she is shown playing a gold-stringed violin much like the one which gave the heroine of the first series her playing ability), but after what looks like a school performance she receives a mysterious, unsigned note asking, “have you reached your limit?” She takes this to heart as she and close friend Kyoya travel to Seiso Academy to visit Ritsu, Kyoya's brother and the third of their childhood playing trio, a prospect that Kanade looks forward to but Kyoya does not. There they discover that Ritsu has turned a bit colder and more formal but still invites (or rather, practically forces) them to join Seiso and participate with him in an upcoming music competition to determine the best music school in the nation. Kanade ultimately agrees, and so does Kyoya (who is obviously in undeclared love with her), but both are shocked when they are named to Ritsu's competition team over other established Orchestra Club members.
The entirely different approach here gives this new installment in the franchise a fresher feel and somewhat stronger premise, as instead of learning to play the heroine is apparently going to have to deal with club members none too pleased about her being chosen for the competition team. Still, plenty of bishonen guys are hanging around to tantalize female franchise fans and (presumably) woo Kanade, and even the top competitors from other schools are (naturally) bishonen, too. Like with the first series, the regular doses of interpretations of classical music should be a treat, but its timing could be better; it suffers by comparison to Kamigama no Asobi in the technical and artistic department, as while it's hardly an ugly series, it simply cannot match those standards. But the target audience isn't likely to care, and it certainly knows what audience it is catering to. It is no more likely than its competitor to drawn in anyone not normally enamored with reverse harem fare, either, as it story shows little sign so far of doing anything special. So watch this one if your priority is the music and the other one if your priority is the visuals, as story-wise they come out about the same.
Corda d'Oro Blue Sky is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Although Blue Sky is set in the same world as its predecessor, La Corda d'Oro, it isn't, technically speaking, a sequel, and if you're looking for a reverse harem show that's a bit better than Kamigami no Asobi but haven't seen the original series, you should be fine. There are a few references to the first series – the music fairy of Seiso Academy, for example – but Blue Sky really stands on its own in terms of plot.
The heroine of the show is Kohinata Kanade, a second year high school student and accomplished violinist. She's been playing since she was little, and particularly enjoyed doing so with her friends, brothers Ritsu and Kyoya. Then Ritsu, the older brother, announced that he was going to attend the prestigious Seiso Academy with its respected music school, decision that meant he would have to move to Yokohama. Neither Kyoya nor Kanade were thrilled by this, although one suspects that Kyoya might have been a little relieved that this left the playing field open for him as far as Kanade is concerned. When the show opens, the two are going to Yokohama to hear Ritsu play in a concert, but what they don't know is that big brother's also enrolled them at Seiso and secretly transported all of their stuff to the dormitory. Kyoya gives in with bad grace when Kanade says she'll stay, and now everyone's preparing for a major music contest in which they'll perform as a quintet.
This show is clearly going to be hardest on Kyoya, how is harboring a major crush on Kanade. He spends most of the episode growling menacingly, which is kind of funny now but could get old very quickly if he keeps it up. Kanade is, of course, surrounded by a veritable army of masculine beauties, from a winsome blond cellist to a tall brunet who plays the viola and pretty much everything in-between. She's unfortunately not terribly interesting at this point, but since the previous La Corda heroine did have a personality, I'm hopeful.
The major issue with the show right now is that the animation isn't great. In-between scenes often feature very derpy looking characters, and a lot of short cuts are taken when people are moving or talking. Everyone has two facial expressions – yelling or vaguely surprised – and sometimes a character will change hairstyles between frames. With this big a cast, that could be a problem if it persists.
At the end of the day, Blue Sky is just nice. No one is particularly annoying, there's pretty classical music, and the plot gets going right away. It won't blow you away, but it's also a pleasant way to spend twenty-two minutes.
La Corda d'Oro – Blue Sky – is available streaming on Crunchyroll.
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