One good thing about writing my new season thin slicing posts is that it forces me to actually watch a lot of shows that I probably wouldn’t have bothered to watch otherwise. And, sometimes, I find stuff that surprisingly interests me. This season’s latest surprise? La Corda d’Oro. Of all things, it’s based off a shoujo harem game.
After watching the first episode, I was hooked and prompted blew through episodes two and three instead of watching Bartender and Gift. I felt like I just discovered Firefly. The premise of La Corda d’Oro is an unabashed reversal of the typical shounen harem game turned anime– instead of a parade of eccentric ladies trying to woo the typical male loser, it’s a parade of eccentric men trying to woo the fateful bachelorette.
The story follows Kahoko, a normal student at an academy that caters to aspiring musicians. One day, she meets a music fairy who gives her a magical violin that allows her to play like Yo-Yo Ma. During the course of her transformation from normal girl to musical prodigy, she meets a lot of men. Hence, the shoujo harem game aspect. Because La Corda is such a sausage fest, I had to try to rationalize why I enjoyed watching this series:
1. It’s different yet not. It takes the traditional To Heart / Lamune / Kanon / Da Capo / Sister Princess lightweight harem formula and turns it on its head. Because it follows the harem forumla, it feels familiar, but the gender roles are reversed, hence different.
2. Hino Kahoko is a prize. I’m not sure how else to put it. Let’s say that Ouran‘s Tamaki and Haruhi had a daughter who inherits their best qualities and give that daughter a Lacus-class body. That’s Kahoko. Unlike traditional harem shows (see Bravo, Girls) where I scratch my head wondering the appeal of the male lead, there’s no question about Kahoko’s appeal.
3. Excellent pacing. The episode flows along carried– gasp– by the plot and character interaction. It doesn’t need any extraneous Kyoto Animation-type or Shaft-type moments to keep my interest. Though if Kaho suddenly screamed “FUMOFFU!” during a concert, I think it would be fantastic.
4. Palattable shoujo. Because La Corda is slice-of-life, there’s a lack of supreme angst more prevalent in other shoujo dramas. Also, the character designs are reasonable and not blatantly shoujo style (like the thick lips in PGE) that I don’t like very much.
5. Music. In a sea of jpop… some classical music… though I they do toss up two jpop-ish songs for the OP/ED. Oh, well, Brand New Breeze by Kanon isn’t bad for an OP.
Nevertheless, La Corda isn’t a perfect series– I would, of course, prefer to have more possible lesbian choices (this missing aspect could honestly take this show from under everyone’s radar to smack dab in front of it; if only Kahoko hung around Major Motoko more)– but it is an enjoyable low calorie snack and good for people looking to get away from the traditional shounen harem anime.