You’re a fan of Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (Your Lie in April)? You loved watching Hibike! Euphonium (Sound! Euphonium)? What if I tell you there’s a manga that combines the best of both worlds? Don’t believe me? See (or hear lol) it yourself!
Before I go on, allow me to recommend you to have this music playing in the background as you read this post. *headphones are recommended for full immersion*
The link will give you an understanding and allow you to visualize the star of this manga, a traditional Japanese string instrument – “Koto“
Now, onto the summary~
Kono Oto Tomare (Amyuu) follows the journey of 7 individuals, each with their own unique personalities and circumstances that brought them together, to discover their passion and themselves as individuals and as members of the Koto Club.
The first time I read through this manga, my immediate thoughts is that it was a mixture of vibes between “Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso” and “Hibike! Euphonium“. What makes this manga unique however is the individual characters’ drives to play Koto, their motives to be joining competitions and above all Koto as a musical instrument!
The previous mentioned works obviously have those concepts as well but I felt that in Kono Oto Tomare all the characters are just so realistic in their motivation that each individual characters are very rich and in depth in their personality that it makes the story telling so much more fluid. The common thread for all the characters is Koto itself and their connections are not forced at all rather like a puzzle that fits just right.
All the characters are just so precious! And by all, I literally mean ALL. Yes, even supporting characters. All of them have a very well-throughout back story that ties in well with their own motivation of action. It makes their personality very realistic and believable that I can empathize with all of them. This is what I find slightly lacking in Shigatsu and Hibike which really shines in Kono Oto Tomare.
Character development is also a major strength in this manga. It really shines throughout and you can definitely see each person’s growth as the story progress. It’s very rare to see a manga where the cliche of a character-getting-depressed-and-falls-into-the-same-pit DOES NOT occur. Now THATS character development.
I give major props to the author in story telling as well. Despite having the typical “cliches” in music genre manga (struggles of less club members, training camps, balance between club and school, rivalry, etc.) the story just flows so naturally. Some manga only focuses on only certain aspects of these cliches while other manga tries to incorporate everything because that is what is expected of a music manga. Most of the time these feels forced and does not work. This, however, is an example of story-telling done right.
None of the chapters felt dragged or boring, even flashbacks. The author feels like she knows the necessary amount of back story to be told before progressing with the present timeline story so that it does not lose the readers’ attention. It’s narrated in such a way that its not bombarding with flash backs but rather we get to discover them at just the right pace. As I mentioned, all characters have their spotlight including side ones so the range of the back story branches out to the side characters but again, their characterizations are just so realistic that you can’t help but to be drawn to their stories as well.
The last unique aspect of the manga is definitely its sound. The problem I had with Shigatsu’s manga was that I couldn’t visualize how their performance were despite the gorgeous art. This is what’s unique for Kono Oto Tomare! They released a CD that accompanies with all the songs played in the manga (up to 53rd chapter as of Mar 2017). Some of these music pieces are posted on Youtube and when I read the chapters with the music playing on the background, it just makes the story so much richer! The performers definitely have their heart and soul poured out as they play and I can’t count how many times I teared up and have chills down my spine.
And even if you don’t have any musical background, you can definitely still enjoy Kono Oto Tomare. I thought that it was smart and makes it that much relatable for the author to not have all the characters as prodigy in Koto at the start. All of them have very different levels in the beginning towards the knowledge of Koto so I absolutely enjoyed learning about Koto along with them.
I definitely recommend reading this immediately. Not ashamed to say that I finished reading 53 chapters (14 vol) in half a day lol. Yes, it’s THAT GOOD!! The themes, art style, story telling just makes it one of the BEST music manga out there or just really above most manga in general. ^^
You can listen to the music “played” in the manga here:
*Highly recommended to listen to these while reading the accompanying chapters for full experience 🙂 *
- On the Sepia Wind (セピアの風に) – Chapter 2
- Ryuuseigun (龍星群) – Chapter 8
- Double Personality (二つの個性) – Chapter 16
- Ku-On (久遠) – Chapter 26
- Tenkyuu – Preview (天泣) – Chapter 52
All credits for images goes to the author, Amyuu as well as batoto.net from which the images were taken from.
As of now the manga is not yet licensed in the US but do support the author by buying the Japanese copy if you know Japanese (or if it has been serialized in your country!).
Consider buying the CD as well on Amazon! (there should be an option to view the site in English)
I myself am considering on buying Tenkyuu at the very least (look at that rating tho)
* ugh if you’re buying the digital music its only available if you have Japanese local address ORZ (coz my laptop doesn’t have a cd reader dammit *internal screaming*)
Hopefully there’s an anime adaptation of this sometime in the future so I can listen to it LOL – it deserves it nonetheless :3