Sunday, August 19, 2007

Manga Review

Nodame Cantabile vol 1 by Tomoko Ninomiya, published by Del Rey.

Ok, first I have to explain why I checked out this book. On page 261 of the Aug/Oct 2007 Previews from Diamond, there is a solicit for volume 11 of this series. The character on the cover is playing a bassoon. I started playing musical instruments as a young child, initially by pounding on my parent's piano, eventually learning the clarinet formally. When I was 12, I took up the bassoon, and played it until I left High School. I also played the trombone and sousaphone (marching tuba). My favorite instrument by far was the bassoon, and although I never became more than a mediocre player, I still have a very soft spot in my heart for the instrument. Thus, I had to find out what this manga series which featured a basson on its cover was about.

The series is about a brilliant but very by-the-book musician who wants to become a conductor. He meets a number of musicians who play from the soul, and begins to learn that he has a long way to go if he wants to be a good conductor. I wasn't really impressed with the pacing of the story, nor the storytelling in the artwork. It's all solid, but not exceptional. The main character is unlikeable, and the main supporting character is a flighty pianist who is also a slob. I'm not convinced they can carry the story enough for me to want to read more of the series.

Still, I'm going to pick up the second volume from the library, and give it a chance to impress me. I'm lukewarm on it now, but my opinion may change.