Blue Note

Title: ブルーノート
Author: Tsukahara Saki
Release Date: October 22, 2018
Publisher: Frontier Works (Daria Comics)

I bought this one during the Daria Comic fair where you could get a special “paper” with each manga you buy.  I read the synopsis of the books on the list and chose this one because it was about a pianist.  I used to play the piano when I was younger and I still like piano music.  Thus, it was a natural choice.  This is the first time reading a manga by this manga-ka and I find the cover picture to be attractive.

The story starts with Ichinose Kanade coming to a hotel to play the piano in the lounge.  There he meets Saiki Makoto who helps him out when Kanade loses concentration while playing.  Saiki is impressed with Kanade’s piano playing and asks Kanade to come play for him, but Kanade tells him that he is not comfortable playing in front of others.  Kanade grew up with a pianist mother and enjoyed competing in competitions since he was young. But he was betrayed by the teacher he loved and was going out with and lost the passion to play.  He even dropped out of the music university he was attending.  To survive he took on little jobs or resorted to prostitution.  Saiki (the heir of a company that owns and deals with merchant ships), obtains information on Kanade and phones him up to invite him over to come play. Saiki offers Kanade a job to play for him personally but Kanade does not feel comfortable about it and vows to not meet him again.  As the story goes on we find out that Saiki was the jazz pianist that brought back Kanade’s desire to play the piano once again.  It’s a life-changing encounter that transformed into a romantic fate.

It’s a delightful read, but unfortunately the story seems rushed and incomplete.  It feels like there should be more to the story or even more background on the characters.  We never learn what happened to Kanade’s relationship with his parents after he became unable to play the piano and dropped out of university.  Kanade’s concerned friend Yano who appears at the beginning of the story and part way, seems to just disappear later on and there is nothing more on him.  I would love to get a side story about him.  And the incident on the ship in the last chapter seems forced and happens too suddenly.  This manga feels that it should have at least been two volumes long.  However, if you like Cinderella stories, you will like this one.

The manga does have appealing scenes that are as if they were clips from a movie. What I found to be quite romantic was the relationship between sun and the moon.  The song Saiki was playing at the jazz bar is called Helio, or sun.  On the other hand, the piece Kanade had composed and played is translated to the Moon Awaiting the Sun.  In other words, Kanade is the moon and Saiki is the sun.  Until he met Saiki, Kanade would hardly ever smile.  He is then guided by Saiki’s caring and loving attitude to slowly transform into a different person.

And it’s important to note that although Kanade didn’t pursue his dream as a pianist, he is still quite talented and skilled when it comes to playing the piano.  In fact, he was able to learn to play Helio by ear by listening to it several times.  In other words, this manga is a destined union of two talented individuals who had lost hope in doing what they had once loved,

This manga-ka’s artwork is absolutely stunning and gorgeous that it somewhat covers up the flaws of the story.  The lines are beautiful and the characters are drawn very elegantly. You can almost hear the sound of the piano in the scenes where Kanade is playing.   I would definitely pick up her other works.  The colour page inside the cover is breathtaking.  It shows Kanade playing the piano and Saiki standing near by.  It is a beautiful drawing that I would love to have as a poster.

Purchase:
Amazon Japan | CD Japan | Honto

Sample

Cover image from Amazon Japan.