Miya Nekoma made a bold high school debut in an attempt to change from her once "infamously" boring self. As a part of the change, she decided to join the school's Light Music Club, but on her way to sign up she is intercepted by the energetic shakuhachi flute player Hiyo Takemi who introduces her to the world of Wagakki, or traditional Japanese instruments. After the two attend a concert from one of Japan's leading traditional/modern fusion bands, Miya becomes enamored with the Tsugaru-shamisen, a three stringed lute.
With Hiyo by her side, Miya delves into the world of traditional Japanese music as new acquaintances and friends help to make her dream of sharing the sound she loves a reality.
This is a bit preemptive, since I've only just began reading this tonight, but I've gotta say.
This is absolutely amazing. It's like K-ON, but with traditional instruments and I love it.
Before I begin I'll say I'm hugely biased - I play both shamisen and shakuhachi myself, so this is naturally going to be one of my favorite things anyway. :p
The story follows high school student Miya Nekoma after a run in with the energetic and seriously hyper classmate Hiyo Takemi, a shakuhachi (traditional Japanese bamboo flute) player, who immediately tries to get her on baord with joining a club devoted to traditional Japanese instruments.
a preconceived notion that the traditional instruments are for old people, essentially, and that's it's all too simple. Instead (in a not so subtle nod to K-ON) she wants to join the Light Music Club, praising it's cool image. After telling Miya she has other plans, she sneaks off to the Light Music Clubroom.... But Hiyo is already there doing her best to get everyone possible on board with her plans at the speed of light. As part of this plan, she demonstrates a brief song, catching the attention of Miya who'd rather not admit to having enjoyed it thoroughly.
As the bell rings, seeing she's not entirely convinced, Hiyo grabs Miya and whisks her off to a nearby Live House, much to her confusion. What have Wagakki got to do with a live house?
The band comes on, to Miya's surprise, with all the fixings of a traditional ensemble. Shakuhachi, koto, shamisen, taiko, etc. are all there, and it mesmerizes the crowd, Miya included. She turns to Hiyo in awe and excitedly decides, "I want to do it... I want to do wagakki!" and so the story begins.
The art, first off, is stunning. The characters are absolutely adorable, and the detail is impeccable. Every last thing, including on the instruments, is immensely detailed. During music scenes, it can be hard to pull off what it must sound like to the characters through just images, but Nadeshiko Doremisora does it perfectly, capturing the essence of music through art.
The characters are pretty well thought out personality wise. In essence, it makes sense why they do what they do. I'm not a very good reviewer and would have a hard time exactly describing it, but if you read it, you'll see - it works really well.
Overall so far I'm loving this manga, and I can't wait to read more. I hope you do too!