Vs. Versus #3 by Keiko Yamada Manga Review

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Title:  Vs. Versus #3

Author:  Keiko Yamada

Publisher:  CMX

ISBN:  1401210708

May Contain Spoilers

Reiji and Aoi face off as rivals for a soloist spot with the Hakuto Philharmonic.  Reiji displays his inability to work with other people right off the bat.  Offending the entire orchestra with his attempts to achieve the perfect sounds for Sibelious, he is now consumed with anxiety that the musicians won’t play their best for him.  Then he meets the conductor of the New York Philharmonic, Bartholomew A Asakura, who promises to teach him the most effective way to manipulate the orchestra.  Why is Hane so set against Reiji spending time with Asakura?

This volume goes back to the over the top drama that I like about this series.  Reiji, in his pursuit to play his music the way he wants, sets the orchestra members against him.  Aoi, on the other hand, immediately wins them over with his charming smile. As Reiji comes to grips with his inability to get along with others, he and Hane share a tender moment, which causes my biggest gripe with the series.  Reiji is too young for a romantic entanglement with Hane to be believable.  Suspending disbelief is painful, but I struggling to accept it so I can continue to enjoy the series.

Introduced in this volume is Asakura, a ghost from Hane’s past.  After the tragic death of her mother, young Hane falls into an emotional void.  With even her music lost to her, she comes under Asakura’s spell. Promising that he’ll help her play the violin again, Hane soon finds herself in love with the young conductor, only to be discarded after her career ending accident.  When Hane warns Reiji to stay away from the cunning Asakura, he demands to know why, but Hane avoids giving him an answer.  When Reiji learns that the two were once an item, he’s consumed with jealousy.  Why does he feel so cold at the thought of them going out, all though years before?

This read was an emotional roller coaster.  Hane’s relationship with Asakura is shown though teasing flashbacks, without giving any details to their breakup, or why Hane feels such hatred for her ex-lover.  Reiji, now the object of Asakura’s attentions, is bewildered by Hane’s violent reaction to his interest in the conductor.  When he presses her for information about their relationship, she refuses to discuss it.  Mixed into this is Aoi’s sacrifice to play the violin.  With his health problems, the grueling performance of Sibelious might cost him more than he bargained for.  Is he willing to give up his life so he can taste the sweetness of his music? 

I am really surprised by how much I’m enjoying this series, as I totally dismissed it when it was first released.  Violinists?  Bah!  Oh, but how wrong I was!  This is now a series that I read as soon as a new installment hits the mail box.  Volume 4, where art thou??  bn.com, why does it take you so long to ship my orders?

Grade:  A-

Rated for Teen Plus

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