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Manga / Kono Oto Tomare! Sounds of Life

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Kono Oto Tomare! is an ongoing Manga by Sakura Amyuu first published on August 4, 2012 in Jump Comics SQ.

Takezo Kurata is a second-year at Tokise High School, and with the graduation of his upperclassman, the only remaining member of the Koto Club. While the club is a cherished memory to him, it will soon be defunct if he cannot recruit at least four more members. Furthermore, his meek demeanor draws ire from bullies and delinquents in his class, who use his club room as a squatting ground.

During a particularly vicious encounter with the bullies, another student arrives and drives them off - Chika Kudo, the most feared freshman in the school. To make things even more confusing, Kudo gives Kurata a club application form, declaring that he, too, will play the koto. Why does such a rough-looking delinquent want to play the koto? And how far can he and Kurata take the floundering club?

Chapters 1 to 54 have been adapted into an anime that ran for two seasons from spring to fall of 2019. As of yet, there are no credible sources on whether there will be a continuation.

This work contains:

  • Adapted Out: The scene where Tetsuki roughed up the actual culprits for the trashing of the koto club room and beating Kurata up in chapter 1 is omitted from the anime. It was likely done to portray Tetsuki in a more positive light.
  • Armor-Piercing Response:
    Hiro: You really though I joined because I was moved by your performance? Before the performance, you said you didn't want to lose your precious friends or the place you belong, so I joined so I could tease you! Really.... looking at people like you disgusts me!
    Kurata: Is that all you wanted to say? You must have a lot of time to kill, don't you, Kurusu?
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Hozuki gets on her knees asking to borrow a 17-string koto from her mother.
  • The Beautiful Elite: The Koto Club hilariously invokes this during their second year performance. They all dress in kimonos and get Bishie Sparkle auras around them in their effort to look cool to recruit new freshmen. It actually works, but then all their potential recruits bail the moment they learn how insane their practice schedules are.
  • Big Brother Bully: Inverted; it's Takezo who gets insulted and looked down upon by his younger brother Takeru.
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: Eidai High School's Haru Kasugai (who, according to official data, is the tallest character in the series) and Sentaro Miya (a Tiny Schoolboy).
  • Book Dumb: Chika, Sane, Mittsu and Kota all need tutoring help from their friend Tetsuki.
  • Breather Chapter: After Takinami explicitly cancels club activities following the preliminaries, Chapter 55 is all about members of the club remembering how to relax.
  • Broken Tears: Akira Dojima's reaction to winning a competition where she felt utterly outclassed by the more gifted Satowa Hozuki can best be described as a frantic, tearful nervous breakdown.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Mio from Hakuto High is the focus of their koto club despite his tendencies.
  • Character Development: Almost every named character, even the more minor ones and those from other schools, get this.
  • Childhood Friends: Chika and Tetsuki, also Kiryuu and Asano from Meiryou.
  • Child Prodigy: Hozuki, a serious competitor in the most prestigious koto competition in the nation while only a middle schooler. Akira’s brother is another.
  • Comical Angry Face: Takezo has one after confronting Hiro for her scheming. It scares even Chika.
    Takezo: (enters) I hate slippery people like that! (grumbling)
    Chika: Never mind that, Specs. It's time to go over Rokudan-
    Takezo: What?!
    Chika: I'm so sorry...
    Saneyasu: Chika apologized?!
  • Crush Blush: Though the club takes priority over romance, later chapters have some amazing moments and developments.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Akira "losing" to Hozuki; Takinami being forced to write songs.
  • Dark Horse Victory: Hakuto, which neither Himesaka nor Tokise has heard of, wins the Kanto Music Festival. Hurts even more since they played right after the main characters, who simply dismissed them and didn’t bother trying to listen.
  • Delayed Reaction: In Chapter 29, Takinami gives the gang the score to practice for the school festival. When he answers their question about the score's origin, they take a while to process it.
  • Determinator: Everyone in the Koto Club.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: The Koto Club plays the first opening theme during their performance at the school festival in Episode 16.
  • Does Not Like Men: Many of the girls from Himesaka Academy absolutely despise boys, especially Kazusa and Fumi.
  • Duet Bonding: When Akira and Hozuki play together in Chapter 40.
  • Elegant Classical Musician: Most of the professional koto players fall into this, as well as Takinami’s parents.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: Takinami and Chika’s aunt were in the same high school, but they didn’t actually interact.
  • Family Business: Several of the characters come from groups that devote themselves to the Koto, and inheritance is passed down.
  • Fangirl: Kazusa to Hozuki.
  • Gaming and Sports Anime & Manga
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Hiro gives Takezo quite a handful of advice about not having to do everything by himself when it came to club management, stating that she can't bear looking at him being so downtrodden all the time. To that end, she also asked Takinami to make her the club's vice president to lighten the load on Takezo.
  • Grew a Spine: Thanks to advice from Chika, Hiro and his father, Takezo realizes that he needs to act more confidently as the club president. He starts small, by setting boundaries with his mean, hurtful little brother and refusing to let him push him around. Secondly, he relays to Takinami, a teacher he was intimidated by before, that he will consider replacing him as club advisor should he prove unhelpful again. This display of courage earns him Takinami's genuine respect.
  • The Glomp: Kota, full goddamn stop. Chika spectacularly rebuffs him in chapter 60.
  • Heartfelt Apology: Upon hearing about Chika's background, Satowa's overwhelmed with guilt for the way she used to talk down to him. She finds him, and breaks down crying apologizing to him. To show that he doesn't hold it against her much... Chika teases her and gets kicked in his stomach for the trouble.
  • Humanizing Tears: After Hiro's facade is blown, she retreats and pretends to still be angry and resentful when confronted by Takezo. When she hits him, however, he can see she's crying. Likely due to the fact that her notion that human relationships are fragile had been proven wrong, and that her previous scheming had been All for Nothing. It helps to present her in a more sympathetic light.
  • I'm Crying, but I Don't Know Why: In Chapter 39, Akira suddenly starts crying, to everyone’s shock and confusion.
  • Jerkass:
    • Takeru Kurata is mean-spirited, cynical and bitter towards his older brother. It doesn't stop until Takezo himself sets boundaries.
    • Akira's grandmother is even worse. Her callous attitude is bad enough, but she would apparently sink so low as to ruin Hozuki's life by spreading hearsay and misinformation about her and the other club members, especially Chika.
  • Last-Name Basis: Takezo still refers to his club members by last name.
  • Necktie Leash: Chika's been on the receiving end of this from Satowa several times, all for different reasons.
  • Nosebleed: Several.
    • On the Kanto Music Festival, Eidai High's Sentaro gets one when Hozuki tries to calm him down.
    • Sane and Mittsu get at least two courtesy of Chika's aunt: when first meeting her and when she grabs Chika's phone and sends a rather bold picture of herself and Chika to the boys' chat.
    • And then they get another one upon encountering Takinami’s sister in a bathrobe.
    • Even Japanese Music Days reporter Tsukaji gets one on the prelims, albeit for a different reason.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Invoked by Satowa in Episode 7 when trying to convince Hiro to return to the Koto club. Both had joined the club because of their fascination with the club's atmosphere of friendship and love of the koto, albeit with different goals in mind.
  • Only Sane Man: Takezo, often among the five boys.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Lampshaded in the National primaries, when Chika expects Kazusa to come rushing for Hozuki, but she doesn't.
  • Performance Anxiety: The club members understandably get this before their competitions and performances.
    • In chapter 2, Takezo gets some major stage fright during the club presentations. He's so anxious that he forgets that he's a second-year.
  • Raised by Grandparents: Chika, before the start of the series, now raised by his aunt Isaki.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Delinquent Chika likes sweets and strawberries.
  • Rousing Speech: Takinami to the club members after their loss at the Kanto Music Festival.
  • Ryokan Inn: Kurusu’s uncle owns one, and they went to it for their summer training camp.
  • Save Our Team: The first few chapters are concerned with Takezo stopping the Koto Club from disbanding.
  • Scary Flashlight Face: Takinami in Chapter 20.
  • School of No Studying: Subverted, though Chika attempts to invoke this, the male club members are forced to study to pass their exams.
  • Second Place Is for Losers: Eidai High's Sentaro isn’t satisfied with winning in prefecture.
  • Secret Test of Character: In chapter 25, as Takezo points out, if Takinami was only looking out for himself, he would have already brought Chika to the first aid station for his injury.
  • Serious Business: The Koto and the Koto Club, of course.
  • Shipper on Deck: Isaki towards Chika and Satowa, Kurata family (even Takeru later on!) towards Takezo and Hiro.
  • Shrinking Violet: Atsumu Yoshinaga, the new first-year addition to the Tokise Koto Club, is timid, anxious and fearful in his new surroundings, due to his upbringing.
  • Sleep Cute: Chika, Sane, Mittsu and Kota having a sleep over at Tetsuki's during chapter 55. And Sane in particular from Amyuu’s official Instagram account.
  • Spoiler Opening: The first cour's (Episodes 1-13) opening spoils Hiro joining the Koto Club.
  • Spit Take: Happens multiple times.
  • Stepford Smiler: Downplayed. Osuke Kiryu seems to be genuinely happy around his friends, but is also terrified of losing those friends and ending up alone.
  • Stunned Silence: Chapter 52, before Mio breaks it.
  • Successful Sibling Syndrome: Akira to her brother.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Hozuki plays at this in the beginning.
  • Surprisingly Similar Characters: One can't help but remember Maid-sama!. Chika and Satowa specifically are often referred to by the community as "Usui and Misaki 2.0"; likewise, Sane, Mittsu and Kota are considered the local Idiot Trio.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Takinami often laughs at the antics of his subordinates.
  • Tears of Joy: Chika, after winning the primaries, and Hozuki, after reuniting with her mom.
  • Through His Stomach: Kudo and Hozuki trade places with each other every so often.
  • Time Skip: Four months, after Chapter 59.
  • Training Montage: Several of these.
  • Underdogs Never Lose: Averted, and then justified.
  • Unknown Rival: Briefly, on the Kanto Music Festival, Hakuto, whose performance wasn’t even shown, takes the win from Tokise and Himesaka.
  • Wham Line: When Takinami reveals that Takezo and Hiro have only one shot at the nationals.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: After Takezo is teased in hurtful and unloving ways by his middle-school classmates, Kudo stands up for him. He later chews Takezo out for having no boundaries or confidence. Unfortunately, Takezo, as is typical for someone with Nice Guy syndrome, pushes him away with a passive-aggressive remark. Fortunately, Takezo grows a backbone later.
  • Will Not Tell a Lie: Takinami makes a point of this, at first to tell the club members how little he thinks of them, but it comes up again when he encourages the members after their loss on the Kanto Music Festival, leading Takezo to realize that Takinami isn’t just messing with them.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: After Takezo's father questions him about becoming club president, Takezo tells him that he would have become the president anyway, because he was the only one left at the time. But his father understands him a little better than that.
    Mr. Kurata: Takezo, never undervalue yourself. You kept the club alive even on your own, didn't you? That alone is highly admirable.

Alternative Title(s): Kono Oto Tomare