You may remember a volume of manga licensed and released by Seven Seas called Voiceful by nawoko, a collection of stories that ran in Yuri Shimai and Yuri Hime magazines. This was a collection that skirted lightly on the side of Yuri, but was deeply embedded in the idea of music.
Private Lesson (プライベート レッスン), the new Tsubomi collection also by nawoko is slighly more Yuri and just as much about music as ever.
The main story follows Tamago and her older cousin, Toriko, who teaches her how to play the piano. Tamago is suffering with a crush for Tori-neechan, but doesn’t really have any idea what it is she’s feeling. Quite accidentally, Tamago is made aware of another person with a crush on Tori-neechan. As a result, Tamago is introduced to the complex world of adult relationships, which always seem cool when you’re a kid, until you learn that adults don’t have a clue.
The story about Tamago and Toriko is all right as a first crush story, but there’s an easter egg in this collection. Tamago has a classmate who doesn’t speak much, and who was also was being taught piano by Toriko. Ryuuhara had difficulties bringing herself to speak when she was young and we can see that she’s not a big talker now. In a flashback we see that the girl next door, Miki, was able to pull her out of her shell – and they now have a relationship that goes beyond just being friends.
The real love story here, though, as it was in Voiceful, is music. While we don’t get essays on music, we can easily see that what nawoko loves best is the joy on the face of someone playing music beautifully.
Art – 8
Story – 7, Ryuuhara’s side story was a nice bonus – 8
Characters – 7
Yuri – 7
Series – 2
Overall – 7
Private Lesson will not probably blow your socks off with “wow”, but that isn’t what nawoko does. Let the story flow, like the strains of Diane Walsh playing Schubert’s Sonata in A Minor as I am doing as I write this review. That’s about right. ^_^
Afternote: I just learned that this piece was featured in Nodame Cantabile, too. That makes it even more perfect.