Now in France at one of Arun’s family’s homes, Kyousuke starts trying to control his new tuner abilities, but things don’t go so well. The group goes to find Tena’s teacher Kokyuu for help, but are attacked by Bell Lyre Ricercare, who turns out to Mezza’s sister as well as head of the 5th Ochestra and Tuner Intelligence. Escaping her traps, the group is then caught be Lord Chord who locks them up while the Tuner Headquarter’s plan is finally put into action. A revolution within the Tuner organization stops the plans, and the truth about Kyousuke’s past is finally revealed.

By Sesuna Mikabe
Publisher: Yen Press
Age Rating: Older Teen
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Price: $10.99
Rating: ★★★★☆

After some detours into Tena’s and Arun’s rivalry for Kyousuke, the story goes all plot as backstories are shown, family connections are made, and the reason behind the note retrieval is revealed in these two volumes, that wrap up the first arc rather nicely.

In order to move the plot along, several characters had to be introduced. Cante Billet is the former head of the Billet house and researcher. He is the brother to Sopha, and Mezza’s love interest. He’s a bit cold, as he puts his research before everything else, but has a good heart. Bell Lyre Ricecare is Mezza’s older sister and commander of the 5th Orchestra. She is generally annoying and is always looking to be “amused”, usually at someone else’s expense. She also has feelings for Cante Billet, despite her bragging about ruining the Billet House.

Kokyuu is Tena’s teacher and has a special life score that moves slowly, so she lives for a long time. She is presently 300 years old. She also has a connection to Kyousuke. She has a very abrasive personality. Ostinato Monophony also possesses a special life score called the Genesis score. She can create matter just by thinking about it. She is rather child-like and has little to no contact with other people. Legato Finale is the commander of the 4th Orchestra, and is from the elite Finale house. He also has a long life score, though he appears to be a young boy. There is a darkness about him. He has a vicious streak and enjoys killing people.

With the introduction of these new players, new threads of story are opened up. Mezza’s back story is revealed, showing how she met the Billets and came to work with them. While Mezza’s story doesn’t feed directly into the main plot of the “Grand Finale”, it provides information about the major Elite houses, and how much politics affects Tuner society. Just as in politics, things aren’t always what they seem. Bell Lyre’s supposed ruin of Billet House may have actually been an attempt to help Billet, to keep him from being taken over by the Finale House. But this doesn’t improve her character any in my eyes. She still annoying.

Like Tuner society, the leaders at Tuner Headquarters are very politically motivated, and, as it turns out, corrupt. Their “Grand Finale” was little more than an ultimatum to the world. While their methods and motives aren’t too surprising, Lord Chord’s true intentions and motivations were. He was played very well. I couldn’t tell that there was more to his plotting than the “Grand Finale” that he was playing a part in. It was a real surprise when he made his move. Both the “Grand Finale” and Chord’s plots were kept under wraps really well, making their reveals a pleasant surprise.

Finally, Kyousuke’s past is revealed. We learn who his parents were, how they met, and what happened to his father. Also revealed is why his soul score is so strange. It’s a tragic story, as Kyousuke’s parents sacrifice everything, even their lives to save him. I’m glad we got to meet Kyousuke’s parents. They were interesting characters, especially his father. He had a lot of potential, which just makes his end all that more tragic. His death was the catalyst for Chord and others to begin to question Tuner Headquarters and their methods. Not that this helps Kyousuke much, who now feels responsible for his father’s death and mother’s sadness.  Kokyuu, Ostina and Legato all connect to Kyousuke’s story, in very different ways. And may prove to be bigger players in future volumes, as their involvement up to now has been minor at best.

Volume 5 of Tena On S-String ends cleanly, wrapping up a lot of the loose ends, while leaving plenty more to continue. Though when I read volume 5, I almost thought it was the end of the series, so much closure was given. I’m glad I stuck it out to get to these two volumes. I really enjoyed that action and constant movement of the story. It was such a big improvement on the earlier volumes. My big question now, is if it will last. What will happen with Tuner Headquarters, and who will take over? And what about Kyousuke and Ostina, and what will Finale House do? These are big questions that really need answers. If the series just goes back to Tena and her selfish antics, I will really be disappointed.

At least, I hope there will be more volumes. Baka-Updates has the series going 9 volumes, while the Yen Press site doesn’t have anything beyond volume 5. A longer publishing schedule? Or an early end?

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