So, for the record – La corda d’oro and Kin-iro no Corda both mean, roughly, “the golden string”. I bring this up since the first scene features a few prominent shots of a golden string on the heroine’s violin. She’s ~special~.
She also, when time moves forward, is apparently a bit of a failure versus her performance as a small child. I liked how this was initially handled, as we see the scene morph from Kanade, our lead, playing violin and being applauded and lauded as a small child to a scene of her playing as a teenager for an audience that is noticeably less well-clad and in a less fancy venue. An anonymous note in the dressing room taunts, “Have you hit your limit?”, and which is perfectly acceptable initially, but then we’re shown multiple shots of it and have to listen to Kanade read it aloud, as if we couldn’t suss out how upsetting it’d be to receive it if she did not.
This first episode is by turns typical and curious. Kanade is friends with Kyouya, and both are strongly implied to have fallen short of where they should be based on expectations that were set by childhood performances. Kyouya’s elder brother, Ritsu, on the other hand, is a highly-regarded young violinist… and he left them both behind three years before the show’s main action takes place. Of course, he acts as the magic link who will suddenly launch both Kanade and Kyouya back into the rarefied air of competitive music, and this bit is purely bonkers anime crap – he invites them to come to a concert of his, and then, TA DA, afterward it turns out he’s had all their belongings shipped to his fancy school AND enrolled them in it! Its worth noting that Ritsu is meant to be the serious one here, as he has blue hair and glasses, and he’s the top-notch violinist, but he thinks its not at all demented to suddenly decide the path of a younger brother and a friend he’s seen hide nor hair of in three years. TOTALLY NORMAL.
Also, we see a bunch of other boys with colorful hair and generically pretty faces and absolutely atrocious wardrobe choices since this is a reverse harem, after all. But it seems pretty clear from the outset that our would-be-OT3 is really the center of things, as they’re bound together by history and by Ritsu’s choices, and they also happen to all live in the same dorm, where they merrily cook their meals together (kyaaaa, or something).
I sound kind of negative, but I did like the way this thing’s been grounded so far: Kanade’s dissatisfaction with where she ended up with her violin playing is quite clear right off the bat, and her choices within the episode are connected with this dissatisfaction. There’s also a negative vibe between both Kanade and Ritsu, and Kyouya and Ritsu. Ritsu is quite distant with Kanade, who in turn is confused and unhappy over it, while Kyouya reacts with anger to his brother’s unilateral plans and cool attitude toward him. The episode may have Kanade happily opting in and cooking with Ritsu, but he’s still calling her by her surname, something which she is thrown off by when it first occurs.
All in all, the most likely outcome is that we’ve got a mediocre reverse harem, but there’s a slight chance that we may get something else based on the focus of this episode. If you’re on the fence, you may as well give it a go, but if you weren’t planning to anyway, well, nothing here, truly, worth stopping by for.
EDIT: Oh, yeah, the girls’ uniforms are cuuuuuute~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~