MUSICUS! Character Intro – Free to Be You and Me, Vol. 1

Starting today, we will be introducing the characters from MUSICUS!

This is part one of a three-part series. Read part 2 and part 3 on our blog.

Today, we will be discussing the dynamic between Kaneda and Kei Tsushima and focusing on their clashing perspectives concerning music in MUSICUS!

Meeting Korekiyo Hanai is a pivotal point in Kei Tsushima’s life. Although he is first captivated by Hanai’s performance, he is later rebuked by Hanai and told musical performances are nothing more than an elaborate trick. Hanai does not believe that music can captivate people’s hearts. Is there truly value to music? Are all the fancy bells and whistles necessary to create evocative music? Kei intends to find out, and soon after that performance begins hanging out with Hanai regularly, playing games and chatting about music.

After Hanai takes Kei Tsushima under his wing, Kei learns to play guitar alongside Hanai’s sister, Mikazuki Hanai. At first, Kei focuses obsessively on his craft, treating music as a form of escapism from his meandering path in life. Eventually, Kei strives to discover what music means to him when playing on the same stage as Hanai.

Kaneda, on the other hand, is the hopeless dreamer that aims to perform at Budokan one day. His relentless passion for rock and one-track mindset him apart from Kei. Kaneda knows that rock-and-roll has many pitfalls yet perseveres, regardless. He does not waver from his goal, unlike Kei who harbors intense doubts about his future due to his family’s expectations about school and one’s role in society.

Kaneda does not have a fallback like Kei. No influential or prosperous family members that will pick him up if he stumbles on his path, no real affinity for school, and a lack of talent for even the music that he adores. From the outset, it appears that Kaneda is destined to fail in all aspects of his life. Still, Kaneda has guts and his almost child-like disregard for anything other than rock can be a bit endearing at times. Without spoiling anything, let us just say that fortune favors Kaneda on more than one occasion throughout the story. I guess it pays to be a dreamer, after all.

Occasionally, Kei is turned off by Kaneda’s unwillingness to practice or even get a job to supplement his lifestyle. Yet when it comes time to start a band, Kei seeks out Kaneda first. Kei recognizes that Kaneda is more passionate about rock than him and will do what it takes to buckle down when the going gets tough. Kei can practice for hours at a time, forging ahead like an automaton, but knows that pure, undiluted effort will not be enough to sway anyone’s heart with music. Kaneda is Kei’s foil in MUSICUS! and for better or worse, they need each other.

So, whose path is more righteous and will lead to success? Does betting it all on one’s dreams lead to more opportunities in the music world? The truth behind what music means to these characters is multifaceted and fluctuates depending on their current circumstances and even the people they encounter. Their struggle for recognition and purpose in the music world is truly a sight to behold, so come accompany these wonderful characters on their journey as you read MUSICUS!

Overdrive’s MUSICUS! is now available for pre-order and launches on and Steam on April 8th!

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