Today, we will be delving into the darker side of MUSICUS! and examine Kei Tsushima’s relationship with music in Route D, or what is considered by many to be the bad end!
Warning: This post may contain spoilers.
Until now, Kei Tsushima has lived life on the rails assigned to him since birth, but he has found his purpose in life: to create music that will be heard by everyone. The winds of change are upon us after the events of the common route. Dr. Flower, the band Kei Tsushima formed after his tutelage with Korekiyo Hanai, has gained some notoriety in the music scene.
Mikazuki Hanai has also blossomed in her own way and embarked on a solo career with the help of a famous producer. And yet, stagnation has reared its ugly head, and Kei finds himself at an impasse when it comes to composing music and making the band profitable.
The incessant drive to practice and push themselves to their limits drives Fuga, Dr. Flowers’s drummer, and even Kei into a corner. For Fuga, there is beauty in suffering and toiling over Kei’s vision for the band, even if it meant burning out. One cannot help but wonder if some of this could have been avoided if they had tempered their expectations and communicated more effectively with one another.
But alas, fate had other things in store for these ambitious wayfarers. Blinded by his mission, Kei abdicates his duty as a leader of the band, neglecting to support his bandmates in their time of need and failing to provide a cohesive goal for the future.
Does a musician truly have to be an egoist to enjoy music and create masterful songs? Meguru, Dr. Flower’s bassist, poses this question as she observes her bandmates arguing over opposing viewpoints concerning music. MUSICUS! does not condemn a viewpoint or put another on a pedestal. Instead, you, the reader, must determine whether Kei’s choices in this route are a noble representation of what it means to be a rock-and-roller.
Music is a powerful medium that can bring together people from all walks of life, but it can also amplify the dark emotions people have inside of them. There can be no fruitful endeavor in music without blood, sweat, and tears. In this route, you will find plenty of it.
At some point, Kei decides that music will become his reason for living. He will compose music even as the walls close in around him and create a song that will echo for eternity, no matter the cost. It is easy to look down on Kei for his selfish actions, but the truth is his motives—at least in the beginning—were pure at heart.
He only ever wanted the band to succeed and make a decent profit, while also finding his own answer to Hanai’s question concerning his search for the “god of music” and the meaning behind music. But the road to hell is paved with good intentions, as readers will soon learn.
After going solo, Kei meets Sumi Kishima, a woman working at a flower shop that becomes enthralled by his street performance. Like a moth to the flame, Sumi gravitates toward Kei, unaware that their damaged souls are what binds them. The two find comfort in each other, but is this happiness truly enough to satiate Kei in the long run?
Kei trudges through the swamp he has wandered into, mashing together dissonant notes in the hopes of a brighter tomorrow. But we must all pay the piper, and Kei Tsushima is no exception. What lies at the end of the thorny road? Is it a glimmering oasis that awaits our protagonist or a tragedy years in the making?
Steel your heart and pull back the curtain on the dark side of music in MUSICUS!
Overdrive’s MUSICUS! is now available for pre-order and launches on MangaGamer.com and Steam on April 8th!