Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Drama Review: Nodame Cantabile

I had heard many good things about this one, so I watched it based on good reviews instead of wanting to see a certain actor (meaning I was completely unfamiliar with almost all of the actors in this show). The thing I would stress the most about this drama is its uniqueness. It’s centered around classical music, the characters were ridiculously different yet still retained interesting chemistry, and the show was somehow both quirky and majestic. I didn’t necessarily like every single aspect of this drama, but in the end I greatly enjoyed this show thanks to the features that make it so different.

The plot may not seem too out of the ordinary at first glance. Chiaki Shinichi is a brilliant pianist whose dream is to become an orchestra conductor. When he was a child he lived and studied in Prague, but after being traumatized by a plane’s emergency landing, his fear of flying kept him stuck in Japan, where he does not feel he could have much of a future in music. At the music school he attends, everyone around him is mediocre, and while the other students revere him, he remains cold and arrogant. He then encounters Noda Megumi (aka “Nodame”), a girl with a very eccentric personality, who ~by a twist of fate~ happens to be his next door neighbor. Nodame is childish, poor, unorganized – everything Chiaki isn’t – and Chiaki is loathe to be anywhere near the girl. When it comes to piano however, although Nodame’s playing is sloppy and lacks control, it has brilliant individuality that Chiaki cannot help but to be in awe of. Hiding behind the scenes for a bit is the brilliant yet unusual famous conductor Streseman, who comes to the music school and puts together an orchestra filled with music students that one would deem inadequate, but who all have that same promising individuality that Nodame has. Chiaki is eventually pushed into becoming this orchestra’s conductor, and thus unfolds many trials and tribulations. The drama follows Chiaki’s evolution as a conductor and as a person through his interactions with all those so different from him, and especially through his friendship with Nodame.

I have to admit, this drama confused me at first. The first episode I found really promising, then in the second one I started to get super annoyed with quite a few of the characters. I initially thought Nodame was unconventionally cute, but then the way she spoke started irritating me, the boisterous drummer Masumi was too over-the-top and stopped amusing me veeery quickly, and Streseman was just… *shudder*. I didn’t really care either way for Chiaki and my favorite character was definitely the rocker violinist Ryuutaro. I stuck with it, though, and before I knew it I was addicted and even at times deeply touched by this drama. I think one of the best aspects for me was the music. I’m by no means an expert on classical music, but I still greatly enjoy it. The pieces in this show were all beautiful and fitting, and although this might not work for everyone, I loved it. I began to like the characters more, too; I found the friendships that developed between them more and more endearing. Heck, by the end of it I didn’t even completely hate Streseman anymore (though I never liked him… he was just too creepy…) I’ll be keeping an eye out for many of those actors in future dramas~!

The plot itself, however, I’m still not sure how I feel about. There was nothing that really bothered me while I watched it, and it was only when I had finished watching did I notice things that bothered me. About midway through the show comes the integration of a new set of characters, and while I didn’t dislike those characters by any means, I rather wish the drama had only followed the growth and development of the “original group” of characters. As always, I’m being careful not to spoil anything so this might sound confusing, but those of you who have seen this might know what I’m talking about. Also… I’m not usually a huge fan of dramatic mushy romance fluff, but I do wish there had been a little more… XD;; But honestly, these are just some of the facets that happened to be negative for me personally and didn’t by any means ruin the show.

Ultimately, I definitely recommend that you at least start watching this drama and see if you like it. I think many might actually enjoy the super quirky, anime-like storytelling that had initially irritated me. The music is amazing and its incorporation into the story was really great and unique. The characters were well played, and, as in many shows, you learn to love them. After finishing this series, I actually wouldn’t mind seeing it again - that’s how much I enjoyed this drama! I would love to see other unique shows such as this and I urge you to check it out~!


  1. a J-drama about classical music. Maybe I should add this one to my list

  2. The character of actors is very important rule in the any dramas so i think many might actually enjoy it. so i would love to see another unique shows.