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Anime Nodame Cantabile (classical fans rejoice!)


2010DigitalBoy
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[B]Nodame Cantabile [/B] (or nodame as it is more commonly known) is a blend of shoujo storytelling and a true appreciation for classical music. The main character is [B]Chiaki[/B]. Chiaki dreams of becoming a conductor of an orchestra, though currently he is majoring in piano at a musical college. After a recent break-up with his opera-singer girlfriend and his teacher booting him from class do to his overwhelming arrogance; Chiaki is pretty out-of-it. He dreams of returning to London to learn under his father's friend, a famous maestro who he claims is his one 'true teacher'. unfortuanetaly, due to a childhood trauma, he is desperately afraid of planes and boats.

Chiaki is a sort of [B]Light Yagami [/B] type of character. He considers himself of high caliber - and he is - only he is increadibly self-critical as well. EVERY girl in the school is completely bug-eyed over him though he seems basically oblivious to this.

The series begins when Chiaki finds out about his nextdoor neighboor who drags him into her apartment when he passes out outside. Her name is [B]Nodame [/B] and she lives in complete and utter filth in a frightening hellhole. Chiaki runs for his life, only to later find that the new class he has been placed in consists of him and Nodame -- and is considered the 'special' class!

Chiaki quickly discovers, though, that Nodame has boundless talent and can play any song only hearing it once or twice. Her problem is that her style is utterly erratic and senseless. Within the first episode nodame falls deeply in love with Chiaki who begins cleaning her apartment and feeding her - essentially taking care of her. Nodame is an energy ball wrapped in thickheadedness wrapped in 'UGYAA!!!'

Over the course of the next 3 episodes, we are introduced to the other major characters. One is [B]Mine[/B], a rock violinist who starts off a little rebelious, but comes to look at Chiaki as a mentor. Next is a timpani player [B]Masumi-chan [/B] -- a flaming queen with a deep unrequited love for Chiaki-sama. Finally there's the strange foreigner who comes to their school claiming to be the uber-famous maestro [B]Franz Von Streseman[/B].

***

What I love about this show is that it features REAL character development. Over the course of the episodes the characters mature and truly advance and the plot is not only realistic, but well told. The drama is entertaining, and the comedy is actually funny. The most important thing about this show is characters who are actaully enjoyable and who actually progress. The show can be pretty deep at times and it's what a drama should be, in my opinion. There is a large cast of characters who play minor roles but still have a defined place in the nodame world.

Let's not forget the music. This show is LOADED with classical music, as they play it often, and it doesn't shirk on the musical aspects. This is a music school and you WILL hear music, and I love that about this show. In fact, over 8:30 minutes of one episode is just a performance of Rachmaninoff, which, I must say, is a wonderfully moving piece.

The show picks up really around episode 7 and from then on it draws you in. So far the series is nearly complete in Japan (23 episodes total) and there are currently 13 episodes worth of fansubs on the internet (if you need help finding them, PM me!). There is also a manga for this show which is currently being released in America by i believe Del Ray and currently there are 7/8 volumes out.

The voice acting in Nodame is simply great, especially nodame herself who has the same seiyuu as [B]Osaka [/B] from [B]Azumanga Daioh [/B] (has played lots of other roles, too). The only seiyuu who can be annoying is the one playing Chiaki, but that's only occasional anyway.

The opening theme is also totally awesome and catchy.[/COLOR]
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[quote name='2007DigitalBoy][COLOR=DarkOrange]The voice acting in Nodame is simply great, especially nodame herself who has the same seiyuu as [B]Osaka [/B] from [B]Azumanga Daioh [/B'] (has played lots of other roles, too).[/COLOR][/quote]That's actually incorrect. Nodame's VA is Ayako Nagasumi, who was Osaka in the little 4 minute Azumanga promo video but who never played her in the series proper (TV Osaka is the incomparable Yuki Matsuoka, who is also Evangeline in Negima and Arumi in Abenobashi). Ayako's resume is still pretty nice, though (she's Ohno in Genshiken and Fuu in Samurai Champloo).

Anyways, enough nitpicking. The show itself is pretty good, one of the best romantic comedies in recent years. And it almost (but not quite) manages to treat classical music right - the old anime curse being to deal with it as if it were on a pedestal. And they've been more adventurous than they needed to - I was grinning like hell when they opted to throw a bit of Bartok in there to break the total domination of the 18th and 19th centuries (plus Gershwin and Rachmaninoff, who do not count). Maybe they'll do some Stravinsky or Lutoslawski later on... nah, unlikely. The height of the series so far has indeed been the Rachmaninoff concerto (although they didn't give Chiaki his cadenza!! boo!!!) - and a part of me can't help but wonder how much that scene owed to episode 12 of Haruhi. Thoughts?

None of the above would work if it weren't for the characters. Nodame and Chiaki are an absolutely wonderful match, the undisciplined bubbly prodigy and the perfectionistic introverted grouch. Both are immediately likeable, Nodame perhaps moreso (it takes a bit more time to gain respect for Chiaki's dedication). The supporting cast, though risking wacky for wackiness' sake, is also pretty wonderful.

Considering how popular this and the drama have been, I'm guessing it'll definitely be hitting the states pretty soon. Anyone know about release plans yet?
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[quote name='Fasteriskhead'] The height of the series so far has indeed been the Rachmaninoff concerto [/quote]Did I hear you correctly? [silly question, of course I did, but still] Which one did they use for the show? You've certainly got my curiosity going. I didn't know they were using Sergei's music in it. I've heard about it [from DB] but everything I've found indicates its far from being released in the US. :animesigh That just bites. I guess if I want to watch it I'll have to look around and find a fansub of it or something like that.
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[quote name='Rachmaninoff]Did I hear you correctly? [silly question, of course I did, but still'] Which one did they use for the show?[/quote]The first movement of the second, of course. The first and fourth are too obscure, and the third... well, I mean, the in-house orchestra and pianist the show's got are really good, but there's difficult and then there's the cadenzas for the third Rachmaninoff concerto. Maybe they could dig up Horowitz to do it...
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  • 1 year later...
I'm finally getting around to watching this. So far I've seen the first 14 episodes and there's only one thing I don't really care for: [quote name='Fasteriskhead]And it almost (but not quite) manages to treat classical music right - the old anime curse being to deal with it as if it were on a pedestal.[/QUOTE]And this is it. Good grief if they don't about beat you to death with all of the musical symbolism and constant fanfare. There have been a few moments were I just cringed. However like you said here Fasteriskhead:[QUOTE=Fasteriskhead]None of the above would work if it weren't for the characters. Nodame and Chiaki are an absolutely wonderful match, the undisciplined bubbly prodigy and the perfectionistic introverted grouch. Both are immediately likeable, Nodame perhaps moreso (it takes a bit more time to gain respect for Chiaki's dedication). The supporting cast, though risking wacky for wackiness' sake, is also pretty wonderful.[/QUOTE]The show would fall apart without those two. Their utter wackiness literally holds the show together. My first instinct was to dislike Chiaki but it didn't take long to get over that. Overall, their antics makes the glaring overkill on the music less noticeable and instead, downright amusing at times. [quote=Fasteriskhead']The height of the series so far has indeed been the Rachmaninoff concerto (although they didn't give Chiaki his cadenza!! boo!!!)[/quote]Agreed, on both counts. It was nicely done. I was a bit disappointed that they faded out instead of including that in there though so definitely boo on that.

Oh and interesting side notes.

[U]One[/U]: using Tchaikovsky's Sugar Plum Fairy music for interesting moments, including stalking, is totally hilarious.

[U]Two[/U]: (this is one, I'm thinking Allamorph would enjoy) the performance of Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin (pianica version), was very entertaining.

Anyway, hopefully the rest of the show continues to be just as good as what I've seen so far.
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