February 17, 2010
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Title: Nodame Cantabile
Genre: Musical, Romance, Comedy
Rating: 8.4/10

Nodame Cantabile

Summary: Megumi Noda, or “Nodame” is a piano student at Momogaoka College of Music. An extremely talented pianist who wants to be a preschool teacher, she prefers playing by ear rather than reading the music score. She is messy and disorganized, takes baths several days apart and loves to eat, sometimes stealing her friend’s lunchbox when it is filled with delicacies. Shinichi Chiaki is Momogaoka’s top student. Born into a musical family, he is talented in piano and violin and has secret ambitions to become a conductor. An arrogant multi-lingual perfectionist who once lived abroad in the music capitals of the world as a young boy (namely Prague), he is trapped in Japan because of his childhood phobia of airplanes and the ocean. They meet by accident. Nodame quickly falls in love, but it takes much longer for Chiaki to even begin to appreciate Nodame’s unusual qualities. Their relationship causes them both to develop and grow. Along the way, they meet some crazy people (like Masumi, Mine, and Stresemann) and make lasting friendships.

Review: This review combines season one (Nodame Cantabile) and season two (Nodame Cantabile: Paris) just as a heads up. Nodame Cantabile is probably one my favorite romance comedies because it has a good balance between drama and comedy. The character development is steady and continues over the two seasons, which for some may feel like a long haul. After watching the first season I couldn’t wait to jump into the second because the directors did a great job giving you a satisfying “ending” while still having the audience beg for more. Nodame, the main character of the anime is very likable with her crazy antics, cute outbursts, and strong will to progress further into her musical career. Chiaki, the lead male role, at first didn’t seem like that great of a guy. As the anime progressed the two characters are such opposite personalities but still managed to help one another. I found this to be the most amazing thing about Nodame Cantabile. I really enjoyed seeing how two completely different musicians can create equally beautiful music. Even the support characters actually did something to progress the story. I couldn’t believe the number of personalities there were, and how many characters the designer created that remained in the anime for a long period of time. The picture above shows almost all the characters that make multiple appearances, how often do you see that? Nodame Cantabile: Paris takes place in Paris (duh), yet people from season one still make guest appearances. Best part is they actually have closure instead of leaving viewers wondering “What ever happened to [insert character name here]?”. Personally I found the second season better than the first because they didn’t spend multiple episodes trying to introduce a new character’s personality. The quicker pace really did make the music scenes a lot more bearable. Also, the second season focused more on romance than music. There were a few downsides to this anime. For example, if you don’t like classical music then fast forward through half of it. The music scenes tend to get very dry, but are obviously important because it is what the whole anime is revolved around. I’m a fan of classical music, but I still drifted off from time-to-time when it would just flash scenes of the performer and the reaction of the audience members. The art style was also kind of strange. The characters and coloring are really simple, but when they show an orchestra playing it obviously computerized. They did a great job trying to give detailed arm and finger motions but it didn’t look natural. The soundtrack is great if you classical music like I said, but if not then it probably be a complete bore.

Final statements: I said earlier that this is one of my favorite romance comedies so I would suggest anyone to check it out. The beginning may seem boring (as it did for me) but keep watching I’m sure you will enjoy it. It isn’t for everyone because of the classical music theme, but the romance comedy portion is done very well. High priority watch.

 

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