Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Jdrama Review: Nodame Cantible

The Gist: Chiaki (Tamaki Hiroshi) prizes himself on having his life together. He's working hard at a music university to follow in his father's footsteps and leave a great legacy in music as a conductor. His life gets thrown out of sorts when he meets Noda Megumi (Ueno Juri), known as Nodame, an immature piano player. While she doesn't like structure and tends to give in to her emotions, her skills at piano are recognizable, even by Chiaki. Nodame quickly falls for Chiaki, who has taken her on as something of a project, to try and get her to realize her full potential. It's not too long before Chiaki realizes that behind those piano skills is a person he actually might like.


1. The Music

If you hate classical music with a passion, turn around now. While I don't particularly love classical music, I thoroughly enjoyed all the performances in NC. The piano pieces were well played and fit into the story wonderfully, especially when Chiaki and Nodame played together. The violin pieces were excellent and I learned what a timpani is! It made me super knowledgeable. I have a feeling that people who love classical music will get more out of this, but it's done well enough to be enjoyable for everyone.

2. The Side Characters

While our main duo is duking it out, I was totally enthralled by the other students at the university. The violinists Mine Ryutaro (Eita) and Miki Kiyora (Mizukawa Asami) had a captivating romance that was a little like our main pair, but toned down. The tension between trying to be better than each other while falling for each other is lovely. I normally dislike super cartoony characters but timpani player Masumi (Koide Keisuke) was totally hilarious and his crush on Chiaki and therefore rivalry with Nodame was one of the best part of the show.


1. Tamaki

I don't know if I just don't like this actor or if he just keeps taking roles that drive me crazy. I can not seem to take him seriously. He always has this look of "why is this happening to me?" on his face and I just want to smack him and tell him to go with it. Still, I watched the anime first and love Chiaki as a character and Tamaki's Chiaki isn't bad - it's just not great. This might be totally a personal issue though, as I just don't seem to get Tamaki as an actor.

 2. Franz Strezemann 

Played by Takenaka Naoto, Franz is supposed to be what, Austrian? German? Either way it's totally obvious that he isn't foreign and is totally Japanese, which is bizarre. While I love Masumi, Franz's cartoonish behavior started to grate on my nerves. I think that's mostly because he's a total creeper and obvious pervert. I think it's supposed to be difficult for us to like him because it's difficult for Chiaki, but I never really warmed up to him.


1. Non Linear Romance

So the romance between Chiaki and Nodame seems pretty standard drama fare, if not a little bit slow going. However, it's totally not obvious when they're supposed to have started dating. When they have their break up scene, I thought I missed an episode because I had no idea they were together. Let's get an obvious kiss or confession or something going! I'm all for subtlety but it sort of lets the air out of the tires when the audience can't even tell if they're waiting for them to get together or if they already are. It's not totally the drama's fault, the anime's a little confusing on this point too.


So... I feel sort of ambivalent about Nodame Cantible. It got me really into classical music for a moment, which is unusual fare for your drama. The side characters are awesome, but the romance is slow moving and honestly, king of confusing, If you're looking for obvious intimacy and a straightforward romance, this isn't my highest recommendation.

Final Grade: C


  1. ok, i never watch it's drama but i watch it in anime version.. haha.. "i think all was about music till i can't feel the romantic scene-(i don't think it have but in my 2nd thought, yeah, there had a romantic scene but it never touched my feeling.), but still, the music was amazing"- in anime.. mm the drama is better??

  2. Hanny I think the review says it all...if you like classical music this is the bee's knees, even if you don't, the music choice is really clever, not an unlistenable (read heavy classical?) piece among them. Taking this point and in answer to your question I think seeing people actually playing the music rather than an anime representation is superior. There are also the shots of the varying concert venues, again superior.
    Further you get a bit of a travel video esp as the pair go to Europe. Good stuff as "real" footage.
    The drama uses a bit of animation and special effects to copy the action in the anime and so retain the "cartoon" aspect that is easily possible in drawn scenes but not in real life eg Chiake's numerous scenes where he throws Nodame away literally. Pretty well done and still funny.
    In summary I've watched both and enjoyed both but I've watched the live action a couple of times to the anime's, I simply wanted to see the live version again but not repeat the anime.
    Another point where the live drama will be better than the anime is introducing someone to Asian video of any sort. This series, as a live show, has the Western music and "real people" as something that may help people to dip a toe in the water as they are familiar things to most viewers. Hopefully this is one that'll get them to go in for a full swim, the water's fine LOL.

    1. Should read ......watched the live drama a couple of times to the anime's one.....