Genre: Drama, Comedy, Romance, Josei
Credits: 2001 Tomoko Ninomiya, Kodansha, Kiss, Del Rey
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Amazon.com Editorial/Product Description:
The son of a famous pianist, music student Shinichi Chiaki dreams of studying abroad and becoming a conductor like his mentor. Unfortunately, his fear of flying grounds his lofty plans! As he watches other classmates achieve what he has always wanted, Shinichi wonders if he should quit music altogether.
Then one day he meets fellow student Megumi Noda, also known as Nodame. This oddball girl cannot cook, clean, or even read a music score, but she can play the piano in incomparable Cantabile style. And she teaches Chiaki something that he has forgotten: to enjoy his music, no matter where he is.
The only thing missing is the sound. >>> by skysenshi
Upon reading the manga, I realized that Nodame Cantabile the anime had been pleasantly faithful to it, which is why I actually harbor the same reaction to this reading material. So I don't repeat myself, you can go ahead and read what I wrote about Nodame Cantabile anime back in 2009.
What I haven't seen in the anime, however -- and maybe I should go back to watching the seasons following the first -- is Nodame and Chiaki's move from Japan to France, where the two characters progressed into their mid twenties. Though Nodame still seems flighty (except when her music is being challenged) and Chiaki remains the mature one, the couple's dynamic gradually changes into something unusual but endearing at the same time. Those who are into shoujo romance might be disappointed to find that the mangaka, Tomoko Ninomiya, never really delved into anything romantic. She does, however, portray human emotions quite well, especially those of people -- musicians, in this case -- struggling to find their place in the world. Of course, all hope for romance is not totally lost, since there are still many heartwarming moments between Chiaki and Nodame to be found in the manga. There are plenty of interesting love angles for fanfiction writers to explore when it comes to the supporting characters as well.
Prepare for a different set of characters in France, though. Nodame and Chiaki meet various foreign students while studying and finding their respective careers abroad, which is only but natural. Wouldn't it be so formulaic if everyone else went to France just so the mangaka could retain all the original characters we've known and loved? But there's nothing to worry about as everyone gets closure at the very end. (Anyway, I didn't mind the new characters since Ninomiya designed Nodame and Chiaki so well that I was too focused on the two.)
Ninomiya wrapped up her story nicely; it's almost a shame the manga had to end. I also wish I could actually hear what the characters are playing, since I've always used classical music for relaxation purposes. It would be interesting to see how Nodame puts a spin on them, given her penchant for getting carried away with the embellishments.
Individual Rating: Individual Rating: Art 7; Story 10; Characters 9