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Nodame Cantabile Ep1-11 (complete) January 22, 2007

Posted by ayasawada in TV.

Nodame and Chiaki piano duet

D-addicts wiki: Nodame Cantabile

In short: Music to warm the heart.

Thoughts: Once in a while, I stumble across a series that resonates deeply with me and Nodame Cantabile is one such series. It’s been a while since I’ve watched a dorama properly, yet alone so intensively. But Nodame captivated me from the first episode and, like most of my favourite series, music played a big part.

Nodame Cantabile is the story of two students at a Tokyo Music Academy. Rich and methodical Shinichi Chiaki (Hiroshi Tamaki) is the academy’s star pupil, a gifted pianist who secretly wants to conduct, but whose fear of flying stops him from pursuing a career in Europe. In contrast, the eccentric Megumi Noda (‘Nodame’ – played by Juri Ueno) is a sloppy but gifted pianist, with the ability to play any piece by ear. These two opposites collide, allowing each to finally break through the barriers that hold back their talent.

Based on an extremely popular manga by Tomoko Ninomiya, Nodame Cantabile spawned this TV series at the end of 2006, as well as a recent anime adaptation. Much of the enthusiasm surrounding the anime seems to be a reflection of the dorama’s popularity. At that I decided to take a look – and it has far exceeded my expectations.

Nodame is a truly wonderful story, full of humour, romance, great characters and a well constructed storyline with numerous peaks. As expected from a dorama, the acting can be hammy at times, but gets away with it as a manga-adaptation and the producers have really gone all out to convey the manga’s eccentricities through effects and exaggerated expressions.

But what makes Nodame truly great is its use of classical music. That would seem a given for a series about a music academy. But the series elegantly mixes Ninomiya’s carefully chosen pieces into the fabric of the story and perfectly executes the big musical set-pieces that can only be alluded to in panels of manga. Beethoven, Gershwin, Mozart et al are very much unspoken actors, and through the characters’ development we learn a heck of a lot about the beauty of these classics. It wouldn’t surprise me if the series’ popularity led to a mini-revival of classical music in Japan (much as Swing Girls – which, coincidentally, also starred Juri Ueno – led to a brief revival of big band jazz). It’s true, sometimes Chiaki seems a little like a critic’s mouthpiece, pointing out the various nuances of whatever movement they are playing, but I this is in keeping with his character.


Of course, Nodame is, at heart, a romance and a feel-good high-school story. But it is one with a significant amount of heart and a lot to say about following one’s dreams, enjoying the good times and moving on when the time is right. And I am an absolute sucker for this kind of thing, particularly when it is executed so well. I even cried at the end! I see now why everyone loves this series so much and can only pray for the mooted sequel (this series only covered up to manga vol.9 – there are 16 thus far). In the meantime, I’ll be watching the anime with much anticipation, whilst the manga has shifted it’s way onto my wishlist.

I really can’t recommend Nodame Cantabile highly enough. Episodes are available for dl from d-addicts so open your heart – and your ears – and give it a go.


1. wendy - February 24, 2007

hi there, I was wondering where did you watch this? cos i seen the 1st episode and i would love to see the rest :)

2. ayasawada - February 25, 2007

I actually dl’d a hard-subbed batch torrent from Tokyo Toshokan, but if you go to d-addicts (see the links in the sidebar) you can find the raw episodes individually, as well as the subtitle files.

As I say, I highly recommend seeing the rest of it!

3. Theowne - February 25, 2007

I just finished the live action too :) . Initially I watched the anime because I was interested in the concept of an anime about music students. It seemed like a light comedy and I decided to follow it. Since there was so much positive comments about the live action, I decided to give it a try, and yeah, I have to say it completely exceeded my every expectation. I went in expecting just a comedic diversion and in the end I was so attached to the characters and the story I’m a bit sad that it’s over. Sure you can laugh that a guy such as myself is addicted to a series based on shoujo manga but you know what, I am past caring :D

Also I think Nodame is such a great character. At first I thought she would be the typical ditzy girl but she’s a really interesting and likable character and I can really sympathize with some of the things she says about playing music to enjoy it. I have to say my love of playing stuff like Debussy’s “The Girl with the Flaxen Hair” irritated my old piano teacher a lot because she thought it was too easy, therefore a waste of time for a serious piano student.

Nice blog, by the way. I think I’ll be following it from now.

4. ayasawada - March 3, 2007

Hey, thanks! I’m really hoping they follow through with a second season of Nodame. The anime’s been good so far, but I think the use of classical music in the drama really made it something special.

5. Hana Yori Dango/Hana Yori Dango 2 Ep1-9/1-11 (complete) « Canned Memory - March 25, 2007

[…] Nodame Cantabile, manga-based dorama can work out rather well. But after it’s first run, Hana Yori Dango 2 […]

6. Johan Nystrom - April 22, 2007

Yes… this drama was certainly awesome.

7. Yamada Taro Monogatari Eps 1-10 (complete) « Canned Memory - October 7, 2007

[…] as always, a bit of focus and planning does wonders for good series build-up (and as always, see Nodame Cantabile for the best example of that). Yamada seemed to have it, but lost it a bit toward the […]

8. Prague memories « Canned Memory - October 19, 2008

[…] recital. Truth be told, my main reason for choosing Prague was ’cause it was at the start of Nodame Cantabile. And being a city so synonyous with the famous composers I really wanted to catch a live recital. […]

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