The Nihon Review Forum

The Nihon Review Topic Discussion => Live Action => Topic started by: dheu on February 02, 2007, 02:18:59 PM

Title: Nodame Cantabile
Post by: dheu on February 02, 2007, 02:18:59 PM
The live action, not the anime!
I've completely fallen in love with this series. Beyond the fact that I'm a music nut, this drama just has so much going for it. It's only because I'm stuck only halfway through the series with no downloading capability right now that I haven't written a review of it yet. Speaking of which, I hereby stake my claim on writing a review for Nodame Cantabile.
Anyway, possession issues aside, if you haven't seen this series yet, you need to.
Synopsis: Chiaki is a very talented pianist studying in a music university. His dream is to become a conductor and study under a famous conductor he knew in his youth, but a fear of both airplanes and ships keeps him trapped in Japan. He is starting to really get depressed when he meets Noda Megumi (Nodame from the title). Nodame is a very free-spirited girl whose desire is to be a kindergarten teacher. But she plays the piano in a very beautiful cantabile style, and her outlook on life and her unique playing begins to remind Chiaki of what he loved about music in the first place, and why he had the dream of being a conductor.
And this all sounds so serious and stuffy, I'm sure, but in actuality this is one of the wackiest comedies I've seen since Kisarazu Cats Eye. It's wacky in the same off-the-wall way, but it's also a little more engaging than KCE. Which just makes it doubly hilarious.
The wackiest part about it is how blissfully over-the-top it can be. At times, it has a slapstick comedy about it, with exaggerated facial expressions and reactions, and the use of visual gimmicks like slow motion and manga-esque drawings on the screen. It is overacted at times, but it's always meant to be overacted. In many ways, this feels like a parody. You get this feeling right from the start, with the hilarious flashback sequence (complete with a plane on a very obvious string being dragged across a model of a runway) of the traumatic plane landing Chiaki experienced in his childhood that has him terrified of planes.
That is what is so engaging about this series. It has a very light-hearted feel to it, a very humorous look at the characters and at the situations they get into. The comedy in this is absolutely fantastic. Every character is perfect in their roles, from the uptight and straightlaced Chiaki to the crazily free-spirited Nodame.
I've heard some people say that they don't like the Nodame in the live action because she acts like she is retarded. I don't think she acts that way at all. Instead, she instead is a personification of the "cuteness" that, at times, the Japanese culture seems almost obsessed with. She's the complete opposite of Chiaki, and she's intended to be this way. In fact, I find it amusing how she doesn't seem to think anything through in advance, particularly when it comes to finance, while throughout the series, Chiaki is constantly overthinking everything.
But all this talk of comedy shouldn't overshadow the fact that there is drama in this series. There are some very moving moments in this series. The music is absolutely gorgeous, of course. If you don't love classical music before you start watching this, you'll come out of it with an appreciation for it you never had before. And I don't know if they sent their actors to Piano/Orchestra Boot Camp or something before they began to film, but for most of the time the piano and the orchestra scenes are so seamless that it is difficult to tell if the actors are actually performing or not. It's very nice that they paid such attention to these scenes, since it adds a touch of realism to some of the most important moments in the entire series.
But enough rambling.  Dammit, I probably used up all the creativity I should have saved up for the review itself.  Oh well!
Title: Re: Nodame Cantabile
Post by: Sorrow-kun on February 02, 2007, 11:42:52 PM
What I generally do when I'm writing a review that I've discussed on forums while watching it is to use hindsight to cut and paste my previous commentaries into a proper review.

Anyway, I haven't seen the drama, but the anime is exceptional so far.  As in, arguably the best series of the new season.  I'll make an effort to check out the drama some time in the future.
Title: Re: Nodame Cantabile
Post by: C0MPL3X on February 03, 2007, 01:00:41 AM
I've always imagined an anime like the movie 'Shine'. Unfortunately Nodame Cantabile isn't it from what I saw in episode 1 RAW (ha, I actually thought da-raw was the name of the fansub group...)

I have to see the next subbed episodes but there's 2 things I liked.
1. Comedy. Nodam is hilarious and the guy freaking over her rather unusual habitat is amusing.
2. Piano performance. Finally, an anime devoted to classical music wryyy. I especially loved the scene where they played Mozart duo (no idea what the piece is called).

Another thing, I loved how the girl changed some of the notes in the 2nd movement of Pathetique in the beginning and the guy goes wtf. Probably wouldn't have noticed it if I didn't play the piece myself (although not as good I guess...need more practice)

Maybe I'll watch the drama version too, but probably not since I prefer not to see exaggeration, slapstick humour, over the top stuff in live-action...
Title: Re: Nodame Cantabile
Post by: Tyrdium on February 03, 2007, 01:41:32 AM
I'll start watching it when you start watching Gokusen. D:
Title: Re: Nodame Cantabile
Post by: dheu on February 03, 2007, 08:50:51 AM
For shame, Tyr!

And C, that's what I thought as well.  I'm definitely not a fan of slapstick humor in live action either, but this series completely won me over.  The characters are just so loveable and so well-portrayed by their actors, and the comedy is perfectly timed.

My recommendation is that if you plan to give it a shot, watch a few episodes and not just one.
Title: Re: Nodame Cantabile
Post by: lyto on April 14, 2007, 11:21:58 AM
Nodame Cantabile was so cute. I loved the ending, and hope there will be a new season...
Title: Re: Nodame Cantabile
Post by: dheu on May 01, 2007, 03:44:53 AM
That seems to imply that it leaves off open-ended....

I still haven't finished this one, and that makes me sad.  I've watched the few episodes I have so many times that I know exactly when, for example, Chiaki's Rachmaninov Concerto begins.  I can't wait to see the rest.
Title: Re: Nodame Cantabile
Post by: mouse on May 29, 2007, 10:30:20 PM
Up to what episode do you have, dheu?