Megumi Noda aka Noda Megumi (in Japan, the last name goes first) aka Nodame played by Ueno Juri is a gifted piano student. She has a remarkable ability to memorize a song simply by listening to it. However, she chooses to not display her talent at her music academy for she only wants to be a kindergarten teacher. This all changes when she meets Shinichi Chiaki (played by Tamaki Hiroshi) who is also a gifted individual in piano, violin, and conducting. The two might be similiar in talents and a love for music, but they can’t be anymore different concerning everything else. Chiaki grew up in a prestigious family and thus very prim and proper. Nodame, on the other hand, grew up in a large, poor family. She is also messy, eats as if her stomach is a blackhole, and has a tendency to scream two peculiar words for no apparant reason: MUKYA! and GYABO! Chiaki is attracted to Nodame because of her talents. Nodame, however, is attracted to Chiaki because he is cute and he cooks good food for her. Can this unlikely pair last?
Through music, these two contrasting people meet. Nodame is an optimistic girl who seems too happy for her own good. Unfortunately, her outgoing personality is crippled by her lazyness. She is good at the piano, but never try to play it correctly. Likewise, her lazyness transcribes to never cleaning her apartment thus turning it into a toxic wasteland, never has enough good because she spends her money on anime and must steal friend’s lunch to survive, and sometimes…never taking a bath. Chiaki is an arrogant person due to his lavish upbringing, and the fact that he is talented…and he knows it. A “prince” in a way with his background, good looks, and talents. Unfortunately, he too has a fault like Nodame’s lazyness. Because of it, he cannot pursue his dream of conducting abroad. What is his fault? International transportating devices. Two seemingly different people who shares a few things in common. However, though their similarity might be few, they are powerful enough to bring the two together. With that, a crazy adventure in love and the attainment of their dream begin.
A part of the cast who plays Chiaki’s friends and orchestra member.
left to right: Chiaki (Tamaki Hiroshi), Mine (Eita Nagayama), Tatsumi – the orchestra financer (Ibu Masato), and Kiyora Miki (Mizukawa Asami)
This show is among on of the few ones that sticks very closely to the manga. Every scene is played out. This quality ultimately makes me feel as if the 2d manga characters are coming to life for everything is so exact. The main actor and actress played their part very well – especially Megumi. Her character is a 22 years old who still maintains the innocence and demeanor of a child. The story, though, is what draws the interest (as it should be). There exist a multitude of talented individual on this Earth. He or she might excel at cooking, singing, sports, music, memorizing 300 faces in 30 minutes, etc. but what will happen to them if their talents are not cared for and further develop? Nodame is a talented girl who has not only choose to disregard her gift but also choose to hide it. Only with the help of Chiaki and being inspired by his hard-work that she finally chooses to embrace her ability. In the end, a person must not only be talented to excel in the world, but also someone who believe in their talent. In addition, a crucial step in recognizing your talent is also a willingness to accept help to improve yourself.
The theme in itself is presented through the relationship of Chiaki and Nodame. The two, though very different, continues to be together once they’ve met. Helping the other, thinking about each other, and finding ways to improve each other is the two’s relationship. Though Chiaki never admit a love connection between the two, it’s pretty obvious after a few episodes. To be noted, though the relation and theme that I just described might sound a bit serious, it is more so very ridiculous. In fact, a large part of the show’s enjoyability is through its subtle humor. Nodame alone is pure hilarity. Through humor, an interesting theme, and a most diverse characters ensemble, Nodame Cantabile is a show that is both enjoyable and memorable. An added bonus to this great show is the orchestra music in which the actors and actresses played or at least pretend to play very accurately. Great melody, great show. Do watch it.
WARNING: As the manga which the drama is based on is not finish/on-going, the show ends at a cliffhanger. However, a two episode Special continues the story and can be found at veoh.com. My recommendation is to read the manga if you are impatient (like me).