Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Nodame Cantabile

Original Release by Froth-Bite, Kanjisub

Megumi Noda - "Nodame" - is a gifted but rather unorthodox piano student at Momogaoka College of Music. She plays by ear rather than by the score and her mood influences her music strongly. She is messy to the point that fungi grow in her appartment, sucks at cooking but excels at eating. She also has a unique way of speaking - or rather exclaiming - ranging from "Gyabo" over "Pugya" to "Mukyo" and other noises I don't understand. In short, she's weird, but funny.

Her love interest, Shinichi Chiaki, is quite the opposite but equally talented. A top student from a rich family, strict, organized, a master on the piano and the violin, but aiming at becoming a conductor. He also lives in the appartment right next to Nodame, allowing the quirky love story to unfold.

Now, the series could have taken the easy way out, concentrating on the romance and letting the setting provide a background for the story. However, the story nearly takes second place to the true star and protagonist of this show: The Music !

Sometimes the music plays in the background, sometimes it's performed by the characters and sometimes the music is the center of attention, merely accompanied by animated pictures that enhance the audio experience.

I mentioned the good music that came with the "Victorian Romance - Emma" series and it's true, it has some beautiful songs. But with Nodame we are not talking about Songs ... we are talking about true masterpieces. Classical music that counts among the greatest achievements of mankind, performed by excellent soloists and orchestras and recorded in high quality.

Yes, I know, many people find classical music boring (unless it's from a Hollywood movie). And it's true that many pieces are not very memorable, unlike modern songs, which usually focus on one single melody. Classical music is at times hard to ... let's say understand. But this series does it's best to provide everything needed to understand and it manages to bind your attention to a single musical piece for an unusual long amount of time by making the music an important part of the story.

This anime will make you enjoy classical music even beyond the series. And even if it doesn't, you're still left with a funny story of two young people finding each other - even if one desperately tries to avoid his fate. The main characters are detailed, likable and grow noticeably over the episodes. The same is true for the support cast, although the complete lack of true antagonists creates a rather relaxed atmosphere.

Sex&Violence: Nothing objectionable apart from the rather ungentlemanly behaviour Chiaki displays towards Nodame. On the other hand, Nodame doesn't act very ladylike either ... she's rather childlike at times and we all know that children need a good spanking. ^_^

Conclusion: Highly valuable from a pedagogical and cultural point of view. Also highly entertaining of you don't mind the lack of giant robots or half-naked swordswomen. If you're undecided, then I strongly recommend you view at least the first episode, because it's a perfect sample of what awaits you for the rest of the season.

PS: This series probably has the highest amount of OSTs for 23 episodes ever. You will have no problems getting all the music you liked in the series.


Anonymous said...

one of the best pieces in the anime

DirtyFinger said...

yeah, and an awesome interpretation of the material. I was hooked on this series since episode 1, but this one made me longing for season 2.

dgrizzard said...

One of my favorite animes...and probably the best piece of the anime! Have the Nodame 100 best it.

DirtyFinger said...

i heard piano concert no 2 by rachmaninoff the first in this anime. since then i sampled different versions of it, but i must admit that the nodame version is amongst the best.

I also liked the interesting melodica version of Gershwins Rhapsody in Blue, which is performed in the episode directly before Rachmaninoff.

I have to upload that somewhen...

LooneyLolita said...

you cant ´click on the link : /

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