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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Nodame Cantabile (My Invitation to Classical Music)

Readers who like classical music rise your hand! Why did I ask that? Because I am myself is one of its fans. Not very fanatic though. But I do love classical.
Imagine why, I, a girl from Indonesia, a very far away country from Europe, the continent where classical music was born, can love classical music? The answer is Nodame Cantabile.
Does Nodame Cantabile come from Europe? The answer is no. It comes from Japan. A unique way to meet classical music I guess. I read a review about Nodame Cantabile manga in a magazine a long time ago (I forgot the name of the magazine, I'm sorry... XP).
I was interested indeed. Its unique theme, story, and characters had attracted me. I liked it, but not too much that time. Years goes by and suddenly one day, I found Nodame Cantabile Live Action Series in a DVD store. I thought, "I know this one, I'll give it a try", and bought it.
My curiousity was so big, so as soon as I got home from that store, I turned on my DVD player, and watch the first episode. You know readers, the effect is unimaginable. I thought I was actually going crazy! The story, plot, dialogues, scenes, and characters captivated me.
I felt really really happy watching it. I watched it more and more and more, and yes... finally, I'm crazy for Nodame Cantabile now. Haha... I've watched the live action series, special edition, and one of two movies of Nodame Cantabile until now. Still hunting for the first Nodame Cantabile The Movie.
It is so hard to get... Anyone can help? Please...???

So now let me to tell you what is Nodame Cantabile actually. Shall we?
(I translated this section from an Indonesian magazine: Advance, the animation and comics magazine, grab some sentence from wikipedia, and add some words of my own too^^)

Nodame Cantabile is a very famous manga (meaning: Japanese comics) created by Tomoko Ninomiya (very brilliant author!!! XD). It has won Kodansha Manga award for Shojo (meaning: girls) manga in 2004 and had been licensed in some countries, including Indonesia.
The manga's popularity is followed by the making of the drama, which is also get very very great responses from all this manga fans.
After the drama, the anime from this manga is created. JC Staff makes the anime version of Nodame Cantabile and it's been aired since January 11th, 2007.

The Story: Nodame Cantabile tells a story about the life of 2 persons with very opposite personalities and characteristics and how they influence each other to be a better person. One day, Chiaki Sinichi, a top student in Momogaoka Music Academy, had a fight with his teacher and had been thrown directly to the banishment class. Here, in the banishment class, he met a girl, Megumi Noda, who insisted to be called Nodame. Nodame is "special". Nodame fell in love quickly with Chiaki (who does't?hehe). Unrequited love at first. Chiaki needed quite a long time to realize and give some respects to Nodame's ability and affection towards him. Their relationship, without they realized, had improved their personalities, to be the better ones.
Nodame Cantabile centres around aspiring conductor Shinichi Chiaki and Megumi Noda, an extremely talented pianist. As students at the Momogaoka College of Music in Japan, they have many friends with their own musical ambitions, in particular Ryutaro Mine and Masumi Okuyama, and teachers like conductor Franz von Stresemann and piano instructor Kouzou Etoh to guide them. Early on, the series focuses on the S-Orchestra, a group of maverick students chosen specifically by Stresemann, who leaves them to be conducted by Chiaki. Several notable members go on to join the Rising Star Orchestra (R☆S Orchestra) partially founded and also conducted by Chiaki; the formation of the new orchestra introduces several new colleagues for Chiaki, including violinist Kiyora Miki and oboe player Yasunori Kuroki. When Chiaki and Nodame move to Paris to launch Chiaki's career as a professional conductor and for Nodame to continue her studies as a pianist, they find new friends and rivals, as well as remaining in contact with their friends from Japan. Along with the Conservatoire students, Tanya, Franck, and Yunlong, who share the same boarding house as Nodame and Chiaki, they meet famed musicians, like Son Rui, and conductor Jean Donnedieu.

Main Characters (My favourite main characters actually... XP)

Megumi Noda is a very clumsy, messy, and dirty girl. Often, she doesn't take a bath for a couple of days and confessed to it. In other words, she is a weirdo. (Haha!). But Megumi is very talented at playing the piano and Chiaki acknowledges this. Noda is, at the start of the series, a twenty-year-old free-spirited second-year music student. She is depicted as a complete slob: her cooking and cleaning skills are atrocious to the point of having mushrooms growing on her clothes and poisoning anyone who dares to eat her food (yet she's never been poisoned). However she is an incredibly talented pianist who primarily plays by ear, in a cantabile style.
In love with Chiaki, she follows him around constantly, claiming to be his "wife," and leans on him to help her get through sticky situations. She sometimes compulsively needs to play the piano, neglecting everything in order to do it. As well as that, she seems to enjoy childish manga and movies. She is constantly hungry, and is fed dinners by Chiaki; she also steals many lunches from her fellow friend, Maki. Nodame has a tendency to speak cryptically (sometimes she doesn't even understand herself), often refers to herself in the third person and uses nonsense words like mukya and gyabo. Nodame is initially very dependent on Chiaki in terms of ambition - she has little intention of becoming a professional pianist, despite her remarkable talent, and wants to become a kindergarten teacher, though many feel she is too reckless and lacks the appropriate sensibility to be responsible with teaching children. Her piano style is considered to be completely haphazard, diverting from original intent at both dynamics, rhythms and even themes. Realizing that her current attitude towards music will eventually drive her apart from Chiaki, Nodame gradually develops the necessary drive to pursue music for her own sake. Her attitude towards music is largely due to an incident in the past where she was hurt by a teacher who demanded her to play music "as it's written".

Sinichi Chiaki (a very handsome and perfect senpai->senior! XD) is an incredible music student. A perfectionist, egocentric man who with a great talent in playing both piano and violin (what a musician prince ay?! hehe...). He wants to be a conductor actually, but he was trapped in piano division and can't get his long waited lesson with his Viera Sensei (meaning: teacher) in Prague because of his phobia of flight and sail.
He is a top student of course. He was born into a musical family. He once lived abroad in the music capitals of the world as a young boy (namely Prague). He is dismayed to discover that this freakish but talented girl, Nodame, lives in the apartment next door to him,. However, he develops a sort of empathy with Nodame as he discovers her hidden potential to be a great pianist, and he begins to transcend his perfectionism and begins to enjoy his music and the music of others. Despite his constant irritation towards Nodame, he eventually develops romantic feelings toward her and he chooses to find work as a conductor in Paris, where she is going to study. As Chiaki realizes his life's ambition to become a conductor, he also finds that he needs Nodame's support and he cannot move on without her. He also appears to have fear of being abandoned and surpassed, the former comes from being abandoned by his father as a young boy. Afraid of being abandoned, he often abandons other people instead, especially Nodame. In various instances, he's also shown to have reservation over being "too friendly" with others, (mentioned in a rehearsal with RS orchestra). He's constantly afraid of being surpassed by Nodame, trying to go even further from her, which leaves her miserable as she is trying to catch up to him. He also can be considered as insensitive. (attractive cool guy I must say!) Chiaki is twenty-one years old and a 3rd-year piano student at Momogaoka Music Academy at the start of the series.

Maestro Franz von Stresemann a.k.a Milch Holstein is a highly-respected internationally famous conductor who comes to Momogaoka Music Academy as a guest instructor. In love with the Academy's Director, he comes as a favor and immediately is pegged as an oddball lecher. Perverted, demanding, and not at all dignified, Stresemann seems to be opposite of what his reputation makes him. Stresemann, however, immediately takes to Nodame, and even accepts Chiaki as his one and only apprentice after repeatedly rejecting his application to enroll in his conducting classes. His wild behavior constantly gets Chiaki in trouble, but he also teaches him how to feel and express music in a way that only he can. He often takes his orchestra out for mixers or group dates, and go to night clubs and host clubs (especially a place called One More Kiss) instead of attending the rehearsals he is supposed to conduct. He also gets drunk easily, forcing Chiaki to take over for him as vice-conductor. Stresemann is eventually forcibly taken back to Europe to continue his professional life by his hardnosed assistant, Elise. He later develops a fatherly-like affection towards both Nodame and Chiaki. (a very talented but perverted jisan...)

Ryutaro Mine is 4th-year Violin student. His father owns a Chinese restaurant "Uraken" right next to the university. He is something of a primadonna whose violin technique is seen by himself to be deeply personal but by others to be simply sloppy. He sees Chiaki as a rival for attention and tries hard to compete with his "Princely" image of him. He likes Nodame for her free-spirited ways. He is the concertmaster of the S Orchestra conducted by Chiaki, and a violinist in the R☆S Orchestra. He is also the one who thought that performing like Jimi Hendrix, and adding a touch of 'rock' would give quality despite that it looks dumb in an original orchestra (as stated by Chiaki). He has been dating Kiyora Miki. (Mine is a true gentleman in my opinion... I like him! XD)

Kiyora Miki is a prodigious violinist Chiaki met at the Nina Lutz's seminar, she joins him to form the R☆S Orchestra as his concertmaster. She also becomes Mine's girlfriend. In all media, she had studied abroad in Vienna and had received private tutoring from the Berlin Philharmonics concertmaster, Kai Dowin. She also returns abroad a year after they started the R☆S Orchestra, after she is replaced as concertmaster of R☆S by Takahashi Noriyuki. In the live-action version, she was a student of Momogaoka and concertmaster of A Orchestra, where she became friends with Masumi. (I feel that I and Kiyora have the same personality... Don't know why. Hm... Maybe because I always want a boyfriend like Mine, hehe XP)

Masumi Okuyama is a claustrophobic 4th-year timpanist (percussion), who is an okama. He is homosexual. He developed a crush on Chiaki. Since Nodame starts to hang out with Chiaki, he considers her as a rival and often bullies her and anyone else who tries to get close to Chiaki. Despite his idiosyncrasies, he excels on his percussion skills, earning him the title of "Queen of Percussion" and a place in the S and R☆S orchestras conducted by Chiaki. (He is quite a nice friend...^^)

Yasunori Kuroki is a talented oboe player who falls for Nodame at first sight (oblivious to her true nature) and performs the inaugural solo of the R☆S orchestra. Because he tends to be phlegmatic and quiet, many members of the R☆S orchestra think of him as "samurai-like". Though he is crushed and distracted after learning about Nodame's actual nature, Kuroki becomes a good friend to both Nodame and Chiaki and goes on to study abroad in France with them. Once there, he has much difficulty adjusting to the language, people, and culture, making it hard for him to socialize and make friends. His awkward and quiet demeanor earned him the scorn and nickname "Glauque" from Tanya (meaning dark and depressing, also means green/blue-ish). However they do seem to warm up to each other later. Kuroki later becomes a member of the Roux-Marlet Orchestra conducted by Chiaki. (A very cool oboe player... XD)

Hm... There are a lot of classical music pieces here and there in Nodame Cantabile. I've tried to collect them all but... I couldn't. Hard to find the free download files... hehe. Enjoy the story guys... I'm sure you'll fall in love with it... 'Cos it had happened to me... XD

Nodame's Mojamoja Suite

Recommended classical music pieces: Ravel- Piano Concerto in G Major - 1 Allegramente
Mozart Piano Sonata in D+ for Two K.448 1st Movement (Chiaki and Nodame Version)
Mozart-Variations On Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, K_265
Nodame Cantabile -Beethoven - Symphony No. 7 - 1st Movement
Nodame Cantabile -Beethoven - Symphony No. 7 - 4th Movement
Mozart_ Oboe Quartet in F (K370) 1st movement
Tchaikovsky - Tchaikovsky - Violin Concerto in D Major Op 35

Source: Advance Magazine (Volume 10,2007)

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