Reading it on and off for the couple weeks, I finally finished the first volume of Nodame Cantabile today. Just in time for me to pick up the next couple volumes and read them over winter break before the anime begins airing in mid-January. Might have to check out the live-action drama as well…
Anyway, this initial volume started out slow for me (perhaps that was due to the bite-sized portions I took) but then I started to warm to it halfway through, about the time Mine was introduced. A quick re-read assured me that I enjoyed it enough to move on to the next volume, ready to become slightly more cultured in classical music while reading in the same way I picked up things about art from watching Honey & Clover.
Shinichi Chiaki is a piano student in college but he really wants become a conductor like his idol Sebastiano Viera. One night he meets Megumi Noda (Nodame) outside his apartment (they just happen to be neighbors) and she starts improvising on his piano. Thereafter Chiaki begrudingly helps her because she can’t read sheet music that well and also because he can’t stand a dirty room.
Much of the humor comes from Nodame being an idiot savant of sorts: she can’t cook, can’t clean, bathes once in a while and basically can’t take care of herself. What she can do well is play a piano piece to near perfection after hearing it only once before. Moments of tet-a-tet between Chiaki and his old flame as well as seemingly nonsequitur references to fart sounds also provide chuckles while reading.
There are a couple of interesting romantic situations set up in this first volume. First Tagaya Saiko, a third-year vocal student who used to date Chiaki, still hangs out with him and looks like she wants to start over but it’s not working. Another thing is second-year violin student Mine Ryutaro having a crush on Nodame; although Mine feeds her all of his father’s food she wants, she doesn’t return affection for him and instead fawns over Chiaki and his cooking.
I am not too familiar with classical music but I still like engaging musical performances. So after I finished, I tried to find the sonatas online in order to enhance my experience and background. It’s a good thing most of the stuff like Mozart and Beethoven is so old it’s public domain and easily available in MIDI format if you search for it. “Pathétique” worked well as a pun and it also happens to be a fairly good piece. Still, one of these days I want to learn how to read musical notation so I can try to actually play the piano reasonably well.