Reflections on Nodame Cantabile: The Sound of Gyabo

Watching Nodame Cantabile re-kindled my love for music, I could say. Granted, I’ve always loved listening to the art form, but I’ve forgotten how enjoyable the process of making music is. I’ve been removed from playing viola regularly for about 5 years now, and I’ve never really wondered about what if I was still paying regularly. I had decent talent, and I probably just needed a bit more motivation/coaching to get to that next level, like Nodame did throughout the series. I enjoy playing, but I never really had the zeal to perform to my potential, and I still don’t (though watching this helped with that). But I can at least admire people that do such as those in the show, especially when they make performing so hotblooded.

Chiaki pulls GAR off with style.

The relationship between Chiaki and Nodame was inevitable when you saw it from the beginning, but it was nice to see how it came together from where they were. While Chiaki had the skills for playing music, it didn’t seem like he had the will to overcome fears that he had. He wasn’t passionate enough about his trade to take the next step, and while he was excellent in performing and conducting, he would remain stuck at where he was. Nodame also faced that halting of ability, as her focus of wanting to teach children trumped working to better her piano skills despite her great potential. And even then, it was less of a lack of will to get better, but a persistent stubbornness not to work at it, since it killed the fun she had just playing. Though both characters don’t fundamentally change their personas (Chiaki is still such a tsundere, while Nodame is still, from society’s perceptions, odd), both experience growth through their helping each other out, as well as from their interactions with others.

I felt that those interactions were a great strength of the series, as the secondary cast provided a variety of interesting people to get to know and like. In a Honey and Clover I vein, these people were normal save for their eccentricities, yet while those were portrayed more frequently than the “rational” appearances, the latter usually proved to be more important in the long run. The humor was just something extra, and though good, it usually wasn’t memorable (though moments like the Jimi Hendrix style of violin/viola playing and Nodame’s exclamations were always nice to see; I didn’t know that Ayako Kawasumi had that much range, for example). On the other hand, I could understand Mine’s desire to maintain and expand on the orchestras he participated in, Sakuma’s wish for Chiaki to go overseas to become better than he is, or how many members initially saw the Rising Star Orchestra as something temporary before real life sets in before that realized how special it truly was. It was enjoyable to see those realistic feelings and motives, and how those changed over the course of the series, since that’s also life too.

Can’t you come out to play~

Speaking of slices, I also got pleasure from the small range of classical music that Nodame offered its viewers. Other than the pieces I played when I played for school orchestras and the snippets you heard in commercials and the like, I haven’t heard much classical, to I usually liked what I heard. Maybe it’s because of the names of the pieces and how hard they can be to keep straight or something like that, but I didn’t make the effort to find out and remember who made the works I listened to. But seeing Chiaki’s rendition of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No 2. or Nodame playing Schubert and the intense and sometimes beautiful imagery associated with those pieces made them stick in my head. Anime makes everything better I guess (and the introduction to one man and his piano for the OP and 2nd ED didn’t hurt either). 😛

Despite all that, Nodame Cantibile isn’t a show that I’d be rewatching anytime soon. The show leaves a favorable yet weak impression on me in terms of its merits, though it definite has rekindled a desire to make some beautiful music again. It’s definitely something I would want to watch more of, especially since it ends on a nice point for continuation (and the manga apparently has done a fair bit of that already). Besides, we need more people in anime that can make things like playing music that passionate.

Is Masumi going to have to rope a dope?

6 Responses to “Reflections on Nodame Cantabile: The Sound of Gyabo”

  1. 1 Totali September 22, 2007 at 11:13 pm

    Nodame Cantabile was a great show to say the least. I think the only “downfall” (if you can even really call it that) would be that it could not top Honey and Clover. The only reason this is ever brought up is because of their similarities though (same director, similar art style, music and art). If you through that out of the window, you have an awesome slice of life drama that is very fun to watch. I’m not even close to being a band geek, but I also loved Nodame Cantabile from start to finish. 🙂

  2. 2 Peter S September 23, 2007 at 1:28 am

    I watched the final three eps the other night. I had pretty much the same reaction about the music. I’ve heard my share of classical music through the years but it had tapered off, but after watching Chiaki and the Rising Stars perform in the finale I absolutely had to hear Beethoven’s 7th again.

    While the show meandered and I sort of lost interest for a time, I always loved how they treated the music and the composers seriously. If Nodame Cantabile inspires people to look into the music (and apparently the live-action version did just that) then in one important respect the show was a success.

  3. 3 shinsengumi September 25, 2007 at 1:41 pm

    >> Maybe it’s because of the names of the pieces and how hard they can be to keep straight or something like that, but I didn’t make the effort to find out and remember who made the works I listened to. But seeing Chiaki’s rendition of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No 5. or Nodame playing Schubert and the intense and sometimes beautiful imagery associated with those pieces made them stick in my head.

    Rachmaninoff only composed four Piano Concertos. The one featured in Nodame Cantabile is his second, the C minor Op. 18.

  4. 4 TheBigN September 25, 2007 at 2:08 pm

    Failure on my part then. And case in point. 😛
    /me goes and fixes

  5. 5 karatedog March 24, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    I couldn’t express it more precisely 🙂
    I had been playing flute for 8 years and I think I behaved similarly as Nodame. I could read and play almost any score for the first sight, but never had the mood to practice regularly, and that eliminated the slightest option to attend to the Hungarian Music Academy.
    Nodame Cantabile is really a slice of life, and it touched me deeply. Watching the show was kind of nostalgic, memories flashing back about how I loved classical music, how I practiced the scores laying on my bed, head bowed down, playing a gazillion score by heart, how I almost break my flute, or playing on my teachers golden flute. Faces of people popped in, of those I played together.
    Nodame Cantabile reminded me that the last time I listened to classical music was ages ago (particularly when works of famous Hungarian composers appeared in the show, like Liszt or Bartók). All in all, I liked this anime very much, became one of my favorite.

  6. 6 Sruti December 1, 2009 at 4:38 am

    This show is really beautiful, the connection to classical music and the passion with which the show is made is really moving. I love classical music and i really want to learn to play it! nodames talent has made me fully inspired. The Chiaki and nodame love story is really funny and sometimes unbelievable which makes it so real. it’s sometimes saddening to see something so touching…yet heartening. I love the way chiakis feelings for nodame grow and nodames feelings mature. and they both have a captivating heart and talent for music…it definitely left an impression on. its one of those light anime which u can just enjoy. and it is very entertaingn

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