Finally, finally, Nodame’s back. And even though it’s a little bittersweet knowing that this is the final season, I’ve been anticipating this show like nobody else’s business.
It’s possible I may never get tired of idiot savant type of characters like Nodame. Especially, when they can throw off their clothes in one smooth motion. Why is that? (Aside from the stripping like a pro thing.) Maybe it’s because she’s so outlandish that she never fails to entertain. Oh sure, I can see how someone like her can become annoying in real life. She’s a slob, sort of a leech, and makes strange noises as Chiaki would say. But apparently, I love it when I see it in anime. It’s not a moe thing. It’s just entertaining.
Nodame’s mongoose though is totally moe. I love that little guy, err- girl. Meanwhile, if you’ve followed the last couple seasons, you’d know that the show picks off where it left off with Nodame studying in the conservatoire to achieve her goal of playing with Chiaki one day, while Chiaki has taken over the Roux-Marlet orchestra. While we did see some development in their relationship in the last season, you wouldn’t really notice much of a difference watching this episode. Chiaki’s still obsessed with his conducting future, to the detriment of his relationship with Nodame, while Nodame is continually playing catchup. We see that in a familiar scene when Chiaki takes off after a concert performance, to secretly get some piano lessons for an upcoming concert in which he intends to play and conduct at the same time.
This of course leaves Nodame to herself (along with her apartment building friends, Tanya the tacky Russian, Frank the Otaku, and Yun Long, the guy I can’t remember where he came from) doing things like eating canned foods and getting pervy with Chiaki’s old clothes. One thing I hope the final season does, which the live series did much better, and which was touched upon in the OVA, is not forget about their old friends back in Japan. I saw Masumi the tranny in the OP, and I assume Kuroki the oboeist will continue to make cameos. But hopefully we’ll see Mine and Kiyora and Takahashi, the conductor raepist from time to time too.
Score another for Nodame pervertedness! There were a couple classical pieces thrown in, but sadly that’s an apt description. Just "thrown in." They didn’t feel core to the show, like the classical pieces in the first season. Skimping on the musical performances was one of the major faults with the second season, IMO, and unfortunately it seems like that trend will continue. It’s understandable, since there’s only 11 episodes and it’s tough to lose 3-4 minutes each episode on just music alone, but still, it’s not less disappointing.
Seeing Chiaki perform and conduct at the same time sets up the major relationship conflict that’ll no doubt drive the season. Nodame’s disappointed, partly flustered in seeing that Chiaki can effortlessly play a piece she’d toiled on, but also afraid that he’ll continue to leave her behind. Meanwhile, Chiaki finds an old photo of him and his father, and recalls a memory of him leaving the family behind to focus on his conducting. Pretty much exactly how Chiaki’s been treating Nodame.
Yun Long, why can’t I remember who you are?
It’s easy to forget that Nodame is no scrub. Even though Nodame doesn’t seem up to Chiaki’s par on the piano. I remember in the first season, Chiaki thinks to himself that there’s something unique to Nodame’s style and technique that is beyond even his skill. So hopefully, we’ve get to see her achieve that performance pinnacle during this season.
I’m a little afraid we won’t get a satisfactory end to the Chiaki x Nodame romance. But I won’t worry too much about it, because either way, the ride will no doubt be entertaining.
In other news, I did like the OP (Manazashi ? Daydream by Yuu Sakai) quite a bit. It’s catchy, and Yuu Sakai has a great voice. It’s not as rocking as Suemitsu and the Suemith from the first season, but it’s much better than the Sky High song from Paris. The ED’s (Kaze to Oka no Ballad by Real Paradis with Nodame Orchestra) also excellent as well. I’ve liked all the EDs that Nodame Cantabile has featured, so it’s hard for me to rank them. But it’s a good pop song with piano backing that’s different in style from the EDs they’ve used in the past.
All in all, a triumphant return for Nodame. Ganbai! to an awesome final season!