Nodame Cantabile: Finale, episode 10 – Crystal ball is hazy

After the epic highs of the last episode, I wondered how this episode would pick up. And while it felt a lot more schizophrenic, and even a bit frustrating, it was still powerful stuff.

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Loved seeing the montages of all of Nodame’s friends coming across her performance online. But when Auclair and the other sensei express their disapproval, I couldn’t help but get a little upset at them. While I’ve understood what they’re trying to do with Nodame, even I’ve felt like Auclair was being too deliberate with her and treating her too much with kid gloves. I never quite understood why, but this episode did a great job answering that question for me.

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Elise is just crazy funny. Between getting Nodame to "sign" her contract and become a giant slave girl, or calling Chiaki pretending to be Nodame, Elise delivers the goods.

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There is a healthy dose of emo in this episode, as Chiaki sulks over Nodame ignoring him, and Nodame sulks over… well, I’m not sure exactly what. Perhaps it’s satisfaction at achieving a goal? Or the fear that she’ll never be able to perform as well as she’s did with Stresemann? For someone who comes across as spacy, Nodame internalizes her agony with music to a surprising degree. But with Nodame’s heart and future aflutter, she ditches Elise and Stresemann and disappears with her passport and wallet.

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Ah, the showdown between Auclaire and Stresemann. To be honest, like Stresemann, I thought Auclair searched him out, but apparently he just happened to be in town. Auclair is not a fan of Stresemann, and not just because of Nodame. I really liked this scene because my questions about why Auclair seemed to hold Nodame back were answered. I thought he really explained Nodame’s struggles really well, and the challenge in getting her to enjoy music for the quality of the music. And with that, I understood why he’d been holding her back, why he’d had her study so many different composers. With that said, I don’t blame Stresemann for putting Nodame on stage. I think he meant for the best, and in the long run, I think it was good for Nodame. But after the Auclair’s argument, even I felt a little sheepish for cheering Nodame on last episode.

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After ditching London, Nodame heads to Egypt of all places, where she finds that she has fans even there. Admittedly, I was a little frustrated with Nodame, because I had a hard time understanding why Nodame was so conflicted. She enjoys playing. She likes that other people enjoy her playing. What is there to think about beyond that? Auclair mentions her distaste for the "industry", but what of the industry does she need to agonize over? The politics? The grueling routine? The necessary ambition? But as I watched the episode and thought about it, it finally dawned on me that Nodame likes playing, but not as a career. It’s like I enjoy cooking and think I’m pretty good at it (ok, this is a patent lie, but just bear with my analogy), but I wouldn’t want to put in the effort it would take to become a professional chef. I think that’s where Nodame is. Every step she takes towards stardom is a step towards a life she may not want. But her talent seems to be taking her down that route, whether she likes it or not.

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I can empathize with Chiaki, who’s stuck in a bad place. I’d be pulling my hair out if Nodame disappeared on me like that, so I applaud his patience. But I couldn’t help but feel that he was giving up on her too quickly. The way everyone talks about Nodame’s fragility and capriciousness, I keep thinking that she’s one step away from going off into the mountains to become a crazy hermit.

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I laughed out loud at Stresemann’s translation. Kudos frostii, that "feeling ultra-good" line sounded so typically Stresemann. But Stresemann, perhaps feeling a little guilty, tracks down Chiaki and sort of tries to ease Chiaki’s concerns about Nodame saying she wouldn’t play again. I don’t know if he actually accomplished that, but he seemed to have sparked a little fire inside Chiaki.

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Meanwhile, on her way back home, Nodame misses the Paris stop and ends in a completely different country (missing countries in Europe must be like missing a state in the US. I can’t imagine missing a stop and accidentally ending up in Canada for example). Unfortunately for Nodame has no more money and has to resort to sleeping in a hotel storage closet for the night. I’m surprised they even gave her that. All in all, a sad scene, as Nodame cries for Chiaki.

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Nodame finally returns home to a barrage of congratulatory faxes and a message from her family, which serves to remind Nodame of the crossroads she’s in. In case you’re wondering what’s on the game board, here’s what was in the manga. Interestingly, there’s no Chiaki course. Meanwhile, Tanya, Yun Long, Kuroki and the gang blast in to find Nodame merrily playing her Moja Moja Suite. But Nodame is still unwilling to come back to reality, as she essentially ignores her friends, instead regaling with a couple kids that Kuroki was babysitting.

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Kuroki sends Chiaki an MMS letting him know that Nodame’s back and seemingly in good spirits. Meanwhile, Chiaki wonders whether Nodame might’ve been better off staying in Japan, and as I watched her playing with the kids, I couldn’t help but think the same. Maybe Auclair would’ve gotten through to her one day. But Nodame just seems like she’d be so much more carefree if she’d gone on to become a Kindergarten teacher. Still, we get a huge breakthrough at the end when Chiaki decides that he’ll accept Nodame’s proposal.

I can’t believe there’s only one episode left. :emotion: I feel like they could still tell the story over another season. But where will we end up next week? Will Nodame accept Chiaki’s answer to her proposal? In doing so, will she quash her playing career? Or will she turn down Chiaki, to focus on her playing? In that game board, there was no Chiaki course, but two of the courses seem like anti-Chiaki courses to me (the Professional and back to Japan courses). But I don’t know if the School Course is a possibility anymore. Or, if so, it won’t be the same. So where will Chiaki fit in? It’s funny that all this time, we wondered how Nodame would fit into Chiaki’s ambitions. But now the table has completely turned.

Personally, I would prefer the Chiaki x Nodame ending, whether or not Nodame continues playing. After watching this episode, I just don’t think Nodame has it in her to be a "pro." It’s not about settling, but about choosing a path that would make her happiest. And I think accepting Chiaki’s answer would make her the happiest (and Chiaki too). But if that doesn’t happen. All I ask for is closure.

12 Replies to “Nodame Cantabile: Finale, episode 10 – Crystal ball is hazy”

  1. To be honest, like Stresemann, I thought Auclair searched him out, but apparently he just happened to be in town.

    To me there was some poor handling of the locations in this episode. Where do Auclair and Stresemann meet? Egypt? Why were the characters in Egypt anyways? If we think of it logically, there was no reason for Stresemann to bring Nodame to Cairo, even if he had a show there (which didn’t actually seem to be the case). If Stresemann was in Egypt, then went to Paris (where he runs into Auclair), then he runs immediately to Italy (where he sees Chiaki)? Huh?

    Even if we think about it from the needs of the story, it makes just as much sense for Nodame to start off in London, then travel back toward Paris (and miss her stop), without adding the complication of why/how she ended up in Egypt. It would also simplify Stresemann’s story: he went back to Paris thinking he would run into Nodame, but she wasn’t there (because she missed the train stop), so he continues on to Italy to see if she is with Chiaki.

    I was thinking this episode might have been compressed from the source material, but, regardless, I found all of these locations confusing.
    .-= Joojoobees´s last blog ..Nodame Cantabile – Finale 10 =-.

    1. I figured she went to Egypt just to escape for a bit. I figure this is highly compressed compared to the manga where we might have gotten a little more light shed on her motivations. I think Auclair and Stressman met up in either Paris or London. I’m leaning toward London.

      But yeah. From the reaction most people gave when the manga ended across the interwebs I don’t expect I’ll enjoy this ending. I don’t know exactly what will happen though.

    2. Agreed. Seems like the scene transitions between locations was bungled a little bit with how much they were trying to fit into the episode.

      Like Taka, I also figured Nodame went to Egypt to get away for a while (but why Egypt?). While Stresemann met Auclair in London (or could it be Italy? since he met with Chiaki later).

  2. Oh my god~ this episode is like a complete thriller! I haven’t watched the Nodame Cantabile Finale movie yet, but I really cannnot wait for the next and last episode~ I really do hope the ideal couple ends up together, it will be really hard on Nodame Fans if they don’t. The ‘yes’ chiaki said at the end was quite a relief~~~

    This anime was really well done, a good anime I have been longing to watch>3< I really hope things end up okay——- like they end up together….. My sister recommended me this anime :-* After this series, I will have to go on a quest to search for another good anime plot with good art~

    -NODAME IS LOVED-

    Angelique Yuuki
    ➡ I am constructing a facebook anime forum, so please search me under Angelique Yuuki~:p

    1. Oh, the final live action movies are probably already out right? I hope somebody fansubs them.

      I loved Chiaki’s “yes” too. I thought that was vintage Chiaki, deliberate, thinking things through. His decision had a lot of weight for me. Hopefully Nodame accepts it.

      I hear Honey & Clover is a close cousin of the Nodame style, although I haven’t seen it yet. I’d also recommend Sora no Manimani, not nearly as good, but still a fun watch with a similar “feel”. 😀

  3. My favorite part of the Chiaki/Stresemann scene is the big plate of french fries on the table. So random! If I were to go all academic on you, I’d argue that the wine represents Chiaki, and the french fries represent Stresemann.

    The location thing kind of confused me, too. I figured Stresemann and Auclair were in Belgium, at first, since Elise mentioned that Stresemann had a concert there, but Elise is clearly pushing Stresemann along, so they probably hadn’t made it there by that time, haha. So I guess Auclair met up with Stresemann in London, although the wacked out time element makes that a stretch, too. How fast are the jets in the world of Nodame?!

    I think Nodame’s sulking earlier in the episode is because the concert she played probably didn’t give her the satisfaction she expected. The end of ep8 does a pretty good job of foreshadowing this — Stresemann’s offer might seem pretty kickass at first, and she clearly touches many people through her performance, but it isn’t quite what Nodame wants, since her only real desire, musically, is to perform with Chiaki.

    I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for the final episode! Like you, I’m crossing my fingers for a Nodame x Chiaki ending, but one that won’t end with Nodame throwing music away entirely. That would be too sad.

    1. I think Nodame’s sulking earlier in the episode is because the concert she played probably didn’t give her the satisfaction she expected.

      Hmm, I wonder about that. My interpretation was a little different. I felt like she was afraid of the commitment, afraid of the success. It’s sort of the same way I feel like after I’d make a big life decision. I’ll start thinking, do I want to do this? It’s a big commitment. I can still back out. Etc.

      But I don’t know. It’s hard to say. She’s a tough character to read.

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