Nodame Cantabile: Finale, episode 11 – Fin

And so it ends. Saying goodbye to Nodame feels like saying goodbye to an old friend. It’s a little hard to let go. Especially since there’s plenty more good times that could be had. But still, though it wasn’t the grand finale that I might’ve wished for, I thought it was a fitting end to the show.

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The episode picks off basically where the last episode left off. Nodame’s still checked out after her performance with Stresemann, and coping with it by starting her own orphanage of Roux-Marlet children.

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Meanwhile, all her friends remain distraught and confused about Nodame’s strange behavior, not quite understanding why she seems to be turning her back on a wonderful future.

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While Nodame entertains the kids with a fanciful (and not well received) version of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Chiaki returns to settle the relationship issue with Nodame.

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But after the kids tease Nodame for screwing up Twinkle Star, Nodame gets all srs biz and unfurls Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 31 on them. Chiaki, who up that point, seemed to be willing to let Nodame squander her musical future in order to just be with her, is moved my the performance and realizes that it’s impossible for him to keep her talents hidden away. The animation during this episode was excellent, and I especially loved the way Nodame’s hair flowed during her playing. It just looked… beautiful.

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Spurred by her playing, Chiaki busts in and instead of proposing marriage, proposes that Nodame play a concerto with him and Roux-Marlet or whichever orchestra she wants. But to Chiaki’s surprise, Nodame rejects him saying she already got to play with Stresemann. But more than that, she admits that she’s afraid she can’t top herself, which might ultimately lead to her not loving Chiaki (although I think that was a joke, Chiaki takes it pretty seriously).

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Undeterred, Chiaki whisks Nodame away to some place (I can’t remember what the woman’s name was) to play Mozart’s sonata for two pianos – the first piece that the two played together – hoping that by doing so he can rekindle her love for playing. Chiaki’s voiceover during this scene was perfect, as he talks about the spark that can happen from one note and how it could change everything. Like the moment where he heard Nodame playing in her room, full of trash, that eventually changed their lives forever.

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While the performance doesn’t go particularly well, Chiaki’s message seemingly got through. As the next scene shows Nodame going back to Yoda-sensei to continue learning with him. But I think the one thing this scene did do was seal the deal with Nodame and Chiaki. Although Nodame sort of plays it up for laughs (hearing Kawashima’s "fall in love" engrish is just too cute), I think the scene removed any question about whether Nodame and Chiaki would stay together or not, which is key, since it’s basically the last time we see the two together in this episode, before we get the epilogue montage.

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Yun Long leaves and heads back home. While Frank gets to do a duet with Rui (otaku power!). Actually, I don’t remember ever seeing or hearing Frank play, so I completely forgot what instrument he played.

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Roux-Marlet while improving its rep, still has financial issues, leading them to perform at an onion festival.

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Again, Chiaki’s voiceover is fantastic, as it does a great job of summing up my feelings for the show.

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Beyond the Nodame hijinks, and the awesome relationships, everyone on this show has been bound together by their love for music.

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The story never forgets this. While the latter seasons may not have had the extended performances that the first season did. Music has always remained the centerpiece of which this show revolves around.

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And by doing so, it gives an amazing amount of depth and feeling to the performances we hear, and to the characters we meet.

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You know that often used trope in anime: the power of love conquers all! You know how it always feels cheesy? Well, Nodame is the one show where I think the power of love does conquer all. Utterly so. And I thought the scene between Nodame and Lucas was a fitting cap to that theme. Why do they do the things they do? To give back to society? To make the most of their talents? Maybe. A little bit. But more than anything, it’s their love for music that ties the binds.

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From Elise to Milche…

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To Chiaki and Nodame.

I was anxious about the ending, knowing that there was displeasure with the manga ending. But actually, I thought it was a fitting end to the show. I can understand why people were disappointed. There could’ve been things that were done better. I would’ve loved seeing a final grand performance with Nodame and Chiaki and Rising Star orchestra. I would’ve loved for Chiaki to not have forgotten about his marriage proposal. And a 12th episode would’ve helped the pacing, which was a bit quick.

But in the end, I got what I wanted. Nodame x Chiaki staying together, with both continuing to pursue their love for music. It’s the best of both worlds. It wasn’t the most closed loop of endings, but I’m ok with that. It leaves the door open for future stories, which I hope, hope, hope we’ll see (and will, since there’s at least one more OVA confirmed).

Like I said above, it’s hard to say goodbye. Especially to a show with characters that I’ve come to love. Even though it’s only been a short time, I feel like I’ve grown with the characters and they’ve grown with me. So it’s that much harder. But what a ride it’s been. And I can’t express my admiration enough for Tomoko Ninomiya in creating a masterpiece and for Chiaki Kon and Kasai Kenichi in really bringing it to life. Nodame Cantabile isn’t just a great anime, it’s a great story, period.

18 Replies to “Nodame Cantabile: Finale, episode 11 – Fin”

  1. I agree with your summation. It is difficult to feel completely satisfied with the end of this series, because I don’t really want it to end. But if I had to break it down, I would say I want to see that most of the characters were happy, that Nodame decided to continue to pursue a musical career, not out of obligation, or as a means of being near Chiaki, but because she enjoyed it, and, of course, a NodameXChiaki ending. Since I got everything I wanted, I can’t really quibble too much, and, thinking about it rationally, if the franchise went on much longer, they would have to inject more drama, which would have jeopardized my preferences as stated above.

    @RP: “some place (I can’t remember what the woman’s name was)”

    Nina Lutz. She was an instructor at the festival in Season 1, where Chiaki was discovered by the Music reporter. She was also re-introduced in episode 1 of this season, when Chiaki goes to her house to practice a Bach concerto (then falls sick). I thought it was pretty funny that Chiaki stormed in there while she was in work-out clothes. 😀
    .-= Joojoobees´s last blog ..Durarara!! Mid-Series Review =-.

    1. Re: Nina, ah ok. I remembered the first scene where she ran after the phantom piano player. But I couldn’t figure out why Chiaki would bring him to her place of all places. That makes sense now.

      I do hope they make good use of the upcoming OVA though and not treat it as a throwaway episode like the first OVA. If Chiaki and Nodame performed with Rising Star, that would be the greatest fanservice gift ever. 😀

  2. I was pretty dissatisfied with the manga ending but I think it was mostly because I just blazed through the pages in a rush to find out how it finished. The anime forced me to take in the information and developments at its pace and, as a result, I was less unhappy with it.

    But I’m still more than a little cheesed off since it’s not even the beginning of the end, just the end of the beginning for their story and it’s disappointing to see things left off without at least some of kind of dramatic finale or, at least, some tying in back to the beginning i.e. playing piano in the room full of trash.
    .-= Zyl´s last blog ..Girl Friends 31 =-.

    1. Hmm, having just watched the Aria ending, which showed me an ending done perfectly right, I think I can understand where you’re coming from. I guess what disappoints me a little bit is that they didn’t go for a more normal 12 or 13 episode season. I guess they wanted it to end in sync with the manga, but an extra episode or two would’ve gone a long way in adding some extra development and maybe allowing time for that epic ending, or at least one with a more formal epilogue where we got to see and hear what everyone was up to.

  3. Hey i just finished watching this anime. Remember there was a scene where there’s this guy eating a sandwich who said “So you haven’t broken up with her.”, and then chiaki said “Actually, we practically did break up… i think”. What did he mean? Are they still together or not? Please, please, please clear this up 😕

    1. I vaguely remember the scene, I think I interpreted it as sort of a tongue in cheek comment from Chiaki. Like “it feels kinda like we broke up, although we actually haven’t.” I came away from the ending pretty confident that the two were still together though.

  4. Hi can tell me the name of the song used during the onion festival? The ochestra piece that is. I have been looking for that song.

    1. I know I am over 6 years late but I am going to go ahead and leave a reply just in case someone else comes looking for this song. The name is Capriccio Espagnol by Rimsky-Korsakov. The original version is slower but the one performed on NC is a bit faster.

          1. @RP You are welcome too Usagi-chan. Even though you seem to be on a hiatus but the fact that this blog is still afloat helps people like me in finding those long lost ideas and views that generally no one would talk about these days. Thank you and good luck to you on your future endeavors. ^_^/

  5. mmm is every1 sure they r together? lik sure sure n not n a teensy weensy way bcomin apart i mean will they see each other n all? OMG IM SOO CURIOUS PPL REPLY FASTT!!!

  6. there cant be anyone like Nodame- the different thoughts she has and the elevated plane she lives in. Doesnt everyone in the series say that she’s an idiot? But everybody loves her nevertheless!

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