Nodame Cantabile: Finale, episode 9 – Take a deep breath

If the last episode was one of the best episodes of Nodame Cantabile, this one just upped the ante. My stomach was in knots, my breath taken away and I had shivers listening to Nodame perform – equally in awe and hoping that Stresemann could hold the beautiful disaster together.

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It’s the S-orchestra guys! I hope this isn’t the extent of their involvement in this season, but with just two episodes left, I’m not too hopeful of getting much more from them.

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I can’t believe Stresemann’s 73-years-old. For one, he looks like he’s in his 40’s. And two, he hits the town like he’s in his 20’s. Although Nodame didn’t look like she originally wanted to be there, or maybe she was a little in disbelief, it was pretty cool seeing her taking the initiative and guiding the piece the way she wanted it.

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Nodame’s always been sort of the sympathetic character as far as her relationship with Chiaki’s been concerned. But I wonder if that dynamic has turned. 88-56-87 is 35"-22"-34" for those not on the metric system. I don’t know if I’m the only one, but I find myself doing those calculations every time I see the three sizes. Oh, and that’s pretty impressive… if true.

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I was thrilled with Rui’s 2+ minute performance last week, but did you notice that Nodame’s performance went nearly 6 minutes? It felt like it took up just about the whole second half of the episode. Last week was awesome. This week was sublime on a level above.

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Once Nodame’s fingers crashed onto the keys and I saw the shots of everyone’s faces and reactions, I thought "yabai!" Are they good looks? Or bad looks? Are they just so stunned by her playing? Or are they in shock because something is off? With Nodame, it’s usually a mixture of both. And at that point a knot formed in my stomach as I hoped and prayed that Nodame would be able to hold it together.

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Chiaki sums it up best, even here, Nodame is still Nodame, unpredictable, uncontrollable as ever. But that’s why listening to her play is so unique. There’s no one else like her. Still, as talented as Nodame, I would guess that there’s very few composers that would be able to hang with her – able to adjust to her unpredictability. If it weren’t Chiaki, Stresemann’s was clearly the best alternative to conduct Noda’s debut.

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I have to admit, I was nervous for Stresemann as I was for Nodame. "Keep it together Stresemann! Make it work!" I thought. The Nodamustang image from the last episode popped up in my mind. The anime, throughout the three seasons has done a fantastic job characterizing her playing as something truly wild and untamable, but also remarkable is that her playing, as "eccentric" as it is, never fails to draw in everyone. From the crowd to the concert master, who’s changing his style on the fly.

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And then when the music stops, there’s the slight pause, and the crowd breaks out in a roar. Wow. It brought a tear to my eye. I took a deep breath and could finally relax knowing that it all went keikakudoori. I thought everything about this scene was brilliantly directed, from Chiaki’s voiceover, to the faces and expressions, to the light and flower effects. Everything about it just sucked me into Nodame’s world. I’d imagine it’d been the same effect if this scene were playing in the real world and I was sitting in the orchestra seats. Just tremendous.

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Bravo, Stresemann. You deserve a rest. Or at least some ice cream.

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What a way to end the episode. As Chiaki points out, everything’s changed and they can’t go back to where they were before. It just feels more and more likely to me that Chiaki and Nodame’s path towards brilliance will ultimately pull these two apart. I hope I’m wrong. But that’s feeling like the most "real" ending.

14 Replies to “Nodame Cantabile: Finale, episode 9 – Take a deep breath”

  1. Yeah, they really delivered. The tension during the performance was immense, in part because Nodame has delivered awful performances in the past, and in part because I just wasn’t sure what was going through her mind.

    BTW, what a great poster of Stresseman! I loved that pose. 😀
    .-= Joojoobees´s last blog ..Paprika (DVD) =-.

  2. Nice review! I’ve been looking for Nodame Cantabile Finale bloggers but I haven’t seen much except you or maybe another one or two on the net.

    Anyways, totally agree with you, I don’t want the Nodame x Chiaki relationship to fall apart after watching like 3 seasons of them being together, but really I think the most satisfying ending would be for those two to excel at what they do best which means they’d have to split apart.

    As much as I would want them to stay together, I also want each of them to be successful in the music world as well >___< … Ugh it would be such a waste though since both Nodame and Chiaki have soo much talent within them. But like I was thinking a couple of episodes ago, when Chiaki's mom had insisted that Nodame was Chiaki's angel and last episode where Chiaki stated he was Nodame's angel, I think that Nodame couldn't reach where she is without Chiaki and vice versa as well. Chiaki needs Nodame and she in return needs Chiaki (I mean did you see the Nodame version without Chiaki? xDD). But in the end I'm still puzzled of what's going to happen, seeing as pursuing their careers will lead to their separation but their careers will fall apart eventually without each other and … @_____@ I'm just gonna stop there.

    Thanks for the review and sorry for the ranting comment xDDD I just wanted to talk to fellow Nodame Cantabile fans xD

    1. Thanks! Nice to meet another Nodame fan! Yeah, sadly there doesn’t seem to be too many blogs following Nodame this season. I guess it’s because it’s on season 3, it’d be hard to jump on if you hadn’t already been following it.

      Yeah, it’s gonna be real interesting to see how their careers and ambitions will impact their relationship. Personally, while I do want to see both of them succeed, I don’t want to see that success come between them. The whole show has been centered on their growing relationship, it would feel incomplete if they ended it without the two being together (although I guess there’s an element of realism in there). But having heard some grumblings about the manga end, I’ve been wondering if that’s exactly what we’ll see.

      1. I guess it’s because it’s on season 3, it’d be hard to jump on if you hadn’t already been following it.

        Maybe that and that season two was not great. If people started with Paris, they might have dropped the franchise.

        I hope they stay together, though. I understand what you guys are saying about professional development, but they really complement each other.
        .-= Joojoobees´s last blog ..Paprika (DVD) =-.

        1. Eh, I think season 2 gets a bad rap, because it didn’t live up to the excellence of season 1. It may not have had the same charm, but it was still funny stuff. I think those that dropped it because of season 2, either had unrealistic expectations, or never really liked the show that much to begin with.

        2. I’m with RP on this one. Paris got way too bad a rep from Nodame fans because it wasn’t quite as good as the first season. Most of it’s flaws simply came down to pacing issues after being forced into 11 episodes by Noitamina.
          .-= Scamp´s last blog ..Happy St.Patrick’s Day =-.

      2. Thanks for the reply ^^. Yeah it’d be definitely sad to not see both of them getting together, so I’d probably gauge my eyes out bawling if they don’t end up together. But your right with the realism part of it, which plays such a great role on this show. The story seems soo realistic (on certain parts I mean ^^;) down to each relationships within the show. I’m not sure if I’m the only one that feels this way but watching this show makes me feel so nostalgic for some reason xD.. And I’m not even sure why (though I think the style of the animation has to do with it). But carrying on, yeah I haven’t read much discussion on the manga because I tend to watch the anime version of things first before getting into its specifics (though most people do the opposite). So yeah I have absolutely no idea how the manga differs from the anime. The dorama version of it was hesterical though! I can honestly say hands down that the dorama version of it has the best asset of actors that match down each characters on the anime. Though I’ve watched the dorama a couple years back ago, seeing it again always makes me laugh non stop! Tamaki (Chiaki) has such a great way of acting along with Juri (Nodame) and you can just corelate with the anime perfectly ^__^ Anyways enough of me blaabing on about the dorama version and back to this epsiode lol. It was really a cliff hanger seeing the ending of this epsiode especially when Chiaki said that they may never have the same relation again.

        1. I think there’s a “maturity” to the show and everyone’s relationships that doesn’t exist in most anime. Less driven by stereotypes, and occasionally there’s even surprises along the way, like Nodame’s proposal, which really help make it feel more “real.”

          I haven’t read the manga either, so I have no idea how it ends up, but… it’s just been some dissatisfaction with the ending that I’ve heard in vague terms. I guess we’ll see. Interestingly, even after the show ends, there’s a one-episode OVA planned. I don’t think it’ll have a big connection with the show’s plot, but who knows.

          Yeah, the dorama is great. It took me a little while to get used to, but eventually I came to love it. I loved Juri from the beginning. And it took me a few episodes to get used to Tamaki (because he looked too pissed in the first episodes), but eventually I thought he was great as well. And the Mine I picture in my head, is the live action Mine. Funny how that works. :p

          1. I know what you mean, for some reason this show gets me hooked even if it kept going to like 7 seasons xD… I wouldn’t mind still watching it of course~

            Ehh, so there’s a bit of people who think that the manga ended semi-badly then? Well I guess we’ll have to hope that they tweek it a tad bit for the anime hehehe..

            I LOVE the drama, I ramble about it even if there’s no relation to the topic at all lol. Seriously you liked Juri at the beginning? I’ve seen some of her dramas from before and her movies like Swing girls but she didn’t really catch my attention till I saw her role as Nodame lol. But for Tamaki I loved him the moment 3 seconds past from the drama of the episode lol. Of course I think watching him as Chiaki-sempai in Nodame cantabile was probably the first drama I’ve seen him in. Nevertheless, you can really see how similar he is with Chiaki lol acting wise I mean. Even down to the voice somewhat lol.. Hehehe you really thought that Tamaki was seriously pissed of the first couple of episodes? xD I think that’s just the way he acts lol. Upon discovering him from NC, I pretty much went into a Tama-craze and looked for a lot of his dramas and watching them till 5 am.. lol Eita as Mine is PERfECT >_< You can really picture him as Mine right?~ You know who I pictured perfectly from the anime? That moja moja guy! You know the afro hair guy!! lmao He is perfect for the role as well!

          2. Regarding the dorama, I enjoyed it, but there is one thing I think they got wrong: Juri is way to gorgeous to be Nodame. I know, it’s TV; there is no way they are gonna pass up an opportunity to put some eye candy in a leading role. It does make some of Chaki’s protests nonsensical, though.

            In the anime I imagine Nodame is kind of cute, but not gorgeous, because Chiaki frequently dismisses her looks (as in this episode). This makes the romance between them a little sweeter. But you would have to have had your eyes poked out to think Ueno Juri is anything other than a stunning beauty. :love:

            @RP: I know what you mean about Mine, the guy who played him in the dorama was great.
            .-= Joojoobees´s last blog ..Paprika (DVD) =-.

          3. @K: sorry for the delay, I don’t know why your comments keep getting eaten up by the spam filter.

            I did like Juri from the beginning. I actually thought she was pretty cute, not terribly gorgeous, and I really thought she pulled off the spaciness of Nodame really well.

            Yeah, Tamaki took me a while to get used to. Too angry in the beginning! 😀 Plus, he was making these really weird faces occasionally that smacked of overacting. But then I realized that he was probably trying to match the weird faces in the anime, and things got better.

            I think my favorite of the live action episodes was the kotatsu episode. I may have peed my pants laughing at that one.

  3. I thought everything about this scene was brilliantly directed, from Chiaki’s voiceover, to the faces and expressions, to the light and flower effects. Everything about it just sucked me into Nodame’s world.

    Could not have written it better, myself, and I, too, had a tear or two in my eyes after Nodame’s glorious performance. I was honestly shocked when the ED began — I was so into this episode, sucked so thoroughly into this world, that it felt as if only a few minutes had passed. This is the first time in the series that I have desperately thirsted for more immediately after finishing an episode; I’d actually say this might be my favorite episode in all three seasons.

    1. Yeah, I’ve been really impressed at how they’ve really been able to keep the show’s momentum rolling for the past few eps. It’s funny how in the beginning of the season it felt a little aimless, but it seems to all coming together.

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