Shinichi Chiaki is a first class musician whose dream is to play among the elites in Europe. Coming from a distinguished family, he is an infamous perfectionist—not only is he highly critical of himself, but of others as well. The only thing stopping Shinichi from leaving for Europe is his fear of flying. As a result, he's grounded in Japan.
During his fourth year at Japan's top music university, Shinichi happens to meet Megumi Noda or, as she refers to herself, Nodame. On the surface, she seems to be an unkempt girl with no direction in life. However, when Shinichi hears Nodame play the piano for the first time, he is in awe of the kind of music she creates. Nevertheless, Shinichi is dismayed to discover that Nodame is his neighbor, and worse, she ends up falling head over heels in love with him.
[Written by MAL Rewrite]
The last two volumes titled, Nodame Cantabile: Encore Opera-hen, contain sequel to the main series.
Nodame Cantabile has been adapted as three different television series: an award-winning live-action drama that aired in 2006, followed by a sequel television special that aired in January 2008, and as an anime series spanning three seasons with the first one broadcast in 2007.
In 2014, it received a South Korean drama adaptation titled Cantabile Tomorrow.
The series was published in English by Del Rey Manga; in France by Pika; and in Spain by Norma Editorial. Kodansha has taken up the English license, and has been publishing the series digitally since July 26, 2016.
Three words are enough to introduce Nodame Cantabile: lovely, passionate, and inspiring.
This beautiful musical rom-com manga follows the life of the arrogant musical genius Chiaki Shinichi as he weaves through the music conservatory he is enrolled in. A bump in the road caused him to meet Noda Megumi or “Nodame” and this energetic weirdo just nonchalantly drags him into many life-changing moments he will never experience if ever they didn’t meet.
You may ask “why would I even dare to read a musical manga?” Of course this already has one excellent anime adaptation and two sequels to it, so it is wise to just go for
the anime, no?
But do not let your expectations of dullness from this silent musical story take over. For a black and white manga, it is very full of color – full of emotions and candid moments. In funny times, in sad times, and especially in all musical performances, you can feel the emotions the characters have in every panel as if shot by a professional photographer. There is no exaggeration in labeling Nodame Cantabile more of a photo album than a manga.
The story of Nodame Cantabile is nothing but respectable. You have two college students struggling their way, meeting and parting with friends, and deepening their relationship as they hit many walls. It is a very relatable story revolving on timely struggles faced by people uncertain of their future. The story is handle with utmost care and respect, it never feels senseless; everything is just worth following. Even with such a mature story, Nodame Cantabile manages to be light-hearted and hilarious without ever making things just a bit awkward for the story.
Nodame and Chiaki is, hands down, the best couple out of all the animanga pair-ups I know. Chiaki’s perfectionist and Nodame’s devil-may-care attitude constantly in conflict sparks the growth of the two as individuals and as a couple. Slowly one learns and accepts things from the other while still being their true selves. They begin to rely more on each other but still remaining to be very strong and independent people. These changes also aid them in slowly coming into terms with the real dilemmas in life.
The supporting cast are a treat, too. From Tokyo to Paris, they meet a variety of interesting people challenging or just wanting to have fun with them. They get ample amount of panel and development that makes them really relatable.
This series is an emotional roller coaster for me. Hilarious most of the time, heartbreaking at the right moments, lovely every time, and inspiring all throughout. Nodame Cantabile transcends the traditional “achieve your dreams” story while remaining a sense of realism to be believable. The story is very dear to me, as someone who faces more or less the same problems as the characters had. I never let fictional stories influence my way of life, but I will gladly make an exemption for this one.
Even with all the great things about this series, it is very hard to recommend to others. The story is basically about people living their everyday lives and eventually facing the biggest turning point of their career – and that’s about it. It’s even more about Nodame and Chiaki’s growth as persons and how they need each other, and the romance between them is more or less an end result of this development. But the goal is never the true purpose of this manga, but the journey – the journey of accepting and enduring all odds whatever life throws at us and still having a positive outlook in life.
Take your time to read or watch Nodame Cantabile. The plot and characters are great, but what really matters is the passion it shows. It’s genuine and pure; a very honest series.
Ah, Nodame Cantabile. I'm a big fan of yours. The anime really got me hooked up-- from the first season, second, til the finale. It was really breathtaking. So I tried to give the manga a chance.
I'm not gonna talk about the story though, it's completely stunning, because the manga and the anime is just the same. The story is unbelievably realistic, and as the story goes on, it doesn't forget about the main topic, which is music. To me, this is undeniably the best music-themed series ever. The story doesn't lack of musical knowledge, instead we're offered so many musics, in this case,
classical music. It doesn't suck at delivering the main point and we got to enjoy the story quickly. Way to go.
As for the art... I don't know whether it's just me or it looks kinda unstable. Sometimes they look so beautiful but sometimes they look kinda funny (lol). Well... I personally don't really like the art. See, it's like, so simple compared to all other mangas I've ever read. It doesn't show much of details, and it's not very neat either.
The character relates to the story. So we have two main characters: the perfectionist Chiaki Shinichi and your genius Noda Megumi. Their character isn't something particularly new: a harsh guy meets an eccentric girl, the girl falls in love with the harsh guy, the harsh guy rejects, the girl stays persistent, the guy realizes the girl's pure feelings and he started to open his heart. This could sound really boring because this plot has been used for over than thousands series out there, but ChiakixNodame pairing didn't disappoint me. Well, at the beginning I was kinda disturbed because their relationship doesn't show any improvement, but I'm happy they didn't let me down. Their pairing is so, dunno, fresh, because there is also something that shocks us and prevents us from getting bored. And besides, their characters are also strong and are understandable by the readers.
Then... aside from the two main characters, the other supporting charas also did their job well. We could... feel their presence, and their existence becomes more important to us as the story goes by, even though they're not the main players.
I would like to give 10 if we could hear the music as we read the manga... but unfortunately we can't. Yes, that's the only weak point of this manga. This manga is about music, and if we dunno the music that is being played (sometimes Ninomiya uses uncommon classical musics, am I right), we can barely imagine the feeling. The situation. Well, the good thing is that only weakness means nothing in the anime. If you're kinda disturbed by not being able to 'hear', I suggest you to watch the anime. Now.
Aside from the flaws such as the unstable art and the silent music, this manga is pretty enjoyable. Well, the story itself is fabulous indeed. At least you could imagine the music being played, haha. Even though I highly recommend the anime series more than this manga, since you can enjoy it to the fullest.
I absolutely LOVED this manga!!!! I should have read it a long time ago, as a huge fan of the live-action. Chiaki manages to be even MORE dreamy in the manga (despite Hiroshi Tamaki playing him in the live-action) and Nodame is definitely less annoying and even really cute in the manga. And their relationship is just so adorable. Aww. Side characters are also excellent and memorable, especially the R-S Oke members and Stresseman.
It also expands on so much more than the live-action did (understandably) with many volumes taking place in Europe and Chiaki/Nodame's adventures there.
I love music-themed manga so much. I do wish that the ending was a little stronger though and that it felt more "wrapped-up"... would have loved to see more of the Japanese gang and R-S Oke.
I am a big fan of classical music and music in general so I really enjoyed it. The 2nd half of the manga has our lead couple visiting major music cities in Europe like Vienna, Prague, Berlin etc... I had just visited those places when I was reading this manga so it was very nice, lol.
Another thing that is really impressive is just that it is a manga about music. You can't hear the symphonies and concertos that they play in this manga, but you can feeeeeeeeel it.
I was in high school when I first read this manga. A friend let me borrow it, saying that it was hilarious. I was a little wary of the cover art, as it didn't look like an art style I would be comfortable with. However, I was instantly hooked and the art didn't bother me. It is now several years later and the manga and its "encore" special are finished in Japan. I've followed it from beginning to end!
At first glance, this seems like a typical romantic comedy but taking place in the somewhat unusual setting of a music college. As time progresses, it starts
exploring territories not often seen in manga. For one thing, it is a realistic portrayal of triumphs and failures in college and beyond. Being a college student myself for most of the series' run, I could relate. It is also an interesting, in-depth look at different interpretations of classical music. Having known very little about classical music before reading this, I certainly have a new appreciation now.
Another thing I appreciated was how the author dealt with the subtleties of romantic relationships. Although it is a romantic comedy, the romance isn't always straightforward. You get the sense that you are only witnessing the truly important moments in the characters' romantic relationships. We know from the get-go that the main pairing in this series will be Nodame and Chiaki. Yet, as the characters grow and become closer, they are paradoxically separated by their individual musical pursuits. How they deal with this situation is often disastrous, but both are sympathetic characters and you can't really blame either of them.
The biggest draw to this series is the comedy. I probably laughed in real life at least once per chapter. Tomoko Ninomiya really has a talent for comedy, as almost no situation in this series is completely serious for long (and it works). Nodame herself is hilariously weird, but the other characters and even Chiaki have a share in weirdness.
As the series inspired anime and live action adaptations, several soundtracks were made. I suggest actually listening to the pieces that are being played in the manga -- when a piece is played, there is a label on one of the panels that tells you the piece's name and the composer. I would say that the lack of sound is the one unfortunate flaw of experiencing this series in manga form. After all, music is the centerpiece of the series.
Overall, this is my favorite josei ever. The art improves over time, and the character development is immensely satisfying. I would recommend this to all lovers of josei, and also to people who love comedy, music, and slice-of-life.
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