There's a long standing argument that the book/manga is always better than the animated/live action adaptation. More often than not, the adpated version is often presented in a condensed form (Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy for example), and proponents of the book/manga will argue that relevant, even necessary, parts of the story are left out, and that the overall story is somehow "spoiled" because of this.
It's interesting then that Nodame Cantabile is one of the few manga on which people generally agree that watching the anime or live action adaptations only serves to enhance the story.
The manga, created by Ninomiya Tomoko in
2001, has become one of the most well known romantic comedies in manga, andthe anime and live action adaptations have proven to be extremely popular with fans from all walks of life.
So what is it that makes Nodame Cantabile "different" from other shoujo or josei (it's been categorised as both at one time or another), romantic comedies?
The story follows the lives of Noda Megumi (Nodame), and Chiaki Shinichi, two music students who attend the Momogaoka College of Music. The two meet by accident and Nodame quickly falls in love, however the pair are as different as chalk and cheese in almost every respect.
One of the things that attracts many people is the maturity of the series. This is no twinkly teenage romance, but a more mature, if somewhat off-the-wall, tale of finding one's place in the world. The humour, whilst being decidedly offbeat, also has a realism that is missing from other rom-coms. The same thing also applies to the plot as well, especially the manner in which the characters develop over the course of the series.
Nodame, being the main driver for much of the comedy, is a truly unique character, and her relationship with Chiaki often develops both of them in some surprising and unexpected ways. At times childlike, combative, moody, but with a determination and talent that is sometimes inspiring, she should be the ideal match for Chiaki, however she's also lazy, messy, tends not to wash for days, can't cook, finds it easy to lie, and an otaku.
Chiaki, on the other hand, represents the "straight man" in this comedy duo. He looks after himself and is talented, well educated, good looking, a good cook, likes cleanliness and tidiness, and has a strong sense of responsibility. It's ultimately his sense of responsibility that proves to be his downfall though, especially where Nodame is concerned, and it's interesting to see how Nodame's influence changes his perception of the people around him.
The sometimes odd relationship between the two forms the core of the story and is the driving force behind many of their thoughts and actions. Chiaki's propriety and Nodame's "gyabo-ness" create some interesting situations for the two to overcome, especially as they both become more well known in the world of classical music over time. It also sets the tone of the series as even though there is a serious element running through the story, this is very much a lighthearted affair.
Aside from Nodame and Chiaki, there are a fair number of supporting characters that, more often than not, have a direct hand in how Nodame and Chiaki's relationship proceeds (although admittedly it may not seem that way at first). A nice thing to see is that Ninomiya has refused to go with stock one-dimensional characters and, especially during later chapters, manages to give the supporting cast a bit more "soul". The deviations from the main story may, at first, seem like fillers when in truth they are actually efforts at fleshing out one or more characters. Come the end of the series it's nice to see that a fair number of the characters show at least some development.
One thing that I've mentioned already is the sense of realism about the series, and it may surprise many to know that the character of Nodame is actually based on a real person called Noda Megumi. Ninomiya was inspired to write a comedy about a sloppy music student after Noda posted an image of her messy room onto asite that Ninomiya managed. Noda, who is now a piano teacher in Fukuoka (which is also Nodame's hometown), has been consulted extensively throughout the series, and wrote much of the thematic music for the anime. In addition, she co-wrote (with Ninomiya), the lyrics for Nodame's notorious "Fart Song".
As with any long running manga, it's easy to see how Ninomiya's drawing style has progressed over the years. At first she tried to take a slightly more detailed approach to the character design, however she adopts a more simplistic, yet highly expressive, style later on which, in all honesty, is one of the things that makesthe series great. Ninomiya's ability to visualise facial expressions, and to switch between detail sketch and simplistic cartoon, can sometimes confuse people, but once the reader is caught up in the story, everything just seems to work.
That said, this isn't the most well drawn series that I have read, however context is everything here. In terms of manga as a medium it is only average, however in terms of comedy manga it works extremely well.
This is a highly enjoyable series that brought back memories of my stint at university. Students are the same no matter where they are, after all. The developing relationship between Chiaki and Nodame is a joy to behold, especially given Nodame's "quirky" personality. The many realistic threads that runs through this manga, from the character inspirations to the classical music itself, all serve to add a depth to the story that is both remarkable and unusual.
If you thought classical music and comedy didn't mix, then prepare to be proven wrong.
As a former student of music I found this to be an absolutley fantastic read. The story is realistic and has a good feel to it. The characters in multidimensional and engaging and the understanding of music and musical terms is very good.
I would reccomend also listeing to the nodame cantabile CDs in accompanyment to reading the manga, it makes it a much more enriching and enjoyable experience.
The only downside to this is that tje romantic development is very slow, though it does not fall into any of the typical shoujo manga cliches.
What can I say?! I loved the animated Nodame, so why can't I not love the manga?
Although I started reading at chapter 50 or something, which is where the animation left off, I'd still say it's worth the read.
I don't know though if you'd love reading the manga when you haven't watched the animation first because you may never appreciate the music behind each story. But there are NC fans out there that started with the manga rather than with the animation, so I can't say much.
Storywise, it is a good read. If you liked how the story went through the animation,
the next chapters are way better. The mangaka made it a point that every chapter outdoes the previous one. There's a LOT going on in the Europe arc.
What should I say... it´s 4:30 in the morning and I really can´t stop reading it!
While reading this story, I´m listening to the songs that make part on the manga/anime/drama as well... is just wonderfull.
It´s wonderfull to think that a manga can transport us to different places, cultures, interests.
A while ago, this kind of music was nothing but boring songs to me, and in some few episodes, it turned out to produce such great feelings, capted in every note.
I always prefer wachting things first and then read the real story, because we can sense the original idea and
feelings that the author wants to show. Of course Nodame Cantabile was somewhat different, because the music (and not just that) was the main factor that make us enjoy this story so much.
The romance between the characters and their charisma make me really enjoy this too, following through their personal development, as getting to know a little more about music history and the composers.
It´s for sure in my top 3 list, a story that made my world open a little more.
At first it was a splendor to read...
Until it lost its momentum.
Slowly the story eroded my enjoyment, like a slow torture to my brain.
In the beginning it wasn't so bad, I found myself eagerly awaiting reading the next chapters but soon enough; I was halfheartedly dragging myself to read it and that's not why I started reading this manga.
I don't even want to trouble myself with writing about the illustrations because like most books I read, this one not being an exception, the illustration deteriorated as the story went on.
Overall, it's not a story I'd recommend for readers or actually bother to try to recommend
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.
I have years reading mangas and watching anime and this is the first time in my life I got the needing of doing a Review.
I'm a musician, being the piano my principal instrument. This is the first time I see something like this: The use of the pieces, the descriptions, the use of terminology that would make even non-musician enjoy classical music. Really loveable. The characters' personality is incredible! It is one of the funniest manga I've read in my life.
The art is incredible! I'm a graphic designer and I cannot think of another thing but a masterpiece! I mean! is incredible how such
a simple illustration can be so dynamic. Incredible for sure.
So please! if you want to enjoy one of the best mangas and animes in the world, please read this! The realness of relationships, the beautifulness of music and the joy of reading something fun but right this is the right place.
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 would like to share my opinion on the plots that the author laid down for the up coming development of the story.
The most interesting thing of reading a story is to make a guess of the development of the story base on the characters' personal growth and change in the story and by observing the author's intended and unintended hints.
I am happy to see that the author allows Nodame to grow and change. The story began when Nodame was just 20 and the story continues to evolve and now Nodame is 23 years old. She travelled from Japan to France to
study and meet many different people and learn new things. All these elements make a person grow and change. It is necessary and reasonable for the character to grow up and change. However I found that another character Chiaki did not have a parallel growing path as Nodame. But I believe it is reasonable for the author to arrange this way. Perhpas I will need to elaborate on this point some time later. It is a very important element for the later development of the story and has a direct impact on the romantic development of the couple which is the focus of a lot of fans.
I am not sure if the mediator will allow me to express my view on the ending of the story. However it is just my opinion and it may not become true.
Do you know that the author likes the story of Roses of Versailes? Do you know what happened to the heroin of the story? Do you know why it must be a tragic ending? I guess that when the successful elements of the story is about how the heroin defended her master loyally is changed because of the character has grown up and things are changed. The successful elements of the manga is not there any more. It is better to let the story to come to an end with an unforgettable ending. Besides the characters look good in rich people's clothing but after all the changes, she will not be able to wear those clothes. Besides, the fascinating part is that the love suspense of the heroin is resolved, there is nothing much for the fans to anticipate.
Manga authors are afraid that their work are not treated seriously. Actually a lot of manga has a very important message to tell and has a good plots. I personally think that some of the manga artists should enjoy the same status as a literature writer. I also believe that a lot of people share my view.
Many of the old Chinese literatures like to give a tragic end. It might reflect outlook of the author towards the country's pathetic situation and it reflects on the work of the writer. The author's surrounding situation will affect the outlook of his/her life. Will she/he kills the characters depend on the whether the author feels happy or not in his/her real life.
Usually when an author wanted to give a miss to the romantic development of the couple, he/she will arrange happy union of the not so important characters in the story. For example, the best friends of the main characters will finally get a long waited union with his partner, so to exaggerate the pitiful situation of the main characters.
These are my general feeling. There are a lot of small details in the story which I can recognise as clues to the ending. However it might be called spoilers if I dig all the clues out for the ending. So I decided to write up to here.
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.
Having been brought up with a musical background stories concerning music has always sorta drawn on me; and though the artwork did not strike me as my cuppa tea i picked up vol 1 off the bookshelf just to read the story.
It was then i realised i was totally hook. Chiaki's "ouji-sama" status in school was quite predictable, as with most shoujo-targetted stories, but what was really good was the way they weave classical music into the tale, and Nodame was one helluva refreshing character, an out of the world attitude, very unlike the usual plain-janes or pretty girls category.
Despite having portrayed Chiaki or
Nodame as "geniuses", the story has time and time again reminded us that success was just 1% talent and 99% hardwork; noticed just how "talented" Nodame was and she was a lousy student in the beginning due to her "slack-attitude" and Chiaki was only that "fantastic" because hes really a workaholic cum perfectionist. True he had talent, but without all that effort, he couldn't had made it.
All the secondary characters seemingly had more than just a one dimensional personality as we see how in various scenarios, they seemingly reacted. It is quite colorful. ;)
The son of a famous pianist, music student Shinichi Chiaki dreams of studying abroad and becoming a conductor like his mentor. Unfortunately, his fear of flying grounds his lofty plans! As he watches other classmates achieve what he has always wanted, Shinichi wonders if he should quit music altogether.
Then one day he meets fellow student Megumi Noda, also known as Nodame. This oddball girl cannot cook, clean, or even read a music score, but she can play the piano in incomparable Cantabile style. And she teaches Chiaki something that he has forgotten: to enjoy his music, no matter where he is.
This was the first
JOSEI genre'd manga I ever read, and the first manga I read that had to do with music. It brought back my love for classical music and I started listening to it while reading this! In this story, the magic that brings two people together is music... (And Stresemann.) The story is very slow paced, sometimes too slow, dropping it rating for me. But without the slow pace, you couldn't see the HUGE character developments, and growth. If I think about it, its a very whimsical series, with a very unique story. Its comical and suspense full, bringing reader to the edge of their seats.
I gave it a 8 because I feel the ending was VERY rushed. But I also cannot blame the author, who had a baby and was hospitalized for appendicitis during the making of this. She did the best she could, and created a wonderful story out it!
The art style for Nodame is one of my favorites. Its not ultra shiny like Arina Tanemura's but it has its shoujo themes. Each character has their own look, especially the ones in Europe, like Frank and Tanya. You can tell which country each character came from by the way they were drawn. Even after all the hospitalizations, the author's art was very pretty and well done! I'm hoping to see more art work from her.
Character development is HUGE in this series. It's the most important part of the story and without it, it would just be piano music and lost of characters. Chiaki and Megumi grew the most, out of the many characters. Chiaki goes from a VERY cold-hearted man who only cares about music, to some one who cares very much for someone else. Nodame goes from a very confused, estranged girl who doesn't want to play piano only, to a girl who knows wheres shes going in life. However, it took her to EGYPT and BACK to figure it out! LOL. Nodame's insanity always had me laughing. The thing I DIDN'T like much about this series, was the AMOUNT of characters it had. I mean, yes Nodame and Chiaki go through 3 or 4 countries, so they're meeting so many people, but sometimes I lost track of which character was which,and who they were friends with. Though, besides Chiaki, my favorite characters where Ryou and Kuroki, who suddenly fall out of the story somewhere in the middle.
Overall Enjoyment: 10/10
I watched the anime first, before I even thought about looking up the manga, then i watched the Live Action. FINALLY, after becoming a huge Nodame fan, I decided to read the manga. The way the manga ended shocked me, because of it's rushed feeling. Everything seemed to just END. I'm really hoping that the upcoming Nodame anime brings a better ending and they don't follow the manga story line! Not that I hated the manga, I actually really loved it! It's a calming manga, which everyone, no matter waht age, gender or genre fan you are, can enjoy!!
I also suggest listening to the Live Action OST while reading this!
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.