Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Nodame Cantabile: Raw notes

Waiting on Froth-Bite to complete the series. I'm in no particular hurry, otherwise I'd have finished the last episode using speed subs. I've already read a bit about the last episode so I have a vague idea of how it's going to end, even if I don't know the minute details.

While not as consistent in production as, say, Honey and Clover, Nodame Cantabile was a much more enjoyable watch for me because it speaks to something I relate to. It's a self-serving reason, but if people are told to write about what they know, then I'm going to watch what I know. Rest assured, though! I do have a frustration/boredom threshold, and the only series I have dropped happens to be La Corda d'Oro, another music type series.

One of the elements I have the most mixed feelings about, which goes beyond the frequent still shots and CG, is the large blocks of time devoted to concert performances. On one hand, I want to listen to the music, but on the other, it exposes the disadvantage of trying to package a music setting into 22 minute episodes.

I have no doubt that anyone who has no interest in classical music will be bored out of their minds watching several minutes of still shots and CG instrument playing, all without dialog. I also understand that quite a bit of the source story was cut, probably as a result of the episode length and series run time. What remained, though, was still a serviceable story with what looks to be a solid finish, although at several points it felt rushed, such as the bit with Chiaki's family and various confrontations between characters.

As per the title, the rest of this entry doesn't have much in the way of discussion about What It Means To Me. When I'm done the series proper, I may be able to attempt to write about something to that effect. The notes are compiled in more or less chronological order.

Nodame: Vicious!
I really like Ayako Kawasumi's evil/dark/angry mode. There was a teaser in one of the earlier episodes where she expresses jealousy, but a dry spell quickly hit and I've been disappointed until episode 15.

Nodame Cantabile: reed discussionLIES!

Hardcore woodwind players will make their own reeds out of blanks, not unlike carving sculptures out of blocks of wood. And for noobs like me, we can buy Rico Royal 4's. Woodwinds, by definition, is a superset that includes clarinets, saxophones, bassoons, and oboes.

In the immediate aftermath of the introduction of the second OP, it came off as a poor choice. We've only reached the halfway point. It's a little early to say goodbye, isn't it? And that is exactly what Sagittarius feels like. It was only with the conclusion of the RS Orchestra arc that it began to fit the context of the series.

I was kind of weirded out by how Chiaki's consistent abuse didn't break Nodame, but one infraction by Eto made her murderously grim. I suppose there was some give and take when it came to Chiaki. Plus, Chiaki isn't strictly her teacher, and as hinted in episode 21, she might have a fear of piano instructors. Just noting this in case I find myself wondering all of a sudden in the future.

Nodame Cantabile episode 19: Standing ovation?The only person unable to give a standing ovation

Episode 19 was really powerful. The Rising Stars Orchestra arc that it concluded had some good momentum through its goal orientation, or maybe it was because I had begun my Froth-Bite catchup marathon around that point. We see a shift in thinking from Nodame which was very selfless.

Nodame Cantabile episode 19: One unhappy photo
Nodame has not deviated from her attempts to keep Chiaki close to her, but before, she endeavoured to fit their relationship within the context of her own ambitions, which were landlocked. In episode 19, she decides to lay her future on the line, just as Chiaki did conducting the RS Orchestra, so that she might fit in with Chiaki's dreams.

Nodame's competition failure was inevitable, having been a miracle that she even made it past the round that occurred on her off day. But consider the message being sent were she to have won, or even placed in the competition. It's the dream of every talented student no matter what the subject of study: to cruise through school/work/life based on innate gifts.

Talent can only take you so far. If the commitment to practice and memorize isn't there, a performer can never be the complete package. It's a lesson that isn't restricted to only the performing world. Nodame lacks discipline, and her passion for music is only an indirect consequence of her love for Chiaki. In her current mindset, she could never succeed as a performer on her own.