Sunday, June 3, 2012

Anime Review No 33, Nodame Cantabile Episode 1/First Impressions

Hi, I’m the Eclectic Dude and I review it for the lolz.

Music is quite exquisite is it not? I am quite a fan of music, ever since I was little. I did Kindermusic and youth choir back in the days. In middle school, I played viola for the string orchestra. It was also in middle school that I dabbled in musical composition, even entering and winning a contest once. However, once high school came around I lost interest in playing any sort of instrument. I did play keyboard for one semester, but none after that. I do still write music to this day, though not as frequent as I used to.
Nodame at piano and Chiaki at violin
There’s a point to this, as this week I’m looking at the first episode of Nodame Cantabile. It was suggested to a friend of mine as this person mentioned that I’d like it since it’s about classical music. I decided to watch the first episode and see if it was any good. Well, it is quite good.

Done by JC Staff and directed by Ken’ichi Kasai back in 2007, Nodame Cantabile tells the story of the relationships and daily lives of two college musicians. It’s a rather mature and sensible (read realistic) slice-of-life series from the outset. The Opening is quite nice as well, with some interesting visuals (floating music staves and piano keys).

The first of this duo is Chiaki, a guy with quite a talent for music (piano and violin notwithstanding) but personality wise he’s a bit strict, abrasive, etc. However, he would prefer to conduct music rather than play music. After getting his butt kicked out of the master class, he stumbles a bit with wondering to do. One day, he bumps into Nodame, the titular character playing the piano. Nodame is a bit of a foil to Chiaki; she is actually better at piano than Chiaki (when he helps her out) but has the personal skills of a shut-in. The two get paired together and in the process Nodame falls in love with Chiaki. That’s pretty much the gist of the first episode.

So, yeah the main draw for this series for me has to be the music aspect. Lot of the soundtrack is well-known pieces by classical composers (Beethoven and Mozart) and another pieces featured in the episode. I hope that other composers’ music is featured (like Mahler, Stravinsky, Wagner, etc.) but for the moment I can’t complain too much. It is somewhat original in terms of doing a slice of life series that deal with college musicians, something that doesn’t come up often in anime (aside from BECK and K-On!).

The art style reflects this strongly. It has similarities to Genshiken, in that it is very realistic and doesn’t go off-model wacky a whole lot. The colors are limited but used effectively.  The voice-acting, at least in the English dub, is also much like Genshiken in that it’s very workman-like and listenable. Though, most of the cast make it sound like a Naruto/VIZ reunion (Chiaki and Nadome are voiced by Doug Erholtz and Kate Higgins respectively).

I am still watching this series (up to the fourth episode at this point) so I am not sure on how great this show might become. I shall see. But I am hooked enough to find out though. I plan on doing an actual review of the whole series later in the year.

If you’re a fan of classical music, then check it out. You won’t be disappointed.

‘Til next week

The Eclectic Dude

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