Nodame Cantabile is a manga by Tomoko Ninomiya. It was serialized in Japan by Kodansha in the magazine Kiss from July 2001 to October 2009 and collected in 23 tankōbon volumes. A two-volume sequel, called Nodame Cantabile: Encore Opera Chapter, which began serialization in the December 2009 issue of Kiss, was released in 2010. It is licensed in North America by Del Rey Manga. The series depicts the relationship between two aspiring classical musicians, Megumi “Nodame” Noda and Shinichi Chiaki, as university students and after graduation. It received the 2004 Kodansha Manga Award for best shōjo manga.
The series has been adapted as four different television series: as an award-winning Japanese live-action drama that aired in 2006 followed by a sequel television special that aired in January 2008, as an anime series spanning three seasons with the first broadcast in 2007, the second in 2008 and the third in 2010. Two live-action movie sequels to the Japanese television drama, with the same actors, were produced with release dates of 18 December 2009 and April 2010. In addition, several soundtrack albums of classical music have been released, as well as three video games. A South Korean drama live action adaptation aired on the KBS network in 2014.
In 2016 a one-shot epilogue chapter was published in the April edition of Kiss.
Nodame Cantabile has been adapted as a live-action television drama broadcast in 11 hour-long episodes from 16 October – 25 December 2006, on Fuji TV, covering events up to volume 9 of the manga. This was followed by a four-hour sequel television special, Nodame Cantabile New Year’s Special in Europe, adapting further events in the manga after Chiaki and Nodame move to Paris, broadcast on Fuji TV on 4 and 5 January 2008. These were directed by Hideki Takeuchi from scripts by Rin Etou, and starred Hiroshi Tamaki as Shinichi Chiaki and Juri Ueno as Megumi “Nodame” Noda.
Music direction was by Daisuke Mogi with original music by Takayuki Hattori, with several works of classical music featured in each episode. The orchestral music was performed by Nodame Orchestra, which consisted of members specially selected for the live-action drama with professional support from the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. The Orchestra was conducted by James DePriest, Permanent Conductor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, who would later have his name and likeness used in the Nodame storyline as the musical director of the fictional Roux-Marlet Orchestra. The opening theme for both the drama series and special was the First movement from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, and the ending theme was Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, both performed by the Nodame Orchestra conducted by Toshiaki Umeda.
An episode of PuriGorota: Uchū no Yūjō Daibōken, the fictional anime series that Nodame watches, was created by J.C.Staff for the drama. The anime was written and directed by Ken’ichi Kasai, the director of the first season of the Nodame Cantabile anime. Segments of the PuriGorota anime were shown during episode 4 of the Nodame Cantabile drama, with the complete anime released as a DVD extra with the Nodame Cantabile anime series.
Two live-action movie sequels to the television drama with the same actors were produced, with the first film being released in December 2009, while the second film was released in April 2010. Filming began in May 2009 and lasted for five months, and included location filming in Vienna. On 4 May 2009, the drama began airing in the Philippines on the GMA Network. In South Korea the drama aired on MBC’s cable channel where it achieved peak ratings of 2%, which is a record high for a foreign cable drama.
A South Korean adaptation titled Naeil’s Cantabile starring Joo Won, Shim Eun-kyung and Park Bo-gum aired on KBS2 in 2014.
Nodame Cantabile was also adapted as an anime television series, produced by Fuji TV and animated by J.C.Staff. The series was broadcast on Fuji and associated stations in the Noitamina time slot. The first season, titled Nodame Cantabile, was broadcast in 23 episodes from 11 January – 28 June 2007, and the second season, called Nodame Cantabile: Paris Chapter, was broadcast in 11 episodes from 8 October – 18 December 2008. Both seasons were also later aired in Japan on the satellite television network Animax. The first season was directed by Ken’ichi Kasai and the second season by Chiaki Kon, and starred Ayako Kawasumi as Megumi “Nodame” Noda and Tomokazu Seki as Shin’ichi Chiaki. An original video animation episode was included with the limited edition volume 22 of the manga when it was published in Japan on 10 August 2009, and a third and final anime season, called Nodame Cantabile: Finale began airing in January 2010.
On 6 February 2009, the series received its English language television premiere on Animax Asia across its networks in Southeast Asia and South Asia, airing the series with its original Japanese audio and English subtitles. and later its air in English Dubbed on 12 June 2009.
The music director for both seasons was Suguru Matsutani. As with the live-action drama, several works of classical music were featured in each episode, performed by the Nodame Orchestra. The opening theme of season one was “Allegro Cantabile” by Suemitsu & The Suemith, and the ending themes were “Konna ni Chikaku de…” by Crystal Kay (episodes 1–12), “Sagittarius” by Suemitsu & the Nodame Orchestra (episodes 13–22), and “Allegro Cantabile” by Suemitsu & The Suemith (episode 23). The opening theme for the second season was “Sky High” by The Gospellers (with melody taken from the Third movement of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, and the ending theme was “Tokyo et Paris” by Emiri Miyamoto x solita. The opening theme for the final season is “Manazashi Daydream” by Yuu Sakai and the ending theme is “Kaze to Oka no Ballad ” by Real Paradis with Nodame Orchestra.
The first season was released on 8 DVDs between April and November 2007. A box set was released in February 2008 with an additional 15-minute original video animation, taking place between episodes 8 and 9. The series has been licensed in Russia and South Korea. The first DVD of the second season was released on 24 December 2008.
Shinichi Chiaki, an arrogant, multilingual perfectionist, is the top student at Momogaoka College of Music and has secret ambitions to become a conductor. Born into a musical family, he is talented in piano and violin and once lived abroad in the music capitals of the world as a young boy (namely Prague), but is trapped in Japan because of his childhood phobia of airplanes and the ocean. In contrast, Megumi Noda, or “Nodame”, is a piano student at Momogaoka, notorious for messiness and eccentric behavior. Despite being very talented, Nodame prefers to play by ear rather than according to the musical score; thus, she is regarded as sloppy and playful.
When they meet by accident, Nodame quickly falls in love, but it takes much longer for Chiaki to even begin to appreciate Nodame’s unusual qualities. Their relationship causes them both to develop and grow. Along the way, they meet some crazy people (like Masumi, Mine, and Stresemann) and make lasting friendships. Because of Nodame, Chiaki gets the opportunity to lead a student orchestra and begins to have a broader appreciation of people’s musical abilities. Because of Chiaki, Nodame faces her fears and enters a piano competition. Opportunities open up as both begin taking risks, stretching themselves far more than they ever thought possible.
After graduation, Nodame succeeds in curing Chiaki from his phobias and they both move to Paris, where Nodame continues her piano studies at the Conservatoire de Paris while Chiaki starts a professional career as a conductor. In Europe, they encounter new friends and rivals, as well as keep in touch with their friends from Japan.