Manga Reviews

Monday, February 06, 2006

Nodame Cantabile

Nodame Cantabile
Licensed by Del Rey

Topic: Shoujo, Romance, Music

Summary:
Chiaki Masanoki is an elite pianist at Momogaoka Music Academy. But even though he's incredibly talented, his true goal is to become a conductor. When he was a child he saw a famous conductor named Sebastiano Viera conduct an orchestra and was hooked. Viera taught him many things but eventually he had to return to Japan after his parents divorced. On the way back he was in an emergency landing which traumatized him, preventing him from ever flying again. As a result Chiaki has been stuck in Japan unable to pursue his greatest dream.

One day he meets Noda Megumi, a fellow student who has a gift for playing music with great emotional feeling. The two of them are in stark contrast with one another, Chiaki desiring to one day conduct a famous orchestra with exact precision, and Megumi living in the present through her innovative music.

This is a story about Megumi's influence on Chiaki, showing him (through her actions) that to become truly great at anything, you must feel for it emotionally. That precision and perfection are not always the correct answer. Along the way they meet up with various other musicians who are also influenced by the two of them and their polar dynamics.

Commentary:
If you are looking for a manga that moves at a fast pace, look elsewhere. This manga is about the journey that Chiaki takes and how that journey is affected by the people around him (most importantly Megumi). The characters are well developed and extremely emotional without going over the top. The story is also very relaxing without crossing the line into being dull. However I'm not a fan of the art, which features uninspired backgrounds and incredibly simplistic characters (often featuring no shadows whatsoever).

If you're in the mood for a meandering story that takes its time fully developing and fleshing out itself, you're in for a treat. If you're looking for something a bit more superficial and fast paced, you'll probably throw down this manga in disgust.

Rating: 6.0/10.0

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