Of all of the anime shows that I watch, Nodame Cantabile is one of two shows that I’d be most likely to suggest to people who don’t watch anime. Why? Because fun, light-hearted, humorous, and it doesn’t distract people. A new-to-anime-viewer doesn’t have to watch and wonder why an alien wearing a Lulu skin suit is trying to take over the world, or a battle princess and an 8ft tall scarred guy with a blue flashlight are destroying things (And I’m glad I started watching Pumpkin Scissors again, its gotten interesting), or a guy who hangs around with foxes, demon-slayers, and sick girls (God, I love Kanon).
The first episode introduced Chiaki and Nodame. I’ve watched the live-action version without understanding it, but I’ve developed a biased because of that. Now that the live action version has stopped airing on the local station, I’m sure that I’ll become accustomed to the anime actors. That’s not entirely true, I’ve come to totally like Ayako Kawasumi as
Saber Sara Werec Nodame over Juri Ueno from the live action version. Not that Juri Ueno was bad, its just a preference. I still prefer Hiroshi Tamaki as Chiaki because he has the right harshness in his voice for the role of the perfectionist Chiaki. And I prefer the look and voice of Eita as Ryutaro Mine.
The second episode introduces us to rebel violinist Ryutaro Mine He seems to be more interested in the style than the substance of his performance. He asks Nodame to be his partner in the music exam that he needs to pass. When she gets sick, Chiaki steps in. Ironically, the two were supposed to work together for a prior exam until Chiaki got fed up with Mine’s performance. Mine also tries to help Nodame attract Chiaki to her. That’s it. No fuss, just sheer enjoyment. With 20+ episodes, it isn’t surprising that the early episodes are just going to introduce the characters and their idiosyncrasies.
Masumi Okuyama, a percussionist, is introduced in the third episode. Often called Masumi-chan because of his feminine style of dress, etc. Like, Nodame, Masumi has a crush on Chiaki who is oblivious to their affections. Masumi also considers Nodame his main rival for Chiaki. So much so, that he sets up traps for Nodame until Nodame and Mine catch him. Mine suggests that the two compete to get the a date. Both fail, mirroring Chiaki’s feelings he sees that a fellow student gets to study with Viera, the famed Viennese conductor that Chiaki wants to study with. Only Chiaki is afraid to fly, so he can’t leave Japan to study with Viera.
Other than just introducing characters (the next episode looks like it will introduce Streseman, the famed conductor), these early episodes aren’t really about anything. But there’s a fun, light-heartedness to the show that I like and that I think will appeal to people who normally aren’t interested in anime. Like your parents. Or girlfriends who you made the mistake of watching episode 17 of Kanon with.