Nodame Cantabile Finale – 5
Nodame running through the streets of Paris all happy and on cloud nine is such a fun scene. Too bad Auclair has to crush her dreams so badly.
This episode is, I think, the best of Finale so far because everything comes together and flows in a really satisfying way; I kind of like Tanya, and am apathetic about Li, but the way their struggles are presented in this episode makes me feel more for them than I ever thought I would. It’s pretty rough to work your ass off for something, only to be crushed for reasons that don’t always relate to pure talent. Li writing that letter home is just painful, and Tanya’s desperation is fairly palpable in this episode. It’s win or go home for her — and Kuroki is such a spaz that he screws up a totally salvageable situation. (I can’t be too tough on the guy, though, since I can’t be certain I would not have done the same thing. :p)
For guys like Scamp who believe Paris and Finale are focusing too much on side characters at the expense of Nodame and Chiaki’s relationship (a totally warranted complaint btw), I think this episode does at least a decent job of integrating the side characters’ stories with Chiaki and Nodame’s continued development, whereas with, say, Rui’s story, the action mainly focuses on her. It’s not perfect, since Chiaki in particular feels a bit like he is tagging along for the ride (even though he has some hilarious reactions to all the goings on), at least the stories intertwine to a solid degree: Nodame gets inspired by the song she hears at the concour Li and Tanya entered . . . and Chiaki of course realizes that is the same song Rui wants to perform with him. (What are the odds??)
Unfortunately, Nodame won’t be able to step in and jam with Chiaki just yet — not looking like that, anyway! I suppose Auclair’s continued beef with Nodame’s playing style is that she adjusts the music to fit the way she likes instead of really taking the time to understand every song through and through. Nodame can be compared to a really good streetballer — she’s got some crazy moves (her natural playing talent), and every so often she’ll make you stand up and take notice with something you have never seen before (her interpretations of songs), but a really good streetballer can become a great basketball player if he is able to take the fundamentals of basketball, integrate them into his game and come up with something unique.
That’s what I believe Auclair wants from Nodame. He sees someone on the cusp of greatness who could absolutely take that next step if she could take the lessons learned from the basics, integrate them into her playing style and come up with something unique, her own style except more precise and better able to consistently hammer out the exact song she wants. Nodame has the flexibility to be great; she just needs the discipline. To keep using convoluted NBA comparisons, Nodame right now is like a Lamar Odom (undeniably talented but never disciplined enough to be The Man), but Auclair wants her to become a Michael Jordan.
Rui swooping in and attempting to steal Nodame’s thunder with Chiaki isn’t going to make that any easier, though. Seriously, does she have psychic powers, and we just are not aware of it? Or did she read the script beforehand? “Nodame wants to play Ravel with Chiaki, eh? Mwa ha ha ha ha ha! Not on my watch!”