Nodame Cantabile Finale – 7
This is a weird episode for me, because I am not sure I can properly gauge Nodame’s mood throughout the episode.
In the first part of the episode, Nodame is intense and focused, completely set on moving forward with her music, and it seems as if her hard work pays off when Auclair gives her an unofficial promotion — he calls her “Megumi” instead of “Bebe-chan.” Cue Nodame running around like a crazy woman, utterly elated that Auclair finally seems to be viewing her as an adult. I’d point out the irony of Nodame celebrating in such a childish way, but adults need to be kids every so often, I think, so what the hell. Let Nodame celebrate however she pleases.
The second half is different, though. While Auclair calls Nodame by her given name, he also admonishes her for not hitting the correct tone with the piece they are working on — where Nodame’s playing is a bit cheery, the Beethoven piece demands a sense of “betrayal, painful trials and disappointment . . . expressing the setbacks people encounter.” And Nodame feels one of those setbacks herself when Chiaki calls to say he’ll be spending a bit more time with Rui, because she wants to work on their concert piece.
Nodame’s funk feels real and unreal at the same time. There are parts — such as in the opening screenshot — where it appears to be exaggerated for comic effect. But this mood sticks with Nodame for the duration of the episode. It messes with her ability to cook (worse than usual), her ability to play (anything other than that specific Beethoven piece is not going to work) and basically her overall ability to be happy (she kind of slinks around everywhere after her disappointment, haha). Nodame could be playing it up; however, I can’t say she isn’t feeling real disappointment to at least some degree.
Now, what strikes me as strange about this is that this mood is hitting her so hard now of all times. In the past few episodes, Nodame has made a point of being accepting that Chiaki is not always going to be there, that he’ll be busy sometimes. And I don’t think she sees Rui as a serious romantic rival, or something — nor should she, since by the way Rui speaks with Chiaki later in the episode, I get the sense that she is making an effort to move on from her unrequited crush on Chiaki. But nonetheless, Nodame feels some real disappointment about Chiaki not being with her. Why?
Well, I don’t believe that is the only thing she is upset about. It’s a small thing, but it appears to me that something dawns on Nodame when she realizes that she had poured so much of her time into studying that she forgot to attend one of Chiaki’s concerts — in a sense, she did the same thing Chiaki did to her, although admittedly not on the same scale (Chiaki made an active decision, while Nodame just blanked out on it). Nodame wants Chiaki to support her, and she always wants to support Chiaki . . . but her snafu makes her realize that this is not always possible.
Maybe Nodame thought the time that she graduated into a “real” adult would be better. However, as Auclair says, people have to deal with disappointment and setbacks. They don’t disappear when one is an adult — if anything, they become more plentiful as one is exposed more to the world. Maybe the disappointment that going up in Auclair’s esteem didn’t suddenly make things more grand on the outside is a big disappointment in and of itself that Nodame has to deal with.
To play Devil’s advocate with myself, though, RP suggests that while Nodame may be feeling a bit hurt about the whole deal, that she also may be amplifying those feelings for the purpose of getting more into the Beethoven piece. And I admit that I may have dismissed that possibility a bit too readily. When Nodame plays music, she isn’t just playing — she’s performing. She is often swayed by her current emotions while she is at the piano, which is the whole reason why Auclair says Nodame is playing the Beethoven piece incorrectly.
It’s a lot like an actor who has to dig deep into him- or herself to portray a character who has some unbearable sadness. Many actors have felt pain, but not likely to the extent of the characters they play onscreen, so they have to amplify their own pain to get as close as possible to the feeling of the character. What Nodame does isn’t too different — she feels the music, and the music is reflected in her mood. And maybe for some piece of music that is outside her normal mood, she is trying to align herself so that she is in sync with the piece and can thus more accurately portray what the music is trying to say. An interesting possibility.
I think in the next episode Nodame will snap out of her funk. She’ll see Rui onstage performing with Chiaki and be inspired, just as Nodame herself inspired Rui with her boundless energy and spirit. And maybe she’ll be better able to sense exactly what it is Auclair desires from her playing.