Nodame Cantabile Finale – 9
This is, hands down, my favorite episode in all three seasons of Nodame Cantabile. It’s episodes like these that remind me — exactly when I need them to do so — why I watch anime. Absolutely stunning from start to finish.
I’d launch into an analysis of where Chiaki and Nodame stand in their relationship if I could; however, I’m still on a high from Nodame’s wonderful performance. In my post for the previous episode, I wrote that being in attendance for the Chiaki/Rui concerto must have been an amazing experience. Well, Nodame’s concerto absolutely smokes that one. This is the kind of performance where you go in one way and come out a completely different person. It energizes you, enlightens you, fills you with such joy and lust for life that you couldn’t possibly imagine feeling any better at any point in your life. That’s a moment Nodame, Stresemann, the orchestra and the audience will never, ever forget.
Nodame really has blossomed as a musician and as a performer — this feels like the night she has reined in her talents and formed them into something greater than herself. The descriptive phrase “controlled chaos” is often bandied out to describe volatile talents: Who deserves that tag more than Nodame? She calls an audible, Peyton Manning-style, and senses exactly where the music should go and expects that Stresemann has the ability to keep up with her seamlessly. That’s Nodame, feeling a whim welling up from deep inside, surrendering to the tug of instinct; however, instead of her music coming off as if she is making a game attempt to keep everything under control, she follows her whims perfectly.
This might be a silly analogy, but it’s like when you run through a level in Super Mario Bros. without stopping even once, jumping off every block perfectly, hitting every platform, stomping on every Koopa and even jumping onto the flagpole at just the right time so that you get a ton of fireworks at the end. Everything could fall apart with just misstep, but instead, you get everything done in one exhilarating burst, with everything culminating in a glorious high at the end. That’s what Nodame’s performance feels like to me; at least, it’s the closest a joker like myself could ever get to a performance like that. :p
But after the wonderful high of a performance comes the fall back to reality. And the reality is Nodame and Chiaki’s relationship is still in a precarious situation. Are they in a place where reconciliation will come? Have they drifted too far apart to come back together? Or is there still time for them to repair whatever damage has been done? I don’t think Nodame turning down a chance to speak with Chiaki is necessarily a bad sign. She probably still needs time to clear her head and figure things out after the last tumultuous day she spent with him. Her mind is probably bouncing around all over the place after that performance, so I doubt that would have been the ideal situation during which to try and come to some sort of understanding regarding her standing with Chiaki. The whole thing would have been too much emotion, too soon for her.
That said, there is of course the danger of neither Chiaki nor Nodame ever becoming comfortable enough to confront their feelings, which would lead to them drifting apart into the different places in their lives. While Chiaki definitely cares for Nodame quite deeply, he has also never been shy about pushing Nodame as far as she can possibly go, music-wise, and as has been suggested in various places, it is a definite possibility that Chiaki could take himself out of the picture so that Nodame can achieve her musical dreams. But that’s something that will haunt Chiaki the rest of his life, which is why I am not thinking, right now, that they will stay apart. The possibility is in play, however.
What makes it extra tough is that a career in the arts oftentimes does not portend successful relationships. It takes so much work and dedication, and you have to immerse yourself in places it is not always healthy to go. That Nodame plays the best music of her life after feeling the sting of rejection and the confusion of her relationship with Chiaki is not a coincidence. Nodame has always been an emotional person, and while her musical performance is absolutely dazzling, engrossing and beautiful, can you really say it is totally happy?
From the moment Nodame steps onto the stage, she is on a mission. Nodame gives herself in to some crazy emotions, and from them she spins something spectacular. Can she emerge from that and be with Chiaki at the same time? Who knows.