Nodame Cantabile Finale – 10
Potentially underrated part of this episode — that big plate of french fries sitting on the table while Chiaki and Stresemann drink wine. So random! I assume Stresemann ordered them, but still, that’s hilarious. I don’t drink much alcohol, so I’d probably be diving into the fries like the Philistine that I am. :p
This episode ups the ante again, drama-wise, and it has me totally raring for the final episode — once again, have to say that Nodame has made the most impressive turnaround this season. First few episodes are kind of plodding and lack the magic that makes this show memorable, but it has been on fire for a few weeks now. I dare say this stretch of episodes might even be better than anything else airing this season . . . [/potentially controversial statement]
Everyone aside from Nodame and Chiaki seems to be on an epic high after her wonderful performance in the previous episode. Nodame’s funk may seem weird at first, but the ending of ep8 actually does a solid job of foreshadowing it — with Stresemann offering the “deal with the Devil,” it should be apparent that although the results of the concert may seem pretty kickass (and it cannot be denied that Nodame touches many people with her music that evening), something about the whole thing won’t fit. And what does not fit is that Nodame is not entirely satisfied with her performance, and it goes beyond not being able to perform with Chiaki onstage (though that clearly is a big part of what bugs her).
What Auclair tells Stresemann makes a lot of sense. And, like RP, I felt a bit sheepish as well for not thinking more about Auclair’s goal while handling Nodame! Even though Nodame has many of the same drives as Chiaki — she wants to get better, she likes performing and she loves making people happy with her music — where she differs is her distaste for everything surrounding the music. Ironically enough, she is actually a lot like Stresemann in this way: It can be assumed that Stresemann still enjoys conducting music, or else he wouldn’t do it, but he would prefer to perform on his own terms. However, along the way, Stresemann has made some compromises to fit into the world of music — thus, Elise pushing him all the time to keep onto his schedule. (Else is on fire in this episode, by the way. Her terrible imitation of Nodame on the phone is one of the funniest things she has ever done.)
Nodame never wanted to make those compromises, and I doubt she ever will. It’s not that she lacks the necessary fire to make great music — it’s just that she lacks the fire to make the greatest music within the system of constant performances and hectic lifestyles. Nodame is a daffy woman, but there’s a limit to the craziness she wants in her life. The performance of her signature tune makes it clear that she wants no part of this world if it is going to chew her up and spit her out as another performing robot.
It’s that really interesting exploration of what exactly is the right thing to do with one’s talent that made the first season of Nodame Cantabile more than just a fun romantic comedy. This is not an easy question to answer. Exactly how much do the talented owe to the greater world? Should they strive to employ their talents for the greater enjoyment of the masses, even at the expense of themselves? Or should they use their talent purely on their terms? Or somewhere in between? What makes it particularly difficult is that society is always aching to see the absolute best of everything, even if it destroys the creator in the process. We just care about the end result; the means often do not come up in the process. Nodame might be robbing the world of a potentially great musician if she were to decide she no longer wants to play music publicly. But does society have a right to be angered because of that?
And then there’s Chiaki, who is worried and frustrated because he doesn’t have a clear idea of what Nodame wants (if only he had a mainline into her head and/or heart). While he says he will accept Nodame’s proposal, I hope Chiaki will have the sense to take a step back, clear his mind and speak to Nodame at length to make sure they’re both sure the direction they both would like to take before making a big decision like that. Nodame is clearly in a different frame of mind now than she was when she proposed to Chiaki — who is to say that proposal is still on? Don’t open your mouth before thinking and say something dumb, Chiaki. Listen to Nodame first.
I’m on edge waiting for the finale. Like most people, I’m hoping for a Chiaki x Nodame ending, but with the caveat that getting together does not squash Nodame’s musical ambitions. Nodame and music should never be separated. She could probably be a kickass composer of children’s tunes if she wants. Maybe pound out some classical tunes in a way to make kids more apt to appreciate them. Nodame can combine her love of kids and her love of music in myriad ways.