Nodame Cantabile Finale – 11 (END)
And so ends Nodame Cantabile. Despite the talk before the season of Nodame‘s ending being unsatisfactory, I found the comment of reader Rikku in my ep4 post to be accurate: The second half of the episode (which comprises the events of the final chapter) is not exactly exciting in comparison to the climax of the first half (which is pulled off quite well), but it does fit the tone of the series and the personalities of its leads. I’m perfectly fine with the conclusion of Nodame. It works.
Probably the best moment in this episode — aside from the hug, of course :p — is Nodame going all Serious Business and playing the piano for the kids, whereupon the animation quality kicks up a few notches. Nodame swaying back in forth, perfectly in rhythm to her playing to the point where even her hair seems to be flowing in tune to the music . . . it’s just a beautiful moment, and it’s doubtful that Nodame herself as ever looked more gorgeous than she does when that Beethoven piece. And when Chiaki is about to knock on Nodame’s door but then hesitates because he hears her playing . . . it wouldn’t be surprising to know that in that moment he could picture exactly how Nodame looks playing the piano to a tee.
Speaking of Chiaki, it is great to see him come to his senses just before he barges in on Nodame. Before he goes to visit Nodame, he seems conflicted about what he actually wants despite his resolute tone regarding his decision to propose to Nodame and accept whatever decision she makes about her music. Then he actually hears the warmth and love that has always been present in her music, and he remembers why he fell for Nodame in the first place, and he also realizes that he cannot let her quit reaching as far as she can with her talent, whether she plays in concerts or not. Of course he wants Nodame to play in a concert with him, but . . .
. . . It’s a hell of an idea for Chiaki and Nodame to come full circle and play Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos, which is the first piece they played together way back when in Japan. Chiaki already realizes how much he and Nodame have grown, because he hears it every time Nodame plays a piece on the piano; however, Nodame is so wrapped up in all the drama of her life — which is of course understandable — that she doesn’t really have such a clear view of how much she has grown and connected with Chiaki, though of course she certainly has a good idea (which is why she asks God if all she has done is finally good enough).
Just as hearing Nodame play continually reminds Chiaki about all he loves in music, playing with Chiaki melts away all the fears and insecurities that had built up in Nodame about the perfect setting and the perfect performance. She searches for that one moment of perfection where life is as grand as we read about in fiction or see on TV or the movies or whatever, but all that buildup simply frustrates Nodame instead of giving her something to look forward to, since things keep cropping up to dash her dreams. But by playing with Chiaki here, Nodame is able to connect with him in a way that only she can, and she is able to once again feel just how fun it is to just play music.
And again, that hug at the end is too heartwarming. Love it.
As for the ending itself . . . well, it’s not particularly dramatic, but it is good to see everyone moving forward with their love of music driving them. It feels fitting for this series; and it is good to see Nodame herself come to an understanding about what exactly she wants out of her musical career, and why she plays music. She understands that she wants to touch people with her music, and she is able to give back to the audience and fully utilize her talents without becoming completely burned out on the business side of things.
And of course Chiaki is able to make it to Nodame’s concert this time. Bet he couldn’t apologize enough for missing the previous concert.
Finale is a fitting conclusion to Nodame Cantabile. It starts off a bit rough and seems at first closer in tone to Paris Chapter than the first season, but it makes a fantastic turn around the middle of the season and becomes, I think, the best show of this season along with Durarara!! The saga of Chiaki and Nodame is one of anime’s best romantic comedies, for sure.