Nodame Cantabile Finale – 3

I don’t think this was intentional, but Nodame’s concert strikes me as a good metaphor for her relationship with Chiaki right now: The songs sound great at the beginning, build into something that will be memorable and then they’re randomly cut off.

Much like Nodame’s songs, it seems as if this episode will build into a good relationship moment with Nodame and Chiaki — she’s making sure she looks as stunning as possible for when Chiaki shows up (although the butler sets her straight, haha), she plays her heart out so that Chiaki’s own heart will be stirred when he enters the room . . . but Chiaki never gets there, because in one of those wonderful fictional coincidences, Chiaki runs into his idol, Sebastiano Vieira, on the bus. Endless teasing, Nodame! Endless teasing! (Not that I think this is a particularly egregious contrivance, mind, but you know.)

That kind of starting and stopping is both interesting and frustrating. It’s interesting because it continues the struggle that has dominated Nodame Cantabile from the beginning — the balance between ambition and normality. Chiaki ditching Nodame to hang with Vieira, when he promised Nodame he would go to her concert, is absolutely a dick move. But can I truly say I would not have done the same thing in that situation? Chiaki’s been pining for an opportunity to meet Vieira again pretty much all his life. Logically, of course, Chiaki could say he has already made plans that he cannot break, and ask if he can sit in on another practice or meet with Vieira after the actual concert. But Chiaki is totally starstruck at that moment; he isn’t thinking straight at all.

In the back of his mind, Chiaki is probably thinking, “Wow, am I EVER going to get this opportunity again? He actually wants me to hang out with him! I have to grab this while I can.” Chiaki’s a successful guy, but he’s not where he wants to be right now. He’s still climbing the conductor’s ladder. And this is the perfect opportunity to get his foot in the door with a man he basically worships. Chiaki feels like an asshole after making this choice, and he should, but I can’t rightfully say this a black-and-white choice and that he absolutely should have gone to Nodame’s concert, no exception.

With that said, I don’t think Nodame will just roll over and accept this reasoning, nor should she; she’ll understand, but she won’t completely accept it. Hey, if Chiaki gets to make a selfish choice, then Nodame should be able to be selfishly stubborn about accepting that choice, right? Like RP, it’s moments like this that make me wonder whether Nodame and Chiaki will be together at the end of the series. I don’t think anyone else has a remote chance of snagging either of them, mind — the ending will either be Nodame x Chiaki, or nothing. The sap in me wants to see Nodame and Chiaki together, of course, but I’m also interested in seeing if their clash will be taken to the limit.

For the shippers among us, though, the stop and go aspect of Nodame and Chiaki’s relationship is mighty frustrating, though. They just can’t build up any momentum for a decent amount of time, it seems.

As for the “Mukya!” at the end, it comes off as a cry of despair to me, spurred on by Chiaki’s conspicuous absence at the salon concert combined with Madame Lambert’s question about whether Nodame is having fun playing the piano. The worst thing that could happen to Nodame is for her to slip into that Rui type of playing where she is technically good but doesn’t feel that connection with the audience — and to connect with the audience, Nodame needs to be having fun on the piano, and she needs to know she is being supported. Well, that didn’t completely happen during the concert, now did it?

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