I was late to the game on Nodame Cantabile — I’d watched the first episode a couple of years ago but somehow never went further in the series than that until the announcement of Nodame Cantabile Finale, whereupon I blazed through the first two seasons in about a week. What really grabbed me about the series was that not only was it a cute romance that I could get behind, but it was also a smart series about two people — Nodame and Chiaki — who were trying their damnedest to find their spots in life, that one thing that they were meant to do.
Chiaki is the type to push his talents to the moon; Nodame is happy just screwing around and having fun, even if she does not realize the full extent of her potential. Both frustrate the hell out of each other, and even though they clearly care a great deal about the other, their relationship is stop and go for such a long time because life and their pursuit of it keeps getting in the way.
Until the end. They both finally get it. Chiaki can’t stop pushing Nodame to keep at the musical game, but what changes for him, I think, is his definition of success as it pertains to Nodame. For Chiaki, success is playing on the biggest stage possible, becoming the biggest and the best. That’s not for Nodame; she prefers the intimate, the fun, the type of setting where she can do what she wants and spread her wings in her own way. And then they’re finally in sync, able to play that duet they always wanted.
And the hug. Never forget the hug.