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Cantabile Tomorrow: Episode 1

Is it too early to say that I’m in love with a show? I’m both excited and relieved, because while I was hoping for the best, I was certainly aware that Cantabile Tomorrow comes with a lot of baggage, and that even in a good-case scenario, it was fighting an uphill battle. The original material is so loved that it would be difficult to measure up to its standard of excellence, much less dare to surpass it.

I always want a drama to succeed, but I approached with both optimism and hesitance, and not just because I really enjoyed the previous versions of the series (anime and J-drama; I haven’t read the manga). I will argue that perhaps the cult surrounding the show may exaggerate just how good it is, so I would encourage new viewers to go in with as open a mind as possible; there’s always a risk that the pre-existing hype may color your opinion against a show just as easily as it might color it in favor of it.

But on top of the problem of hype, I was concerned for the way in which Nodame Cantabile fundamentally tells its story differently than K-dramas usually do; it’s quite loose and character-based, letting simple plot points carry on for multiple episodes, and gives music a much bigger presence than many typical dramaland viewers have patience for. I recall watching the anime and thinking that I was essentially watching seven minutes of Rachmaninoff being played with no story advancement, and yet I was enthralled the whole time. I wasn’t sure that the same thing could work in K-drama.

I can happily report that not only does Cantabile Tomorrow honor that aspect of the series, it may even enhance the effect. Is that blasphemous to say? The plot beats were almost beat-for-beat replications of the original, and yet I still felt stirred and swept up, and felt that perhaps this version even added to the emotional depth. I’ve always loved the characters, but this drama gave my heart an extra twist, and I’m excited for what that means.

So let’s get right to it.

SONG OF THE DAY

Mozart – Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major, K. 448Download ]

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LESSON 1 RECAP

A young boy runs through the streets with a violin on his back, while his older self narrates, musing on how thoughts of his childhood always take him back to the streets of Europe, so full of classical music. As the son of a pianist, he had traveled widely in his youth and seen numerous performances, “But the greatest performance of my life was in Korea.”

That boy watches an orchestra perform, transfixed by the movements of the conductor. “The moment he moved his wand, I knew,” he narrates. “That this man would be my lifelong teacher.”

So the boy, CHA YOO-JIN, sneaks into the rehearsal hall to watch the orchestra practice, displaying his musical precocity by pointing out that a violin’s out of tune. The conductor, Sebastien Viera (cameo by Israeli conductor Yoel Levi), takes a liking to Yoo-jin and takes him under his wing, and a year later it’s time for them to part ways. Yoo-jin’s crushed, but Maestro Viera hands him his conductor’s wand and assures him that he’ll take Yoo-jin on as a formal student if he comes to study in Europe.

But when we catch up to the adult Yoo-jin (played by Joo-won), he’s not in Europe. Holding that wand, he wonders, “Teacher Viera, what am I doing here?”

Yoo-jin walks across the campus of his school, Haneum Music University, where his arrival causes a stir among his many admirers. They’re full of praise for him, but he’s got only irritation for the cacophony of mistake-ridden playing around him, as his ears pick out every little error. His forehead furrows further to read a notice announcing a conducting student’s selection to study in Berlin. He scoffs, not impressed with the student’s abilities.

The guy happens to by nearby and takes the opportunity to gloat, throwing in Maestro Viera’s name just to make it sting a little extra. It stays on Yoo-jin’s mind as he plays fiercely in his piano lesson; he envisions himself in a dream-like sequence, wandering a forest while calling upon his teacher for help. He asks, “What should I choose? It feels like I’ve lost my way.”

Yoo-jin’s teacher slaps his head with a fan, barking that he’s letting his emotions run away with his playing. The teacher’s name is Do Kang-jae, but the students refer to him more commonly as Buchae (Fan), per his method of discipline.

Teacher Do notices a score mixed in with Yoo-jin’s piano music, and that explains Yoo-jin’s curious lack of interest in competitions and indifference in his lessons; his interests must lie elsewhere. Yoo-jin argues back that he’s never been wishy-washy about his playing, though he does disdain Teacher Do’s cookie-cutter teaching style—it’s designed to get a student to win competitions and nothing more, as though he’s collecting students and their awards for his personal glory.

Furious, Teacher Do throws him out and threatens to have Yoo-jin expelled. Yoo-jin doesn’t look too devastated, and in fact fills out a voluntary withdrawal form afterward.

As he does, the sounds of a Liszt piece (Liebestraume No. 3) waft out from a studio, catching his attention. “Not bad,” he thinks. He wonders who the pianist is and heads inside to find out, but before he can, he’s interrupted.

Meanwhile, the pianist, SEOL NAE-IL (Shim Eun-kyung), continues playing, totally caught up in the music. She looks joyous, and when she finishes, she sighs, “Ah, it’s so good!” I’d laugh at her lack of modesty if only I didn’t totally agree.

Then she’s reminded that she has a part-time job to get to, and dashes off to a kindergarten class, where she plays the piano along to a funny story she tells to the class.

Meanwhile, Yoo-jin has a drink with his girlfriend, CHAE DO-KYUNG (Kim Yumi). She rips up his withdrawal form (“That again?”) and tells him to make up with Teacher Do, since he’s the best and therefore his best path to personal success. Or, he can transfer to the conducting department. Or, if he’s so keen on studying with Viera, he can go to Europe.

But it’s not so simple for Yoo-jin, who relives the horrific plane ride he endured as a child, a massively traumatic event that still plagues him to this day. He shakes off the memory and asks Do-kyung to spend the night with him since he doesn’t want to be alone, but she’s tired of him (“When did you get so weak?”) and breaks up with him on the spot. Grimly, he keeps drinking.

That night, Nae-il arrives at her building and stops short at the unexpected sight in front of her door: Yoo-jin, slumped on the ground, dead drunk. She calls out “sunbae” (so she must recognize him) and tries to stir him awake. That doesn’t work, so she looks for alternate solutions.

In the morning, Yoo-jin hears the sounds of a piano—Liszt again—and dreams of being in a peaceful, sunny field. But when he wakes fully, he screams in horror, because he’s sitting in a mountain of garbage. And he’s shirtless! When did that happen?

It’s not a dump as he first thinks but Nae-il’s apartment, which is stuffed to the gills with trash. Old wrappers, half-empty food containers, flies buzzing everywhere. And in the middle of it all, incongruously, is a grand piano.

Nae-il greets him happily, and her comments about what happened last night sound unsettlingly suggestive: “Do you really not remember, or are you just pretending not to remember?” Yoo-jin stammers that nothing could have happened, then freaks out as roaches skitter by (Nae-il: “Hi, cockroaches!”). He runs out the front door—and now realizes that his own apartment is the one right next door.

Yoo-jin tries to wash away the creepy-crawly feelings and, recoiling at the insinuation that something happened that he forgot, he wills his brain, “Don’t remember!”

At school, Teacher Do rants to the staff about expelling Yoo-jin, which the other teachers are reluctant to act on—he’s their number one student and the son of a famous pianist. The diplomatic dean, Song Mina (Yeh Ji-won), steps in to finagle a compromise—they can transfer Yoo-jin from Teacher Do (the best) to Teacher Ahn (…not the best). At the very least, it’ll send a message to Yoo-jin.

Yoo-jin arrives on campus a paranoid mess of nerves, telling himself nothing happened with Nae-il. And then, a voice screams, “Sunbaeeeeeee!” and he recoils to see her racing towards him, limbs flailing.

She pouts (loudly), “Why did you leave so suddenly in the morning! I was sad.” Oblivious to the crowd they’re drawing and the obvious misinterpretation of her words, she presents him with his freshly washed shirt. Yoo-jin tries to feign ignorance, but that just makes Nae-il try harder to jog his memory.

The eccentric Teacher Ahn checks with Teacher Do that he’s fine giving up the school’s most talented pupil. Teacher Do is done with Yoo-jin, though, and washes his hands of him. Teacher Ahn sees Nae-il off in the distance chasing after Yoo-jin and muses that he’s got “a very special student” and wonders if the could put them together in a duet. Do scoffs that Yoo-jin wouldn’t do it, so Ahn proposes a wager.

Teacher Ahn has a reputation for teaching the worst students but he’s got a good nature, which may make him the perfect fit for Nae-il. In lesson, he gamely goes along as she puts together a song about farts—they’re really two peas in a pod. Yoo-jin, on the other hand, observes his new teacher from the window and grimaces to see what he’s going to be working with.

More characters! Bleached-blond YOO IL-LAC (Go Kyung-pyo) is roused from bed by his father, restaurant owner-cook YOO WON-SANG (Ahn Gil-kang). Il-lac dresses like a rocker but plays the violin, and while he’s not without skill, his wild, emotional playing has his teacher in fits. She fails his exam, and when he begs for a second chance, she consents to a retest with an accompanied piece.

Il-lac protests, not wanting to mix his free-spirited violin playing with those stuck-up piano egos, but those are her terms. Take ’em or flunk. So he bursts into the piano department and announces that he will give a lucky student the opportunity to work with his exalted self. Heh.

At home, Yoo-jin sits back with a hypnotherapy recording, which tries to prove its efficacy by making him believe an onion is a delicious apple. It isn’t, and Yoo-jin declares the hypnotherapy to be hogwash. He steps onto the balcony for some air, but it’s not quite as fresh as he’d like; peering over to the adjoining balcony, he gags at the mound of garbage sitting there and the mysterious ooze leaking out from under the door.

Yoo-jin pounds on Nae-il’s door and bursts inside her den of filth, too disgusted not to do anything about it. He arms himself with cleaning supplies and gets to work, even as Nae-il intervenes, trying to argue for keeping everything, down to the days-old sludge passing for food. (Meta joke: There’s moldy bread in there from Kim Tak-gu’s place; Joo-won acted in Baker King Kim Tak-gu.) Finally he shoves her outside so he can finish uninterrupted, and one back-breaking day of cleaning later, her place is pristine.

Nae-il taps away happily at her piano, and while he balks at her description (it’s a love song based on their relationship, she says), he tells her to keep playing. Already she’s forgotten how she played it before, since she’s prone to improvising, but even as he corrects her wrong notes, he smiles and thinks, “She’s playing completely her own way, but it’s not bad.” He enjoys her playing, his hand starting to flick back and forth as he starts conducting along, silently.

Dean Song Mina sits in on a rehearsal of a student orchestra, and while not much happens in the scene other than this, I am always happy to listen to some Dvorak. (The longish musical performances were a favorite of mine in the original, so I’m happy to see that they’ve remained.) She’s cooking an idea in her head, because next she takes a proposal to her staff: to cultivate an orchestra to become their school’s brand.

Teacher Do is skeptical, pointing out that the students will want to focus on their individual goals like school and competitions, but Dean Mina’s plan is already underway, and she has recruited a formidable ally in her cause: world-famous conductor Franz Streseman. We see him landing at the airport, and while he’s supposed to be German, I’m rather glad to see that they’ve allowed actor Baek Yoon-shik to look like his normal self without employing strange wigs or colored contacts. He does speak Korean in a cutely stilted way, though, with a foreign accent.

Almost immediately, they lose Streseman, who either misses or evades the school’s escort and asks a taxi driver to take him away—to any place with “good water” (i.e., lots of hotties). Ha. Pervert Maestro is back!

Too bad the taxi driver takes him to a place with literal good water, and he ends up at a scenic riverbank. LOL. Streseman concedes, “Well, the water is good.”

Yoo-jin is summoned to meet with Teacher Ahn, who introduces Nae-il as his duet partner. He’s appalled at the idea, and listening at the window is Teacher Do, who was expecting a tantrum and is miffed that Yoo-jin isn’t being as difficult as he was with him.

Yoo-jin isn’t interested in the duet, though, and gets up to leave. But Teacher Ahn has a few tricks up his sleeve, saying that Yoo-jin has already been ditched by one teacher—does he want to be ditched by another? That’d earn him quite the reputation.

Yoo-jin asks, “Are you blackmailing me right now?” Teacher Ahn cheerfully replies, “Yes.” And then he dangles an irresistible carrot: If Yoo-jin complies with the duet, he’ll let him out of the rest of his lessons with an A+ grade.

So Yoo-jin agrees to the deal, and gets to work with Nae-il on Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos. It’s a mess right from the start, and worse than Nae-il being a sloppy player is that she hardly even knows that she’s messing up. Furthermore, she’s not very good at reading music, learning everything by ear instead.

They work all afternoon and into night, until Nae-il is complaining of hunger and whining to end the session. Yoo-jin is tired too but forces her back onto the bench, since her reading difficulties means she has to memorize it entirely. And in the moment that he forces her hand toward the piano, Nae-il flashes back to a memory—of her hand being shoved to the keys, a stern voice ordering her to continue.

Something snaps and she barks, “I said not to do that!” and then CHOMP! She bites down on Yoo-jin’s forearm. Crying, she gathers her things and leaves the room.

Violinist Il-lac, meanwhile, is still on the hunt for an accompanist for his test. He’s been looking up the students in the piano department and corners Yoo-jin on his way out of practice, making his case to a distracted Yoo-jin.

So while Il-lac busts out his violin to prove how awesome he is, Yoo-jin barely registers his playing. He’s too busy wondering about Nae-il’s outburst, and now the frustrated words he threw her way clang unpleasantly with similar words barked at him by Teacher Do. That’s an unpleasant parallelism. Yoo-jin walks away deep in thought, leaving an insulted Il-lac to roar that he’ll find a better pianist, harrumph.

Yoo-jin comes home and bangs on Nae-il’s door, but gets no response. So he sets out to cook her dinner, and when Nae-il arrives in the hallway and sees his door ajar, she can’t help but follow her nose to the smell of delicious food. The plate is laid out for her on the counter, and she falls for the bait—no sooner does she chow down than Yoo-jin appears.

She’s ready to bolt so he promises not to be mean or force her to practice, and Nae-il digs in, practically drooling when he offers to make her something even better tomorrow… if she does the duet with him. She’s reluctant because he was impatient with how slowly she was memorizing the piece, so he promises not to get angry and adds that he recorded her part to help her learn.

So he sits her down to listen to the recording—but then recoils, horrified at the smell of her dirty hair. Nae-il doesn’t see anything wrong with her two-washes-a-week regimen, while he tries not to gag too hard. It’s off to the bathroom with her, as he furiously shampoos away the filth while she insists she’s totally clean.

Maestro Stresemen, meanwhile, arrives at the Haneum campus but keeps his presence on the downlow. He surreptitiously watches students in practice sessions and lessons, which is frankly a clever way to draw our attention to our supporting cast. There’s our rocker violinist with the disregard for classical conventions, the tiny contrabassist who’s smaller than her instrument, and the timpanist who seems to be a bundle of nerves; he goes around snapping photos of them, apparently keeping tabs.

The duet is progressing for Yoo-jin and Nae-il, and while he still issues instructions at her left and right, Yoo-jin’s temper is no longer an issue. Their proficiency is better, but he thinks to himself in dissatisfaction that the feeling is flat: “The playing is more accurate, but what’s gone wrong?”

Streseman makes his unofficial rounds of campus and stops to see Dean Song Mina in the distance, his gaze softening. His memory takes him back to their younger days, when Mina was a piano student and he’d been taken with her beauty and her talent. He thinks to himself that she’s as lovely as ever, “and you make my heart race just like always.” He doesn’t approach, though, choosing to admire from a distance.

Trying to figure out the root of his dissatisfaction, Yoo-jin opts for a new approach and tells Nae-il to play the way she wants to. She’s only too happy to, but reminds him of his instruction that a duet requires cooperation. So he replies that he’ll adapt to suit her, and encourages her to play however her heart dictates.

Teacher Ahn arrives for their lesson just then, and Yoon-jin says with a smile, “Let’s have fun.”

So with a fresh burst of joy, Nae-il begins the piece, and Yoo-jin plays along while thinking, “I knew from the start—that this kiddo’s playing was special because she played her own way. I know all your habits, so I’ll match you. Only I can match you.”

His eyes remain on Nae-il as they play, predicting where she’ll flow, where she’ll hold back, “And here’s where she flies. Cantabile. Like singing.”

Now he’s thinking of his childhood learning under Viera, remembering a key piece of wisdom imparted by his teacher: “The toes are the first to feel moved. The toes, unable to cope with the rising feelings, start to wriggle.”

On the other hand, Nae-il looks over at Yoo-jin and thinks of his promise to match her, no matter what she does. She may have been goofily crushing on him before, but now she’s good and smitten.

As they play, Streseman pauses outside the practice room to watch.

Yoo-jin revists his earlier vision, where he’s tearing through the forest, lost and uncertain. He reaches the empty field of reeds, peaceful and sunny, and begins walking through it slowly, until he comes upon a clearing. In the middle of it is Nae-il, seated at a grand piano, playing her heart out.

Yoo-jin’s narration echoes his opening voiceover, of how his childhood thoughts turn to the music-filled streets of Europe. He’d considered that place, Maestro Viera’s domain, to be the only place for “real classical music”: “In this insufficient place, I’d thought I could find no meaning, joy, or value in playing music.”

But now we see Yoo-jin in the throes of the same joy that embodies Nae-il, looking positively inspired. “Teacher Viera,” he thinks. “Perhaps even here, there’s something I could do. My heart is fluttering.”

In Yoo-jin’s dream-vision, he arrives at the clearing and approaches Nae-il at the piano, playing that Liszt song again. She turns to face him and smiles. He smiles.

 
COMMENTS

I’ll be the first to admit that I was apprehensive about a Nodame Cantabile remake, while being simultaneously excited at the possibilities. I’ve gone through so many thwarted expectations and flopped adaptations that I knew better than to expect the best, and yet the best was always the hope. And with this premiere of Cantabile Tomorrow, I’m allowing myself to feel the hope of maybe getting that best after all.

I say this as a fan of the original anime and drama, a lifelong fan of classical music, and a fan of almost every single principal in the cast. That’s a lot of fandoms to potentially disappoint. There was always a greater probability that hopes would be disappointed than met, and I was prepared for that. So you can imagine how relieved I am to find Cantabile Tomorrow hitting exactly the sweet spot of what I wanted from this show—to be true to the original, but not a soulless scene-for-scene carbon copy. That’s an incredibly tall order to demand, but it’s what I wanted—for it to be not too much, not too little, and just perfectly in tune with my hopes.

On most of the major fronts, this drama met my expectations or exceeded them. I will (reluctantly) concede that one of my greatest hopes is not quite living up to its potential, which is Shim Eun-kyung in the Nae-il role, because I find her acting a bit too broad and exaggerated for what this drama is—introspective, poignant, and as thoughtful about its silences as it is about filling those beats with music. It could be that Ueno Juri was just so good that everything in this premiere episode feels like an attempt to re-create her Nodame, so I’m going to withhold judgment until we get to know her. I actually find Shim Eun-kyung more effective in the quieter, less comedic moments, and I’m hoping that the show will draw out those beats more as the story continues to gel.

(Just as a note, I don’t want to spend the rest of Cantabile Tomorrow comparing it to Nodame Cantaibile because ultimately, this drama needs to stand on its own feet, but I recognize that in a first episode some comparison is inevitable. But going forward, I’m going to make every effort to keep commentary to this drama alone, because it deserves to be evaluated on its individual terms, particularly since I’m sure a swath of the viewership will have no acquaintance with any forms of Nodame.)

I was actually expecting to love Shim Eun-kyung and felt wary of Joo-won, so it’s with surprise that I find myself completely sucked into Joo-won’s portrayal of Yoo-jin, which stirred an emotional response in me that I wasn’t expecting. I loved the Chiaki character and thought Hiroshi Tamaki was wonderful in the part, but for whatever reason I enjoyed Nodame without necessarily feeling an emotional tug. In this episode, I was caught off-guard with an actual tears-pricking-my-eyelids sensation, and this makes me excited for what’s to come.

The show is also little less manga-esque and slapstick, and while that was fine with me in the previous versions, I’m perfectly fine to see them gone here. This drama is less broad and more true-to-life, and if that means a lessening of the quirky manga-esque violence, I am ALL for it! I know that the punching and kicking and knocking over of Nodame were meant in the name of comedy, and that the series wasn’t actually promoting our hero knocking around our heroine as his personal punching bag, but it was one element that made me uncomfortable in the live-action J-drama, so I’m happy to see those beats neutralized. There’s still some element of shoving-in-the-name-of-comedy, but at least he’s not punching her in the face.

This is the third time I’m seeing this story unfold, and most of the large points are being repeated from previous versions, yet each iteration brings a new aspect that adds to the world, rather than piling on redundancies. I look forward to seeing how this production expands on its interpretation.

(Question: I toyed with the idea of compiling a list of the classical pieces being used in the drama, but there are actually so many that I wonder if it’s quite necessary or feasible. Let me know if this is something you’d like to see here, and especially if you’re willing to help identify songs and keep a list updated!

UPDATE: List is here!)

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I have been refreshing all morning to wait for this recap! Huge fan of both the anime and manga and very excited for this adaption. Thanks JB, now I can survive work a little longer now before getting home and watching it straight away!!!!

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The drama is fine, although whoever is styling is everyone's hair should be fired. I just can stand the hair! Is Shim Eun-kyung's character supposed to be childishly quirky because I am having a hard time connecting with her character.

Honestly, I prefer Boys over Flowers as a manga turned k-drama adaptation.

But otherwise, the drama is pretty good - maybe I had too much expectation for this given all the hype. I've been looking forward to this and will also check out 'Modern Farmers' for some light-hearted entertainment :-)

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I really like this drama,I only have one problem
I've never watched the anime nor did I read the manga so I'm not sure about how the characters are supposed to act but to be frank I find Nea-il to be soooooooo annoying at first it was cute but then I found her character to be such a drag

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THIS IS FRIGGING AWESOMEEEEEEEE I'M ALREADY IN LOVE WITH IT!!!!!! -SQUEALS AND FANGIRLS-

Oh, btw, thanks JB!!! You rock! But then again... you're always awesome, so yeah :)

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YESSSSS i've been waiting for your recap :D thanks jb!!! looks good so far. cant wait to see it for myself.

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Dat featured pic!! /dead/

Thanks JB!!!

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I just finished the episode. I haven't seen the original Japanese series nor have I read the manga, so I have nothing to compare it to (though I plan on watching/reading these once I'm done with the K-drama).

So far, I mostly love it. The cinematography is gorgeous and it was so easy to be immersed in the music. I would have gladly watched that piano duet for much longer than the actual screen time it had.

While I really liked Yoo-jin (he was like the perfect blend of serious and goofy), the character of Nae-il was hit or miss with me. Sometimes her charm worked and the rest of the time it was over the top and trying too hard to be cute. As JB mentioned in the review, Nae-il was more effective in the quieter moments and I'm in total agreement.

Also, a series playlist is an excellent idea, though I'm afraid I won't be too much help with identifying the different pieces. Though I suppose we can always just use Shazam/Soundhound on the tracks (and hope that no dialogue interferes so the music will be recognized).

Looking forward to the next episode!

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I think you are right to focus on music. Each piece of classical music chosen by the drama stands in for an element of the plot. For example, the piano piece she plays that gets Eugene's attention is Liebesträume No. 3 by Franz Liszt. Literally, it is about dream of love. So we find her ready & highly willing to fall in love with someone.

I watched the first episode just long enough to realize that the drama avoids identifying the place of its first scenes. I thought that was weird. It is Salzburg in Austria, a city where Sound of Music also takes place and a city whose appearance always makes a statement by itself.

In the first 10 minutes of the episode that I managed to watch, everyone seems to be "playing" or "vocalizing" the assigned character, rather than being or living it. No wonder JB finds it far more effective when they shut up or stop moving for a second. Well, it is only the first episode and it is possible that they will all seamlessly and naturally meld/fuse into their respective characters soon enough. I would rather get back to it when it is in full swing, having sorted out its kinks.

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Have you seen the Japanese version before? If so, how was their acting compared to the Korean version?

The comment you had about the actors in this version merely playing the characters rather than being them was interesting. The only character (so far?) I got that vibe from was the rival conductor guy; his conducting motions were histrionic but oddly without passion.

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The Japanese was more slapstick

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well the thing about nodame is she's not supposed to be cute? tbf i think eun kyung is still working out how to interpret her version of nodame. and i think she's trying to be a bit more like juri's version than she prob should be. but i cant blame her fully since it might also be in the direction as well. and tbh tamaki is faaar more charming than joon won is in the role but i did like joo won def. its just v different. and tbf i think joo won isnt trying to be like tamaki and tbh the type of acting tht kdramas and actors do is so v diff from jdramas usually that i was fully expecting some notable deviations from the originals.

but yeah nodame, is supposed to a weirdo and a nutball. like look at her apt, there was nothing cute about it. it was horrifying hahaha. the fact that chiaki is a generally fastidious person is what makes it even funnier. i dont think joo won quite got that bit down yet but in general everyone seems a bit milder than their jdrama counterparts which def works better for this less slapstick version but yeah tamaki was all about some amazing physical comedy esp in the faces. and in terms of nodame her way of speaking was genuinely peculiar rather than cutesy imo, and almost overtly childish but again not like D'AWW SHE'S SO CUTE. we're supposed to grow fond of nodame and find her unique and special but not necessarily to the extent her quirks were romanticized like some MPDG.
eun kyung is amaze at comedy so i'm just waiting for her to hit her sweet spot with the acting and i like that she isnt trying to mimic juri's speech style as nodame altho she is clearly being influenced by it. (if u hear the juri nodame version u might dislike that even more, cause it was way more over the top but also that and her GYABOOO are part of what made the j version so iconic. imo)

lol this is long but i'm lazy so i'm putting all my thoughts into one reply haha.

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Nodame is childlike, though. In the manga, Nodame was mistaken for a middle schooler when she performed with Stresemann on Europe. She wanted to be a preschool teacher, but kids thought of her as a friend, not a teacher. There was a tween French conservatory student who thought she was a kid like himself, and he was actually more mature than her.

I'm in the minority but SEK's Nodame doesn't seem like she's trying to be cute to me. She's like a perverted ajumma and a child at the same time and not at all self-conscious as a woman. Actually, she reminds me a bit of Mozart in the film Amadeus. At the beginning he throws you off, he seems like a caricature, but then he grows on you.

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So far, this one's a keeper for me -- I love love love the music and the duet was beautifully shot.

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And p.s. thanks for a lovely recap.

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thank you JB :)

the student conductor in rehearsal was incredible!! I can't... stop... :D:D:D

I hope they included the song that wasn't included in J-drama. Like Nodame Rhapsody and others.

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That student conductor must be a dancer ;)

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he was hilarious...his conducting was one of the funniest parts of the drama

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Haven't watched it yet, but I'm excited that you're excited about it. Regarding the manga-esque violence of the J-dorama-- that actually put me off so much, I stopped watching it. It wasn't until a few years and many dramas later that I was able to go back and pick it up again, understanding that the violence was meant to be quirky and funny rather than truly violent. I'm glad to hear that that element is missing in this version though-- I think it's more palatable in a Japanese production.

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the "violence" expresses an emotion. people need to get over that. you cannot take it from a serious point of view, look deeper. but in this version it is practically minuscule. for a gentle soul it can still be intimidating.

I still don´t quite love the version as much as the japanese one. I feel like they are tense. it is understandable to an extent, but now they need to relax and loosen up. a lot.

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I am with you on that.

http://imgur.com/mGWBt

img cr: [email protected]

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The "violence" was just slapstick comedy. This is more a cultural thing, Japan loves physical/Slapstick comedy. Nodame wasn't really getting abuse. lol

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Glad to hear it's doing well so far. I am grudgingly starting to see Joo Won as Chiaki thanks to all those angry and side-eye stills, lol.

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its here! its here! its here!

i completely agree. something about this first episode totally grabbed my heart in a way that the jdorama didnt quite do....

and too while im gonna miss the comical violence, because it was funny, at the same time i am totally fine with it being absent.

im super excited to get this show on the road!

(and if you do end up compiling a list of the classical pieces, i personally would be super grateful! if something comes across that i recognize ill gladly post it as well~)

please please please stay awesome and whimsical....having just torn through the jdorama recently in preparation of this coming out, i see lots of potential for meolodramatic histrionics so please please please dont go there......

<3

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Joo-won is Chiaki-sempai. There is no doubt in my mind after watching the first episode.

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Of course he is!!! But let as call him as Cha Yoo Jin, the Korean-Chiaki. ^^

Understanding the drama with the help of English sub really made the difference than watching it in raw form and guessing what is being said. Overall, I find the first episode dissolving all my feelings of uncertainty. With Joo Won's giving his own interpretation on his character as Cha Yoo Jin, I am now drawn to it more than I think I will be.

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*nods head* I was caught by surprised how much I like Joo-won as Chiaki-kun.

I'm glad I'm not the only one feeling less impressed by Shim Eun-kyung as Nodame. I hope she fully taps into character soon. I just don't feel her engrossed being a weirdo, well, she is suppose to make you feel she is misunderstood, however I haven't felt it through Nae-il this pilot episode; she behaves more like a cute kiddo.

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Bah, cheap imitation.

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[This thread is unnecessary and not in the spirit of this site. Be civil folks. -jb]

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[Deleted. -jb]

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[Deleted. -jb]

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[Deleted. -jb]

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The Jdrama actor is hotter though...

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IKR!! It's his more masculine voice that captured my attention first then looks.<3 Hiroshi Tamaki <3

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Joo-won is too much of a baby face. While Tamaki was more of smexy hunk, with one intense look from him, he'll make your legs weak.

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yes definitely! Tamaki was hot HOT HOT!

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I think that it would be informative and enlightening to add the major pieces in the episodes. Maybe you could just pick out the major pieces that are the center piece of the episode and leave out the not so important parts. To supplement the recap would help people get into classical music and have more investment due to their curiosity.

I appreciate the recap. I seriously think that it would be a major enhancement to add the bits of music in the recap to experience the moment in the drama more viscerally.

Thanks again!

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I had really low expectations, but this was a solid first episode ( though I'm sure Nodame purists will hate it since it changed some things). I do sort of miss the gags, but I'm open to the k-drama serious interpretation. I do hope Shim Eun Kyung finds her ground soon though because sometimes she just came off as over the top or cutesy and that's not Nodame.

Is there an episode count for this yet? 20 seems reasonable, but only if they plan to follow the entire manga.

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I found her a bit too childish and will dumb..now Nodame is both childish and at times dim but under it all she is pretty much a genius as Chiaki ever was, but as its only the first episode and the actress is still building her own version of Nodame it only bothered me a few times after all Nodame is a very tricky role to play and find the right balance.

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I'm not a fan of the "mug" school of acting. In at least 12 of the pictures up there, she's "mugging" (making a face).

Sorry to the ferocious posters who can't stand to hear an opposing view.

I see that it's on KBS2. This is one I won't be watching.

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On DF they have it listed as out of 20 episodes and since the helped "produce" it, I feel like that's probably accurate.

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@4D Thank you!

@bjharm Yes, Nodame is a tough character to get right. She's childish, yet charming and I don't think Shim Eun Kyung has found that in between yet, so it's coming off cute, for me at least. It feels like she's miming Nae Il instead of being her.

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Thank you :)

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I would be interested if they didn't try to copy and mimic the Japanese live-version or manga exactly, but focused more on being Chiaki-centric/Joo-won.

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Can't wait to see this uploaded onto DF! And YES, PLEASE! Would LOVE a compilation list of all the classical music <333

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Yes! Please try to list all the classical pieces because this old brain (mine) is going to have a hard time with, "Now, what was that one? I know it, but I just can't remember identify it." (And, spend sleepless nights trying to drum it out of my brain.)

As always, thanks for a recap that I find spot on .

I can hardly wait for the Rhapsody In Blue scene, which was my favorite in the J-version and which was a revelation for Chiaki/Yoo Jin.

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From the little pieces that we saw, Go Kyung-pyo reminds me a lot of Siwon in King of Dramas, which is definitely a good thing. I think I'm going to like him a lot! Hopefully.

Definitely agree RE: Naeil. Chiaki's overall character is perfectly suited for kdramas, so I'm not surprised that Joowon did well! While I didn't think the episode was super funny, it was pretty chill and really cute.

P.S. NEEDS MORE TIMPANI

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Go Gyeong-pyo IS a Siwon look-alike (albeit a thinner yet more goofier version (thanks SNL) than the derp!Won we are accustomed to on cam); it's been mentioned in a variety show (forgot which), either "Operation Proposal" or "Standby" (gods I love the nonexistent pairing that was Siwan and Gyeong-pyo).

Go Gyeong-pyo knows. It's only Siwon who doesn't acknowledge the fact that someone else looks like him even if it's shoved in his face.

(actually, from where I live, someone else looks like Siwon too, only much more smaller and thinner and with breakouts)

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I will probably check this out eventually, when I have time. Really glad to hear it's doing well so far :)

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Meh...

While I can not pinpoint what (one thing? a few things?) exactly, there's something vital missing.

Also, JW and SEK do not have that "romantic" chemistry - they seriously look like a couple of birth siblings rather than a couple in a romantic relationship together.

It's a pass for me.

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Awesome recap--thanks so much! I agree that this was wonderful, and I say this as a huge fan of the anime and an ish fan of the Japanese drama. What I loved about this episode was that it was funny, but kept the air of wistfulness that makes the anime so haunting. I'm really looking forward to more!

The idea of a music list is great--and I'd love to help with piece identification if you need someone. My knowledge of classical music is far from encyclopedic, but it's pretty broad.

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Yes! was waiting for the recap!

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Yes to the list of classical pieces! I played violin from middle school to high school for a total of 7 years but because of my major in college, I wasn't able to fit it in my schedule so I haven't played for several years...but I still appreciate classical music. :)

Anyway, I agree that SEK, although good, her actions seem more exaggerated than Juri-san...I wish her crazy actions to be more natural-lookin'.

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I was a bit worried that the best was all there was in the teasers. They gave so many juicy bits in those that I was fearful that the rest of ep 1 might feel like fillers.

Now, I can say it has certainly live up to the expectations and hype even. I agree with everything you said about the Jdorama. It's a matter of taste and preference but things I do not like for eg slapstick, over the top facial expressions and manga-esque violence. I also felt that Chiaki did not sell me into how he fell in love with Nodame. Ueno Juri and Tamaki Hiroshi were good overall but the romance part was not just little in quantity but I just don't feel the love between them.

Being a fan of Joo Won, I was overly anxious for him. He has always proven me wrong in how far and how good he can be. Sometimes, I find him unbelievable, that is unbelievably good. And in so many varied roles. Despite having big shoes to fill in, I must say he has made the role his and fleshed out Chiaki in the way I had always wanted.

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Yup, just the way we always wanted. ^^ Joo Won really knows how to get into his characters.

Time to enjoy this drama. And leave all the naysayers behind. They do not give us happiness so why bother. They can die complaining about how this and that is. We can die drooling how Joo Won will do this and that... and preferably, less shirt.. maybe. That bathtub scene looks promising.Hmmm. Now what episode will that be.

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Oh I agree JW is so well perfect! And the music so addictive ?

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But in fairness, Nodame the manga was not a shoujo. The romantic feelings between Chiaki and Nodame were never really at the forefront of the story. Though it was important, the manga mainly focused on the growth of the characters individually, and then as a pair together.

And all that lovey-dovey stuff is more focused towards the second arc of the story anyways. I don't know how far the kdrama will go, but I do hope they go as far as the japanese movies did. Budget permitting.

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This was absolutely perfect it was like the original version but they were true to themselves which I love ..... I went in with really low hopes and this episode blew me away ...... The only thing is that stressman is a bit reserved maybe because it is the first episode hopefully he will become the wonderful man we all love .. Other than that Nodame gets ?? Keep it up show

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OMG LOVEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!! Day=made!!!

Thanks javabeans for the recap!!! Been waiting for this all day~~
I really enjoyed the music they played! So many classical pieces one after another, perfectly emulating the mood or scene. So good!!! *music nerd squels* (Speaking of which, I'd be happy to help identify pieces if you want to do the playlist) And I have to say that the main characters are doing a good job as "pianists"! They kept it pretty realistic. The violinist, however.... haha

Really loved the humor and quirkiness of this drama. I actually laughed out loud when watching this!!! :D

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The violinist is acceptable to me ^^" It just so appears that he is more into rock than classical =]

The production crew really needs to fix the contrabassists though. They do not hold the bows right! Only players of the medieval viols would hold their bows like that ><"

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Watched the episode already yesterday in raw ??
Thank you JB for for the speedy recap
Finalllly the fun has began !!

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Fun, charming and close to the original plot while toning down the goofy slapstick was *exactly* what I wanted, so I'm feeling pretty good about this :D

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YES. YES. YES.

Please compile a list of all the classical pieces played in this drama! :D

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This is bringing back all my classical music loving feels....and a small part of me just wants to pick my violin up for the first time in years and just play for the hell of it.

Am glad that I am liking what I'm seeing so far. And I agree, there is an emotional beat that the previous versions just skimmed so it'll be interesting to see how that plays out.

Also, yes yes yes to the master list of music!

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Thanks for the recap! =)

I watched half of the original (didn't finish it till the end)when I heard of the casting news regarding this show but I stopped because I wanted to watch this with an open mind. So I like it when newcomers to the show who have not read the manga or watched the Japanese version tell us their first impressions. It helps a lot when watching.

P.S. This is my first time commenting on your guys website. I've been a silent reader of the site and have enjoyed what you guys share (especially the cable dramas). And thanks for the "name that drama". I found my movie (Clementine!).

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Unlike most people who have seen the Japanese drama of Nodame Cantabile I didn't like it as while I could tolerate the way Chiaki treats Nodame in animated and comic forms I couldn't take it or any of the other manga things in live action.

So far I love it and maybe I'll finally watch a Joo-won drama all the way.

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I was actually happy that they did this version of cantabile but not without apprehensions...I have watched the j-version of this drama and that version was fantastic and heartwarming that it me made cry...of course i expected that the hilarity would be toned down in the k version since i think kdramas tend to focus more on the emotional aspect and they dont have over the top humors that is just out of this world......they tackle more on the more realistic and believable part of life.....

I was worried about the characters though even if we dont want to there will always be comparisons and because the portrayals of j drama casts were so well done....they have set the records really high...
but im happy to say that I think jo woon did justice and I really like his version of tamaki...and I think he totally owned the character and made his own version of it.

shim eun kyung on the other hand.....I still have a bit of difficulty relating to her character though....because I fond her portrayal a bit childidh but she was really cute....I think I will have to see more of the drama to get more feel in her character....

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I am not familiar with any of the other version so I definitely have gone into this with an open mind. So far I'm really enjoying it.

I knew from previews and such that it was supposed to revolve around music, but so many shows are supposedly about one thing and then have very little to do with it....so this is definitely refreshing. Some of the music choices were really spot on and I enjoyed it (a couple moment where I wasn't quite sold, but no biggies).

I'm also enjoying the quirkiness of the episode without it being way over the top (although the CG roaches took me out of it for a minute). I always love Joo Won so it's no surprise here that his character is working well for me. The main actress...I haven't seen the other version so I can't compare. The character seems a bit like a lot of manga lead girls. I don't know how to describe it. I'm more curious where the character is going to go. And I'm also looking forward to getting to see more of the supporting characters. Oh and while I like the both the leads right now, it's hard for me to imagine them in a romance. But it's only episode one and characters evolve...but right now it's really hard for me to imagine that kind of vibe between them.

I personally would LOVE a list of the music used. I recognize some but not all, and some I recognized but couldn't actually place.

Also....what's up with the doll on her shoulder? Is that in the manga? It was creeping me out lol.

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Manga Nodame loves an anime called Puri Gorota and collects figurines and other items from the show. The doll in the kdrama looked like the Puri Gorota character.

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Thanks!

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Please please please pretty please, a spotify playlist would rock! Thank you for the recap!

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Not having seen the previous J-versions, I think I can safely say that I like this drama. Since the first episode was mostly an introduction to all the characters, I'm hoping the 2nd episode fleshes out the story a little bit more.

But Joo Won's hair! *cries*

A list of the pieces played in the episode would be wonderful.

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So far I like this version better than the Japanese. Although I must admit that I didn't actually sit through the original. I'm with SS in that I don't like the over the top slapstick and manga-esque violence. Many Japanese doramas just put me off so quickly with that style of exaggerated acting that I'm so so happy this has been molded into more subtle Korean style ^^

Also, I'm not really into Nodame s a character. She is such a manga character that I feel it must be difficult to tone her down to fit this drama but keep her quirkiness and oddballness with out making her seem stupid and childish.

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Yes, I would very much like to know the classical pieces used in this drama although I wouldn't be able to help in identifying the songs. I'll be able to watch this show in December when my external drive arrives, goodness gracious! Thanks for this recap, Javabeans!

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I know it's inevitable that when there's a workplace drama in your field of knowledge, it will make you cringe. But I'm happy to say I'm liking it. (The shots of the piano playing are fine, though I was hoping the flailing of arms around wasn't supposed to be conducting.)

I feel like this hour could have easily been a standalone drama in itself, if you take the plot about the orchestra out. Cliched point maybe, about having to release yourself from the strict nature of academia to truly find yourself (and your music), but beautiful all the same. Almost enough to make me think THEY'VE FALLEN IN LOVE WITH EACH OTHER ALREADY HOW ARE YOU GOING TO SUSTAIN A DRAMA, but it really does say something about how jdramas are.

Joowon is fantastic.

The only low point is probably that ending ost song. Goodness. Please make some use of your main cast who can sing.

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This is also the first time in a very long time I've managed to watch an episode of a kdrama without skipping moments.

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You are not alone

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I'm smiling SOOO big right now! XD I saw the j-drama for the first time recently and really loved it and, surprisingly, this version is giving me the exact same feels- but with more Joo Won, lol! I always thought he would fit the role of Chiaki perfectly and I'm glad to be proved right in this first episode. Unlike JB, I also really liked Shim Eun Kyung as Nodame and have little to no reservations about the portrayal, so I'm over-all as happy as a clam. I think I actually enjoyed the comedy, including Nodame's brand of crazy/cute, even more in this version.

Also, I'm already connecting with the little moments of poignancy they threw in, so I'm hoping they keep going with that. Yoo-jin's flashback freakout was actually a little affecting and at least not so outlandishly exaggerated as to be offputting, as I found it in the j-drama. Chiaki's wierd mix of competency/incompetency, arrogance/weakness really confused me and took a while to get used to in the original, but in this version I already get the balance of his character and feel sympathy for him. I think the less manic/manga tone helps with that and may actually accentuate the serious emotions and characterizations of Nodame that hooked my heart. Here's hoping my initial high is justified in the coming weeks. I love you Cantabile Tomorrow, fighting!

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Just to clarify, I'm not saying that this version is so much better than the jdrama or anything. Actually, I'm not sure how much I would like this if I hadn't seen the jdrama. A lot of the appeal definitely comes from the nostalgia and good will it invokes from my memories of the original. It's just that it's really amazing that they captured the tone and characters of the jdrama while also managing to cut out or smooth over some of the more jarring aspects.

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Yay! And you are lightning fast javabeans with the recap!!! When do you sleep!?!?!?

I haven't seen any previous versions, but I am a die hard fan of Joo Won's and all the promos looked delightful. I am so glad to say that I am hooked right from the get go. I love how you pointed out how the music is allowed to breathe and it just made me love it more. And I'm sold on Joo Won. *sigh* I can't wait for the Tuesday episode. And thanks again for the recap!

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For those who haven't read the manga or seen Japanese live-action, Nodame's character is one of the most misunderstood parts of the entire series. She is suppose to be child-like character, stuck in the past. Very difficult to do, but Shim's interpretation doesn't seem too out of place.

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I totally agree with you. Very well said.

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Child-like would be OK, but she acts mentally deranged. I loved her in Miss Granny, and hoped for more of a mature challenge for her. I have my fingers crossed hoping the worm turns into a butterfly....

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The trouble is the Kdrama neglects to build on or even mention Naeil's prodigal abilities where the piano is concerned. In the Jdrama, there is emphasis on her complete immersion in music, to the extent that everything (except Chiaki) becomes secondary. So stereotypically, she is an eccentric genius. Her mind flows on a level that we peons are unable to grasp. In the Kdrama, we see her through Joo Won's eyes alone and he says "it's quite good" or something to the effect. In the Jdrama, a lot of people react and crowd around the doorway to see who is playing the duet and people are impressed both by Chiaki and Nodame which functions to reassert Nodame's skills where piano playing is concerned. That's sadly missing in this drama.

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Ha! You nailed it. :)
That's what I thought was missing in this KDrama version, And it's not just Naeil, I felt that they did not show enough of Chiaki's/Yoo Jin's genius as a musician. Sure they mentioned that he's the best pianist in the univ, but I did not see it. It's just the first ep, so I will continue/try to keep an open mind and give this one a chance.

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Totally fell in love with this adaptation and how it stays true to the source material (ie the manga/anime) but with a kdrama flavour!!! I especially like how they kept Joowon's Cha Yoo Jin as the narrator, giving us insight into his true feelings behind his cold/stern front.

And I must add that I'm impressed by the piano-playing (or miming?) from joowon and Eunkyung. They actually DO look like they are playing the pieces, down to some of the little idiosyncrasies of piano players...so mad props to them for that! Go Kyungpyo does look slightly stiff with his violin, while Dohee looks like she is struggling to reach the higher positions on her doublebass, but it is much harder to fake-play a string instrument in the first place.

As for a playlist, it'll be nice but hopefully there's an easy-ish way of identifying all the pieces. For now, I can only identify a couple from memory:
Naeil's piano solo - Liszt Liebestraume No. 3
Ilrak's violin piece - Beethoven sonata for violin and piano number 5 (op24) 'Spring sonata', 1st movement
Cooking scene - Tchaikovsky Serenade for strings in C major (op48), 2nd movement

Couldn't hear the Dvorak orchestral piece on the video I watched and I can't identify the rest >< Sorryyyyy. I suspect the solo piano piece Yoojin played at the start is a Rachmaninov or some other Romantic composer, but I'm not too sure...

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Hahaha - Il-rak's "Spring Sonata" ... I know that's supposed to be his signature piece, but that rendition was almost unrecognisable!

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Please, please, please JB!!! WE need the compiled list of classical music played in the drama. I just started following classical music and enjoying it thoroughly. So for a novice like me, it would be a great help!
Though I haven't started watching officially yet, I am enjoying the recap as of now! Cheers!!!!

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"I toyed with the idea of compiling a list of the classical pieces being used in the drama, but there are actually so many that I wonder if it’s quite necessary or feasible. Let me know if this is something you’d like to see here, and especially if you’re willing to help identify songs and keep a list updated!)"

I'd love that.

Thank you very much for the recap! I love the previous versions of Nodame, and I love this one too so far.
I am taken aback by Shim Eun Kyung's acting in Sunny and Miss Granny, and I wish she can deliver great acting here.

JOO WON, I LOVE YOU!

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DRAMA OF THE YEAR RIGHT HERE

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Here's a list of classical music that I came up with. Details in which scene can be found in the Naeil's Cantabile Soompi Forum:

Mozart Divertimento in D Major KV 136
Maurice Ravel - La Valse
Beethoven Symphony No. 3 in E-Flat Major Op. 55 "Eroica"
Grieg Piano Concerto in A Minor Op. 16
Liszt Lieberstraum No. 3 in A Flat Major
Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6 in B. Minor Op. 74 "Pathetique" (Adagio-Allegro non troppo)
Verdi - Requim Dies Irae
Tchaikovsky Nutcracker Suite Op. 71: Sugar Plum Fairy
Camille Saint-Saens Le Carnaval des Animaux: Aquarium
Tchaikovsky Nutcracker Suite Op. 71: Russian Dance
Luigi Cherubini Medea Overture
Beethoven Violin Sonata No. 5 in F Major Op. 24 "Spring": Allegro
Vivaldi Four Seasons "Winter": Allegro
Massenet Meditation From Thais
Nikolai Rimski-Korsakov The Tsar Saltan - Flight Of The Bumblebee
Dvorak Symphony No. 9
Brahms Hungarian Dance No. 5 in G Minor
Mozart Sonata For Two Pianos in D Major K. 448 Allegro con Spirito
Chopin Ballade No. 4 in F Minor Op.52

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Thanks so much for this!!

I recognise a few of the same pieces used in the jdrama, but I like that they're using fresh stuff, particularly for Naeil's impromptu pieces.

I kinda miss the flourish of the Gershwin theme song, though :)

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Nice job, I was thinking of helping with listing some of the pieces, but I guess that's unnecessary since you seem to have it.

One small addendum, the Dvorak Symphony identification is correct (New World Symphony = no. 9), but it's specifically the 4th movement (not the famous 2nd movement which more people know about).

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Thanks, Requiem! I'll update my list over at soompi.

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Thank you for compiling this list -- which is going to definitely enhance my pleasure in watching this show.

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Thank you so much!!! :D

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Thanks so much for doing this!

I really have to applaud their classical music choices here. I was at first disappointed that they took away Pathetique, but then Liebestraume is such a fitting alternative as the piece of music that starts the first connection between our two leads.

Also, loved the use of Tchaikovsky's Sugar Plum Fairy piece for the first meeting between Yoo-jin and Nae-il.

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Thank you so much! Time to start downloading...

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Thank you!! I just made a playlist for myself with these. So psyched.

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Thanks, keep it coming. :)
That's going to save some time, when I can't remember the composer/music piece.

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OMGGGG!!! Firstly i was extremely worried when i saw the teasers come out and just about the whole remake thing in general. BUT whooop this is a wonderful start and now i'm learning to love it without my prior knowledge of the Japanese drama/manga/anime.
Really hope they continue this awesomeness until the very last episode :)

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Looks like they're staying pretty close to the original - in a good way.

It's nice to see they've kept Nodame/Naeil's quirks when she plays (like the pouty mouth) and the itchy hands when it comes to other people's food!

Makes me look forward to the next episode.

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On the subject of the actual drama itself.

Things I liked:
+Joo Won's performance so far
+No slapsticky/manga style violence or humor (never really enjoyed it in the jdorama which is one of the main reasons I dropped the jdorama)
+Because of the above, it feels more realistic instead of a caricature of real life.

Things I thought could be improved:
-Shim Eun Kyung's performance - it felt like it was the style of the j-dorama and didn't fit in the more realistic presentation of the kdrama. She was great in the softer, quieter moments like JB said, but when she's Nae-il, it's a very jarring contrast and doesn't really fit some of the style of the drama (so much so that I felt like she was overacting)
-Needs more length in the music pieces. Sometimes it's just a snippet when they could have it lengthen in the background
-I really liked how Nodame Cantabile jdorama introduced the other characters in that it felt more slice-of-life as they're looking at Chiaki walking through the compound. Here, it felt more choppy and cut up and not as organic.
-Music wasn't as well done as the jodrama. Specifically, the piano duet. In the jdorama, whoever did the Nodame part nailed it in that the rendition was really offbeat which would make it hard for someone to harmonize with in a duet. In the kdrama, the duet was very run of the mill and wasn't really as offbeat as much as would throw off a second pianist....

Dunno, if I'll continue with it, but it seems like a decent offering.

I hope they get better and I can actually finish a Nodame drama....

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Requiem, you nailed it about the duet. I thought I was the only one who thought that way. :)

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I actually thought Shim Eun Kyung was fantastic as Naeil - she was funny and loveable without being too OTT. Joo Won was also pretty good (finally he's back in a watchable drama again), I love their dynamic already and the way he looks at her....

In the jdrama I didn't really like the cartoon-y violence and the OTT humour either (imo it only works in anime form) so I'm glad they toned it down here. I loved the more dreamy aspects of the episode, like when Yoo-jin found Naeil in the end.

This was actually alot better than I thought it would be. Keep it up, show!!!

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exactly! u r totally right. Shim eun kyung was perfect for the role.
as much as i love the jdrama version, i do think that kdrama can make this drama to be more "human" and acceptable.

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