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Cantabile Tomorrow: Episode 16 (Final)

Everyone ready to say goodbye? Cantabile Tomorrow ends its story in the spirit of much of its run, with a touch of sentimentality undercut by silliness and comedy, and buoyed with themes of friendship and growth. It may be time for the characters to move on to the next chapter of their lives, and while it’s a bittersweet thing to say goodbye to things that are over, you get the sense that they’ll keep on keeping on, applying the same life lessons to the paths they are about to travel.

SONG OF THE DAY

Joo-won – “Innocente” from the Cantabile Tomorrow OST [ Download ]

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FINAL LESSON RECAP

On the phone to Min-hee, Nae-il is midsentence when Yoo-jin arrives, starting to say, “Even just thinking about it…” Then he wraps her up in a big back-hug, stunning her speechless.

Yoo-jin tells her he’s here to take her back. She registers his presence with a smile and finishes her thought: “…I’d only ever thought about it—that you might get on a plane and come to get me.”

She lifts a hand to his face and asks how he got here. He describes almost running away at the airport, “But I heard your voice. You cried again, didn’t you? What have you done to me?” Nae-il replies that she wanted him to go the places he wanted, and do the things he wanted.

He surprises her again by pulling her to him for another hug, and they stand there quietly for a long while, holding each other.

As they take a leisurely stroll out of the park, Yoo-jin asks if she truly means to quit the piano. Nae-il sighs that she keeps thinking of playing onstage, and how the thought used to only terrify her, but now she regrets not trying at least once before quitting. Yoo-jin decides firmly, “Then you have to do it.” She looks up at him in surprise as he all but tosses her in the car and declares that she still has an hour left to submit her application, driving off in a hurry.

Later that night, Yoo-jin meets the family and accepts a drink from her father, a virtual rite of passage for all couples. Oh, I love these meetings. Please be awkward and amazing!

One of the things I love about the Yoo-jin/Nae-il relationship is that they’re such a couple, and everybody sees it, but it’s like they skipped over the part where they flirted and dated and went straight into comfortable married status. So when anybody makes reference to the actual courtship process, it’s so hilariously embarrassing for Yoo-jin, who half-chokes when Dad beams that he’d always worried that Nae-il might not get married because of her quirky personality.

Yoo-jin starts to say, “We haven’t yet…” Dad just nods knowingly, “That’s okay. You’re like family now, no need to be embarrassed. I was like that at first too.” And you know, after overcoming a lifelong traumatic mental block just to come see Nae-il, it’s not like he has a leg to stand on in protesting, so he just sits there and takes it. HA.

His mother is amazed to hear that he managed the plane ride without incident, both pleased and a little melancholy at the thought that she couldn’t do anything to help him. She sighs, “I really was a useless mother…” Yoo-jin stops her from leaving, and smiles that his mother seems smaller now. She laughs that it’s just that he’s all grown up, and they hug sweetly.

The friends are happy that Nae-il is back and attempting the Salzburg competition, which is a big enough deal that winning it could propel her to soloist fame. On the other hand, it’s deflating to think of what happens once Yoo-jin leaves, though they brighten when Il-lac reminds them that they’ve got him.

Yoon-hoo finds Nae-il in a practice room, and she’s immediately a little guarded around him, asking him to keep at an arm’s length because Yoo-jin doesn’t like it. (Adorable.) Yoon-hoo picks up on her awkwardness and guesses that she wasn’t entirely unmoved by him, and that idea cheers him up considerably.

He gets more serious as he wishes her well and says, “When you feel like quitting, remember one thing: that there was somebody who made a new start because of your piano.” That’s super sweet. I like Yoon-hoo so much more when he’s being earnest, though he doesn’t often let it show behind that glib facade.

Yoon-hoo also gives Nae-il a gift, which she tries to refuse when seeing that it’s an expensive necklace. He asks her to think of it as a present from a fan, and tells her to take care.

That night, Yoo-jin takes Nae-il hiking to get one last look at the view, marveling at the stars and wondering how they’ll look the next time.

And then, we return to Salzburg. Ah, this is the same sequence that opened the series, with young Yoo-jin running through the streets as adult Yoo-jin reminisces about growing up amidst classical music. He narrates, “As though time had stopped, it was just like the vision in my mind—the scenery and sounds that I had always yearned for.”

Yoo-jin walks the same path now and thinks, “Teacher Viera, I have come now.”

Nae-il peers in through a store window, admiring the jewelry inside. Yoo-jin finds her there and scolds her for wandering, but she’s more fixated on the couple rings, recalling the ones Il-lac and Shi-won had shown off. In a flashback, we see Nae-il admiring them loudly (and pointedly, in Yoo-jin’s direction), while Yoo-jin had feigned ignorance.

He reminds her that she’s here for an important competition, while she oohs over the ring that’s “so pretty and round!” He barks, “All rings are round!”

But she gets pouty when he tells her he’ll go to see Viera without her, stomping off huffily, and his eyes return to the rings in the window…

They take a train to see Viera, but Yoo-jin hears that the maestro isn’t in due to a change in schedule. He’s disappointed, but Nae-il says that since they’re in Europe now, he can see him another time. (I do have to note that these scenes were shot months ago—and Nae-il is back to calling him Orabang—which highlights how much the tone has mellowed over time. It’s rather jarring to see these scenes now and I’m disappointed to see the return of old, exaggerated Nae-il, but I suppose the production couldn’t do much about already filmed footage.)

Nae-il proposes that they spend the day sightseeing instead, and off they go to visit all the Mozart-related tourist spots, with Nae-il stocking up on “honeymoon gifts” to bring back to their friends. She is rather like an overexcited puppy dancing circles around him, talking a mile a minute and running at full speed, ignoring his reminders to return so she can get some practice in. While she’s racing around singing nonsense lyrics to the Sound of Music, we see Yoo-jin holding up a ring, waiting for the right moment.

Finally he tells her to stop and close her eyes so he can give her something, and she readily complies, puckering up in expectation of a kiss. Oh honey, if only it were that easy.

He holds the ring up and tells her to open her eyes… which is when the sprinklers turn on and he jerks in alarm, sending the rings flying, landing at the bottom of a fountain. He jumps right into the fountain to look for them, while she grumbles that his “gift” to her was a big water slap in the face.

She glares at him, accusing him of doing it on purpose because she didn’t want to practice today, just as he fishes the rings out. He says casually that he’ll just have to consider the ring lost—and at the word “ring,” Nae-il dives into the fountain to find them if it kills her. She’s so distraught that he shows her the ring, albeit with a condition: She has to think of the competition first. He’ll give it to her after she wins. And just like that, she’s willing to go back and practice.

That night, she knocks on his door shivering and coughing, saying that she doesn’t feel good. Looks like she’s faking, though, and he eyes her skeptically as she fishes for sympathy. That doesn’t work, so she reminds him that he was whining “like a puppy in the rain” on the plane and she comforted him the whole time, guilting him into returning the favor.

He lets her in, and when she drops (huge, unsubtle) hints about wanting to eat ramyun, he heads out to find some for her. While he’s out, Nae-il gets on a video call with Min-hee to go over nightgown options, since “we’re going to practice being a married couple,” and encourages her to spread rumors about them at school. Lol. Of course, Yoo-jin returns in time to hear that, and although she switches right back to faking sick, it’s to no avail. He kicks her out and tells her to use her strategizing time for practice.

Il-lac and Shi-won have a date at Dad’s restaurant, where he suggests wearing couple tees (“Too childish,” Shi-won decides) or even couple underwear (“If you want to be more adult,” he suggests). Dad is adorably grumpy to have her around all the time, but Shi-won is a smart cookie and flatters him just the right way and offering a gift of health juice. Ruffled feathers thus smoothed, Dad cheers up and tells the couple to have fun, thinking to himself that Shi-won’s kind heart is just like his wife’s.

The orchestra continues with its rehearsals, this time with Yoon-hoo leading as conductor. He issues instructions with a kind touch, keeping the members’ feelings in mind.

Nae-il registers at the competition and gets assigned the final performance slot, then checks out the concert hall with Yoo-jin. Another competitor is practicing there, and she’s so amazing that the smile fades from Nae-il’s face. She’s thoroughly intimidating.

Yoo-jin recognizes the player, who’s already made a name for herself, and Nae-il heaves a sigh at the thought of having to beat her. She’s in glum spirits as they look out at the city from a viewpoint, hardly looking as Yoo-jin points out a neighborhood where he intends to find a residence (and says accidentally, “It’s where we’ll live” before catching himself).

She dejectedly says that it’s where he’ll live and he’ll sleep, all on his own. If she doesn’t win, she’ll have to return to Korea while he stays behind. Yoo-jin just agrees readily, making her bristle angrily and accuse him of cheating with a blonde unni.

He says that nobody would approach him with Nae-il stuck to him like glue 24 hours a day. “That’s what you’ll do,” he says matter-of-factly. It’s not enough to rid her of all her fears, but it does ease the doom a bit to have him state it with such certainty.

Then he holds up the ring box, telling her that instead of as a prize for winning, it’ll be her charm to help win. He slides it onto her finger and asks if she thinks she can win now.

She marvels at the ring, but says no—a ring isn’t enough. “I need a victory kiss to win,” she says, pulling him closer. Then she leans in and closes her eyes… and he shoves her forehead away with his finger, HA. Then she chases him with puckered lips while he does his best to dodge her advances. Sadly, he’s good at that.

A problem arises when the spellings of Nae-il’s name are inconsistent on her application and identification (Seol and Sul), and Yoo-jin is informed that competition rules bar her from participating. Bah! It’s such a tiny technicality, but rules are rules, and Yoo-jin gets on the phone to appeal for help from their school.

The Rising Stars prepare for another performance, and as Yoon-hoo conducts Verdi’s “La Forza del Destino” (which, you may note, was the score he first studied while in the hospital), narrating about its meaning to the composer, and also to himself. Verdi had been forced to give up on music, but marshaled the “force of destiny” to come back, this piece representing his reason for continuing on.

Emotion wells up in him as he conducts, thinking back to his own personal journey, starting with his first encounter with Nae-il at the festival and having to let go of the cello.

As the competition nears, Mina and the Haneum administration rush to find a way to confirm Nae-il’s identity and enable her to participate. Yoo-jin’s appeals go denied, and despite trying to manage the problem without letting Nae-il know, she overhears.

She sighs that this is her punishment for resisting coming at the outset, and sits down at the piano in the main hall to play her piece. Her run-through draws the attention of somebody outside—it’s Yoo-jin’s father, and he recognizes her talent as he watches her play.

Yoo-jin finally gets one concession from the competition organizers—if a judge or someone known to the judging panel vouches for Nae-il’s identity, they’ll allow her to play.

When Nae-il finishes her piece, Yoo-jin’s father claps for her in the empty hall, asking if she’s competing. She recognizes him as Dad and introduces herself—or she’s about to, when Yoo-jin’s entrance interrupts. Father and son stiffen in surprise to see each other, and Dad asks how he fixed his flying phobia. Yoo-jin says pointedly that he didn’t figure Dad would be interested in the process, and Dad concedes that what’s important isn’t how it happened, but what he intends to do now.

Yoo-jin answers that he plans to study abroad with Nae-il—and that while his personal studies are important, right now the priority is her competition. It’s an answer that earns Dad’s derision, who emphasizes that Yoo-jin’s music should be his own priority. Yoo-jin doesn’t disagree, answering that he feels this way because she is someone he’ll rely on and be with throughout the process. Pause to awww.

Dad says he needs to focus on himself, or find somebody who will match his needs perfectly. Yoo-jin shakes his head: “I won’t live that way.”

Seeing that Yoo-jin is determined, Dad gets up to leave, though he pauses to say that his Rachmaninoff concert wasn’t bad, even if it was with a mere college orchestra.

It’s more praise that Yoo-jin expected, though, and brings a smile to his face. “So this is how it feels to receive praise from your father,” he muses.

The trouble with Yoo-jin’s last chance in verifying Nae-il’s identity is that the judges’ identities won’t be revealed before the competition. Streseman offers to give it a try, though he recognizes that it’s a tough task. Time’s ticking and Yoo-jin gets antsier with the competition about to begin, and it’s looking like they’ll miss their chance.

But just as Nae-il is telling him philosophically that she can accept it, they finally get good news: A judge has confirmed, and she’s in.

Aha! It’s Dad. Streseman didn’t put him up to it, and Yoo-jin scoffs that the Dad he knows wouldn’t do it for him, surely. Still, he thinks back to his grudging praise and concedes that he seems different now from the father in his memory.

Of course, she still has to win, and her big-name competitor puts in a formidable performance. With moments to go, Yoo-jin finds Nae-il in the dressing room and tells her to pretend she’s playing in her own room.

By now she’s decided that she doesn’t have to come in first, because what’s important is that she’s finally showing people her piano. (“But still, I want to be first place,” she adds.)

Yoo-jin takes her hand and tells her she’ll do well, and then it’s her turn. As he watches her play, he thinks back to his first encounter with Nae-il, musing on the butterfly effect where a tiny occurrence has a ripple effect and gives way to big changes. Where would they be now, he wonders, if not for that first morning when he’d heard the sound of her piano from amidst the piles of garbage?

Nae-il plays her heart out, her performance drawing impressed looks from the judges. And then, the next thing we know, we’re back at school.

We don’t have to wait long to find out what happened, because Nae-il and her rabbit puppets rejoice that she’ll be able to study abroad with Yoo-jin; she’ll be packing up and moving away soon. She prepares to give her rabbits some kissy action… only to be blocked this time by Min-hee. Will we never get satisfaction?

The teachers look forward to the incoming crop of students in the next class, and when Teacher Do gruffly says he’s not interested in students who mean to have fun rather than study, Teacher Ahn teases that Teacher Do isn’t so averse to some fun himself. He points to the fart song as proof, and although Teacher Do blusters that it was just part of Nae-il’s lessons, he admits that it wasn’t so bad. Heh.

Meanwhile, Mina informs Streseman that she’s working to set up a professional Rising Star Orchestra, and both are optimistic about it having a solid future. Streseman advises her to stop worrying about students who can take care of themselves and suggests that they talk about their own future. Okay, fine, I guess they can go on and have their own romantic happy ending. (Offscreen.)

A pro orchestra is good news for the current Rising Stars, and Il-lac excitedly informs the members of the possibility. It would be one way for them to keep playing together after they graduate, and to pursue a successful musical career without having to leave the country. Aside from all that, “Plus it’s fun!” But before that, Yoon-hoo suggests one last special performance.

Nae-il’s packing isn’t going very well, given her attachment to pretty much everything she owns. Yoo-jin finds her agonizing over things she can’t bear to throw away and orders her to get rid of them, leading to a tug-of-war over her junk (his words) and treasures (hers).

The friends come upon them as they’re bickering, and Min-hee shakes her head, saying that the reporters wouldn’t write about Yoo-jin so glowingly if they could see him now. Su-min laughs that most winners of big competitions like the Salzburg change afterward, but Nae-il’s just the same as ever.

Il-lac cuts the bickerfest short by announcing that they have to take them somewhere…

And then we find the orchestra assembled in the lobby of the school, putting on a performance. AWW. Okay, that totally makes up for everything I found disappointing about this episode. (Okay, half the things.)

Yoo-jin conducts, Nae-il plays the piano, and the friends watch with contentment.

Yoo-jin: “When I didn’t do anything, I wasn’t anything, and when I was by myself, it was natural that I be alone. Meeting other people who were as diverse as musical instruments, matching our sounds, and making harmony together… In my world that was entirely music, I started to see people. We’re awkward as ever, and fall easily, and are frustratingly slow. But in learning the word together, step by step we are following our notes. Softly, melodiously—cantabile. Like singing.”

 
COMMENTS

All right, let’s get it out there, no sugarcoating: This finale bummed me out. It felt like a step backward in many respects, and after we’d come so far! I wanted to cut at least half of it—the half that didn’t advance the characters or tell us anything essential—to give us more time to spend in moments that the show is actually good at. Namely, small beats of emotion and connection, which it has done such a great job at building up over the course of the series.

I recognize that the show filmed its Austria footage in the beginning, and therefore it’s difficult to work around that limitation. Perhaps it speaks to just how far the show has come in smoothing over its weak points because I’d forgotten how ill at ease it felt at the beginning, like it wasn’t sure what it wanted to be; recent episodes have been characterized by a lovely, understated ambiance that felt natural—and then all of a sudden we were jerked back to jokerville.

This criticism isn’t directed only at Shim Eun-kyung, either, although she’s done a really noticeable job in settling into the role as the show went on. The plot has also done a nice job in touching on character moments and relationship interactions—whether romantic, friendship, or even parental. So then we came to Salzburg, and overnight (literally!) it felt like all the careful work the show had done to build up the reasons for this trip, and to make the competition a point of emotional climax, was unraveled when the finale reduced it all to a punchline.

For instance, Nae-il has come so far and overcome so many of her personal shortcomings to earn this chance at competition, only to laughingly blow off practice sessions to eat Mozart-themed chocolate? COME ON. I know that they filmed the scene intending it to be purely comedic, but it totally undermines the spirit of her journey!

Then she has a gag with the sexy lingerie, which takes Nae-il back to the skinship-loving stalker-admirer of the beginning of the show. Mind you, I have no problems with a girl with a lusty appetite, and the scene on its own isn’t the worst thing, since it’s meant to be a cute funny sidebar. But since the show has shown Nae-il growing less flirtatious in relation to the growing intensity of her feelings, it feels like another regression to be back to treating her feelings lightly.

This cuts both ways: When they have Yoo-jin recoil from Nae-il’s request for a kiss, I’m feeling cheated of the poignancy in the last episode when he was actually moved at the thought of kissing her. I don’t even require a kiss—in fact, my disappointment doesn’t have to do with not seeing one, because their relationship has been sweetly satisfying enough without it—but I really feel like we were cheated of proper emotional payoffs because the show had to work in scenes they shot early on.

Honestly, I would have rather they just cut most of the Salzburg stuff, even if it’s beautiful footage that would be a pity to “waste.” But more wasted is weeks of thoughtful work, torn down by thoughtless jokes. Who cares if what we get is a conversation shot boringly in a plain room, if the content of the conversation is touching and narratively in tune with what the show has actually become?

That said, there were nice moments in there, and the show ended on enough of a positive note that I’m left without a bitter taste in my mouth. I hated that the last episode brought back the complaints I had with the show in the beginning, and am relieved that at least we didn’t end with that as the last thing on our minds.

Because you know, there’s a good finale in here—it just wasn’t the one we got. Thank goodness for that lobby scene! If we hadn’t gotten that I might’ve cried. Okay, I wouldn’t have cried, but there would probably have been a lot more swear words in this recap. At least it works thematically (as well as being beautiful to look at and a fitting curtain call of all of our main players), with Nae-il and Yoo-jin finally getting to perform with the orchestra together. Furthermore, Yoo-jin commented in the previous episode about being willing to start all over if their orchestra had been knocked down again, and that he would play in the lobby if he had to.

So it’s the perfect imagery to encapsulate just how far he’s come, from being the cautionary tale that Streseman warned Yoon-hoo of becoming—fixated on skill and seeing little else—to becoming the man who would build from the very bottom with anybody willing to travel that journey with him. I love that line in his final narration, of being able to see people in his world, when before all he cared about was music.

It’s what makes his life different from his father’s—and it’s what gives it color and meaning and, above all, joy. He could adopt his father’s rules and become as dour-faced and exacting, or he could see the people as more than their instruments. (There’s also a great line in yesterday’s episode—I quoted it but didn’t elaborate on it—where the Rising Stars are lined up to take their stand, and he first describes an orchestra as a collection of instruments, before correcting himself and calling it a collection of people.)

Cantabile Tomorrow wasn’t the drama I was expecting, but once I got past switching my brain off from “Wait, that’s not how the other show did it!” I found it surprisingly enjoyable and heartfelt. I actually think it was a pretty creditable adaptation (…as long as you don’t take the Japanese drama as gospel) and liked the divergences in interpretation that it took, but more importantly in my book was that it worked as its own drama, once it decided to be its own drama. It was riddled with flaws, but for the most part I was happy to accept the weaknesses because when it was good, it made me really happy. I do wish it went out on a stronger note, but when I look back I think I’ll remember it more for all the warm fuzzies it gave me, and the moments that were so small yet felt so big. And of course the camaraderie.

And okay, also Joo-won. It’s no surprise that he would knock it out of the park yet again with another strongly realized take on a character, and yet, I’m always surprised when he manages to do it again. Not all of his projects have been winners, but he always makes me feel, and I’m not sure that this drama would have been nearly as enjoyable without him in it. Still, no man is an island, and no one person can take credit for a whole show. So I’ll file Cantabile Tomorrow away as an unexpected pleasant surprise and probably come back to it on cold rainy days when the heart could use a bit of warming.

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Such a beautiful episode.

This is what is known as a musical drama. Joo Won is hands down, amazing in this portrayal and I'm truly greatful I watched it. Shim Eun Kyung once again proves her worth as a youngster doing a major role. Their chemistry was sizzling and although a perv like me would cry for no kiss, I really enjoyed the drama throughout.

Thanks for recapping this, girl. You are amazing.

*runs to a corner to cry*

I DON'T WANT THIS TO END!!

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me too..... :'(

I DON’T WANT THIS TO END!!

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Me 2 this was such a pretty awesome fall drama ? love u Joo Won!!!

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Was it too much to ask, for such a tiny kiss?! Geez, who in their normal mind would refuse to give a girl a kiss, it's like an insult, hello, how old are you people? Am sorry but would this be the year 1381? Seoul nae il was being sillier here than ever but since it was supposed to be shot in the beginning, nothing could save that, let's just say being in Europe could make you giddy like that. It was ok, I would accept any ending for as long as there would be a kiss, I was still hoping like seconds to the end but nah, no such thing. The backhug was It, bah, you went to Austria, with that background and atmosphere, but no kiss. Aish! It's December, kisses should rain in Kdramaland. Just sayin.

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i think it's mainly because of Shim Eunkyung. she started her career in korea as a child actress, and i guess she doesnt want to be seen as an adult yet, who can start taking more adult roles. i read from somewhere that SEK has never kissed or even a peck in her previous dramas.

i met SEK personally in early November, and she's the sweetest person ever! her mother was with her too, so i guess she travels with her all/most of the time.

*sigh* how great it is if SEK's first kiss is with Joowon~

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Understandable that a very young woman doesn't want her first kiss to be "make pretend" in a drama and not the real thing.

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Well her mother even travels with her, then I can imagine she might have a "no kiss" clause in her contract. Possible.

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SIGH-I would have settled for a peck on the forehead ?

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I don't know if it's really because she used to be a child actress. She is already 20 and it's inevitable that all child stars grow up and fit into adult roles some day.

I loved chemistry between her and Joo Won though. I wouldn't say that they sizzle, but there definitely is something there that keeps you rooting for them and enjoying all the sweet moments in their relationship. They were a great pairing. Personally, I would have loved a kiss, but it didn't really matter, because the show doesn't leave you in doubt of how much they love and care for one another.

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in the original manga version they kissed only almost at the end of manga series (long long way to go, maybe CT 2) , because he've had a neverending trouble all that time, even in their's studies in Paris, to find out about his true feelings for "Nae-li" and to accept them, he was considering her like a precious sister to him, who he've never had

most of the time the korean drama kiss scenes are really not that natural and amazing, like those actors never kissed anybody in their lives, there are some exceptions so far, fortunatelly (Fated to love you, City hall) :-D

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The only consolation would be Il rak and Shi won's romance, so cute! So glad it was go kyung pyo as Il Rak, coz I really loved him in Flower Boy Next Door, adorable and so charming.

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Totally agree about Go Kyung Pyo. He's got such great comedic timing and expressions -- can't wait to see him carry a series of his own one day!

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I agree on this. For me he has given excellent acting as Ilrak but his name is less mentioned. Maybe he needs more serious roles in future.

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I feel sad that this has ended too! The last scene where they played together as an orchestra in the lobby is a winner for me, so much hearts! *tears

This drama has so many memorable characters, though there are many parts that could be done better, overall I totally enjoyed the journey. And of course, Joo Won is a winner for me too. So looking forward for his next drama ><

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I really love when he conduct in this last episode. Without baton just like how he did during the master class. And Joo Won's expression.. omo! So charming...

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WHAT??? No kiss?? That would've been icing on the cake for me.. It didn't even have to be dramatic.. But after all, these are college kids we're talking about., it's not unrealistic to expect more skinship than a hug here and there. Am I asking for too much??

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ah, thanks for the recap!

this drama was a pleasant surprise for me. i was a big fan of the original so i had some reservations but i really enjoyed this drama as it grew into itself. i just wished they did a kiss scene!!! :( lol.

i wish they would do a second season or a movie but i hear ratings for this drama are not that good in korea. hopefully there will be enough interest in the asia market (china, japan, etc) that producers might be willing to do a sequel of some sort.

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Ohhhh I am happy to have watched it.

As I love classical / baroque music, I take it all with happiness and gratitude.

All the rest, the silliness and the contrived obstacles.... well, its the price of admission.

Thank you JB, your words tie it together and add depth where there needed to be.

More than watching for the plot or the characters, I watch kdrama to be moved. And this time it was the beautiful music that did it for me.

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Yes, the music was the real star (though I really did like the actors).

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I'm just happy this drama gave me more than what Mi Rae's Choice and The Prime Minister and I gave me. A glimpse of the OTP's future and more than a hand shake.

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The drama was lacking in many areas, but somehow that didn't bother me as much as it usually would. Overall, I think it was worth the watch. Thanks for another series of great recaps!

(On another note - all my current dramas are ending this week or next week, my life feels strangely empty...)

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I was a little disappointed too. Particularly on how they minimized Nael's role in getting Yoo Jin on a plane. I wish there was a scene of them in a plane --anything, just to continue from the past episode the point that they belong t

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...t

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You wish for a scene of them on the plane together. YJ would be crying like a puppy in the rain and NI would be comforting him.
I wish for more time spent with NI's family, and for them to be more funny.
I and I believe others wish YJ would be less gruff with her in this final ep.
I suspect many wish for NI to be less cartoonish, and more like her recent self in the Salzburg sequence.
Everybody wishes for a kiss.
This final ep does leave much to be desired, but the glass is half empty or half full. There are things that it delivers too. But then, I must confess that I love it a little less after watching the finale than I loved it yesterday. It's just too bad they shot those Salzburg scenes first and didn't have the guts to ditch them for the integrity of the show.

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I too wished for a scene of Yoo Jin on the plane. it would have been hilarious. Remember when YJ went to find Naeil in Jeju, Naeil asked him about how his plane ride went and YJ was pretty evasive. But he did say he made a commotion, LOL.

And then like you said, YJ crying like a puppy in the rain and Naeil comforting him, that would be really funny too. Basically I just like it whenever Yoo Jin doesn't behave like Yoo Jin.

If they had more eps, they would have added these scenes plus the ones of Naeil's family. I am sure there will be more fun stuff there.

I am pretty fine with the Salzburg bit except the near kiss. I know it was because they filmed this first and so that's how it turned out in the end. I am just going to see them as an old married couple who keeps bickering but are inseparable. About the kiss, maybe SEK isn't ready for her first screen kiss, she hasn't had one, right? But they could have filmed at such an angle so that they could faked it or not have that Naeil wanting to kiss YJ badly scene,. Having YJ run away from a kiss is weird.

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I was pretty much expecting a different finale too. I already felt little deflated yesterday with the back hug, because I thought YJ trauma is big enough to actually have it played out on screen, instead we jumped to the emotional payoff, but that was crumbles compared to the finale, where I felt more than not that the things I wanted to see happened offscreen (or didn´t happen at all). Having Nae-il back being silly and cartoonish didn´t bother me much, because it didn´t bother me in the beginning, but to relate to that again after so many episodes, it felt bad to kind of talk yourself into it, because just yesterday I loved this show to pieces. Luckily I still love JW and SEK.

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What a great show. lots of flaws, but so heart warming. So very underrated; I wish that the mainstream audiences in Korea could have appreciated this gem of a drama more.
Cantabile Tomorrow really is the rare case where the drama got better as it progressed. So many dramas start out strong then go meh towards the end. This show did the opposite, starting out kind of mediocre, but growing into such a sweet drama.
I feel like the reason audiences didn’t enjoy this drama more was because (in my opinion) the weakest episodes were episodes 3&4, which is often the episodes where people decide to stick with a drama or not. It’s a shame that more people didn’t decide to stick with the show, but oh well, at least we got a chance to appreciate it right? :D
What can I say about the acting? Joo Won was absolutely FANTASTIC in the role of Yoo Jin, hands down my favorite male character of 2014. His facial expressions, delivery, just everything was perfect. I remember feeling really disappointed at Shim Eun Kyung’s portrayal of Nae-il at first, but I just feel like she grew so much during the course of this drama, really making Nae-il her own. And them together? OMG SO CUTE CANNOT HANDLE. The only thing I wanted more from this show was a kiss (come on you couldn’t give us at least one?) but Yoo-jin and Nae-il’s relationship was already so close and strong I wasn’t THAT mad at the show :P
I agree that the Europe scenes were kind of jarring, but I kind of just pretended that the show did a mini time skip and the two just got more comfortable around each other and changed haha. Once I got past that, I was able to enjoy the rest of the episode.
I know there isn’t going to be a season two or any continuation of any sort, but aghh. I feel like Cantabile Tomorrow is one of the few Korean dramas that would actually grow stronger with a continuation of its story. Oh well, ratings are ratings and Korean shows rarely ever have season two’s.
Ahh, I can already feel the withdrawal symptoms coming on…what will I do without Cantabile Tomorrow to look forward to on dreary Monday’s? Thanks for a great three months show, and making my heart feel so warm even in the midst of cold autumn weather <3

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I have already seen the episode three times just to get rid of the withdrawals. My only consolation is Misaeng now. I have to find another show to watch...sad.

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I watched it twice last night. Learning that the European scenes were filmed earlier does possibly answer some questions that were popping up while I watched. I could understand somewhat why she was in puppymode, but as was pointed out in recap, it felt like too much at this point in the relationship & story.

Still, I enjoyed it overall & will miss it. Both leads did a great job & Joo Won especially so. Thanks for the recaps. I need to pick a new series to watch now.

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Agreed!

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Thank you! I completely understand and I'm glad others feel the same way. The show was beautiful and heartwarming and everything most kdramas are not and it breaks my heart that it had to end so soon.

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I made sure to wait till the end to decide whether I was going to watch or not and have been watching comments. I will definitely be marathoning it when I have a chance.

I hope i end up enjoying it too. At least I know to stick it out through the first few episodes.

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I agree with you! Poor Shim Eun Kyung got so much criticism in the beginning of the series which was probably one of the reasons why many people dropped the show. The show is supposed to be about her, after all, and there was just so much expectation of who Nodame was supposed to be. I guess many people also had their own interpretations of her and when it wasn't met in the show they were disappointed. I'm glad she pulled through in the end though.

I'm glad there are other people who don't hate this adaptation so much. We accept the show for its flaws and swoon over the touching moments. Joo Won was great in this show and I can see how much hard work he put into bringing his own Chiaki across! LOVE Il-Rak and Shi-Won omgggg.. They are one of my fav OTPs this entire year.

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they are so cute as a couple *tear tear*

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Joo Won's english tho! So cute! :3

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haha i like it too. his pronounciation is not bad :p

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His English is decent, but his German... haha. I don't know why Korean dramas are so obsessed with the actors speaking French or German when they are filming in Europe. English gets you pretty far on this continent!

One thig I always hate about overseas scenes: the terrible extras! That receptionist was terrible at acting.

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I actually laughed at the extra that waved at the camera.

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Haha. I also caught a random man waving at the camera during one of the Salzburg scenes. And you notice everyone is staring at them when they film overseas in public spaces!

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Let's pretend it's ended on ep. 15

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Yea, I agree, that was more a fitting end, at least we felt the longing.

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I totally loved it yesterday. But today after watching the finale, I feel a strange dissatisfaction, not owing to a lack of a kiss, but an overall let down. So yes, I agree that pretending the show ended with ep 15 would work well.

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I think the ending was okay. Not really what many was expecting but good nonetheless. I can describe it as a marshmallow. It's sweet, it's soft and melts in the mouth and leaves you a feeling of content and warmth inside.

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I would have been okay with them ending on the scene where YJ is running away from NI and the camera fades right over the rooftops of the city.

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Then again, the lobby scene was such a treat and well done. One of my favorite kdrama scenes that gave such a warm awww feeling. So perfect!

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I had my disappointments with this episode, but I think it ended on a high and hopeful note. I am glad they ended with the orchestra altogether, because it is representative of all of them journeying together into the future.

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Cantabile Tomorrow may not have been a perfect renditioning of the manga: parts differ and the characters themselves in the drama were interpreted much differently by the actors than most others saw it (or even how they were interpreted in the JDrama). However, that doesn't mean this show was a failure. If anything, I liked this version much more than the JDrama and manga. It paints the story in a much more realistic (and to me, at least) and memorable light. Many commenters were concerned with the portrayal of Chiaki/Yoo Jin and Nodame/Nae Il, but I thought the actors were able to add more layers to these characters. The Jdrama was overly comedic and difficult to take seriously at many times, which is fine if that's what you're looking for. But making the show more realistic, making the characters more realistic and relatable is not something this drama should be criticized on. It is its own separate entity, and at its heart a beautiful story about conquering your fears and facing your challenges. I was disappointed in the ratings drop: this show was amazing in my eyes. I do, however, understand why the ratings dropped, and while I don't like to think of ratings themselves as complete indicators of whether or not a drama is worthy or good the many harsh and critical reviews I've seen so far I do not completely comprehend. Different versions of a drama are going to be different; it's irrational and nonsensical to think otherwise. I don't believe a person can or should judge a drama based on how different it is from a previous version - it sets one up for disappointment. To be able to appreciate a drama for what it is, as different and separate from other versions, is necessary for contentment and enjoyment of the show and allows you to truly appreciate what you watch.

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Lovely comment :)

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Yup. So lovely. :)

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And here we are at the end. Thank you so much for the recaps, and just for really sticking with the drama. It was a pleasure to read your words and opinions, which were very insightful. You guys always add something extra, especially to dramas that I really enjoy. So, I'm thankful for javabeans and this site.

I didn't have much expectations before this drama started, but I'm glad that I was open-minded to it. You really couldn't enjoy it, if you held on to the j-drama and compared the two all the time.

I did have expectations for this episode though! And I ended up a bit disappointed. Not too much with SEK's Nae Il though. I wouldn't say I hated her here. I still found her funny and adorable in this episode. The switch was a bit jarring indeed, but I loved who Nae Il grew to be, as the drama went on. I don't know if SEK regrets it, everyone's all like 'too bad she chose such a crap drama' but I was satisfied with her acting, more than I was bothered, at the beginning. Not too much comments on her though?

And Joo Won. Oh, Joo Won. He always does well, doesn't he? I really don't understand people who say he can't act well, or overacts? I mean, you like who you like, but I'll never understand that. Cha Yoo Jin was a great character, truly. A little too perfect at times, but really great. Joo Won never fails to move me. I think many watched this drama for him, or continued because of him, I actually got more interested bc of SEK. But you can't deny the power of Joo Won. That man is charismatic.

Unfortunately, he just didn't have the power to increase the ratings, but I'd say something's wrong if you don't experience a few failures with your work. I'm just glad that he was strong throughout and really led the drama well. I wish I could write korean, and just tweet him and tell him how thankful I am. You guys definitely should, if you can! He seemed excited today. I wonder if the ratings ever really troubled him though? Better next time, love.

All in all, I won't forget how this drama made me feel. It was really heart-warming and beautiful. I adored the characters and their friendship so much. I honestly wish the gang were my friends.

And...there's so much more to say, but I can't do it justice. Maybe I'll come back later, when I'm ready to let it all go.

For now, I feel at a loss for words, in terms of expressing myself. One thing's for sure, I'll really miss this drama.

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You basically summed up my entire mindset after watching this drama in one comment. Congrats ;) but really though I agree with you especially about Joo Woo. His acting is formidable and beautiful; it shows especially while playing Yoo Jin. The minute changes he makes to his facial expressions are what allow us glimpses of his heart - Yoo Jin's true feelings and emotions are relayed to us the viewers because Joo Won was able to so properly display his skills. As for the ratings, I agree. I remember reading or watching somewhere that Joo Won was extremely excited for the premiere of this drama. He said that they had all worked extremely hard and wanted the ratings to reflect that; he was definitely confident. I hope this show doesn't hurt his confidence in his abilities (he's one of the most talented actors in the KDrama business) because he truly did a wonderful job and properly lead the show.

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I'm not aware of people saying JW can't act well or overacts. But I suppose everyone, however great, has their detractors.

About the ratings: I'm really surprised at how low the ratings are, given how much of a hit the Jdorama was. May be that Korean taste for drama leans towards the melodramatic, with evil mother-in-laws, incest, struggle for inheritance etc. Older K ajummas like their soap operas. Then even the most popular of stars can't change the ratings for this show.

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A lot of people didn't want him as Chiaki though, when he was first casted. Some reasons were that he overacts or acts with too much emotion to be Chiaki.

Specifically, I remember asking why they didn't want him in the role because I didn't understand. I was open to hearing reasons and someone replied that JW just doesn't give you the feel of Chiaki, or something like that.

As a fan of the original, they just know that he wouldn't make a good Chiaki ┐(゚~゚)┌

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Those are mainly detractors because it's obvious Joo Won was totally up to the job. Like Javabeans said, he has always shown he could master the role but you still cannot help but be surprised each time at how well he does it.

And then, there will always be people who wish their own bias was leading.

Joo Won has rarely overact and because he is able to convey his emotions a lot better than many actors, he has been wrongly accused of overacting. In Cha Yoo Jin, he is so nuanced and thanks to his wonderful job at bringing forth Yoo Jin's emotions in the most subtle and yet powerful way, viewers have a more enjoyable Chiaki.

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Yes. A more enjoyable Chiaki, please let me say this just once. I was expecting 100% from him but he has given me the 150% Yoo Jin. No he doesn't overacts. He is in character and his potrayal was spot on. Thank you Joo Won for being Yoo Jin.

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Yes the Salzburg scenes gave me a bit of a jolt as it was so obviously done before the latter episodes. Even so, if somebody where to watch just this episode they would instantly recognize the chemistry between the actors which shows just how much that same chemistry has improved! So to us who have journeyed with them it was very evident . But I will take what I can and try not to be dissappointed too much that as the fact that this has ENDED is already tooo much! One of the best for me. Ever. Will be getting the boxed set and re watching again and again.

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I forgot to say that a little bit of a kiss would have done soooo much. WHY NO KISS?

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The Europe scenes didn't bother me. i actually loved them even though NI was back to her overly childish self. It has a lot to do with JW and SEK's chemistry which is amazing since they filmed these scenes first. They had instant chemistry.

So about the couple rings. YJ gave NI two- a plain gold one and the other a silver with a small diamond. Was that his way of proposing?

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Finding out that the Salzburg scenes were filmed earlier, the ep makes sense to me. It explains the difference in behavior. I didn't mind it as much after that.

I will admit though that for once I actually enjoyed seeing a back hug. But I was so ready for a kiss!!! How could they not kiss???!

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First, thanks to javabeans for recapping!

For me, episode 16 was more enjoyable than 15, for some reason. Hmm. I think a large part of that was that Yoon-hoo felt...odd in episode 15. But he was much better in 16.

Anyway, while I recognize that SEK's portrayal of Nae-il shifted at some point, the Austria scenes somehow didn't feel too jarring to me. Most of that was over that one afternoon when they were supposed to have met with Viera, right? So they had, in all fairness, already set aside that time to sightsee, go out to dinner, do whatever with Viera. So they just did it themselves when they couldn't meet with him. She's allowed one day to be a total wacked out weirdo high on Mozart chocolate.

Ultimately, I feel like this show did a lot more right than it did wrong. This kind of low-key, character-driven drama seems pretty rare. I was glad to have it while it lasted. And I bet the cast members are going to miss each other too. They probably don't usually get to spend so much time with a largish group of similarly-aged colleagues on too many projects. It probably really was like college for all these super-busy actors.

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Dear JB...thank you so much for recapping this drama. I really enjoy reading your recap.

Despite a bit flawed in the early episodes, this drama manage to deliver solid story, acting and the thing that touched me most is how well the drama conveyed the depth of emotion in its characters.

Joo won delivers his role as usual and so do the other casts. I think this drama is one of my fave in 2014. Hopefully KBS the cast could get the year end KBS Drama awards regardless of its low rating. It's really an underrated gem.

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As someone who takes Nodame as the holy grail I have to agree with your final thoughts whole heArtedly. I took was put off by the way they were handling this drama in the first four to six episode where they were trying to hard to be like Nodame and also be able to stand on their own. I too felt with the natural progression of these characters that sort of back slide in the last episode.

Is this my favorite drama- no.

Do I hate this version? No. I think as adaptions go this was a hell of a lot better than say Playful Kiss (which made me gag). And it was able to find its feet eventually only to stumble slightly at the end.

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definitely this ending is better than the Jdrama, well that last scene. This was Neil wish, to be able to play with him!
aww this brought me to tears, and then again to smiles because even with the akwardness of the Salzburg scenes, there was a charm.
I loved that they focused the ending in her growth more than in his, because in the manga it was HIS growth the one that was portrayed as important until she decided to hijack it.
I'm gonna miss this drama like no other, and I wish there were more chapters....
Sniff.

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That ending, I wished it sooo badly for it to happen in the Jdrama…so I'm glad I FINALLY got it here. For that alone, I'm happy with this ending.

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Thank you JB for recapping. I always love your insightful comments.

It’s been a great journey and I am going to miss CT. Mondays and Tuesdays are going to feel empty now. Though first watching for Joo Won, I fell in love with so many of the characters and the relationships. Yoo-jin and Nae-il have become one of my fave drama couples, and Il-rac and Mini Min-Hee were awesome best friends. I’m definitely going to be checking out their other work.

It’s a shame the finale suffered from the Salzburg scenes, because it felt like we had traveled back in time to their previous versions. And I felt disappointed at the lack of a kiss but only because they teased us with the set up but no follow through. Still, today made me appreciate how much the drama and characters have grown better with each week. It had its flaws but it moved my heart and grew my appreciation for classical music as well. I’ll never think a conductor is pointless anymore. I only wish more people could give CT a chance as it is a great drama different from the norm.

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Javabeans, thank you SOOOOO much for your wonderfully introspective recaps! I would read it right after each episode, really enhances the watching experience and as I chewed over each episode. I agree with you that it stands on its own, separate from the Jversion - no one's ever gonna top that one anyway - and this is coming from someone who's a superfan of the original. For me the last 3 minutes of the show made up for the jerky and jokerville scenes set in Austria, hands down. I LOVED IT. So, so beautifully done and poignant.

I was super hesitant and nervous when I first started the show, but hopeful throughout. Now looking back, I'm glad I stuck to it and shifted my thoughts and shooed away my expectations - the journey was well-worth it for sure :)

JB, thanks again - you're a gem as always!

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I always read the comments but barely commented myself because my english is pretty bad xD, but this time I have the urge to write how I feel, not about the drama but about the ending.

In general I didn't liked it, not because there wasn't a kiss, I didn't think about that the whole episode. It was because you can tell this was filmed first, when Nae Il was so exaggerated,If the episode had been filmed with this current Nae Il I think I would appreciate more. Today she was really annoying in a way I never found her the first episodes

I really like the drama, so I'm going to pretend this drama ended after Yoo Jin back hugged Nae Il

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Ah...satisfying like a well fed tummy. :) It actually exceeded my expectation to be frank. Very happy with the end product.

Am I the only one whom didn't feel Naeil was out of character? For me this is still an adaptation of Nodame Cantabile. And I'm profoundly happy with this version as it has more 'heart' than the Japanese version though I still enjoyed the Jdrama nonetheless.

So for me, no matter how much Naeil grow and mature, she still will always have some aspects of Nodame's quirkiness as that is what made her...her. How she was in Salzburg is in character because she's in a foreign land, feeling deliriously happy with Yoo Jin by her side and possibly fulfilling a dream that she didn't think she could ever imagine doing before. Of course she wants to have fun and give in to her 'Nodame' side. As I was watching the final episode, I was tickled when Naeil acted up again because I realized I actually missed seeing Naeil being Nodame. I liked it.

Anyway, overall, everyone did a good job. The message at the end is apropos to this production. Everything came together in the end and it was a blast. What I truly respect about this drama is that it didn't go overboard with the angst and dramas making them too unrealistic just to tug at our heartstrings. And the drama used the challenges to show us every step of their growth as individuals and as a group. Also, the drama emphasizes the beauty of coming together and working together to form a greater synergy and this in turn created a more solid platform for individual exploration and maturity for everyone involved.

Bravo! *standing ovation* :)

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Nah, you're not the only one. I didn't mind it as much as others did.

Since you mentioned the j-drama, it reminded me of when I watched it. Personally, I've always loved the anime more. The j-drama wasn't very funny to me. I mean, it was literally the live action version, but it wasn't as humorous or heartfelt as the anime. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it enough, but the first few episodes especially. weren't mind-blowing to me. Overall, it was good, not truly great, as some declare (which is fine, we all have our own tastes) What truly made the j-drama good was the music, they really made it the priority and gave it a lot of effort and screen time. The musical aspect of the j-drama was PHENOMENAL. That, and the last episode.

Admittedly, the last half of the j-drama was better than the first, but that last episode really did it for me. Nodame's family was THE ACTUAL BEST.They made me laugh more in the minutes they got, than throughout the rest of episodes together. They were truly great. (I wish we got more family time in CT)

I cried as well. I can't explain it well, but there was truly a great sense of loss then. The characters were moving on, and going their separate ways and it was really emotional. I don't think CT can compare to that feeling, for me.

But there's a lot that CT did that made it great. It was funnier, for one. But most importantly, it was really character-driven throughout, and was heartfelt and touching as the characters went through their own dilemmas. And I loved how they supported each other, their friendship was truly great. I never got that feeling for most of the j-drama.

So each version has it's pros and cons, imo. I think CT is a great example of how varied tastes can be. Imagine, some of the fans of the original work loved the kdrama, while others disliked it. And then there's those who have never been exposed to the original stuff that love or loathe this version.

There's so much this version could have done better. For some of us, it let us down in the end, but I'm just really glad I got to experience it. And to know these characters.

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Thank you for the recaps! The ending wasn't satisfying. It went back to the overreacting Nae-il, and how I wish it ended at lesson 15.

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The only way to watch this drama is not to compare it to the Japanese version, cos that cannot be topped. This is a credible adaptation in my books too. In the beginning it was on shaky grounds, but once they toned down Nael Il's zaniness, it worked fine. They could have removed the chairwoman politics though. I love ALL the cast, how often does that happen?

Most of all, this drama has a lot of heart and warmth.

Do you realise that Naeil Ill became really neat? It was only messy and dirty in the 1-2 episodes. After that, it's spick and spank. Can I presume that Yoo Jin cleaned her room then?

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LOL. Can we presume that Yoojin clean her room diligently?

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Event bough this drama has many flaws but I wouldn't have watched this if Joo Won was not Yoo Jin. I really admire Joo Won's ability to make a character his own which he has done in his past drama. Not to mention Shin Eun Kyung did a good job portraying Nodame it's just the writer of the drama did a bad interpretation.

The thing that piss me off the most is the drama of the orchestra with the board and the dean has to be dragged so long. I'm glad that I don't have to see dean Mina anymore because she was such an eyesore with her hideous clothes with neon colors. Also it kinda disgust me a bit when Milch call Nae Il baby because it just sounds disgusting

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Once again, Joo Won and Shim Eun Kyung has impressed me so much---that they have made their characters as their own. I don't care about the ratings of this drama, to me this was one of the best written dramas I have EVER watched.

Never have I rooted for fictitious people as much as this one. To the writers, director and the whole cast and crew of this show, they have done so well in making this show possible. Bravo! Bravo!

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I'll just keep on professing my love for Joowon.

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Same. I kind of feel bad for him and the other actors though - they all did such a wonderful job but the ratings were low. I hope that didn't affect them negatively. Wish I could somehow message or tweet them and express how thankful I am for this drama.

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me too. I think I am too emotionally invested in this drama more than I should. It is a great drama. Unconventional but it sure gives me the cuddly feeling that hot chocolate drink provide to warm people's hearts. (At least mine is, and which alot of drama fails to do that)

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Me three! They worked so hard I wish I could send them a message saying, good job! You did your best. Ratings were low but viewers overseas appreciate the efforts you've put in! Don't be sad!

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You all should tweet! I've been doing that endlessly since the drama aired. I am sure Joo Won is able to understand at least simple English. Shim Eun Kyung should be good in English since she had been studying abroad, but unfortunately she has close her twitter account.

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i have the same feeling when i watch the Austria part because i don't like Nae-il in the first episode - she's too comical for my taste. But i do like her after she lost her comical side and start to show her feeling naturally. Yoo jin on the other hand made me love him since the start and that the same with Il rak, mini-mini, Yoon Ho.

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i think they should make a second season that more focused on Naeil (in europe) becoz these 16 eps better called The Birth Rising Orchestra rather than Naeil Cantabille.

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I said goodbye weeks ago. It just did not work . Not blaming the actors, writing and directing were both very weak for such a complex and loved source material. I wonder if Misaeng's PD could potentially save this drama, he is doing an absolutely insane job converting webtoon into live-action right now.

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Thanks Dramabeans for this recaps and the past ones as well. I have relied on the recaps so much that I made a point to read it before watching the English subbed episodes.

I was sold to this drama from the start due to Shim Eun Kyung and find myself a fan to Joo Won. Yes the final episode is a bit of a let down and the absence of a kiss scene doesn't make it any better but the past episodes outweighed the disappointment. It's my favourite drama for the year - that's for sure.

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like what i read someone said in one blog, "i swear there is a law that prevents a drama to have a good ending episode." i think i get her now. hehe.
but all in all i love Tomorrow Cantabile and just like what Javabeans said, i also find it as a pleasant surprise. it's full of these colorful emotions that gives you those warm fuzzy feelings. this has been a great ride. thanks JB for recapping. now, what would my mondays and tuesdays be without a drama to watch? hmm. when will Hyun Bin's drama air again? :D

ps.
hahaha i was waiting for Joo Won to say "ppyong!"after he was finished talking to his mom on the phone while he was in Salzburg. haha

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javabeans got it on the nose; I was wondering why Nae Il suddenly seemed so childish and started using orabang again. Having to use so much of the Europe footage before the actors had settled into their characters was really jarring, and the name issue was contrived. I prefer to just think of the series finale as a back hug followed by some offscreen Europe trip and that perfect lobby concert (short finale). :p But even taken as a whole, at least the finale didn't go off the rails like a good number of other dramas I can think of (Gu Family Book and Mi-Rae's Choice immediately come to mind).

(I'd say Marriage Not Dating actually had a fine series finale, BTW.)

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You took the exact words out of my mouth. I didn't care for the earlier version of Naeil, too... Yes, quoting another beanie's comment(@ Wang) " let's say it ends with ep 15"...
Overall, I like the drama but wished the ending could be smoother.
Thank you, JB for recapping the series for us, joining us in seeing such wonderful crew of actors while enjoying beautiful musics together.... Bravo ( as Prof Do would say)JW, SEK... Bravo ??????

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Not ready to say good-bye yet, JB. I will miss this show.

On what you said about Joo-won, you’re so right. I always think that he would do well too because he loves acting so much and really prepares for his roles but I am also always surprised at how well he does it. I love his take on Yoo-jin. He has made me love the character so much. You can feel the sincerity.

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I'm going to be honest. There not being kiss disappointed me on so many levels. The episode before the finale was building up to a kiss. With a drama as good as this one, it needed to be 20 episodes, not 16. It was painfully rushed and you could notice it, too, which made it infinitely more miserable to watch. I was, for sure going to purchase this drama once it was released, but now due to the ending, I'm not sure if I can. Even if you added the kiss in, I still would have felt disappointed or cheated as you put it.

I felt the same disappointment over Surplus Princess. They should broadcast the entire drama or not show it all. There was a reason it was chosen to air in the first place. It's not fair to those of us who genuinely enjoyed it. I feel like they should care more about quality, than the viewer demographic. A gem is still a gem, which Tomorrow's Cantabile clearly was and it deserved more justice.

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JB you did an amazing, amazing recap of the whole series. There are times when your recap gave me so much more insight than watching the subbed episodes. I just hope you know that you really have a formidable knack of interpreting emotions and transforming them into words that everyone can relate to.

I love TC with all my heart, along with its jarring flaws, yet I feel so helpless at the negative feedback it's been getting. While I've accepted that it didn't start spectacularly thereby losing a great audience, I think the worse downside to this is that Joo Won's acting will not be as acknowledged as much as it should be. I've never watched any of his shows and I am totally convinced by this show he deserves to be recognised as one of the top actors out there. My biggest fear that award ceremonies won't reward his hard work just because of the drama's ratings.

I thought SEK was really fantastic as well during the emotional parts. There was a scene where she was talking to Yoon Hoo outside the professor's office. Before she even said anything, she lifted her eyes to him and I knew everything she was feeling then. She's quite a powerful actress.

If I can I would love to forget today's episode, haha! Seems like the producers and writers just can't start and end a drama well. Pfft. But to everyone complaining about the missing kiss, I think it was much more like Yoo Jin to express how much he loves Naeil in more ways than a kiss - the way his thumb rubbed her hand before her performance, his utter confidence that she WILL win the competition and stay in europe with him, his intentions to live with her (possibly forever) and his faith in her when he talked to his father. He doesn't need to say it to her but all these nuggets of love from him are so much more satisfying than a kiss for me! After all, a bad kiss does more damage imo...

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Booo no kiss!

The only thing that I like to this version is that they let us see Nae-il play piano with Yoo-jin's orchestra.

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Well I for one am glad that they decided to use the pre-recorded scenes for the last episode. I read on Joo Won Cutie fanblog that uri Joo Won oppa was so tired and as pale as a ghost during the filming of the nighttime trekking that IMO if they added another extra scene, then Joo Won would definitely be in the hospital right now. He even spoke in a very soft voice in order to protect his vocal chord. Poor oppa.
All in all, thank you javabeans and girlfriday for recapping this drama and also other recappers for every other dramas. Keep up the good work.
And oh, I surely will keep on clicking all the ads on the dramabeans page, just to make sure that the thank you note is sent directly to you :D

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This finale was strange. I thought Nae Il was becoming more mature in recent episodes, but she back to her old childish ways again.
Also Yoo Jin giving Nae Il the couple ring... What happen to his ring? If he is willing to commit and give her the ring, why not kiss her? I'm scratching my head... Yoo Jin was acting like an idiot getting chased around like a couple of children.
I'm agreement that every time Milch called Nae Il "baby", he sounded like a PERV. Creeped me out.
I went and rewatched the Japanese version because it was one of first Jdramas that I watched. Sorry.. I like that version SO much better.

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it's because the ending was filmed in the beginning. if you watched teasers, you could recognize it.

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Thanks so much Javabeans for recapping Cantabile Tomorrow. I really enjoyed watching the drama and reading your recaps and insighful comments.
I like Joo-won since Gaksital and happy that his acting improves with each project: melo, action, romance or comedy. Really expect his next project and wish him the succes he merits :)
His new movie Fashion King is already available for downloading. Can't wait to watch it with english sub !

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One thing for sure is that my monday and tuesday will never be the same again without seol nae bal and cha neu nim in my life. Haha..
It was a great drama with joowon and SEK chemistry.. even their chemistry with other actors are also cant be denied..
But, yeah last eps wasn't really satisfying with no kiss and naeil being a child again. But when yoojin around i think she can be child anytime.. haha..
Thanks for the recap javabeans.. and now i really really really wish they are real people with real orchestra so i can go to Korea to watch their performance and to know their life after Haneum (or after studying abroad as for naeil and yoojin).. hahaha.. :)

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ha.ha... me two,me three,me four

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What idiot drama team decided that a scene of Nae-il and Yoo Jin fighting over stuffed animals was more important than seeing Nae-il win the competition?

If Yoo Jin has made this feelings breakthrough (ring, back hug, telling his dad he's going to live with her), then wtf was that scene of him running away from a kiss like they weren't even friends, let alone dating? So many weird directorial choices in this episode.

You'd think that at this point, they'd let the lead couple act like young adults instead of (apparently) going back to the first episode.

But how sweet were Si Won and Il Rak? ::pinches their sweet little cheeks:: "Couple Underwear" - heh, that was not terribly smooth, Il Rak, but it would have melted me like butter.

And speaking of butter, Nae-il's crazy to choose the emotionally-stunted, still-giving-mixed-signals Yoo Jin over the straightforward and sweet Yoon Hoo (also, sweet-faced cellist is a lot more attractive. Just sayin'.) Sixteen episodes later, when he's still running away from even a token kiss, and reacts to sexy lingerie like you tried to rob him, well, it's possible he's just not that into you, Nae-il.

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Eh.... didnt you read that they film the Europe part first even before the premiere? And instead of throwing those scenes into the basket they decided not to waste them. I agree with Javabeans that they should have done that instead of keeping them and making no sense of the growth and development of their relationship.

I guess you also did not watch the last few eps where Yoo Jin was gold.

This is all due to the unfortunate decision to film the end first and not prepared to ditch it. It appears there are 2 writers when i last checked. So let's just say they could well be written by 2 different persons

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Eh…. didnt you read that they film the Europe part first even before the premiere?

Nope - I read the recap after I wrote the rant I've been dying to share since I watched it. ::laugh:: But that explains a LOT about the finale.

And I hated the characterization in the first few episodes, so it makes sense that I'd be annoyed with it in the last one, if they used earlier-shot footage.

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I could still buy a little into the fact that Naeil goes back into her childish self because she was just too excited about being in Salzburg and visiting all those famous places associated with music.But Yoo Jin evading the kiss was just weird because it just obliterated all the growth he made. If I could choose only one scene to cut, it would be that. Just have him give her the ring. I don't care about kiss or near kiss.

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well, that is actually consistent with his previous behaviour. he shut down when she came on too strong but did get closer to her if she left him some room to act on his own terms.

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Maybe he's just embarrassed cause it's a public place with lots of people around them

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I rewatched ep 16 and actually found moments in Salzburg that were lovely :
-The fountain scene: before the unwanted sprinklers were on, YJ had a sweet smile on his face when he told NI to close her eyes( and she of course automatically puckered up, expecting a kiss). I can almost read his facial expression as" this girl is just crazy, isn't she? But I still love her so".
- The hillside scene when YJ told NI about " woori home where woori will live". Too bad, silly NI was too upset to hear the sweet words that her orabang was trying to say( admit) " woori" relationship. Note to NI-you need to stop yammering or you will miss more( rare) sweet nothing from orabang ?.
- Pre competition- I just love how our once impersonal YJ now naturally hold NI's hand tenderly while trying to calm her.
Ok, PDnim, you owe me a kiss( any kind, even a peck on the forehead would have been sufficed), but after rewatching the finale, the above highlights I've " found" have redeemed the epi to a better ending....slightly.

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Sans the orabang-sunbae inconsistency, I enjoyed the ending. I wasn't really expecting for a kiss so I wasn't disappointed. I love this drama and joo won and shim eunkyung! ?

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Such a lovely drama * crying in a corner* . Shim Eun Kyung and Joo won were wonderful.It' was way too short :(. This was a wonderful KOREAN version of nodame.

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oh man. I wanted the kiss scene so so so bad but the last scene is so so Good to help me survive from disappointment.

All A the Austria scenes were so obvious that they completed that segment 2 months ago. I have to agree with Javabeans. They should really just exclude obsolete the scenes and concentrate on the emotional growth of Naeil's in the competition (definitely Yoojin's too). Flashbacks would totally work this time because the scriptwriting grows together with the actors and actresses in the production team. I wouldn't find them lazy at all.

But it is a quality production. Major love. Can't wait for Shim Eun Kyung and Joowon's next project.

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kinda disappointed with the finale. It's like two or more episodes were cut and forced into one last episode. Better to extend to more episodes :( however, still, I'll miss JW and Shim eunkyung playing in these two characters...

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Thank you javabeans for recapping and girlfriday too for doing taking turns in the earlier half. This blog became one of my sanctuaries for Tomorrow Cantabile. Reading your recaps, insights and spazzing with other fans.

It is not perfect but then the J version wasn't either. I dare say neither is the manga. I think what was so great about this version is that it took the manga and made it a wonderful experience to enjoy onscreen. Manga and anime even are after all limited in their medium. I felt the Japanese version while being strong in comedy and devoted to full music scores, it lacks the emotional punch. I also never felt as invested in the side characters.

Here's it's just like the last scene where every character is an instrument in the orchestra. The focus wasn't just on the conductor or the pianist. They even did a good job on new character Yoon Hoo. I felt there was a great message in his character. There are many child prodigies who burnt out and injure themselves because they did too much too soon. And because they grew up like that, they have no other identity except the gift they have.

Filming the last episode first was a misstep but in a way, it opened my eyes to how much Yoo Jin and Naeil's relationship had progressed. This was something I had problem with in Nodame Cantabile. I just couldn't see the progression. Perhaps because Joo Won was very good at conveying his emotions and SEK was awesome in emotional scenes, I really bought into how Cha Yoo Jin let Naeil into his life and heart and how for Naeil, Yoo Jin changed from a crush to someone she cared for above herself.

In this drama, the music never overshadowed the people. And rightly so. It was because I fell in love with the characters and got invested that I could hear the music in their lives better.

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Thank you for such well thoughtful comment.....

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there was so much to love about this show. javabeans already made a perfect case and i wholeheartedly agree.
i’d like to add that the show also had a very special visual appeal wich has not been commented on - set design, wardrobe and styling really gave it that final touch to create a special world for the actors to breathe live into.
i’m feeling let down by the last episode though - shooting scenes outside the chronological order is a given in other formats, and the actors - being the professionals they are - would have handled it perfectly, if the script hat anticipated beforehand where it was gonna end up - there’s not just the disconnect between the salzburg footage an the previous episode, but also the scenes after the return have a random feel to them. the lobby-concert was a beautiful outro, but it came bit out of nowhere.
i think even with the salzburg footage as is, the disconnect could have been alleviated somewhat in the following scenes but that opportunity was missed.
especially after the buildup from ep. 15 the final was like a bucket of cold water - and i’m not talking about kisses here.
i guess ill have to go back to ep 15 and auto-complete in my mind and while i'm at it might as well put in an kiss ot two...

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Thanks for the recaps, JB!

I loved the back hug and front hug that started this ep as YJ realized that NI cared so much for him and studied about hypnosis since she wanted him to be set free from his fears. That was a really touching moment. I rewatched it a few times because even though YJ knew that NI always followed him around, I'm not sure if he really knew just how much she loved him and what she was willing to do so he could pursue his dreams.

I did feel underwhelmed by the Salzburg scenes as NI reverted to her childish character and calling YJ orabang. While I understand that they didn't wanna waste the footage shot, I felt it took away from the growth that both NI and YJ have undergone. Perhaps they could've anticipated the character progression and presented a more mature version of both leads despite filming in advance. In any case, I would've preferred to see more focus on NI's piano perf than the gags. The rings scene by the fountain was kinda funny, but I thought they were couple rings, so how come YJ put both on NI's finger? =P The NI chasing after YJ for a kiss part... I didn't mind the no-kiss for this drama (though it would've been sweet) since the kiss didn't happen in the manga till after they were in Paris for a while. But it was actually Chiaki who took the initiative and Nodame had a disgusted reaction and delayed realization. So, I wasn't sure if they reversed the situation in this portrayal while I was watching. XD

I would've loved more family scenes with NI's family and YJ's family. I enjoyed those parts in the manga because it makes it more obvious how Chiaki and Nodame are the perfect couple through their common musical language. Anyway, I had a chuckle when YJ just downs the drinks while NI's dad talked to him. =)

Overall, I really loved how heartwarming this drama was and each character had the opportunity to show how he/she faced and overcame personal challenges. Not to mention, how they all bonded despite their differences, realizing there is strength in numbers instead of being selfish. Joo Won is incredible in depicting the minute emotions of his character and I can't think of anyone else who would've been more suitable to play YJ. SEK was really awesome after she settled into her mature character. That scene when NI hypnotized YJ and both were crying remains my fave in this drama. Love the cute IL-SW couple who just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. Keke~ Even though I didn't think the emotional pull was that strong in the finale after the amazing ep.15, I did like how the last scene redeemed itself. The lobby perf with YJ conducting and NI finally able to play the piano with him was the perfect way to end this series. All of them have learned a lot and come so far as individuals and as a group. It's great to see a hardworking team for a production that made you care for the cast. I'm glad I got to watch this. Bravo! ^^b

P.S. I love Joo Won's vocals! It's great he sang on this...

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Oops, the last bit got cut off.

It's great he sang on this OST like he did for his other dramas. =D

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