Nodame Cantabile

Genre: Music, Comedy, Romance
Rating: 12 for off-screen nookie and infidelity
Length: 23 episodes
Score: Good

At a top music academy in Japan, Shinichi Chiaki’s arrogance is matched only by his top-notch piano playing. But when Chiaki and his teacher fall out, he’s demoted to the reject class. Chiaki is left to pursue his dream of being a conductor while surrounded by a bunch of loser musicians and one annoying girl, Noda, who has proclaimed herself Chiaki’s girlfriend. It doesn’t help that Noda, who insists on being called Nodame, lives right next door to him.

There are two categories of anime I generally “don’t do”, and that’s sports anime and music anime. So, it was something of a surprise when I started watching this and discovered it was *really good*. It’s essentially a slice of life comedy about a rising conductor, dismissed by his teachers and fellow students alike at first (understandably so, he’s an arrogant little shit), but as the series goes on, their derision gradually turns into respect as he improves their musical abilities to world-class levels.

This anime has lots of fairly long stretches of classical music with deep and meaningful stares, so if you thought Noir was too slow, then you probably shouldn’t watch this. But if you want something a bit different with some very comedic moments, genuinely interesting characters utterly outside the usual stereotypes, this is really worth a watch.

I debated long and hard as to whether to give this series a rating of “excellent”. I think it might well be something special, but having so little experience of this genre, I’d really appreciate someone else watching it and posting their opinions here.