Nodame Cantabile is about music and the joy that comes when you play from your heart. Shinichi and Nodame are music students with two very different approaches to life and music, but who always seem to play their best when performing together.Shinichi wants to become a conductor, he’s been training since he was a little boy. His ego, however, leads to some rather bossy behavior. Nodame is a slob, a scatterbrain, and seems more interested in food than her music, but she’s an incredibly talented pianist which is something Shinichi respects. I give you three guesses where their relationship is going. Actually, since this is just the first of many volumes, I’m not quite sure where the story will go, but I think it’s safe to suspect romance is on the horizon. At least, if Nodame starts bathing regularly.
In any case, the characters are fun, the setting feels unique, and the artwork is wonderful. Instead of the traditional wide-eyed, long legged manga characters, these characters look like real kids. Every character looks unique and emotion shows itself clearly in their facial expressions. I’m definitely interested in seeing and reading more. In addition to this, I have to add that Del Rey is rapidly becoming my favorite manga publisher. Each volume comes with explanations about translation choice, cultural information at the beginning of the manga, and little explanations throughout. They’re staying as close to the original as possible and taking the time to make sure the reader can understand and enjoy it.
Nodame Cantabile: Volume 1
by Tomoko Ninomiya
Del Rey, 2005