I watched Nodame Cantabile for the first time a few days ago. There is a reason it took me such a long time to do so and that’s because for many years, I avoided it thinking it was a drama about space exploration and robots.
I don’t really know how I got that idea either but there you go.
Those of you who have never watched this drama can read its synopsis here. When all is said and done though, Nodame Cantabile is really a drama about a girl who wins the GRAND prize in the Lottery of Life when she returns home to find this outside her door:
This is Shinichi Chiaki, the Patron Saint of Designer Shirts and Tight Pants, and Impossibly High Cheek Bones That Have Been Carved Out of Marble. Observe (please have a bucket on hand. Things are going to get messy):
As you can see, life for Chiaki is one never-ending Vanity Fair centrefold.
When he is not busy starring in his own commercial, he moonlights as a genius (as if you’d expect anything less) piano student who harbours not-so-secret aspirations of becoming a conductor. But that’s not all. Chiaki hates being in the cultural backwater that is Japan. He wants to go back to Europe to be with his beloved Vierra-sensei, a celebrated conductor of international renown who promised to take him on as a student when he was a wee young thing. Tragically for Chiaki, he has <spoiler> a phobia of flying.</spoiler>
In another country, in another drama, Chiaki would have been a scowling diva with mommy issues…Wait, what am I saying? He already is a scowling diva with issues.
All that’s missing is a runaway pig though Nodame makes for a perfectly acceptable substitute. Her room is, to put it mildly, a bit of a sty.
Of course Chiaki is a Type-A clean freak. Nodame’s lack of personal hygiene traumatises him so much that it causes him to lose all his clothes. Hmm…maybe she’s on to something.
You’d think that would be the end of things between them but no. Chiaki clearly values cleanliness over common sense and his own sanity, so he appoints himself her personal cleaner when her garbage starts invading his personal space.
I really don’t know how she’s managed not to lose all her hair to lice but fortunately, Chiaki is here to ensure that never happens.
What is Chiaki’s motivation, you wonder. How can a scorching hot guy who can have his way with anything that moves be okay with being this woman’s personal manservant? The answer is very simple.
He’s a glutton for praise. I’ll leave it to you to imagine how you could work this to your advantage.
As you can imagine, Nodame falls in love with him instantly. She may be an idiot savant but she sure knows a great catch when it’s right in front of her. Also, where else is she going to find another guy this hot to clean her house and cook her gourmet meals without charging her a single cent?
Chiaki, on the other hand, needs a bit of time to get used to the idea of not being so intoxicated with himself. Fortunately Nodame is around to provide him with spartan training.
You know he’s making progress when he rushes out of the shower all wet and disheveled to hear her play.
If this isn’t the face of a man who’s utterly blissed out of his mind, I don’t know what is.
I’ll just say it again: If Nodame were any other woman, Chiaki would never make it out of his apartment at all.