Anime: Nodame Cantabile Paris Chapter


Continuing where the first season left off, the Paris chapter details the life of Nodame and Chiaki as they embark on their musical journey in Paris. Many things happen and new people are introduced. However it is a much shorter season with only 11 episodes.

 

There are a lot of things that happen in this season, which can make the series feel a little rushed. There’s also sadly not as much time being dedicated to the music. Instead of those long symphonies that we are used to in season 1, we now only get snippets. Still the way the music is integrated into the background is applaudable. The animation has also improved in the time between the seasons. Although some sections still look quite awkward, in general it’s much smoother. There was the addition of the flowery frames to depict how the music sounds which I found to have opposite effect of the music. It did not sit well with me. So yes, with these many flaws, I didn’t like this season as much as the first, but it still rates highly in my books.

That is because some of my favourite and most memorable scenes were animated. There’s a lot of progress in their relationship in this season. It’s no longer focused on Nodame, but instead it looks at Chiaki’s struggle in dealing with a girl so different. Let’s admit that Nodame is not Chiaki’s type. If it weren’t for her piano playing abilities, there would have been no spark of attraction. And yet, here in the second season we see how much Chiaki has changed and come to love Nodame. The manga does depict their relationship better, but the anime captures the essence and I guess that’s enough.

What I like most about their relationship is how independent both of them remain. Although it can be seen that Nodame is head over heels in love with Chiaki (in an exaggerated and funny way), it was shown in this season how much Chiaki himself has become dependent on Nodame. How he thinks about her, how he gets jealous and most importantly how he struggles through the decision to take their relationship further. Putting aside all the laughter and antics of the two, the story is really about how a couple can chase their dreams. It has never been about one person giving up their dream for the other. It isn’t about self-sacrifice or loving the other party so much that you’d do anything for them. Their’s is a relationship, where there is trust and mutual understanding. Trust because they do spend a lot of time apart and mutual understanding because they do have a shared goal but have very different paths to attaining that goal. These paths diverge quite drastically but both have the maturity to realize that this is required and part and parcel of their relationship. Also, there are times when either party if willful or selfish, but those are bumps that they work through and it’s always back to fun and games eventually. How many anime have managed to depict a relationship like this?

But enough about their relationship. This season also introduced us to new characters who were different, yet managed to fit in somehow. There were also old favourites like Kuroki, although cameos by Mine or Masumi would have been nice as well. Also despite the rushed pacing and amount of material packed into each episode, I thought that the last two episode were very apt and wonderfully done. Each concentrated on either Nodame (episode 10) or Chiaki (episode 11) and was a display or how far their characters have come in Paris. It was a perfect conclusion to the season as well as a beautiful summary of all that they had done and learnt throughout the season. They are the best episodes of the season and really put a smile on your face.

Although music hasn’t been the season’s strongest point in this season. I think the beautiful and romantic city of Paris more than makes up for it. Add to that the culture and the general atmosphere of the show and I think we have a winner in the form of Nodame Cantabile the Paris Chapter.

I can’t wait to watch the final season!

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