Can you find the key to success in piano playing? In manga, Nodame Cantabile, Shinichi Chiaki is trying to pave his way to fame as a conductor by being the best pianist in his high profile music school, but can his career take off if he can't even step onto a plane? Not only that, his arrogant attitude has just put him into a demoted class and his ex-girlfriend disses him in his hour of need. His pride in tatters, he loses his motivation. Can anything pull him out of his slump?
Fortunately for him, his messy (and somewhat smelly) neighbor, Megumi Noda goes to the same school and also is a pianist. But contrary to his calculated playing style, she performs without the need of musical scores. She plays by ear and by heart. It's just the inspiration Chiaki needs to bring his spirits up and they team up to compliment the other's talent. Her up front tell-it-like-it-is attitude sets him straight, but he can't help to be unsettled by her oddness.
The nutty and strange Noda goes by Nodame and certainly makes his life more interesting, but when she expresses her growing fondness for him, Chiaki just can't see himself with such a crude young woman. When his ex tries to weasel back into his life, it only creates chaos and breaks Nodame's heart. Can she impress the boy she loves with more than her skilled piano playing? Can Shinichi Chiaki find the joy in music?
Nodame Cantabile is a surprisingly good manga. Initially the art style is off putting. It's simple and doesn't look like most manga, but you quickly lose yourself in it thanks to the sharp witty story. Every character has a short coming to work on and they expose one another's weaknesses and strengths. It definitely makes you want to see how it all plays out.
Nodame Cantabile Volume 2
Nodame Cantabile Volume 3