And so, from its humble television origins in 2006 to its grand cinema extravaganza in 2010, I’ve watched Nodame's progress with interest. Although I never quite understood why it was so popular, with massive ratings, best-selling soundtrack CDs and the actors being treated almost like rock stars when doing interviews in Japan and abroad, but I did find it entertaining.
Now the last “episode” has been subbed by SARS. Released in cinemas early in 2010, it tells Nodame's story as she sees her friends entering competitions and improving themselves, whereas she seems to be making no progress at all. The start of the film is taken up by reintroducing old faces and giving them a happy ending, which is all fine, but it’s Nodame's slide into (and out of) depression that takes up most of the second half of the film. This means this is a bit short on laughs, but at least this story is about Nodame. She seemed a bit in the background in the 2009 film. The last scene – where Chiaki and Nodame play the same piece they played together in episode one – is a lovely way to end the series and gives it a nice symmetry as we end where we began musically.
An enjoyable show which grew into a phenomenon: its mix of clowning and culture introduced classical music to many people who otherwise wouldn’t have given it a chance. For that, it should be applauded, at least.