As I’m about to read Nodame Cantabile manga, I suddenly recall my first encounter with the manga. What made me remember something that seemed trivial isn’t so much to do with me knowing what the manga is all about.
And definitely not the manga cover since there’s nothing spectacular about the manga cover, at least for me.
In fact, I didn’t know anything about the manga at all until I watched the anime months later after I stumbled upon the manga.
So, what makes my encounter with the manga so prominent in my memory?
Well, it has something to do with where I found the manga which was MPH Bookstore.
If you live in Malaysia, you know well enough that MPH Bookstore is the last place you’ll ever look for a manga. After all, MPH Bookstore isn’t the place known for your one-stop manga center.
It’s because of this reason that I find it impressive that I came across the manga at MPH Bookstore, not at Kinokuniya.
And it was even more impressive to find a manga like Nodame Cantabile in MPH Bookstore in my city considering that it wasn’t as big as MPH Bookstore in other major cities.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that Nodame Cantabile manga is an obscure manga or anything. It’s just that I was expecting them to carry mainstream titles rather than something that would cater to a much older audience.
I’m not sure what was the reason for them to have the manga on display instead of other manga. But it sure was fascinating to stumble upon the manga in the least expected place.
What Nodame Cantabile manga is all about
Here’s the book description that I got from Bookwalker.
The son of a famous pianist, music student Shinichi Chiaki dreams of studying abroad and becoming a conductor like his mentor. Unfortunately, his fear of flying grounds his lofty plans! As he watches other classmates achieve what he has always wanted, Shinichi wonders if he should quit music altogether.
Then one day he meets fellow student Megumi Noda, also known as Nodame. This oddball girl cannot cook, clean, or even read a music score, but she can play the piano in an incomparable Cantabile style. And she teaches Chiaki something that he has forgotten: to enjoy his music, no matter where he is.
What got me to read the manga
Well, I do find the premise of the manga interesting despite not into classical music or music-theme manga and light novels that much.
And the fact that I already watched the anime years ago and the manga was on sale on Bookwalker made me willing to give this manga a try.
What makes Nodame Cantabile manga worth reading
If you read the book description, you may find that the manga isn’t that much different from any slice of life manga out there.
In fact, some of you may feel that the manga seems to be more on the serious side too, considering that the story emphasizes the life lessons that we can all relate to.
Well, what do you expect when the story revolves around the adults who are a part of the music industry? The tone of the story must be so serious, right?
On that note, you’re not wrong about that. The manga does have so many life lessons we can all learn and relate to. So, I get why some of you assume that the story tends to fall more on the serious side rather than it’s something that you’d classify as a beach read.
The good news is the manga isn’t that all serious for the most part. Just like any slice of life manga like Barakamon and Princess Jellyfish, Nodame also has many comedic scenes in between, even during the serious moments.
It’s not that much. But you can still get a good chuckle here and there.
Keep in mind that the life lessons presented in the manga aren’t necessary for those who are in the music industry.
It can also apply to just about everyone regardless of what you do for a living.
You can say that the manga is perfect for pep talk too if you ever need one.
What I didn’t expect when I read the manga
I’ll be honest that some scenes where the characters are playing musical instruments can feel rather strange when you read it in silence.
Yes, the dialogue does indicate what songs they’re playing. So, it shouldn’t be hard for you to imagine the melody if you’re familiar with the song.
But for someone like me who knows nothing about classical music, that can be hard to grasp.
Of course, the focus of the scene isn’t so much to do with the song itself. Rather, the focus tends to be Chiaki’s inner dialogue when he’s analyzing someone else’s play. But it can still be hard to appreciate the scene if you don’t know anything about the song that they’re playing.
As much as I hate to admit it, the anime version wins in this department since you can hear the songs that they’re playing rather than imagining it in your head.
Does the lack of sound dampen the experience? Sort of. But like I said, that’s not the focus of the scene.
Don’t let the lack of sound bothers you that much.
Who should read the manga
If you’re looking for a slice of life, romantic comedy manga then you’ll enjoy reading this manga.
Keep in mind that you don’t need to be a fan or know anything about classical music if you want to read this manga. You can still read this manga even if you know nothing about classical music or you don’t even know how to play musical instruments.
Just like any other manga, there are also translator’s notes at the end of the manga too which explains some parts of the words that remain in Japanese.
If you don’t get some parts of the dialogue, you can always refer back to the translator’s notes for better understanding.
Where to buy Nodame Cantabile manga
It’s too bad that you can no longer get the manga in print. But the good news is you can get the manga in digital format instead.
If you’d like to give the manga a try, you can buy the manga right here on Amazon:
Can’t buy the manga on Amazon? You can also get the manga on Bookwalker too. That’s where I got mine:
You can also buy the whole volume of the manga as a bundle on Bookwalker too. Here’s the link if you’re interested in buying the manga in a bundle:
Want to read the manga in Japanese? You can get the manga in print right here on CDJapan:
According to the description, it says that the manga is bilingual. It means that the manga also comes with English text too apart from the Japanese text.
I never bought any bilingual manga before. So, please let me know in the comment if you have any experience with buying a bilingual manga.
Over to you
What do you think about Nodame Cantabile manga? Are you interested in giving the manga a try after reading about it on my blog? Let me know in the comment below.
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