Cantabile Tomorrow first impressions (episode 1)


You see, I waited for this day to come very excitedly. I watched the seconds count down until my download was finished. The first 5 minutes I got happier and happier because so much of the soundtrack is the same, it felt like Nodame. To me, it felt like home.

Yes I exaggerate. Well, no. I am perhaps the biggest Nodame fan you will have ever met. (but surely not the biggest in the world...) In case you missed my huge rant, I identify with Nodame (the character) on an emotional level. So that's why I take this whole affair so personally and seriously.

It was so great until Naeil began talking. She actually looks like a quite decent Nodame. But she most definitely can't pull off the portrayal.

It started slow. First, Harisen's hair was ridiculously comical and his expressions too flat. (Of course, they can't show the fake violence at all in the korean version lest people get put-off. Turns out a bunch of people were seriously offended by the Jdrama's anime-like violence. Ummm, yeah, if you take scenes where Chiaki throws (an obvious human doll) Nodame aaaaall the way across the room as realistic violence instead of obvious hilarity, sure.) Then, Joo Won's (Chiaki, or Yoo Jin, or Eugene) baby face and voice and weirdly unfitting hair with the strange styling and unnatural black began getting to me. (I mean, how hard is it to have natural black hair??)

But turns out Yoo Jin is actually among the best matches here. Let's get to Stresemann. I adore Sho-to-ree-ze-man so much I almost missed them saying Stresemann the Korean way. I realize that's natural and it's super nitpicky of me, but....

Then his super ridiculous Japanese accent. Which doesn't exist in Korean. He just speaks like a normal person that doesn't know Korean much. It's not at all funny. And then, where is all the pervertness? Don't tell me they won't adapt that for fear of offending people either? Turns out Japan is the land of the free where you don't have to fear TV audiences. But, okay, they don't have to do everything the same. I could forgive this much. Except...

The way Nodame speaks. I believe I already expressed my doubts about this being translated into Korean. Guess what? I was right. But it's so much worse than I expected.

Her speech is... Well I'm not fluent in Korean so I can't say this with absolute certainty but as it appears to me, it's just kind of slightly weird just cuz she's acting weird in general. I mean she is a country bumpkin but Nodame speaks in constant polite form to hide that but... Aaaagh I don't know, I might be wrong here because I don't know Korean dialects who knows what exactly she's speaking but it doesn't feel right, it seems like she's just talking normally. OK this was the most incompetent explanation ever, so I'll come back to this after another episode. But. Gyabo? It's clearly not coming.

As expected, they tried to turn Nodame into more of a "realistic" show. The problem here is, there is absolutely positively no way Nodame would exist in real life. The reason why the Jdrama worked so well was because everything was so obviously fake and unrealistic. The end result is Naeil acting downright stupid and annoying. If I saw this episode without knowing Nodame, I would think Naeil was the most retarded intolerable drama heroine I've ever seen. Her movements, expressions, they're not right. In her case, speaking in Korean ended up being the most minor problem. Her portrayal is not right. It's not convincing.

Ueno Juri is also pretty awkward in the first couple of episodes of Nodame, before she completely molds into the character. But this is beyond that. I feel like if Naeil somehow becomes more of a Nodame, it will just be a miracle. I'm not holding my breath.

Now, for the episode mistakes. I honestly don't mind random changes here and there the slightest bit. What I do mind is messing up the best scenes. Here are some scenes and general points that just really made me cringe or disappointed throughout the episode: (You'll notice I'm not actually counting many changed plot points here. Just the ones that actually got to me)

- What kind of fart song was that? It wasn't remotely playful. I don't understand why they changed it to begin with? That song is one of my favorite things on Nodame.

- This is super random but I'm peeved that Nodame's house is so huge, haha. I mean, her room in the Jdrama is probably as big as her bathroom here. How can she possibly afford that place?

- When Yoo Jin hears Nodame playing, he just says it's decent/charming, something like that. But he's supposed to dismiss it as just more retardation on campus first, then realize there's something more to it. What's so special about her if anyone can instantly tell it's good?

- God I hate Naeil so much. That scene where she repeats "please" imitating Yoo Jin after her house cleanup, I just want to punch her face. She's definitely extremely annoying and not at all cute. Is that supposed to be funny?

- The interactions of Yoo Jin and Naeil seem genuinely like an extremely annoying person and a hateful person, and not remotely funny to me. In fact, Yoo Jin's treatment of Naeil seems a lot more violent than Chiaki and Nodame. When Nodame is thrown across the room, it's so obviously fake. When Yoo Jin grabs Naeil's face and pushes it away, well, it just seems like he's acting out of line. You can't do that sort of stuff if you're going to be realistic. Imagine if someone did that to you irl.

- Same with that forcing her hand on the piano scene. I would have hit him. What on earth.

- I love the original scene where he cooks for her the first time. Chiaki's so pleased that she likes his food so much and he ends up lured into cooking more for her just because of the flattery. Here there's no such thing. He's just cooking for her so she'll do what it says. Not the same thing at all. And both of their deliveries in these originally super fun scenes are so flat and tense. Same with the washing hair scene.

- What on earth is with her name anyway?? I don't get why having a name meaning "tomorrow" is funny at all. Is her last name supposed to add to the funniness? I kept searching the dictionary and online but I can't find anything, which leads me to think there's nothing. Well isn't that a bunch of wasted potential? I would have gone with something like Gu Mi Ho.

- WHERE IS THE FINAL SCENE OF NAEIL JUMPING ON YOOJIN???? That scene is such a major point of the original series I can't believe it wasn't the ending scene. Plus, Yoo Jin smiling at her at the end is wrong on so many levels.

Overall, the super well pairing of music with the scenes in Nodame is just non-existent here. It actually kind of feels like what happened with Ikemen Desu Ne, despite that being a Korean original. The Japanese version is so much more upbeat and funny and easygoing. The Korean version is so tense and quiet and toned-down in comparison. I do love You're Beautiful, but in general, I prefer the Japanese versions (and no one was shocked that day).

On a final note, I don't hate Mine so far. Possibly because I liked him so much on Flower Boy Next Door. And his hair coloring is just so on point. I shall refrain from commenting on Masumi.

I think in general Japanese actors leave much to be desired, but this show makes Tamaki Hiroshi and Ueno Juri seem Oscar-worthy. Let's see where it plans on going from here.

ETA: Guys I just rewatched Nodame Ep1 for comparison and it had me from minute 1. So many emotions, expressions, cuteness, fun, life. (not to mention events happen and are explained in a sequence that actually makes sense, it's a real talent to mess such a basic thing up. example, they have like 25 more minutes, yet they don't bother showing how Saiko knows about both the plane and the boat already) Nodame is as cute and darling as ever. Naeil is officially an evil monster to me. Also, if you don't like Nodame but like Naeil, you're heartless and I'm glad we're not friends.

I'm alive!

Yes I'm not dead. Just in case anyone was wondering.

Unfortunately during the time I was subbing Shitsuren I was extremely busy with real life stuff and it was a struggle to actually finish subbing it (which of course I had to do just for the sake of completeness), I simply couldn't keep up with posting anymore. And then, after it was done, I was so burnt out, I not only have not watched ANY (yes, any) J-drama since then, I haven't even listened to any of the new Arashi singles!! (this would have been a more dramatic statement if you knew me, guess you'll just have to take my word for it that it's dramatic) You can imagine that I was completely traumatized by the song "Bittersweet".

I did hear that both Nino and Ohno have new dramas? It feels like so much has happened in the (has it already been?) half year that I've been out of the loop. I need to get back into the groove... Is anyone here? What are people watching these days? And I need to update the blog header so I can stop seeing Shitsuren! :)

Actually what brought me back is the updates on korean Nodame. If nothing else, I suspect I'll be writing simply to rant about that when it comes out in the fall. I was trying to ignore its existence in hopes it would go away, but nope, not happening. Probably not a lot of jdrama watchers watch Korean dramas, so I don't know how much you guys know about it. The actor replacing Tamaki Hiroshi seems to be an okay enough guy, but he's just so babyfaced, I can't see him as Chiaki at all. I know nothing about the girl playing Nodame, but K-drama fans seem to like her... Whatever, she's no Ueno Juri.

I'm going to be very openly biased and judgmental about the whole thing so if you can't handle that, better stay away from the future Nodame posts ;) I have no feelings of mercy whatsoever for Group8 for messing with my precious Nodame. My biggest hope right now is if they make the plot really different, then at least it will live in its own terrible weird Korean world, and the original will remain its own separate thing. I really hope they do this... Would work best if they tried to expand the original drama storyline into 16 hours (I sure hope it's not a 20 episode one!).

It's called "Cantabile Romance" for your information. Despite "romance" being such a small part of the original series, me being the romance junkie I am, I binge watched all three anime seasons in record time in hopes there would be some remote HINT of romance. I don't want to know what "romance" they found so prominent that it made it into the title. Sigh...

Shitsuren Chocolatier Episode 8

Finally, I was wrong about something! Unfortunately, that something is very minor. Of all plot points the show could use to mislead and surprise us, it chose Saeko being an evil scheming pyschopath? Clearly even they think that the plot is nonsense, if that's all they were able to come up with for the preview! What else can you expect from a romance drama where none of the characters know what love is?

Shitsuren Chocolatier Episode 7

Everything I guessed in the previous review came true, again! Surprisingly, even though I knew it would happen, I thought the scene was well done, as it had me hanging on every word that was being said.

Shitsuren Chocolatier Episode 6

It almost seems like everything I wrote in the last episode actually happened. Somehow it made watching all the less exciting, because I didn't expect it to be this predictable. And things are becoming even more disappointing, because to fulfill the predictions, the story began to veer towards simpler characters and an unrealistic story line again. I wonder if the manga also has this zigzag from reality to ...being a typical manga plot?

Nodame gets Kdrama adaptation: Why it's a bad idea

So it seems that everyone and their mother has heard that Nodame is being made into a Kdrama. You know how I feel about that? I feel so strongly about that, I am barely able to keep cool about it and explain my feelings. So please allow me to employ the wonderful usage of imagery to demonstrate. Prepare your bandwidth. And eyes. (Scroll past the gifs for actual discussion, starting off from Nodame, all the way to the disgraceful "Boys Over Flowers")

Shitsuren Chocolatier Episode 5

Plot twist: It turns out that this is actually a love story between Souta and Erena. Shitsuren Chocolatier depicts the adventures of a young guy who found true love thanks to his high school sweetheart. Everything that happened thanks to the influence of Saeko was just to bring him closer to Erena, whom he would never have met otherwise. Now the plot changes from Souta running after Saeko to the two finding their mutual love.