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.


  1. I agree with you. I hope they don't do like scene to scene copy like they did for episode 1. Also, yes stressman was a huge disappointment. And it's gonna be hard to pull off Nodame but since she is a good actress, I'll give her time to sink in. Beating Ueno Juri will be super hard at that role though. Also, are you gonna watch Oguri Shun's new drama? It seems interesting.

  2. Mmm, I had earlier posted a comment but it seems that didn't go through. Apologies if this is a double post.

    Anyhow, I agree with your points and also found the k-remake a complete letdown, I actually found it really boring at times and thought it could have trimmed a few scenes for a tighter episode. Couldn't believe how Naeil turned out, she behaved like she was 5 and stupid. Which is a pity because knetizens were all over Shim Eun-kyung, saying how she was the best choice for the role. I also had huge problems with the music changes - by changing the initial Beethoven piece to Liszt, I feel the cantabile connection is lost. The cherry-picking of music pieces without understanding the relevance of the pieces to the characters is annoying. Yoojin didn't even get enough time to listen to Naeil's playing or figure out just what attracted him to it. Found Yoojin a very watered-down version of Chiaki - Joo Won just had no zing or arrogance, and that hairstyle ages him. Can't believe Yoojin was even scared of Naeil coming to find him, I found that so OOC.

    Also didn't understand Naeil's obsession with Yoojin so soon after meeting him - Nodame didn't even feel doki doki until the end of the first episode and by then, she and Chiaki had gone through a fair bit to perfect the duet. I think the execution of the storyline wasn't well-done and assumed or skipped quite a number of scenes that would have been better for exposition purposes. I also didn't quite like Ilrak (Mine), thought be behaved like a little thug. K-Stresemann was so boring. The funny scenes (shampoo, room clean-up) weren't funny at all. And I swear Naeil and Yoojin are chaebols in disguise, they live in apartments huge enough to house an entire orchestra. Also, they had a pop song as closing credits. That's so wrong, this is a drama about classical music.

    I also rewatched episode 1 of the Jdrama and found it packed so much in just one episode that set up the characters beautifully. The pacing was really good. Ueno and Tamaki are still awesome as Nodame and Chiaki 8 years on.

  3. In my opinion, maybe some people like more comical acting and story than realistic one. Jdorama mostly do comical one with manga/anime live action, I watched a few and I like it before. But, I don't know, people changes, and I like the more realistic acting than comical one, even if it comical it have to be realistic. If you said that Nodame is just weird and seems can't be realistic in real life, maybe that can be one of many reason I'm not into Jdrama or anime anymore.
    Ah, I have one dorama these day, Nobunaga Concerto, its because of Oguri Shun in there, and I admire the way he act in every drama he took.