First Impressions: Tomorrow Cantabile (2014)
Ever since KBS2 announced the intention to work on the remake of the highly acclaimed Japanese drama Nodame Cantabile which was an adaptation of the same-titled Tomoko Ninomiya’s manga there have been many talks around and it became a hot topic in the drama world. Many camps of opinions were formed. In one hand, some were skeptical about this remake whether it would live up to the expectations or not, others were negative considering the series already a failure. On the other hand, some were enthusiastic and looked forward to Tomorrow Cantabile, others were pretty sure it will become a success.
As for me, I found myself in the middle of this opinion battlefield. So I was definitely looking forward to it and I rushed to watch Nodame Cantabile so as to forge an opinion on the original adaptation of the manga and get ready for the Korean remake. To be honest, I loved it, henceforth my expectations on Tomorrow Cantabile became pretty high. I won’t talk about the story itself, pretty much anyone interested in it already has invested either on the manga or the anime, the Japanese drama or simply searched around for information.
So, on the second Monday of October Tomorrow Cantabile started airing and the first episode became my number one plan of the day. Even if I don’t want to, there’s no way I would be able to stop myself from comparing Tomorrow Cantabile to Nodame Cantabile. The differences are pretty obvious and by the end of the first episode I found myself neutral, neither enthusiastic nor negative about the remake, but definitely hopeful that everything will flow well.
Apparently, Tomorrow Cantabile has the visual Korean maximalism that is omnipresent in many of their dramas and of course who wouldn’t notice that they made a great effort, as always, on the looks of the characters, main or supporting. The intense anime vibes of Nodame Cantabile were deconstructed so as to construct a more realistic humorous ambiance, the Korean way. Henceforth a more serious edge on the approach of the story was noticeable starting by the music academy. So far, it feels more like a careerist musician’s paradise rather than the wonderland musical asylum that was depicted on the j-adaptation.
One of the most important factors on Tomorrow Cantabile has to be the chemistry between Cha Yoo Jin and Seol Nae Il. In one hand, during the first episode Joo Won (Cha Yoo Jin) couldn’t earn my trust on his efforts to depict his character, his acting felt more or less like a common k-drama male lead and I couldn’t sense something special, it felt more like an acclimation stage for him, so I won’t say I was disappointed because time and the flow of the series shall tell.
Why don’t you look at the score? Are you Stevie Wonder?
On the other hand, I loved Seol Nae Il’s bizarre world, she has a goofy charm of her own and I can say I am amazed by the way she interprets her role; and this is only the beginning.
Oh! Cockroaches! Annyong!
I liked Franz Stresemann, he looks more like a perverted hipster dandy engulfed by the world of women rather than the satyr and grotesque perverted old man on Nodame Cantabile, which was exceptional of course. Yoo Il Rak’s chef father is spot on, I like the humorous duality of his character changing from a serial killer looking father while holding the butcher knife to a father filled with honey when it comes to his son. Characters I’ll be looking forward to see how they evolve are definitely Yoo Il Rak (Go Kyung Pyo) and Choi Min Hee ( Min Do Hee – i loved her in Reply 1994). At this point, I was disappointed by the fan teacher, he didn’t live up to my expectations, he was too serious to start with and to be honest, I missed the rapid neurotic reactions of the Nodame Cantabile fan teacher.
The neutral mixed up opinion episode one left upon me felt like clouds blocking the sun. Episode two though started clearing the horizon and the first rays of the sun started appearing.The chemistry between Cha Yoo Jin and Seol Nae Il started progressing and Joo Won to my eyes seems to be fitting his role more than the first episode, there are enough scenes where his humorous factor comes to the surface and the way he reacts to other characters has become more vivid and reliable. Needless to say that Seol Nae Il has become even more adorable on the second episode and slowly Yoo Il Rak starts unfolding his personality. We also get glimpses of Ma Soo Min, the timpani player. Even the fan piano teacher became more user-friendly. I can’t wait for the rest of the characters appearing one after the other as a chain reaction now that the S-Orchestra is being formed!
Well, i gave more emphasis on the first episode, that’s where the very first impressions are being born anyway. In the end, i personally enjoyed the contrasting emotions’ impact episodes one and two had on me, because due to the challenge i went through while watching episode one, episode two appeared quite rewarding. Some promises have been given and now I’m hopeful that everything will flow just fine. The better the things work the more appreciated Tomorrow Cantabile will be. I have a good feeling about this and i hope time won’t prove me wrong.
PS. I miss Nodame’s reactions: gyabo, gyafun, mukya! And although “sunbaeeeee” on episode one will never reach the grandeur of “Chiaki-senpaiiiii”, “orabang” sounds quite awesome on episode two!