Tomorrow’s Cantabile Nutshell Pluses:
* Male lead Yoo Jin acts cold but has a gooey center. Wonderful to watch as he learns to trust and believe in his friends forsaking his “go it alone” mindset.
* Female lead Nae Il is eccentric positive and passionate about music. When she meets Yoo Jin she instantly falls for him. Her pursuit of him starts out as pestering but eventually they forge a sweet friendship and trust.
* The romance between our leads is wonderful to watch evolve into a supportive relationship. She starts out liking him with a devotion that he finds overwhelming. He is drawn to her passion for music and she energizes him. They begin to rely on each other. She supports him while he goes through his trials of becoming a conductor and the battles between the two orchestras. In turn, he supports him while she battles her personal demons, performing for an audience. The don’t play games with each other. She likes him. He likes her. The other guy NEVER had a chance. The video I made for track 8, Love Prelude, showcases their relationship and you can see the relationship evolve.
* Second male lead Il Rak is a passionate, fun, unconventional violist. It is a fun ride as his musical skills expand as well as his friendships including a love interest.
Tomorrow’s Cantabile Nutshell Minuses:
* Quirky characters that you either love or hate. I was surprised that eventually I grew to like all the characters.
* Secondary characters did not evolve rendering them strictly supporting of the leads when their own back stories and growth would have added depth to the show.
What I liked about Tomorrow’s Cantabile:
* Joo Won as Yoo Jin portrayed a male lead with an appealing earnestness and vulnerable under a controlled exterior. This character was the heart of the show. The evolution of Yoo Jin was fascinating. He starts out cold, perfect and lonely. Then Nae Il bursts into his life with an obsessive demand for him which overwhelms Yoo Jin. But a funny thing happens, her zest for life and having fun with music infects him. He evolves his musical skills by allowing his feelings to shine and ending his perfection technician. He sees the value of friendship and lets others into his life. He sacrifices for his friends. As Yoo Jin evolves he sees that Nae Il is a wonderful compliment to him. He begin to trust her and share his hopes and dreams with her. He in turn supports Nae Il’s musical and emotional journey. The latter part of the series dealt with her demons. He was helped her every step of the way. Their relationship evolution was my favorite aspect of this show.
* Shim Eun Kyung as Nae Il evolved from obsessive compulsive about Yoo Jin to supportive caring partner who dealt with her own demons of music. This character was in your face quirky at the start of the show. Unique outfits, stalking Yoo Jin, and her refusal to do anything but have fun with music were striking. But a funny thing happens, she connects not only with Yoo Jin but the other supporting characters creating a unit of friendship. She earns Yoo Jin’s trust and he shares his demons with her. Bless her heart, she studies how to help him through hypnosis, and is successful helping him conquer a lifelong fear of flying that essentially land locked him in an industry that demands travel and experience in many cities. Her own journey to overcome her fear of performance and the negative messages about her abilities was wonderful. I loved how this character took the spot light in the latter episodes with her own solo musical talents.
* The message of “love what you do” was applicable to our music students. When you love what you do, you draw others to you, and they want to experience it with you.
* Another message of “teamwork and support each other” permeated this show. The divide between the have and have not orchestra members created synergy within each orchestra. When the two orchestra’s merged each was forced to see that the other orchestra members had talent too. In the end, they even went to the board to demand the right to exist.
* Another message was “face your demons” to progress. Yoo Jin was stuck unable to get on an airplane because of a childhood trauma. Nae Il was unable to compete because of a childhood trauma. Yoon Hoo was unable to see other options besides the cello when his physical aliment destroyed his hand strength.
* Ko Gyung Pyo as Il Rak was packed with personality. He had a terrific relationship with his father which was lovely to watch. His friendship that turned into romance with Shi Won was sweet.
* The music friends were likable, contributed, and worth watching. Min Soo and Min Hee were terrific friends to Nae Il. To be fair these characters did revolve around the main couple and could have been expanded had the writers seen fit.
* The cinematography of this series was beautiful. Those that staged the scenes, lit the scenes, and shot the scenes created beautiful backdrops. The stunning vibrant fall colors were on full display throughout the series.
* The costume designer gave each character flair and their own identity through the clothing in an obvious (I mean that in a positive) way. Nae Il’s and Dean Song’s attire & style were memorable. I enjoyed the musical selections for this show too. If you were not a classical fan, each selection complemented the scenes, and you enjoyed it.
What I did not like about Tomorrow’s Cantabile:
* Certain quirky characters grated longer than necessary. Quirky characters abound in this show, which is fine. Originally I despised Maestro Stresemann, and egoistical man that bullied Yoo Jin to pay back a debt to another adult. Cheap shot dude! He did evolve and became a positive force in Yoo Jin’s life. Professor Do was pompous and a jerk in the beginning. He also evolved to be fair minded and a positive force.
* The story of Yoon Hoo (Park Bo Gum) was uneven. The writers (Shin Jae Won and Park Pil Joo) altered their opinion of what to do with this character before they had him fade into the woodwork. It is not unusual for a show not to know what to do with the rival once the main couple has solidified. This show had that issue and it lessened the impact of Yoon Hoo.
* The final episode Europe scenes were shot at the beginning of the series and had our leads relationship revert to a more juvenile version of their relationship that was a bit jarring to watch.
Original or Remake?
* This was a remake. I have not seen the 2006 Japanese original Nodame Cantabile so I had no preconceived notions watching this series. I understand there was some negative feedback of this show compared to the original. That’s unfortunate. While I understand loyalty to the original, remakes offer an update opportunity. Watching this series I found the story solid, the lead actors compelling, quirky and likable. One day I’ll watch the original series and let you know my opinion.
There are 4 classical OSTs and 1 OST for the show. The OST details are available on drama wiki. The playlist for the non classical OST is available via the link or in the embedded playlist below.
* Listen to My Heart Melody Day
* Innocente Joo Won
* I Can’t Cha Hee of Melody Day
* Rising Orchestra!
* Cha Yoo Jin vs Stressman
* Farewell, S Orchestra
* Love Prelude
* Fart Song
1. A flawless first episode. Every character hit the right notes. The music selections that underscored each scene were perfect.
2. Maestro Stresemann rips Yoo Jin’s change of major form to switch to conducting in front of everyone. Yep, Maestro Stresemann was a jerk.
3. Yoo Jin is happy to have an opportunity to conduct. Nae Il runs to give him a hug but he sidesteps her saying “you are forbidden to touch me”. They are cute together!
4. Nae Il finds Yoo Jin napping on the couch. She leans close to him. Initially she smiles but her expression changes as she becomes aware of him as a man.
5. First contest between S Orchestra and A Orchestra. Conducting S Orchestra, Yoo Jin takes center stage and surprises everyone by taking off his jacket and white shirt to reveal the special sequinned “S” t shirt. Sweet!
6. First bicker over Nae Il. Yoon Hoo gently helps Nae Il up. Yoo Jin pulls Nae Il to him. Yoon Hoo stares. Yoon Jin stare back looking possessive about Nae Il.
7. Next contest between S Orchestra and A Orchestra. Yoon Hoo is the conducts S Orchestra through a rousing song “Mambo” that the crowd loves.
8. Emotionally charged moment between Yoo Jin and Nae Il. She declares she wants to possess people the same way he possessed her when he played. He promises once she feels better they will play together and she does. This was not passion for each other, but passion for music.
9. Nae Il imagines a conversation with herself as a child. Adult Nae Il states without her talent she would not have met Yoo Jin. Child Nae Il says that Yoo Jin only sees her as a child not a woman. Adult Nae Il does not want that. Beautifully crafted scene.
10. Yoo Jin rescinds his banishment of Nae Il’s items from his apartment. Yoo Jin has put every item of Nae Il’s back in place. This is touching scene focused Nae Il’s joy as she discovers that Yoo Jin has reestablished her things and status. The production of this scene was fabulous with the overlay of Yoo Jin returning an item in the past and Nae Il finding it in the present.
11. Yoo Jin astutely tells Yoon Hoo he lacks the confidence to start over and relearn the cello. Terrific interchange between these two characters. Yoo Jin puts Nae Il’s needs first and identifies Yoon Hoo’s lip service to do that.
12. Yoo Jin shares his childhood experience of being dropped from a plane into the sea wearing a life vest with Nae Il. He states the residual trauma makes it so he cannot be on a boat or plane so he cannot study abroad. Significant that Yoo Jin shared an intimate secret. Equally significant that Nae Il wanted Yoo Jin to be able to study abroad even though it would take him from her. These two are so right for each other!
13. Yoo Jin piggybacks Nae Il home. She vows to him not to fall behind him. He tells her that her philosophy of enjoying the music and playing it as she wants has merit too.
14. Shi Won slips a couples ring on Il Rak. He looks at it in disbelief. She holds up her hand showing her couples ring. She exclaims they are a special couple now. They ring bump.
15. After fleeing home, Nae Il is stunned when Yoo Jin arrives. He gives her a back hug and tells her he came to bring her back. Swoon!
16. Yoo Jin and Nae Il wait for her name to be called to perform. He holds her hand and tells her she will do well. Lovely moment she is called to perform and they are holding hands.