After striking a chord with so many fans during its original run, Nodame is coming back for an encore.
Barring kid-friendly classics like Dragon Ball or Detective Conan that get grandfathered in thanks to their nostalgia factor, not many anime or manga achieve full-on mainstream popularity and recognition in Japan. Even pop cultural touchstones like Evangelion and Attack on Titan garner most of their support from fans who also have a broader interest in animation or comics in general.
One exception, though, is Nodame Cantabile, the story of the budding romance between scatterbrained Megumi Noda (the “Nodame” of the series’ title) and straight-as-an-arrow Shinichi Chiaki, a pair of music college students. Nodame Cantabile came into being as a manga from creator Tomoko Ninomiya which ran for roughly eight years in publisher Kodansha’s monthly Kiss comic anthology for mature female readers, where it attracted enough of a following that it was adapted into a live-action TV drama in 2006, which in turn spawned two theatrical sequels. As expected for a popular manga, Nodame Cantabile also has an anime version, of which three seasons were produced.
But even with its cross-media success, the curtain fell on the franchise in 2010, in which the last chapter of the manga was published, the second live-action movie ran, and the final anime episode aired. But just like musicians sometimes return to the stage to play one more after the end of the program, Nodame Cantabile still has a little more story to tell, in the form of a brand-new manga installment.
For the first time in over five years, Nodame Cantable will appear in the pages of Kiss. The April issue of the magazine, which goes on sale February 25, will contain a new chapter, set a real time-acknowledging five years after the events of the most recently published one. Once again, the spotlight will be on Nodame herself, who will be approaching her 30th birthday.
The new chapter is a one-shot project for Ninomiya, and so is more likely to function as an epilogue to the story than a full-fledged sequel. Nevertheless, the series’ many fans will no doubt be happy to see what Nodame, and most likely Shinichi, too, have been up to in all the years since last they met.
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