Megumi Noda, the star character of the manga series “Nodame Cantabile,” which was a popular feature in the woman’s comic magazine “Kiss,” and became a hit as a Fuji TV drama, exists in real life, it has emerged.
“Nodame Cantabile” tells the story of a meeting between Shinichi Chiaki, an elite student of Momogaoka Music Academy whose father was a famous pianist, and Megumi Noda, a hopeless piano student going by the nickname “Nodame,” who lives in a messy apartment.
After drinking too much Chiaki ends up staying at Nodame’s place. As he wakes up to the sound of a beautiful piano melody, he sees Nodame heading toward the piano in her messy room. Chiaki instructs Nodame, who hates piano practice, and as he tries to draw out her talent, he learns about the real fun and difficulty of music, and realizes his own dream of wanting to become a conductor.
The 16-volume original manga series by Tomoko Ninomiya was a major success, selling 15 million copies, and the drama which has screened up until the ninth volume achieved an impressive viewer rating of 19.9 percent during a Nov. 13 screening, according to ratings firm Video Research.
The idea for Nodame, who is regarded as a strange person because she continues to live in a messy room and often makes strange noises, was conceived in 2001. A female fan posted a photograph of a piano being played in a messy room on the bulletin board of a Web site operated by Ninomiya, saying, “Look at this interesting photo I took.” The woman was a music college student named Megumi Noda.
At the time, Ninomiya, who was looking for ideas for a new serial publication, gained inspiration from the photograph, and decided to produce a musical comedy with a sloppy main character. Editors at Kodansha, the publisher of the magazine “Kiss,” gave the work the thumbs-up, saying the gap between classical music and a hopeless girl was interesting. This led to the serialization of “Nodame Cantabile.”
Ninomiya reportedly continues to phone Noda, who has since graduated from the music college and is teaching piano in Fukuoka, to get ideas for the manga series. Nodame’s episode in the manga of creating a song called “Mojamoja Taiso,” for example, came after Noda played a piece through the telephone to create an image for the song.
At the end of each comic book, the phrase, “Special Thanks Megumi Noda” always appears.