Tomorrow’s Cantabile: Why I’m In Love


I don’t know why I’m sucked into this drama, but I am. Somehow despite the slapstick and cheesy acting, it got to me. I’m addicted. I’m ashamed to be addicted, because now I will have no life on Mondays and Tuesdays. Episode 5 why can’t you come sooner?!?!

One disclaimer I must make is that I have not seen the original Japanese version, even though so many people have told me to watch it and I have heard comparisons between this Korean drama and the original (namely, the girl is not as ridiculous as Shim Eun Kyung). So you won’t really hear comparisons from me.

Instead I’m going to break down very, very simply why I’m in love with this drama in a list.

1. It’s the elites vs. the underdogs

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Throughout the four episodes it’s about the underdogs trying to prove that they’re just as good – or better – than the elites. Cha Yoo Jin (Joo Won) is presented as the most brilliant pianist and the top student in his school, and yet he is not even fit to be a conductor, which is what he really wants to be. In a way, he’s an underdog.

We have the S Orchestra, a special group of the “leftovers” specially chosen by Franz von Stresemann (Baek Yoon Shik), going up against the A Orchestra. A Orchestra was the original one that was formed for the school, so they’re already the best of the best. To have them go up against S Orchestra for the fall festival is like an insult to them, but it gives us the wonderful conflict and space for character growth for our main characters.

This simple story of elites vs. underdogs is enough to make me watch, because I just naturally root for S Orchestra to do well.

2. The musical performances


It goes without saying that the classical music is amazing, but what I love more is watching the performances. I love watching the actors perform onstage in a drama – performing within a performance. It’s why I watched Heartstrings, The Musical, and my ultimate favorite What’s Up. Though I know that the main actors are not professional pianists or violinists, it’s still fun to watch them fake it and go up against others who are probably more musically talented.

Performances are fun, and don’t require much dialogue, so I can sit back and enjoy without thinking too hard on what’s going on. Tack on some bets on who’ll have the better performance, and I’m sold.

3. The Best Friend-Triangle


This is new for me, and something I LOVE LOVE LOVE. We have Yoo Jin, Nae Il, and Yoo Il Rak (Go Kyung Pyo) all together – but they’re not rivals for love! Well, not romantically at least. Il Rak is not even competing with Yoo Jin for Nae Il’s affections; if anything, he’s competing with Nae Il for Il Rak’s affections! I love that the three of them are becoming best friends slowly, even though Yoo Jin continually brushes them off when he’s annoyed. And then if we made it a “love square” like in other dramas, I love that the other leg is Ma Soo Min (Jang Se Hyun), a gay timpani player who idolizes Yoo Jin and competes with Nae Il for his love! 1) Prominent gay character, and 2) EVERYONE’S IN LOVE WITH YOO JIN. I know that Soo Min is not the first prominent gay character in K-dramas, but it’s still pretty rare to see.


In general, the “best friend triangle” reminds me of Harry Potter and his friends, and their misadventures. Even though Yoo Jin isn’t Harry, Il Rak isn’t Ron, and Nae Il is definitely not Hermione… but I hope you get what I mean…

4. I don’t like Nae Il – but she is tolerable because of everyone else


I dislike the over-the-top acting from Shim Eun Kyung, and considering that I have not seen her in anything else, it’s not leaving a favorable impression of her. I knew only from stories and the news that she’s a good up-and-coming actress. I will give her credit for being unusually bright and cheerful all the time, and for giving her own spin to the character. And, there is one moment in episode 4 where she kind of calms down and has a moment where she realizes that she really is falling for Yoo Jin; that was a nice moment from Shim Eun Kyung.

But everyone else around her is a bit more even and they temper her outrageousness with their own disbelief at how a girl can be this crazy. It’s how they react to her without being equally crazy that kind of helps make her tolerable. If I just had to watch only her with her crazy Jeju accent and her attempt at being aegyo all the time, I might just go crazy.

5. Joo Won’s Reactions


Joo Won is a good actor. He’s fine, though I haven’t seen all of his dramas to completion. His hair sucks, but I get that it’s part of the character in the manga. (It’s better than Jang Hyuk’s Fated to Love You hair at least.)


But he’s so awesome. I love how petty he can be, how great he is at acting annoyed, and how he can get along so well with Nae Il despite how annoying she can be. Despite his prickly character, he quickly shows that he’s willing to change and be more understanding of others. He appreciates others’ talents, even if he seems like the type to live by the credo “my way or the highway.”





Yayyyyy Joo Won!!!


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  1. junny 22 October, 2014 at 14:10 Reply

    I found this remake to be an absolute travesty.

    Three key things:
    1) Shim Eun-kyung’s Naeil is a joke – she butchered Nodame (or maybe the director told her to act this way). In quieter beats, she was passable, but unfortunately in the first four episodes, she made Naeil look like the school clown whose life revolves only around Yoojin – that’s an epic fail in characterisation. Joo Won’s Yoojin is your average kdrama hero, but a completely watered-down version of Chiaki. All his “quirky” facial expressions were copied from Tamaki Hiroshi, but without understanding when, why and how to do it right. Chiaki is never about “my way or the highway”. He is all about precision and perfection, showing respect to the composer’s intent.

    The production shows a complete lack of understanding of the essence of the main and supporting characters.

    2) The storyline execution is poor – key scenes are shifted or missing, skimmed through or don’t build up correctly. The funny stuff isn’t funny. As a kdrama, it may make sense. As an adaptation of Nodame Cantabile, it falls woefully short. This again ties in with the lack of understanding of what makes Nodame and Chiaki tick.

    3) The music selection is bad. It misses the relevance of the pieces to the characters. Conducting and piano playing were laughable – these people aren’t even in sync with the music. This is a drama about classical musicians who live and breathe music, but there isn’t enough music in this remake. Adding a pop song at the end is ridiculous.

    I hope you manage to watch the original Japanese live-action – in 11 episodes, it manages to have much more compact storytelling without sacrificing character development. If you don’t take to manga-esque humour writ large, there’s also the original manga and an anime series available.

  2. Snowpatroll 23 October, 2014 at 08:40 Reply

    Great blog! You are funny without being biased.

    Why are the Jdorama fans so desperate? Must everyone like what they like? I don’t and I dislike when they force their opinion on me. Do they belong to a kindergarten playground or a cult? Reminds me of religious groups.

    • junny 23 October, 2014 at 09:28 Reply

      LOL, last I checked, it’s not a crime to point out something that’s crap. Kaedejun is free to like the k-remake, as she has shown here. I’m just pointing out that the remake is not a patch on the original and to check out the original if she can. If she still prefers the remake after watching the original, then at least she would be able to see the differences (and the butchering). The original is a near-universal success and rightly so (at the very least, it doesn’t have its main characters acting like idiots). It’s definitely worth a watch.

      • sana 2 November, 2014 at 13:52 Reply

        LOL while its not a crime,it is quite inane to point out and compare between two dramas that may have the same premise and source material but are totally different in their own manner.Its apples and peaches my dear so your attempt at crapping out those who love the show is unintelligent at most.Cantabile Tomorrow is no based on Jdrama but on the manga/anime.
        I sense an almost hapless desperation in the die-hard insular Jdrama fans in their quest to deny unsuspecting drama lovers the chance to enjoy a highly engaging and funny feel-good drama.Are you all scared that the Kdrama MIGHT ACTUALLY BE BETTER than the jdrama?Coz in my opinion it is shaping up to be exactly that.
        Its like most Jdorama fans have painted the notion of a remake as being Black and everything about the Kdrama appears black to them.If you hate it,leave it why waste precious hours spewing venom.Party poopers much of the bunch I see.

  3. Aainaa 13 November, 2014 at 08:16 Reply

    I watched the J-drama about 3 years ago… I did enjoy it that time but forgotten about it as there were many drama I enjoyed more that time… Funny thing is now when I watched the K-drama ver, I have the urge to rewatch the original J-drama… My my… I can’t believe I enjoyed the J-drama more than ever..
    Nodame is just full of love. She is so loveable compare to Nae Il character. I think that is the first mistake the K-drama make. For me, Nodame character is the core of the story.. Once you messed that up, then that means you messed up the whole drama.
    However, I will continue following the k-drama as I want to see Nae Il’s world debut.

    • Aainaa 13 November, 2014 at 08:27 Reply

      anyway this is Nodame’s world debut, which is my favourite moment of Nodame.. I hope Nae Il will debut like this..

      I highly recommend you to watch the j-drama as I like it so much.. The J-drama is like a more fast-paced, more comical & funnier version of Tomorrow Cantabile. Why don’t you give it a try..
      Can’t wait for Tomorrow Cantabile Paris version.. XD

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