So I am sticking with mini recaps on this show since I know the story front ward and back ward after watching so many different versions on it so there is not the usually excitement of "oohhh, this happened then this happened." BUT I obviously love the story and would love to talk about it thus the mini recaps.
Episode 1 Mini Recap
We meet our hero Cha Yoo Jin, the best piano player in the music school but who really would rather be a conductor. Due to a childhood trauma Yoon Jin cannot go to his world famous conductor teacher in Europe. Stuck in Japan, Yoo Jin has no choice but to suffer as his dream of being a conductor slowly dies.
Our heroine Seoul Nae Il comes home to find the most gorgeous man in her school passed out on her front door. Nae Il tries to wake Yoo Jin up but instead he falls right into her embrace. After taking a long moment to enjoy the lovely opportunity of having Yoon Jin so close, Nae Il hauls him into her room.
Looking at mounds of garbage interspersed with fat flies and cockroaches, Yoo Jin dashes out of Nae Il's home as fast as humanly possible all the while ignoring her calls of "Sunbae!!! Sunbae!!!"
Il Rake's professor does grant him another chance but with the stipulation that he has to have a piano as an accompaniment. Il Rak heads straight for Yoo Jin since only the best would do for him, but Yoo Jin was too distracted to notice him. Il Rak vows to show Yoo Jin what a great violinist he is.
Nae Il's dream of "playing" with her sunbae though does not materialize since Yoo Jin is a difficult teacher who insists on absolute correctness. Absolute correctness is a difficult task for Nae Il who is used to memorizing music with her ears instead of reading the music. The tension finally breaks when Nae Il becomes too hungry to practice anymore and tries to run away. Yoo Jin tries to physically force Nae Il to keep playing, but Nae Il who has a sudden childhood flash back of being forced the same way, bites Yoo Jin and runs away.
Yoo Jin's anger over being bitten ebbs when he thought back to his own rebellion against his professor's unyielding way of teaching and manages to entice Nae Il into his house with the smell of his tuna fried rice. I laughed out loud when they showed a cupboard fall of canned fish... so he can tame the kitty next door?
Yoo Jin promises Nae Il he won't get angry again, and plays the recording of the duet music so she can memorize it. While Nae Il was happily memorizing her parts, all the sudden Yoo Jin smells the stanch that is coming from Nae Il's hair. Yoo Jin drags Nae Il off to wash her hair when she assures him that she washes her hair at least twice a week. Nae Il fights and cries, but is quickly happy again when Yoo Jin is blowing dry her hair.
Nae Il "I feel like a princess!"
Yoo Jin "I feel like I am blow drying a dog."
The collage dean Song Mina proposes a daring plan to start a student orchestra that would become the school's brand. For her daring plan, dean Mina has managed to invite the famous conductor Franz Streseman. Dean Mina's plan hits a glitch though when Streseman disappears the moment he arrives at Korea. We do see Streseman again we he shows up at the college incognito with a camera taking seemingly random pictures of students.
To Nae Il's happiness, Yoo Jin tells her to just let herself go and play the music whatever way she wants and he will just follow her lead. With her eyes sparkling, Nae Il played with the freedom she craved, while the music she is playing takes Yoo Jin back to the field of tranquility again.
Not bad, not bad at all. I of course went into this show with equal amount of anticipation and fear. A remake is never easy and is almost impossible to reproduce the manga feel the Japanese has a way of pulling off. I have always wondered why the Japanese show can pull off the over the top manga feel when no one else seems to be able to... I have no answer.
For example, in this story, Yoo Jin's character will usually push Nae Il so hard that she goes flying off. A common thing in manga and quite funny when you use it in that context. The Japanese version was able to do that effect quite well so it's actually humorous but in this version it doesn't quite have the same effect.
However, while Cantabile Tomorrow really is missing the over the top feel the original had, I like the details they have added. The little touches really added to the original story I felt were kinda weak.
- In this version you can actually feel some physical awareness between the two leads while that was missing in the original.
- I thought this version did a much better job at portraying the heroine's effect on the hero. The hero was in a state of chaos before he met the heroine and her music always has a way of grounding him. In the original version one can often easily overlook that fact and in this one, they have done a good job in bring that fact to the front and center.
One thing I am not so sure about is how they are portraying the heroine in this version. In the original version I have never felt the heroine was child like. Eccentric, yes but not childlike. While in Cantabile Tomorrow there is definitely a childlike vibe to her. That is so drastically different than how I picture the heroine that is giving me some serious pauses... but I am hoping they will somehow drop that feeling as the show goes on.