Well, it’s not fun to be harsh against a series that I originally fell in love with, but I have to be honest: The Paris Chapters of Nodame Cantabile are not as good as the original Nodame Cantabile series. It’s still a fun and engaging series, but in the end it didn’t live up to the expectations that were created by the stellar first season.
The cause of this is definitely not due to the main characters: Nodame and Chiaki are still wonderful characters, and the best jokes about them are still downright hilarious, in the same fashion as the first season. In the Paris Chapter, we can explore both of them as they try to break through in the professional classical music business. It’s a tale about young adults, just like you’d expect from Noitamina and it works wonderful.
But in the end, it feels like something is missing. To start with, the side-characters just aren’t as interesting as the side-cast of the first season. It may be because the second season was only handed half of the airtime when compared to the first one, but even then they feel really bland and one-sided when compared to the colourful side-characters of the first season. These people managed to make an impact from the first moment they appeared on screen, which is what I missed here a bit.
And then there’s also the matter that the second season just covers a bit more boring part of the life of the main characters. It’s all pretty straightforward here: you know these guys are going to break through, when compared to the first season where they had much more and bigger problems to deal with.
The animation quality also seems to have decreased: the motion-capture is even more apparent, and the regular animation feels that it was blessed with a smaller budget. Still, don’t get me wrong: this series still is very good. A rating of 82,5/100 for me is still a really enjoyable series, and it’s still really fun to watch. It just doesn’t live up to season one, which was just too good for this series. Sure, the Paris Chapters serve as a good build-up, but as a standalone series you do not want to expect the same quality as the first season.