[Kdrama] ‘Cantabile Tomorrow’ ep 1&2 ~ first impression/ opinion/review ~

This week, the much disputed ‘Cantabile Tomorrow” started airing and out of curiosity I watched the first two episodes. As a big fan of the original, I was skeptical about a Korean remake, especially since until now, Korean remakes weren’t that great in terms of acting or production.

I already talked about why I was skeptical about this version in one of my tumblr posts, the main reason for my skepticism was most definitely the humor that ‘Notame Cantabile” has and let’s be honest it’s a pure Japanese humor, so how can Koreans show us that?

Of course they can’t, however they can keep the original and at the same time show their own colors from their production culture. Luckily, the producer of ‘Cantabile Tomorrow’ did use Korean humor from what I’ve seen, but somehow I feel like it still lacks something.

When Joo Won and Shim Eun Kyung were revealed as the main cast, I still was a little iffy about it. On the other hand, I thought that Eun Kyung is one of the rare Korean actresses who can just let go of the ‘queen’ image that normally actresses have there, for her roles, so I was ready to give it a try. Yet, I wasn’t sure if Joo Won can pull it off; he is a good actor but not enough to make Chiaki. Still, after watching the first two episodes, I changed my mind, Eun Kyung lacks and Joo Won is actually good. To put it simply, I was expecting to like Eun Kyung more but I feel like Joo Won really thought about how to give life to a Korean Chiaki and not to the Japanese one, he kept the base of the original but from there Joo Won made his own version.

Joo Won’s Yoo Jin isn’t Chiaki, but I think that this is way I like him over Eun Kyung’s Nae Il. I mean Nae Il seems like she lacks emotional intelligence in the Korean version, thing that wasn’t even portrayed in the Japanese one, the main idea isn’t to make just a funny character and this is what Eun Kyung forgot – because I feel like she focused so much on making Nae Il funny and seem like Nodame, that she forgot to give her character a subtle touch of heaviness to show that Nae Il is more than a comical person.

But leaving aside Joo Won and Eun Kyung, I’m pretty disappointed with the older cast members, even though the younger ones made efforts to create the characters, the older ones look rather disinterested with their characters.

Overall, I think that none of the actors can live up to their actual potential mostly because Nodame is supposed to be more for the Japanese market, as I already said, it has a lot of Japanese humor, acting style and so on that the Koreans can’t actually re-make. For me this doesn’t feel any different than BOF, Marry Me Marry (wasn’t a remake but the style feels the same) or Mischievous Kiss.

For those complaining that people shouldn’t compare the original with the remake, sweethearts, that is a pretty hard thing not to do, every time a remake will be pulled in, remarks and comparisons will always be made between the two, it’s inevitable.

Regardless, I will still keep watching because this drama is fun, for now!



  1. I love the Japanese version but I also adore the Korean version.

    Well, comparison is inevitable but I think SEK is doing the most in whatever she can do because technically speaking, Nodame is very hard to portray, she’s very Japanese-cartoon-like character, Aside from Ueno Juri, I don’t think any other can play her to perfection, I simply can’t picture it. SEK is still the best Korean candidate for the role Nodame because I think other actresses will fail more horribly.

    Also, I feel like everyone else from the caast is acting in their Korean humor way but SEK is the closest to Japanese-manga-comedy, which makes her acting look odd and overbearing in comparison. JW on the other hand did better than what I expected, then again… from the beginning, I always felt Chiaki had a lot of Korean-male-lead traits, cold but warm inside, haha.

    The original version is still better but I like the Korean version too because I feel they emphasize the romance a little bit more, eg: when JW puts on blanket on SEK gently, It’s those subtle, less-comedic moments that I appreciate. I hope for Korean version, they emphasize more on the romance as it’s what they’re good at and if I switch off my “comparison-mode” with the Japanese version, it’s still very fun to watch.

    1. Joo Won did better than what most people expected, but then as you said Chiaki does have a vibe of a normal Korean male lead, however even though Yoo Jin is similar to Chiaki and the later one is the base, at the same time the two characters are pretty different. I personally like the overall feel given by Joo Won to Yoo Jin. But the only thing I’m a little annoyed or unsatisfied is that Joo Won seem rather awkward, I mean at times he doesn’t really know what do to with his mouth.

      Unfortunately for Eun Kyung, I think she must be really stressed because of the whole thing, no matter what she will do, the original still has a lot of influence over the fans. She is trying to prove wrong to those who complained however Eun Kyung needs to leave aside everything and just focus on the character – I mean from what I’ve seen from these two episodes she is trying to follow Ueno’s version rather than bringing in her acting elements.Even so, I do agree with you, Eun Kyung is the only one who can pull this off.

      Tbh even if it looked like I put the Korean ver down, I like it, I needed this kind of comedy so for now I’m pretty satisfied with how things turned out (as a first impression tho) XD

      1. “at times he doesn’t really know what do to with his mouth.”

        That’s because Joo Won is pretty much copying Tamaki Hiroshi’s facial ticks but without really understanding why, when and how, so the effects fall on the side of moronic.

        I found Joo Won really bland as Yoojin – there was no arrogance, no zing, no charisma. His flat hairstyle doesn’t help much. I don’t agree that Chiaki has the vibe of a typical Korean male lead, there is plenty of dichotomy in his character. The writing and his own portrayal are making Joo Won look like your average Kdrama hero.

        Shim Eun-kyung is awful as Naeil. I don’t know if it’s the director telling her that’s the way to act or she had given input into this butchering of Nodame.

      2. Actually Joo Won isn’t copying Tamaki, in every drama I’ve seen him, he is somehow awkward with his mouth, like how other actors don’t know what to do with their hands.

        As for Eun Kyung, I’m waiting for her to bring up the awesome actress within her, but then again, the pressure is a little too much at this point, hopefully everything will fall into its right place.

  2. I can’t compare, since I haven’t seen the Japanese version. I love Japanese drama, but not a huge fan of the overly whacky Manga style acting/antics that go on in many of them. I tend to go for the more serious – mystery, crime, family orientated dramas. Though my four favorite manga J-dramas so far are Zettai Kareshi, Youkai Nigen Bem, Mei Chan’s Butler, and Mop Girl. However, I do note the big distinction in the humor of K-drama and J-drama. I just casually put Nodame Cantabile on because of Joo Won, and I love his performance for what it is. Not based off the actual character or Japanese actor. But I just think he’s an amazing actor.

    The actress is so young in real life! Being a Pixie girl is supposed to be cute, but I can’t help thinking she really needs to take her meds or be housed in a facility, oh wait, she is housed in a facility. I’m trying to see a real depth in her, but all I see is the actress posturing and posing and trying too hard to be funny. Over acting maybe? But then I hear the Japanese character is even crazier than this. I love the beautiful music and the fact that I get real laughs, so I can’t wait to see what happens. The older characters do seem disconnected though. And as much as I love the actor playing ‘Milch’, he’s extremely pervy. But I guess that’s the way the character is.

    1. Yes, in the Japanese drama, her character is crazier however, the actress managed to show the depth within the character, on the other hand Eun Kyung seems to be pressured by everyone to live up to the original that she is trying to do multiple tasks at the same time. She is a great actress but the overly acting funny/crazy isn’t doing her any right.

      Still, we have many episodes to go so I wouldn’t blame her for anything, there’s still a lot of time to make up for this.

      Yet, I do find myself enjoying the Korean version, it’s funny and I’m watching it just as a side thing rather than something I really want to follow.

  3. […] First impressions […]

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