Joo Won plays Yoo-Jin, a very talented musical genius, who aspires to be a conductor even though he is in the piano department of the school. Joo Won portrays Yoo-Jin as an intense and even arrogant young man who believes that his talents lay elsewhere. However, after meeting Nae-il, Yoo Jin learns to tolerate those with a uh..lets just say a much different style of living. With the Korean version, Joo Won’s piano playing act is passable, but conducting acting lies more on the dramatic side. However, his adorable smirks and helplessness more than balances his act. Sometimes, Joo Won’s Yoo-Jin seems like he is on the edge of a bursting into a fit of passion.
Nae-il plays Shim Eun-Kyung, the genius piano player who has a much messier lifestyle than the neat Yoo-Jin. Nae-il takes on a more of a fangirl approach when in the presence of Yoo-Jin. She is utterly obsessed with him to the point where she sacrifices her own health to be with him. As of Episode 2, even though she is acting more on the level of Jan Di from BOF, I can’t find it in my heart to be annoyed and the slapstick acting just yet. I hope that her character shapes up to be more just weird rather than acting like a fool.
I watched the Korean version before the Japanese version. As for the plot, it follows pretty similar, almost act by act to the Japanese version. However, the Japanese version flows faster where every 2 episodes of the Korean version equals 1 episode of the Japanese version. However, we do have more fanservice such as piggybacks and other cute romantic gestures in the Korean version.
As with most Korean dramas, we have a vocal OST at the end of each episode. The songs itself are happy tinkling music where I think a one geared more towards classical music would have fit better.
Tamaki Hiroshi plays Chiaki who seems to be the broodier version of the two versions. Tamaki chooses to be more subtle in his expressions when he is being serious. However, his moodiness is oddly juxtaposed with extreme slapstick at comedic scenes. Sometimes, it feels like the slapstick comedy feels out-of-place. However, his musical acting such as piano playing and conducting seem more well versed and realistic than Joo Won’s version.
Ueno Juri plays Nodame who thankfully comes off more as an odd girl rather than fangirl obsessed such as Nae-il. Ueno also has experience playing the piano which also makes her acting more realistic on that front. Ueno’s Nodame also seems more mature and less child-like than Nae-il’s version.
Though the Japanese version is shorter, the episodes do not feel rushed at all and flows very well. I would say that the Japanese version has that consistent extreme comedic style that can be seen in other doramas, but doesn’t seem out-of-place like it would in a Korean romcom.
The music in the Japanese is much better suited to the drama than the Korean version. It focuses heavily on the classical style which relates to the content. I also find it interesting that the two dramas play different pieces of classic music in their stories.