It’s funny how I’ve had a soft spot for Tamaki Hiroshi for yonks, but I never found him outright sexy – he was adorable and a real sweetheart in Kekkon Shinai (especially when he smiles!), but it wasn’t until I watched Nodame Cantabile that it hit me like a ton of bricks just how hot he really is.
I think it’s got to do with how Chiaki is styled – he’s always dressed simply in one of four colours: black, white, blue or grey (he does, hilariously, sometimes wear a red apron when cooking, lol. I think there’s also a dash of brown in the movies). Given Tamaki’s tall, slim frame, the monotone colours work like a charm. He looks polished and confident, and the colours somehow add to his no-nonsense character. Tamaki in white shirts is near irresistible, he just looks so gorgeous in them for some inexplicable reason. Besides, Tamaki can do arrogance so well, he totally looks the part of a preppy university student (in the drama, that is) who knows he’s head and shoulders above everyone else in terms of musical talent. Compared to the other characters’ more flamboyant outfits (Mine and Masumi, for example), Chiaki’s understated dressing is really quite easy on the eye and sort of reflects how he is – substance over style.
What is truly mesmerising, however, is when Tamaki takes to the stage as a conductor or pianist. It’s interesting that because he played Chiaki throughout the live-action, specials and movies, the character became like a second skin for Tamaki. As Chiaki went through character and musical growth, so did Tamaki in terms of acting. In the live-action, you could tell how his confidence grew with each performance and how he became more assured that he knew what he was doing. It wasn’t perfect, sometimes he missed a beat or wasn’t quite in sync with the music, but it symbolised Chiaki’s continuing growth as a musician.
But by the time of the movies, Tamaki was totally imperious as a conductor – re the Beethoven Symphony No 7 in A Major at the beginning of the first movie, and Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture with the Roux-Marlet Orchestra. He totally owned that stage with his incredible screen presence – the intensity, the passion, those eyes… each time I watch the Tchaikovsky scene, I love how Tamaki has made the character his very own and given Chiaki his own distinctive conducting style that is so wonderfully expressive. It was a powerful performance and surely one of Tamaki’s best scenes in the entire Nodame franchise. Watching someone become so involved in what he is doing, throwing his entire being into something he loves… it takes your breath away. Intensity has never been sexier, and you don’t even need to bare skin while you’re at it.
The piano scene that follows the Tchaikovsky totally reinforces the sexy quotient. I’ve always loved Chiaki playing the piano – Tamaki has those long artist fingers that are just made for piano playing – and the Bach piano concerto in D minor BWV 1052 remains one of my favourite Chiaki piano scenes. In the live-action, you could tell he had no experience on the piano, but in the Bach piano scene, it was totally believable that Chiaki’s piano talent would make Nodame cry (and not in a good way). It was the overall package – the hair, the tux, the intensity and concentration, and how his fingers danced away on the keys like a pro. His whole posture exuded the inner confidence of a man who knew what he was doing – Tamaki was truly riveting at the piano. I love the Bach piano scene so much, it’s just so incredibly sexy, both on an intellectual and sensory level.
Dang and blast, I need to rewatch this… for the nth time. More Tamaki is always good!