Cha Yu Jin and Seol Nae Il go to the same music academy, both majoring in piano, and live next to each other. But they can't be more different. Yu Jin is considered a good, promising student. There are only two things that stop him from having a good future: firstly, he doesn't actually want to major in piano, but rather in conducting, to become just like his former teacher, Viera. Secondly, he can't go abroad to study in Europe, because after some troubles on an airplane, he has a trauma and can't board any ship or plane. So he is bound to stay in Korea, thus not being able to broaden his horizon like every other student. Nae Il, on the other side, is considered a leftover. She enjoys music for what it is, plays beautifully, but not the way many teachers want to see it. She lacks the will to go to competitions and actually only wants to do two things: enjoy playing piano and become a kindergarden teacher. One beautiful day, they meet and this is when Nae Il starts to disturb the peaceful life of Yu Jin and turns it upside down.
Tomorrow Cantabile continues the trend of Korean dramas remaking Japanese ones. And unlike some of its' predecessors, Tomorrow Cantabile manages to be a rousing success, not only as a tribute to the original content but also in becoming it's own entity.
Admittedly the show does take a bit of time to find its' footing. The first few episodes try too hard to merge the exaggerated comedy of the Japanese drama with the feel of Korean dramas...and the discord shows. But once the show manages to find its' own personality, the characters manage to flourish and the story grabs your heart.
The acting is great. Ju Won continues to show why he's such a well-loved actor, managing to encompass the heart of Yu Jin (that of a cold, prickly person) with the slow thawing as a result of Nae Il, all without losing that core. And while Eun Gyeong takes a while to find the balance between comedy and heart, as the story progresses she takes an iconic character and makes it her own.
The story has its flaws. Occasionally the school politics drag too long and some conflicts make you scratch your head, but the character growth makes it a worthwhile show.
A definite recommend for any fan of the original, just give it some time.
Both revolve around performance arts students, in Dream High they learn vocals and dance, while in Cantabile it's Instrumental/Conducting/Orchestra. Both are similar in the sense that the main leads in both dramas are extremely talented but lacking in the emotional category (they have a hard time expressing how they really feel and so instead come of as cold, rude and indifferent). In both dramas this is enough of a set back to prevent them from truly showing their full potential. At the same time you have other characters who are seen as less talented but as time goes on they develop their skills and gradually gain recognition.
Both show how the exceptionally gifted and the underestimated are able to evolve by interacting with each other, so as to be able to live up to their full potential. While doing so we get to see friendships formed and also tested.
In both, music is the major topic. Also, these series show the struggle of the "B category" or "Leftovers." Both show how much the characters love music and how they try to become famous, and how they have to beat those who have talent and money or good connections.