Nodame, the main character of Tomoko Ninomiya's wildly popular Nodame Cantabile manga series, was apparently inspired by a real person. In 2001, a female fan posted an interesting photo on the bulletin board of a website run by Ninomiya - the picture showed a piano being played inside a messy room. The woman who posted the photo was a music college student named Megumi Noda. From this, Ninomiya found the inspiration to create a series about a sloppy but talented piano player.
Since then, the real Megumi Noda has graduated and gone on to teach piano. Ninomiya reportedly remains in contact with Noda to gather ideas for the story. Noda's contribution is referenced by a "Special Thanks Megumi Noda" message that appears after each volume of the manga.