Nodame Cantabile – 16
Having recruited the right people, Chiaki conducts his new orchestra in practicing Mozart’s Oboe Concerto in C major, K. 314. However, since the piece only requires 35 people, Mine isn’t chosen to participate. Chiaki is very impressed with all the musicians who were chosen, particularly the oboe soloist Kuroki, though Chiaki does wish that Kuroki played with more flair. On the home front, he finds Nodame as hungry as ever, which signifies to him that she’s not ghost-like as Mine’s father had described her. Still, when he asks her about her studies, she avoids the question and talks about bringing him lemons in honey instead. Chiaki absolutely refuses to let her come to practice because he doesn’t want to play around with this orchestra, yet Nodame shows up at their next practice anyway. This causes him to get angry at her and question her about going to her lesson today, but Nodame claims that her teacher is sick. Their conversation is interrupted by Kuroki, so Nodame takes the opportunity to give Kuroki the onigiri and miso soup that she made for everyone. After Nodame leaves, Chiaki notices how smitten Kuroki is with her, particularly after he tells Kuroki Nodame’s name.
Inside the practice room, Mine is listening to Kiyora playing her violin and is so impressed that he asks to be her pupil. She’s shocked to hear this coming from him, but Mine promises to treat her to anything if she becomes his teacher. Before Kiyora can answer, Chiaki interrupts them to start rehearsal, however that then gets interrupted by the cello player Kikuchi’s cell phone. Chiaki starts to feel that the atmosphere is too cozy, but to his surprise, the orchestra sounds a lot better now. Unbeknownst to Chiaki, his old teacher Etou is looking all over the school for Nodame, and he eventually finds her in her classroom. Nodame had just finished explaining her future plans of getting a kindergarten teaching license to her friends. Chiaki meanwhile finds out from Tanioka that Nodame’s instructor had changed to Etou and that Etou had started liking Nodame after hearing that performance of Rachmaninoff that she did with him. Chiaki still thinks that Tanioka should be her teacher, but Tanioka explains that he’s not the type of person who can motivate students who lack motivation. Tanioka sees students as important customers, so he helps them fulfill their hopes and dreams like with how he helped Nodame compose her Moja Moja suite these past three years. He does, however, feel that Nodame has been changing recently, even if she hasn’t noticed it herself.
The next day, Kuroki is trimming his own reed when he notices Nodame hiding nearby. As he returns the thermos from the miso soup, Kuroki introduces himself and compliments her for the food. He reveals that he’s here so early because he needed to shave his reed since oboe players need to make their own reeds. Because there is no such thing as a perfect reed, Kuroki feels that oboes are incomplete instruments, but he still likes oboes. This reminds Nodame of how she enjoys playing the piano, but also of how Chiaki wants her to aim for a higher goal. She thus asks Kuroki if he’s aiming for a higher goal such as becoming a professional and if it’s weird that someone trying to be a kindergarten teacher also aims for a higher goal. Kuroki doesn’t quite understand what she means, but he tells her that he’s happier if he can play the oboe better. Etou meanwhile finds Chiaki on campus and explains the situation with Nodame. Chiaki feels that Etou doesn’t give normal lessons since he carries that harisen, despite Etou’s claims that the harisen embodies his love. Chiaki is then reminded of how Nodame doesn’t run away from him even though he abuses her the same way that Etou did, and in the end, he comes up with a plan for the instructor.
A little while later, Nodame finds a trail of Puri Gorota figures and follows it all the way until she’s trapped by Etou in a practice room. When she tries to escape out the window, he reveals that he got rid of the harisen and apologizes for hitting her. Nodame finally agrees to take lessons from him, but she makes him sign an agreement first stating that he has to help her compose the final song of her Moja Moja Suite. Etou goes along with this and has a condition of his own for Nodame: after they compose the last song, she’s to take real lessons from him.
I find it interesting that despite Chiaki feeling that Nodame and Etou won’t work out and his own bad history with Etou, he still helps the instructor out. I think he recognizes that Etou can offer Nodame some structure and direction, maybe even motivation. And yet, it’s amusing to see someone like Etou basically have to treat Nodame like a child to get her to play with him.
I also can’t help but think that if this were more like a typical shoujo manga or something, then Kuroki falling in love with Nodame might get Chiaki jealous, but instead Chiaki’s shocked look says it all. Anyway, next episode should show the consequences of Kuroki’s love (among other things).