Nodame Cantabile – 17
For the new orchestra’s first performance, Chiaki has chosen Brahms Symphony No. 1 – a piece that Stresemann wouldn’t let him perform with the S Orchestra. Mine’s friend Kimura is taking care of the details, and it seems that he got the school director’s help in reserving the Weltraum Hall. Kimura is worried about getting enough people to come since the director got the large hall with a capacity for 1600 people, but fortunately Keeko and Sakuma show up to offer some advertising space in their magazine, and Mine’s father jumps at the opportunity. Just as Chiaki is explaining that most members of the orchestra are students, Kiyora suddenly rushes out from the back of the Uraken restaurant. She had promised to teach Mine in exchange for room and board, but she can’t now because she’s running late. Still, Mine’s father isn’t hesitant to boast about her credentials, including the fact that she’s a finalist at the Oshiuri competition. In fact, Kiyora’s just one of many orchestra members competing including also Kuroki and Kikuchi, and as a result, the orchestra can only practice twice a month.
On the way to school, Chiaki runs into Kuroki carrying a plant that he wants to give to Nodame. When Chiaki tries to warn Kuroki about Nodame’s bad habits, Kuroki doesn’t believe him. Chiaki later notices the improvement in Kuroki’s oboe playing during practice, but he how worries about what will happen if Kuroki gets his heart broken. Mine meanwhile feels that Kiyora is too focused on the upcoming competition and not enough on the orchestra. Unfortunately, he finds out that not everyone thinks the orchestra has as much professional potential as he thinks it does. Several members, including Kiyora and Kikuchi, are even returning overseas next year. They all think that Chiaki should go overseas too, unaware of his fears. Chiaki, however, is frustrated because he actually did have serious plans for the orchestra, and he decides to call off practices until the competition is over. At home, Nodame wanting a video tape to record a Puri Gurota movie reminds Chiaki that Sakuma gave him a video of the Berlin Philharmonic. Watching it causes Chiaki to remember everything Stresemann taught him about Brahms, and Chiaki proceeds to spend the next days studying music so that the time he spends with the orchestra won’t be a waste.
Nodame’s lessons with Etou have been going remarkably well in the mean time since he’s helping her finish composing the last song of her Moja Moja Suite. Once they complete it, Nodame thinks that she’s done, but Etou still has their written agreement and dumps several classical music pieces on her. Nodame then returns home to find an unshaven Chiaki still studying. Since he hasn’t eaten, she feeds him and then starts undressing him for the bath, but Chiaki has enough sense to kick her out before she can take off his shirt. As Chiaki is bathing, Nodame notices the stacks of books that he has lying around, and they cause her to start studying too. Nodame later discovers that Chiaki almost drowned in the bath, so she decides to buy him some eel the next day because there’s a sale going on. She runs into Kuroki along the way, but she ends up being knocked around by the other women and not getting any eel. Nodame explains to Kuroki afterwards that since she can’t help Chiaki with his music, she at least wants to give him more energy. Seeing her like this makes Kuroki realize that Nodame is truly in love with Chiaki. Kuroki feels that Chiaki knows about her feelings, and that’s why he tried to warn Kuroki about her oddities.
At the competition, Kuroki tries to concentrate on music, but he notices right before he’s set to perform that he soaked his reed for too long in water. He has no time to correct his error. In the violin category of the competition, Kiyora performs admirably, but she garners only second place. Surrounded by media, she tearfully tells Mine the reason was because she slept at an awkward angle. Kikuchi meanwhile wins first place in his category, but his own trouble starts when all of his girlfriends show up at the same time to congratulate him. Chiaki finds out later about the results online, but he’s surprised not to see Kuroki on the list. When he asks Nodame, she admits that they had discussed the troubles of love earlier, and so he quickly figures out what happened. At that time, Kuroki is thinking to himself that he betrayed his oboe because of his love for Nodame. After sleeping with Mine, Kiyora thinks to herself that she didn’t want to use the awkward angle excuse. Both Kiyora and Kuroki are unhappy with their performances, and both want another chance at the stage so that they can give their real performances. The next morning, Chiaki starts jogging and getting back in shape since the rehearsals start again tomorrow. He feels that it’ll be okay as long as he does the best he can.
Mine and Kiyora together in the scene really surprised me the first time I read through the manga since I had no idea they were already a couple. Now that I’m watching the anime, I’ve been noticing the little things about their relationship that I originally missed, or rather I should say that all the scenes between them make more sense. I still think that she and Chiaki would make a good couple, but that doesn’t seem very likely at this point, especially since Chiaki has his hands full with Nodame.