Nodame Cantabile – 18
Frustrated by the fact that the orchestra isn’t playing well, Chiaki grabs a violin and shows them how it should be done. This makes quite an impression on the orchestra members who had never seen Chiaki’s violin skills before, though after the grueling practice, it’s Chiaki’s harsh nature that stays on their minds. All this makes Kuroki feel that they’re not good enough yet and aren’t following Chiaki. Sakuma then shows up because he sold some tickets for the concert. As the members of the orchestra soon find out, advance tickets are selling well because of a full page ad Mine’s father ordered in Keeko and Sakuma’s magazine. They don’t like the fact that Mine and his father decided by themselves on the name Rising Star Orchestra, but since they’re stuck with it and lots of people are planning on coming, the group is motivated to continue practicing.
A little later, Chiaki is having a nightmare that starts with him preparing for a concert and getting visited by his old teacher Viera. The nightmare then changes so that Chiaki finds himself strapped into an airplane seat with a pill bottle rolling across the floor. It is at this point that he wakes up from this nightmare to find himself at home with Nodame at his side. Chiaki reveals to Nodame that he’s been having these nightmares since their visit to his uncle’s house and suspects that it might have something to do with the hypnotherapy. He doesn’t feel that he can be cured like that, but he thinks to himself that if he could, he’d open the door to his heart. Nodame then gets the idea to pull out her pocket watch and try to hypnotize Chiaki through fixed-gaze induction, and much to her surprise, he falls asleep at her suggestion. She is able to wake him up with a clap and make him fall asleep again by swinging the pocket watch, and this entire endeavor inspires Nodame to go out and read up on hypnosis.
As the concert date draws nearer, Chiaki questions why he’s so insecure and ultimately decides that he’ll get over his concerns about orchestra. He learns from his mother that the entire family is coming, along with the Berlin String Quartet that happens to be in town. The latter are coming because Kiyora’s master Kai Dowin is bringing them, and Chiaki’s mother reminds him that they’re always connected through music, something that he remembers Viera once said to him. After getting off the phone with his mother, Chiaki gives Nodame a ticket to the best seat in the house for the concert because he wants her to listen to his music. On the night of the performance, many of the attendees are surprised to see an oboe concerto listed on the program. One particular music critic named Ookawa isn’t impressed at all that the solo will be going to Kuroki instead of Kuchiki or Kiyora. He also isn’t familiar with Chiaki, causing Keeko to think about how people don’t know about Chiaki’s conducting.
The concert soon begins with the first piece, Schumann‘s Manfred Overture, and Sakuma can feel the force of the orchestra. The second piece is going to be Mozart‘s Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra in C major K.314, and as Kuroki takes to the stage, the other members of the orchestra stomp their feet in applause. Kuroki is glad that Chiaki and the others didn’t lose confidence in him, and he vows to live up to their expectations. As he starts the solo portion, Kuroki channels his feelings for Nodame into his music, wondering if she can hear his oboe. During the intermission afterwards, everyone expresses how impressed they were, including the members of the Berlin String Quartet. Kai Dowin feels that this orchestra is the reason Kiyora only got second place in the previous competition, and although the others really like the orchestra, Kai Dowin wants to hear the final piece before making any judgment.
With the intermission ending, Sakuma notices all the orchestra professionals, conductors, and critics in attendance, and he wonders if Chiaki will be able to take advantage of it. As he walks back onto the stage, Chiaki sees Nodame in the front of the audience and thinks to himself that she should stop making that funny expression with her mouth.
This episode reminds me that one of the big differences between Nodame Cantabile and Honey and Clover is that this show is structured so that we go from one successful endeavor to the next. There are some disappointments and setbacks in between, but Chiaki (and Nodame to an extent) generally succeeds at whatever he does, whether its leading the Rising Star Orchestra here or filling in for Stresemann at the summer festival or besting the A Orchestra with the S Orchestra. I think part of what’s so interesting to me is watching him and Nodame continually gain fame and recognition through their music.
It also occurs to me that we’re nearing the end of the series now, so they’ll have to find a good place to end the show. Since Nodame is going to be 23 episodes total, there are five more to go which would probably bring us to the end of volume 9 (this episode starts volume 8 ). I don’t know what a good stopping point is, and perhaps the production team will write their own ending.