Nodame Cantabile – 19
Chiaki and the Rising Star orchestra concludes their first performance by playing Brahms‘ Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68. As he watches and listens, Sakuma wonders why Chiaki has so much talent and is so passionate, yet always carries such hopelessness. After the fourth and final movement, Nodame finds herself in tears, and Kai Dowin is surprisingly the first person out of his seat to applaud before everyone else joins in. A few days later, Chiaki gets a present from Nodame – the pocket watch – but she hypnotizes him with it first. To help him face his past, she walks him through the events that occurred on that fateful flight that led to his fear of flying. Nodame now knows what happened because she had talked to Chiaki’s mother after the Rising Star concert. During that flight, Chiaki had been sitting beside an old man who had a program from Vieira’s concert. When the plane experienced a problem, the old man accidentally dropped his bottle of pills, and that bottle had gone rolling down the aisle. Unable to grab a hold of it, Chiaki couldn’t save the old man from dying, and he remembers how the man had wanted to go to Vienna again next year. Nodame now tells Chiaki that it wasn’t his fault and that he can forget about it. With Chiaki in a hypnotized state, Nodame then tells him that he can ride on an airplane and asks that he try. By the time Chiaki gets taken out of the trance, Nodame is gone and has left behind only the pocket watch.
Since the first concert was such a success with music critic Ookawa writing a positively glowing review, Mine convinces Kiyora, Kuchiki, and Kuroki to participate in another one. However, he is unable to contact Chiaki because at that moment, Chiaki is at the airport with his cousin Toshihiko. Chiaki doesn’t specifically remember anything Nodame said during the hypnosis, but it was her suggestion during then that he try flying to Hokkaido first that brings him here now. Her saying that he’d be okay calms Chiaki enough to get him through the flying experience, and he soon realizes that he can go abroad now. In Hokkaido, Chiaki also gets the urge to buy lots of crab before going home, all because Nodame had suggested that too. However, when he gets back, he finds a note from her saying that she’ll be gone for a while. She is actually staying at Etou’s house while she prepares for a competition – one that she had wanted to enter. Etou doesn’t think much of her chances, but Nodame is determined to win the Maradona Piano competition because the top prize is 2 million yen. Having found where Nodame went from Mine’s father, Chiaki arrives at Etou’s home where he happens to run into Etou’s wife Kaori. After giving her the crabs, Chiaki is surprised to learn that Nodame plans to enter the Maradona competition. As he watches Etou yell at Nodame, Chiaki thinks that Nodame isn’t suited for competition and questions if Etou can fix her problems. Kaori then explains that it’s all thanks to Chiaki that her husband has changed, including his fashion sense. Chiaki never does go inside to see the two, though he feels that if Nodame is really serious about playing piano, then he can trust her to Etou. That night, Etou, Kaori, and Nodame feat on the crab that Chiaki brought while Chiaki’s own family celebrates his newfound ability to leave Japan.
As expected, Nodame is the one who cures Chiaki of his phobia through hypnotherapy. Seeing as how it didn’t work with other professionals, I wonder if Chiaki was more open to Nodame’s hypnosis because he trusts her or if Nodame is just that special of a person. Regardless, Chiaki now has nothing standing between him and leaving the country, and the focus seems to be returning back to Nodame with her new competition.
The one thing that bothered me about this was why they cover up Chiaki’s mother’s face for all of the shots leading up to this one when we finally see what she looks like (it was done in the manga too). Unless there’s something I’m forgetting, her appearance doesn’t seem to have any profound effect on the story other than making her seem more mysterious than she really was.