Okuyama Masumi is a male timpanist who has a hard time staying in the practice rooms for too long, but he’s easily mistaken for a female. In fact, Masumi is in love with Chiaki and becomes infuriated when he sees Nodame clinging to Chiaki. A little later, Nodame sees Chiaki composing his own music for an orchestra, but unfortunately he doesn’t have one to play it. Her mind then drifts to dinner and she tells Chiaki that she wants to eat nabe. Although Chiaki hits her, he agrees and gives her a list of ingredients to go buy. However, that list gets soaked when someone dumps a bucket of water (and then the bucket) on Nodame’s head. Because of this, Nodame ends up buying the wrong ingredients. Things get worse as more and more pranks are pulled on her, but she doesn’t find out who’s doing it until after that person eats her lunch. She and Mine work together and trap the culprit, who turns out to be none other than Masumi. After Mine recognizes him, Masumi tells Nodame to stay away from Chiaki, despite Nodame pointing out that Chiaki’s also a guy. The two decide to have a competition with their instruments, but Mine suggests that they instead see who can get Chiaki on a date for Christmas Eve. Masumi ends up getting some great concert tickets, but the problem is that Chiaki doesn’t know who he is yet. Fortunately for him, Mine has an idea on how to fix that. Nodame meanwhile has no luck getting Chiaki to agree to go out with her on Christmas Eve, so she decides instead to make a cake and tells him to come to her room on that day. Chiaki is so involved with the piece that he’s writing that he agrees.
The next day, Chiaki finds out from a magazine that the conducting student Hayakawa was accepted into a special seminar that involves Sebastiano Vieira. This frustrates him so much that he tears up the piece he was writing because he feels that he can’t win with his fear of airplanes. Thus, he’s not in the mood when Nodame comes over later to ask his cake preference. The next day, Mine drags Chiaki to an orchestra practice so that Masumi can show off his timpani playing. However, he does it so over-dramatically that he gets kicked out by the conductor. Although Chiaki enjoyed listening to the orchestra, he calls Masumi a fool as he leaves. Masumi ends up crying at the Uraken because of this and the thought that he’d be playing the timpani alone from now on. This lasts until Nodame suggests that they start a three-person ensemble. Sometime later, Saiko suggests that Chiaki spend Christmas Eve with her and mentions baking a cake. This reminds him of what Nodame had wanted to do and how he had agreed, but when he goes to her room that night, she’s not there. For the next three days, Chiaki doesn’t see Nodame until he hears a familiar sounding tune coming from one of the practice rooms. He recognizes this as the song that he was writing, and the performers are actually Nodame, Mine, and Chiaki. Nodame remembered it from having heard it just once, and the trio made it into a jazz arrangement, though it seems Nodame didn’t get it all. Chiaki decides to help, and ends up forcing the group to practice through Christmas and New Year’s Day. He feels that it’s no use if you envy the world of other people if you don’t try to change the world for yourself.
I thought Fujita Yoshinori did a great job voicing Masumi. I’d even say that if I didn’t know better, I probably would have had a hard time discerning Masumi’s gender at first. Of course, Masumi is one of those odd characters I always wonder how the author came up with. An afro-haired guy who (mostly) acts like a girl and has feelings for Chiaki…
I mentioned in last week’s entry that they were moving remarkably fast through the manga, but for this week, they only got through Masumi’s introductory two chapters. Next week is the arrival of Stresemann, and it makes me wonder if they’re skipping the fairly stand-alone story about Chiaki, Nodame, and the kotatsu.