Chiaki is shocked to learn from Stresemann that the S-Orchestra is going to be making their debut in the regularly scheduled performance next month. Although Stresemann has confidence in his hand-picked group, Chiaki does not, and it turns out that Chiaki is going to be the substitute conductor. Soon after Stresemann leaves, a girl named Sakura carrying a large double bass stumbles in late because she walked the way there since she didn’t have train fare. When they begin playing, Sakura gets stared at by Chiaki and feels like she can’t keep up with everyone else. Afterwards, she tries to ask her peers for some help, but they look down on her because she doesn’t practice seriously as a result of her having a part-time job. Chiaki meanwhile gets inundated by students looking for help, and they somehow obtain his cell phone number, so they keep calling him even on his way home. When he arrives at his apartment, he finds both Nodame and Sakura waiting to be fed.
Sakura gorges herself on the pasta he ends up cooking, and then explains her family’s dire financial situation that forces her to work so that she can pay for school – that’s why she doesn’t have time to practice her instrument. Hearing this, Chiaki suggests that she quit school because there’s no point if she doesn’t practice. His harsh words send Sakura running out of the apartment crying, and she doesn’t come to school the next day. Blaming Chiaki for it, Nodame claims that he doesn’t know enough about being poor. With this in mind, Chiaki goes with Nodame to find Sakura’s home. Surprisingly, it’s a large house, and the family appears relatively wealthy. Nevertheless, Sakura’s father has a gaunt figure and serves them only water. He admits that his business hasn’t been doing well, but then shows the pair his hidden violin collection from famous makers like Stradivarius and Tomaso Eberle. Seeing that Sakura’s father can’t actually play violin and is just keeping them around, Chiaki gets angry and makes Sakura’s father realize that Sakura and her education should be more important than this collection. Several days, Sakura tells Chiaki that her father sold the violins, including an apparently cursed one.
At rehearsal, Chiaki is please with how the bass is turning out, but he’s still worried that he doesn’t have enough time, especially with Stresemann still gone. He gets a shock when he sees Mine and the entire violin section suddenly raise their instruments at one point in the practice performance. Chiaki yells at them, and then goes to find Stresemann that night. He locates the maestro in a club surrounded by girls, but Stresemann gets angry when Chiaki attracts all the attention. Stresemann returns to the S-Orchestra the next day, but it’s only to announce that he’s leaving them permanently in Chiaki’s hands so that he personally can attend to the A-Orchestra. With Stresemann gone, the members of S-Orchestra start to disband, but enough of them want to play with Chiaki that everyone decides to stay. Chiaki at first feels that he can’t compete with Stresemann’s A-Orchestra, but he eventually decides that this is his chance. Unfortunately, he finds the entire orchestra in special t-shirts the next day and proceeds to yell at all of them after Mine’s rock orchestra suggestion. This doesn’t make anyone happy, and the pressure of only one week left before the real performance remains with Chiaki.
Wow, they’re really blazing through the manga. They managed to get through all of Sakura’s story in 2/3 of the episode, and the episode as a whole covered half of volume three. In doing so, they skipped many of what I feel are the more important parts, such as when Sakura makes her father realize how much contrabass means to her. Since Sakura’s story would have easily fit into a single episode, I’m left wondering why they’re rushing if they have so many more episodes to work with. Perhaps they really are going to attempt to get through all the manga that’s out there currently – 17 volumes to date.