With the school festival coming up, Mine proposes a costume performance for the S Orchestra. Chiaki, however, won’t be conducting them because he has to play a Rachmaninoff piece with the A Orchestra under Stresemann. He is at that moment practicing hard, and even though Stresemann critiques him for not playing it beautifully enough, Chiaki knows that he can perform on the piano for the Maestro. Leaving for home late that night, Chiaki thinks about Nodame starving without him, but she catches him before he leaves school to tell him that she’ll be busy with the S Orchestra. Nodame thinks that Chiaki will be lonely without her, but that gets him angry enough to throw his binder at her and storm off. At rehearsal the next day with the A Orchestra, Stresemann once again yells at Chiaki for not expressing enough emotion in his playing – he wants Chiaki to show off to the audience.
Nodame is meanwhile making a pattern for her animal costume when Sakura comes in with the music they’re going to be playing. As for the S Orchestra’s conductor, Ookouchi the conducting student volunteers. Stresemann is also picking out costumes, but he’s actually looking through shoujo manga for a suitable outfit for Chiaki, and that causes the director throws a letter opener at him for joking around too much and manipulating Chiaki. In the teacher’s room, calls are pouring in inquiring about both Chiaki and Stresemann’s upcoming performance because of a newly published article featuring them at the Nina Lutz Music Festival. Chiaki’s ex-girlfriend Saiko happens to see the article because of her friends and feels left behind. She isn’t able to talk with Chiaki until the night before the festival, and even though she feels that he’s far away, he says that he hasn’t changed. Saiko then asks him to come see her in the Opera Club’s production of Cosi fan tutte. After parting ways with her, Chiaki thinks about going home and practicing, but he then notices a poster for the S Orchestra’s performance tonight.
Earlier, the S Orchestra members had arrived on campus all wearing montsukihakama and kimono. Since Mine decided this change in outfit at the last minute because he didn’t like his costume, the dress-wearing Masumi is shocked to see everyone except for himself matching. The only other person who doesn’t match is Nodame, who is wearing a mongoose costume. She has a habu in her hand and explains that that Okinawans introduced mongooses to the island to get rid of the snakes. However, the mongooses didn’t catch the snakes and instead killed amami rabbits. The S Orchestra are dumbfounded to hear this, but they go forward with their performance which is now being attended by Chiaki. After the lights turn off and the orchestra arrives on stage, Chiaki notices that there is a pianica tuning. To everyone’s surprise and delight, the spotlight first falls on Nodame in her mongoose costume, and she is playing Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin.
Chiaki soon notices how cool the orchestra looks and how good the song arrangement is. He’s very impressed by the playing and in particular realizes how everyone is showing off to the audience, just like Stresemann wanted him to do. Stresemann ends up being the first person to applaud the orchestra when they’re done, and the rest of the audience soon joins in. Mine and the members celebrate afterwards, though Nodame sits by herself and wonders if Chiaki saw her. On the following day, large crowds show up at the school festival for the A Orchestra’s performance. Present today are the reporter Kawano Keeko who wrote the article on Chiaki and Stresemann last time, and she’s brought with her a fellow writer named Sakuma. Chiaki is getting ready when Stresemann appears in his room and comments on how he’s dressed. Seeing the Maestro, Chiaki makes it clear that he’s going to play how he wants to play the piano. To his shock, Stresemann feels that Chiaki doesn’t need to worry about playing with agony and sexiness. Stresemann then says that he himself has to work hard because he’ll have to say farewell to Japan for a while. Chiaki doesn’t get a chance to ask him what he means by this because Stresemann then says that it’s fun music time.
I had been looking forward to this episode since it’s the debut of Nodame’s mongoose costume (and of her explanation that doesn’t really explain why she chose it). The Rhapsody in Blue performance was fun to hear, and it got a lot more screen time than I thought it would with four whole minutes. As usual, they did a good job bringing to life the manga. I was also amused to hear Fujiwara Keiji voicing Sawada because it highlighted again the Honey and Clover staff and cast parallels.
Chiaki’s going to be teacher-less again for a while once Stresemann has to leave again, but next episode should focus a significant bit on their performance together.