As Chiaki and Stresemann walk onto stage together for their concert, the writer Sakuma questions Chiaki’s ability. However, when the orchestra and Chiaki start up the Rachmaninoff piece, he and the entire audience are instantly hit with how good they are. Sakuma even starts crying because of it. As the concert progresses, Chiaki thinks to himself that there’s more he wants Stresemann to teach him, more that he wants to hear, and more that he wants to feel from Stresemann’s music. Afterwards, Stresemann asks for cigarettes as he and Chiaki lay exhausted on sofas in a private room. Chiaki tries to convince Stresemann cut back on alcohol, cigarettes, and women so that he can live longer, but the maestro insists that he’ll die without those things. Back in the concert hall, Sakuma stays seated even after everyone else leaves and asks Keeko if he can still change his article this month.
Nodame meanwhile runs home with the need to play the piano. She ends up playing a rendition of Rachmaninoff, and she gets paid a visit from Stresemann. He finds her version interesting, but he feels that she can’t play with an orchestra like that. Stresemann tells her that she has to face the music or else she won’t really enjoy it from her heart. He then realizes that it’s time to go and leaves even though she yells for him to wait. When Nodame opens her eyes again, she is on the floor of her own apartment and wonders if it was a dream. Chiaki is also waking up, but he finds himself in a hotel room surrounded by women. After he remembers that he and Stresemann have been spending the past four days out having fun, one of the women tells him that a scary foreign woman took Stresemann away. Chiaki then notices that he has a note from Stresemann in his pocket that asks to pick up a Christmas photo collection.
Back at school, Saiko is in her opera class, but she’s criticized by her teacher for not singing with enough feeling like one of her classmates Suganuma. Saiko doesn’t take very well to this, and she thinks that she would be embarrassed to perform like Suganuma does. She then hears Chiaki’s piano teacher Tanioka talking with Chiaki over the phone about how he has a cold, so she rushes over to his apartment. In actuality, he’s not really sick as much as he is just hung-over. Saiko gives him some water to drink and then talks about how she saw his concert. Chiaki also saw Saiko’s performance and he liked how she sounded, but he felt that Suganuma made a bigger impact and he suggests Saiko show more of her mean personality. As Chiaki goes to take a shower, Saiko thinks to herself about how music has always been more important to him than her. They had always fought, but she knows that he has more talent than anyone and pushes himself harder than anyone. Saiko then heads to Chiaki’s room to lie down for a while and wonders if giving up on her music would allow them to get along better. She’s soon woken up by the sound of Nodame outside. Looking extremely gaunt after having practiced piano for so long, Nodame asks Chiaki to allow her to play with the S Orchestra. Chiaki, however, notices how bad Nodame smells and forces her to take a bath. While she’s in there, he cooks her a meal and then forces her to eat it when she gets out. Watching secretly from the hallway door, Saiko can’t understand what’s going on.
I have mixed feelings about this episode because of the way they paced it. I enjoyed hearing all the Rachmaninoff, but the transition to Saiko’s point of view after the hotel scene felt almost too abrupt. Perhaps it wouldn’t have felt that way if they had used that point to go to commercial with the eye-catch. I’m really not a huge fan of Saiko’s character, so I kinda wish that they had made the concert shorter so that they could fit the rest of Saiko’s material into this episode and start the story from the next volume of manga next time.
Speaking of which, the next episode of Nodame Cantabile will not air on Fuji TV until April 12th. The schedule isn’t entirely clear about other channels, so there’s a chance that KTV may become the first airing of Nodame Cantabile if they don’t also take a break like Fuji TV. If that becomes the case, then episode 12 will air first on KTV on Tuesday, April 2nd.