Despite Chiaki attempting to force feed her, Nodame insists on playing a concerto first with the S Orchestra. She’s still got the sound of his performance in her head and wants to play like he did back then. Chiaki finally agrees to let her play it for him and takes her to school because they need two pianos. When they get there, he instructs her to play the piano part, and he’ll accompany her as the orchestra. He’s shocked when she starts, however, because she isn’t playing the piece correctly and is going too fast. Instead of stopping her though, he decides to try to follow and his playing causes Nodame to listen. Outside the practice room, a sizable crowd has gathered, and it includes Chiaki’s old teacher Etou Kouzo. Saiko, who had followed Chiaki to school, hears everyone outside talking about if Nodame is Chiaki’s girlfriend, and she eventually hears enough, so she leaves. After Chiaki and Nodame finish playing, and she falls asleep, Chiaki wonders what he should do with her.
The next day, Saiko overhears her rival Suganuma making fun of how Saiko chases after Chiaki. What makes it worse is that Suganuma refers to Saiko as Dorabella because she feels that the two are similar. In fact, when Suganuma had played the role of Dorabella, she had even used Saiko as her inspiration. All this causes Saiko to recall the story of Cosi fan tutte where two men switched lovers to test their lovers’ faithfulness. Dorabella’s heart had swayed, and Saiko realizes that her heart had too. After her relationship with Chiaki, she had found men who weren’t interested in music, but she had always felt that Chiaki was better in every way, so she kept going back to him. Yet, she doesn’t feel that was wrong because Cosi fan tutte (women are like that), and she ends up giving quite a vocal performance to her teacher with these feelings. Chiaki meanwhile wants Nodame to practice Rachmaninoff piece, but she tells him that she’s satisfied because he played it with her.
The new year soon passes and it’s almost time for exams. Around this time, Mine learns from friends that Chiaki and Stresemann were published in the Classic Life magazine because of their festival performance. The author Sakuma Manabu had used some very flowery language to describe what he had heard, and unbeknownst to everyone, Sakuma is actually on campus right now looking for Chiaki. At this moment, Chiaki is in a practice room with Nodame showing him all the Puri Gorota chocolate that she won in a drawing. She notices that he’s studying Liszt‘s First Mephisto Waltz for his graduation exam, and she thinks it suits him quite well. As for Nodame, she’ll be playing Mozart for her exam, but she avoids eye contact with him when he asks her about it. After she scurries off to give everyone else chocolate, Chiaki gets approached by Kawano and Sakuma from the magazine. They show him the article they wrote and reveal that Stresemann was the one who gave them permission to use his picture. Chiaki gets embarrassed reading Sakuma’s descriptions, though the two soon get to talking about Chiaki playing Liszt for his graduation exam.
When the topic changes to what Chiaki’s going to be doing after graduation, Chiaki reveals that he has no plans to go overseas and enter any competitions. Using the same tone he writes with, Sakuma launches into a speech about how Chiaki should go abroad, but he doesn’t know about Chiaki’s fear of flying and the sea. Not telling them about it, Chiaki instead angrily says that they don’t need to worry about what he does, and he storms out. Nodame, on the other hand, spends the rest of her day handing out chocolate and finding out what everyone’s doing once they graduate. Masumi has been accepted into a philharmonic whereas others in the S Orchestra are getting jobs or getting married. In addition, Nodame learns that one of the fourth-year exams is also an audition for the graduation concert. Over dinner with Chiaki later, she talks about what everyone’s doing, but he doesn’t care and just wants her to get out after eating. He thinks that she should be practicing, but when he questions what she’s going to be doing after she graduates, Chiaki is surprised to find out that her dream is to be a kindergarten teacher. He starts yelling at her about aiming for a higher goal, but he stops himself when he realizes that he’s worrying about her the same way that Kawano and Sakuma worried about him. He knows now that the problem isn’t that he can’t go overseas – it’s what he intends to do in Japan.
After three weeks of hiatus, Nodame finally returns! I was amused by Sakuma’s dramatics, though I find Chiaki’s reason/fear of not going abroad really stupid. If I were him and I really wanted to leave the country, but I was deathly afraid of planes, I’d just tell someone to drug me up and knock me out for the duration of the flight. Anyway, I had hoped that we’d be getting a new OP and ED with the new season, but they’re still the same old ones. That being said, as I check the schedule now, the new ending song is supposed to be coming next week.