Writer/Artist: Tomoko Ninomiya
Translated by: Ikoi Hiroe
Adapted by: Ikoi Hiroe
What They Say
All Chiaki ever wanted was to become a great conductor, and now it's finally happening. He's leading his own orchestra. He's worked hard to get this far, but he still has so much to do. His musicians are sloppy, unmotivated, and out of practice. Chiaki's ready to devote his life to making his dreams come true - but will they include Nodame, the girl who loves him?
Chiaki's first performance with the Roux-Marlet orchestra is everything he was dreading and more. But despite the rather spectacular failure, he's determined to pull the orchestra up from rock bottom and turn it into something amazing. But he has a lot of work to do in order to get there, and ends up getting roped into some extremely tedious work. Chiaki really manages to shine in this volume, showcasing his growth as both a person and as a musician from the beginning of the series.
But he's not the only person with troubles. Rui has some complicated problems back at home and with her family, Matsuda is having difficulty forcing reality to match his expectations, and Nodame and the other students have their exams coming up. In the various scenes with her piano teacher and with the Yaki Trio, it's increasingly obvious that Nodame's musical ability, and her ability to express herself through her music, has really grown. Her technical skills have grown as well. But, as her exam shows, she's still the same bizzaro Nodame underneath, living at least half the time in her own wierd world.
This volume has what is quite possibly the greatest line in the series to date: "The only thing I chose was the weirdo." It was a beautiful admission on Chiaki's part that this untraditional relationship he has with Nodame is more than just him going along with the flow. In fact, there are several points in this volume where we get to see that there really is a give and take in their relationship. That was hardly the only thing going on in this volume, but it was definitely what stood out the most as I was reading it. Nodame Cantabile is such a strange little gem of a series, and it never fails to make me smile.