It took a few moments to realize that the voice-over at the beginning of this episode was Mine. It took a few more moments to remember that he was reciting lines from a beginner’s book to orchestras. And we finally get to see the show’s punching bag in the form of Okochi Mamoru, a student from the Conducting department. In the live action, Okochi was introduced not only as a rival to Chiaki but as a Chiaki clone. We’d see him in the background imitating Chiaki’s mannerisms and at one point he tries to find out what brands of clothes Chiaki wears. Okochi was also one of my favorite secondary characters in the live action just because he’d routinely take abuse. Its interesting that I have no qualms about Okochi getting knocked silly, but the physical abuse that Nodame takes is starting to wear thin with me. It almost seems be verging into domestic abuse territory.
Its interesting to see that Chaiki still doesn’t know how to fully conduct. I get the impression that he has pretty much mastered the technical portion of conducting, but as Okochi points out, Chiaki doesn’t have the people side of the conducting down. We’ve seen it in previous episode when Stresemann conducts the S-Oke and gets them to create music instead of just playing music under Chiaki’s conducting. Chiaki recognized that Stresemann’s greatness as conductor came from respecting the music and the musicians. Apparently he forgot that as everyone in S-Oke is pretty much brought to tears by him.
I had forgotten that there was an anime clip included in the live action and it looks like it is the exact same one that they show in the animated version. While the anime is used to draw parallels to Chiaki and the anime’s bully, Kazuo while delivering a message of understanding, we already know that Chiaki is pretty much a bully to those around him. The only real purpose here is that Nodame’s anime seems to be used as a device to let Nodame play the piece that the S-Oke has been practicing. This in turn, lets Chiaki finally understand the right approach to take with S-Oke.
I really wish that they had animated the entire S-Oke performance. The cg close-ups of the instruments are great to look at, I would have gotten more out of the actual performance if they had animated the whole performance. But that’s just me. I’m glad that Chiaki didn’t wear an S-Oke t-shirt. While it would have helped create a bond between Chiaki and the S-Oke musicians, I think it would have made muddied up the leadership apsect of the conductor position. There has to be a clear line between the musician and the conductor. Overall, this is another enjoyable episode, but I am getting tired of the abuse that Nodame takes. I felt this way watching the live-action series also. While I love slapstick humor, its starting to get too much for my tastes.