I have to feel a little for Chiaki. Stuck on a road trip with Nodame, Mine, and Masumi all of whom, despite being musicians, can’t harmonize together. Funnily enough, these apparent soloists are heading to a music festival. While we know that Streseman is a famous conductor, it shows that he does have a fair amount of clout to get four of his students admitted. All of them from the second string orchestra (Nodame is after all, the S Oke mascot). Admittedly, Masumi was also part of the A Oke, so he’s not really a second string musician.
Once we find out that this event is for elite student musicians, it isn’t hard to feel a little sorry for Nodame and Mine. They honestly wouldn’t ever be admitted to such a prestigious event given their current abilities. But, Mine did win third place in a national competition and they are students of a music school, so they should have an awareness of the event that they’re heading to. Of course, the only ones who are prepared are Chiaki and Masumi. While it isn’t hard to imagine the kind of experiences that Nodame, Masumi, and Mine will have, Chiaki experiences as a student at this Nina Lutz Music Festival will be far different as he falls victim to Streseman’s equivocation skills when he becomes Steseman’s minder.
With Chiaki as his minder, Streseman provides most of the humor in this episode while managing to teach Chiaki through his own unique master class. For some reason, when Elise dumps responsibility for Streseman onto Chiaki, her line about the “instructional manual” for Streseman just had laughing hard. I can imagine the title, The Care and Feeding of Conductors. I’m surprised that Elise didn’t give Chiaki a taser along with the manual to help keep Streseman in line. Well, at least Chiaki had a bucket.
I’m sure that if Mine had the opportunity to crawl into a bucket, he’d take it. With the “eccentricities” of that Nodame, Chiaki, and Streseman have, I believe that the only characters exhibiting any sense of “normalcy” in this series so afar are Mine and Masumi. As this series has progressed, Masumi seems to have recovered from his “flakeish” behavior from the early episodes and the chip on Mine’s shoulder gets eroded with the humiliation and reality check he gets at the music. Both seem to be maturing as the show goes on.
Most of the growth we’ve seen so far in this episode seems to come from Mine. Nodame hasn’t shown any, other than a few moments of inspired piano playing. Chiaki has had a few moments of realization of how he has to deal with people in a different manner. Mine’s realization that the other students are some of the best student musicians around coupled with the wake-up call when Masumi and the other students are discusing the lack of job prospects. If top-notch musicians have problems getting into a professional orchestra, then what about the likes of Mine? One third place win and playing in the S Oke won’t guarantee anything. By the end of this episode, Mine seems to have listened to that particular wake-up cal. Interestingly enough, this he seems to have thoughts similar to the ones that Chiaki had in the first few episodes.
The more I see of this show, the more I like it. It has a great sense of humor, great artwork, and despite my complaining, I really like the characters. But I shouldn’t be surprised, I really liked Honey & Clover and H&C 2.