Along with the new Japanese girl who doesn’t really look Japanese (although to be fair, I guess Nodame doesn’t look very Japanese either).
I was glad to see Nodame be quick to forgive Chiaki, albeit with some much deserved baka inu treatment (sans the whip). This was a really nice moment between the two, as Chiaki doesn’t try to hide his reasons for missing Nodame’s performance, while Nodame is quick to show some understanding, even if she’s still a little pissed about it. But moreso than Chiaki missing her performance, Nodame seemed more annoyed that the salon concert didn’t lead to bigger and better things for her. But at the very least, Chiaki’s absence did lead to him drunkenly putting his hand on Nodame’s stomach/crotch area. I laughed at that scene, not really because it was erotic (not in the slightest), but because it looked more like how a husband puts his hand on his wife’s stomach when she’s pregnant. I think Nodame would make a good mom. And if not, she could totally destroy Yamamoto as a kindergarten teacher.
Just as cute was Chiaki showing off his jealous side when Nodame receives the call from Mr. Robert (Shitsuji-san has a name!) the next morning checking in on her. And then from Lucas the precocious teen. Neither of whom are at the equivalent level of a Rui or one of Stresemann’s cabaret girls, but it’s nice that he still cares. On the other hand, I still feel like the two are dancing around their relationship. Chiaki says that he’s immediately heading out to Italy to study under Viella, while continuing to conduct the Roux-Marlet, and conducting with Rui and the Wiltord Orchestra, but Nodame’s response sounds like their completely misunderstanding each other.
But before we get any further with Nodame x Chiaki, we have to take a commercial break… to introduce you to a new character! Her name is Rima, she’s a Japanese pianist, and if you thought it was weird for Nodame Cantabile to introduce a new character when the show’s so close to being over… well, I can’t disagree with you. On the bright side (or the bad side if you’re thinking of this episode as a throwaway), you probably shouldn’t get too fond of her, as she’s really just a foil to help push Tanya’s story forward.
Having failed in her competition (along with Yun Long), she finds out that she’s going to be competing against him again in the next competition. And while Tanya shows a newfound dedication to her craft, she’s broadsided when she sees Kuroki, the plain dude oboeist (I happen to like him a lot) hanging out with Rima. Thinking that the two are an item, and pissed that she underestimated Kuroki’s appeal, Tanya resorts to the typically Russian response: swigging large quantities of vodka while setting food on fire. –1 for not throwing any shotglasses or molotov cocktails at the wall. However, Tanya’s prospects look better when she finds out that Kuroki’s not dating Rima, and is simply doing a favor for his teacher by looking out for her as she prepares for an exam over the next month. It’s very much a short term thing. Although if Kuroki wanted to, I bet he could’ve swept Rima off her feet. But anyway, one thing leads to another, and Tanya ends up kicking Nodame out of her room, to give to Rima to stay for the next month while she’s practicing.
All Rima’s practicing does is inspire everyone else in the apartment to practice to – which just ends up depressing Rima, since she’s so much worse compared to Yun Long, Tanya, and especially a Tsuchinoko-charged Nodame.
In the end Rima fails her exam, and decides to head back to Japan. Which by now, you shouldn’t be surprised by, since we already decided not to get too attached to her. She is pretty cute, in the way she clings to Kuroki like a lost puppy, but… she’s pretty much a useless character. But thanks to the contrived love triangle, Tanya realizes she needs to act quick and steals a kiss from Kuroki, who’s passed out under the kotatsu. I’m sort of ambivalent about the Tanya x Kuroki pairing. I was more amused when Kuroki was chasing Nodame for a short while. But whatever, if she wants him, she can have him. But score one for Tanya’s musical development, which has progressed quite a bit as she closes in on graduating, mostly due to her distaste of going back to Russia – the cold, cold, barren land. And also one for her personal development. Even though she still has a penchant for garishly ugly clothes, she seems like she has a much better sense of what she wants with the world.
I can only wonder what side character we’ll get to focus on next episode.