If the last episode was one of the best episodes of Nodame Cantabile, this one just upped the ante. My stomach was in knots, my breath taken away and I had shivers listening to Nodame perform – equally in awe and hoping that Stresemann could hold the beautiful disaster together.
It’s the S-orchestra guys! I hope this isn’t the extent of their involvement in this season, but with just two episodes left, I’m not too hopeful of getting much more from them.
I can’t believe Stresemann’s 73-years-old. For one, he looks like he’s in his 40’s. And two, he hits the town like he’s in his 20’s. Although Nodame didn’t look like she originally wanted to be there, or maybe she was a little in disbelief, it was pretty cool seeing her taking the initiative and guiding the piece the way she wanted it.
Nodame’s always been sort of the sympathetic character as far as her relationship with Chiaki’s been concerned. But I wonder if that dynamic has turned. 88-56-87 is 35"-22"-34" for those not on the metric system. I don’t know if I’m the only one, but I find myself doing those calculations every time I see the three sizes. Oh, and that’s pretty impressive… if true.
I was thrilled with Rui’s 2+ minute performance last week, but did you notice that Nodame’s performance went nearly 6 minutes? It felt like it took up just about the whole second half of the episode. Last week was awesome. This week was sublime on a level above.
Once Nodame’s fingers crashed onto the keys and I saw the shots of everyone’s faces and reactions, I thought "yabai!" Are they good looks? Or bad looks? Are they just so stunned by her playing? Or are they in shock because something is off? With Nodame, it’s usually a mixture of both. And at that point a knot formed in my stomach as I hoped and prayed that Nodame would be able to hold it together.
Chiaki sums it up best, even here, Nodame is still Nodame, unpredictable, uncontrollable as ever. But that’s why listening to her play is so unique. There’s no one else like her. Still, as talented as Nodame, I would guess that there’s very few composers that would be able to hang with her – able to adjust to her unpredictability. If it weren’t Chiaki, Stresemann’s was clearly the best alternative to conduct Noda’s debut.
I have to admit, I was nervous for Stresemann as I was for Nodame. "Keep it together Stresemann! Make it work!" I thought. The Nodamustang image from the last episode popped up in my mind. The anime, throughout the three seasons has done a fantastic job characterizing her playing as something truly wild and untamable, but also remarkable is that her playing, as "eccentric" as it is, never fails to draw in everyone. From the crowd to the concert master, who’s changing his style on the fly.
And then when the music stops, there’s the slight pause, and the crowd breaks out in a roar. Wow. It brought a tear to my eye. I took a deep breath and could finally relax knowing that it all went keikakudoori. I thought everything about this scene was brilliantly directed, from Chiaki’s voiceover, to the faces and expressions, to the light and flower effects. Everything about it just sucked me into Nodame’s world. I’d imagine it’d been the same effect if this scene were playing in the real world and I was sitting in the orchestra seats. Just tremendous.
Bravo, Stresemann. You deserve a rest. Or at least some ice cream.
What a way to end the episode. As Chiaki points out, everything’s changed and they can’t go back to where they were before. It just feels more and more likely to me that Chiaki and Nodame’s path towards brilliance will ultimately pull these two apart. I hope I’m wrong. But that’s feeling like the most "real" ending.