Nodame Cantabile 7

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Actual musical animation returns! For once, they finally spared the budget to show us musicians actually bowing and hitting keys. Even if it was, in the end, all too brief.

This episode, in which Chiaki learns the value of teamwork and not-hectoring-people-until-they-cry-by-watching-a-corny-kids-anime, was silly. :)
In either case it really seems to confirm the purely comedic direction that this show has chosen to take. Not that this is bad, mind you: I’ve been looking for a genuinely funny show to watch this dismal season and this has been the only one, really. Nodame continues to amuse with her cute little noises. So does Stresemann, though we didn’t see enough of him here–though we do learn of his ultimate intentions. And Chiaki’s reaction to the kids anime, while expected, was comedy gold.

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Chiaki reacts like a mature adult to the suggestion that he is like a bullying little kid.

I’ve got some realism issues with this episode’s plot, though. I’ve been in jazz bands and orchestras in high school and watched college conductors direct before, and the truth is that even highly trained musicians need a lot of guidance in order to play well as a group. You really can’t just let them go and do their own thing, the way Chiaki pretty much does at the episode’s end the day before the concert–playing your individual instrument well and playing with a group are actually two different skills, with two different kinds of listening. This is especially true with very talented musicians, as practically everyone who gets into music school is; their temptation is to put their own “spin” on a piece with little regard for everyone else, which we can see with the S orchestra. In my experience, the hectoring style of Chiaki as a conductor is far closer to the norm than Stresemann’s live-and-let-live conducting style. Thus the ending of the episode was predictable and, well, a little unbelievable.

I may sound like I’m nitpicking but it just irked me. Musicianship is often hard and even boring work sometimes, the fruit of hours and hours of practice for all but the prodigies (who usually have burned out or become more “normal” by the age of most of the characters in the show). What sounds natural and effortless actually takes lots of craft and skill.

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I see in the previews that they’re going to be playing Rachmaninov’s 2nd Piano Concerto next! Wowza. That’s a legendarily difficult piece (also profiled in the biopic about David Helfgott, Shine), and a beautiful one too: I used to listen to it all the time while I wrote stories. I hope they pull it off with some real animation and correct animation this time. That would make my musician heart SIIIINNGGG!

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