Nodame 6, Baka to Test 8

Nodame Cantabile 6 is one of the sweeter and more focused ones, but it starts as a near-disaster for our couple. Chiaki hadn’t told Nodame that he’d be performing her beloved Ravel concerto with Rui. And though he keeps meaning to tell her, she finds out from someone else first.

The rest of the episode mostly deals with Nodame’s practice and progression, but that only happens because Chiaki has grown up a little. He’s begun to realize what her fears are, that she’s still not allowed to participate in contests and feels like a drag on him, so he does a noble thing: he cancels a trip to Italy (to work with Vieira!) and stays to help her practice.

It’s done very well, and gives us heavy doses of music history via Beethoven and Chopin to boot. She practices, they talk about the pieces, she practices, Chiaki admires her focus, and she practices some more. I’ve never seen Chiaki so full of admiration for Nodame.

Even Auclair is impressed, though he has a few things to criticize. And we wonder what his aim is. Why is he overloading her with pieces to study? Does he think her time is running out? Maybe we’ll find out. In the meantime we get a little of other characters. Tanya and Yasunori make up and he asks her to accompany him for the next concours. Tanya gets an odd little moment where she wonders why everyone else seems so obsessed. But this all happens on the sidelines. It’s Nodame working hard, with Chiaki’s help, that is the centerpiece, to the point where she concludes she must do the rest by herself.

Baka to Test to Shokanju 8 is an enjoyable enough little adventure. The ESB field has gone beserk and the control room is sealed off.

Naturally the Principal makes the idiot squad fix it, or rather, Yoshi. This is after some gags where everyone’s summoned beings appear in adult form, to the embarrassment of all. And the consequent and inevitable boob jokes. Yoshi guides his summoned being through air vents, where there are swamps, and other beings who attack him, and the show decides to riff on Evangelion for awhile.

I wonder how many shows have ripped off the Gendo pose ...

It’s mostly amusing, and there’s a sweet moment where Himeji deliberately lowers her own scores so Yoshi’s being can defeat hers (and they join each other in supplentary classes). That weird girl shows up again and messes things up. But what I really want to know is who the hell that guy is who caused the problem in the first place, by trying to break into the control room? I wonder if they’ll ever get back to it? With this show, it’s anyone’s guess. And did it ever occur to the staff that maybe they should REWARD our heroes for once? Nah.

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