Milch may be down, but he’s definitely not out. In fact, he’s back to take (or is it to force?) the gang to participate in the Nagano Music Festival. In preparation for the festival, the students go to a band camp where they do much more than just play music. Chiaki confronts his fear of the ocean; Mine spends his time getting a tan worth singing about; and Nodame the “orangutan,” after the humiliation of getting kicked out of a master class, gets set to prove that she can really play the piano. There are plenty of high jinks–and nobody gets away unscathed.
Plus, there’s a hilarious extra story that takes us back to Nodame’s childhood, as she drives her piano teacher insane with bad jokes and month-old sandwiches. With Nodame, expect the unexpected from beginning to end!
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Megumi Noda, or Nodame, may not be able to read music, but she can play piano well enough to make professional musicians weep. She attends a music school led by the gifted conductor, and lecherous old man, Franz von Stresemann. In between dodging his overtures and puzzling over his mysterious past, Nodame is devoted to Shinichi Chiaki, a conducting student too wrapped up with his own lack of confidence to notice her. In the fourth installment of this shojo manga, Stresemann impetuously decides that Nodame and her classmates will join him at a summer music camp. Nodame sees it as the perfect opportunity to spend quality time with Shinichi, but her romantic seaside vacation is spoiled by Shinichi's fear of the ocean. Shinichi, completely oblivious, is focused on proving himself as adept at conducting as his eccentric mentor. On their own, the stories in this collection are less than stellar, but the love triangles will surely pay off in future issues. Ninomiya's art is far more naturalistic than most shojo manga, although occasionally awkward. English readers be warned: despite extensive footnotes and a glossary, many of the Japanese cultural references that give Nodame Cantabile its richness are completely lost in the English translation. (Feb.)
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