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.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.