After writing my first post about Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, I didn’t really know what to expect from the series’ upcoming episodes. There were still twenty episodes ahead of me, and while those two episodes were some top of the heap stuff, there was no guarantee that the quality would remain consistent. And in many ways I still hold that fear! I fear that this wonderful ride of gorgeous character writing, animation, and music will crash and burn under its ambition; but if there’s one thing that these newest episodes have proven to me, it’s that I won’t have to worry about that just yet. Luckily for me Shigatsu is still extremely compelling, and I’m enjoying it more than ever!
I think the major reason for this is probably the way the characters have been developing. In the first two episodes, while they were rather interesting and full of potential, I didn’t feel like they were fully there. Something was missing that made them feel incomplete, but these past five episodes have provided those new pieces of information, and now I’m completely in love with almost all of the cast. For example, I thought in the beginning that Kousei was extremely interesting, but now he’s become my favorite character do to the thoughtful exploration the show has provided. Kousei lives under the shadow of his abusive Mother, and like Seishu Handa from last season’s Barakamon, he now is struggling to find his artistic voice. This is made pretty literal by the fact that he can’t hear the sound of the piano while playing, and while that’s technically impossible, it’s a good metaphor for the problems Kousei’s going through. He’s lost after losing his motivation to the piano, so much so that he’s lost the ability to even play it.
Tsubaki is also in a similar position. After being concerned about Kousei’s wellbeing for so long, she’s starting to feel like she’s too attached, and because of this she starts a relationship with her old baseball captain Saito. Despite this though, Tsubaki still can’t seem to get away from her feelings from Kousei. However this romance drama isn’t played up too much, and instead it comes off as a subtle character conflict rather than a lame and pandering love triangle. Tsubaki just wants to come into her own as a person, and part of that is her trying to find out if Kousei is really who she cares about. It’s an well written problem for her character, and I’m very invested in seeing how it turns out.
Sadly though none of this depth seems to have made it over to Watari quite yet. You see, despite being the second major male character in the cast, he has yet to have any real substantial screen time. So instead he’s mostly been relegated to being secondary advice for Kousei, or just being comic relief. This is kind of sad, because there have been hints of more under his confident surface throughout these past episodes. For example, in episode 7 after failing to get into the national soccer tournament, he breaks down in the bathroom, crying about how he can’t become a star. Like Tsubaki and Kousei, his conflict seems to also be one about carving out his own identity in the world, and this could potentially be a very interesting side plot for the story. However if they don’t start exploring him more later on in the series he’ll probably become the weakest character in the cast, which is kind of sad. No one deserves to be forced into the role of comic relief!
And then finally on the character spectrum there’s Kaori… Oh Kaori, how I wish I could like you, but there’s just so much that has yet to be clarified about your character! You see, Kaori, despite getting a lot of screen time, is still very much a mysterious character. From her collapse on stage in episode 4, it’s pretty safe to assume she has a terminal disease that will be revealed later on. This leads me to believe that she’s probably meant to be a parallel to Kousei’s Mom. Sure she isn’t physically abusive to him, but she does work him to the bone in order for him to enter the Maihou Piano Music Competition; and her possibly having a disease probably will cause problems for Kousei in the future, as he’ll slowly realize he’s reliving his Mother’s tragedy all over again.
However, I also can’t help but notice that the show is also portraying her as a more positive figure than Kousei’s mom. This can be seen by her own personal desire, which is to wow her audiences, and give them a performance they’ll never forget. In some respects her motivation to get Kousei to do the same thing is selfish, but on the other hand she’s encouraging him to forge his own identity. Kaori wants Kousei to perform the music he wants to play, and I think that’s the major difference between her and his Mother. Kousei’s Mom wanted to him to become a homogonous player, one who doesn’t stand out but wins all the awards for his by the book faithfulness to the composer’s original intent; Kaori doesn’t want that. That being said, I think both the harmful and positive side of her character are intentional parts of the story’s execution, and I feel like this duality to her character will become a major conflict for Kousei once s**t hits the fan later in the series.
Anyways, with all of that talk out of the way, I think it’s time to talk about a few assorted things that I found interesting or liked in these past few episodes. Takeshi Aiza and Emi Igawa, aka the newly introduced rivals, are very interesting characters, and I get the feeling there determination to beat Kousei will add the story’s secondary messages about what drives people to play music. I also like the scene where Takeshi sweats and hides his nervous demeanor when walking out onto the stage at the end of episode 7. It really emphasizes the fear of performing in front of an audience that Kousei, and the many other contestants feel.
In the end though, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso is still going strong. The characters have only become more interesting as the show’s continued on, the themes here are fascinating, and while I didn’t mention it in this post, the animation, music, and direction are spectacular. I’m really looking forward to watching more of it, and honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if this ends up being my favorite show this season. And with that I bid you adieu! I’ll see you in the next post.
Next Series Post: Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso – Ep. 8-11