Wow, we’re here already!? After all the tears, drama, and beautiful animation, we’ve officially made it half way through Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso. So how is the show? Well it’s still extremely enjoyable, giving a nice book end and thematic closure to the first half, while opening up more possibilities for the future. It’s smart, heartfelt, and I hope I can express my multi-faceted feelings for this show in this post. So anyways, on with the show!
Starting off, I guess we should talk about the biggest event that’s happened in these last four episodes, aka Kousei’s performance. We had already seen him struggle in his concert with Kaori, but it’s in this performance that we finally get some truly deep character exploration and development, which dives into his relationship with his abusive mother. It’s made clear throughout the performance that the reason Kousei can’t hear the notes of the piano anymore is because of his old motivation to impress his Mother, which has now been replaced with a shadow of doubt and regret. These emotions manifest most prominently in the flashback scenes in episode 9, where we see firsthand the terrible physical and mental abuse his Mother inflicted upon him.
Forcing him to practice until he’s physically in pain, punches, scratching, all the signs of the abusive relationship are here, and it feels extremely gratifying once we see Kousei’s younger self stand up against this horrible figure midway through his flashback. However, the show makes it clear that, despite the fact he stood up against her, Kousei has be ruined by her death. He feels guilty for his hatred of his Mother before the end of her life, and this combined with her high expectations, and his ever present denial, causes him to crash in the middle of the Maihou Piano Competition. Personally I thought this was portrayed pretty well, presenting the destructive nature of their relationship, while also being perfectly connected to the main theme that has permeated throughout the show: People are motivated by their emotions for others.
From Takeshi’s admiration of Kousei’s super hero like skills, to Kousei’s drive for Kaori, the show does a great job at portraying these character’s relationships with each other. They’re goals are intricately set up around other members of the cast, and the show argues that without these motivations it’s impossible for them to do what they love. This is represented by the fact that Kousei literally can’t hear the piano after his Mother’s death, or when Emi literally dropping every other potential artistic interests to compete with Kousei in competitions. All of these thematic motifs are made incredibly clear by episodes 10 and 11, which use visual metaphors and dialogue to convey the attachment and desires these characters feel for each other. Hell, episode 11 basically ends with what can only be considered a monologue thesis statement from Kousei, explaining the nature of his relationship with Kaori, and the themes of the show.
However, Shigatsu is still smart enough to acknowledge the down sides to these types of relationships. After all Kousei’s Mom emotionally destroyed him for many years, and as Kaori hints, she won’t be there to support Kousei forever. It’s becoming more and more clear as time goes on that something is wrong with Kaori. This can be seen through the small hints throughout the show, such as her taking medication before Kousei’s performance, or the melancholic moments that shine through her otherwise happy go lucky exterior. Kousei is heading down a path similar to the one he went down Mother, and that poses a potentially dangerous outcome for his future.
That being said though, I think if they can start being more honest with each other that they’ll have a better opportunity for a positive relationship. And, as I said it the last post, I think Shigatsu just isn’t afraid to show the downsides of its major theme, even though it clearly leans heavily to one side. Hopefully as time goes on the show will help improve their relationship, and show that these two aren’t heading in a bad direction.
Which brings me back to Kousei’s musical performance, which perfectly expressed this hopeful future. His performance was definitely a rollercoaster of emotions, starting out controlled and perfect just like he was as a child, but as the emotional baggage of his Mother’s death gets to him, his performance quickly turns sour. Kousei slams on the piano keys, hoping to hear the music he’s playing. That’s when he realizes that what he truly really wants is to play music for Kaori, not just himself. It’s here that Kousei truly lets his emotions fly, culminating in a beautiful scene where the world changes around Kousei. Everyone can feel what he does and see his world. The lonely music room at his high school, the smell of the blooming sakura trees, and the warmth of Kaori’s sleeping breath send the concert hall into spring daze. Visually speaking this scene is amazing, but thematically it really represents the overwhelming optimism this show has for its cast; something which most shows don’t often have these days. This scene is absolutely spectacular, and truly encapsulates everything great about the show in a few breathtaking minutes.
So in the end, these latest episodes of Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso were pretty damn good! I could have gone on about the terrific animation, or the gorgeous musical score, but honestly you really should just watch this show for yourself. It’s well crafted, and with the introduction of Kousei’s new piano teacher Hiroko, the next half is looking just as strong! Shigatsu truly is something special, and I highly recommend it. And with all this in mind, I bid you adieu! I’ll see you in the winter season.
Next Post: Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso – Episodes 12-15