Last season Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso was my favorite show. I loved it’s characters, animation, direction, actually pretty much everything about it to be honest. Basically Shigatsu hits a very sweet spot for me and my tastes, but if I’m going to be at least a decent critic, I’ll have to admit that so far this second cour has not been as good as the first. Oh don’t get me wrong, I still adore this show, and quality wise Shigatsu is a standout title; but the pace has been dragging a bit, and it feels like they don’t have enough material for this last half. That being said, there are plenty of things to gush about, so I just wanted to get that predisposed bile out of the way.
Anyways, onto one of the many character tidbits I have to talk about! Let’s start off with Kousei, who, despite having had a nice arc conclusion at the end of the first half, has a few loose character threads to deal with. You see, while Kousei was finally able to let go of his Mom during the Maihou Music competition, Kousei still can’t help but feel like her shadow is still watching over him. This is made worse by the fact that Kaori decided to chose Love’s Sorrow by Fritz Kritsler, a song that his Mom played constantly when he was a tiny child. However on the day of the Gala Concert decides to solo the piece in Kaori’s absence. And during this performance, Kousei finally makes peace with his Mom, realizing that she was human and loved him like any other Mother would, even with her massive flaws.
Personally I quite love this, because unlike most shows, this Shigatsu decided to paint Kousei’s Mom as more than a purely evil child abuser. No, instead the show portrays her for what she really is: A deeply flawed person with a lot of emotional issues. It doesn’t justify her actions, but rather explains them, which leads Kousei to remember her not because of the terrible acts she committed, but the kind nurturing she was before she became ill. Some people might think that this means that the show supports child abuse, just so long as said abuser had a reason for it, but honestly if you still think that after all the mental trauma Kousei had throughout the first half of the series, then it’s probably you that has the problem, not Shigatsu. The show is just doing its best to tell us that even the most disturbed people in our lives are still undeniably human, and that’s a very strong message you don’t see that often.
Of course despite solving this problem, Kousei has plunged into yet another one, as it becomes clear that Kaori’s health is only getting worse. Not only did she miss the Gala Concert due to her becoming “unconscious” (At least according to her possibly falsified information), but at the end of episode 15 she collapses in the hospital, her legs refusing to move. This has been built up for quite a while now, but even then these recent events have still been extremely heartbreaking. From the way Kaori hides behind a faked smile, to the fact that she might never be able to go to school or play the violin ever again, it’s clear that Kousei has a tough experience ahead of him. His relationship is starting to mirror the one he had with his Mother, and I get the feeling it’s only going to get more tear jerking from here on out.
While this recent development is important though, these past few episodes, more specifically episodes 14 and 15, have focused on Tsubaki. As I mentioned in my posts on the first half, she has been struggling between wanting to be with Kousei, while having an identity that isn’t attached to him, and that has finally come to a head here. She realizes that her relationship with Saito isn’t working, and that Kousei isn’t really a kid brother in her eyes anymore. He’s a teenager now, with his own ambitions and ideals, and this combined with the fact that Kousei is possibly moving away to a music school in a different prefecture, leads to an emotional breakdown. He’s no longer going to always be by her side, and her blindness to these emotions has lead Saito to break up with her. Now not only does she feel guilt for possibly breaking Saito’s heart, but she hasn’t even confessed her feelings to Kousei.
All of this new information is extremely compelling, not only because we get some development for another old cast member, but also because it helps give Tsubaki a more defined goal. I mean everyone in the cast has one, Kousei and Kaori want to play music that moves peoples hearts, Hiroko wants to improve Kousei’s playing; and even Watari, the most underused and seemingly pointless member of the cast, wants to be a soccer star! This is really one of my favorite things about the show, everyone is motivated, which is always a major plus in character writing. It gives the plot weight and drive, and Tsubaki’s love for Kousei is just another addition to this already fascinating web of relationships.
Overall though, this second half has been pretty good so far, though as I’ve mentioned before the pace has seemed to have slowed down significantly. They obviously don’t have a massive amount of material anymore, but honestly I find it really hard to care. The visual direction and shot composition is still amazing, and the characters interesting and driven. I can’t wait to see how the rest of this half turns out, and I hope you feel the same way too. Until then though, I bid you adieu! See you next time.