As the gust of warm spring air starts to blow from the south, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso finally comes to its conclusion. Every piece is it’s in place, every character is in a crisis, and we finally get to see it all play out in these final episodes. Now, you may be wondering, why did I decided to cram all of these episodes into one post. Well there are two reasons: One, I suck at time management, and I figured it would be better to not waste your time with two posts that would probably only be a few days apart, and two, there wouldn’t be a lot to talk about otherwise. That being said, how did I like this closing arc for Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso? Well, I can safely say that the final three episodes were absolutely stunning, and really should be watched by all. The others, eh, not so much.
There’s a lot of reasons for this, but the major one is that episodes 16-19 bore rather than compel, and the reason they aren’t interesting is simple. They don’t focus on the aspects that make KimiUso, well, KimiUso. Instead these episodes focus on Nagi, the younger sister of Takeshi, who has a brother complex and a hatred of Kousei. After all Kousei is Takeshi’s ultimate rival, and because of that he doesn’t pay enough attention to her. Now that may sound insufferable in theory, but in execution her character arc is more bland than anything else. Her relationship with Takeshi comes off as a straight up copy of Emi’s relationship with Kousei, and the only time she’s really interesting is when she’s bonding with her mentor.
Her eventual admiration of Kousei’s desire to play for his loved ones is cute, and they have some decent chemistry with the whole student teacher bond they have going on. Otherwise though, she definitely feels like the filler character of the series. Just a non essential piece of the plot who exists solely to help fill up this series’ already stretched out run time. Really you could cut out her arc and miss nothing, she has no connection with the main core of the show. At least she gives us a nice concert scene in episode 18 though?
Anyways, even with that being said, Nagi’s filler arc doesn’t quite reach the absolute pointlessness that is embodied by episode 19. Saying this as someone who still loves this show with all his heart, beyond a few decent scenes this episode mostly consists of iteration on things that were already explained, and stuff about subplots I had lost interest in a long time ago. Sure, I liked the scene where Kaori was in rehabilitation, and Tsubaki cutting Kousei’s hair lead to a nice interaction; but when you really get down to it both scenes were just saying what the previous episodes have already told us. Kaori is trying to play the violin despite her rapidly deteriorating health, and Tsubaki wants to become closer to Kousei; we get it. There’s no need to tell us a second time.
However, none of that is quite as bad as the second half of the episode, which consists entirely of scenes with Takeshi and Emi. I think it’s pretty safe to say that most audience members have lost interest in both these characters at this point the show’s runtime, especially considering they hadn’t been in any major episodes for a long time. Instead of recognizing this though, the show gives Takeshi one last run, having him give an epiphany like performance where he realizes he needs to find his own voice. This would be fine I guess, but once again I didn’t really have any investment due to his lack of recent screentime, and also due to the fact that Nagi had already had this arc conclusion an episode ago, albeit to a lesser extent. In the end, the entire episode felt useless.
But damn if the production team didn’t give it 150 percent for the finale! I mean first off, have you seen the direction here. Yes, KimiUso has always looked damn good, but the finale is especially noteworthy. The cold lighting of the winter setting and claustrophobic shot composition really deliver a feeling of dread and nervousness to every scene; and combining this with the washed out greys of Kaori’s hospital room, and you’ve got yourself some stellar direction and art design. Really every scene with Kaori is amazing to look, from the juxtapositioning of Kousei’s concert with her pretending to play violin alongside him, or the contrast of her pale skin against Kousei’s colorful memories of the past, the show expertly conveys the kind of dire, soul destroying situation she’s in.
That being said, just focusing on Kaori would be a crime, since Tsubaki’s long overdue confession is also a major part of these final episodes. While I know a lot of people don’t like Tsubaki, I think we can all agree that her confession scene and the aftermath of it was executed amazingly. The rain, the tense breath of her running down the street, every shot her conveys the heavy emotions she’s been feeling. One of my favorite parts about this though is how every shot with Kousei and Tsubaki frames them apart. It shows the nature of Tsubaki’s situation, with her knowing that Kousei loves Kaori, but she still refuses to give up, trying to close that gap between them. The way this all ends however is less than stunning. Instead of having Kousei give here a direct response, it just leaves it open ended, making this subplot feel somewhat useless.
When I reached the finale of the show however, I finally came to the realization that all of these subplots were somewhat necessary, yes, even Nagi’s filler sidestory. This is because Kousei needed to realize that there are a lot of people who love and care about him, Kaori and his Mom aren’t the only people who appreciate him. There’s Tsubaki, Watari, Nagi, Takeshi, Emi, Hiroko, etc. He’s been moping in a dark pit of despair ever since he say Kaori entered the ER, and even though she tells him that he must play for the Eastern Piano Music Competition, he struggles to accept the outward consequences of him refusing to play. His future career as a musician could be destroyed, and he’d lose the ability to pursue something that he once loved.
The feeling of knowing a loved one is going to die is paralyzing, and Kousei’s struggle is conveyed through the claustrophobic cinematography. A scene that stuck out to me in this breakdown was the one where Kousei tries to save a dying cat after seeing Kaori collapse in her hospital bed. Watching him run to try to save this crushed animal was a perfect way to explore the experience he went through. Kousei doesn’t want Kaori to die, just like the cat, but when the veterinarians tell him that it was dead the second it hit the car, Kousei walks away in a confused daze. He doesn’t understand why this keeps happening to him, why those he loves keep dying. This tunnel vision of sorrow only leads to him cutting off those around him, but before he knows it Kaori is under a dangerous operation, and so Kousei tries to force himself to perform a piece that will lead her to safety.
Like most anime teenagers, his big epiphany is in realizing that everyone around him has feelings and wants for him, and that he needs to play piano not just for himself, but for the others who want to hear him. Kousei, in the process of trying to reach out toward his Mom and Kaori with his music, has unknowingly captured the hearts of so many people; and that’s beautiful. In this realization he gains what he’s always wanted, one last performance with Kaori. It is in this fantastical dream sequence that he is able to properly send off Kaori, playing his piece perfectly.
The story of Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso ends only a month before the season the anniversary of when he met Kaori. The cherry blossoms are blooming under the warming sun, and Kousei has been suffering from the loss of another loved one. However, this time it’s different. Kousei now realizes that even though those he truly loved have passed on, there are still friends and acquaintances that care very much about him; and that he should continue to use his memories of Kaori and his Mother, and the love of those around him to keep fueling his music. As the snow melts away leaving lush greenery behind, Kousei has changed yet again.
In the end, I really loved Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso. It had a few unimpressive episodes throughout its second half, and in general it probably could have benefited from the cutting of a few scenes; but everything else was absolutely amazing in my opinion! From the amazing direction, to the earnest melodramatic character writing, this show was a joy to watch. Really, I loved everything about the show, even with the flaws, and I will definitely want to revisit it again one day. It probably also helps that these final episodes perfectly closed off the story. I feel no need for a sequel, and that’s great! Everything is wrapped up into a neat package of animation, music, and adolescent romance; which is really all that I wanted from the beginning. So yeah, despite some of the issues here and there, I highly recommend KimiUso! It was never consistent, but when it hits its peak, it was truly a spectacular watch. I feel like I say this in most of my final posts, but I’ll miss you Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, I’ll miss you.
P.S. Sorry this final post is so late. My computer died!