Ep 2 – Friend A

Kousei is dragged to the music hall where he is captivated by Kaori’s performance along with the rest of the audience. Being there gives him mixed feelings about his past, but he can’t get her playing out of his head.


First of all, let me say how thrilled I am by how many people we have. It’s a real party! I loved reading your thoughts and, for a few of you, your first impressions. I hope to see your enthusiasm continue.

Okay, on to the episode!


Kousei looking around the music hall nervously

Kousei is pretty nervous about being in the hall, if you couldn’t tell by his reluctance at the end of the last episode. He’s so nervous in fact that his friends take notice. They sort of hammer this point in several times from here onward, but this is where we really see that it’s hard for him to be in a competitive performance environment.

Tsubaki confused about Kousei's explanation

He still remembers everything about it, though. Tsubaki puts on her best “I understand” face while having no clue what Kousei is talking about and it’s adorable. She really tries to support Kousei a lot, even if they’re quite different.

Kousei trying to shush his friends

Quiet! This isn’t a football game! Kaori’s stage entrance is highlighted as even the contestant before her is a little dumbstruck by her appearance. None seem more excited than her newest friends though. What a supportive group!

Kaori gets a standing ovation

More people treating this like a sports game. As the judges decide and Kousei explains, everything about her performance is incredibly unusual and unacceptable. Not that Kaori seems to mind. Why can’t competition and fun go hand in hand?

Kaori with a bouquet of flowers

Some kids buy the first bouquet they can find and give it to her. What’s striking about this moment though is that she doesn’t care at all about her score in the competition. It’s a complete 180 from everything Kousei was taught and he simply can’t understand her mentality. She won’t get anywhere as a violinist if she doesn’t take it seriously, and she’s obviously talented, so why doesn’t she care?

Kaori running toward her friends in slow motion

This series does go overly dramatic sometimes, but there is something important here. A lot of the dialog is intentionally poetic, and Kousei’s remark that it’s like a scene out of a movie expresses the surreal nature of it. This isn’t the way these things go in “real life.” Kaori lives in a world of her own making, and it’s like watching a movie scene.

Kousei watching Kaori and Watari

The dub has a fantastic line here that the sub completely ignores. Kousei describes this scene as “The ingenue, the hero, and Friend A.” He’s describing the movie scene again but he places himself in the role Tsubaki assigned him, even though Kaori came over to ask his opinion specifically.

The lighting here is also telling. It’s made to look like a spotlight (again, move/theater) on the main stars. The series does this a lot, but not always as obviously as this. Keep an eye out for all the times Kousei is drawn outside the light.

Kaori waiting under a cherry tree after school

“When you appear, it’s what I want. It’s what I dread. What do they call this feeling?”

All the pain from Kousei’s past is brought up again when he remembers Kaori’s performance, yet it keeps playing in his mind. The series returns to this theme a lot so I wanted to point it out here. Confronting these feelings isn’t easy for Kousei, but he wants to feel them all the same.

Kaori telling Kousei that he will be Watari's standin

Kaori was waiting for Watari, but Kousei remembers that he’s walking another girl home today. Kaori thankfully buys the story Kousei sells her as he tries to keep his friend safe, but she cheerfully tells him he’ll have to substitute instead. This couldn’t possibly have been on purpose now could it? 😛


Today’s track is the first one on the OST: Kimi wa Wasurerareru no. The translation I prefer for this one is “Will you forget?” Its one of my favorites, and the melody is reused in several other tracks also. It’s probably the closest that the series has to a ‘main’ theme.

If you recall, this played in the opening scene of ep 1 where Kaori sees the cat. That intro stopped at 27 seconds, but I think that’s right when gets really good. Fortunately this episode plays out the rest as Kousei is trying to convince her not to go look for Watari. It makes me happy every time I hear it.


A picture of Kaori after her performance

I think I might be turning this last section into “stuff you should remember” but this is another motif that the show keeps returning to. Kousei remarks internally: “She’s tempestuous. Capricious. I can’t read her. But this girl… she’s beautiful.”

Kousei can’t understand Kaori. She’s nothing like him, but he can’t help that she amazes him. Watari explained to him in this episode that she’s in love, and that’s what makes her sparkle even more. It’s interesting to think about just what Kousei sees in this tempestuous girl as you go through the rest of the series.


 

That’s all I had for today. Now let me hear what you think! If you missed a post, catch up on the re watch party at this link

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19 thoughts on “Ep 2 – Friend A

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  1. The first thing that I have to say is that I have now gotten used to the shifts in tone, and they don’t bother me as much anymore as in the first episode (I still wish they weren’t there, but okay, I will accept them 😊😊). As for this episode I was really moved by the performance Kaori gave. It was really a moment that almost moved me to tears (hey, I am a guy, can’t go admitting that I nearly cried lol). Seriously though, it was a very beautiful scene, with the music and everything in it, and one that really stood out for me.
    I also like the Friend A concept. I am really interested in seeing how their relationship is going to develop, but also how Kousei himself is going to hopefully grow and get out of his reluctance to playing the piano. This series is beginning to grow on me, having finished episode 3 early this morning 😊 Looking forward to the next post…this is really fun 😀😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, good. I’m glad they don’t bother you too much anymore. Some of them are pretty funny.

      You and everyone in that auditorium was moved by Kaori’s performance, so don’t feel ashamed. It really was meant to be special, but the show cheated a little bit by having her a play a different section of Beethoven’s Sonata no. 9 (Kreutzer) than the other kids played. That’s why it sounded so different. Still, you could tell that she put her heart into that piece where the others were going by the book.

      Friend A is a critical concept in this series. Kousei is a scared kid, afraid to confront the feelings that are starting to resurface in him. He’ll look for any reason to avoid it, and it’s the same with approaching Kaori. Even if he wants to get closer, he resists because he’s just Friend A.

      I’m really glad you’re having fun with this, and it looks like you found a good watch schedule. Ep 3 was one of my favorites, so I’ll look forward to what you have to say on it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes I am going to watch an episode each day. I like this thing you are doing here on your blog, a really fun and original idea to get everyone involved 😊😊 And I would probably never have started watching this, if you had not started this on your blog 😊

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I loved his reaction to her performance. Those competitions really do take themselves too seriously and this neatly highlights this issue by showing the contrasting views.
    Looking forward to your next post.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I went and looked up the Kreutzer to get some reference for the competition performances. It’s got its own beauty, but it’s definitely performed unlike the way that Kaori played it. Kousei has definitely been taken aback by Kaori, but isn’t really sure what to do about it. He’s been so used to withdrawing to deal with conflict and avoid being hurt, I think it’s going to take a bit to get him to reach out again.

    Standouts: The use of silence. There’s been several moments where there’s been a prolonged lack of background music when I’d expect some to be playing, like when everyone was in the theatre before the performance started. It made it feel more like I was waiting to watch a real concert instead of watching something on my TV.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a lovely piece, isn’t it? Beethoven was always elegant like that. I suppose that’s why Kaori felt she needed to add a bit extra to get people’s attention 😉

      I really like how you do this Standouts section in your comment for stuff that caught your attention. Keep it up!

      Silence is an undervalued aspect of presentation because I think it’s so hard to use effectively. Those few moments in the auditorium as the audience is waiting for the performer to start are a perfect opportunity though. They’ll touch on exactly this point in a couple of episodes, so I’m glad you mentioned it here.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The abundance of cherry blossoms really accentuated the fact that this is taking place in April.

    Despite the brave front Kaori puts up, she seemed almost scared of hearing Kousei’s opinion. Did she ask him specifically because she knows of his past? Seeing him realize her hand was shaking which causes him to not criticize her but instead praise her was my probably my favorite moment in the series so far. I almost got teary eyed, haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yeah. This show loves sakura petals. LOVES them. There’s some symbolism there though, because as beautiful as they are as they fall, that means they’re fleeting.

      And thank you so much for pointing this out. I almost did myself and then stopped, thinking “wait, let’s see if someone catches this.” Notice Kousei is the only one Kaori asked. His opinion matters to her, to the point where she’s genuinely nervous about the answer. Of course, Kousei isn’t exactly anonymous in competitive performance circles, so yes, she does know him already. Still, there is a vulnerability there that the episode shows for just a second. She doesn’t care what the judges think – just him. Kousei recognized that, so he praised her, but he doesn’t understand what it means yet because he’s stuck in the Friend A zone.

      At this point in the series, this moment maybe ties in emotional resonance for me with the one at the very end of the previous episode when Kousei is being pulled along, because I’m a sap. The dub outclasses the original in the line Kousei delivers: “Spring is blooming all around. And… I’m taking off with you”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There’s something to be said about transient beauty. I kind of brought it up since I know of the ending. The journey there, however, is unknown.

        Yay I’m glad I caught that. I’m not very good at talking about lighting and all like you’ve been doing in your posts so far, but I do pick up character interactions pretty well. I guess Kousei will learn in time. But after reading this reply and thinking back to your post about the first episode, I’m starting to think the one she wanted to meet with was actually Kousei. Hm.

        That is a nice line. Dubs did it!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. At this point, I’m playing catch-up, and since both my supervisors are out the rest of the week, I’m putting on YLiA instead of music as my background music. muahaha *evil laugh* prepare for spam!!!

    Ah, I love Kaori’s expressiveness with the violin. She really was trying to reach out with her emotions. She’s a great contrast to Kousei’s metronome-like tendencies. I like that Kousei admires her for her take on the piece for not following the rules of the competition. It’s also interesting that her saying she didn’t care about the score resonated and triggered Kousei’s memory of his mom.

    Also, never realized she was shaking when Kousei was trying to tell her how he felt.

    Gah, I teared up a little with Kousei says, “She’s beautiful” at the midway point. Ah, I’m such a sap for this show!! Seriously, this OST is one of the best – Your Name is similar. Have you seen it! (T-T)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Zel, I can’t condone this as a working professional, but as someone who is glad for any chance to get out from under a supervisor’s microscope and a YLiA fan, I wholeheartedly support you 😀

      I really love how they started comparing and contrasting Kaori and Saki even this early on. It helps get into Kousei’s headspace a little and little things like that I think make his character journey so memorable.

      Looks like the re watch helped you notice something new! Yep, she was indeed shaking and it shows how much stock she puts in what Kousei thinks of her.

      We (Kimmie and I) saw Your Name this past Sunday! I agree, amazing Soundtrack. I’m going to have to find that sometime because that OST hit me right in the kokoro too.

      Liked by 1 person

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