As they’re whisked off to the music hall, Kousei becomes a nervous wreck about playing again. It’s his first performance in two years, but Kaori won’t let him back down from this crucial moment.
Imagine being a little kid and having all these people whisper things about you. He’s already a social outcast because he spends all his time practicing, but things like this made Kousei feel more alone than anything else. It’s no wonder he latched onto his mom, no matter how much she may have traumatized him.
He has some pretty dedicated friends though. As they head in, Tsubaki says “Springtime is right around the corner.” I love Watari’s response “uh… did you miss the cherry blossoms?” Tsubaki is, of course, talking about the rebirth of Kousei as a pianist. Maybe she can already sense that faint spark reigniting.
Bashing his head loud enough to get people to come out of their rooms was pretty silly, but this moment is full of emotion. “Look at me.” She doesn’t want him to worry about the notes or anything else. She has full faith that everything he needs is already with him. He just has to connect with her, and everything will be fine.
I feel a little sorry for Kousei. He is completely powerless against Kaori, because how do you even respond to someone who believes in you that much?
You can tell he’s completely swept away. Everything about Kaori captivates him, and she unburdens him to the point where he says “you’re freedom itself.” Her correction says everything about her character in that moment. Kaori wants him to realize she’s not the one that will liberate his trapped heart. The performance will. “Music is freedom.”
Just because this is his first time back doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy street. Kaori teases a standard performance for a bit before she decides to amp it up. This crowd needs to remember them, after all, and she’s going to drag Kousei into the spotlight whether he wants to or not.
I got a chill when I first saw this. In addition to all the pressure that these performers feel, Kousei has the added burden of his late mother’s expectations. That macabre grin brings back all the pain at once, and makes him question his right to even be there. His playing couldn’t make his mother better, and Kousei is afraid it’s going to doom Kaori’s competition score as well.
The way they depicted this was really cool. The underwater scene, the notes floating away, and the thudding of the piano keys. He’s lost it, and the feeling of panic feels so much like drowning. Performing in front of people is scary enough, but now he knows he’s screwing it up. Can you imagine being in his place?
Kousei stops, the audience quietly judges. Kaori is better off without him, but she’s not going to leave him behind. Her simple request: “Again” pulls him out of his darkness the way she did on the rooftop earlier that day.
She’s relentless, but not in the frightening way his mother was. His mother’s ghost watched eerily from the crowd. Kaori is right there with him, facing the crowd, like she said she would be.
That moment of kindness triggers another. This is our first glimpse of the nurturing side of Kousei’s mom. The piano doesn’t have to be scary, and the sweet lullaby relaxes him enough to play gently. Notice the blank white space all around with the singular focus on the middle. This seems to be how Kousei’s early memories work, focusing on the singular moment with everything else fading into background.
Who would have imagined such a serene moment could come out of this tense situation? Kousei daydreams he’s under a bright sky with sakura petals all around. His hands are in the air again, like they were when he was on the floor in the music room. A weird quirk of his, it seems, but he’s completely relaxed and free here.
But it’s tragically short lived. As the previous episode hinted on the bus, something is wrong with Kaori and it looks like it finally caught up with her. Leaving viewers with this scene was really cruel, though. How many of you hurried up to watch ep 5 after this?
My song of choice for this episode is Again. It has the tense feeling that we got from the Friend A track yesterday, but it carries a feeling of hope with it too. Like it’s gently asking you to follow, even if things are difficult. The strong singular piano notes are like Kousei’s stressful playing in this episode, but there’s a soft melody all throughout to temper them. Like it’s telling the piano it doesn’t need to be so rough.
That’s what I thought, anyway. After yesterday’s discussion though, maybe I should just have plainpasta write these 😀
This was a crucial episode, so tell me what you think! If you missed a post, catch up on the re watch party here