Ep 5 – Cloudy Skies

Following the harrowing scene at the concert hall, Kaori’s friends check in on her. The bright spring days take a cloudy turn as both Kousei and Tsubaki think about how things are changing.

Image of Tsubaki shoulder dropping Kousei off the bridge

As the first scene that viewers get after seeing Kaori collapse, this is odd but the lightheartedness of it is an indication that she’s OK. The point that this scene is trying to drive home is that Kousei will never do anything on his own. In this case, Tsubaki convinced him via shoulder wheel backdrop. Sure enough, he loved it after the fact.

The other thing that this scene highlights is the bond between Kousei and Tsubaki. They really were the best of friends growing up.

Image of Kaori with her back turned at the hospital

A much awaited update on Kaori. So what happened? She simply pushed herself too hard. Has this happened before? “Nope, first time.” Dad is just getting fussy and wanting all these tests. Kaori, we might believe you if we could see your face when you said it.

Image of Tsubaki blanking on what to say about Kouseii

Kousei is feeling that sense of doubt again and looks to Tsubaki for help. Is there anything more to him than the piano? Of course there is! Except Tsubaki has no idea of an example at the moment. Why exactly are they best friends again?

Image of Kousei looking up at Watari after being startled

Up until this point you kind of get the impression that Kousei likes Kaori, but this moment of jealousy seems to bring it home. “Of course he has her email,” he thinks to himself. Watari is close to Kaori in a way that he could never be, and he tries to just stay out of the way when Watari suggests they go visit her again.

Watari telling Kousei he should enjoy Kaori's attention

Watari’s insight here is kind of amazing though. Even when Kousei says she probably doesn’t want to see him, Watari points out that she chose him for the competition. Any attention from a pretty girl is good, he explains, so Kousei shouldn’t avoid seeing her. Watari is best bro for a reason.

Image of Kaori thanking Kousei with tears in her eyes

So even on my third watch, this scene kills me. We see that there was some skipped moments at the end of the last episode, as Kousei and Kaori take their bows. Kousei marvels at how much Kaori counted on him, even when things went wrong. He also realizes that even while he was supporting her, she was really the one helping him.

She thanks him repeatedly, even if they failed, for giving the audience something they won’t forget – something she won’t forget. How could his sloppy performance mean so much to her?

Image of Kaori waking up at the hospital

Kaori’s next thought after her collapse: “I passed out again.” So it wasn’t her first time as she told Kousei before. Was this your lie, Kaori?

Image of Tsubaki annoyed with Kashiwagi

Tsubaki’s normally sparkling eyes are cloudy and Kashiwagi notices. This is a minor moment but I wanted to point it out because Tsubaki has always been the one who is full of life. We get an idea of what’s bothering her when Kashiwagi guesses that something happened with Kousei.

Image of Tsubaki watching Kousei and Kaori

Kousei isn’t the only one feeling jealous in this episode. As he and Kaori rally during the performance, Tsubaki sees it: That look in Kousei’s eyes that wasn’t there before. Why, after all this time, was Kaori the one to bring it out?

She tells herself that she doesn’t like Kousei anyway, so all of that is okay. Kousei is totally not cool, but that’s still okay too. Poor Tsubaki is feeling more conflicted than ever, but how does she react to a sudden confession from someone who is totally cool?

Image of Kousei holding an egg sandwich

Kaori comes back to school, and it looks like Kousei has an extra sandwich to share with her. His nervous approach is cute, but he loses his nerve when he sees her with Watari. Friend A – zoned again.

Image of Kousei seeing Kaori playing on the bridge

Even if he can’t work up the nerve to talk to her, Kousei can’t stop thinking about Kaori. How she seems to know just what he needs, when he needs it. How he can look up and there she is.

Image of Kaori fake crying that Kousei didn't get her a gift

Kaori sells the drama enough to guilt Kousei into an open ended request. Does she really want a gift? Nope. She wants him to enter a competition. We begin to see more that more than anything, Kaori just wants him to play.

Kaori with her finger to her lips

Kousei seems honestly surprised that Kaori ever feels nervous, but she explains that the confidence of any musician is an act. That everyone is scared, but they get on stage anyway, and that’s how you tell the most beautiful lie of all.

Kousei laughing after jumping in the water

Kousei finally has a smile on his face again. Kaori didn’t have to shoulder wheel backdrop him off the bridge to make that happen either. All she had to do was lead, and Kousei was willing to follow her – the same way she led him in performing, and is perhaps leading him to open his emotions too.

This begins to highlight the difference between Kaori and Tsubaki. Both wanted the same thing for Kousei, but Kaori’s unique perspective allowed her to reach him and lead him to where he needed to go whereas Tsubaki could only push from behind.

To offset the cloudiness of this episode, they use the OST’s title track: Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso at the end of it. Does it sound familiar? I had mentioned that the melody in the first track I shared, Kimi wa Wasurerareru no, gets reused. In fact, they did use Kimi wa Wasurerareru no in first scene of this episode when they were kids, perhaps to contrast these two moments from a musical standpoint as well as the visual and character elements.

This track speeds up the tempo of its predecessor a little, and manages an even more upbeat tone by using an extra harmonic note at the beginning of each measure starting around 0:17. It really ramps up 45 seconds in, showing off an excited hopefulness missing from the first track. This is timed with Kousei’s jump – the moment he decides to push himself forward instead of holding himself back. The track captures this exhilarating freedom in just a few measures, and makes this episode one of the happiest despite the gloomy title.

Kaori and Kousei talking in her hospital room

“Do you think you can just forget?”

Remembering moments and people is a huge part of this series. All performers want their audience to remember them, and that broad aspect certainly fits into this story. Kaori is talking about something else though. She’s asking Kousei if he can forget the part of him that finds freedom and happiness through music. He has tried for two years to stifle it, but Kaori saw how much it was hurting him to do that.

Her question sounds like a challenge, but it’s an honest query. Is Kousei capable of forgetting something like that? The question is repeated several times in this episode alone, and will come up again in the series.

That’s all I have today, now you me what you think! If you missed a post, catch up on the re-watch party here


12 thoughts on “Ep 5 – Cloudy Skies

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  1. Another great episode. I am definitely worried about Kaori’s health now though. As you say, “we might believe yiu if we saw your face”. It was exactly the thought that went through my head as well. The scene on the bridge at the end was great. I loved the moment where Kousei just finally pretty much let go, and just jumped in. It was the first time where I began to realise that he finally seems to go with living again. I just love the way this series focusses on how someone else can really help you to get through something bad. As I mentioned yesterday, nobody can do everything alone, and that is what is so awesome about this series so far. I do feel sorry for Tsubaki though. It makes me sad that she was there for Kousei pretty much all the time, supporting him, but how that never seemed to be enough to get him to go with living again, and doing the thing that he loves. I know that something like that can be very hard. Supporting a friend and being there for him/her, only works if her/she lets you do that in the first place. Even though Kousei, accepted her as a friend, he never (at least so far), seems to have totally accepted her help. For someone new to just step in like that and manage to achieve what she never could…that is really tough.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your point that everyone needs help in some way is a key element that this series revisits a lot, and it applies to everyone. As we see, the “force of nature” Kaori is still just a person and is subject to the same limitations as other people. At the moment, however, her greatest skills seem to be music and getting through to Kousei. I think we can always use a friend like that at some point in our lives. But is the rest of the cast equipped to help her when she needs it? She lied about her condition, so it seems like she’s trying to go it alone.

      If you’re feeling bad for Tsubaki already, this series has a lot more in store for you. It’s kind of strange. I relate to Tsubaki the least (well, maybe Watari less), but her struggles make me especially sad. No matter how much she wants to help Kousei she doesn’t know how, and instead watches someone else overtake her. Kaori is her friend too, but this can become very hard to deal with.

      The next episode focuses more on her so you will get to see just how this affects her.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. In this episode I really started to see how these characters seem to be lying to themselves and lying to others. Kaori is obviously putting on a brave face about what is affecting her for some reason, she doesn’t want the attention of others or for them to worry about her. Even though Tsubaki has said that she thinks of Kousei as a little brother, the way that she felt on the spot when asked about his good points aside from his music and also her lack of excitement when talking to the old captain of the baseball team say to me as a viewer that she possibly has other feelings for him, whether she’s acknowledged them or not. In spite of his performance, Kousei is clearly still torturing himself about his relationship with music. I have to remember though that these characters are only 14 and it’s a time when most people aren’t very sure of themselves.

    You mentioned the parallel between Tsubaki dragging Kousei off the bridge as compared to him jumping in after Kaori. She seems to have the perspective or gift of being able to take Kousei out of himself.

    Standouts: The use of cloudy weather as compared to clear skies to reflect the tone of the episode. The final scene in the sunset felt like it wasn’t just about the weather clearing up, but about some inner turmoil being settled (though I’m still not exactly sure what’s going on in the minds and hearts of these characters).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tsubaki has always played off her relationship with Kousei as nothing special, but this seems to be a case where the harder a person denies something, the more truth there is to it. Kashiwagi seems to have guessed at her feelings well enough.

      I think the bridge scene was intending to make that parallel on a few different levels. Kaori is certainly more like a muse to Kousei, where Tsubaki is the overbearing friend.

      The weather clearing up coincides with Kousei coming face to face with Kaori again. I mentioned that this is a happier episode, and this was one of the reasons. There is some hesitation and turmoil being broken through, and Kousei actually deciding to move forward.

      Your comment about their ages shouldn’t be overlooked. This is a confusing age for all of them as they try to define themselves and begin thinking about where their lives may be headed. The only one who seems certain about everything she does is Kaori. that kind of maturity (feels weird using that word to describe her) has to be born out of some kind of experience.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great episode and analysis and comments on this post as usual.

    I guess all I have to say is that I rather liked Kashiwagi. Maybe it’s her observant nature or her directness. Or maybe it’s her ponytail. Seems like she was in on it with Saito, though.

    I think it might be a bit of a stretch for me to say this, but Kousei jumping into the river and losing his glasses is slightly ironic. Now he can’t see properly but he also has the slight inklings of a clear goal after years of denial. Also I’ve totally lost my glasses by wading into an ocean without taking them off beforehand at one point. Feels terrible!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kashiwagi is a really underutilized character in this. She is indeed observant, especially when it comes to her BFF Tsubaki, but her matter of fact way of approaching things is pretty great. I don’t know if she planned something with Saito, but she certainly knows when three is a crowd.

      Kousei “seeing clearly” despite losing his glasses is a really interesting thought. The glasses were touched upon in the episode right before this too as something that set him apart from the other kids. Maybe losing them for a moment is also a sign of that brief moment of connection. Of course, he promptly freaks out after he realizes he lost them too.

      Sorry to hear about your glasses. Learned your lesson though, didn’t you?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mmm. I always do find myself drawn to underutilized characters. She’s a good person.

        Mhmm. That’s probably just my confirmation bias talking but at least it’s kind of an interesting thought.

        I sure did. Staying on land is the best!
        ( ゚∀ ゚)o彡゚

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Gah, How am I ever going to catch up. LOL.

    I remember crying a lot during this episode. I remember Kaori’s monologue really resonating with me. The fact that they’re living for the moment on the stage. I used to feel that way a lot when I was in band. I’d put so much into those performances. Music is so moving.

    I never really realized how much he’s denying his feelings for Kaori from the beginning. I always thought he was literally okay with him being Friend A. Ah the pain of unrequited love.*sigh*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Slow and steady, Zel. It warms my heart that you’re still participating, no matter your pace.

      Another option if you want to join in with the others is to skip ahead to ep 15 (since you’re re watching anyway and know what happens). I think only maybe 2 people are keeping up in real time though, so don’t feel pressured if you do want to talk about each episode in order.

      I don’t think my tears started in earnest until a little later. Kaori’s bravery certainly touched me though. She understands more than most how important even that momentary high is, doesn’t she?

      Mm, Kousei does have it pretty bad, but I only really realized it on my first re watch how early it started for him. He wants more out of his relationship with her, but doesn’t go after it. Is it a Japanese thing to not be forward about how he feels, or a Kousei thing?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hmm you pose an interesting question (whether it’s a Japanese or a Kousei thing)! I’m not sure. It could be Kousei doesn’t think he’s a good match. She’s bright, like his friend Watari. The center of attention. You can’t deny that Watari and Kaori look great together especially when they’re laughing at his silliness.

        I could skip ahead, but then I feel like it would take away from it..but I could just participate in all the comments versus worrying about a complete refresher. However, I love the perfomances – especially with the two competitors…I specifically can’t wait for the Sleeping Beauty duet!

        Liked by 1 person

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