Ep 6 – On the Way Home

Despite his reluctance Kousei is entered into an upcoming piano competition, which means a lot of practice. Kaori takes the helm in guiding him in this effort, but seeing them getting along so well isn’t easy for Tsubaki.

Image of Tsubaki carrying Kousei on her back

Another opening scene that goes back to Kousei’s childhood. The kids get hurt while playing, but Tsubaki is the one that has to suck it up in order to get Kousei home. The show likes to play with parallels, as it did in the last episode with the bridge scene, and so it sets up the one it plans to use for this episode here.

The key takeaways are that Tsubaki has always had to be the stronger one, and that her bond with Kousei is deep and long running. Encroaching on it is certain to be met with resistance.

Image of Kaori cleaning the dust of Kousei's piano

Which spells trouble when Kaori comes over to Kousei’s place, takes a bath, and changes into his shirt. Before Tsubaki rages out on Kousei, we see this suddenly emotional scene with Kaori cleaning the dust off the piano. She repeats the words “I’m sorry” as she lays her head on it. Is her pity for Kousei or the piano?

Image of Tsubaki looking on unsurely

Kaori explains the competition for the viewers and the supporting cast. The piece she chose, Chopin’s Étude Op 25 no. 5 is interesting for a number of reasons, which I’ll point out in a later section. The focus of this moment is in Tsubaki feeling once again like Kousei and Kaori are in their own world – a place she can’t reach.

Image of Kaori telling the quote with her finger up

Kaori delivers the Anton Rubinstein quote that reflects her approach to music. “Before you fingers touch the keys, you must determine in your mind how you want to play it.” This is something new to Kousei – being deliberate in how he plays instead of what he’s playing, and he spends the rest of the episode trying to figure out the imagery he wants his performance to invoke.

Image of Tsubaki listening to Kousei practice at home

Tsubaki looks quite happy listening to Kousei here from her porch. Maybe this was something she did often when they were younger? Despite her concerns about Kousei slipping away, she’s enjoying the byproduct.

Image of Kaori sleeping with Kousei's jacket over her

A calm Kaori, for once? Kousei even remarks that she looks angelic as he goes to blanket her with his jacket. It looks like her company means more to him than just having someone to critique his playing.

Image of Kaori running back towards the school

Kaori does her best to sound dispassionate as she talks to Tsubaki, even saying Kousei is like a hopeless ‘little brother,’ the way Tsubaki tends to think of him. As soon as they part ways though, Kaori runs back the way they came. She knows she’s intruding on Tsubaki and Kousei’s space, so she does it carefully, and secretly.

Tsubaki talking on the phone with the train crossing behind her

Tsubaki realizes it well enough herself. Her line: “In that we, there’s no room for me” says so much. There is no way she can do for Kousei what Kaori is doing now, so she decides to pull back and start dating her former senpai, Saito.

Kaori crying as she thinks of how she hurt Kousei

Kaori’s talk with Tsubaki might be the reason she went back to the music room in the first place. Despite her aggressiveness, she realizes that she’s putting Kousei through a lot by pushing him. She knows he needs it, but is afraid he’s going to hate her for doing this.

Kousei smiling as he talks to Kaori

Kousei’s response assures her otherwise. He acknowledges that it’s painful, but that’s part of the process, and reminds her that she’s the one that wiped away the dust. His world filled with color, only because of her. For once, Kaori doesn’t know what to say. Aside from “you dummy,” that is.

Tsubaki looking shocked to see Kaori standing with Kousei

The momentary elation when Tsubaki sees Kousei there to cheer her on is followed by the pain of seeing Kaori beside him. Her nerves are already on edge with this pivotal moment in the game, and this sight throws her off even more.

Tsubaki running with Kousei and Kaori looking on from the background

As Tsubaki thinks “I’m not there for him now, not like she is,” she makes herself the one looking on from the sidelines instead of Kousei and Kaori. They are the stars of this story, and she’s just Friend S. With these thoughts on her mind, could the game have turned out any other way?

Tsubaki getting angry at Kousei while he carries her on his back

The show doesn’t let Tsubaki sulk too long as Kousei comes by to help her. It seems Kaori realizes she took a step too far since it was her idea for Kousei to meet Tsubaki alone. The physical role reversal mirrors the emotional one, and Kousei is suddenly saying things that are making Tsubaki think.

“You never need to hold back with me,” and “I guess you’re a girl after all.” Tsubaki never expected to hear these things from Kousei. She has the game loss as an excuse for her tears, but being so close to Kousei again probably has a lot to do with the emotional outburst. Is it any wonder the stars are sparkling so much?

Hikaru Nara

The tracks that feature prominently in this episode get used again later, and in better places than this episode used them (imo). So today, before the half season mark takes it away, I’m posting a link to the OP “Hikaru Nara.” I wanted to share it at some point anyway because I absolutely love this song.

It somewhat ties in with this episode though, with lyrics about shining through darkness to create a starry sky. Also the visuals are quite telling regarding the series’ content, like the shots that show Tsubaki and Kousei as children, followed by Tsubaki crying for reasons she doesn’t seem to be aware of herself.

As an aside, this was the song Kousei was listening to on his phone and transcribing in the first episode. Fun stuff!

It’s an external link this time since I couldn’t find a good video on youtube and the one I got didn’t want to play nice when embedded. Apologies 😦


Kaori and Tsubaki talking about the pain Kousei is feeling

“He’s suffering, but that’s where the music will come from”

It’s a common motif even outside this show that art comes from pain. Artistic expression is certainly reliant on the performer being able to put emotion into the piece, which is something our Human Metronome isn’t used to. Still, the show will return to this idea that painful experiences are what enable Kousei to reach new levels.

Young Tsubaki carrying Kousei as the train goes past

Trains and crossings are featured a number of times in this episode, and will appear later on as well. As vehicles for moving a person literally from one point to another, they are common literary devices to represent character movement. The most telling example in this episode is when Tsubaki gets a call just as she crosses the tracks. With thoughts of Kousei and Kaori on her mind, she shifts direction and chooses Saito.

This section has some classical music history for those who are inclined. I left it at the end so as not to bore anyone who might not care to read about this, but Polish composer Frédéric Chopin was a pretty interesting guy, and his work features prominently in this series.

Among the pieces he created in his short lifetime were a number of études (literally “studies” in French) that were designed as proficiency exercises through difficult to achieve sequences. Because of their technical curve, these pieces are a common source of material for competitions in testing and evaluating a performer’s skill.

Kaori selects Chopin’s Opus 25 no. 5 for Kousei in the competition. If what she played back on tape sounds off to you, it’s not entirely Kousei’s fault. This piece has earned the nickname “Wrong Note” for the quick dissonant minor semitones it uses. It sounds strange even when played perfectly as the aim of the piece was to test the dexterity of the pianist’s left hand in the first and last sections in E minor while being tonally tricky for the “wrong” sound they produce.

Chopin’s test subject of choice was usually his friend Franz Liszt, who was something of a virtuoso for his ability to play these pieces. Chopin even dedicated Opus 10 to the guy, but reportedly once got so mad when Liszt added his own embellishments performing one of Chopin’s nocturnes that he demanded an apology. Chopin’s gripe? Play the music as written or don’t play it at all. What would Kaori think of that?

That was a lot for one day from me, now tell me what you think! If you missed a post, catch up on the re-watch party here


14 thoughts on “Ep 6 – On the Way Home

Add yours

  1. Poor child-hood friend syndrome strikes again. I think anime would have us believe that not one single boy and girl were ever friends but really just girls holding unrequited crushes for oblivious guys. Still, the emotional integrity they put into dealing with this in Your Lie is pretty impressive compared to the norm and once again the anime shows off that it gets human emotions.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re right, it’s almost a joke how often it happens. You’re also right that we see some real care being taken with Kousei and Tsubaki’s relationship here. Everything is tied into the way the characters lie to themselves and each other, making even this overdone trope appear meaningful in context. This show definitely gets emotions.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You were not kidding about Tsubaki. I really am beginning to feel more sorry for her by the minute. It is so painful to have been there for a friend, in every way that you can, but never being able to truly help them. And then to have someone step in and pretty much take over, and at the same time really help them…wow that is painful.
    As for another heartbreaking moment: the sight of the piano being covered in dust and books, and Kaori truly realising what this means….Another scene that definitely stood out for me.
    I am glad that, for a brief moment at least, this episode at least ended on a good note (pun intended). It was great to see two old friends reconnect again, even though that moment might be short. Another reason I am glad for it, was else this episode might have been too heavy.
    Nice bit of history at the end of your post, always interesting to read something like that 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yep, it’s pretty heartbreaking to see how Tsubaki feels. Even if she has childhood friend syndrome, as I was discussing with Karandi just before your comment, you can’t help but feel sorry for her. It’s almost more tragic that she didn’t pine for him all through childhood and is only realizing now how she feels. Like there was something there that she could always count on, but now it’s being ripped away before she knew how important it was.

      But yeah, they did give them a few moments together at the end. The show does this kind of frequently in that it attacks your emotions but then eases you back into a state where you’re ok with things. Like it knows it’s getting heavy and tries to pull back a little. For example Tsubaki tells herself she and Kousei have something which no one can replace. No matter which way Kousei goes, those memories are always there, and the episode ends on that happier note. Well, after introducing Kousei’s rivals.

      Glad you enjoyed the history lesson! I was excited to share.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I personally thought that Tsubaki’s transition in thought from her use of the word “we” to her inability to belong in Kousei’s world seemed a bit forced but I guess people’s minds sometimes works in mysterious ways.

    I really wonder how Saito really feels about Tsubaki’s fixation on Kousei. Does he intend to accept the fact that he isn’t first in her heart?

    Compared to the other three, Watari’s romantic life somehow seems so much easier despite the fact that he’s basically a playboy jock who has to juggle multiple affections. I can’t relate to him but I do like his cheerfulness. He really didn’t fit in the general tone of this episode, though, so I can’t be that upset over how he only received minor screentime.

    And so this is how Kousei’s rival harem begins. Grudges held by middle schoolers are a fearsome thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, actually. The way she suddenly shifted at the sound of the word “we” was abrupt, but I guess the point was to show how her growing divide with Kousei pushed her toward Saito. There wasn’t a lot of time during that phone call to do that, but it could have probably been done better.

      Saito’s a cool guy, remember? It’s good that you’re thinking about his reaction though. Hold onto that.

      Watari’s love life is easier in a sense since there’s no seriousness in it. That’s what makes it easy for him to make a cheerful remark and be super casual about most things. It’s not a bad way to be, socially, but being the ‘always positive’ guy makes it harder for him to deal with things when something does happen.

      Confession time: This is a borderline harem anime. Not strictly in a romantic sense, but this is Kousei’s story through and through so a disproportionate number of characters kind of revolve around him.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mmm. Ah well. Maybe she had started thinking “we” meant her and Kousei so the word just had that sort of connotation for her. Still a bit awkward, though.

        Gotcha. Poor Saito.

        Yeah those sort of fellows have it hard when stuff happens. It’s kind of tragically beautiful seeing the cheerful people breakdown. I hope he doesn’t, though.

        Ah, well, I can’t say I’m too surprised. Still, it is faring better than other, more overtly harem anime.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve fallen a little behind, sorry! I’m hoping to be able to catch up with the watch-along shortly.

    I loved the bit of musical history that you included. I didn’t know that (although knowing me I may have looked up a bit about the piece)! Opus 25 no. 5 is such a strange piece, because it definitely ‘sounds wrong’ even when played correctly. I think it seems fitting for Kousei as someone who feels he lacks the ability to control how he plays.

    I loved the part where Kaori got Kousei to try and visualise what he’d like to convey through his performance. The choices were all so strange! I guess the concept of conveying a message through the music is completely foreign to him as ‘the human metronome’.

    Standouts: More examples of the present mirroring the past. It seems like maybe we’ll be seeing this again in this series. It’s interesting seeing the two sets of events play out in a similar, but not identical way, and it’s a great way of showing how things have changed in the lives of these characters.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t worry about it plaingrains, catch up when you can. I was actually thinking about taking a 1-2 day break in case anyone needs to catch up. Episode 11 is a good pause point since it’s halfway through. Thoughts?

      I was hoping that you would enjoy that bit of background. I’ll have to see if I can include something for future episodes as I hope this enhanced the listening experience somewhat.

      That whole sequence reminded me of a newbie going to an art class and being asked how a work makes them feel. The emotional connection with the piece just isn’t there. While his struggle is played for laughs a bit here, she’s trying to get him to cross this hurdle for a good reason.

      You’re spot on with your standout point. The series likes to make statements using parallelism, and a lot of the time it does it by comparing the past and present. It’s certainly interesting to see how the characters have matured, and what the role reversal means. Kousei and Tsubaki’s past is a big part of this story too, so you’ll want to pay attention to how these parallel situations differ.


  5. The struggle Kousei is facing this an interesting parallel to the two women in his life at the moment. Just like the devil and angel that resides on our shoulders. Kousei loves his piano, wants to keep playing and can’t stay away from it. He wants to chase the brightness that Kaori represents. On the other hand we have his childhood friend, that respresents the darkness that resides inside of him. Because she knows the pain that it’s caused him, and she’d take it away if it meant for him to free. But she’s also kind of selfish to protect him in that way

    Poor Tsubaki, she’s also fighting against her own feelings. So caught up in it she makes a mistake at the last game. Realizing that she’s into her best friend but can’t exactly relate to him the way this new girl comes in. But I love how Kousei takes care of her when she hurts herself. It’s a really tender moment. I actually was rooting for these two to get it together. They’re just as cute together too T-T

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Huh.. that’s pretty interesting. I never looked at it like that. Kaori’s path is the brighter, more fulfilling one, but it’s much harder. Tsubaki’s intentions are good, but she would probably rather not see him confront the pain and instead lead a life without the thing he really loves most.

      Tsubaki and Kaori kind of struggle with their own binary choices too. One path they know is easy but wrong, the other which is hard but right. It’s not easy for 14 year olds to think all this through!

      I agree, Kousei and Tsubaki are adorable together. Her problem is that she’s trying to be the big sister all the time instead of understanding him on the level that Kaori does. Protecting him vs sharing the pain.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes that’s exactly what I was trying to say about Tsubaki! 🙂

        Also, I like to analyze in the aspect of light vs. dark when it comes to thematic elements. I swear I’ll get more posts out like that. I have like two architectural posts that cover topics like this..gahh.

        Anyways, I’ll keep pushing on! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

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