Takeshi Aiza and Emi Igawa play their pieces, stunning the audience with their skills. As Kousei watches their individual performances, he comes to learn that both of them have reached these heights in part because of him.
Takayanagi seems to be aware of Kousei’s strange disability, though he generalizes it to think that he’s just gone deaf. None of that, or the the chance to advance his career, seems to matter to Takeshi. The rival spirit is strong in his single minded focus to crush Kousei.
Takayanagi also remarks that Kousei is the reason that Takeshi is as strong a performer as he is today. And here Kousei was leaving the concert halls with his head down the whole time. He had no idea what kind of ‘monster’ he was creating.
Takeshi puts on a tough guy act but he was so thrilled to get a little bit of praise from his rival. Kousei clearly never thought less of his competitors, and it makes you wonder if Takeshi’s aggressive efforts weren’t just to get Kousei to acknowledge him.
Watari can’t help himself. He gushes about how cute Emi is, but the funny thing is that Kaori isn’t bothered at all, and leans over to see as well. She would kick Kousei for saying something out of line, but accepts Watari’s behavior. Favoritism or something else?
Emi seems to be a severely inconsistent player, but her coach says she’s been waiting for the right opponent. Takayanagi seems to take offense, but the truth is that both Takeshi and Emi were never really competing against each other, but against Kousei.
A humorous moment, but we get a bit more here from Emi’s story than we did with Takeshi. Even at age 6 Kousei had an amazing talent. It was after hearing him that she first got the urge to play herself.
Emi remarks about his performance: “In that moment I felt all the joy of music. He was magical, but he didn’t play like that for long.” Ochiai further considers how Saki molded Kousei to achieve what she never would. Was Saki’s harsh teaching an effort to live vicariously through her son, or was there something more?
Emi’s piece was Chopin’s Opus 25 no 11 “Winter Wind.” It might be my favorite of Chopin’s Études as it has a really captivating sound to it. Through this performance you see that Emi has strived to play the way Kousei had originally inspired her to. She doesn’t disregard her technical score as much as Kaori does, but she pierces the audience in the exact same way.
Today’s episode featured Again prominently as Emi took the stage, but I wanted to feature the track that plays as she recounts the first day she saw Kousei play. Hoshi wa Yoru Kagayakunda ze (The Stars will Shine at Night) is a soft piano piece accented with a strummed instrument that seems to capture the childlike innocence of that moment.
The scene features a young Kousei before his mother turned him into an impeccable machine, showing him march out comically, knock over the piano stool, and exclaim “I did it!” after finishing his performance. The track likewise sounds like a gentle spring morning compared to the stronger emotions of other ones.
Kousei remarks about how he can see the colors of Emi’s performance. This pushes the realism aspect of the series again, but given how important color was in earlier episodes, consider what they’re trying to do.
These performances are dazzling for the audience, but there is a certain emotional connection there too. The way the world looks colorful when one falls in love, so too does a performance seem ‘colorful’ to the people who are moved by it.
This doesn’t get revisited a lot, but it’s something to keep in mind for later on.
Not a whole lot this week as it was mostly performance, but let me know what you think! If you missed a post, catch up on the re-watch party here