Ep 9 – Resonance

As Emi finishes her performance, Kousei once again confronts the nervousness and excitement that comes with playing on stage. His long hours of practicing for this event appear to be paying off, but haunting memories resurface to plague him.


Image of Emi shouting from the top of a jungle gym

Backtracking a little, we get a little more on what Emi was feeling that day at the concert hall as she humorously climbs the tallest structure she can and declares her intention to the world. Kids can be pretty dramatic, but she was serious because she threw away every other distraction in her life.

Emi's vision of Kousei playing among sunflowers

What could be worth such focus? Being able to create the kind of emotional resonance that Kousei instilled in her that day. It’s a lot more romantic a motivation than Takeshi had, but even if it’s a little dramatic I think it helps make her an interesting character.

Emi grabs Kousei by the shirt

After pouring her heart out in her performance, Emi gets ready to give Kousei a piece of her mind, but backs off. I’m with Takeshi here – not sure if she was going to hit him or confess her love.

Image of several packets of medication from Kaori's bag

Where they were a little vague before, the show is getting pretty overt that there is a serious problem with Kaori. Her pile of medication, obscured eyes as she leaves the bathroom, and commentary from nosy ladies, ensures we realize it.

Image of a pencil showing the number 2, indicating Opus 25 number 5 on a list

Selecting his piece with a pencil roll? Nice coaching, Kaori. It’s silly but the point she made is noteworthy. It doesn’t matter what he plays. Just that he goes up there and plays it.

Image of Kousei heading out to the stage

Kousei is actually feeling excited about playing again with Takeshi and Emi’s performances in his head. It seems at long last he’s starting to feel the thrill of performing again, and it’s all because of these talented people around him.

Young Kousei hiding his bruises behind his back with Tsubaki at the door

Another sad scene that probably played out many times. Kousei can’t come out to play when Tsubaki comes around. He tries to hide his bruises too. You can tell that he would love to go outside, but his mother’s cruelty is too much to stand up to.

Kousei walking home from the store through a field with his friends

Saki told Kousei that his success was the best medicine for her, but what was probably meant as encouragement is treated as a responsibility for Kousei. In addition to looking after her, he takes it upon himself to actually heal her. In his mind, she’s getting sicker because he’s not playing well enough. This kid takes everything on his small shoulders when it comes to her and it’s sad to watch.

Kousei being hit by Saki's cane after his performance

If you weren’t feeling bad enough already, this scene is just painful. Saki strikes him with a cane right there in front of everyone just because he didn’t play exactly what was on the sheet. The audience thought he was better than ever but that doesn’t matter. Saki’s little machine can’t have defects, and she’s going to beat them out of him.

Kousei telling his mother off after she hits him

I cheered a little for young Kousei in this moment, but it masks the incredibly painful moment that this is. Fed up with never being good enough, his last words to his mother were that he wished she would die. This is the reason why Saki haunts him to this day.

This s a lot like what Kakeru went through in Orange. It seems like it’s a protagonist’s luck that the last thing they say to a loved one is hurtful, and then they spend their life feeling guilty about it.

An image drained of color as Saki's ghost whispers taunts to Kousei

The color fades once again as guilt and panic consume Kousei. The show once again goes the extra mile to make this moment feel as uncomfortable as it can. It’s another tense cliffhanger ending, though not as worrying as Kaori’s collapse.


Today’s track is Kaasan to no Omoide (Memories with Mother). It’s one of the most ominous sounding ones on the OST, and if the title doesn’t make it clear why then the scene they use it in  – Saki cruelly beating Kousei with a cane – really drives the point home.

The message behind the singular piano notes (is it an F note?) seems pretty clear, representing the instruments’ solitude in this piece. The strings flow slowly and softly behind it, changing in pitch and volume while the piano continues its one note. It’s the tragic irony of the word “with” in the title. There are two of them there in the memory, but Kousei is still frightened and alone.


Kousei visits his mom in the hospital with a pile of medication behind her

The motif introduced in this episode that we’ll watch out for is the parallels between the people who have pushed Kousei onto the stage. Saki’s mentions her pile of medicine, and that Kousei’s success is the best medicine of all. We saw another pile of medicine not long ago, didn’t we?


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

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14 thoughts on “Ep 9 – Resonance

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  1. My God, this was such a powerful episode. There were two things in this one that really hit me: The pills from Kaori, and the scene between young Kousei and his mother.
    Even though I already knew and felt that there is something seriously wrong with Kaori, this scene really drove it home. I am really getting worried about it, and am preparing myself for the worst to be honest. I already felt a small tremor in my heart while watching that moment, so I am pretty nervous about what is to come.
    Secondly Kousi and his mother: I really, really felt an intense hatred coming to the surface when she kept hitting him. And then him telling her that he wished she would die, wow seriously the emotion behind that scene was off the charts. I almost cheered when he did it, until I realised the true sadness behind it.
    This series continues to surprise me. Just when I though that with Erased and Orange I had seen two of the best slice of life dramas, I really am backtracking on that thought. Honestly, I am thankful that you started this rewatch feature. I don’t think that I would have started watching this series otherwise, and I would have missed out on a very special Anime 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are a string of very powerful episodes coming before the half season mark, with a whole mix of emotions. Prepare yourself!

      I won’t tell you to worry or not worry about Kaori as I don’t want to spoil anything. You should experience everything that happens with a fresh perspective. But one thing you should think about through this is why she’s trying to hide her condition so much. Why not be honest with these people she’s becoming so close to?

      This series tries pretty hard to make you hate Saki. Thus far she’s still nothing more than a bad memory for Kousei, aside from that brief moment when he remembered she taught him to hit the keys gently. As you watch this though, remember that Saki is not an abstract evil force, but a human being who is facing a terminal illness. The moment I realized what Kakeru was going through in Orange, I recalled this scene and what Kousei was going through with his mom. You know how that series turned out, so I think you will have a good idea of how hard this is for Kousei now.

      And Michel, it’s my absolute pleasure to share this with you. I always feel glad that you’re participating when I hear things like this from you. Erased and Orange make some bold emotional statements, but I don’t feel like they can compare to Your lie in April. I think it’s something everyone should watch, because it really does have something special to offer.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hmm, that is a good question about Kaori. I believe that when you are seriously ill, it is tough to speak about it with the people you are close to. Especially those, as they are the ones who might get hurt by it. The easy way is not to tell them: to spare them pain, sadness, and everything that comes with it. But the real question is do you really prevent them from grieving, or will the shock be worse if it turns out to be a (God forbid), terminal illness. I think it is always a tough choice what to do in a situation such as that. In the end though, I think it is best to be open about it. The true friends are the ones that will support you in a good way, and help you face it in a good way.
    Yeah, it is seriously tiugh not to hate her at this point, but I definitely know what you mean. The situation with Kakeru and his mother was really tough, and this series really has some similarities between those situations. But true, can’t imagine the pain that Kousei going through.
    Yes, both Orange and Erased were utterly fantastic, but this series raises the bar to a whole new level to be sure 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think this was the episode where I realised where Kaori’s character was going. I’d kind of known before what the end would be, but this episode made it clear that this anime wasn’t going to back away from that particular end and at least it lets you prepare for what is to come.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I agree to a point here. It lets you prepare for what might happen, but leaves enough wiggle room so as not be stuck with one outcome over the other. At this point I don’t think we can get too far into it though.

      I think the bigger point is to draw the parallel between Kaori and Saki. Their stories are purposely linked in that their goals are the same, but their methods are different. Whereas one led toward crippling Kousei, the other has the chance to lift him up, but only if she avoids the same traps.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Emi really performed wonderfully out there. The inconsistent performers always have my support. Seems like she’s now fired up with Kousei back.

    I did notice that Kaori and Saki both had piles of medicine, but I missed the parallelism.

    Both are affecting the way Kousei approaches piano, but one used brute force while the other was much more gentle. Kaori did worry that she was being too forceful a few episodes ago, but her methods were not nearly as severe as that of Saki’s.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I kind of like them too. That’s kind of the appeal behind any sport/competition, right? It’s always more fun when a performer can surprise you.

      Yep, Kaori was forceful too, but not in a way that traumatized Kousei. She caused pain, sure, but that’s only because the wounds were already there. He can’t even approach this without hurting a little.

      But seeing Kaori kind of realize the impact she’s having was key, I think. It’s not like she’s a mental health counselor or anything. She wants to help but doesn’t know if she’s doing the right thing. It’s a sweet display of the uncertainty in her own steadfast heart.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I had written this comment but then it disappeared. So now I’m not quite sure what I wrote originally. But….gosh, I remember crying so hard during this episode. All of kousei’s emotions and troubles. Watching him take the abuse from his mom. He took all that pain just to make his mom in hopes that it would make her even better.

    When the trio was walking through the fields as kids, the moment watari said something about what his parents had heard about kousei’s mom, i never noticed how reflextively hid his arms full of bruises.

    This episode was full of such emotions for kousei.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you might not have been logged in when you first commented because I got an approval request from an unidentified user whose comment was very similar to this one. You pretty much exactly reproduced it though, so no worries 🙂

      I captured a shot of him rolling down his sleeve but ended up cutting it from this post. That was definitely a very telling scene and it shows how much Naoshi Arakawa gets this relationship. As much as she hurts him, Kousei still feels like his mom is on his side and it’s the two of them against the world. He rolls down his bruises to fool everyone else and himself into thinking that what she’s doing is okay.

      No wonder he was so traumatized by her death. After going through all that with the hope that it will help her somehow, losing her was completely devastating for him.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I proceed on my no longer really a group watch of this series. I’ll get there!

    I found the interactions between Kousei and Saki to be quite upsetting to watch. I really felt for him taking on the responsibility of her wellbeing by trying to play well. It’s more emotional responsibility than is fair or reasonable for anyone.

    Kaori definitely has some real health issues. The only time I’ve ever met a young person who takes that sort of medication is a friend of one of my friends who has Cystic Fibrosis. That’s a life-threatening illness, so I don’t know what Kaori has exactly or if it’s even disclosed during the series or just ‘plot convenience disease’, but I’d imagine that it has to be something of that magnitude.

    There’s definitely more parallels between past events and current happenings. It definitely seems as though we’re continuing to see how Kousei’s past shapes his future.

    Standouts: How grey the flashbacks were when featuring Saki, as though Kousei sees all these things bleakly.

    You mentioned it, but the giant pile of medication that Kaori is taking really emphasised there’s something going on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pasta (that’s your short name now), I’m glad you’re continuing on with this. I’ve missed your commentary this past month but more than that I’m glad you’re feeling well enough to do this. Let’s not worry about how many it takes to make a group and keep enjoying this 😀

      I think this was one of the harder episodes to watch. I always found it a little strange that Saki let him believe that playing well would help her get better. Maybe it was just another motivational ploy? His father’s absence through not only this, but nearly the entire series, also raises some questions that are never really answered, but that lack of parental direction is surely what made him think this was all on him to fix.

      Kaori’s condition is most certainly “plot illness” but it does pretty closely match a real condition that we can talk about later.

      Was it this post I started pushing the parallelism in this series? The past being an indicator of the future is a pretty accurate adage for Kousei. Half the fun of this is seeing how far that applies, and where it doesn’t, so I’ll leave you to discover as you go along.

      The standpoint point is good as usual. His memories of Saki are definitely painted a certain way, and they still create this image of her as some sort of negative force that won’t stop haunting him so long as he touches the piano.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re right, we can still enjoy watching this together at my own pace! (It’s totally fine to call me Pasta, lots of people do)

        You’ve been talking about parallelism for a while in this series; how the events of the past mirror the events of the present (or ways in which they don’t match one another).

        I always wonder in series where one parent is absent from the picture and there’s no explanation. Has the missing parent died? Are the character’s parents divorced/separated? Only having one parental figure in your life definitely affects a person, and it’s weird to not see this play out in a series which is definitely looking at familial interaction. Where is Kousei’s dad? I guess if it’s not touched on, I shouldn’t worry about it too much.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. “Away on business” is the official explanation. He doesn’t really factor into the series much but it seems like Kousei doesn’t have a bad relationship with him or anything, with both he and another character mentioning him occasionally.

          By the way, I did hold the lottery and drew your name for a prize. If you want to use my contact page to send me an email we can work out the details.

          Liked by 1 person

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