Ep 11 – Light of Life

After the competition ends, Kousei is approached by an old friend and confronts his rivals once again. Accepting himself as he is, Kousei decides to move forward. As the days drift into summer, Kaori receives an invitation for the two of them to play at a Gala event.

A costumed hero sliding down the side of a building

An odd sequence where Takeshi compares Kousei to some kind of superhero, but it has a lot to do with how Takeshi sees him, and it’s very different from Emi’s view. Kousei once inspired Takeshi like a comic book hero, and he’s been looking up to him ever since.

The judges chiding Kousei after the competition

This whole panel was stuffy judges who treat the competition like something sacred. Kousei (unwillingly) paid registration fees, so if they didn’t think he wasn’t good enough they should mark him off and move on instead of complaining like this. But hey, drama.

Hiroko holding baby Kousei

Hiroko’s appearance get some much needed adult perspective into Kousei’s situation, and with her being a close friend of his mother we start to get a little background on her as well. One thing that caught my attention here was that Saki said she didn’t want Kousei to be a pianist because it’s too hard a life.

Kousei watching his friends approach him after Hiroko leaves

Hiroko asks Kousei pretty bluntly which one, Tsubaki or Kaori, is his girlfriend. She could tell just by the way he was playing that he had someone very special in mind. Of course, Kousei tells himself that what he felt toward Kaori was gratitude, not love, and once again calls her “the girl who likes my friend.” The shot is even framed that way, with Tsubaki on one side of him and Kaori with Watari on the other side.

Kousei talking to Takeshi while the others look on

Kousei is okay with everything, in many ways. He practiced as hard as he could and went on stage to do his best. He’s not bothered by Takeshi’s taunt, and states that maybe this is the way he is now. It’s very different from before, when he was just running away from music.

Image of the bakery that Kaori's parents run

After the group tries to outrun a train, we see Kaori return home to a bakery. Is that why she has such a sweet tooth? Notice also the handrails in the hallway that she uses. Looks like her family has been dealing with her collapsing for a while.

Image of a name plate spelled K a w o r i

The spelling of her name is interesting here. Phonetically, かをり is pronounced “Ka-wo-ri,” but all the translations write it as Kaori. I think I’ll keep using the latter.

Kousei asleep with hands red from playing

Looks like Kousei was so excited that he went home and played all night. Is the curse lifted? I’m not sure what was meant by this scene, because the issues he has with his mother are far from resolved.

Kaori stands before Kousei who is kneeling on the ground

Kaori and Kousei are invited to play for the gala, but this time she’s not going to force him. Kousei made the decision after his performance to move forward. It’s up to him now to decide if this is what he wants to do.

On a side note, I like the dub’s line when Kaori comes to the roof. The translation just has her saying “nein!” but in the dub the line was changed to have Erica Lindbeck shout “Achtung! There will be breaks for us, Herr Friend A!”

Kousei holding the sheet music as Kaori tries to convince him

Kriesler’s Liebeslied is a lovely duet for violin and piano, but Kousei is right that it’s a strange choice for a gala in that it’s not very flashy. His insistence that they play something else is unlike him, though. He had no problem when Kaori selected a song for him before. His mother’s brief voice in that moment gives a strong hint about it, though.

Kousei and Koharu react to Hiroko offering to teach him

Kousei ‘comes clean’ with Hiroko in a sense, explaining that his meeting with Kaori was what got him to start playing again. Hearing this makes her decide to start teaching him herself. Hiroko obviously feels some sort of guilt over the pain Kousei has suffered. Given that, it seems like she’s going to be a much different teacher than Saki was.

Kaori lets a firefly fly off from her hand

The field full of fireflies is pretty if nothing else, but Kaori adds another one of her poetic sayings about how their light is like a heartbeat. She’s mentioned heartbeats before, in relation to music, and how without music there is no life. There’s probably a good reason she talks about this so much.

Kaori pretending to interview Kousei with an invisible mic

Kaori’s mock interview question reveals an important point about performing – That no one ever goes on stage completely alone, or without some feeling in their heart. It’s touching that Kousei is the one saying this, considering how lonely the piano made him feel before.

Kosei standing before Kaori as fireflies glow all around

Her follow up: “So what did you have in your heart?” leads to what I think is the most touching moment in the show so far. His admission of “I had you.”

I’ll be honest, I was frozen in anticipation after that. It’s pretty much a love confession, isn’t it? Kousei doesn’t back away from the statement, but doesn’t go the extra step either. He only pledges that one day he’ll walk beside her instead of behind.

Kouri staring up at Kousei after he tells her what was in his heart

I wondered what Kaori was thinking in that moment. If she realized how important she was to Kousei, or how much he really needs her.

A firefly sitting on a blade of grass with its light out

I’m guessing she does, because her Charlie Brown quote, “You know, I’m not always going to be around to help you,” indicates she never believed she could remain in his life.

Today’s track is an obvious pick. It’s called My Truth ~Rondo Capriccioso~ named after the piece Kaori and Kousei played for her 2nd round competition. You can hear some of the peice at the beginning and end of this track, with vocals by an artist named ENA.

One of the few vocal tracks anywhere on the OST, this is technically an insert song, but it’s still fair game here. The chorus has a line that translates to “I want to hold your flower, which wilted in a past full of glory.” It sums up Kaori’s feelings toward Kousei quite well.

Image of Kaori from behind holding her violin

This anime has Kousei looking at Kaori’s from behind a lot. The obvious notion is that he’s always following her lead, but we see shots like this frequently, even later on when he starts to come into his own. Think about why that might be as you watch the later episodes.

I’m going to take at least 1 day’s break so some of you who are watching with me can catch up. While you’re waiting for the next episode post, let me know what you think of this one! If you missed a post, catch up on the re-watch party here


15 thoughts on “Ep 11 – Light of Life

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  1. Another episode…and yet more worries that have appeared for Kaori. Two things happened that made me fill with dread. The things she was saying to her violin: almost like she was already saying goodbye to it in some way. And that final comment of hers really did it for me. I almost don’t want to continue anymore, as I feel really scared fo what might happen, but ofcourse I am going to 😊
    I really liked Hiroki. I hope she is going to play a bigger role in the coming episodes, because I feel she has a very kind heart, and truly has a good influence on Kousei.
    Speaking of Kousei, I was quite surprised by the way he reacted after failing. I had pretty much expected him to fall apart, but this reaction I really did not expect. Which comes to show that this series continues to amaze. So we have reached the halfway mark….onwards to the final 11 episodes 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had originally written a point about what she said to the violin, but then erased it. “Give me just a little more of your magic” makes it seem she knows she doesn’t have much time left, and of course the last line reiterates the point.

      Continuing after this was a scary prospect for me the first time also. It’s like you want to see it, but you don’t want to see it. What do you call this feeling? 😛 Sorry, I had to.

      Hiroko is a good person. I liked her entry into this show because finally some adult is guiding Kousei. I really don’t understand why we don’t even once see his dad. Is he completely blind to the problems his son is having?

      Mozart said “go on a journey.” Kousei decided to start his right there, and I was really proud of him.


  2. I love the Your Lie in April dub! The cast is amazing and they play their characters to a T.
    Looking back, this episode made me start to really worry about Kaori because, like you said, she did not believe she would be with Kosei forever. Geez, this was such a sentimental episode.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As far as dubs go, this one is pretty fantastic. Max Mittleman (Kousei) and Erica Mendez (Tsubaki) worked on a bunch of shows together, like Aldnoah.Zero, Erased, Magi, and A Lull in the Sea, so they’re quite comfortable with each other. And as much as I like Risa Taneda, Erica Lindbeck’s voice will always remind me of Kaori.

      And sentimental was right. This show made me feel things I had never felt watching an anime before.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Blah those stuffy judges got me irritated. At least Hiroko knows they’re insufferable. Speaking if which, Hiroko seems like a cool lady.

    I noticed that Tsubaki had a pouty look on her face when Watari said “the almighty duo” is back. Thinking back on it, she made an interesting face when she saw that Kaori was crying during Kousei’s performance and she didn’t respond when Kaori said that he, too, is a musician. Tsubaki just doesn’t understand what that entails.

    That love confession was so powerful. I had to pause the episode so I could steady myself with a bite of cold taco before continuing. Unfortunately Kaori doesn’t seem to react to his declaration aside from quoting an ominous line from Peanuts. This episode’s events, as well as the previous episodes’ signs, really make things look bleak for Kaori.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hiroko is one of my favorites. Like, I wish she was my aunt.

      The tale of Tsubaki the Unrequited continues. Like you said, the problem is that she doesn’t understand. She doesn’t fit into this world of theirs.

      Once again your observation skills are seriously scary. Tsubaki’s pout was like 0.5 seconds, and practically in the background. I had to go back and look because I wasn’t exactly sure what you were talking about.

      It looks like cold tacos are good for something. Kaori’s non reaction came off to me like a very controlled reaction. Who knows what was going on behind that long stare? One thing to consider is that she is becoming very aware of what effect she is having on Kousei, and also the effect she has on others.

      Her resigned line harshly tempers the exuberant ‘grab life by the horns’ mentality she had in prior episodes. Where she was all gung ho before about making an impact, this is the first sign of her perhaps trying to pull back a little, for several possible reasons.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I totally agree. Her kid is so lucky. Heck, Kousei is lucky, too.

        Poor Tsubaki.
        Wahaha yeah. She’s just a goldmine for subtle reactions. I also feel like she’s one to watch out for. Call it sympathy for the underdog, I suppose!

        Hooray for cold tacos!
        Good points about how she reacted the way she did. I wonder if she regrets how she has handled things.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. The fireflies! One of my favorite scenes. YLiA always has the most stunning art/animation. Oh man, I love how he’s really embracing his new reason to play…the weird pianist to match the crazy violinist. Ugh, Kousei at such a romantic scene – it could’ve been a good time to confess that he’s not friend. Oh, I never realized she said that to him as he was walking away, that she won’t always be around, and the symbolism of the firefly’s light going out…gosh..foreshadowing much?

    One thing I forgot to write was how I was so happy that Emi was able to see the sunflowers that she saw as a kid when Kousei played. She seems to be a bit more understanding of Kousei’s situation while Aizawa is dealing with the harsh reality that his hero isn’t invincible, isn’t the perfect person that he once was.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love the fireflies. I love pretty much everything about that scene.

      One of the things that resonate with me about Kousei is just how measured and cautious he is about expressing himself despite how strong his feelings for Kaori are. He knows how much she’s changed his life, but is hesitant to admit to even himself that he loves her.

      Good thing you’re rewatching! That was a pretty crucial line from Kaori that you missed. And coming after Kousei all but confesses his feelings I think it finally hits her as to what her departure might do to him.

      I think Emi and Takeshi make such great additions here because you see the effect Kouse has on people, but from the other side. Emi is very much the same as Kaori, wanting to experience the swell of emotion that she knows Kousei can produce. Taskeshi just wanted to beat the human metronome, and if that’s not what Kousei is anymore what is he playing for? He’s not in love like Emi is, but is still very much a part of the Kousei harem!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They both call Kousei “friend A” though. I wonder if she hadn’t repeatedly said you’re friend a allll the time to him he would actually come forward with his feelings. Or maybe; just maybe she wanted to keep him at a distance because of what’s to come; or maybe she didn’t anticipate that he’d fall in love with her that much? Bringing him back to the music world again brought more color into everyone’s world again. Ah, I love when Kousei plays those light like fireflies fly into the audience! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Mm yes, I think the whole concept of Friend A was a deliberate thing to keep him at a distance for several reasons. It’s all the more telling when he visits her in the hospital and she calls him by his first name, twice, without realizing it.

          I think Kousei falling in love wasn’t part of the plan, which is why she didn’t know what to say after he said “I had you.”

          But really Kaori is amazing. Think of all the lives she touched just by getting Kousei to sit down at a piano again.


  5. The o/wo thing is a bit interesting. を in regular Japanese is pretty much just a stand-alone particle (way of joining words together to give a particular meaning) it’s not used as part of other words, but you do occasionally see it used in names. Another anime character you may know with を in their name is Kaworu (かをる) from Evangelion. In practice, を can be romanised ‘wo’ to stop it from being confused with お ‘o’, another hiragana character, but at least to the English-speaking ear, the two sounds are pretty similar, the distinction is mainly for ease of reading. They’re both an ‘o’ pronounced in a similiar fashion to the ‘o’ in orange (or at least that is what I was taught at school regarding pronunciation, regional pronunciation of words may render this invalid). That’s your fun Japanese fact for the day!

    I didn’t expect the seeming high of last episode to last for long, and it seems like already there are some more cracks appearing in the lives and relationships of the characters. The way that Kaori was talking about the fireflies made it seem as though she was likening herself to a firefly; that she won’t be able to last long. I imagine that this is going to be meaningful in future episodes.

    I loved getting to meet Saki’s friend Hiroko, and see a bit more of Kousei and Saki’s past. It’s interesting seeing that Saki initially said that she didn’t want Kousei to become a pianist. It’s not really gone into in much detail, so I wonder what happened which made her change her mind?

    Standouts: Definitely the scene with the fireflies. As mentioned, they’re both beautiful and impermanent. It was a delight to see them animated, and I also think that it has a lot to do with how the events of this series are going to play out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pasta, I’m sorry for the late reply. Your comment went to spam for some reason and I only saw it during an unscheduled cleanup of spam comments.

      Interesting lesson on the usage of the characters. Seems like the English spelling can be used interchangeably as there doesn’t seem to be a set rule on romanized translilteration. I always used a harder “wo” sound when saying “Kaworu” though, as compared to “Kaoru,” though I don’t know for sure whether I’m making a mistake there or not. A good fun fact regardless!

      This episode is the turning point of the series in a lot of ways, situated at the midpoint as it is. Kousei is squarely on the path toward healing and growing at this point, but it’s tinged with other difficulties as well.

      I don’t know that I got the sense that Kaori was commenting on the impermanence of the firefliles (at least not so overtly as Grave of the Fireflies did) but rather the steady beat of their lights representing the very heartbeat of life. How it shines brilliantly, the way Kousei did when music brought him back to life.

      The analogy can of course be extended, as the light fading out in the final moments of the episode being a not so subtle indicator of the intent behind her words.


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