Ep 13 – Love’s Sorrow

With Kaori unaccounted for, Kousei plays a solo piano arrangement from memory in lieu of their planned duet. Still unable to hear the notes, he recalls the tenderness with which his mother played when he was a child.

Episode Moments

Saki playing the piano from Kousei's point of view beneath it

The first thing that struck me about this episode is that we actually see Saki’s eyes for the first time, and young Kousei’s gaze from underneath the piano full of love for her. We see further when Hiroko arrives that Saki was actually cheerful once.

Hiroko amazed by Kousei playing the piano for the first time

Kousei doesn’t play quite as well as Hiroko yet, but she’s amazed by his skill all the same, considering no one ever taught him. It looks like she was the one who actually convinced Saki that he should take up piano.

Kousei angrily hitting the piano keys

He’s angry about Miike’s words, he’s angry Kaori’s not here, and he’s angry that he can’t hear the notes. The audience isn’t booing yet, which must mean he’s playing well enough, but it’s still all wrong.

Image of Saki with an adoring expression gently holding a baby Kousei against her, bathed in warm colors

Just like when he played with Kaori, he remembers his mother’s lesson. Touch the keys gently, like holding a baby; just like she used to hold him. For having never seen Saki’s eyes before this episode, her gaze is the embodiment of motherly affection here.


Kousei can’t hear himself play it, but he heard his mom play it all the time. The notes are in him, and so he decides to play it the way she did. It’s such an incredible moment because once again Kousei is realizing he’s not alone up there.

Saki on the floor of the concert hallway, crying over Kousei's cracked glasses

At last we see Saki’s side of things. It doesn’t excuse what she did to him, but she was a woman out of time. “There was no time for artistry” she explains. All she could do was teach him to win competitions. If he could do that, the piano could support him. It was the last thing she was able to give him.

Saki dreaming of being able to hold Kousei close to her again, their faces showing joy

But still she wanted more. She worried until her final moments about whether she did enough for Kousei, but on top of it all she just wanted more time with him. I know I’m sharing a lot of Kousei/Saki moments but that’s the point of this episode!

Saki in her wheelchair holding Kousei in her lap as he smiles

How many of you were asking the same question? Why always play Love’s Sorrow when you also have Love’s Joy? Maybe Saki knew there was tragedy in her future, and played until sorrow wasn’t as scary.

The thing I really love about this scene is that her eyes were obscured again, as they normally are when she’s in her wheelchair, but as she leans forward to pull him into her lap we see her eyes again and they have happy tears in them.

Kousei walks away from the piano in a dramatic artistically framed shot

Kousei doesn’t see the ghost taunting him, or even his mother watching from her usual spot. With this performance he says goodbye, and can finally begin to heal from the pain he suffered in losing her.

Tsubaki watching Kousei walk away, with everything in vivid colors

Tsubaki is torn between relief that they talk to each other the same way and sorrow that nothing has changed. She’s confused, but the vivid colors here should tip off the audience as to which way she’s leaning.

Kaori smiles cheerfully from her hospital bed as Kousei rushes in

Of course, one emotional turn deserves another. Hiroko and Ochiai believe Kousei is the type of musician who finds growth through sorrow. The heartbreaking followup to that is that he must lose someone else to grow further.

Featured Music

Finding a track from the OST to cover for this episode was really tough since they played Liebeslied for maybe 11 of the 22 minutes of airtime. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great peice, but not original to this show. On top of that I already talked about AgainKouiu Kimochi wo Nante Itta Kana, and Maru de Eiga no One Scene no you ni, which were the only other ones I caught this episode. So today I’ll take the opportunity to showcase the second OP : Nanairo Symphony.

This video isn’t the actual OP, as those got pulled off youtube. Instead I have coalamode, the band that did the song, performing it out in public in Yokohama. The song is just so happy and cheerful, which will be a much appreciated thing in this second half, but it’s not out of step with the series either. A free and unrestrained sound, the innocent happiness of youth, and the theme of individual parts coming together to make a symphony.

Noteworthy MotifKousei envisioning Saki's hands reaching out to hold his

Kousei pretty much spells this one out near the end of his performance when he says he’s connected to Kaori, and connected to his mother. Even without their physical presence in the hall, they are with him.

Performing, and watching a performance, creates connections that go beyond the few minutes that you’re exposed to the music. Kousei realizes that there’s so much about him that reflects Saki, because she was a part of his life and there’s no erasing that. This builds off what he told Kaori two episodes ago – that no one goes on stage completely alone.

This was another emotional episode. What did you think of it? If you missed a post, you can catch up on the re-watch party here

12 thoughts on “Ep 13 – Love’s Sorrow

Add yours

  1. I have to say that some of my favorite moments of the series so far, were in this episode. I really loved the fact that we finally got to his mother”so side of things, and it makes things clear. Not enough to forgive for everything though, but still enough to at least understand why she did the things she did. And how great was it to finally see her eyes for a change. I loved the fact that it almost seems like Kousei has made peace with everything.
    I also had a smile on my face with the song that Hiroko played about her husband. That was seriously funny, and having Kousei repeat it made it even funnier.
    Kousei’s performance was ofcourse the highlight of this show and it did not disappoint. It’s great that he finally managed to find the strength within to give such a great performance and when it ended I almost began clapping myself (until remembering that I am watching an Animeseries and not an actual performance lol😂)
    And then ofcourse the end of the episode nearly broke my heart. Seeing Kaori in the hospital and still managing a smile: wow, what a strong person she is. Totally amazing. There are people in this world that can also manage that for their family and loved ones, who are in similar situations and it never quite stops being amazing if you are somehow able to pull that off. I can’t believe how this series keeps finding ways to completely play with your emotions every single time. I don’t think that there has ever been an anime that has done this for me so strongly.
    Unless something really weird happens I don’t think that the verdict I am going to be giving this series in the end for my review will be too big a surprise 😂😂


    1. This episode is kind of the culmination of Kousei getting over that hurdle, so it’s not surprising that you found many great moments in it. As you said, he makes peace with everything, and believes that he was able to find happiness because of his mom, instead of being a prisoner of his guilt. It’s one of the many reasons that I love his character.

      I’m really glad you’re enjoying these performances. They can be boring for people who don’t appreciate classical music, but I feel like this series has a story that can be appreciated no matter what your interest in music.

      I felt the same way. That this anime led my emotions like no other had been able to. Closest one was with Anohana, but I feel like this one has more depth.

      Excited to hear that you’l review this series! Even if we’re talking about it for 22 episodes I’m looking forward to reading your overall thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Definitely plan on doing a review for this one, and expect a big shout out for your blog in it as well. You are the one that managed to convince me to try this one out in the first place, and I would probably have skipped this series if you did not start this feature. So in short: thank you very much, and as I said, once the show is finished I am definitely going to feature it on my blog 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  2. There were a lot of colorful imagery in this episode, such as when Kousei played the piano while thinking of Kaori and while Tsubaki struggled with her own feelings after they all left the concert hall. The implications of feelings…!

    I really loved the line where Hiroko called Kousei that son of ours. She really does care for him like a son and it shows. I am also really glad that Ochiai is still showing up. Hooray for motherly teachers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mm hmm. The colors don’t lie. There’s feelings all over this concert hall.

      That was a great line. With Kousei’s dad away most of the time and Hiroko seemingly often coming to Saki when she had marital problems before having Koharu, I think they felt like Kousei was something special to both of them.

      Ochiai was likely there because she knew Emi would be, but it goes to show how in touch she is with her student’s feelings. Notice Takayanagi was nowhere to be seen, probably not sure what to think of Kousei after the Maihou competition.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Child Kousei is so cute! Especially when he randomly starts playing the piano when Hiroko came to vent her frustrations out on the piano and started singing random lyrics. I love how he’s like “I just play”. Is it this episode..I think it is…Emi says kousei’s play style is that of a child peeking around the corner. I think it’s great that Kousei is finally realizing the joy and having fun with playing. And instead of feeling like he’s stuck at the bottom of the ocean he’s looking for the like. Ah, I forgot how much of a positive influence Hiroko was in helping him cope with not being able to hear!!

    Is the final performance the last one? Or is there another one before that..I know Sleeping Beauty is coming-one of my favorites from this show. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thinking about child Kousei’s life brings such a warm smile to my face and makes me want to cry at the same time. Falling asleep under the piano while his mom plays Liebeslied, striking away at the keys because it just feels like the most natural thing in the world to him, and feeling so much love and tenderness from a mother who would have given anything just to hold him a little longer.

      I didn’t cry watching this episode the first time, but my first time rewatching got to me. It’s what you said – his realization of the joy he can feel from playing, and it’s all thanks to Saki. Man, right in the kokoro.

      And yes, Hiroko is incredible for how she approached this situation. She has the same slavedriver mentality that Saki had but she understands so much more about Kousei and when she can push him vs when she can’t.

      Sleeping Beauty I think is the last one before Chopin’s Ballade no. 1 which he plays in the final episode. Is that what you were referring to?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes exactly what I meant, I was curious if there were any other pieces that he played leading up to Chopin’s Ballade. I could watch that scene over and over and still get emotional.

        I love that this episode was filled with positive memories of his mother! Also, that line when she said she plays love’s sorrow is for kousei to prepare kousei or something for the sorrow he’ll experience with the loss of his mom…so sad I’m tearing up just thinking about how the mom just wanted to teach him all the technical aspects first before she died because she wanted him to be able to support himself off of music. She regretted not teaching him how to express the music I think through her last convo with Hiroko.

        Listening to the OST today probably doesn’t help with the tears. lol.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Kousei’s mother is definitely a complicated story that’s much deeper than the ghost that haunted him. I’ll admit that his memories of her are kind of dramatized to show how that cruel upbringing shaped him, but at the same time if we’re experiencing all this from his perspective maybe that’s really how he saw it. It took a special kind of exposure therapy, like playing Liebeslied, to unlock the happier memories he shared with her and find the notes that were ingrained in him before he was even aware of what they were.

          Saki as a character is woefully under-explored in this, as I think they give just enough to show her parallel to Kaori. I’m sure she suffered from so much regret in her life, and that was part of the reason she became so cold and demanding. It’s hard to understand the kinds of things a parent is willing to do for their child in order to make sure they survive.

          Ah, I know what you mean. Since I’ve been adding music to each post the OST has been paying a lot in our house. It’s gotten to the point where Kimmie thinks of me whenever she hears track 02: Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso.

          I’m usually okay listening to it until it reaches Kimi ga Iru. Or Otouto Mitai Sonzai piano solo. Or Watashi no Uso 😥

          Liked by 1 person

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