Kaori and Kousei are giving their all to pursue their goals, leaving Tsubaki to wonder about her place. With Kousei’s rivals are also preparing to do their best, he finds an opportunity to connect with them like he never has before.
Kousei’s motivational plea works, as we see that Kaori wants to go for the surgery. This is the fearless girl we saw at the beginning, and it’s nice to see that little bit of strength. The operation is only supposed to be a delaying action for whatever she has, it seems, but she feels like even a little more time with Kousei is worth it.
Tsubaki is pretty happy about her cram school score, but only Kashiwagi seems to really know why. She hasn’t gone so far as to tell Kousei her feelings, but she’s doing what the has to in order to keep herself closer to him.
Like everything she does when she puts her mind to it, Kaori puts her full effort behind getting better and in a good enough condition to play with Kousei again. Her illness aside, the long hospital stay has left her weak, so she hits physical therapy hard.
Kousei underestimates his part in all this, but Kaori’s father reminds him what she’s fighting for. I try to place myself in her father’s shoes and imagine how thankful he must feel that Kousei inspired her like this.
I half picked this scene for that pencil topper of hers. Kashiwagi once again playing the wise one as she explains to Tsubaki why Kousei needs to focus so much on the competitions, and it’s like the dog is emphasizing her points. The main point here is that Tsubaki should stop treating music like the enemy. It’s something Kousei loves, and if she wants to be there for him she has to support him.
Tsubaki cuts Kousei’s hair, and for a moment its like they’re like their old selves again. As they did a few times in this series already, Tsubaki remarks on the simple things she finds in the moment. The dry snip of the scissors, the tangle of his hair. The moment is nothing at all, and everything. More so than the others, their relationship is a collection of these trivial shared experiences that she has come to treasure.
For an episode that is otherwise light on content, this is pretty special. Kousei, always miles away from these two mentally, is actually mingling and trying to make friends. Highlighting how different it is from when they were younger was a nice way to show how they have all grown.
The last half of this episode is focused on Takeshi, and his understanding of how his life was affected by his rivals. He’s learned that Kousei is his own person, rather than a machine he’s tried to defeat, and that they’re both on the same journey. It’s a great moment of maturity for him as he realizes that he’s only come to the point he’s at because of Kousei and Emi. Two people that can take everything he throws at them.
With this episode he’s grown up and found what the piano really means to him, and is ultimately thankful for Kousei’s presence in his life. For inspiring him and challenging him to be his best. We saw with Emi just how impactful Kousei’s playing can be, and now Takeshi has come around to regard him with gratitude rather than enmity.
Today’s featured track is Kousei wa Tensai da yo! (Kousei is a genius!). This track is often played while one of the characters is thinking about Kousei (usually Tsubaki), with its soft strumming indicating a consideration of his gentler, warmer side. In this episode it’s when Tsubaki is talking to Kashiwagi regarding what Kousei’s focus should be. Tsubaki, Nagi, and Takeshi all come to see a side of Kousei that they didn’t at first, and it’s usually something that softens their opinion of him.
The thing that sticks out about this track is how unhurried it is. Its quickest pace comes more than a minute in, and even then the gentle strumming makes it feel warm and relaxing. The long pauses between strumming are like thoughtful contemplation, as if searching for the answer to a question before the simple answer naturally flows.
Not much for today, but tomorrow’s episode should give us plenty to make up for it. For now, let me know what you think of this one! If you missed one of the episode posts, catch up on the re-watch party at this link.