Ep – 20 Hand in Hand

Tsubaki confronts Kousei about how they both feel as he makes another excuse not to visit Kaori. With time slipping away, the characters open up more about their feelings, though doing so makes them vulnerable as well.

This was one of the most emotional episodes of the series for me, tied possibly with the finale. It was filled with moments of beauty and terrible sadness, to the point where I would wake up at night remembering them. Still, these last three episodes are where I feel the unforgettable nature of this show really lies.

Episode Moments

Tsubaki looking surprised as Kousei offers her a lemonade

Ah Tsubaki, always the tough girl from day one. Was there something in her mind even back then? Hearing Kousei think of her as a girl instead of a gorilla throws her off guard, but only for a moment before she powers up with Vitamin C.

Tsubaki staring at the empty piano bench as she holds her test paper

It’s not an amazing grade, but it’s pretty good for Tsubaki. She was proud enough that she wanted to share with Kousei, but he isn’t there. Tsubaki’s silence here seems to indicate she knows exactly where he’s gone.

Image of Chelsea as a kitten

Shared because it’s a cat. We see that Chelsea was a stray, which is why his mom probably didn’t have any great attachment to her. Still, it’s pretty mean that Saki would toss her back out on the street.

Young Tsubaki struggling to think of something great about Kousei

Looks like Tsubaki wasn’t sure what was great about Kousei even back then, but her effort here is what counts. She at least reminds him that a soulless puppet wouldn’t be out in the rain looking for a kitten, so there’s something special to him after all.

Kousei and Tsubaki walking away from the hospital

Kousei flakes out on visiting Kaori again, but only after he sees Watari is going. We’ve seen him keep his distance when they’re together before, but not since she got out of the hospital the first time do we see him turn and go the other way.

Tsubaki yelling at Kousei

Tsubaki knows why, of course. What’s surprising is that Kousei actually admits to her that he loves Kaori. She goes into a pretty mean tirade about how he’ll never measure up to Watari because she’s hurt by how he feels. Kousei just smiles and agrees, because it’s not like he hasn’t thought all these things already.

Tsubaki taking a deep breath after she suggests Kousei should love her

But she finally says what she’s been struggling to all along. That if Kousei can’t have Kaori, maybe he should fall in love with her instead. Her heart was probably racing as we see her take a couple of deep breaths afterwards. It took a lot of guts to say that to someone who she thinks never saw her as a girl.

Two notable things here. Kousei’s face as he turns to her, and the cat which was lazily cleaning itself raises its head right before Tsubaki makes her suggestion. Is it any clearer yet what that cat might represent?

The cat brushing against Kousei's leg as he talks on the phone

Kaori leaves him a voicemail telling him he should focus on practicing, then calls him moments after he listens to it to talk about a huge plane she saw. Such a trivial moment, Kousei can’t help but take it in. “The plane sets sail across an ocean of stars. Like a cat in the dark, you appear out of nowhere.”

Kouri facing her hospital room window as she talks to Kousei on the phone

Kaori’s back is turned again as Kousei says “I don’t care about time. I want to see you.” What is she feeling in these moments? How much do these simple words mean to her? Kousei’s inner monologue here is great, especially in the English dub. You don’t expect 14 year olds to talk like this, but he’s an artist!

“It flies overhead as though by magic. Knowing I’m under the same sky as you, it paints the night with a touch of wonder. You speak and I swing between hope and despair, keeping time to the melody in my heart. What do people call this feeling again? Something so rare, it must have a name. Maybe they call it being in love.”

Watari smiles as Kousei tells him how he feels about Kaori

Watari pretty much confirms here he’s understood all along. As Kousei confesses his feelings for Kaori, he just smiles and says he knew. At this point he’s admitted to Tsubaki, himself, and now Watari how he feels. The only one he hasn’t told outright is Kaori.

Kaori's hand slips off her rail as she loses consciousness

Kaori goes into a seizure just as they arrive at her room though, with her hand slipping off the rail. It echoes what she talked about at the mall, how the girl grasped her hand tightly because she was too afraid to let go. Kaori desperately grasps the rail right before this until the strength simply leaves her, and Kousei is the one filled with fear.

It might be spoiling to say that she doesn’t die in this scene, but I feel like the series doesn’t do a good job of letting the viewer know that. Maybe the intention was to be unclear, but making you wait until the next episode to find that out is too mean.

Kousei rushing the injured cat to the vet

Its not like they don’t have plenty of terribly emotional scenes left. As Kousei rushes the injured cat to the vet I’m sure he must be thinking of Kaori and the impermanence of life. He looks down at his blood covered hands which his mother had always tried to take care of and can’t feel anything but despair.

Kousei's hand trembling after he washes it clean

I’ve never once made it through this sequence without tearing up. Kousei scrubs his hands as if to wash away the very memories associated with them as he sees several visions of Kaori’s hands, and the moments when they touched his. He completely breaks down as he fears he might never touch her hands again.

Featured Music

Today’s track is one that I have wanted to share for a while, but I knew this was the perfect episode for it. Otouto Mitai Sonzai (Feels like a younger brother), to me, will always be Tsubaki’s theme. It’s played when they take shelter under the rain, making small talk about the weather and cuts out right before Kousei admits he loves Kaori.

The piano solo version of this track sounds very lonely, but with the addition of the other instruments in the full version here you get a sense of pleasant nostalgia for childhood and cherished memories that never quite disappear. The melody is generally upbeat without being excited, and the C Minor signature of the piano track may signify confidence or safety. Still, there is a notable sadness at the tail end of the melody, as if knowing that comfort won’t last.

Notable Motif

Tsubaki and Kousei as kids sitting under an enclosure at the playground

I didn’t think I’d have one this late in the series, but the way Tsubaki tried to help a young Kousei when he was out looking for Chelsea is something that’s delivered on pretty quickly. In an episode that heavily focused on their bond, Tsubaki promises to stay with Kousei forever and ever.

In a sense, it shows that her relationship with him goes further than pushing him the way she did earlier in the series. When the need was there, Tsubaki has always offered a patient ear and someone to lean on.

That’s all I have for today, now let me know what you think! If you missed one of the episode posts, catch up on the re-watch party at this link.

13 thoughts on “Ep – 20 Hand in Hand

Add yours

  1. I’m glad you are saying that she isn’t dead, because I think my heart pretty much stopped when I saw that scene. It was shocking, and to have it end on that note was definitely cruel. Kousei’s scene when he washed his hands was truly sad. But then again this entire episode was sad. Tsubaki confessing her feelings for Kousei, was what I thought a very sad moment as well. Because even though she admits she loves him, she must know in her heart, that her feelings will go unanswered and that Kousei will always keep seeing her as a friend.
    For me Watari is also a hero. I have said it before his role is s,all, but very important, and that moment where he says that he already knew about Kousei’s feeling for Kaori was a great scene. It somehow filled me with joy.
    And now there only two more episodes. I still have not skipped ahead yet, but I am afraid for the ending. I will keep a box of tissues near me 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, lots of sad moments. That’s why I said I wanted to make sure you had a post to comment on when you watched this one. The series doesn’t hold back anymore after this, and delivers the full weight of the story it’s been creating.

      Kousei must have been feeling very worried and confused with Tsubaki, but when he tells Watari his feelings, he gets acceptance and even support. That’s just the kind of friend Watari is, but to be fair he’s not in love with Kousei like Tsubaki is.

      I think I might have to send you tissues with any prize you may win! This series will throw around your emotions like a sumo wrestler until the very end.

      Kaori’s seizure and the cat dying was such a sudden shift from the hopeful and happy scenes like Kousei and Kaori talking on the phone. My feelings on this series are just like the thoughts Kousei had during that phone call. “You speak, and I swing between hope and despair.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. As I have to work today, I am going to watch the next episode when I get back home. Strangely (or perhaps not strangely), I am looking forward to it, and dreading it at the same time. But I am going to see it through until the end. I am probably going to doing a review for it on thursday. If I can find the correct words for it that is 😊

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hmm.. a review right after you finish it? I needed 4 months to absorb this series 😀

          It was my first review. I don’t know if you read it as I didn’t know you (or anyone!) back when I wrote it. In any case, I look forward to reading yours! I’ve had so much fun watching with you this month and I’m eager to know how you feel about it when all is said and done.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. This was such an emotional episode. I couldn’t help but want to watch the next two episodes as soon as possible.

    Early into the episode I noticed the reoccurring motif of light and riles popping up again. A little shy of four minutes into the episode shows Watari and Kaori chatting in her hospital room while Kousei sits off to the side. The lighting is focused on the jock and the ill violinist, leaving Kousei alone in the dark. He still considers himself to be just Friend A at this point, it seems.

    Great job pointing out how Kaori desperately trying to grab something is a callback of sorts regarding the lost child in an earlier episode. The parallelism is strong.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m pretty impressed that you caught up, Remy. Now you’re itching to get ahead? 😀

      I can’t blame you. I think I watched the last two episodes together, but managed to hold off after this one. Don’t ask me how.

      I went back and watched that scene, and you’re absolutely right. I guess it was only natural that they would do that since that conversation with Tsubaki pointed out that he doesn’t want to be there when Watari and Kaori are together. He certainly still sees himself as Friend A, no matter how he feels about her.

      The last few episodes come full circle on most of the motifs. It’s a treasure trove of if you’re looking for them, but a lot of people get really caught up in the story besides.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wahaha sometimes I feel young and can binge watch many episodes in a short amount of time.
        Impressive. I couldn’t wait so now I’m just sitting here and enjoying the afterglow. Will continue to keep things on the level, though.

        Mmm it seems like his position as Friend A has been drilled into his head.

        I might have noticed this but I don’t think I fared as well being as observant for the next few episodes wahaha.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m hoping you enjoyed the experience? Maybe when we go over the episodes again you’ll recall something interesting. I’m kind of amused that the story just pulled you along without giving you much chance to analyze, but maybe it’s better that way for emotional impact 😛


          1. Oh, I definitely enjoyed the experience. Thanks once again.
            Perhaps. We will have to see!
            It happened against my will that struggles to be analytical but is actually more emotional. ;__;

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Omg omg, I’m catching up for tomorrow’s finale!! It’s pretty impressive that this still managed to make me tear up even though I wasn’t fully 100% focused on it.

    So Watari always knew Kousei loved Kaori, or was it more like..of course you like her; who wouldn’t like her. Couldn’t tell with his tone. This was definitely really emotional; they’re really ramping up the feels leading till the end. whew. I’ll be caught up tonight I’m sure and ready for discussion of the last episode tomorrow! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh you really did it. I’m excited that you will be all caught up and I’m looking forward to what everyone has to say.

      I think the conversation with Watari was intended to mean that he was aware of how Kousei felt. The sub translates his line as “I knew that”, and I think the manga does too. I’ll have to double check. In any case he jokes around about fighting over her in the next scene. I might have to look into it though, because maybe the ADR wanted to convey it a little differently.

      Liked by 1 person

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