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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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?
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.”
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 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 how Watari how he feels. The only one he hasn’t told outright is Kaori.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.