Ep 21 – Snow

Kousei is devastated upon realizing the extent of Kaori’s condition and gives up once again, only to have a small request return him to her side. Still filled with sadness over the possibility of losing her, Kousei goes into the final lonely performance.


Episode Moments

Top down view of the dark and empty piano room, with sheet music scattered

The empty piano room looks once again like the one Kousei abandoned. Without Kaori, what purpose does he have to play anymore? The static image says so much about the state of Kousei’s life at that point.

A darkened room with Hiroko trying to drag a limp Kousei

“I never thought I would fall in love.” Kousei’s words sum up the absolute soul crushing feeling he has now. The piano, which he kept turning to for happiness, hurts him time and again as the people he loves leave him. I apologize for how dark the screenshot is, but it kind of reflects how Kousei feels inside now. There’s no light left in his world.

Seeing Hiroko drag Kousei here also reminded me of Misato dragging Shinji in The End of Evangelion as the situation is very similar. A woman who knows what needs to be done uselessly dragging a child who lost the will to fight. Heartbreaking is too weak a word.

Watari looking upset as he heads into the hospital

Watari is still visiting Kaori because that’s the kind of guy he is. Her condition clearly hurts him too, but he’s not going to leave her alone. Scenes like this make me wish we would saw more of his side of things, but at the same time I understand why we don’t.

A letter from Kaori on the stationary she bought asking for caneles

Kousei needs more of a push than Watari, as always. Seeing Kaori’s meek request asking for canelés seems to do the trick. Looks like that stationary came in handy.

Kaori playfully gesturing toward Kousei

It was nice to see a little playfulness in Kaori still. Like always, the sadness over what happened is brushed aside as she focuses completely on the canelés, urging Kousei to take her up to the roof to eat them.

Kousei carrying Kaori on his back

Kousei realizes how foolish he’s been. He always thought Kaori would beat her illness into submission like she did everything else. She was a force of nature to him. A girl with an unstoppable will. How sobering for him to realize it was a childish fantasy.

Kaori smiling cheerfully as she eats a canele

Knowing that this may be one of the last times he sees her, Kousei reflects on why he’s abandoning the piano again. To be fair, it’s hard for him to feel any other way. If he’s all alone, who is he playing for? Kaori’s answer is as simple as ever. “But you have me.”

Kaori playing a violin made of light

Kaori doesn’t seem angry anymore that everything she’s done to bring him back is at risk. She know Kousei by now, and that he learns best by example. She shows him that getting a miracle can be easy, as she plays a song that surely echoes only in their hearts.

top down view of Kaori laying in Kousei's arms after she falls over

But for all her bravado, we once again see the side of her that Kousei finally realizes was there. She tries to make small talk as he seeks comfort in his arms. Confesses that she’s jealous of Tsubaki for knowing him so well, and confesses that she’s afraid. After everything, just like Saki, she would do anything for just a little more time with him.

Kaori with an oxygen mask over her mouth being prepped for surgery

And that’s why she’s going through with this surgery, bravely enduring a risky procedure that may or may not even work. Her Peanuts quote “We all need someone to kiss us goodbye.” is ominous but sweet. Who did you have, Kaori?

Miiki trying to hide behind his disguise at the concert hall

In a bit of lightheartedness Miike sneaks into the competition to get another look at his new hero. Those kids who recognize him look like the ones that played with Kaori on the roof, don’t they?

Kousei sitting at the piano with his head in his hands

Kousei forces himself onto the stage, saying he has to play because he’s a pianist. He shows some remarkable courage in doing so, but courage isn’t enough. He repeats the scene from two years ago where he breaks down, consumed by the thoughts he can’t force out of his mind. I’ve said time and again that this series loves parallelism, but we see here that it uses the differences to really sell its point.

Tsubaki curling up in her seat and covering her mouth after she sneezes

The cute little sneeze from Tsubaki breaks him out of his despair. Before it was Kaori softly asking “Again?” or his memories of his mother’s kindness. With them gone, Tsubaki is the one to inadvertently reminds him that he’s not alone. How many of you cracked a smile when that happened?

Kousei playing with the imagery of cherry blossoms behind him

And so Kousei begins his peice: Ballade no. 1 in G minor, Op 23 – remarked by Hiroko as “one of Chopin’s loneliest pieces.” Not because he has to, but because he wants to. He has feelings in his heart that he can only express through the piano, and he’ll play for everyone that supported him in reaching this point.


Featured Music

The last track from the OST I want to share is Watashi no Uso. I shared the piano solo version a few posts back, but with the full instrumental ensemble the track takes on a new feeling. Playing while Kousei carried Kaori up to the roof, the softness of its opening accents his silent admonishment that he misread the situation so greatly. Timing the swell at 0:55 with the point at which Kaori reaches up towards the sky illustrates what is at the heart of this track. The incredible beauty that can come from a small lie.

More than any other I feel like this track embodies the series as a whole. The full instrumentals accentuate the depth that it conveys by adding layers of sound that play off one another. The single notes that made up the melody of the piano version are replaced by the rich tones of the violin while the piano accompanies it. The violin sings, and the piano steps between high and low notes, keeping pace to its own melody.


 

We only have one more to go after this. Is anyone else sad that the party is nearly over? Let me know what you think of this episode, and if you missed a post you can always catch up with the re-watch party at this link.

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10 thoughts on “Ep 21 – Snow

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  1. gahh, it’s coming!! I guess I couldn’t catch-up after all!! I’ll have to fast-forward to this episode since my all time favorite scene is coming!! I’ll probably come back to your older posts regardless at some point!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It was the first thing I did when I got home (well besides making a cup of tea that is), watch this episode. I’m not lying here, it was hard to focus on work today. I really was looking forward to getting home, and watching this. And it certainly did not disappoint. Yes, the tears were there again. That moment when Kaori fell apart on the roof telling Kousei how scared she was….I really broke down at that moment. It was such a beautiful and sad scene. And how I felt for Kaori at that moment. But then again, I have lost count of the number of scenes in this episode that were so beautiful. The moment that Kousei was carrying Kaori up to the roof. Another scene where I felt the tears coming up. The parents waiting outside the room where their daughter was having surgery: how I felt for them at that moment. I tried to imagine how I would feel in their place…and quickly gave up. I don’t even want to imagine something like that.
    And yes I did crack a smile when Tsubaki sneezed. It was such a completely unexpected, but great scene, that you can’t help but smile for this. Phew….I really have to process this episode some more tonight. I knew it would be a tough one, but still it was hopeful as well. I really don’t want this series to end , and honestly I have to restrain myself from watching the final episode today…but I am not going to. Tomorrow will be the final, and I luckily have the entire day off after that to recover (national holiday so that’s cool). Seriously I can’t thank you enough for sharing this series. When I started this series so many days ago, I had never expected to become this invested in it. But wow, what an experience this has been. Catch you tomorrow on the final episode 😊

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    1. I was pretty much the same way my first time watching. I couldn’t focus very well on my work thinking about what was going to happen, so I watched the last two as soon as I got home.

      I had pretty much the same feelings as you when I saw those scene. I’ve said many times that this series really puts you in the characters’ place, and I think it’s especially true here. I think just like Kousei a part of me felt like she was going to come back from this before the series ended. I was filled with hope when she accepted the offer for one more duet, and started physical therapy. It was a small light that could still be seen from the bottom of the ocean.

      A day off to process this is probably good (what holiday is it?). I want to tell you all my feelings after I finished this the first time, but we’ll save it for tomorrow 🙂

      For now, I’m beyond glad that you enjoyed this series. Seeing your delight day after day has been one of the best parts of this month.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t know if I am able to work tomorrow. Besides this, my best friend has a very important job interview tomorrow, so I am also keeping my fingers crossed for her. All in all…a lot of excitement tomorrow. As for your question: in Holland we celebrate the birthday of our King (it used to be Queen two years ago), so it is called King’s Day now. There are a lot of festivities on that day, but as the weather predicted will be lousy, I am going to spending it by watching movies and anime and writing for my blog. Looking forward to it, but I am looking more forward to tomorrow abd the final episode 😊 And the delight has definitely been mine. Really enjoyed this a lot. This rewatch feature was a fantastic idea 😀

        Like

  3. I forgot how soul crushing these final episodes were. This is why I hadn’t done a rewatch of this show. It leaves me a complete mess.
    Looking forward to your thoughts on the final episode.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think these episodes are why I keep re-watching it. They just feel so elegant and no other anime had made me feel the way this one did (alright, maybe Anohana).

      It’s been a fun ride but it’s almost over. Looking forward to your thoughts at the end as well!

      Liked by 1 person

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