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.
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.
“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 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.
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.
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 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.
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 doesn’t seem angry anymore that everything she’s done to bring him back is at risk. She knows 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.
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 she 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.
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?
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 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.
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?
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.
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.