Your Theme in April: Ep 3 – Inside Spring

My Your lie in April event continues with Episode 3, in which Kaori pursues Kousei to accompany her on the piano. Today I’ll be talking about how the theme of loneliness is used in the episode.


Intro

Last time we saw Kaori waiting on the road for Watari, only for Kousei to happen upon her instead. Dragged to the cafe, Kaori pushes him to play the piano with some children and learns about why he quit in the first place. Playing piano is like being at the bottom of a deep dark ocean, and that crushing loneliness he feels on stage keeps him from it.

If you want to see my post from last year’s event, you can do so here (new window). We can discuss the episode there or here in this post, whichever you like.


“But you have me”

As we learn Kousei’s reason for not playing the piano anymore, we realize that it’s a psychological problem rather than a physical one. He applies a few metaphors to what playing is like in this episode, but outside the cafe he just explains the symptom of not being able to hear the notes after a while. His quote puts it best, and most poetically, I think: “The more I concentrate, the more I get consumed by my performance, the notes are pulled aloft, like petals caught in the spring wind. Before I know it, they’re gone.”

Monochrome image of Kousei at the piano against a dark backdrop, and sakura petals floating upward

Stage fright is certainly a thing, as is just not being in the right emotional state of mind to perform. What Kousei feels is beyond that, almost like a barrier his mind created to shut out whatever it was that performing represents to him. I won’t go too far into it right now, since the show reveals the exact reasons behind this and all the associations he has with music later on.

For now, his friends are as naive as the viewers are at this point in the series, so their attempts to help him may not be the best. Powered by Tsubaki’s aggressive nature, she and Kaori try to push him back to the piano through harassment and something akin to exposure therapy. Fourteen year old kids don’t know a lot about treating mental health, and unsurprisingly none of this really works. Instead, Kousei remains resistant, isolating himself whenever possible to escape their torment.

What does end up working, at least in getting him to agree to play, is a more empathetic approach. As he becomes lost in his thoughts on the school roof after explaining how alone the piano makes him feel, you can see Kousei physically snap out of his stupor when Kaori utters “But you have me.” Those simple words carry so much meaning for him – a promise to face the fear with him; knowing that someone truly believes in him, and seeing that Kaori chose him despite his flaws and insecurities about himself.

Kaori standing before Kousei on the school roof, telling him she wants him anyway

In the discussion after last year’s post, a few people pointed out how powerful this moment is and how it’s an important life lesson as well. Approaching a difficult situation is always scary to do alone, and the simple assurance of having another person beside you can make all the difference. Kaori feels this just as much, to point where she’s in tears over the thought that he won’t support her. Whether it’s this moment or her declaration of solidarity with him that does it, sharing in his feelings does what the manic insistence of two forceful girls couldn’t.


Anime characters often have weird hangups, but how did you feel about Kousei’s? Does his turnaround after speaking to Kaori on the roof feel realistic? Let me know what you thought about the episode in the comments.

And don’t forget to play the quiz!


Your Quiz in April

I had a bit of an issue with yesterday’s quiz wherein I had more possible answers than I intended. If you had a problem and thought there might have been two lies, let me know. Today’s quiz should be fine though.

10 thoughts on “Your Theme in April: Ep 3 – Inside Spring

Add yours

    1. Haha, well.. I guess the quiz is working as intended then!

      Protip: You can probably find the answer in the episode recap I did last year if you don’t have time to watch the series. Last year I also had to play catch up with the first half of Spring and had to binge through 6 episodes of KADO and Tsuki ga Kirei to see what all the fuss was 😛

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I think Kaori really has a way of wording things. The things she says are insightful, make a lot of sense, and I learn a little bit each time. It does seem a little unrealistic to me because I can tell that she is trying so hard to get Kousei to play piano again. She cares a lot. I don’t see anyone acting that way towards me haha but then again, I am not Kousei. That kind of motivating and energetic behaviour is a little hard to come by nowadays.

    I have to say though – watching the show has made me watch piano covers and videos of piano prodigies. It’s a great show.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have to agree, Kaori’s monologues are really great in this show (I’m curious, are you watching this subbed or dubbed? Both are available on Crunchyroll and Netflix and the dub is probably the best I’ve seen). She is very dramatic, but the way she delivers her lines feels inspiring like some kind of professional motivator. I’m sure that’s why Kousei eventually breaks down and helps her.

      I’m really happy to hear that you’re enjoying it so much! I was always interested in classical music, but I have to admit that I did look up a bunch of piano covers and performances after watching this show 😛

      Like

      1. I’m watching it in sub! I usually never watch shows in dub unless there is no sub option available to me. Ahh I see, I wasn’t aware the dub was really good!

        Haha, it’s funny that you looked up piano covers too. 😂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. That scene is what made me realize there’s a lot more to Kaori than her base “manic pixie dreamgirl” trope. Like it’s such a powerful scene, and seeing her cry and just thinking there’s more to this girl she isn’t telling us really got me invested in Kaori and Kousei’s relationship. I was hoping I’d like Tsubaki a bit more, but nope XD I really don’t like how she bottles everything up inside until the end, then takes it out on Kousei in intervals. Is it normal to do as a teenager? Probably, but it isn’t enjoyable to watch and makes me really dislike the character. The friend dynamic is always great though.

    I really like that this scene also starts Kousei relying on othe rpeople, because it shows his growth is so subtle but is happening because Kaori is so perceptive she knows how to deal with him. And the little spurts of Kaori’s adoration towards him that pop up throughout the series are great, just shows their dynamic is so even and they balance each other so well ayaaah.

    So happy you praise the dub so much! It is truly fantastic. I’m so tempted to buy the boxset just to hear the English commentary on it, really love this show.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I felt the same way. Even though I didn’t quite understand at first why she was crying, I got the sense that this was really important to her. More than having an accompanist for the competition, she needed it to be Kousei for some reason. It got me really invested in what might develop between them.

      Tsubaki I think is the more realistic one, but it’s because she has the more “normal” life. She’s aggressive and pushy too, but that’s just because of who she is rather than some sense of urgency. I don’t know, I kind of like her and felt invested in her feelings as well.

      Seeing the things Kaori does during a rewatch makes me appreciate her all the more, because you catch all these little things in her behavior and find new meaning in the things she says to him.

      And yes, of course I love this dub! It’s the best I’ve seen, and now Erica Lindbeck’s voice always makes me think of Kaori. The audio commentary from the English cast is really fantastic, and it’s like hearing the characters themselves remark on the show. Hope you get a chance to hear it sometime!

      Liked by 1 person

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