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.
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.”
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.
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.