Your Theme in April: Ep 5 – Cloudy Skies

The gloominess of the episode covered yesterday carries over into the next one, but cloudy skies eventually clear. Read more about the theme I picked out for this episode in the below post.


Intro

The group visits Kaori in the hospital after her collapse. Though she assures them she’s fine, a gloomy atmosphere follows Kousei and Tsubaki as they think about the Towa Hall performance. Kousei had fulfilled his agreement to assist Kaori, but is that the end of his commitment to the piano?

I covered this episode for last year’s event in the post linked here (new window). Have a look for my take on some key moments.

The theme I wanted to cover today is an expansion on the motif I mentioned in that post. Part of every performance is the performer’s connection to the audience. For Kaori, she’s already said that she lives for that feeling. Since Kousei has walked away from the piano, she wonders if he can really forget about it, and presses him on that question.

Please bear in mind that the below post may have spoilers for episode 5. Also, while I will answer your comments according to whether I know you have seen the series or not, there is no guarantee about other users’ comments!


“Can you forget it?”

It’s undeniable that Kousei and Kaori’s performance made an impact on the audience. Their applause at the end was similar to the standing ovation Kaori received in the first round, even with Kousei’s struggle to play. It’s not just the immediate aftermath of the concert where this applies, though. Watari underscores this point when Kousei walks by the practice field one day and Watari tells him how fired up he was after seeing them play. His exact words strike at the heart of this theme: “It’s burned into my mind. I’ll never forget it!”

Image of Watari by the chain fence saying he's fired up

Kaori knows what he’s feeling very well, because she’s experienced the sensation before and strives to reproduce it with every performance. Before he leaves the hospital when he and his friends visit her, she asks him directly if he can forget that feeling. In the short time she has spent with Kousei, Kaori understands better than most what the absence of music has been like for him, and challenges him to confront those feelings. Like with most everything she does, the words she told him as they took their bow for the audience are stuck in his mind: The people there won’t forget them, and she won’t forget it either – no matter what happens.

On the bridge, she tries to inspire him further by telling him (in the English dub) “Making music is like a heartbeat. Without it, you’re dead.” Kousei is a musician, and in Kaori’s mind that means it’s impossible for him to be who he really is if he abandons music. Kaori’s sentiments about this are often in terms of life or death, and for someone like Kousei it’s important that he realizes how serious she is about his playing piano again.

Indeed, there’s been a nagging insistence in Kousei’s mind as well ever since he saw Kaori’s first performance, and being there beside her on stage made him realize that playing for an audience is a special feeling he can’t ever forget. He drives the point home as he follows Kaori off the bridge into the water below, finally discarding any hesitation he had in accepting that fact.

Image of Kaori laughing in the water

 


What do you think about today’s theme? How are you enjoying the relationship threads that are forming? I would love to hear your thoughts on the episode so please do leave a comment and let me know your opinions.

And if you’ve been watching along with me, don’t forget to do the quiz as well!


Your Quiz in April

 

6 thoughts on “Your Theme in April: Ep 5 – Cloudy Skies

Add yours

  1. This part of the series always kind of bugs me. It kind of implies you can never walk away from something or find a new path. That Kousei being a musician is pre-determined and inescapable. While I appreciate the episode itself is making the point that he doesn’t want to leave music and rather he is running from something else, I also feel that it is a very limited view of things. Sometimes people do walk away from something and the end result is they find a new passion or a new path to follow and they are perfectly fine with that. They take the experiences they gained and move on.They don’t forget the feelings and experiences, but they don’t need to keep chasing the same experience.
    Then again, the narrative wouldn’t make a great deal of sense if Kouri just said thanks for the memories and went her own way and if Kousei didn’t touch a piano again, so I do see why the episode is doing what it is doing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You made a very good point about not being locked into one thing your whole life, but a person’s motivation behind making a change is also important. They might decide to stop doing something because they feel burned out, or they hit a wall, or as you said – they found something else they want to focus on. People change careers a couple time in their life, so there’s no saying that their interests have to be lifelong pursuits. There’s nothing wrong with that, aside from not making for emotional anime material 🙂

      But in Kousei’s case, as you hinted, he doesn’t actually want to leave music. He transcribes pop songs for karaoke and hangs out in the music room at school. When Kaori comes along, she realizes he’s not been avoiding the piano because he has something else in his life, but because he’s scared. A random acquaintance would still have no reason to butt in, but we know that’s not what she is to him.

      Tsubaki is a lot more open in this sense because she wants Kousei to be passionate about something, even if it’s not music. Kousei is much too passive though to actually find something else that drives him. Deep down he’s an artist who expresses himself best through piano, so Kaori pulls him back to it as ardently as she can. Yes, it’s sort of the point of the narrative and a real life situation would have a lot more variables involved, but as a story I think it pays fair respect to Kousei’s self determination.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. As a musician myself Kaori’s words really struck a chord with me (pun intended har har) because those are feelings I feel about music, as well. I don’t find this episode to really have any issues, because it’s obvious Kousei isn’t stopping playing the piano because he wants to when someone actually asks him about it. I find it odd that Tsubaki never asked him why he wasn’t playing, but maybe it’s more that Kaori is a new face that understands music more, so he’s willing to be more open with her. Kaori has also shown a lot more emotional maturity where Tsubaki has not, so I guess that also makes sense.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kaori is very different from Tsubaki in a lot of ways that help her approach Kousei’s problem more effectively. The big difference is that she understands music and what it means to create it, not just because she plays an instrument but because she pours her heart and soul into it. She know what that feels like, and knows Kousei knows the feeling as well. She can confidently push him because she knows deep down how important it is for him to feel that, if he can just get over being scared.

      Tsubaki you have to remember was there when everything with his mom occurred. She knows he stopped playing because his mom passed away. Maybe she was afraid that even trying to talk to him about it would bring up too many painful memories. Notice that Kousei never actually tells Kaori everything about how his mom treated him, so she’s not held back by that same worry.

      Liked by 1 person

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