Your lie in April brings us an uplifting experience from this episode to overcome the sorrow of the last one. Read onward for today’s theme which focuses on the visual aspect of the performances.
Blunted by the memories of his mother, Kousei’s inconsistent performance bewilders and disappoints the audience. Continuing to play seems useless, and just as before Kousei gives up. In remembering Kaori once more, he resumes his piece.
I covered this episode last year in this post (new window). Hop over for an episode recap and my thoughts on key moments, or continue on for the theme I’m covering today.
The topic for this post is a bit abstract in how it relates to the overall story, but it becomes an important part of how Kousei’s feelings are expressed. The visual imagery seen during some performances not only provides for some great animation, but also expresses the deep connection these characters have to music and each other.
Spoiler warnings apply for episode 10 and earlier, and other reader’s comments are not guaranteed to be spoiler free.
The idea of presenting music through anything other than an auditory form seems an odd prospect. Much of the appeal of even watching a live performance is still being able to hear it better, unmarred by the compression and loss of quality of something you listen to through your radio/TV/computer speakers. When you’re writing about a performance though, or drawing a manga, you have to get a little creative in expressing the effect that music creates.
Because Your lie in April’s original source is a manga, Arakawa had to find ways for the reader to understand what the audience was hearing. A lot of this is done through straight exposition, which is why you see so many people remark when Kousei or others perform. The rest he expresses through the only medium manga can offer – visual. By drawing imagery reflective of the emotions a performance evokes, he communicates the ideas and feelings that part of his story is meant to convey.
The first time we really see this is with Emi’s performance of Chopin’s Etude Op. 25 no 11, “Winter Wind.” Kousei remarks upon the colors he sees in her music, red for anger and yellow for loneliness. Emi chose the piece specifically because she knew Kousei would be there, and these emotions reflect what she feels toward him. Kousei’s piano, once sublime and evocative, had become rote reproduction of the sheet music. She mentions several times during her performance that she rejects that style and strives to remind him what he could achieve if his heart was in his music again.
The performance which awakened her to the piano occurred when Kousei was only six years old. She mentions that it made her see sunflowers, a symbol associated with happiness and adoration, indicative of Kousei’s attitude toward the piano before his mother’s harsh training began. Emi’s emotional response to these feelings was very strong, so much so that the piano became her life, if only to reproduce that sound.
To himself, Kousei’s piano is non-existent and the only imagery he can envision is the bottom of the ocean. That changes in this episode, when he makes the decision to forget everything that causes him worry and just try to play for Kaori. His feelings toward her come out through the beautiful Più Lento section of Op.25 no.5 as he describes her as a single petal that drifted into his life. The traditional symbol of Spring, the sakura petal symbolizes his rebirth (among other things) as a pianist, and the coda of his performance is accented by a stunning visual of him at the piano set against a tree in full bloom.
Emi sees something else from Kousei’s “sparkling notes.” With his thoughts focused so completely on Kaori, and his fingers playing with the emotion he had held back from the piano for so many years, Emi is treated to the imagery of the music room. She sees what we saw in episode 6 – Kaori sleeping against the wall, Kousei quietly practicing away, and the tranquil summer they spent bonding over music. No longer bound by the guilt he feels over his mother, his inspiration in that moment shines through as Emi and the others see the return of a Kousei that had locked away his heart for so long.
What are you thoughts about this theme, and how do you feel this visual imagery helps in your enjoyment of the musical piece? If you don’t have a strong classical background, do you feel they added to your understanding of the music?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments, and be sure to complete today’s quiz to earn more entries for the giveaway at the end of the month.
Your Quiz in April