Your Theme in April: Ep 10 – The Scenery I Shared with You

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.


Intro

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.


Imagery

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.

Image of a panel from Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso manga, showing Kousei playing with a cherry tree blossoming

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.

Image of red and yellow leaves blowing through the concert hall as Emi performs

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.

Image of a tree full of illuminated blossoms behind Kousei

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

12 thoughts on “Your Theme in April: Ep 10 – The Scenery I Shared with You

Add yours

    1. Hmm. Do I give off the impression that I expect people to have really insightful comments? Is that why people have been so quiet? D:

      It’s no problem at all if you don’t have anything you think is “smart enough.” I appreciate any and all feedback! I just love this show and I love talking about it, so I welcome people to share even their simplest feelings about the show or my posts.

      So thank you for stopping by, Irina. I’m really happy to know that you are enjoying what I’ve been doing.

      Like

      1. I wouldn’t say so much ypu give off the impression but the incisive and often touching nature of the posts (and source) makes me feel like I should be adding something of value, or else just taking the time to meditate on it….
        It may be silly but I mean it as a sign of respect!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I really loved this aspect of Your Lie In April and translating the musical experience into something visual. It is something my music teacher was very passionate about when I was learning. The question of what you wanted to create with your sound and what you wanted your audience to experience was always first and foremost when taking on a new piece. Not to mention, the anime is stunning.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s really interesting that your teacher stressed this point. I took orchestra classes through primary school and up through high school, but we never got into such high minded concepts. Then again it was sometimes challenging for me to play the piece at all. We viewers certainly get a treat when these animators have the same idea in mind.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I find the over abundance of exposition when the pianists are playing funny, even if it does get the point across. I’m just like “I don’t think this much when I’m at the piano” haha, but I also know it’s a part of the genre and anime as a whole so it doesn’t bother me. It reminds me a lot of listening to a radio drama too, so I like it a lot.

    Emi won me over with her whole sequence in this arc, like wow! Erika Harlacher’s performance here is great, too. One of my favorite roles of hers hands down. I love the sequence where Kousei let’s go and plays for Kaori too, whoever recorded the piano for that sequence really got down how to show the shift in his emotional state through the keys. I love the music work in this anime overall but literally being able to hear the sparkle in the notes that Emi mentioned, as a viewer was so great and just drilled the entire meaning of it home. Another one of my favorite sequences, but I have a lot of those in this show XD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It looks like you get something out of it, so that’s good. I can’t help but feel like it gets in the way of the performance sometimes though. Like when he played Op 25 no 5, they said he was butchering it, but it sounded fine to me.

      Too many Ericas in this show, lol. I haven’t heard many of her other performances so I’ll have to trust you that this was a standout one. I think she sounded very breathy though, like she was getting really “excited.” Also I got tired of her saying “Let it ring!” Overall I think she sold the character quite well though.

      I also really liked how they distinguished his notes with the echo and twinkle that made them feel like they’re lingering after they’ve been played. The sound direction for this show is phenomenal in many ways, I’m glad you caught this one!

      Like

  3. I do appreciate the visual effects which accompany their performances since it really adds another layer to be appreciated. Like what you implied and what Crystal said, this isn’t really something that happens in real life (or maybe I just need to git gud at interpreting what I’m listening to) but this really works for both anime and manga.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. With manga it’s kind of the only layer. If you look at classical musical performances in other work, it’s often nothing more than a text cue as to the title of the piece, and it’s up to the reader to be familiar with how it sounds to sell its effect. I think Arakawa was really thinking about this when he drew the manga because the whole point was to express how music moves people. Imagination can be a powerful thing, but only if it’s shown properly on the page.

      Keep me posted if you ever hallucinate sakura petals during a performance though, Remy. We might need to get you tested 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Fair enough. I do believe something similar happens in Piano no Mori (at least in the manga; haven’t been watching the anime). It’s definitely a testament to imagination (both the readers’ and the author’s).

        Shhhh those are my little secret and no one is gonna take them away from me.

        Like

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