Your Theme in April: Ep 11 – Light of Life

We’re officially at the halfway point of the series and my event, as we move on to episode 11 of Your lie in April. My theme for today is a little different, so read on to see what I’ve prepared for this episode’s discussion.


Spoiler warning at the beginning this time! The rest of this post may contain spoilers for episode 11 and earlier. Other reader’s comments are also not guaranteed to be spoiler free.

Kousei finishes his performance but has been disqualified for stopping halfway through. His mother’s friend, Hiroko, returns and agrees to help train Kousei so he can keep playing. Kaori and Kousei are invited to play at a Gala event and Kousei reveals to her what inspired him to play on the day of his competition.

I covered this episode last year in this post (link opens a new window). Take a look to see what I thought about some key moments (this episode had a pretty big one!), and as always feel free to comment on that post or this one if you want to discuss the episode.

Fitting for the halfway point, this episode hits on many of the themes I covered in earlier posts. I’ll review a few of them to show how the series goes back to these motifs to build its story.

Revisiting Themes

When I was taking notes for what I would write about this episode I did have a new theme in mind but noticed more and more how many of the themes I had already covered were coming up again. I had mentioned in my post about the first episode that Your lie in April constantly revisits themes, sometimes as parallel situations and sometimes to reinforce the ideas it has already presented for effect. It can therefore be useful to point out where we see this so you can look for this trend in later episodes.

If you’re curious about the motif I originally planned, ask me in the comments 😛

Friend A: This one is seen early on in the episode, when Kousei is speaking to Hiroko after his performance. In the previous episode we saw Kousei express his feelings for Kaori through his music by deciding to play for her. Hiroko tells him that his piano was expressing love, and when he denies it she warns him that the piano will draw out his innermost feelings. When thinking to himself, Kousei believes that he was feeling gratitude instead of love. Even after such a heartfelt performance, he is careful to remind himself that Kaori is the girl that likes his best friend, and he’s just Friend A.

Kousei watching his friends approach him after Hiroko leaves

“Can you forget it?: Hiroko comes to Kousei’s home to discover him passed out on the floor because he’s been playing the piano all night. Kousei’s performance stirred something in him as well, and this was the first time in the series we’ve seen him play when he didn’t have Kaori or an upcoming competition compelling him to.

This theme is reinforced further when Hiroko asks him what brought him back to the piano, and he explains that he met a crazy violinist. She pushed him onto the stage and helped him see a side to playing he had never seen before. Kousei tells Hiroko that he wants to see it again, because the performance was burned into his and the audiences’ memory, just as Kaori said it would be.

Image of Kousei sitting with Koharu and explaining he wants to see the sight Kaori showed him once more

Inspiration: This one comes back again and again, as the entire series is arguably about Kousei discovering why he plays piano. The most notable part of this episode was when Kousei and Kaori are walking home after practicing their Gala piece and they happen upon a field of fireflies. In answering Kaori’s mock interview question, Kousei tells her that he learned something: That everyone performed with something deep in their heart; they leaned on their emotions and that maybe no one goes on stage with a clear mind.

Kousei explains some of what I talked about in my episode 8 post. Takeshi felt hostility, and a need to be recognized for his accomplishments. Emi wanted others to know her innermost feelings and gave her heart and soul to her music. Kousei had his feelings toward his mother clouding his thoughts as he tried to play. It shows an understanding that he can’t play the piano like a human metronome, and that every performance shows the emotions of the performer.

Image of Emi as she concentrates on playing

“But you have me”: Kousei boldly tells Kaori that she was his inspiration that day, specifically that she was the one he had in his heart. When he faltered in the middle of his performance, he didn’t have Kaori on stage with him to tell him to keep going. Still, he felt inspired to continue because he thought of her. Even indirectly, Kaori was the one that helped him keep going. Her music and ideals had burrowed into his heart and because of her he found the strength to play.

Perhaps realizing for the first time what kind of impact Kaori had on him, she’s silent in response. Kousei acknowledges to himself that she led him out of his darkness, and that he wants her to continue inspiring him to play. Understanding that he’s come to rely on her, and knowing the truth of the matter, Kaori actually expresses the reverse of this theme when she whispers the Charlie Brown quote: “You know, I’m not  always going to be around to help you.”

Kouri staring up at Kousei after he tells her what was in his heart

I hope this gave you all enough to think about before the next post! Were there any other themes you thought this episode brought up again? How did you feel about Kousei being more open to Kaori about how he thinks of her? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

And remember to keep doing the quiz to earn more entries!

Your Quiz in April

9 thoughts on “Your Theme in April: Ep 11 – Light of Life

Add yours

    1. Erk, didn’t expect someone to ask so soon 😛

      I was going to write about frailty/vulnerability. Both Kousei and Kaori are thought of by other characters as being perfect or unstoppable but they have their moments of weakness.

      When Takeshi confronts Kousei about being disqualified at Maihou he says he practiced until he passed out, and if that’s not good enough that’s just who he is now. As he runs by the train tracks he further remarks to himself that he’s not a machine – that he’s a person, like the other other competitors and like Kaori.

      Later when Kaori goes to practice with him and leans down to pick up her violin, Kousei thinks about how small and frail she looks. It contrasts with what he thinks of her as a powerful musician. Near the end of the episode Kaori reflects on the fireflies and how weak and ephemeral they are, yet they shine with all their might like a heartbeat.

      It all relates to weakness that belies the strength they exhibit. In the end I didn’t know that I would have enough to say about it at this point in the series though it does come back strong (pardon the pun) later.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I know I just referenced a quote from you in another post but I love this quote too “It all relates to weakness that belies the strength they exhibit.” I think this perfectly sums up the point you are making about how they feel/see themselves and how others see them.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Remyfool had a great observation last year regarding episode 16 when Kousei is desribing Kaori to Nagi. He calls her a “dazzling, strong person” but his words are set against a scene of her in her hospital room, unable to grip her bow and crying out of sorrow. Kousei only slowly starts to realize her frailty in that scene when she kneels down to apologize to her violin and beg it for “just a little more magic.”

          It all goes back to what Kaori told him on the bridge in episode 5. Everyone is scared, but they play anyway. “That’s how you tell the most beautiful lie of all.”

          Liked by 2 people

  1. The theme you had in mind would have been a great one, but I like that you went with how every theme was encompassed in this episode because that’s how I felt when watching this episode. Kaori’s final line in this episode broke my heart knowing what’s to come 😦 and the reaction Kousei had when Hiroko said she’d teach him piano – like I took it as he was afraid to do lessons again because of how his Mom taught him in the past and that broke my heart too, so sad. But I love seeing both Kaori and Kousei growing throughout this show, and with the downs there are some major ups – Love the scene with Kousei shouting “I’m a person!” as he runs by the train tracks haha. Just so much elated joy, it’s hard not to feel it as well through the computer screen! I love this dub so much 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mm, the more I saw it the more I felt I had to go in that direction. Not sure if I should do a similar thing for the finale because they pretty much cover every theme there 😀

      That is an interesting observation about Kousei’s reaction. Hiroko even says something like “You don’t have to look so scared” doesn’t she? I get the sense that she was nervous about teaching him too, but decided she had to help after seeing how much he wanted to play again.

      The train scene was a really great one as it played off the outpouring of emotions he had during his performance. It was a nice moment of growth because you see he’s starting to acknowledge those emotions in his heart that he expressed so naturally as a child. Max really sells that scene!

      Liked by 1 person

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