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.
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.
“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.
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.
“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.”
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!