Your Theme in April: Ep 12 – Twinkle Little Star

My April event continues with another theme exploration. Read on to see what I discovered about a prominent motif used in episode 12 of Your lie in April.


Obligatory disclaimer: Spoiler warnings apply for episode 12 and earlier, and other reader’s comments are not guaranteed to be spoiler free.

The piece Kaori chose for the Gala is difficult for Kousei because of the memories it invokes of his mother, and Hiroko offers some sage advice to help ease his worries about playing it. Being drilled to practice by Kaori, Kousei meets her parents when he takes her home late one evening. On the day of the gala event, Kaori is nowhere to be found.

Episode recap and my take on the key moments can be found on the post I did last year (open in a new window). Chat me up anytime about what you thought of the episode!

Today’s theme is related to the title of the episode, and the numerous times the characters talk about the shining through darkness.

A Light in the Dark

It’s kind of funny that this episode falls in the second half of the anime, after they replace the OP, Hikaru Nara. The song (光るなら) literally means “if it shines” and makes references to turning a dark night into a starry sky, and the stars shining down. The episode wastes little time in hearkening to its namesake, with Kaori and Kousei riding home late after a hard day’s practice. They sing the familiar Twinkle Twinkle Little Star verse under a brilliantly lit sky. Kousei wondered during his Maihou performance what the night sky would look like with her – now he knows.

Image of Kousei and Kaori riding a bike under a slightly cloudy evening sky, illuminated with stars

This literal representation of light shining through the dark highlights this moment in their lives. Long days spent practicing, Kousei’s worry that he still can’t hear the notes, and the memories that Liebesleid brings him of his mother – they are all forgotten in that tranquil moment under the brilliant summer sky. Another literal image that paints the opposite sentiment is the fireworks that the students play with at night. Musing about their futures, Kaori’s sparkler extinguishes when she admits she hasn’t been thinking about hers.

More fireworks remedy the dour moment but create a different problem. As Kousei is plunged into the pool, we see the moonlight shining through the water. This scene works effectively as a bridge between the physical and metaphorical aspects of this theme. Since the symbol of Kousei’s fear is the deep dark ocean, being able to see light while physically immersed in water brings him to a moment of realization – Perhaps even in the darkness, a light can shine down on him.

Image of Kousei drifting under the pool water, with moonlight illuminating everything below the surface

Kousei handily applies the symbolism for us through a conversation that he had with Hiroko at the fair. When she tells him “Losing your notes might be a gift,” she is referring to the idea where the loss of one sense strengthens the others. For a technician like Kousei, the accuracy of the notes was related to him by how his ears picked them up. If he can’t hear them, perhaps his heart will pick up more on the sound he is creating.

Sparkling despite adversity is a big part of this series. It’s more than looking at the bright side or making the most with what you have. It’s being a beacon that breaks through the dark. Kaori mentioned it in episode 5, when she revealed that everyone feels the fear of getting on stage, but that as a musician you get up there and do it anyway. As she put it, “that’s how you tell the most beautiful lie of all.”

How did you feel about the comparisons they made between light and adversity in this episode? If this is your first time watching, what do you think of the developing story? Let me know your thoughts in the comments and check back tomorrow for another theme analysis.

Hopefully these quizzes are still entertaining? Keep playing either way for more chances to win.

Your Quiz in April

5 thoughts on “Your Theme in April: Ep 12 – Twinkle Little Star

Add yours

  1. Hiroko is so great, I loved her in the first watch and still love her now. I like this theme a lot, because working with what you have is what I do on a day to day basis so seeing it actually normalized in a show was nice.

    Emi was so cute when she snuck in, hands down she’s my favorite supporting character haha. But yeah I really enjoyed the parallels with the theming in this one, and when Kousei realized what he did in the pool I was just like now you’re getting it!

    But then when Kaori didn’t show up I was like oh no this is where all the sad begins lol. But The OP and Ed switch I was super happy about, these two are my favorite ones for the show. Forgot to mention I loved the insert song from ep 11 also! It was super pretty, do you know the name of it by chance?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hiroko might actually be my favorite support character, but Emi is wonderful. This kind of comedy makes her feel more rounded than Takeshi at this point but she’s consistently entertaining. Miike repeats her sneaky act for the last performance too, which is hilarious.

      YLIA does this all the time. It takes your emotions up with scenes like the one in the pool then back down with Kaori no showing the gala. Just a total rollercoaster all the way through.

      I do love the new ED, Orange, but I liked the first OP more than the second. That’s usually how it goes with me. And yes, I absolutely know the insert song for Ep 11. It’s called My Truth – Rondo Capriciosso. It starts the same way as the song Kaori and Kousi played for their first duet, then adds a vocal track for their original OST track Uso to Honto. Here’s a youtube link for the song:

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I figured you’d know the title so didn’t even bother to google XD thanks! Yeah It’s a big tossup for me between Emi and Hiroko, I like Hiroko as the grounded adult figure in the show that is the new mentor of sorts for Kousei, but Emi is just so dang cute and that character type is usually the one I like in any media lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Perhaps even in the darkness, a light can shine down on him.” For some reason, this quote gives me chills. Motivation and encouragement all wrapped up in a single sentence.

    While I appreciated the literal references and how they tied in with the theme, I was even more intrigued by the obscure symbolism you mentioned. Specifically, you mentioned, “Sparkling despite adversity is a big part of this series. It’s more than looking at the bright side or making the most with what you have. It’s being a beacon that breaks through the dark.”

    I understood when the sparkler extinguished, as Kouri spoke, that it may mean that her life is slowly dwindling away. But I didn’t realize that the sparklers could also be seen in a positive light “breaking through the dark” as you said. It is looking at the symbolism being referenced in two different ways.

    You know me well and so you understand my habit of finding one way to accomplish something or formulating a set opinion of something; with little room left to be swayed. So when I look at the symbolism referenced in media, I tend to interpret it one way; casting it in either a negative or positive light. But you explained that the light from the sparklers can be both. Thank you for pointing this out, for I honestly would not have concluded it on my own.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m glad that no one has yet felt like I was reaching with the symbolism here, but I really do think it works. The entire scene with the sparklers could have been anything really. It makes sense that the kids are playing with fireworks because it’s the middle of summer, but it could have been any activity that put Kousei by the pool. Arakawa chose sparklers so he could drop a hint about Kaori when hers burns out, but also I believe to work with the theme of “a light in the dark.”

      I think I might be worse than you when it comes to being locked into one way of thinking, but with anime and art in general I guess I do try to look at as wide a perspective as I can. Using symbolic elements for a dual purpose is something that this series pushes quite a bit though. Like Watari’s quote about the stars always being there, but shining brightest at night, which ties directly into Hiroko’s words about Kousei’s selective deafness being a gift. In art there are always multiple ways to look at an idea, and it’s all just a matter of making one work for you.

      Liked by 2 people

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