Your Theme in April: Ep 14 – Footsteps

My April event continues as I explore another theme seen prominently in epsisode 14 of Your lie in April. Read on to see my analysis and try your hand at the daily quiz.


Intro

Obligatory disclaimer: This post may contain spoilers for episode 14 and earlier. Other readers’ comments are not guaranteed to be spoiler free for the overall series.

The group visits Kaori in the hospital where she assures them she’s feeling fine. When Tsubaki is confronted about how she feels about Kousei, she recalls moments from their childhood. As she grows more discontent with how close Kousei and Kaori are, her friend Kashiwagi tries to intervene.

I covered this episode during last year’s event here (opens in a new window). Take a look for the episode recap and my take on some of the key moments.

As the title of this anime implies, a deception lies at the heart of its entire premise. You all have been picking out lies all month if you’ve been playing my quiz, but did you spot the numerous lies characters told themselves and each other this episode? For today’s post, I’ll look at a few instances and what purpose these lies serve for the story.


Deceit

Lies exist for a variety of reasons and in many forms. A white lie might be told to keep someone from worrying needlessly. Someone might lie to hide their true nature or intent from another who might oppose it. A lie may even be told to oneself to ward off the pain that truth brings. The characters in this show exhibit all these, and several examples can be seen in this episode alone.

Kaori pumping her arms in the hospital bed to show she's strong

The first one comes early when Kaori tells her friends once again that she’s fine. Her story about hitting her head and just running some tests is told so nonchalantly that Tsubaki and Watari feel relieved. Kousei has been through this before though, and he’s not so easily convinced. His repeated questions to himself “You’re not lying about the tests, right?”, “You’ll be okay, right?”, betray a subconscious desire to avoid the truth of the matter himself

Unlike Kousei, Tsbaki needs external prodding in the form of Kashiwagi to consider the questions that she’s struggling with herself. When asked directly, she denies feeling like Kousei is anything more than a little brother. Kashiwagi is unsurprisingly skeptical but Tsubaki feeds herself the lie so strongly that she’s started to believe it. For both Kousei and Tsubaki, the uncertainty and discomfort brought on by the truth feels like it’s too much to deal with, and they allow themselves to be comforted by self delusion.

Image of Kousei looking sullen, wondering if Kaori is ok

It’s plain for anyone to see where Tsubaki’s heart lies as even her boyfriend Saito is starting to feel like he’s playing second fiddle. When Tsubaki expresses regret for always talking about Kousei, Saito reassures her by saying “it’s fun to hear about Arima.” He fears he’s wasting his effort on her, but because he actually likes Tsubaki he fibs to make them both feel better. No one likes to see the people they care for be hurt, and they find these small lies forgivable even if they prolong a problem.

But Tsubaki is so reluctant to face the problem that she looks for any reason to feel like it’s not there. Though she feels Kousei slipping away from her more each day, she reminisces during their moonlit stroll on the beach that they’re joking around like always. She wants so much to believe nothing will take him away that she can’t handle it when tells her he’s planning to move.

Image of Tsubaki staring toward Kousei and crying

Facing the truth, that Kousei is the one she wants by her side forever, is something that hurts her to think about because he’s already so far away. All the same, it’s a moment of clarity that she desperately needed. As much as she’s guilty of self-deceit, she’s starting to realize the comfort provided by complacency may not be worth the cost.


We’ve all probably deceived ourselves at one point or another, simply because the lie felt better than reality. How did you feel Tsubaki’s constant need to resort to this tactic? Did you spot any other themes that interested you?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments, and remember to complete today’s quiz!


Your Quiz in April

8 thoughts on “Your Theme in April: Ep 14 – Footsteps

Add yours

  1. Ok, so this episode made me realize why I dislike Tsubaki so much. I don’t think it’s her personality, as much as the role that YLiA puts her in – the best friend who finds out she loves her child hood friend, right when childhood friend finds a love interest. In real life, and in shows, this bothers the crap out of me! She’s incredibly selfish to me in this episode, and I get she’s a teenager but legit right when Kousei starts falling for Kaori she wants to reclaim Kousei, in spite of him feeling something for someone else. To me I think you should either confess your feelings when someone isn’t involved with someone else, or keep them at bay. Like you’ve missed your opportunity Tsubaki, and throwing a fit when Kousei wants to pursue music again like I said I just find so selfish. I think Tsubaki is a really narrow minded character who goes after what she wants, and that just doesn’t gel well with me. But glad I figured out why I don’t like her so much, because other than that character trait of hers, I think she’s fine character-wise. But ugh at the I love my best friend all of a sudden trope, it drives me up the wall XD

    Like

    1. I don’t think I saw a lot of romantic stories before YLiA because this trope didn’t bother me half as much as it bothers most other people. I can see why it would be annoying, and what I have to say about Tsubaki might not change your mind, but here’s my take on it:

      Tsubaki’s feelings seem selfish and sudden because she’s pining for Kousei just as he starts liking someone else or getting back into music, but this is consistent with one of the themes this anime presents. Do you remember what Watari told Kousei in Episode 2? That Kaori looks attractive because she’s in love? His point was that the passion she feels makes her sparkle, and that Kousei is drawn to her because of that. Tsubaki complained in the first episode that Kousei had no sparkle in his eyes. If you look at this conversation together with the last one, you can infer that Kousei doesn’t seem attractive because he doesn’t have passion. He even says himself that he doesn’t think he can “bring color” to anyone’s life.

      Now Kaori comes along and Kousei seems full of life again. His performances are dazzling and he’s standing straighter and Tsubaki feels butterflies when she thinks about him. The feelings she’s always had for Kousei start to come forward because he’s actually becoming someone she can admire. Her tantrums come because she feels like Kaori is taking away her best friend, and that’s certainly part of her jealousy, but more so she took their whole relationship for granted and never thought he would go anywhere. When all this is happening all of a sudden, she doesn’t know how to process her feelings.

      Also remember that as far as Kousei and Tsubaki know, Kaori likes Watari, and so Kousei is just wasting his time feeling anything for her. Even after all this she doesn’t try to stop Kousei from applying to that music school. She actually just goes to cram school so she can try to get into a school close to that one. And she doesn’t demand that he like her instead (not yet anyway). Maybe it’s selfish when we look at it from omniscient viewer point of view because we know how Kaori and Kousei feel, but when I think about her character I don’t find her that selfish at all really.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Self-deceit is a characteristic I quite liked to see explored and the consequences of it. When done well it leads to some interesting self-reflection moments. Your Lie in April deals with this trait very well across a number of its characters. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This aspect of it was one of the most prominent things I found when I watched it the first time. Especially since I was trying to figure out the title the whole time, I was thinking “they lie to themselves so much, which one is it?”

      It definitely allows for some affective moments of reflection though, have to agree.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Tsubaki sure is a controversial character. I find myself agreeing with both you and Crystal. Karandi makes some good points on self-deceit, too. Ahhh, I’m so wishy-washy. Self-deceit is so powerful yet so dangerous.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You say wishy-washy, I say open minded.

      I’ve been reading your blog for some time, but especially after listening to some of your podcasts I noticed this quality about you. You can see the merit in both sides of an opinion, and you’re able to consider how they feel even if you’re not really in agreement with one or the other.

      It’s not a bad thing!

      Liked by 1 person

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