I take a deeper look at how the characters are changing using examples from episode 17. Read on for more on the theme I’m covering and to participate in the quiz.
Obligatory disclaimer: This post may contain spoilers for episode 17 and earlier. Other readers’ comments in the discussion following this post are not guaranteed to be spoiler free for the overall series.
Kousei begins to grow depressed over Kaori and the others start to take notice. Kaori herself seems resigned to what may eventually happen, which leads Kousei to come up with a plan to motivate her. As Nagi prepares for her school festival performance, the pressure starts to mount.
I covered this episode during last year’s event in this post (new window). Have a look for an episode recap and my take on some of the key moments.
Your lie in April loves playing with parallels, using various situations and relationships that mirror those that came before to make a point. For this post I’ll take a look at how such situations lead the characters to take on new roles
It’s common in fiction to see characters act like set pieces, moving according to their archetype or trope to fulfill their part in a story. Changing this role part way through the story can therefore be an interesting way to elevate interest, because it opens up new avenues for a character while still offering some measure of predictability. This is absolutely true for Your lie in April, which uses the lessons and experiences its characters go through to present drastic changes in their outlook.
The most superficial example of this in Nagi’s overall arc, which sees Kousei take on the part of her teacher. Having dealt with harsh taskmasters of his own (first his mother, then Kaori), Kousei similarly stresses the importance of long hours at the bench. But because Nagi is so much like he was, he is able to guide her along much more effectively. Like Kaori, he tries to impart the need for Nagi to play with her heart rather than sticking to the score, because he knows that’s how she’ll be able to express her true feelings from the piano and find the kind of fulfillment he has.
As adept as he is becoming with guiding Nagi, he is at a loss when it comes to dealing with his own feelings. This paralyzes him to the point where he avoids Kaori altogether despite his friends’ insistence. Watari doesn’t get a lot of screen time in this show, but he delivers some of the most brilliant lines. When he says “I’m not the one Kaori needs,” he’s placing himself in the same role that Kousei did in the second episode. He likely understands how Kaori feels, and is taking on the ‘Friend A’ part so that Kousei can realize what he means to her.
In thinking about all the ways she affected his life, Kousei becomes more like Kaori in a number of ways. Her behavior in the hospital is much like Kousei’s was at the start of the series: resigned, dour, and dismissive of her part in his life. His response, though presented comically, is to lash out in mock anger and eat all her canelés. It gets her to laugh at least, but his next idea truly seems like a Kaori move – play a performance that will make her want to step on the stage herself again.
He gets another opportunity to play Kaori’s part when Nagi grows nervous before their performance. He doesn’t grab her hand and drag her to the stage the way Kaori did to him, but he repeats the words that gave him inspiration before: “Just play with sincerity and give the performance of your life.” His shaking hands further impart what he learned when Kaori told him that all musicians feel that fear of going on stage. As alike as Nagi and Kousei are, these lessons hit home just as strongly.
Were there any other roles you saw these characters take on? What do you think about Hiroko’s approach to Nagi in light of what happened to Kousei? Let me know your opinions on the episode and any other thoughts you might have.
Be sure to play today’s quiz, and make sure you get all the entries you can by completing all the quizzes on previous posts.