Your Theme in April: Ep 17 – Twilight

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.


Intro

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


Role Reversal

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.

Kousei and Nagi talking while they sit on the swings in the playground

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.

 Kousei comically eating all the canelés with an angry face

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.


Your Theme in April

9 thoughts on “Your Theme in April: Ep 17 – Twilight

Add yours

  1. It was really nice seeing Kousei take the roll Kaori took for him for Nagi. Overall it’s really nice to see Kousei be such a good teacher, and see that he’d be great at doing anything with the piano in the future 🙂

    Yeah, I always think Watari doesn’t get enough credit in this show. I think he figured out a loooong time ago how Kaori feels about Kousei – though it always bothered me why he wasn’t more direct about it, maybe he figured Kousei wouldn’t believe if it he just said “Dude, she likes you”. Granted they don’t know what’s to come for Kaori, so don’t see the urgency in it. And I’m really enjoying Nagi’s arc a lot this time around! It seems a lot shorter than it was before, maybe because I didn’t see the point in it before. This is one of the few shows that makes sure every character is used effectively for the themes of the show and the progression of the plot, so it’s nice to see 🙂

    Also, do you get the vibe that Watari likes Kaori? I always got that feel that he wound up actually genuinely liking her but knew Kousei did so as good bros do, he stepped aside as best he could, while still being there for both of them. Not sure if that’s just my head cannon though, I see a lot of subtext for it in the show when I watch.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nagi’s story really grew on me, because it showed Kousei maturing a lot and part of that was to help Nagi thrive as a musician of her own.

      I’m pretty sure he knew what Kaori felt for a long time. There’s a sequence from the manga that occurs shortly after his last game where Watari asks Kaori if she likes Kousei. She says she does, and Watari’s reaction is very similar to what he does here, like “Oh, yeah, I thought so.” Kaori deflects though, saying she also likes Watari, and Tsubaki, and Kashiwagi, and everyone. What a sneaky girl, huh?

      As for whether or not Watari liked her, do you remember his quote from episode 2? “Because she’s in love, she’s even cuter to you. So you fall for her, even knowing it’s not going to happen.” Kaori certainly had some strong feelings, and I’m sure Watari fell for that. But I do think you’re right that he tried to push Kousei toward her, knowing he would have to step aside, because he understood their feelings.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh snap, I totally forgot about that line but you’re right! It takes on a whole different meaning later in the show. Are there a lot of differences between the manga and the anime? I was wondering if Kousei’s Mom was fleshed out a bit more in there, because the scene with Saki and Hiroko I really liked and would’ve liked to see more of her in a positive light.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. There aren’t a lot of differences actually. That one was one of the few that I noticed. The anime adaptation was super faithful to the original manga with only some minor panels left out.

          I would have liked to see more of Saki and Hiroko too. Alas…

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I always found this a nice touch as it seemed like this anime was coming full circle and it really was preparing to end. Unlike so many stories, this one isn’t trying for a continuation or having to rush its resolution. It knew seemingly from the beginning where the end point was and it paces things appropriately.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think it’s a credit to how streamlined the production was. Arakawa knew what he wanted to do with this story, and that he would write it in 44 chapters. The manga was set to end in Feb 2015 and the production staff timed the anime ending accordingly in the Winter 2015 season. The best stories are necessarily self contained, because they provide that sense of completion that can only come from resolving all relevant story points.

      But if you think about it, this story kind of had to be written with the ending in mind, didn’t it?

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Most definitely which is what makes it a note worthy story. Too many stories don’t have an ending in mind or end up not managing to resolve in a meaningful way. Something like this definitely stands out because it has purpose and clarity.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Ah, my question in the previous post was a bit silly in hindsight, oops.

    Nagi and Kousei really are two of a kind as she helps Kousei self-reflect partially due to her likeness to him, but so are Kousei and Kaori. He really does act like her in an attempt to cheer the girl who has started acting like he was in the beginning series, as you mentioned. She helped him and now he’s helping her. It’s beautiful.

    Everything’s coming full-circle as of these later episodes and it’s a sight to see.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is. Like I mentioned in my reply to you on the previous post – what was once my least favorite part of the series becomes just as meaningful as the rest when I started to look at it this way.

      I suppose I feel a bit like Hiroko in seeing all this too when she thinks to herself “our boy” is growing up.

      Liked by 1 person

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