With only 2 episodes to go, my April event continues with another theme analysis for you to enjoy. Today’s theme is closely related to the title, and was bound to come up sooner or later.
Obligatory disclaimer: This post may contain spoilers for episode 20 and earlier. Other readers’ comments in the discussion following this post are not guaranteed to be spoiler free for the overall series.
Kousei continues to avoid confronting Kaori, leading Tsubaki to confront him about how he really feels. Realizing for the first time himself, he resolves to change things only to discover that he might have run out of time.
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.
We had previously explored the role of lies in the narrative and how the characters use them to avoid sorrow. The opposite sentiment can be applied to truth, in its power to render them vulnerable to the pain of uncertainty.
With the title of the anime referring to a lie, exploring the role of honesty was inevitable. As I alluded in the analysis of episode 14, one of the primary motivations to mask the truth was to avoid pain. There’s a reason that people say “the truth hurts.” It takes away the sense of control a lie provides, relying instead on the hope that others will respond favorably to it. This is no less applicable for the characters who open up to others in this episode. Though we have yet to see the lie of the show’s namesake come out into the open, the truth of Kousei’s feelings are on prominent display.
This comes up most dramatically right before the mid episode break when Kousei and Tsubaki were talking while hiding out from the sudden rainfall. Interestingly, it’s the buildup of lies from Kousei that finally drives Tsubaki over the edge, as he unknowingly teases her hope that he would ever see her as a girl. Kousei’s admission in response to her questioning is his first explicit admission that he likes Kaori, and it promptly sends Tsubaki into a tirade about how no girl would choose him over Watari. This final lie, considering that Tsubaki had chosen him, gets her to come clean about how she feels as well. Realizing what her words really meant, Tsubaki runs from the embarrassment. Still, she relishes the freedom that the truth provided. Kousei understood that she was a girl, and now it was up to him as to how he would deal with it.
Kousei has a similar moment himself when he speaks to Kaori on the phone. His frustration comes from her mixed signals about whether or not he should visit her – in reality the indecisiveness of a girl who doesn’t know if she should hold on or let go. When she tells him again that he doesn’t have to visit her if he doesn’t have time, he soothes her worry by being direct himself. His words end her doubts about whether or not she should try to spare his pain. Kousei has invited it himself, because seeing her is more important to him.
The final example also has to do with Kousei’s admission, though the context and resulting consequences are different. After talking to Kaori, Kousei is no longer afraid to visit the hospital with Watari. It’s here that Kousei takes his boldest step by admitting he likes Kaori to the very person he believes is her boyfriend. The risk of Watari being angry with him shouldn’t be understated, but Watari’s reaction shows just how much Kousei underestimates his friend’s understanding. It’s a short lived but touching moment, considering the distance Kousei had put between himself and Kaori because of his fear of betraying Watari.
Of course, the consequences of truth make themselves known in short order. It wasn’t the danger of straining his relationship with his friends that ultimately comes back to bite Kousei after admitting his feelings, but rather the vulnerability he creates in his own heart by realizing that he loves Kaori. When he and Watari see her go into a seizure, his worst fears spring forward without the cushion of the distance he kept from Kaori to hold them back. Every moment when he should have known what they felt floods his mind, and his crushing realization that he discovered the truth too late sends him spiraling into despair.
As painful as it is to see what Kousei goes through at this point, it’s important because realizing and admitting his truth is the catalyst for the final act of the series. Shedding his identity as ‘Friend A’ is important in properly processing what he’s going through, because his lack of clarity about his identity when his mother passed away led to many of the problems he had.
Is honesty worth the pain that might follow? How did Kousei and Tsubaki choosing to be honest so late in the series help or hinder the story in your opinion? Let me know your thoughts about the article or the episode in general, and don’t forget to do today’s quiz!