The last theme post for my April event covers the revelation in the final episode of Your lie in April and the impetus of the entire series.
Disclaimer: This post and any comments in the discussion may contain spoilers for the entirety of the Your lie in April anime. If you have not watched the series in full, I advise against reading further.
Desperate for his emotions to reach Kaori, Kousei becomes lost in the imagery of their final duet. A letter given to him by her parents conveys her final sentiments and her admission of the lie which set them on an unforgettable course.
I covered this episode during last year’s event in this post (new window). Have a look for the episode recap, especially for my poor attempt to capture that amazing performance sequence in words.
This episode delivers a stunning performance to end the story and closes the loop on the event that began it. The entire presentation of the Ballade was incredible, and I hope to try and cover it another time. Today I’ll instead focus on how Kaori shaped this story, revealed by her parting letter.
The Most Beautiful Lie
Your lie in April plays something of a trick on everyone who approaches it for the first time. For a completely fresh viewer, it looks like it could be a slice of life. A few episodes in, it looks like a romance or even a show about music. While it retains aspects of all of these, the dramatic story that develops over 21 episodes pushes the concept of emotional connection more than anything else. The first half of the finale, Spring Breeze, epitomizes this sentiment with a capstone on the strongest connection Kousei develops in this series. The second half explains how all of it was made possible by one little lie.
It can’t really be called a twist, nor is it an epic reveal. Kaori’s lie was, after all, hinted at many times throughout the series though never spelled out until her letter. More so than the feeling of a grand revelation at the end, what her lie ultimately provides is the linchpin of Kaori’s character arc. Your lie in April is a narrative that started from nearly the end of hers, and it takes on all new meaning when we finally realize why.
Kaori’s emotion laden letter reveals that she had been no different from Emi, and that Kousei filled her world with color long before she did the same for him. Back then, and in her first real interactions with him, her goal was simple: to play a duet with Kousei Arima. The barriers were many though, not least of all the unspoken bond between Kousei and Tsubaki that all but the two of them were aware of. The answer proved to be so simple, yet reached farther than I think even Kaori intended.
For Kaori herself, the lie allowed her to get close enough to Kousei to have their duet, but everything she did after this was motivated by a different desire than what came before. Her letter shows that she never intended to come between him and Tsubaki or otherwise act selfishly. Her wish was to play a duet with the person she loved, but when she saw how broken Kousei was (and after she was hospitalized again) she resolved to expend whatever life she had left in her to reignite his passion – in music, and in the people it connected him to. In return she was able to meet her end with no doubt that she would live on within him, conveyed by the music he could now pour his heart and soul into.
For the friends she misled, Tsubaki and Watari, her lie made them more honest with themselves and the people close to them. Tsubaki in particular learned not to take her relationship to Kousei for granted, and that she was holding both of them back by expecting that nothing between them would change. It’s unclear if Watari learned to be more sincere in his feelings towards the girls he dated, but at least in his support of both Kousei and Kaori he had proven an invaluable friend rather than a callous playboy.
Last, but most important, Kaori’s lie gave Kousei the opportunity and space to grow. At the beginning of the series, Kousei was a boy who could not express the emotions he unknowingly locked away behind the piano keys because of his mother. Returning him to music was vital in his healing, and understanding for himself that he wasn’t just ‘Friend A’, or a ‘Human Metronome.’ If Kaori had been honest about her feelings from the beginning, it would have only complicated his already scarred emotional landscape and caused animosity within the closest group of friends he had ever known. At worst, it might have just replaced his dependency on his mother with Kaori. But once Kousei was reawakened to the power the piano gave him, he could use it to express his deepest feelings and process even his grief over losing her.
In the end, the greatest benefactor of Kaori’s lie is this anime’s audience because of story it produced. Without her lie, Kousei couldn’t have returned to music. We wouldn’t have seen Kaori’s radiance light up his life. Tsubaki might have always thought of Kousei as her kid brother and soccer captain Watari would have been on the figurative sidelines.
We would have never seen the fighting spirit in Takeshi and Emi, never known Hiroko’s surrogate love for Kousei, and never met Nagi.
We would have never heard Kousei play Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, Wrong Note, Rachmaninoff’s arrangement of Liebeslied, Tchaikovsky’s Waltz from The Sleeping Beauty, or Ballade no. 1 in G minor.
Kaori, directly or indirectly, was the cause of all of that. She brought color to our lives through this story, and that is why hers is the most beautiful lie.
I hope you have enjoyed this final entry of Your Theme in April, despite it not technically being a theme. It has been an exhausting but rewarding month as I re-watched and analyzed this show that I love.
For all of you who have followed along with me, thank you. It’s been a pleasure having you, and I sincerely appreciate the time you have put into this as well. Don’t forget to do this last quiz, and I’ll put the answers up at the start of May.
For all of you who discovered this post series after it’s ended and still want to discuss, feel free. I never pass up a chance to talk about this anime.
Your Quiz in April
I’m sorry if today’s quiz feels like a giveaway. I had to save the obvious lie for this one.