Home > Episode by Episode > Your Lie in April ep4: break the robot to build the man

Your Lie in April ep4: break the robot to build the man

“I knew this was a bad idea.”

That was all I could think through most of this episode.  Nothing was planned, nothing was really addressed, nothing was practiced and everything was riding on the air and prayers.  It should fail, it did fail.  But boy was in brilliant!

This episode was the performance, and nothing else.  Nothing else mattered.  Nothing else existed in the show’s world while this performance happened.  And I loved the focus displayed because of it.

Kaori and Kousei took the stage, and again we see Kousei is recognized by the ongoers and judges.  It seems he can’t go anywhere with a knowledge of classical music in Japan without being noticed.  So his awkward appearance is quite the surprise to more than a few.  More importantly, those with knowledge of the two are quite curious to see how they’ll mesh.  And the start is quite normal, almost boring  in that Kaori isn’t displaying her usual flair.  And Kousei seems to be handling the task of backing her up quite well.  Despite his nervousness, he recognizes that he merely has to follow the sheet music, just as his mother taught him.  His job and part in the music really isn’t complicated or hard, at least for his skill level.  But just as soon as that is thought, he sees a mirage of his sickly mother in the corner of the concert hall and the situation begins to unravel.

What a wonderful display and articulation of failure – I say this unironically.  We see things progressively shift into darkness and desperation for Kousei, as the notes  begin to fade from the page in front of him.  We are shown and hear how the notes begin to become muffled, and his whole body and piano seem to sink underwater.  My favorite moment coming as you hear the clack of the piano come down without any music being produced.  I saw and heard all this and understood so well how he experienced his affliction.  We see that he’s actually stripped of his ability to perform, leaving him with only his raw physical ability to press notes.

The ensuing mess is terrible, as Kousei and Kaori utterly and completely clash.  It’s the polar opposite of what he needs to do as a piano accompanist.  Still Kaori continues to soldier on without complaint or grimace.  But Kousei eventually can’t take anymore and just stops.  His hands completely removed from the keys, arms by his sides, he is the picture of defeat.  It’s no surprise.  We can hear the crowd progressively turn against him throughout, growing more and more verbal and disgusted.  With the only mercy being shown to Kaori for having to tolerate his performance.  Eventually, Kaori herself stops.

Defeat?  Resignation?  Disgust?

No.  It’s only intermission.  It’s explained to us through the audience and judges that this is the end.  Once you stop, nothing else counts.  But Kaori merely composes herself, and then continues to play.  She continues to push forward, in an effort to push Kousei into persevering.

Kousei soon musters up the strength to try again, and we see something very telling.  He conjures up a good memory of his mother.  We see him receiving very simple, encouraging advice from a young beautiful woman.  There’s not a sign of her sickly demeanor to be found.  It seems possible that Kousei’s love for his mother isn’t just blind submission.  It appears his whole youthful career hadn’t been for of machine like practice and mental torture.  And it’s that memory that pulls him through.  We see Kousei explode into the virtuoso that wowed everyone when he was but a small child.  And we also see Kaori slightly struggle to keep up.  In moments, this broken performance becomes a fiery duel between the soloist and the accompanist pianist!  It’s glorious!  It’s exciting!  It is inspiring!

And then the performance is over.

The audience explodes in pure applause and joy.

And Kaori hits the floor unconscious.

Oh my!  This whole experience just got darker.

In the end, this episode was just brilliant.  I could barely call myself lukewarm towards this show up to this point.  But this entry just blew me away!  Passion was just poured into this episode from every angle.  And I feel like I actually learned quite a bit and grew closer to the two main characters because of it.  Anything I could say about this show in the negative has been swallowed whole.  Impressive.  Quite impressive.

Further Reading:

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