Your Lie in April ep7: perfectly pitiful and practically imperfect
The jealousy and hate is real. The fear is real. It’s all too real. Sometimes the best fiction is reality. Just show us what actually happens, what we’ve experienced; and we’ll sink into your story. Have your fictional characters act like us, sound like us. Do that and it becomes real. And I can’t think much that’s more universal and real to us than the fear of getting up in front of a crowd and being judged.
Boy do I ever not like cats. And the evil cats in anime are some of the worst. Though I’m having trouble clearly judging this cat. It looks evil enough. I mean it’s a cat. A black cat at that…. say the man in the hat.
Sorry. It just felt so fun to write that.
In this show, we’ve seen the cat as a sort of haunting presence. He appears. Stares. Asks questions. And Kousei just freezes and then reacts to whatever is going on in his mind. And the cat always seemed clearly connected to Kousei’s mother, but they’ve been shown to be not one and the same. In this episode, it’s made clear to us by Kousei himself.
Back near when Kousei’s mother was probably starting her megomanical streak, Kousei had a michievous cat he named Chelsea, after the candies it always stole. Why the cat didn’t have a name before is beyond me, but it’s name is Chelsea now. One day, he was apparently playing with the cat too much or too hard, and it slashed his hand. Without hesitation, once his mother found out she removed it from the house. Kousei’s lasting memory of this incident is his regret at not stepping in to save the cat and she took it away. he likely knew back then that the cat was gone for good without anyone saying anything. Kousei’s hands are the most important part of him. No less than a capital punishment was probably expected, especially because of how Kousei reacts to the incident and a similar looking cat. To this day, he still feels guilt over Chelsea.
Thankfully, Kaori is around to once again dispel his negative thoughts and emotions. She really is dragging him along with all her heart.
I won’t give off the wrong impression though. Kousei ahs been trying his hardest to master his set piece of music. Practicing, focusing, obsessing over the details over and over again, even though he still can’t hear his own playing. It still feels like an impossibly daunting task to undertake in such a short period of time. And I can’t help but think he’s going to get embarrassed jumping back into a competition with his reputation.
The show doesn’t tease or play with us for much longer though. Halfway through the episode, the day of the competition is already here. As Kousei takes his opening steps back into the world he shunned (or that shunned him) so long ago, Kaori gives him one last bit of superstitious encouragement. She tells him that the number for place in the competition line is sign that the stars are shining upon him. But once inside, little shines upon him aside for the harsh glares of the competition and knowledgeable fans.
Waiting at the top of the stairs are Emi and Takeshi, a pair of young prodigy pianists who used to be staunch rivals of Kousei’s. Well I say rivals, because he always beat them out in every competition. In reality, it seems Kousei didn’t notice, let alone talk to anyone. And now years later, the two of them still have a burning hatred for him.
The feeling is shared by others and permeates the air, as even someone far outside the art like Ryouta can notice. In the bathroom, he can hear the back-handed and sneering comments of the competition, and feel it in the atmosphere throughout the building. Kaori confirms this with him and Tsubaki as they sit in waiting for the performances to begin. She seems intimately familiar with the reputation and rumours that surrounded Kousei at his height. And while the words about Kousei being a slave, a puppet and a machine were said as if they were coming from another person’s mouth or hear say, the emotion behind them shows that she’s felt these feelings herself. After all, what Kousei back then represented was the polar opposite of her philosophy and style now. It makes me wonder about their future, but that’s not what’s important right now.
In the end, the focus starts to shift to the competition, not Kousei. In his absence, Emi and Takeshi have carved out quite a niche for themselves. They still have high expectations of their own. We see backstage how the pressure still weighs on veterans like them, as we can see Takeshi and other competitors dealing with the pressure and fear in their own ways. Yes, even a veteran like Takeshi is still seen needing to keep down his food and talk composure back into his being. It’s by far my favorite part of the episode. The fear, the pressure and ever present panic that lurks around the corner for all of them. It all comes down to every person fearing themselves more than anything else really. If a performer believed they were perfect, and could pump out a perfect performance no matter what, there would be no need for fear.
In the end, they don’t really trust themselves. The music is right there in front of them, it’s not going anywhere. The instrument of choice is there as it is for eveyone, an even playing field for all who dare to take a seat. It’s about not being perfect. Not even being close, else all that practice would be a bit silly. It’s about mustering the best in your self to push out that perfect performance. That’s what makes these feats in competitions so impressive. But for Kousei, he’s in the awkward position of just trying to not suck. The goal may be to match the composer one for one. But for Kousei, actually making the music sound close to what was intended might be a minor miracle as is. It may be more impressive that perfect performance.
Note: didn’t find a way to really talk about it this time, but I’m glad to see a little more of Ryouta. I’m glad I got to see that moment this episode where he found a private place to hide and cry. He stood tall when his team lost and consoled those that were heartbroken. It was nice to see that passion in defeat as well. I hope he gets a chance to shine in the upcoming episodes.