Your Lie in April ep11: I lean on my frail emotions for you
Harsh realities are harsh realities until you deal with them. Then like many things, they fade with time. Failure, triumph, love, hate, inspiration and regret are all dust that get swept along the river of time. They’re absorbed and fade way, leaving only memories. Kousei is chasing something in that river. Something that too will fade away, leaving only memories.
The biggest thing about this episode is the appearance of Hiroko Seto, a former classmate and close friend to Kousei’s mother. With her appearance, we get to connect a few more dots in the history of Kousei’s life before the show started. As the country’s leading pianist, I’m quite surprised to see how little fanfare follows her around. She just kinda casually hangs out in the concert hall without a peep from her until the very end of the previous episode. I’m puzzled to learn that Tsubaki didn’t know about her either. How could someone be such a mystery in plain sight?
It’s clear that she holds some lingering regret in regards to Kousei’s past and career. We learn it was her that suggested Kousei’s mother teach him to play piano. She saw his massive potential, and thought it would be a shame to waste. And after seeing how her friend suffered and abused Kousei, and then seeing how he completely fell apart and away from the piano, she seems to feel guilt over her role in the situation. All that said, she doesn’t let much of that show in her interactions with Kousei, being very up front and teasing with him. When later in the episode, Kousei asks her to teach him to play the piano again, she seems not at all hesitant to take on the task. Perhaps this is her chance to make amends, or to help heal. The percentage of that healing that will go to either party will be determined later.
This was the conclusion of the little arc revolving around Kousei’s first solo performance since his crumble from grace and his mother’s death two years ago. And the reactions to it were as scattered as his performance. One moment, the head judge is berating him in passing, and the next one one of his rivals is screaming at him for a sh*t performance. But what Kousei is really looking for is Kaori’s reaction. He just wanted his music to reach her, and that was all. He didn’t think to stay for the results. And that would be fair in this situation, knowing he was already disqualified. But Hiroko convinced him to stay, and it was great learning experience for him. When the results came out, he saw the happy faces of those few that made it. And then he saw the far more numerous faces of those facing disappointment and anger at their failure to meet a goal.
In the past, Kousei never stayed for such things. Those results were a foregone conclusion. He was above and separate from those around him. But in the present, we see through this moment, how the moments of failure from his friends tie into everything. His failure and their’s connects them. They are connected and closer thanks to this struggle. He understands the tears of Tsubaki and Ryota more after being around others who sat through the same pressure he did, and performed only to come up short of their goal. That quick realization made it one of my favorite moments of the show so far.
The show wasn’t all fun and happy moments though. Your Lie in April has been telegraphing clearly that there is something very wrong with Kaori physically. Perhaps I’ve watched too many shows with sickly characters who die (i.e. Clannad) to miss the signs. She’s not long for this world. It’s this situation that turns a beautiful moment into a bit of a gut punch. Kousei at the end of the episode goes out and clearly states that it was personality, will and their performance at Towa Hall that carried him through that tough night. But Kaori states that she won’t always be there to lean on in the future.
Sheesh! As if her talk about fireflies wasn’t already enough of a sign.
In the end, a pretty good and wonderfully emotional conclusion to this arc. I look forward to seeing how the two of them progress in the effort to put on another combined performance at Towa Hall.