Your Lie in April, Episode 6

Well, it took me a while to really warm up to Your Lie in April (abbreviating it as KimiUso), but I’m finally there with episode 6—which mostly kept up the visual pace set by the past couple episodes and finally added in some much needed nuance to its thematic wanderings. I’ve said in my past highlights of the week that the thing I feared most was that KimiUso would oversimplify everything, from the story itself to the sorts of thematic entanglements it was setting up.

If KimiUso continues to develop along these lines, I might even find something to talk about each week!

Your Lie in April

Desho~!?

I think the first order of business might be to note that the comedic elements of KimiUso are no longer bothering me the way they did at the beginning. It could just be acclimation, or perhaps it’s that I’ve become more attached to the characters and am more willing to tolerate silliness from them because I like them. Watari, in particular, strikes me as something of an unintentional comedic gold mine—he’s a pretty stuck up kid, which makes him simultaneously endearing and a bit annoying. But, heck, that’s what kids do. I much prefer people like Watari, who are significantly more harmless in their narcissism, to those who think they’re awesome and show it by bringing other people down. Anyways, that was a long digression about a character who barely showed up this episode.

I like Kaori, but I’m rooting for Tsubaki in the Kousei sweepstakes right now. And I know childhood friends have like a 0.5% success rate in actually turning a friendship into a romance (0.5% might be a little generous, too), but Tsubaki has done a bit more to win my favor than Kaori has. Stuff like the very first scene of the episode, with Tsubaki carrying a bawling Kousei on her back and crying her, I think, has a lot to do with that. Speaking of the episode’s first scene. Along with the great crying faces, I loved how they put the train rushing by in the background at the start of the scene. The extra noise running under Kousei’s wailing made the whole thing feel chaotic and extreme—it was almost overwhelming, running nicely into the crescendo of Tsubaki  joining Kousei in tears.

Your Lie in April

That scene parallels nicely into the final scene of the episode, but those two moments nicely frame the rest of the episode’s events. That’s not to say that this episode was all good—despite the fact that the comedic moments don’t bother me as much as they used to, I still find them somewhat troubling in a structural sense. A really good example of what I’m talking about is the moment when Kousei finds out Kaori has signed him up for the piano competition by stealing his wallet. Now, it’s glossed over by the fact that it’s framed as humor, but that’s like…a huge plot hole, you know? For Kousei to actually play in the competition, they had to get him to sign up somehow. Obviously, with his mental state right now, there’s no way he would do that on his own (especially if it required spending money). KimiUso‘s solution? Have Kaori steal his wallet and use his money to pay the entrance fee. That should be troubling. But frame it like a joke, and the absurdity of the situation can pass on by virtue of the comedy’s entertainment factor.

This isn’t the first time KimiUso has handled problems of plot believability with humor either. Remember episode 3 and all the hyperbolic efforts Kaori and Tsubacki went through to get Kousei to accompany Kaori? (Or the way Kaori and Kousei first met?) The way it was framed, I think, was intended to be humorous—whether or not you found it funny, there was a sort of tongue-in-check aesthetic to that sequence that blurred the line between joke and actual plot event. I don’t really want to make an evaluative statement on this technique at this point, but it perhaps betrays a certain reluctance from the mangaka to tackle tough plot points head on. I worry that playing around like this might eventually get KimiUso into trouble.

Your Lie in April

Anyways, Tsubaki was kind of the star of this episode for me. The first scene, as I’ve already mentioned, was a nice touchstone for her relationship with Kousei, and speaking up on her way home with Kaori about not wanting Kousei to suffer was a nice moment for her. Kaori responds with a little speech about how Kousei’s turning his suffering into music, which sounds nice on the surface—but her tears with Kousei later in the music room at school indicate that she might not be as confident in her ideals as she lets on. This is one of those moments of nuance I’ve been looking for, an indication that Kaori’s my way or the highway approach to music and Kousei might not be as thematically waterproof as it seems. Now, Kousei somewhat negates her worries by thanking her, but at least Kaori is realizing that she’s been a bit unfair to Kousei.

We also get a bit more nuance in the classical vs. interpretive approaches to music conflict after Kousei hears himself playing once again and Kaori dumps a heap of insults on his playing. Kousei reflects that playing the sheet music perfectly isn’t getting him anywhere, but that he needs to find a place for himself in the music. This could be a translation thing, but that’s a far cry from dominating the music and totally appropriating it from the composer, which seems to be when Kaori stands on the issue. It’s a happy medium that Kousei’s searching for—whether or not he can reach it is another matter.

Your Lie in April

The other effect of Tsubaki speaking up is that Kaori’s speech gets her to reflect on the relationship between Kousei and Kaori, a relationship in which she sees no place for her. So, she tries to drown those feelings in a different relationship. Heard of a rebound? This isn’t quite that, but it’s pretty close…and pretty pointless. It’s Kousei who she’s in love with, and she can’t get away from that. I really liked the effect of having Kaori’s thoughts on music transcending words going as Tsubaki played. It set up really nicely the parallel scene to the first one, which was probably my favorite of the episode.

The final scene was a lovely reflection of Tsubaki’s character: firstly, the reversal of childhood roles nicely resonated with Kousei’s requests for Tsubaki to open up to him (thanks to Kaori’s interference, too). And then, and then! We get Tsubaki’s lovely reflections on relationships.

Who cares about music? Who cares about words? We have the long, long time we’ve spent together and we have so many tiny, precious memories.

Because isn’t that the true nature of relationships? They’re not about having common interests, or even about attraction. They’re about two people and the way they exist with each other. They’re about shared memory, shared time, and shared selves.

Your Lie in April

And what’s even better is Tsubaki’s beautiful outpouring of emotion on Kousei’s shoulders. She’s actually living out that belief she’s just expressed internally. She lets it all go, literally allowing herself to be supported by the boy she loves most in the world—all her frustration, her exhaustion, her physical pain, her emotional pain. And, she finds, in those moments of trust, the world to be warm. How can you not root for Tsubaki after all of that? And there’s Kousei, smiling slightly and silently.

So, to close down this exceedingly and unjustifiably long post, we get teased with Kousei’s childhood piano rivals, neither of whom are glad to see Kousei back in the game for his own sake. I’m interested to see if they bring more nuance to KimiUso or end up just being one-dimensional roadblocks. After this episode, I’m hoping for the former.

How about a few of the nice shots from this week’s episode to send you off? There were also a couple cute moments of direction, like Tsubaki throwing the chair turning into the softball in the catcher’s mitt, but I have to stop writing somewhere.

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