Your Lie in April, Episode 16

If you’ve come this far with Your Lie in April, now might be your last chance to turn back. That’s the feeling I get. We’re standing on the edge of the precipice of the deepest valley this show has yet looked into and, well, it looks to be pretty dark there at the bottom. And I’m really not just talking about Kaori’s frightening final line of the episode, but about the whole direction of the show.

Your Lie in April

I don’t think it’s by chance that we’ve transitioned from an episode where Tsubaki finally pushed herself to move beyond the time of her frozen childhood into an episode where both Kousei and Kaori wish for time to stop. On one hand, despite the fact that we barely see Tsubaki at all this episode (an undesirable effect of the multiple storylines I complained about last week), this just serves to emphasize how out of sync she is with Kousei. For 15 episodes she’s been mired in stasis while Kousei has pushed ahead and now that she’s taken the plunge to move forward, Kousei is getting set to grind to another stop due to Kaori’s (rapidly, it seems) deteriorating condition.

The curious thing there is that there is still stuff pushing Kousei to move forward, both narratively and on a character level. I’m afraid I might have come off a little more unhappy about Nagi’s role in the show than I intended last week because I did then and do now, even more, think she brings a fantastic new facet to the whole drama of Kousei’s life. Having one more character narrative slapped up against Kousei’s, particularly one where we’ve got someone seeking a change from the way things have always been for her, serves to further accentuate movement around Kousei—and Nagi as a character is great for Kousei’s growth as a person.

Your Lie in April

It’s both heartbreaking and heartwarming to hear Hiroko reflect on her desire for Kousei’s happiness (who she, touching, calls her son this episode). Heartwarming in that it’s a beautiful, kind sentiment…and heartbreaking in that we know pain is on the horizon for him. And, perhaps also heartbreaking because her strategy is one that, for the time being, seems to be working. Nagi’s kind of a pain right, now, but I really like the set-up we got for her this episode. Like, a lot.

Nagi’s volatile, kind of nasty, stuck-up, and generally a brat, but I like in spite of, or perhaps because of, all that. She’s kind of unbelievably perceptive and self-aware for her age (an anime convention I’ve come to accept almost unequivocally), but she’s also transparent and very much influenced by her emotions. Despite the fact that her core drama is essentially a recast version of the rote “notice me onii-chan” variety, KimiUso visuals again did a lot of the heavy lifting in endearing her to me. In a way, Nagi’s quest to be acknowledged by her superstar brother is just a different iteration Kaori’s quest to be remembered. In particular, her conversation with Kousei on the steps of the shrine made evident that she’s a character who’s in search of something, but not so caught up in herself as to miss some obvious truths.

Nagi hates Kousei because her brother is obsessed with defeating him and is on a quest to “destroy” Kousei —whatever that means. Even so, and even if her honesty was only a “game” to win Kousei’s trust (and her internal monologue questioning why she was spilling her guts kind of decries that angle), she’s still confessing some big stuff…and coming to understand Kousei better, too. Heck, you could almost see Nagi’s struggle as a reflection of Kousei’s battle to please his mother. And she wants someone to drive away that feeling of obligation. Honestly, that line really resonated with me. Feeling trapped by a responsibility you didn’t ask for, even if it derives of your own feelings, hurt.

Between Hiroko and Koharu’s apparently natural tendencies to capture people in their loving natures, I don’t think Nagi will really be able to go through with her plan to “destroy” Kousei in the end. In fact, I think she’ll be a valuable ally for him in the coming days of pain—someone to pull him out of himself and his grief, someone who might call him to grow far better than Hiroko, Tsubaki, or Watari could.

Your Lie in April

On the Kaori side of the story, we finally got a chance to actually spend some time with her, as does Kousei. And we got to see more emotion from her this episode than we have in many, many episodes. It’s a good thing, too—in my opinion, KimiUso has delayed far too long in humanizing Kaori. She’s dying, that much is painfully clear, and we’re going to be expected to feel it when she does. The more faultlines we see in her, the better, because the more real she becomes. Part of this is, of course, a function of Kousei’s rose-tinted view of Kaori, but even short shots like seeing Kaori in the doctor’s office with her parents do a lot for helping us to realize that yes, she’s less than an angel and no more than a girl.

A scared girl. A desperate girl. A girl clinging to what little she has left in life the best she can. A girl grappling with the finitude of her own existence and trying to make sure she’s leaving a mark somewhere, anywhere. With someone. And now we’ve returned to where we started this post—on the impermanence and fluidity of time. Time stops for no one; Tsubaki’s understood that. And, I think, Kaori instinctively understands it, too. Understands it so well that it hurts. Knows it so deeply that she’s approaching the point of pushing her own desires on to Kousei without regard for his own feelings. It’s a mistake. It’s really good for us to see. But I hope she doesn’t end up in bitterness.

Your Lie in April

Where will all this leave Kousei?

Battered. In pain. Not as the happy pianist Hiroko hopes he can be. But there are an array of people around him ready to support him, although some of them are going to need supporting themselves. It seems I’m always ending these posts with my hopes for the future of the show these days, and so I guess I’ll continue the trend here: I desperately hope the impact of Kaori’s death on Tsubaki and even Watari doesn’t get glossed over just to focus on Kousei. There are shockwaves coming—who knows how far down into this valley we’ll get tipped.

Your Lie in April

14 thoughts on “Your Lie in April, Episode 16

  1. I hate to be negative but Kaori needs to tell the truth. The others dont know whats going on ? Well Kousei might now!My take on Nagi a brat who needs to learn a lesson! She could take some tips from Naru!
    She wants to destroy Kousei she’s going tp find out he is more toyght than it seems!
    One thing that would make this anime at least more acceptable would to see Kaori play one last time!She wants Kousei to win again but kinda knows time is short!

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    • Nagi definitely is a brat! I just think she’s a kind of lovable brat.

      & yeah, Kaori hiding things isn’t going to make anything easier for anyone. In fact, it’ll probably do a lot of damage in the long run.

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  2. Some weeks ago I predicted we’d be hearing Ravel’s “Pavane pour une infante défunte”. There it was in the last scene. Couldn’t keep from crying.

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  3. Not much to add beyond what you posted in your review. I said last week that I wanted to see what kind of teacher Kousei would be, and those scenes didn’t disappoint at all. He’s pretty much as bad as I thought he’d be, and that’s not unexpected. Besides being a total novice as a teacher, it’s almost axiomatic that prodigies usually don’t make the best coaches or teachers anyway, because it’s hard for them to take things they understand instinctively and explain them to people who don’t. I really enjoyed Nagi’s character, though; she is a brat, but a lovable brat, and adds a new dynamic that the show didn’t have.

    And for crying out loud, Kaoru, just tell them the truth already – it’s not like they can’t figure it out anyway.

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    • Yay, I’m glad someone else likes Nagi! I think she’s a great addition to the show (although I still have the same qualms as I did last week about having yet another storyline for KimiUso to juggle when a main character is LITERALLY DYING).

      Kaori’s entire situation just hits me as odd. She’s dying, but not telling any of her friends about it—and the show continues to plow ahead with other plot events as if they’re of equal significance to the plight of the girl who brought Kousei out of his monochromatic life.

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    • It’s equally axiomatic that the best way to truly grasp a thing is to teach it. When you reach to explain something you know “automatically”, you often gain a deeper grasp than if you stayed in your rut.

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  4. Finally got a chance to watch it last night, and I’m not sure what to think (even without that last line). Not much happened, but a whole lot went on… setting in motion all the threads for the final arc? OTOH, such arcs as they’ve had to date have tended to be shorter than the remaining time.

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    • Yeah, I dunno where the endgame of the show is headed at this point. We’ve got six episodes left, but KimiUso has shown it’s willing to do 2-episode arcs (heck, I think the longest one was the first piano competition, which was…4? 5?).

      I don’t have a good sense of where the show is going to end up, especially because of all the narrative threads that are just fluttering out in the breeze right now. Even if Kaori were to die in the next episode (I don’t expect she will), I wouldn’t have much confidence in the show’s ability to wrap everything up well in five episodes.

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  5. Already caught up! Boy, if it wasn’t because of those slap-sticks, I’d bawl my eyes out… This episode is quite… emotionally intense for me, tbh.. :/ Cartoon “comedy face” and the slapstick kinda ruins it… -_-

    About the pacing and the wrap up… alright, where are we again? Oh yeah, the 16th ep. 6 more to go, huh? Here’s a bit of my prediction:

    The last two episode will wrap up the last 3 chapters in the manga, I guess (There are 44 chaps in the manga), with ep 21 will full on concert, and ep 22 epilogue. That leaves us 17,18,19, and 20. Between ep 19 or 20, I guess, will be an Aiza-centered ep, ut I’ll bet on ep 20 for Aiza-centered. That leaves 17,18,19. At episode 17, we will have half of a concert (like Kaori-Kousei concert, where that ep ended with Kousei “drowning”) and the other half of the concert will be at the first half of ep 18. That leaves second half of 18, and ep 19. During that duration, there should be a drama centered on both Kaori and Tsubaki, with Kaori (I pressume) focused more on ep 19.

    Going by this planning, we shouldn’t be experiencing any major set-back from a rushing pace. There WILL be a rush, but supposedly, it shouldn’t be anything major. The strongest part (and the one we will look forward) is must be the ending. Seeing how the first cour ended quite magnificently, I have hope that it will end good. That being said, doesn’t mean they should rush everything before the end and only put a good work on the ending, that’d be sad.

    Also, bless, I think I’ve said this before, but I’ll said it again. Reading the manga after this series ends is recommendable from me. For comparison purposes, of course. Maybe, some rushed pace you may feel in the anime will be slowed down in manga.

    P.S. The way you wrote your review is… beautiful :3 it’s factual, critical, but also “poetic” in a way. I like.

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    • I’d say a whole bunch about the slapstick, but I think I’ve more or less said all I can on that topic.

      So we are going to get to the end of the manga, huh? I guess I do sort of forget that 6 episodes is a long time, but it just feels like there are so many different things the anime needs to tie up—and I want to see them all tied up well. Unfortunately, I get the feeling we won’t resolve a number of the thematic threads laid down with some of the side characters.

      I’ll think about giving the manga a shot, but even series I love (like Chihayafuru) have only induced me to start reading after what I’ve already seen.

      P.S. Thanks! Despite all my critiques of KimiUso, I do really like a lot of the themes it’s dealing with—and many of them, I think, lend themselves to more poetic language in their abstractness.

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      • Yeah bless, the anime’s gonna do a full adaptation of the manga from to to bottom, so it will have the exact story line and ending as the manga does.

        As for the thematic threads that you said… Well, the anime does have some things that needs to be tied up, but I think we will end up having most–if not all–of the major thematic threads tied up. Let’s do a head count of the character whose story has a major thematic thread (beside Kousei and Kaori); Tsubaki, well, she slowly come in terms with her own feeling, and in later ep we’ll see whether she’ll make a big step. It’s not hard, really. Just one simple step’ll do. Then, the Aiza siblings, we’ll get them covered shortly. Emi, well… this one’s a glitch. Her development and the solving of her thematic thread isn’t really as “visible” as the others, but somehow I can see that it “exist”. It just vague. Well, who else? I think, that’s the only ones, right? Hiroko is a guide character, her thread is to guide, and she done well. Watari… he’s a “tool” character. You’ll find out just what kind of “tool” he is.

        Also, the OP song vid actually contains a fairly big spoiler. Try to find out if you really can handle spoiler. Oh no, don’t ask me, cos I ain’t telling ^^

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