There were too many small visual details going on here for me to go with my normal essay format, so it’s time-stamps this week! As far as KimiUso episodes go, this one was pretty darn good, although I preferred the first half to the second half. Still, it’s nice to see everyone that’s shown up along Kousei’s journey—Nagi, Takeshi, Emi, Watari, Tsubaki—get small moments as we plunge towards the finale of this adventure.
0:44—Just how deeply does Tsubaki understand Kousei? She immediately understands the devastation will have on Kousei.
2:46/2:48—Tsubaki, you beautiful soul. She knows Kousei is in love with Kaori, she knows her affections for him will probably never be returned, but she still can’t stop herself from diving into the world of music, from reaching out to the people who she believes can save Kousei. It takes a whole lot of humility and selflessness to admit you can’t help someone and to entrust someone you love to someone else.
3:07—A familiar shot, over Hiroko’s shoulder looking at a crushed Kousei. When Kousei is hurt, he always assumes the same position he did as a child. It’s the same pain all over again.
3:31—Before he even starts speaking, his hands drag along the floor. His hands, the place where he connects to the piano, are limp and lifeless. Before he says a word about being unable to go on, his body tell us.
4:04—”All I did…was fall in love…” Wow. Just a devastating line that completely encapsulates Kousei’s complex feelings about everything: his heavy guilt, his love, his helplessness. It twists my heart because, as he’s saying, he did nothing wrong, nothing deserving of this.
4:10—Ugh, his falling tear paralleled with her falling hand. Beautiful and awful.
4:20—An oppressively dark shot with the only light source hidden behind curtains.
5:44—And then this is great. A short sentence, but a spot of hope. A point of connection.
5:49—We’ve seen this shot before, back in episode 1: Kousei at his desk, in greyscale, through the window. Just in case you missed that yes, for him, it’s the same thing all over again. She might as well have told him to study the score. It’s a repeated track, the same thing with them all over again.
6:16—I know she’s been associated with grey for a while, but this shot is something else. Even the colors of her sweater and shirt are infected with the dullness.
7:08—Who else has he carried on his back? Who has carried him on their back?
7:34—Who else knows every little detail about the person they love?
8:31—Who else hates music for taking the people they love away? Maybe it’s just because I’m a Tsubaki fan, but I see her influence all over this seen. Even if Tsubaki isn’t the person Kousei loves, you can be sure that she is the person who taught him how to love someone else. The person who showed him he had a soul. The person who reminded him it’s okay to value others. Tsubaki has her problems, but there’s no denying the positive impact she’s had on Kousei’s life. And now, for a moment, Kousei turns to blame the same thing Tsubaki has all this time.
8:42—Classic KimiUso imagery. Snow is the setting of the week, and so the solitary snowflake shatters, alone.
8:46—The red flowers are back in the background. In this dull, colorless scene, the same flowers that flourished behind Kaori when Kousei gave her the courage to fight background her as she does the same for him.
8:48—We’ve seen that face before. It’s the one we get when the piano is staring him down, when the fight appears before him.
9:24—And this, I’m guessing, is as close to a confession of love as we’ll get from Kaori.
9:30—Love this line. It’s not just musicians. It’s everyone. Everyone has to struggle in life. Maybe some people are just better at it because they do it all the time. Struggle with themselves. Struggle with the music. Struggle with the unfair hand life has dealt them.
9:54—Aww man, aww man, he said it. A miracle. For him to play?
10:22—The colors that come in are still cool, but it’s color still.
10:29—And Kousei’s bathed in light in yet another close-up, like the light is breaking into the tight frame.
10:47—There‘s your miracle, Kousei. This is just fantastic imagery, beautifully concieved.
10:55/11:05—And we see Kaori get all these open shots with the sky behind her: freedom. But there are still the reminders of the ground, the fence reminiscent of the limitations that have always been there for her. She breaks free even so.
11:19—You said it.
12:08—As if the Tsubaki factor wasn’t evident enough, now Kaori makes explicit reference to her.
12:08—But she’s the one dying! She’s the one who’s leaving him alone! No, she’s the one who he gave hope to, the one who is fighting on by herself. She’s begging him not to stop struggling alongside her, not to give up the music that unites them.
12:33—Yes! It’s not in any prettied up shot of her, but as she’s collapsed on his lap in the snow that he says that. He’s seeing her beautiful as she is, not as he imagines her to be.
13:24—So, the surgery begins with the competition music bridging the two places.
13:51—Ah, Nagi’s commentary on Emi is great. Nagi’s so articulate usually, and here her expression of being left speechless is powerful.
14:03—Best Girl! (I’m sad this is the last we’ll see of you on stage…it wasn’t long enough!)
14:54—Right, this is Hiroko’s greatest fear because she was the one who really set Kousei on this path. She was the one who insisted Saki teach him piano. So if he can no longer be a pianist, what does he have left?
15:02—Remember, Hiroko chose to pick him back up, chose to help him and support him. It’s not as if she was forced into it by anything other than her own sense of what was right to do. But she has nothing else she can give him now.
16:15—I’m a pianist. This is who I am. This is what I do. Kousei is about to try and deal with everything that’s happened to him by defining his identity. Who Kousei is defines the way he fights. The dark shadows on his face seem to indicate his doubt that he can do this. Is he really a pianist? He has to decide that.
17:21—I get the callback to the cat, but this shot really threw me off because it’s not clear exactly what besides shock it relates to. Whatever, it was short. Let’s move on.
17:28—And there it is. We’ve already seen Kousei relive his past again and again this episode, taking the same physical positions he did as a child. What’s different about you now, Kousei?
17:46—Geez, Tsubaki is my freaking hero. How many times will she reach out to Kousei, lift him up in whatever trivial or meaningful way she can?
19:49—”What a cliché.” Remember, Nagi says this all the time, but she specifically said it to him regarding his relationship with Kaori. “It’s not all bad, you know,” Kousei replies here. Maybe the well-worn path is the path down which he can find the answers.
19:58—Sorry, Tsubaki. If there was any doubt that she’s on the outside looking in, it’s this. “All you’ve done is play the piano!” he hears her cry. Or maybe Kousei just hasn’t yet realized that she understands him better than he thinks.
20:43—So, Kousei, what’s your answer? Are you a pianist or not? How will you live your life?
21:06—It’s a sad sort of color, but it’s still much better than feeling nothing at all.
And there’s that! I’m not sure whether I think Kaori will live through the surgery or not, but we’re in a pretty good place to finish off this story. C’mon, KimiUso, bring it home with a good episode! I believe in you!