Shigatsu Wa Kimi No Uso

November 15, 2015

Child prodigies in music can go a long way. I suppose that is why many mothers try to pound music into their child from a very tender young age so that they can become good musicians in the future. Call it some sort of investment but what happens when that ‘investment’ turns bad? So much for that promising future. So happen that our main character in Shigatsu Wa Kimi No Uso (Your Lie In April) was a piano prodigy till a tragic shocking event made him lose interest and turn a blind eye to the music world, preferring to live the mundane and boring life like any boring other human being. So how do you get an ex-musician back into his old passion again? Get another musician to ignite that passion again? I’m sure not any ordinary or genius musician would do. Somebody crazy and free spirited enough to make him jump back into the passion he once left behind.

Episode 1
Kousei Arima is transcribing music notes in the music room when suddenly a baseball crashes through the window hitting him right on the head! He is bleeding! Blame his childhood friend, Tsubaki Sawabe for that reckless move but she doesn’t sound so remorseful. Somebody has got to clean this up. Of course, they got lectured by the vice principal. For an hour. Walking back with their friend Ryouta Watari, they talk about his playboy character. Lots of girls seem to like him. Kousei doesn’t understand what they see in him but as for himself, he notes girls wouldn’t want to fall for a guy like him. Yeah well, this short flashback tells us he is some sort of piano prodigy. Already playing at some high level competition at such a young tender age but he cracked during it and that was the end of his piano days. Tsubaki talks to Kousei that there is a classmate of hers who likes Watari and wants to get to know him. She plans on introducing her to him but it will be awkward if there would be an odd number of people. So she wants him to come along too. Because she is also into classical music, she thought they have something in common. However Kousei says he has not played the piano for 2 years and the songs he is transcribing are just for his part time job (for karaoke outlets, etc). Tsubaki doesn’t care what reasons he gave because it feels like he is still desperately trying to cling onto it. She thinks he is way cooler when he played the piano.

More flashbacks. Kousei’s mom, Saki had a dream of turning her son into a world class pianist. As she ran a piano school, she trained him like the Spartan way to become one. It was hell as a kid. If he did the slightest mistake, he was beaten up. But as long as it makes her happy, he didn’t mind enduring the torture. Her dream was also to have him perform in some European competition. But 3 years ago just when he finally has his sights on that competition, mom died. So maybe that is why he is still clinging on to piano. Take away that and he has nothing. Kousei waits at the park they are supposed to meet. However he finds a pair of female shoes and spats pants on a tree! Did somebody get raped? Nearby the playground, there is this beautiful girl, Kaori Miyazono is helping a bunch of kids play the melodian. Soon they engage in a mini ensemble of their own and play a simple yet beautiful music. Kousei wanted to snap a picture of this when the wind blew. It blew up her skirt. Kaori saw this. Not good. She tries to beat up this pervert (with a recorder) and accuses him as a voyeur. Sorry to interrupt your beating but Tsubaki introduces Kaori to Watari. Although Kaori gets back to her polite mode, she warns Kousei not to even mention that embarrassing scene. I’m not sure if it’s an insult or not because Tsubaki wants Kousei to continue playing the supporting role and for now he will be known as just Friend A. Kaori is also a violinist and the reason she is here is because there is a music competition in the hall nearby that she is participating in. Oh, look at the time. Time to go. Kaori takes Kousei’s hand as they make a dash there.

Episode 2
The moment they step into the auditorium, those traumatic memories of Saki pops up. I guess it is that bad. But luckily he is still in control of himself. Also, many people here recognize Kousei although they’re just whispering about that prodigy kid who suddenly went out of the scene a couple of years ago. The competition begins (Watari fell asleep right away!) and after a few competitors, it is now Kaori’s turn (Watari instantly wakes up to cheer on her!). However the piece she plays shook everybody up. She improvises the piece on her own. While this is creative, this does not sit well with head judge who feels this is blasphemy and picking a fight with the composer. Of course even if this is much more interesting than the other by-the-book competitors as some of the judges see, this is still a competition. Which means if you don’t follow a set of rules, out you go. But Kousei can see how happy she was while she was playing. Like as though winning this competition is not what she is looking for. During the break, a couple of young girls hand a bouquet of flowers to her and proclaim they have become her fans. The names of those who passed the first preliminaries are announced. Kaori made it based on audience choice. While Kousei has a lot on his mind, Watari comes to talk to him and thinks he likes Kaori. Although he denies, Watari starts blabbing about the sparkles that you can see in one’s eyes when they are in love. That is why people irrationally fall in love. Still think it is impossible for you? Well, the girl will tell you whether it is impossible or not. Tsubaki than barges in to give Watari an earful because he made one of his girlfriends cried. Better make up quick. When Kousei goes home, he sees Kaori outside the gates waiting for Watari. He knows he won’t come as he has walked home with that girlfriend and lies he might still be in football practice. She thought of going to take a peek but he lies about the club being busy preparing for the summer tournament. It might disrupt them. In that case, Kaori appoints Kousei as his substitute.

Episode 3
As Kousei accompanies Kaori at a café, after hearing a couple of young girls playing the piano, Kaori forces Kousei to accompany them. His finger play is creative and attracted the attention of the entire café but suddenly he stops. The trauma. Sorry. He can’t go on. Later, Kaori reveals she actually knows who he is. She lists down some of his accolades and his precision playing. It is the reason why many take inspiration in music and look up to him. Every musician in this generation has heard of him. He reveals he cannot hear the piano sound. It was okay at first but as he progresses, he cannot hear them anymore. But Kaori has decided to appoint him as her accompanist for the next round. No buts. Because he is still reluctant, you can see Kaori chasing and harassing him on the way to school about this! So once Tsubaki learns about this, she becomes her accomplice in harassing Kousei to make him bend and accept Kaori’s request. Yup. She went so far as to copy manuscripts of the piece Kaori will be playing and stick it all over the music room, stuff it in his locker and even back in his room and outside her window (they’re neighbours too by the way)! Kousei is stubborn and won’t give in. Kaori wonders why Tsubaki is adamant to bring Kousei back to the piano life. It doesn’t matter to her if he plays piano or not. But if he wants to quit, he has to do it on his own terms. Ever since that day, he has been trapped with no place to go. She is sure something will change if he plays the piano again. On the day of the second preliminaries, Kousei is shocked to see Kaori looking for him at the rooftop instead of being at the auditorium. Well, she’s looking all over for him. She’s still a stubborn one too. After a good beating up, he continues to give excuses why he can’t play or live up to her expectations. But she chides him that he is just running away. Kousei remembers on that day when he couldn’t hear the sound of the piano anymore right in the middle of the competition. Everyone thought he cracked under pressure and his competitors were happy to have less one rival. Kaori says they might not be the best performance but as long as there is a chance, she will still play and there will be an audience. The people who have heard her will remember her. And then suddenly she bows her head and starts crying! Please support her! Ah, tears of a girl enough to make a guy change his mind and heart. Kousei now knows what Watari told him about the girl knowing about it. Tsubaki and Watari were also finding him. After beating him up, they rush all the way there. It’s already unthinkable that they’re skipping class, I don’t know whose bicycles they stole but hold on for the ride of their lives!

Episode 4
Kousei remembers Saki’s strict lessons to make him precisely remember the scores. He heard everybody badmouthing this ‘torture’ like as though he is a machine. He felts sad that nobody understood and that he was the only one on her side. At the backstage and before their turn, Kousei is running nervous because he is trying to get a feel of the notes but is not confident. So much so he is ignoring Kaori showing off her new dress. She head butts him and tells him to look at her. Now that he is calmed down, she believes he can do this. Their turn is called and Kousei views her as the freedom. But she corrects him: Music is freedom. Once they take stage, many are shocked to see Kousei as her accompanist. Everything starts well. Even Kaori is playing like the textbook. Till she starts going creative. Then when he starts seeing visions of Saki, that is when Kousei starts losing it. His sound is so obviously out of place that even the audience can pick it up. Kousei starts panicking he cannot hear the notes. Then he completely stops. Some believe this is a good move because he might destroy the violinist’s performance. Then she completely stops. What’s going on? She wants to take this from the top again (it is permissible as long as the performance is within the time limit). She starts off solo while Kousei just sits there. Then he thinks back and tells himself to focus. Even if he can’t hear the notes, he has seen the score everywhere for the entire week. Use his imagination. He starts playing again although their sound is still all over the place. He then remembers a gentler lesson from Saki of not pounding the piano with force but to touch it gently with a smile. Now that Kousei is getting his groove, the judges can tell that he is trying to outdo the violinist! It’s like they’re both ‘fighting’ to take the limelight! But still, this is what gets the audience entranced. Kousei is glad he Kaori moved him and can hear her sound. It ends with a bang and the crowd applause so loud that you think this is a rock concert! Those people who hated him now love him? Shortly, Kaori collapses.

Episode 5
Flashback shows Tsubaki and the kids used to jump off a bridge called Bridge of Bravery into the shallow stream below. She also used to shove Kousei off. At first, he was scared but after the first try, he wants more! Kaori is recuperating well in hospital. Well, it’s Tsubaki’s fault for barging in without knocking while she is changing so why do the guys have to get beaten up? The collapse is her first time and it is all thanks to the stress of trying to chase a certain guy to be her accompaniment. Yeah, it’s your fault. Despite so, Kaori never really scolded him although he expected it. Also, he hasn’t been playing the piano since because he thought it would be the only thing he is good at. Is that a bad thing? Besides, can he forget it? So we’ve got a long drama of Kousei thinking about Kaori on how she refused to give up and supported him. We take a short detour as we see Tsubaki meeting up with her baseball senior, Saitou who is now in his high school first year. Just like any other girls, she also liked this ex-captain with lots of cool qualities. But why does she need to compare him with Kousei? Anyway, it seems she didn’t expect this. A scene that looked like Saitou confessing to her. She looks confused after that and despite all that, she didn’t feel the shining spark she expected. Once Kaori is out from hospital, Kousei sees her doing well interacting with Watari. I guess this means he doesn’t need to interrupt? On the way back, he bumps into her on the bridge. She exaggerates disappointment he didn’t get her another get-well presents so he agrees to do whatever she wants. All part of her plan? She wants him to enter a piano competition. It is his turn. He is in a dilemma to do so because he abandoned music and doesn’t deserve to be a performer. Kaori feels many musicians are in the same boat. At first they don’t want to do it but will pick it back up and start playing. That is how you make the most beautiful lie. Since they’re just 14, they should do whatever they want. To prove it, she jumps off the bridge. Kousei gets inspired by her and also does the same. He realizes that there is no way he could forget it.

Episode 6
When Kousei was young, he scraped his knee. He was crying all the way while poor Tsubaki had to carry him back. But she was relieved it wasn’t his hands that were hurt or else Saki would have killed her!!! Kaori sees Kousei’s messy piano room and tries to clean it! Then she starts getting emotional and apologizing. When she opens the window for fresh air, neighbour Tsubaki is in full view of this and gets the wrong idea. Wow. She can throw a chair across? Thanks to that, she’s pretty fired up during her baseball practice. Kaori plays an out of tune recording of Kousei playing Chopin’s Etude. He can’t believe it is him. Since she has already registered him for the competition, no b*tching about it and get practising. But first he needs to do mental imaging because he will still have to play even if he can’t hear the notes. Kousei seems struggling and suffering trying to get it right practice after practice so Kaori goes to talk to him again and why the heck does she feel bad for it? Wasn’t she the one who put him up to this? Instead, he is grateful that he met her even though this challenge is hard, at least it is fulfilling. Kousei and Kaori go to support Tsubaki’s baseball team and of course this means Tsubaki can’t concentrate on her game because her mind is being preoccupied about Kousei. She’s worried that his eyes are turning to someone else and not her? I should have guessed it. Thanks to that, not only she hurt her ankle but the team lost the game. Now it is Kousei’s turn to carry her back. They talk about things. Kousei sounds more positive now as he is going to give his best while she watches him with a smile. He comments on her light weight and she is not happy???!!! I don’t understand???!!! But anyway that sounded like a signal for Tsubaki to cry her heart out on his back. Sad but relieved. She is glad to be by his side and hopes this moment will last forever. At least in your heart. Meanwhile a couple of contenders for the piano competition are ‘happy’ that Kousei is participating because now they can get revenge for some past humiliation.

Episode 7
Feels like a horror prologue… Because a black cat is talking to Kousei asking/telling him who he is and where he is going. Watari’s friends come to support him in his football game although too bad his team lost. Watari may put up a cool front but in the toilet he lets it all go. So I guess Kousei is the only one whose ‘season’ is still alive. As he continues practising his piece, that cat trauma turns up. He reveals to Kaori that he had a black cat named Chelsea when he was a kid. It would steal his candies when he was not looking. One day, Chelsea scratched his hand. Lots of blood. Mother got up and got rid of it. That was the last he saw of Chelsea. He thought had he done something, things might turn out different. Therefore the scars left behind by Chelsea remind him of Saki. He feels he is in Saki’s shadow but Kaori says he is who he is. The next time this cat trauma shows up, Kousei isn’t that scared. Yeah, what a way to remind him tomorrow is the big day. Those kids who want their humiliation avenged, Emi Igawa and Takeshi Aiza (his towering spikey hair – is he trying to be the Super Saiyan of classical music?!), they still hold the grudge over Kousei because he ignored them. Hey, could you blame a kid for not being interested in anyone, not even himself? So you shouldn’t be pissed off when he doesn’t recognize you. He never knew you in the first place. Watari heard lots of contestants not having good words of Kousei. Kaori explains Kousei’s notorious reputation as a human metronome as he played scores to exact precision. Like as though he is made to win competitions, something that those who want to seek out more in music aren’t happy of. In other words, they’re just jealous, right? The competition starts and everyone is not spared from the jitter and nervousness. Kousei is trying to calm himself. It is Takeshi’s turn. Although he is last year’s winner, he has a darn good reason he is participating in it again by turning down overseas exposure and another piano competition.

Episode 8
Takeshi tells his teacher, Takayanagi that there is a damn good reason he turned down that German invitation and wants to play in this competition: Kousei. His goal in life is not to go overseas or play in some other big competition. It is to face him in competition again. Takayanagi can’t be more grateful for Kousei because of his existence, it brings out the best in Takeshi and matures him. So he plays a stunning piece and realizes his hands were only trembling after he returns to the backstage. He thought he could rub it in to Kousei who has been watching but he thanks him for a great play and Takeshi is flattered by that. What the heck is this bromance feel? Takayanagi goes to brag to Emi’s teacher, Ochiai but she fires back how Emi will reign supreme today. Despite Takeshi’s improvement over the years, Emi was the fickle one and went the other direction. But thanks to Kousei, the obstacle she was supposed to overcome has returned. Emi remembers attending a recital that Kousei was in. She was dozing off thanks to the super boredom when this clumsy guy took centre stage. But when he started playing, she started sitting up and was impressed. Her future was decided. Kousei made a mistake and in that short silence, Emi started to cry out loud. Now it is Emi’s turn. She starts off normally before her furious finger work becomes like the raging wave, like as if her emotions surge uncontrollably, pouring ever emotion into her play. She’s playing in hopes Kousei would return to his former self, the guy she always admired. Her sound has Kousei sees colour of red and yellow. A play that indicates anger and loneliness. And when she’s done, everyone applauses so loud that you might think this was a rock concert.

Episode 9
For almost 5 minutes of the opener we see why young Emi tossed away everything after hearing her first Kousei’s performance so that she could be the best pianist. So after that heart pounding performance, she grabs Kousei by the shirt before apologizing. Keep calm, girl! No confession whatsoever. Well, she did hint she poured her entire feelings in her piano. And now it is Kousei’s turn and everyone is waiting in baited breath. Nobody understands why he chose an easy piece seeing he can play complex ones without any mistakes. Turns out Kaori used her pencil to randomly pick this Chopin piece. So Kousei is out on stage and is about to get started. But when he sees a girl holding a stuffed doll cat, those damn traumas start coming back. He braves them as he begins his play. All while remembering how he always believed winning and being number one would make Saki feel better because that is what she always said. His achievements are the best medicine. He is doing fine until visions of scary Saki pops up. Is she trying to screw with him? More flashbacks of Kousei continue to practice and skip playing with his friends just to become the best. And naturally other jealous people start calling him names for being perfect. He always believed Saki was sick because he did not play the way she told him. One day, Saki got special permission to watch him perform on stage. Again he won and it was simply one of his best. But after the show, Saki beats him up in public for making puny errors here and there!!! She’s scolding him about practice and all that, not even caring about him bleeding all over. That is when Kousei snapped. He told her off he worked his ass hard all for her to get better. All he wanted was mom to be happy. And yet this sh*t. If she could just die… Those were the last words he said to her and shortly she passed away. It is business as usual for him as he continued playing in the finals like as though her death didn’t affect him. But each time he peeps at the special spot where Saki used to sit, he could see her and perhaps it is his punishment for not being able to hear his own playing. Speaking of which, it has become obvious right now and everyone is noticing it.

Episode 10
Everyone is starting to wonder if this is Chopin he is playing. It’s so rough and uneven. Kousei is still fighting his inner demons. Saki continuing to haunt him that this is his punishment for rejecting her dream. The way he plays now indicates that he might stop completely in the middle of his performance (which amounts to disqualification) and when he couldn’t take it no more, he completely ceases to play. That’s the end. But his thoughts are now on Kaori. The things she said to him. The things she asked him. He finally has a reason why and who he should play the piano for. He will play it for her. He then restarts his play again. Slowly it changes to one whereby everybody could hear the sparkle and the warmth of his true emotions in it. His transformation has everyone think there were like 3 different pianists playing this piece. He remembers Kaori’s words that they may not be able to give a performance they can live with but as long there is an opportunity and audience that will listen, they will play. Play in a way that people will not forget them. So Kousei is thanking Kaori from the bottom of his heart and when it ends, it took the audience some time to realize they should applause! Heck, they are even in a dilemma if his performance was good or bad. But there is no regret on Kousei’s face when he takes his bow to the audience. To him, only one person matters right now. Has it reached her? He sees visions of scary Saki at her special spot. But that soon turned into a bright sparkling smile! Trauma defeated!

Episode 11
During the break when Kousei walks pass the judges, the old guy told him a competition is a sacred garden of music and not a place for soul searching. Then he is met with Hiroko Seto, Saki’s college friend and Japan’s leading pianist. After remembering a little nostalgia with him, she teases him which of the girls he is in love with. She can tell from his playing. It was screaming of confession. But Kousei doesn’t view it like that. It was just gratitude for the girl who is the girlfriend of his best friend. His is just Friend A. Wasn’t that episodes ago? When the results come out, obviously Kousei’s name is not there. He notices the joy of those who advance and disappointment of those who didn’t. Takeshi confronts him about his sloppy play. Kousei says he isn’t slacking and was practising till he passed out. Since he is still on a journey, he doesn’t know what lies ahead. Just like them as musicians, he’ll keep going. When Hiroko rings Kousei’s doorbell and didn’t get any reply, she fears the worst. His place is in a mess and he is collapsed before his piano. Don’t worry. He didn’t resurrect as a zombie. He was playing all night till he passed out. Kaori receives an invitation to play for a gala concert. Not only her but Kousei as well. She suggests playing a chilly piece instead of something more popular because with everybody else doing the same, they’ll stand out more doing the opposite. Kousei remembers Hiroko asking him what made him took up piano again after 2 years. He described the weird violinist he met back in April. She made him see something he had never seen before on stage. He would like to see that again as a weird pianist. If that is the case, Hiroko will become his guardian and help coach him piano. Kousei and Kaori are watching the fireflies at the riverbank. He says something about setting out on a journey and keep going till he can walk by her side. But she mentions that she won’t always be around to help him.

Episode 12
Kaori abuses Kousei if he doesn’t concentrate. How is this different from Saki’s treatment? Kousei is thinking about the piece Kaori chose in which a piano accompaniment was written by another composer. Because this piece brings back lots of memories that Saki used to play while as a toddler and he used to sleep under the piano while she does that. Too bad that trauma is working up so Hiroko takes him to the festivals to chill out. He still thinks mom hates him but Hiroko explains otherwise. When he told her to die, she was actually shocked but happy that he grew up as a pianist and person. And all this time he has always tried to forget about her… Now he has to continue to play not only to mature as a pianist but to say goodbye. Kousei brings Kaori home and since it is late, her baker dad almost clobbered him till he realizes this is Kousei. Because her parents are big fans of his, they treat him to all the nice cakes. Kousei you lucky bastard!!! I want those sweets! So more ‘abuse’ from Kaori when he doesn’t ‘get it right’ so the friends chill out playing sparklers. A friend asks the musicians about their future high school plans and assumes they are going to a music college. Kaori has not thought that far. All she is thinking how is to rock the audience at the gala concert. Tsubaki perhaps got a little jealous that Kousei is close to Kaori so she accidentally pushes him into the pool. Trauma time…

He remembers Hiroko telling him about this ‘gift’ of not being able to hear himself play. Something about his technical ability to pull it off. Whatever. Then his fingers naturally start moving as he starts playing air piano. Or is it water piano? Luckily he won’t be going to his watery grave as Watari pulls him out. Tsubaki cannot be more relieved because she doesn’t want to be blamed for him being drowned in a shallow pool! But Kousei starts thinking that light can reach to the bottom is it because of the shallowness or the moon light? On the day of the gala concert, Kaori is nowhere to be seen! Kousei is panicking more than anybody else! How ironic. If you’re wondering why a ninja is here at the concert, take note it is Emi in disguise. But she can’t fool Ochiai. And you can’t fool us with that tsundere attitude claiming she is NOT here for Kousei. Hiroko tries to get the management to change the order since this is not a competition and they should be more flexible. Well, not likely. Because everybody is anticipating a lot of Kaori’s performance. Everybody. Hiroko thought Toshiya Miike would help them swap places but he won’t because stealing the spotlight as the last performance belongs to him. Then he goes on to criticize Kaori’s chaotic playing which isn’t music at all and therefore she can only blame herself for being late on this day. I guess they’ll have to cancel their performance. Although Kousei is not angry at Miike, he agrees to follow the programme but proclaims it will be them who will steal the spotlight. Kousei walks onto the stage alone. The audience just keep getting surprised, eh?

Episode 13
Hiroko used to come over to Saki’s house each time she had a fight with her husband. Be careful about the songs you sing about him because Kousei can imitate them! Upon learning Kousei can play the piano, she wants this genius to do so. Kousei heads out alone to prove that he is the best. He doesn’t play the accompaniment piece but the one that mom used to play as his lullaby. To experts, they feel he is just pounding the keys away to vent out his anger. Kousei still cannot hear the notes but he could feel the sound resonating from within. That is when his sound starts to change to a better one. Everybody is now in awe. Hiroko remembers scolding Saki for reprimanding Kousei in public. Saki regretted it but she laments she doesn’t have enough time left. That is why when Kousei first broke down, Hiroko felt she was guilty for dragging him into this and didn’t feel she had the right to be with him. In Saki’s last breath, she has always been worried about her son. She believed as long as he had the skills he would be able to support himself. She really wanted to stay with him longer but could only wonder if her precious treasure will find happiness. Kousei has always used images of Saki as an excuse to run away. She isn’t here anymore. She is inside him. At the end of his play, everybody is so stunned that they forgot to applause! He leaves the stage as this song is supposed to be his goodbye to her. At the backstage, Kousei is shaking. She could feel like his mom was touching him while playing. He breaks down wondering if he has reached Saki. Of course it did. Now that everybody has heard the best, they don’t feel like hearing anything else. Heck, even Miike is shaking in fear of Kousei’s awesomeness. But seeing his mom in the audience, he vows to do better. At least he got the audience’s attention. Watari and Tsubaki go to congratulate Kousei but Tsubaki seems loss for words. Do the feelings of the heart have something to do with it? Ochiai talks to Hiroko and she never thought she was Kousei’s mentor. They talk about the tragic loss of Saki that affected everyone especially Kousei. But if this triggered something in him, this grim path is what Kousei must take. He might have to lose someone to keep walking. If you’re wondering where Kaori is, wonder no more. Kousei visits her in hospital. Don’t worry. She looks fine. I think.

Episode 14
Kousei thought Kaori looked like Saki hospitalized in bed. His memories messing up with his mind again, huh? Thankfully Kaori is doing well and although she wanted to call him to cancel their performance, she didn’t manage to do it in time. She collapsed when she tripped and banged her head on the wall. Kaori heard from Watari about his solo performance and laughs her heart out because it just sounds ridiculous for a pianist to play in a concert for violinists. Whose fault was it? All Kousei is concerned is if she would be coming back and that if he could see her again. Nao Kashiwagi talks to Tsubaki if she is still going out with Saitou. Of course. Well, she thought she had already broken up with him. Is breaking up a trend these days? If she is still with him, what about Kousei then? Why does she have to bring up his name? Tsubaki views him as her kid brother but Kashiwagi doesn’t look convinced. Kashiwagi talks to Watari because she is worried about Tsubaki and wants her smiling again. All he can say is that Tsubaki must realize herself that Kousei isn’t her kid brother anymore. Usually you don’t realize these things till it is too late… So we have Tsubaki reminiscing her younger days with Kousei but she is always forced to play alone since Kousei had piano lessons. Now she is pondering her relationship with Kousei and Saitou. What are they to her. Does she like him? Does she not like him? Suddenly Kousei comes running to her. He is frantic. He heard from Kashiwagi that she was in trouble and ran all the way to look for her. Turns out to be just a prank and false alarm? They spend some time walking together. She notes how much she has changed. Every time their eyes meet, her heart skips. Then Kousei drops a bombshell. He is going to a high school with a music course. This means he will be leaving home. Instantly Tsubaki runs away and starts crying like somebody has died. It is that feeling again. Music is taking her kid brother away. She realizes she has always taken him for granted to be by her side. The times they spent together, she really wanted it to go on forever like this. She wants Kousei to always be by her side.

Episode 15
Tsubaki… So gloomy… So much on her mind… Can’t hide it well… So much so one evening, Saitou tells her there is another girl he likes! He thinks they’re too similar to be with each other. Is he dumping her? Well, he notices she seems uncomfortable whenever around him. So let’s break up before it’s too late. Already broken hearted, you’re going to add to her misery? See? She’s crying now. And apologizing. Odd. He is the one dumping her (out of kindness) and she’s the one crying. So she talks to Kousei about this but gets mad that he is playing his piano instead of comforting her! And when he treats her nice, she doesn’t want him to! WTF???!!! So now you wonder why it’s hard to understand woman! Anyway, crying her heart out is all she can do. It makes her feel better. Kousei seems to be in a dilemma to visit Kaori. But a streak of bad luck strikes him that includes a little girl, Nagi Aiza dropping on him! He brings her back to his home and when she wakes up, she is in awe to see Hiroko as she is a big fan of her. As she is a student from a prestigious music school, she wants Hiroko to be her teacher. If she could convince her with her piano skills. Nagi doesn’t disappoint so Hiroko agrees to do so. But there’s a catch. She makes Kousei be her teacher. Kousei yet again gets cold feet to visit Kaori. So much so she has to call and scold him about his no-show. Something about Kousei comparing her to a cat. That’s why he loves her so much. I take it. He is a cat person. As Kaori returns to her room, suddenly she feels something wrong with her body. From what I can see, her legs will not move. As much as she ‘orders’ her legs to get up, they’re just sitting there nice and pretty. Time to panic? Scream! Screaming in the hospital hallway… At night…

Episode 16
OMG! Kaori is bleeding too! Let’s hope she’s fine after that. Kousei gives his harsh and honest opinion on Nagi’s playing. Nagi believes in playing the score as it is because she views it as sacred but Kousei doesn’t since scores are just emotional works of humans. That’s why it clings onto her like shackles. I guess Kaori is well enough to sneak out of hospital and go meet Kousei. Since Watari is not around, looks like he’ll be her substitute again. This time some sort of hell shopping. Kaori is just excited in fighting for the sales bin to even helping a lost girl. Kousei is her donkey… Thanks to this, he can’t get back in time for Nagi’s lessons. Hiroko wonders why she is quick to lash out at him. She doesn’t want to lose to him. Hiroko warns her Kousei is like her son and if she puts him in danger, it will be the end of her. She agreed to take Nagi as her student in hopes of showing something else other than sorrow. Kousei knows Kaori has lied to him when she brings him back to school to retrieve her lost bag. She never had a bag in the first place. She talks about being forgotten and as he cycles her back, she starts crying. He didn’t have the heart to ask her why. As Kousei continues his harsh lessons on Nagi, she feels like slamming on his fingers and poking on his eyes. But remember what Hiroko said, right? Yeah, she even comes up with an assassination plan. But I doubt it would work since she starts crying and running away after another tough lesson. So he goes make peace with her and they indirectly talk about Kaori (hinting she is the person he likes – we all know that already, don’t we?). When everybody visits Kaori, Kashiwagi shocks them all by revealing Kousei is coaching a girl. How come she knows this but everybody doesn’t? So is he trying to cheat on Kaori? Hey, there is a hickey on his sleeve! Is he giving her some sort of ‘lesson’? Ah, cheeky Nagi planted it there to give him hell. Kaori starts scolding Kousei that he shouldn’t waste his time coaching somebody and should dedicate it to practise his piano more. It hits breaking point when she starts crying. Nagi talks about wanting to destroy Kousei. Giving him a noble sacrifice? What? She returns home and you should have guessed it by now. She is Takeshi’s sister. When Kousei returns to see Kaori again, she suggests committing double suicide?! Isn’t that what lovers do?

Episode 17
Kaori is just joking about it. Is she? Kousei becomes so depressed it is so obvious and he couldn’t concentrate on his piano practice. Nagi goes to talk to him to cheer him up or something. This gloominess also reminds her about Takeshi when he experienced something similar. When Watari confronts Kousei about being a wuss to visit Kaori, that guy breaks down like it is some serious trouble. He is at a loss what to do. It seems Kaori hinted that she has not much time left and this brought back traumatic memories of his mom. History repeating itself? As Kousei is unsure of what to say to Kaori, Watari is sure he’ll figure it out when the time comes. So Kousei visits her again. Still not sure what to say. She suggests forgetting it all like pressing the reset button. He didn’t like that. They started arguing. Keep it down. You’re in the hospital. Nagi is shocked that Kousei requests to play at her school cultural festival. I guess there is no reason to turn him down. And she revels in seeing him grovel before her. Nagi practises hard but I guess the high expectations got to her. She runs away and hides in the toilet. This scene reminds Hiroko of how Kousei became scared for the first time. History repeating itself? She calms her down about the reason why she became a pianist. On the big day, Kousei sees Nagi very nervous. Her hands are trembling. He holds it (not because this is sexual harassment) and she could feel his are shaking too. A few words of motivation before it is their turn to take the stage.

Episode 18
Everyone is shocked to see Kousei with Nagi. Especially big brother Takeshi. What is this never seen before pairing? Duh. Things start well till people notice the change in sound. Kousei is trying to steal the spotlight and putting Nagi under tremendous pressure. But she won’t give him and tries to outdo him. Watari uses his handphone as live recording for Kaori to hear. Nagi thinks back of all the hard work and dedicated practice and it is starting to pay off. She remembers she started playing the piano to get her brother’s attention. She wonders if her feelings reached him. At the end of the song, she gets a standing ovation. Kousei wonders if his has reached Kaori. I think so. She’s playing her air violin all the while. At the backstage, angry brother confronts Kousei for being so clingy to Nagi. Takeshi doesn’t like how close they are so Nagi defends Kousei that he has taught her a lot and given her lots of precious experiences. Hey, doesn’t that sound ambiguous? Takeshi is defeated and vows to defeat him at the next competition in December. After all the drama is over, Nagi can heave a sigh of relief and shed those tears she’s been holding back. At the end of the festival, Miike confronts Nagi and is curious to know why she has a close relationship with Kousei. The argument ends with him on the losing end. Yeah Kousei, you’re so famous now everybody wants a piece of you. Later when Kousei visits Kaori, she’s calling him a jerk for making her listen to his music when she can’t even pick up an instrument. Was it his fault? Kousei continues being a heartless jerk because he won’t want to see this end. Instead, he wants another chance to stand with her and perform with him another time. Time for her to dream again. You heartless jerk. You’re making her cry now. But tears of joy.

Episode 19
The doctor is telling the risk to Kaori of undergoing surgery. She’ll do it. When Kousei comes to visit her, she is not in her room. Fearing the worst might have happened, Kaori’s parents bring him to another building where Kaori is undergoing rehabilitation to walk again. They thank him for giving Kaori the resolve to go through it all instead of giving up. Tsubaki must be feeling superior that she got a B for the test that nobody expects. Till Kashiwagi brings her down by deducing it may be love. Tsubaki is worried about Kousei for not studying for the test so Kashiwagi explains that if he is going to be admitted into a music oriented school, his performance and achievement is everything because this upcoming competition is the best place to advertise yourself. Schools would want to take in the best to increase their reputation. Therefore he is trying this best in this do or die competition. So stop being jealous of music and root for him. Tsubaki visits Kousei’s home. It is in a mess since he is busy practising. She plays barber and cuts his hair. On the day of the competition, Kousei is eating his sandwich in the hallway. Emi gives him that stare. Care to join in? Takeshi who is just fresh from vomiting sees this odd scene. Care to join in? And so the 3 strange bedfellows talk about sandwiches… Well, at least it was an ice breaker. It is Takeshi’s turn to play. So while he struts his stuff, we see him narrating his past that he was always bored and tried everything, including playing piano. He met his match when he couldn’t best Kousei or Emi. Then he realized he has looking up to Kousei as his hero or something. At the end of his piece, everyone gives him a standing ovation. Okay, we get it. He has grown a lot. Back stage, they’re like friends but rivals. Even more boggling is how Takeshi warned Kousei not to make a move on Nagi but then wants him to or else people will think she isn’t cute! When all is done, Takeshi says goodbye to his mirage, his hero. Thanks for everything.

Episode 20
When Tsubaki was young and caught a cold, the kids were shocked that this gorilla got sick. But Kousei didn’t think she was a gorilla. She’s a girl. Then there is that flashback whereby Kousei’s mom got rid of Chelsea and Kousei tried looking for it after that. He couldn’t find it so Tsubaki consoled him that he was running around to look for it and couldn’t find it because he was good at hiding things. She promised to stay by his side always. Now that the sky is starting to pour, Kousei and Tsubaki take shelter nearby. She’s reminding him that Kaori is Watari’s boyfriend, blah, blah, blah. In that case, he has no choice but to fall in love with her. My, have you seen Kousei so surprised eyes wide open like that? Then Tsubaki kicks his shin claiming it was just a joke. But why run away so hard in the rain and crying? So it’s really obvious that Tsubaki almost killed Kashiwagi during baseball practice when her bat accidentally slips from her hand and almost to her head when the latter asks if she and Kousei had a fight. Not really. She just kicked his shin. Poor Kousei is more confused about women because if Tsubaki said something like that, was it really a joke? And then he got hammered by Hiroko for not concentrating on his practice. More misery for Kousei about understanding women because despite telling him to come visit her often, now she tells him not to and continue his practice. Then she calls him again just to marvel at a low flying plane. It made him think how she always bombards him with things from a different angle. It makes him want to see her. When he visits the hospital again and bumps into Watari, he tells him that he likes Kaori. Best friend smiles. He knew it for a long time. So do we, like so many episodes ago. But before they can step into Kaori’s room, they see the doctor and nurses in a rush trying to bring Kaori back. Oh sh*t… Gloomy Kousei has no choice but to leave. More trauma for the night as a stray cat becomes a hit and run victim. Kousei rushes it to an animal hospital but it was already beyond saving. He washes himself up at the park. Thoughts of Kaori flow through his mind. I guess he has held in long enough. Time to scream out in despair.

Episode 21
Kaori is now in ICU. Her condition doesn’t look good. Now, if that itself is worrying, Kousei’s depression is going to make things worse. Yup, the way he is sitting all by himself in the dark and not answering calls is making everyone else to worry. You love making people worry about you, don’t you? Even if Hiroko tries to drag him to continue practice for the competition (not because she is cold hearted but perhaps to take his mind off the current situation), he is close to breaking down. Thankfully Kaori’s condition improves so this time Kousei visits her at hospital. Despite she is trying to be cheerful, that guy puts on the biggest gloom face. Need to get smacked? As he bought the chocolates she wanted, she wants him to carry her so that she could eat them outside. She tells him she is going for the surgery which happens to fall on the same date as the competition. As usual, this guy is being gloomy like the end of the world so Kaori uses her ‘magic’ to play her air violin to get through him. So good that it sounds so real! How is that for a miracle? Shortly, she semi-collapses into his arms. She wants to know more about him and is jealous of Tsubaki who does. Then she starts crying of not wanting to be left alone. That opened your eyes, boy? Competition day is here. Takeshi and Emi perform well but can the same be expected from Kousei? Man, he looks depressed still. Like as though he has got a hung over or something. When it is his turn, the moment he sits at the piano. The trauma starts haunting him. Just like déjà vu, huh? And the crowd who was so expecting this guy to strut his stuff fell into disbelieve that he might have caved under pressure. Again. So quiet the hall that you could probably here someone sneeze. Thanks Tsubaki. Even if that is unintentional. This sound wakes up Kousei and he starts realizing all that stuffs, blah, blah, blah and starts playing. And all the ‘experts’ can hear the rich, lively yet mournful colour.

Episode 22
Everyone is watching Kousei. He pays homage to all those who have brought him to where he is now. We get the idea. So for the first half of this finale, we see Kousei play his magnificent piece and he might be so desperate for Kaori to play with him that he starts imagining her playing her violin alongside him while it snows coloured snowdrops. When the song nears its end, he becomes scared to lose her. She’s fading away… At the end of the song, he is in tears and says his goodbye. The next scene is going to stop your heart for a second because we see Kousei at the graves! Kaori’s parents hand him a letter from their daughter addressed to him. So the remainder half of this episode narrates what Kaori wrote. I wonder if she really crammed so many words into a single page… Jokes aside, it starts off with her describing Kousei’s bad habits (why do I feel this is like a standard ice breaker these days) and then how she was entranced the first time he went on stage to play like a genius. That was the catalyst that made Kaori wanted to quit piano and play the violin because she wanted Kousei to play the piano for her. When she found out she went to the same middle school with him, she was elated but didn’t know how to approach him. As he is always with Watari and Tsubaki, it made it hard for her to get in and could only watch him. Her times spent going in and out of hospital increased. One night she caught her parents crying and she knew she had not much time left. That is when she decided to do whatever she wants to leave no regrets. From the way she played her music and how she ate her cakes wholly! Despite all that, she only told one lie: She fell in love with Watari. But that lie would bring her to Kousei. She also wanted to apologize to Tsubaki and didn’t want to leave an awkward mess for someone who is just passing. She knew Tsubaki liked him and didn’t have the guts to ask her straight up to introduce him to her. The rest of the letter briefly describes their time together. At the end, she confesses she loves him. Sorry and thank you. With this, Kousei vows to continue playing piano and won’t forget her. Or else her ghost will come back to haunt him? Lastly, enclosed is a photo she held dear to her heart. A photo of her young self and Kousei passing in the background. I know Tsubaki wants to kick him out of his depression but she literally kicks his shin and scolds him about staying as his guardian angel forever! So get use to it! Sure. Okay. Who else is left anyway?

OVA
A full flashback on our piano prodigy protagonists on how they first met and spurred them to become the greatest piano rivals of all time. So we are all familiar with that scene that Kousei debuted by fumbling with his piano chair that it made Emi fall asleep. But when he starts playing, it serves more than a wakeup call. Oh yeah. She started crying out loud! It got to her so much that she walked out of the hall even before her friend’s turn and then climbed the jungle gym to announce her fate that she will become the greatest piano. In tears. Wow. It’s like she just conquered something. In another competition, Emi thought of talking to Kousei but he is so deep in his score study that he ignores her! Oh wait. I don’t think she even exists. Because Takayanagi and Ochiai love ‘pissing’ each other off, what better way for Takeshi to hang out by sitting with Kousei and Emi. He thinks he has got this in the bag until Kousei’s perfect performance proves him wrong. Takeshi practises the same piece as instructed by Takayanagi but couldn’t get it right. Feeling bored? He decides to go spy on Kousei at his home and stalking from outside, he actually sat there the whole day hearing Kousei play the same piece over and over again. This gives Takeshi renewed determination to practice harder. However it is always Kousei grabbing first place and Takeshi second. Then in one competition, Emi’s performance blew Takeshi away. She even called him the fake Kousei! It affected him so bad that he barely made the top 10. Takeshi is set in disciplining himself to become the best pianist. This means giving up football or hanging out with his friends. But when he sees Kousei jumping off the Bridge of Bravery with his friends and putting on a smile he never sees before, screw this, Takeshi is going to do what he wants and play some football. Emi is also having it hard against Kousei. She thought choosing the same piece as Kousei would beat him but she was off. Now she doesn’t care about winning or losing. She just wants Kousei to come back. Yeah. At this point that kid is like a robot. She practises so hard that her hands start to hurt. But being unable to play the piano for a while taught her a valuable lesson: She loves playing the piano. She is motivated to get back to besting Kousei once she can play again. Speaking of which, Kousei is happy today because her mom is coming to watch…

Your Melodrama All Year Round
Perhaps I am not made for this kind of genres. At first it started out interesting because of the 2 contrasting characters Kousei and Kaori have and how it brings everything together especially for Kousei. And then it started to get draggy… Because I felt the entire series was just one big long dragged out drama about Kousei trying to come to terms his weakness and then overcoming it. Especially in the first half where they spam his trauma each time he takes to the piano. I was like going, “Oh no. Here we go again. Here he goes again”. And then also, “Oh no. Not that underwater scene and Kousei complaining about the sound he can’t hear”. Not forgetting, “Oh no. He is seeing visions of dead mom again. Time for more trauma again”. So traumatic that this kid is really sweating it out when he plays. Yeah, he could lose a few pounds. Haha! It’s already a tough piece but it gets tougher with his trauma.

Please do not get me wrong here. This series isn’t bad. But I can’t help noticed myself trying to focus on the drama that is going on. That is why I said I was perhaps not made to sit and watch through this kind of genre. It only took the last episode’s shock to suddenly get me sitting up again. I never expected Kaoru to die! Even when she collapsed and her frail conditions getting worse, signs that tell that she was never going to make it, I was still in my daydreaming land because I was actually sure that they’re going to end this on a feel good note and thus a boring ending. Boy, was I surprised. Maybe fans of who have read the manga which has concluded shortly before the TV series ended, would have expected what is to come. But certainly it was a shocker to me. The series has ended and I am left in disbelief that such a cute girl is gone. Life is so unfair!!!

Now, a lot of viewers love the deep drama and romance that are being displayed between Kousei and Kaori. It could be the best in this genre for the past few seasons. That is the main draw and strength of this show. Unfortunately for a dumb guy like me, all I ever saw was a long draggy relationship between them that didn’t go anywhere and the only real confession was via letter and after Kaori’s dead. A relationship that didn’t go anywhere? I know you think I must be kidding, right? Perhaps I’m the kind of guy who is just too dense to take the hint. I can tell that there is some sort of romance building up as we see Kousei and Kaori hanging out more often (or towards the end, like how the saying goes, absence makes the heart grows fonder) but I am the kind of guy that you need to tell every inch of the detail to my face to understand. So while everybody else was touched by the subtle deep romance between them, here I am thinking it is just an annoying friendship prolonged and official-couple-status-delayed to bits. Still thinking just like Kousei that he is just Friend A and in the friend zone. I was waiting for either one of them to just say it to the other’s face those 3 magical words and maybe a big romantic kiss. Well, that kind of expectation would be just boring and predictable, eh?

And come to think of it, that one little thing that has been hindering our main characters to fall in love with each other right from the start: Kaori’s little lie! Such a big hint in the title that I couldn’t even see. It was her lie that she loved Watari that continuously made Kousei remain as Friend A. It was her lie that made Kaori in an awkward position to not pursue Kousei because that would be like serious cheating case, wouldn’t it? Watari is different. He is a playboy (even though he got dumped by whoever his girlfriend was in the end – but I don’t think he really cares). Guys have it different than girls. When they flirt with many girls, they’re a legend. Girls dating just another guy would already be called a slut. Wouldn’t want that kind of reputation, do you? But I think a main reason why Kousei took a very long time before he realizes he is in love: Because the girls just keep giving confusing and contradicting signals! Tsubaki is the main offender followed by Kaori. You always noticed that they till him one thing and then another thing. Do this but then again don’t. Make up your mind! It’s so confusing already that no wonder this guy just couldn’t understand. It might add to his trauma if it got out of hand. Yeah, understanding piano scores are easier.

Aside from Kaori, how come do I have a feeling that the rest of the girls that have interest in Kousei are somewhat tsundere. All of them. Take Tsubaki’s case for instance. Tomboy girl treats him ‘badly’ but it’s her way of showing her love. The pseudo and short-lived relationship with Saitou feels like a side distraction and a catalyst and turning point (when she gets dumped) to make her realize who the true guy she loves. Still won’t really admit it. See? Tsundere, no? Then there is Nagi who had buranko initially but as she became Kousei’s student, she becomes torn between her love for her teacher or her brother. So that’s like being tsundere to Kousei, no? What about Emi who wants to reach Kousei with her emotional style of playing? Trying to hint something? Well, I’m sure it got to him whatever it is. And by using her music to tell instead of her expressionless poker face, that’s like tsundere, no? Hah. Maybe I got confused to what tsundere means now.

The characters play a great role in driving the plot, drama and characterization of the series. Especially with Kousei and Kaori in the limelight with the rest of the supporting casts. A big part of the drama sees how Kousei breaks out from the shell that he has encased himself with. He can’t do it by himself and that is where Kaori came in with all that persistent pestering till he could finally fly with his own wings again. So is Kaori like his saviour angel? That is one way to look at it. At least with the trauma that he has been through, it proves that Kousei is just only human. Perhaps only a robot when it comes to music. But even that and especially on his return, he isn’t entirely perfect as we see him being nervous and all.

On the other hand, while it may seem that Kousei is the one big jerk who is having problems that seemingly nobody would understand, it isn’t only him who is having such worldly issues. Kaori’s crisis outweighs Kousei’s by a star. Sure, Kousei might be traumatized as kid and you can’t blame him for breaking down because he is just a kid. But when you see Kaori, after realizing the conditions that she’s in, never having said a word about it or even making it known to others, you have to be amazed at that kind of courage. You’d respect the way she does things so free spiritedly. That is why even despite the sad end to her case, because she did things her way without regrets, all is not lost. You can say that she won even though the only thing she lost was her life. She gives us the greatest lessons in life to live it to the fullest because if you don’t, what is the point of living then? Therefore if you can’t do something because of some obstacle, then you should find other means or a way around it to do so. You know, like if you can’t use your hands to play, use your feet! No feet, use your teeth! No instrument? Use your imagination for air instrument!

I can’t help think that Kousei must be a cursed person when it comes to love. Because if you noticed, the things he truly loves will all end up dead! First it was Chelsea his cat and then followed by Saki his mom. And finally after he thought he has gotten free from his trauma and found true love again, this damn sh*t happens again! Oh Lord, oh God, why do you have to take Kaori away from him now?! Why, oh why???!!! If you’re thinking why Tsubaki didn’t get this curse it is because that guy never saw her more than a childhood friend. You can’t blame him since Tsubaki is sending confused signals about her heart and the way she physically takes out on him. No girlfriend would ever do something like that to their boyfriend, right? Okay, maybe some would but the point is, Kousei didn’t see Tsubaki as a woman enough to fall in love and thus avoiding this curse. But wait! Now that Kaori is gone, who is there left to love? Oh dear… Oh my… TSUBAKI!!! NO!!!!!

Other supporting characters feel fine and have their role to play in pushing Kousei to where he is now no matter how small. Like you know, Tsubaki. Feels like her reason of wanting Kousei to get back into music again to move on feels like a cover up in her attempts to get him to notice her. Kashiwagi is probably the best side character in the series. Her poker face is worst than Emi as she tends to be straight to your face about her opinions especially when it comes to feelings of the heart for Tsubaki. Can’t blame her for putting on that expression. She must be annoyed to death seeing how irritating Tsubaki is not being true to her feelings. That is why she always makes it a point to say it straight to their faces without beating around the bush. Watari feels like sidelined but because of him, Kousei and Kaori couldn’t properly advance their relationship! And all the while we forgot about this guy (although he sleeps through concerts and instantly wakes up whenever it is Kaori’s turn on stage to become a cheering machine) because we start thinking since there is no real progress in Watari-Kaori relationship, I guess it is dusted and done and we start assuming it is Kousei-Kaori even though it was unofficial.

I thought Takeshi and Emi throughout the entire series didn’t do much except giving us some sort of variety that it shouldn’t always be Kousei and Kaori on stage. Aside from being rivals that push each other to the limits, I guess they’re pretty okay in that sense. I guess Hiroko’s return and role is so that Kousei won’t stray again and somebody to straighten him up if Tsubaki isn’t there. Why do people have to get rough on him? But thanks to that discipline, he has drawn in a lot of fans. Young fans like Nagi and Miike. Will that admiration turn into something more in the future? Let’s hope it will inspire the new and younger generations to greater heights. Finally, Saki who has been vindicated as the ‘villain’ of the series thanks to her tough uncompromising and seemingly selfish dying wish. But could all that negative view just be in Kousei’s mind as how he remembers her? Eventually when the truth comes to light, Saki isn’t a bad person himself and just like every mother in the world, loves and wants what is best for her child. So don’t go blame and hate your mom when she gets strict on you about piano or violin lessons. She loves you! Saki is both the reason why Kousei stunted and then nurture and rise again. All thanks to you, mom! Of course the rest like Kaori were there to push him but the source of it all can be traced back to Saki.

Naturally as a music genre, many of the classical compositions are the main draw in making the entire series work. Although I am not familiar with all the pieces and some of the classical composers, nevertheless they are excellent to hear. My only grumble is that instead of letting me close my eyes and enjoy listening to the music, they add monologues or the characters’ thoughts as they narrate it all while they play the piece. Oh come on! I want to listen to the true beauty of the piece! I know. Shows of this genre tend to be like that. You need that kind of drama of self realization or awakening or whatever while you play the beautiful piece. Music calms the soul, huh? True. The way Kaori ‘desecrates’ them with her own style, it is also fun to hear because seriously, it sounded so authentic that I think it is the original even though I have not heard the original before. And I can’t close my eyes while hearing the piece too for there may be some sort of ‘important’ scene while they play and I might miss it. Good for me. Keep them wide open and see all the drama that goes with it. I’m sure you’re going to tell me that if I really want to hear the original piece, just put in a CD and listen to it! Or download it from the internet like the trend these days. Yeah… Sure… But I’m not really into classical music so I’ll pass… God…

Other than the classical music, the opening and ending themes are more like anime music. Like the first opening theme, Hikaru Nara by Goose House also sounds more like a group song. Okay, passable but not that appealing. Same case for the second opener, Nanairo Symphony by Coala Mode, a moderate pop piece. My favourite one and personally the best of all the themes is the first ending theme, Kirameki by Wacci. Although not a slow ballad, somehow it draws out a lot of emotional and feel good factor in just hearing it. I like this song better and wished they didn’t change to the second ending theme, Orange sung by 7 (yes, this group is just a number! Literally) in which the dramatic style didn’t really appeal to me.

Voice acting is pretty decent seeing that this anime is heavy on the drama side. Those I recognized are Yuuki Kaji as Takeshi, Saori Hayami as Emi and Ayane Sakura as Tsubaki (I don’t know why I kept believing it was Kanae Ito’s voice behind it although I clearly know it wasn’t her but that bratty specialist). Even more delightful is hearing Mamiko Noto as Saki!!! Might just be cameo but I guess that is enough to make my day. Something about her character role that has started to bug me as I am seeing a trend of the characters she is being casted. Recently the animes that I have watched her playing minor roles… HOW COME HER CHARACTER DIES???!!! Sheele from Akame Ga Kill, Lisette in Unbreakable Machine Doll, Valkyria in Gokukoku No Brynhildr, Orlain in Aldnoah.Zero… OMG! I hope they’re not casting her as a stereotype of characters to be killed off roles! NO WAY! The rest of the casts include Natsuki Hanae as Kousei (Inaho in Aldnoah.Zero), Risa Taneda as Kaori (Yukina in Strike The Blood), Ryota Ohsaka as Watari (Marco in Shingeki No Kyojin), Ai Kayano as Nagi (Mei in Sukitte Iinayo), Mie Sonozaki as Hiroko (Viola/Violet in One Piece), Yuka Terasaki as Miike (Basil in Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn) and Shizuka Ishigami as Kashiwagi (Ellis in Seirei Tsukai No Blade Dance).

Art and drawing are rather okay. The characters look pretty okay but something about them that looks a bit different. I can’t put my finger on it. Is it their eyes and lips? I think it is mainly the lips somehow… Of course, most outrageous character design award goes to Takeshi, the Super Saiyan of this anime! The main characters during their younger years, if I should say some of them look a bit weird. Especially Kaori who is looking so cartoonish that she is barely recognizable. And when she grows up to be such a beautiful tween, it would make every guy’s jaw drop at this unbelievable transformation. Just stunning. Sometimes the background sceneries are cool to watch like the scattering sakura petals or even the sandy beaches. Of course the instruments themselves do look gorgeous especially the grand piano and I think some of the finger movements especially on the close up during the piano play is CG employed. Because it looks to smooth to be hand drawn animation. Nevertheless such visuals are still stunning to look at.

Overall, if you like deep romance that takes time to develop between the main characters, this one is for you. Classical music is an added bonus. Despite the tragic and sad end, you will still generally feel enjoyable once everything settles down. At least this series depicts a more realistic and down to earth portrayal of musically gifted tweens who are still human enough to fall in love. Who says music prodigies and geniuses can’t find love. Under all that beautiful finger work and wonderful sound produced, they are just humans like you and me. So when musicians fall in love with each other, what kind of sound do they produce? I don’t know but I’m sure that would be the sound of love! Because I’m sure music don’t lie.

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