「愛の悲しみ」 (Ai no Kanashimi)
“Love’s Sadness”

My my, what a hard-hitting episode. Let’s just get in.

A major focus today was Kousei’s closure with his mother, who received the final pieces of her characterization today. To kick it off, the episode starts off with important symbolism–we see Saki’s eyes! Though at surface this helps us visually as viewers to humanize the previous caricature that was the cruel mother, visibility of the eyes represents Kousei’s willingness to face his past memories head-on and see the entire picture that constitutes what made Saki Arima the mother that she was.

Boy, what a mother though. Does today’s episode redeem her? Of course not, but it revealed her struggles and humanity, with her own worries and interpretations on how to handle life. In the shadow of her debilitating illness, Saki sought the only thing that she felt that she could rely on: stability. There are no surprises when it comes to being a metronome; the clicking sound is predictable and disciplined. For Saki, this constancy was what she perceived was the best for Kousei, in order to grant him a predictable future of success. However, the path to said success got ugly and mixed with Saki’s desperation and narrowing view, combined with her growing fears and doubts about herself and her son. It’s a sad tale, one with parts that Kousei (and we viewers) may not forgive, but it is a complete narrative that he has finally accepted, for all the good and bad it has. She tried hard, but sadly a cruel life takes a toll on already imperfect beings.

Before we move on to other topics, I’d like to briefly mention Saki’s concept of becoming familiar with sorrow. Though the necessity of that statement may be debatable in general, for Saki I believe it fits perfectly with her tragedy. A terminal illness is a debilitating emotional weapon aside from its physical effects, and as such, learning to accept and deal with that reality is key for those in such a position to live out the rest of their lives properly. Thus, as one of her coping mechanisms, it seems that Saki purposefully expressed her sorrow through these piano pieces, precisely to help her face impending death with dignity. Another layer to add onto a tragically deteriorating character, but perhaps another reason to view Saki not as some evil witch of a mother, but someone who tried their best in the face of adversity, but tragically succumbed to the darker nature of death.

Let’s now discuss the other characters involved, sans Kousei. First, Hiroko. Of all the characters, she is perhaps the one who has the most complete perspective on what was going on in the Arima family, since she saw both Saki and Kousei’s perspectives. I don’t blame her for not visiting Kousei after his breakdown, since she did play a part in encouraging Kousei’s rise to becoming a pianist at a tragic time (side note: I admit I laughed during Kousei’s imitation of Hiroko). Would things have been different if she had not encouraged Kousei to play? Perhaps, perhaps not, but after witnessing two bombshell aftermaths, I sure would’ve done the same in Hiroko’s shoes. It’s particularly emotional though, to see Hiroko and Kousei cry together during that one scene. Taking a guess, but that was probably the first time that Kousei had cried since his breakdown two years ago. For Hiroko to witness this, as much as she blames herself, must’ve been amazingly powerful. She witnessed simultaneously her best friend’s worries melted away, while simultaneously seeing her best friend’s son having a moment of closure through the hell that Hiroko was well aware of. To top that all off, her own daughter joined in, creating a feels-fest for everyone, including…*drumroll*…Miike!

It was disappointing to not hear Miike’s full performance after that rollercoaster of emotions, but the basic message still rang true. Kousei is a powerful character in how he influences others, with Miike being no exception. When Miike saw his mother in the audience, it was almost like the beginning of another story of Shigatsu, where another soul desired to touch the hearts of others, just as they had been touched. It’s a great instance of the golden rule being applied to music, and although it’s a small detail in the grander narrative, for Kousei to have touched yet another soul shows the interconnectedness he is creating through his performances.

Ochiai-sensei had some interesting words to say as well, which I have partially addressed in the last episode. As opposed to the other performers in the show, who exhibit raw passion and skill to blow the audience away in a sense of emotion, Arima instead chooses to lose the audience in an almost hypnotic stance, full of emotional depth without being loud and brash. All the characters play with their heart, but Kousei is unique in this set for having to play with sorrow. Ochiai-sensei interprets the sadness of Kousei’s life as a tragic blessing, allowing him to have a unique power over the audience that leaves them entranced, but not full of energy to give huge applause. Unfortunately, this also lead to the controversial statement that he needs yet another tragedy to fuel his growth, but hey, more death flags, am I right?

Many of the other characters didn’t play a significant enough role today, though Tsubaki is hinting at more development for her character in future episodes. With Kashiwagi having appeared once more last episode, I’m sure we’ll see more of those two interacting once more for some childhood friend tragedies.

Finally though, we must return to the show’s other heroine, who well, no surprise, is in the hospital. The atrophy that her body is going through is very visible, but on a symbolic level, the tables have turned regarding these two. In that one scene, we see Kousei in a much more colorful tone than Kaori, indicating that as Kousei begins to shine once again on his own, Kaori’s own ability to shine is fading away as her body weakens. Physical disability is tragic to those who rely on it, such as those involved in sports and music. For all the life they invest into it, to have one’s passion forcibly stripped away is tragedy. Kaori keeps up her smiles now, but it is inevitable before that lie will also break away, just as it did perhaps for Saki two years ago.

Overall, a great episode to watch, with lots of emotions! I look forward to seeing your guys’ reactions, so please leave a comment for the show, positive or negative!

46 Comments

  1. While Saki’s abuse is still inexcusable, it’s so much more moving to see that what was really torturing Kousei was the loss of his mother, not just the abuse. Specifically, with Hiroko’s insights we’re finally able to see that Saki was not always the stuff of her son’s nightmares; his love of piano and music did, in fact, start with her and that’s exactly why the deterioration of her health (both mental and physical) so strongly affected him. As he remembers happier memories with his mother, Kousei must also acknowledge that those happy times are now out of his reach, which is the true tragedy that had haunted him.

    randomly
  2. Kaori’s own ability to shine is fading away as her body weakens.

    It clicked with me last week going through my playlist that her story arc reminds me of the chorus from Slow Down, Molasses song Light:

    The hardest part of being a light is knowing you’ll grow dim.
    So hurry to make a mark for all the places you have been.

    Dave
  3. Damn it, this episode really hit me hard for the lack of a better way to put it.

    Yes I know, life isn’t perfect for any of us human beings on this planet, but come on she can’t be serious to justify his talent alongside the lines of losing those dear people for him in order to achieve greatness as a musician. Kousei’s been in a dark place from a long time, even before her mother died two years ago and now that he finally was able to bid his farewell to his mother, now he must surely face the challenge to loss his new light. Damn it, so this was the meaning of her words at the end of episode eleven… she already knew and still… dear boy.

    I don’t know if my heart will be able to handle this raw emotion and sorrow. Just please, don’t play the childhood friend card on this series, let him struggle this new challenge alone.

    Saga Darklight
    1. Kaori’s known about her health from the start. I was kinda curious why Kousei called the leggings – which are common – he finds with Kaori’s shoes “spats” in the first episode and found that there’s a very subtle bit there in that that’s also apparently what the Japanese call compression stockings used to help treat various blood flow disorders.

      They’ve just been adding layers to that ever since – her getting off the bus at the hospital in ep 3, passing out at the end of the joint performance, the bathroom scene with the pills….

      As Zan’s pointed out in the past, this is the titular “lie”.

      Dave
      1. Interesting point–the foreshadowing even begins in episode one man! I’m thoroughly awaiting when we can finally see the root of all these lies. All these death events can’t occur without an explanation…right?

        Zanibas
  4. I always see the episodes in this show no less than three times. The first one always hit me on the emotional side and is necessary to let it go in order to gain some stability for the second round. After the emotional breakdown, is possible to see the details and analyze them. This is that kind of story and all the credit goes to the author.

    Now, let me ask something. If somebody tell me that my lifespan has become extremely short, what should I do? Settle my businesses as soon as possible but, what if there are things that simply cannot be forced to go faster? Once realizing that fact, is easy to come into desperation and desperation is a trap.

    Desperate people take desperate actions that not always have the best (or even acceptable) outcomes. What Kousei’s mother did to him was an act of desperation, and a very questionable one. There were reasons, there were circumstances and there were love also. When he understand this, he can reach closure by forgiving. And forgiveness is one of the most beautiful things a human being can give.

    RLeo
    1. The keyword here is forgiveness, which I think is a word that is not well-defined in its meaning and what is needed to forgive. Has he begun to move forward? Absolutely. Has he forgiven his mother? Debatable, dependent on what your interpretation of the scene is. He’s never flat out said that he forgives his mother (correct me if I’m wrong), but he has come to terms with her. How exactly he has is fairly left up to the reader at this point until they make it more explicit.

      Zanibas
  5. Definitely the best episode by far. Kousei has finally taken a huge step forward and seems to have finally been released from his “strings”.

    Unfortunately, Ochiai-sensei’s foreboding words in that it may take another huge loss for him to move forward and Kaori’s condition seems to be setting up for him to face even more trauma to overcome. I suppose, in ways, while Kousei may have finally let go of his mother, at the same time, he did kind of re-anchor himself to Kaori, so if/when he loses Kaori, he could end up right back where he was, if not worse off.

    HalfDemonInuyasha
  6. Of course I can’t forgive the mother for the abuse, but for her intent…I can sure sympathize. Really brought her character to full circle and I couldn’t help, but feel so depressed for her D:
    Oh boy, Kousei breakdown numero deux on the way…this is about to get uber depressing I bet. Better start perceiving life in dark shades and crying a bit more in preparation. The show does an excellent job depicting everyone’s sorrow. It’s almost scary how well it’s executed.

    Kabble
      1. You’re mistaken. Whale didn’t mean that the show has caught up to the manga; he likely meant that he caught up with the manga (i.e. he decided to read ahead). The manga itself is fairly far ahead, about 10 chapters or so, and each chapter is about 2 to 3 times the length of a weekly series.

        Hanabira.Kage
    1. I wouldn’t be surprised if part of the reason is because so many adaptations over the last couple years have been rushed to hell to the point where we’re almost used to it so when something like this comes along, where it actually takes its time to develop things, definitely would feel really slow by comparison.

      HalfDemonInuyasha
    2. Dragging its heels? Don’t you mean…dragging its feels? Sorry.

      I can see why you could feel that way about the show though. It suuuure does like to be, at best thorough, at worst repetitive, with its emotions. Also, like Inuyasha has said, it may be that current adaptations have really picked up the pace in moving things forward, but I too enjoy a show that is very deliberate and paced in focusing on its characters, erring on too much rather than too little.

      Were there things you’d have liked to have seen cut out, or just focused on less?

      Zanibas
  7. I could not hold back my tears. I was remembering episode 6 of Tari Tari and someone just started cutting onions in my room. It was too strong. T_T

    I particularly LOVED the change in mood as he switched gears and played Saki’s way. Can i forgive Saki for what she did? No, but the sheer desperation that she had succumbed to was enough for her to give off the wrong signal to her son and look at how much he’s grown because of it. Honestly as soon as I saw this :

    https://randomc.net/image/Shigatsu%20wa%20Kimi%20no%20Uso/Shigatsu%20wa%20Kimi%20no%20Uso%20-%2013%20-%20Large%2018.jpg

    All preparations for rain were for naught.

    Synic
  8. This episode generate so much feeling to the audience. I Cried when watching this episode. KimiUso is one of the very view anime that can make me cry like a bitch. It’s just that good.

    For kousei mother i feel like i can symphatize with him because my mother is exactly like his mother. It’s hard to have a strict mother and yes mother sometimes scary but this episode represent what really happen both literally and figuratively with mother – son relationship. Sometimes we hate our current situation so much until we lose someone especially a mother figure. If it’s me i will breakdown and succumbed to desperation.

    Shinwinds
  9. It’s episodes like these that make me (almost)forget about all my problems with the Shigatsu and let the feels run loose.

    I completely agree that what we saw in this episode(along with small hints from other recent ones) do not redeem Kousei’s mother but they humanize her. Execute that well enough and that’s a great thing in it’s own and possibly better than redemption for the show as a whole.

    MgMaster
  10. I said this once after the first few initial episodes passed by and I’ll say it again – the writer behind this mess must be a sociopath. They aren’t equipped to understand human relationships so they stab in the dark and throw lots of music and endless tears (because someone always has to keep crying) and somehow, it’ll seem real and… ugh… “hard-hitting” to someone out there. The show spills tears like like a singking oil tanker and it has long since lost any kind of serious impact. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think that this was actually a satire of sorts because the final scene with Tsubaki was nothing if not a subtle comment on the entire show. “Oh no. The tears are coming. But why?” We don’t know, but if you keep crying long enough, everyone will come up with their own reasoning for it.

    That brings me to the actual characters. The kids themselves are a joke, but that’s understandable and I’m willing to buy it. Since, you know, they’re kids and they’re meant to be stupid. But it’s the adults that really shine in their complete disregard for human decency. Hiroko just keeps reationalizing Kousei’s abuse and making excuses for his mother. In fact, according to the flashbacks, she never even spoke up untill Saki went far enough to “draw blood”. But the universal panacea of tears kicks in, and once Saki starts crying, suddenly all sins are forgotten and everything makes sense in the world. She just cares so much. Too much, even. She has to provide Kousei with a future before she expires. How else can one survive in the world if not being beaten and abused throughout their childhood into playing pitch-perfect piano?

    All those bits of dialogue at the end actually made me let out audible groans. “Did you see Saki?”, “I played so well, do you think it reached my mother?” But again, you’re never meant to doubt these words ot the implications behind them. Since – as always – tears start flowing and the show is reassures us that everything prior made sense. Hard-hitting stuff, indeed.

    Even though I contemplated dropping this show a while back, I think this episode was the breaking point since I often found myself rolling my eyes so hard or cringing so bad I skipped entire scenes just so it was over quick enough. Sorry Kimi no Uso, but you have plenty of other loyal fans left to drink from your overflowing cup of tears.

    Dein
    1. That’s a bit cynical of you. The point ISN’T that Saki’s approach is presumed to be ‘correct’ by Hiroko or anyone else. In fact, a lot of us here hate the fact she was abusive. But she was suffering from a terminal illness-her death was approaching fast, and there was so much she would never be able to do again. The fear that would result that…those who haven’t had death looming over them would only be able to imagine how that would affect a person. In her case, it seemed fear overwhelmed her rationality, and her peceptions got skewed-so she used abuse to do what she thought was right, then didn’t have a chance to fix it. It’s a horrible, horrible affair all around. And Kousei was a CHILD at the time, so he wouldn’t have been able to understand it like that…
      As for Hiroko, yes, she’s an adult, but again, we’re only human. And this was her best friend she lost. Her BEST friend. She’s had an ordeal too.
      I can appreciate that this show isn’t for everyone, but I think you’re being a bit too…dismissive. The characters AREN’T all idiots.

      Aki-Chan
    2. Sociopath might be going too far, but it’s more like the writer just doesn’t have a complete understanding of abuse and bullying. Or maybe it’s better to say that the writer simply doesn’t think the way Kousei’s friends treated him(also how Kaori forced him into playing the piano) is a form of bullying. Different circumstances for people.

      As for Hiroko and Saki, the writer tried to humanize Saki, in a way. While I think it was successful in giving her more depth, I certainly hope he wasn’t trying to get us to sympathize with her. If so, that was a complete failure.

      This show is, once again, actually decent when it’s not about Kousei’s friends and the way they treat him. The performances are wonderful, and Kousei’s struggle to move past his mother is actually done well.

      Mormegil
      1. Saki is quite the divisive figure in current discussions right now, but her sympathizers tend to draw from experiences of their own “love and tough” upbringing, especially when combined with the death factor. Perhaps the sympathy didn’t ring with you, but at least I wouldn’t say that “us” said it was a failure of a task. As you said before, different circumstances for people, so I’d say that Saki’s characterization wasn’t strong enough to convince everyone (I’m still on-the-fence myself), but it seems to have had a partial success in the viewership.

        Zanibas
    3. I’m going to address a specific part of this comment, and that’s Hiroko’s so-called “rationalizing” of Saki. It’s been established that these two have been friends, so already out of the gate, it’s already a natural human bias for Hiroko to try and understand her friend deeper than a harsh mother. In addition, you imply that Hiroko somehow had time to speak up either a) in the direct moment that Saki began shit-talking her own son or b) in the longer time period from Saki’s crazy phase to her death.

      The direct moment of inaction comes as a moment of shock to Hiroko–her longtime friend has just started doing something publicly vile, so it’s pretty much freezing her in her tracks to process what the hell is going on. This is a common effect in any situation, and while it’s shitty, it happens.

      If we’re instead implying that Saki didn’t speak up to reverse this course of action before the breaking point, I am pretty sure that in those flashbacks, Hiroko was not aware of how bad the situation was until said breaking point. Even the best of friends can hide away problems from one another, even more so as they grow older

      As for your argument that the crying is an easy way out, I could’ve seen this becoming a legit point, but it gets lost in black-white interpretations of characters that it loses any meaning behind it. Yes, tears flow to quite an extreme degree and we could discuss how overusing it weakens its power later on. However, to imply that crying was the solution for Hiroko to rationalize Saki is a gross generalization. If you’re reading this, I’ll be happy to talk about this issue with you in another comment, but I’ll leave it here for now for brevity.

      Since you’re pretty much out of the ring, I hope you find something that suits your tastes. The unsubtle amounts of drama here isn’t for everyone, and I understand it was shitty for you.

      Zanibas
  11. blah blah. enough with shits like “i cant hear notes, im drowning etc” its getting annoying. cant he just get over with it? its already been 13 episodes, he should be focusing on improving himself by now. damn it hate this show but i cant stop now.

    1. 1:Kousei’s been under the weight of his traumas for two years. It’s not going to go away just like that. Even if it had been less than two years, something that had THAT MUCH impact on him isn’t something that would be brushed away that easily, if at all.
      2: He’s acknowledging his troubles in this episode, and beginning to make his peace with them. If that isn’t a step towards improvement, then what the hell is?!!!!
      3: Have you forgotten he was a child when all this happened? And at 14, he’s still one.
      4: If you find it all annoying, then maybe this type of show isn’t something you should watch.

      I apologise for my abruptness.

      Aki-Chan
    2. You can always stop though
      Your just giving yourself a lot of stress if you keep watching a show that you never like…there’s no such thing as you can’t stop now

      and if you didn’t noticed kousei is actually improving lol

      ricz
  12. Ahh, this was just to sadly beautiful. And beautifully sad. It’s great to see Kousei move forward….I’ve adored him from episode 1, and really feel for him, though I cannot possibly understand what such pain is like. I can only imagine what things are going to be like now that Kaori’s demise is near.
    On other notes: Koharu is super adorable, and I want to see more of her. I also want to see more of Emi. Emi is the best girl, by far. It’d be interesting if she actually interacted more with Kousei.

    Aki-Chan
  13. Well, they finally gave an explanation for how his mother acted. Was it a “good” explanation? No, but at least was some kind of explanation, other than just assuming that she was a bad person. This still does not justify her actions, nor does it make me, in any way, sympathize with her, but at least knowing that the whole situation, combined with her health, had basically thrown her off her rocker, makes it at least acceptable. I said early on in this series, that, at best, it is poorly executed, and I still feel this way. I’ve been told that the manga handles it better, so it may not be an issue with source material, and if so, I can’t blame the author. I still feel that the way that characters act around each other is just off. I’ve watched plenty of series that involve serious psychological trauma, that didn’t irk me like this, so it isn’t that either. Overall, there is enough here, to keep me watching, and I said before that I would finish it out, but I pretty much know already that, no matter how it ends, it isn’t a series that I’ll likely ever watch again, and certainly isn’t one that I would “ever” spend money on. I see it as a series with a lot of feels, that just unfortunately being written by people that don’t understand the subject material, which is kind of disappointing, but at least it isn’t flat out offensive anymore.

    hjerry
    1. Thanks for your opinion, it’s interesting to see the opposition to this show, even though we’re still halfway in. I suggest you do check out the manga though and see if that does things differently for you. Now, I’ll just hide the OST that I just bought a few days ago under my bed, and hopefully we’ll continue to see you in the future :P.

      Btw, do you have examples of these shows with psychological trauma that you liked? I’m curious!

      Zanibas
      1. I’m not sure that I could provide you with series with the exact same kind of trauma, so I apologize in advance if that’s how it came off, but I can provide you with some really gut wrenching series, about people dealing with pain and death.

        Saikano

        Bokurano

        Anohana

        Looking up at the half moon

        Shion no oh

        Tokyo Magnitude 8.0

        All of these are series that deal intensely with death being a factor that’s affecting the protagonists. There are other series that I’ve very much enjoyed out there, which deal with emotional pain, as a central focus, just not one associated with death per se, so I didn’t list them. I would easily recommend all of these, but I have to give warning. If you’re going to watch them, prepare a box of tissues in advance because, even as cynical as I’ll admit that I am, they still get to me. The exception would be Shion no oh, which is still really well done, but without the need for tissues.

        hjerry
    2. Sorry that you cant sympathize with the irrational and crazy shit dying people can be capable of. Seems like you have unrealistic expectations of the psyche and behavior of terminally ill human beings. I think it’s safe to assume that most real world people in the position of Saki would deal with death in a variety of unattractive ways.

      Jin
  14. The relationship between Kousei and Saki is probably one of the most intriguing things about the show, from my opinion, and I feel like the development and the resolution between the two probably stopped at this episode. Whilst I definitely understand where everyone else is going with their opinion of Saki’s actions, I’m of the opinion that everything she had done was pretty justifiable in their own way. The abuse? Definitely not. The forcing of Kousei into a role which he didn’t understand nor really wanted? Don’t agree either.

    But, looking at it from Saki’s point of view, she’s dying. And as lots of people have said, people do insanely drastic things when they know they’re going to die. One of the key things which I feel dragged Saki into doing what she did was when Hiroko claimed that Kousei was a genius. I probably feel that Saki saw herself within Kousei, which is why she pushed him so hard towards perfection; to something which she desperately wanted to attain but couldn’t because of her situation. In a way, she was trying to live through Kousei in her own way, and it really showed through the performance in the episode; he WAS Saki during that time, and I really thing that the twin song to Love’s Sorrow is going to be a key bit in later episodes. Love’s Sorrow because of the slightly tragic relationship between mother and son, and the twin song to represent the relationship between Kousei and Kaori, but that’s another point altogether.

    But the main thing is this; Saki was a musician, and the only way for her to completely live and to continue living was through Kousei himself, and now that Kousei has come to terms with his mother’s death, and that he understands why his mother was so harsh on him, you’ll see him become the foil to Kaori living on later in the series.

    Hopefully this makes some sort of sense, and this is entirely my own opinion, but Saki is an interesting character, and things about her will resonate more harshly with others, whilst others will sympathize with her situation more, but I view Saki as an extension of Kousei, and I think that’s really portrayed in this episode here; Saki, in death and in good or bad, is still Kousei’s mother, and is still a very important part of him as a person.

    hsrp
  15. “becoming familiar with sorrow” is also key element of Buddhist teaching and one of the 4 noble truths.

    Very powerful episode and very moving episode. Kouseis mother was alwas that other but now she’s human with feelings that we may or may not be able to empathize with. But seeing her go from doting mother to the one maned dictator as her disease progresses is a sad sad tale. A few tears definitely rolled down my face this episode. That Kousei, Hiroko and the flying headbut scene broke the damn.

    Thanks for picking this up again Zanibas.

    Miaminights
  16. Awesome episode once more, as usual, even more this time.
    A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.

    This ep covers 145 manga pages, a whole new record in all the series I have stats (11 series so far).

    So epic, this show. F***ing EPIC 😀

    Nico
  17. Now this episode overall and that conversation between the two instructors reminds me of a game called Suikoden 1 Where there’s an item called Soul Eater, it becomes more powerful for each dearest person to the wielder dies and gets the soul absorbed. I wonder how Kousei would do…

    pedobearmatt

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