「心重ねる」 (Kokoro Kasaneru)
“Hearts Come Together”
In a cast of defeated characters, a new hope is arising within all of them, just in time to give us a final arc that’s worth all this emotional pain.
Nagi and Kousei have come far since their initial character introductions and it reflects in the relationship they share. It was once unfathomable for Kousei to make it through a performance, much less while musically dueling a partner. Here he is though, using his ‘curse’ to liberate himself, allowing him to focus on pushing his partners further. Nagi accepts said challenge, feeling the thrill that was once unknown to her until now. It is thanks to Arima that Nagi found her reason to play and it is thanks to Nagi that Kousei has broken through his own chains to help those around him. Characters that find non-trivial mutual benefit from partnerships like these are great, especially when the implications reach out to a broader scope. Each character grows, but they don’t grow alone, forming plot bonds that help the story feel connected.
In fact, Shigatsu’s way of connecting the characters together is a great strength, with Kaori and Takeshi this week as evidence. For Kaori, her own situation mirrors Kousei’s world just a few episodes ago. We, as an audience, had conflicting opinions about how Kaori and friends’ actions could constitute friendship or the right path, yet here we are once again, with Kousei purposefully taunting a physically weak character to once again take the stage. The parallels from the past as well as the explicit connections in the future help create these characters that are connected, yet distinct from their past. Kaori was there for Kousei in his time of need, and now using similar tactics it’s his time for payback. Whether or not this is an optimal solution for those with physical and psychological disabilities is still up for discussion, but the reversed roles seem, in a literary sense, compelling to explore here. The same goes for Takeshi, whose previous rise and fall feels connected to Nagi’s own success, as he is reminded of the reason why he plays the piano in the first place. All of the main musicians have gone through significant changes as the series progressed, yet there isn’t much of a disconnect between the current musicians and their pasts. The show has done a great job mapping their paths to the present, and as such it is easy to feel for how far these characters have progressed since then.
Finally, speaking on the performance itself today, I personally found it less emotionally engaging as the last few performances, but it was a welcome sight to focus more on the performance itself rather than a series of flashbacks and repetitive monologues. Having listened to the audio CD that has all the classical tracks played in the show, it was refreshing to hear the entire song played in full without many cuts or repeats, as to really focus on how the song’s flow and changes reflected Arima and Nagi’s development over the past few episodes. I imagine we won’t get a repeat of this behavior for the next song involving Kousei and Kaori since we’ll need the backstory to see behind Kaori’s curtain of mystery, but given how much I want to know about her character, I’d welcome a huge amount of monologue from her easily.
However, that is still quite a few episodes away, so now we must wonder what’s going to happen in the interim. Will Tsubaki disrupt things and make a move? Will Kousei still doubt Kaori’s feelings for him? How will those two train if she’s bedridden at the hospital? There are lots of questions to wonder about, yet still so many key pieces of information missing. Let’s cros our fingers that Shigatsu will give us satisfying answers to all these questions before the final performance’s curtain falls.
I’ve always been puzzled by people who break puzzle cubes apart just to put them back together in their solved configuration.