「手と手」 (Te to Te)
“Hand in Hand”
Although I am still in the process of fixing my computer, I have managed to get things running again to where I can write up a post. Thanks to Samu for the caps!
Episode 20 in a two-cour series is a grim reminder. We’ve stuck it out this far because we like (or dislike) the show enough, and with the big 20, it practically spells out the final stretch. Today’s episode is no exception, with every character going all out, a final push to their problems and challenges. I would like to keep things short by talking about a key theme in today’s episode: insecurity.
Every main character featured today suffered from some sort of insecurity, with problems that have been brewing ever since the story began. From a birds-eye view a lot of these worries seem trivial, but man, for middle schoolers who know no better, it can be hell. I sympathize particularly with Kousei’s insecurities, despite how ‘dumb’ his problems are. From a perspective of ‘lacking’ in physical and charismatic quality compared to your peers, it’s easy to make up excuses to not chase after the people you’re interested in. It sure doesn’t help as well when you’ve been told they like someone else. Even if the evidence mounts itself against it, it’s easy to brush it off with excuses like, ‘they are just nice’ or ‘I’m just a substitute’. In fact, the show hits the nail on the head especially well by showing the contrast between the deep bond that Kaori and Kousei share and the lighter-hearted laughter that Kaori and Ryouta have. For Kousei, all he can see is two beautiful people having fun, happiness, while what he can only reference are tears, sadness, and bickering. Of course it’s natural for him to feel inferior, despite how stupid it seems in hindsight.
Meanwhile for Tsubaki, her first steps into confession are also quite relatable, to the point where I’d be furious with myself. Taking the first step is always hard, but it’s always very hard to be straightforward about it. Just a few days ago actually, I sat myself down next to this person I wanted to talk to, but I left a space in between as to not seem too direct. They did seem to notice, but the whole thing was ruined when someone sat in the seat next to us. It’s dumb I know, but that’s why I can relate to Tsubaki’s own dumb actions as well. They’re far from optimal, but it’s like a key tradeoff we make in our minds between taking action and saving ourselves from embarrassment. I haven’t fully grown out of this awkward dance myself, but at 14 the indirectness is very real. Now that the show has finally crossed that barrier though, I do hope they do eventually resolve this by series end. If Kousei plays dumb and plays it off as a joke, I swear.
The least visible insecurity, and the last one for us to see, had to come from Kaori, whose life is undoubtedly coming to an end soon. I’ve talked about it in previous episodes, but it’s worth mentioning again how scared she is to make a meaningful connection at this point in her life. Socializing with Ryouta is easy because it carries no baggage, but we all know she secretly wants to bond with Kousei, to feel that thrill of being alive and connecting with the people most like you. Of all the awkward socializers on this show, Kaori has to be up top, in a constant fight between her desire for emotional security and emotional connection. During that scene where Kaori mentions a plane out of the blue really hits home how much Kaori wants Kousei to reach out to her more and vice versa. She’s a tragic type of tsundere, not wanting to show her affection for fear of getting hurt, yet secretly wanting the people she loves to defy her words. Common, yet still as hard-hitting a scene. I do hope she’s not dead yet, since I would like to see one more performance of them together, even if it’s her goodbye song to the world.
For all the melodrama and repetition this show creates, it still creates meaningful stories that are easy to relate even outside the world of music. It’s going to be hard to write the finale for this show, but it’ll be a beast I’ll like to tackle. Just a few more episodes everyone, but prepare for all the good and bad feels coming up.