Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso – 09

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso-Declaration

Reaching for the sky

spring14-highwIs there a better way to try to write a post than with David Lynch’s 1984 version of Dune on in the background? Actually, probably anything is better, especially the Baron Harkonnen scenes.


Taking Its Time

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso-Encounter

Not really anger

I was a bit surprised that the show would spend half of the episode not getting to Kousei, continuing to go over Emi’s background and motivations. I didn’t think there was anything particularly revelatory in the further presentation of Emi’s childhood, it just served to reinforce how much of an impact Kousei’s first performance had on her. And now she’s got her chance to show him her feelings, which even carry over after she comes off the stage. Would Emi have confessed? Is that what she was going to say to Kousei? Or was it something else?

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso-Punishment

A constant presence

And we don’t even get to Kousei’s performance until late in the second half of the episode, instead switching to more of Kousei’s past, and delving more into his relationship with his mother. And in this one they really don’t show any way of bridging those two versions of his mother: the kinder one who helped pull him out of his banging response to the underwater feeling of his neuroses and the villainous one who put them there in the first place. And we get a little different view of some of Kousei’s past, with his interactions with Tsubaki taking the fore.


Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso-Not getting better

She wasn’t getting better, but do you tell a child that?

What was the cause of Kousei’s mom’s abusive nature? Was that always in her, or was it only after her illness that she became such a vile person. Was it the loss of her dreams? And what was the cause of that loss? Her illness, or was it perhaps Kousei? Because it’s hard to imagine someone who is THAT abusive being a teacher, as I thought they hinted she was at the beginning of the series. It’s possible that she wasn’t like that with other students, but that is kind of odd. Or maybe Kousei was her only student. Either way, her treatment of him is completely unacceptable, and is every kind of abusive you can think of, and while we don’t have much in the way of impressions of her interactions with other people, was she that way towards other people? That’s why I kind of wonder if perhaps Kousei’s existence was part of the destruction of her imagined future, now being stuck in Japan taking care of an infant because her husband’s work takes him away from home so much.

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso-Evidence

Damning Evidence

I only think that because I find it hard to fathom what would focus so much fury on a small child. Kousei suffers tremendously at his mother’s hand, beaten and bruised, emotionally and mentally abused. Maybe we can see reasons why she acts like that, that it’s the pain of her illness that causes her to lose sight of anything else, but there’s no justification for what she does, no excusing the explosions, the beatings. And unfortunately, the last thing that Kousei (chibi 12-year old Kousei, I wish they’d have drawn him better as a 12-year old, so that he didn’t look 6) says to his mother is “It’s fine with me if you die.” That she then does so just piles on his neuroses, and leads us to what we’ve seen in the show.

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso-Fateful words

Fateful words


There’s been talk about how terrible this show is, primarily because of the behavior of the other kids to Kousei. I’ll be frank: I don’t think it was bullying, because I don’t think the show was intending it to be that way. Within 5 minutes of the beginning of this series (including the OP), they had Kousei bleeding from a head wound from being struck with a softball and shaking it off. That was a huge indication that this show trades in cartoon violence. Maybe it’s because I’m a child of the 70’s, but I’m not going to see cartoon violence as bullying. Is Bugs Bunny bullying the bull, or Elmer Fudd, or Daffy Duck? Is Moe bullying Curly? Or is it an art form that has been squashed, physical comedy that’s become out of fashion? That’s what I think the earlier stuff in the series was. Were Kaori and Tsubaki, and even Watari, pressuring Kousei to play with Kaori? Yes. I won’t argue with that. But I think it was it in bounds, in line with the kind of pranks and pressure that are acceptable to get someone to do something that they should do. And the other violence the show has had – kicking, smacking, yelling – has always been accompanied by art shifts or surreality, to me a pretty clear indicator that we’re back in cartoon violence.

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso-Hitting

This was not cartoon

But there was none of that this episode. This was bruises, scratches, hitting with a cane. And no art shifts. To me that’s a meaningful distinction. So no, I’m not going to equate what came earlier with what happened in this episode. That was TV, cartoon, comedy. This was serious. I think it’s an obvious distinction. And it was presented that way, not dismissed, not minimized. And I don’t think the impact of it was diminished at all by the presence of the earlier actions, the meaning wasn’t diluted. This was raw and painful and important.


Proving that you don't have to be young to love anime, I enjoy all genres and styles of shows. If it's not hurting anyone else, you should never be ashamed of what you like!
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14 Responses to “Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso – 09”

  1. HannoX says:

    I think enough has been said about what a monster Kousei’s mother was so I’m not going to comment on that.

    With all the pills Kaori takes heroine fatal illness syndrome is looking more and more likely. Maybe we can hope her condition is controllable with medication, but I fear she’s doomed and probably before the series ends.

    Emi climbing to the top of the jungle gym and standing there with her arms in the air is a good metaphor for her determination to play the piano and climb to the top there.

    • Highway says:

      Yeah, Kaori’s illness is a dumb plot point they could have abandoned completely. It’s unnecessary to make her a sympathetic character, and it’s just setting us up for a sad happening that everyone can see coming.

      • HannoX says:

        Agreed. The only possible reason for having Kaori die is if they want to leave Kousei a total psychological wreak with Tsubaki left to pick up the pieces. It’s not like losing someone else who comes to mean much to him is going to help him lay the ghost of his mother to rest. And it’s especially not going to help someone in his already fragile emotional state.

  2. akagami says:

    If they kill off Kaori I’m 50% chance to ragequit
    (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ … maybe, I like music though.

    Tbh, I’ve seen and heard of Asian parents like Kousei’s mom… maybe not to the same extent, but not totally uncommon. That’s why every Chinese child knows piano (Americas at least) |・ω・`)

    But, maybe music cures all! Yes, we’ll go with that.

    Or maybe Kousei grows ruthless and climbs to the top of the music world on people’s sweat, tears, and corpses. Wait, I think I’m moving into the wrong genre…

    On a different note (I’m not a medical student), but is an increase in the number of medicinal drugs correlated with more dangerous illnesses? I would assume that minor illnesses treatable by a variety of medication wouldn’t be as dangerous, as say cancer or some type of heart defect would have specific medication and not a gazillion pills, each for something different.

    But loving this show, 100% my favorite this season by a very wide margin.

    • Highway says:

      It depends. Many times, a pile of medications is because you’re chasing secondary and side effects. Like you take a medicine to treat one thing, but it raises your blood pressure, so you take a blood thinner, that kind of thing. We don’t know what Kaori’s issue is, whether it’s seizures or something else, but I doubt it’s heart issues.

      • skylion says:

        I’ve been on that pile. I’ve Crone’s Disease and Bi-Polar. Meds always want to play havok; one vs. the other. It’s a merry go round of bloodtests, MG levels, and whatnot.

      • Di Gi Kazune says:

        Useless pointless knowledge:
        For severe illness/conditions, you generally don’t take bucketloads of pills because most of the medications will be intravenous for reasons of i) unpalatiblity of oral medication, ii) absorption and bioavailability of IV vs oral, iii) pharmacokinetics.

        IRL, number of drugs does not mean a more serious condition; it’s the drug used that matters. To the general public, the thinking is more drugs = more severe.

        Polypharmacy is actually frowned on IRL because it causes the problem of multiple possible interactions causing new side effects.

        • akagami says:

          Thanks for the tidbit and responses above, that was very enlightening.

          Unless said person was taking meds to get high, in which case I would really be worried about the number of pill popping activities.

  3. skylion says:

    I’ve been keeping up with the manga chapters, and it’s all there. So with that in mind, I have no clue why some folk are saying it’s not going the way it should. It was all there in black and white before A-1 even touched it.

    Further, with that in mind, I like an honest story, and this is one of them. It’s not afraid to go to “outrageous” places, and places that will outrage you.

    But, I do feel that twinning Kaori’s experience with Kousie’s mother’s experience is quite crazy. A bit oversold. I’ve not read ahead in the manga, keeping pace, so I hope they don’t make it to obviously melodramatic…

    • Highway says:

      I think the best use of the parallels between Kaori and Kousei’s mother would be to show Kousei that even in a bad medical situation, it doesn’t have to be like his mother. We’ll see if they go there, but I can see there’s a possible storyline there.

    • JPNIgor says:

      A-1 made such a great job upgrading the character design of the manga. There, it’s so simplistic that after watching the anime, it gets kind of offputting to see a less detailed Kaori-chan for example.

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