Kousei is driven hard by Kaori to start practicing for a recital. His abilities have noticeably decreased, and his mental struggles still affect his playing. Kaori finally understands the carelessness of her actions, but in her enthusiasm Kousei finds the strength to continue. Meanwhile, Tsubaki is in the midst of Regionals when she starts to get jealous of Kousei and Kaori’s closeness.
One could say some of the major issues people were having about this show do get addressed here, but that doesn’t stop the first half of the show from feeling really weird to watch. The way everyone picks on Kousei in the beginning is absolutely cruel. While I wouldn’t say anything beforehand was bullying, the scene where they all just gang on him for not playing well was kinda messed up. Adding to that, Kaori stole from him to force him into the competition. I was having serious problems keeping with it, as the idea that he was just being manipulated into playing grew more and more as the episode goes on. Then, finally, we get a breakthrough. Kaori has been such an unstoppable force that it was legitimately shocking to see her finally own up to the unfair pressure she’d been building on Kousei. I’m definitely glad we got to this road, though, as it makes her character much more likeable now that we know she understands Kousei better. Kousei still seems to be lying to himself though, his crush winning out over his fears in order to keep practicing.
After a bit of side story buildup, Tsubaki’s jealousy comes to a head very quickly this episode. As we in the Glorio Blog have lamented in the past, it would appear Japan believes a man and a woman cannot be friends without some latent romantic tension. I did find it interesting that Tsubaki first tried to use her senpai as a way to try and forget about her feelings for Kousei. Unfortunately, it seems she spends the whole time talking about him anyway. Nice job, Tsubaki, obviously what boys want you to do when you’re on a date with them is talk about another man. I wonder if she’s still going to try to date him after the revelations of this episode. Considering I’m pretty sure we haven’t even learned that dude’s full name yet, something tells me its not gonna last.
I like how the final scene tried to bring full circle a motif the flashbacks have often harped on. When they were children, Kousei relied on Tsubaki for her strength. Now that they’re older, they can rely on each other. Kousei can still see through her better than anyone else, and wasn’t about to let her go home alone in that kind of state. In reality something tells me a dude his size would not be able to carry a muscular girl for multiple miles, but it was a sweet way to have him show her she hasn’t been forgotten in his life.