Kousei quickly adapts to his new roll as teacher. Kaori’s illness seems to be getting worse and worse, affecting her already capricious personality. Losing the last thing worth living for her, she becomes incredibly distraught.
I’ve come to terms with Kaori’s magical limb numbing illness. It seems pretty clear we’re not going to get a good explanation for what’s really wrong, so it’s better to just think about how this is affecting the plot. Right now, it seems Kaori has already hit the Anger phase of her stages of grief, and lashes out at Kousei’s new upbeat take at his piano studies. All at once her anger seems to encapsulate both the pressures of a musician to always remain at top and her despair at her own powerlessness. The idea of never stopping work also seems so completely Japanese that I wonder how much of her stinging rant is meant to be sympathized with by the audience. Once again it feels like Kousei is confusing her using him to her needing him. She still seems very attached to Watari, but she confides in Kousei because he understands her musician’s spirit. She’s using him both literally when they went shopping and as a receptacle for her raw emotion.
This is a terrible time for Kaori to dump her problems, as Kousei actually seems to be coming into his own as a teacher. Still, to that extent it seems like Nagi is just a tool to bring about this development. Her character as this weird sadistic brocon is totally inane and seems completely out of sync with the rest of the plot. Is she supposed to be some kind of foil for him? What ever even happened to Emi and Takeshi? I feel we could have gotten much better character interactions out of his actual rivals than some out of the blue sister. With only six to seven episodes left it seems like there’s a lot of ground to cover and yet the plot keeps stringing out plot threads like it’s never going to end.
I’d never heard of Ichigo Doumei before the episode, and in fact it would appear most of the english speaking world hasn’t, as I could only find one site that delved into even a basic summary, let along a more detailed wiki or the like. Now that I’ve learned of it, it makes this show seem like we’ve been reading a strange adaptation all along. Both include piano players and the terminally ill girls that lead them on. Now, suicide is something that anime is usually conspicuously absent in dealing with, especially considering the setting of most of their stories. Not enough anime deal with the volatile combination of hormones and stress that are the hallmark of any American teen movie. I’ve been mad at April for a lot of things, but if it could manage to actually tell a good story about dealing with thoughts of suicide, it might make up for a lot of its faults.