Ah we are finally here, an episode about music, a series about classical music for that matter, and I sure hope it retains this genuine atmosphere as the story progresses. Noitamina needs to do more series based in realism because we’ve had some incredible series that tackles this element! Paradise Kiss, Nodame Cantabile, Honey and Clover, Usagi Drop, Ping Pong The Animation, among a few others!
My only concern though is how these kids are portrayed in middle-school and not in high-school because they sure look and act like they could very well be in high-school here. Kaori’s performance here had a beauty both in musical style and animation that was breathtaking. This show reminds me a quite a bit of Nodame Cantabile in how its story explores the various concepts of music.
This was an episode focused on the sound aspect of concert performing more than anything else and was more developed than the premiere. Kaori proves with her violin skills that she can save a soul, in this case Kousei losing his mother from harsh times as this was greatly reflected by his monologue through the concert. Giving back that part of Kousei which gave him life or rather color to his world. The contrast between her and Kousei’s mother was fantastic here– we’ve got this wonderful balance between a mother who only cared about placing high scores and living vicariously through her son, and then there is Kaori. Her performance of Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No. 9 Op. 47 by Kreutzer was entirely different than how the original was intended which in turn disrespected the true nature of a competition to the point of pissing off one of the judges! Just illustrates the level of compassion she holds for music as a whole disregarding the system of scoring, and competing.
THIS IS WHY I LOVED NODAME CANTABILE SO MUCH! Both Kaori here, and the pianist Nodame knew the meanings by the original compositions of Beethoven, Mozart, among others but they end up challenging the authenticity of the intention of those pieces to establish a style all their own by bringing out their personalities, experiences with so much passion. To create an artistic style to surprise, re-educate, and invoke different emotions to the listener and that is what Kaori had done for me here. Just as Nodame did during the first and Finale arcs of Nodame Cantabile.
I would also like to point out how the writers were able to make this whole competition very real by showing how nervous she was and the acceptance she was yearning for from Kousei– a huge contrast for him to go from Friend A to being Ryouta’s substitute all within two episodes! What a powerful episode and I love the opening and ending songs quite a lot!
OVERALL IMPRESSION: 8/10