This is probably the best directed episode of Shigatsu yet! We’ve got some really solid drawn angles that moved especially with that library scene.
By the end of Shigatsu I feel this will be a tearjerker of a series– the animation is beautiful, Masaru Yokoyama’s score is intense and the story so far is heartfelt with a rich cast of characters. Noitamina should really broadcast more series like these– coming-of-age anime.
Kaori is breaking down– she cries at any moment and falls down. The illness she has had since this series began is in full force and this episode really clues into how well-developed Kousei, Tsubaki and even Watari are– they’re too gracious to ask what’s going on even when they’ve got their own issues. While not as dire as Kaori’s having the other three kids experience school life and authentic youth really pushes the plot to be more engrossing even further.
Moving back to Kaori, she’s been holding everything together until the last few episodes where reality sinks in and it’s this displacement out of the group from the numerous hospital visits and the absences from practices to performances that strikes all the right notes here. Kaoari has feelings for Kousei and he doesn’t see this because of how much she’s inspired him to play the piano again.
As dark as this show is going to tread through there are a lot of light-hearted moments here that revitalize the humor that Shigatsu pulls off very well– the shopping mall scene separates us the viewer from the inevitable illness she has and winds up forcing Kousei to carry her bags. The super-deformed drawings of these kids takes us out of the dramatic realm we are used with this series showcasing its inner monologue sequences and into a more fun setting far away from the outcome this show is playing out for itself. Honestly, this is one of my favorite parts of this series because while she is sick she has a courageous determination to her that would otherwise not be there if were not for Kousei. I’m glad especially here that the episode director didn’t force this idea down our throats from her perspective. This isn’t a one-sided romance from just Kousei’s viewpoint like I initially thought.
As for the music this time around Nagi is a good releaser to Kousei’s issues about his mom and all the drama we’ve been having recently with Kaori’s illness and Tsubaki questioning her own feelings about him. Hiroko is the parental balance to this all– she’s loving and aggressive when things need to be done. She was there when his mom disappeared from his life so she understands him a little bit more than the others and should provide the backbone to his character when or if something tragic happens to Kaori.
This is a good break from all the rough moments from previous episodes and what’s to come for Kousei and Kaori– hopefully with all this drama building up it doesn’t sideline what this series originally ventured into when it brought its two leads into the spotlight: music.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10