Kousei has gotten over his mother but that doesn’t mean that she’s left his heart completely. Sharing the bad memories of when she would strike him or hurt him psychologically it can clearly been seen in his music still. I say this because he’s still trying to climb away from his fear: hearing the notes. What’s intriguing here is that he uses this to his advantage by surprising the audience and even Nagi with his radical piano playing. This performance is incredibly animated and Hiroko says it perfectly here. Kousei is having his way with her. He’s taught Nagi how to play the notes as they’re written on the score, how to interpret them and bring passion throughout them but it wasn’t until his Kaori-filled anxiousness takes him over that develops this as a duel between Kousei and Nagi.
How fitting that Tchaikovsky’s piece is the one the author chose for this part of the series because it represents a distinction between characters through its brazen collection of simple and even complex musical arrangements very well. A challenge between teacher and student on quite a few levels: to get Nagi to be better than she ever has been in order to find her own voice through the piano, to pour out to the audience what Kousei has been feeling and if his music can reach Kaori. The ending is nice here: Tchaikovsky’s score transitions to the famous waltz. They’ve fought over practices and opened up to each other and here is where they’re sounds are finally coming together with all this hard work behind them!
I like how Watari leaves his phone open so Kaori can hear Kousei’s performance. There is also an ongoing theme throughout this episode: inspiration. Nagi found it through Kousei’s determination, Kaori hears it through the headphones with Kousei and Nagi’s performance and most importantly Takeshi. His reaction to the fact that Kousei has been teaching Nagi in secret illustrates this well but I think what makes this profoundly fundamental to become a better pianist is how much he sees Nagi all grown-up. His comment about Kousei stealing her is hilarious here!
As for Kaori things are getting worse for her in so many ways. From her hospital bed she hears what she could once be a part of and now she’s missing out, but that doesn’t stop her from fighting this illness. This also establishes her calling towards music once again. I think my favorite scene is where Kaori is playing with those kids towards the end– arriving full circle. Kaori had played with these kids before in the first episode and I like how she’s being the one influenced by Kousei’s astonishing performance. I think this is where she realizes how much she loves Kousei. Awesome episode here!
OVERALL IMPRESSION: 9/10