This just raised the bar on this entire series for me! So much emotion! The direction here is credited to an already well-established mangaka but much praise to Kyohei Ishiguro’s directorial debut! Seriously everything came together so smoothly in the end here! After seeing this I am very eager for his next directed-animated work in the future!
Kaori’s letter reveals she’s been watching Kousei for a long time– this is how to deal with a death of a major character! Rather than showing flashbacks of her childhood prior to this [like what Tokyo Ghoul has been shoving in our faces this entire season] they lead in with the death first without really showing it! The ‘heavily implied’ scenario makes for a larger impact on the audience especially when it is driven by music here!
That performance is animated ridiculously well! A-1 Pictures did a fantastic job at maintaining a continuous flow with this entire episode! Heck even the music is breathtaking during Kousei’s performance that the creators didn’t dissolve it with dialogue around it! Finally! When Kousei visualizes Kaori on stage with him this just makes him realize that she’s gone and delivers a tremendous feeling that lifts his playing style to another level here! Absolutely love how both of them are in their own world far away from anyone else– this greatly depicts the love they have for music and for each other. With A-1 Pictures help animation director Keiko Okuda pulled off the most stunning visuals of her career especially with the whole performance and the background scenery against Kousei reading the letter! That one single cut of Kousei’s face as he’s reading the letter and giving off different facial expressions while Kaori is reading it– left me speechless.
I’m also glad there is closure for Watari and Tsubaki as well. Watari chases girl after girl but will never forget Kaori– he keeps a picture of them as wallpaper on his phone. As for Tsubaki she’s the comfort Kousei will need or rather she’s the best friend he’s always had but now more than ever she steps to the plate in being a big friend– supporting Kousei in anything that he needs and she will never stop being there for him! I like how the elevates Tsubaki in a larger light by leaving away the feeling of selfishness she’s been portrayed in previous episodes and allows her to be the final dialogue piece with Kousei.
Kaori didn’t just love Kousei but its the fact that she was an inspiring force in everyone’s lives through her personality and music. The montage during the credits amplifies her death so much more! Saddening but a bitter sweet ending that enriches the love story this series approached with since the beginning! Curious about the OVA– original standalone story or alternate ending?
OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10