As someone new to this, it is a great pleasure to be participating in the 8th OWLS Blog Tour. Last Monday, Zoe from Let’s Talk Anime talked about self-acceptance in the film, A Silent Voice. If you have not had the pleasure of reading it, I suggest you should give the article a few moments of your time. Thanks and I hope that this article will pique your interests.
“Treasure” Blog Tour
There are moments in our lives where we lose our sense of self-worth and value and as a result, we find ourselves deep in darkness or drowning in the ocean. However, every person in this world is a treasure—we treasure ourselves or we are treasured by others—and at times, we may need to be reminded of that.
For this month’s topic, we will be exploring pop culture characters who have suffered from mental illnesses, depression, and/or suicide. We will be discussing how these individuals cope with these issues, the reasons for their emotions, and how they handled the situations they are in.
As we go through the uncertainties of life, we will ultimately realize that there is an end for all things. When people dear to us come and go – it begs us to ask the question: what is life worth living for?
To give you my answer to this question, allow me to pull something from an anime series entitled “Your Lie in April.”
Shedding light on Kousei’s story
The anime series, Your Lie in April, centers around a pianist prodigy named Arima Kousei who at a young age has honed his talent on the instrument with the supervision of his mother, a well-known pianist herself. As a child, Kousei had this inborn inclination to music which spearheaded his path into the life of a musician.
For young Kousei, the way on how his playing pleased and affected the people around him made it all the more exciting to pursue this kind of life. As spectators would describe him at this time, hearing him play was as beautiful as a twenty-four color palette. The sound he created was so naive, young and rich that ultimately inspired young children like him to strive for the enrichment of their own talents.
It all seems fine and calm until something crushing happens in Kousei’s life: the risk of losing his mother.
For the child Kousei, his mother mean’t everything to him – his playing, his inclinations to music and to simply put, his life. Bearing the thought of losing his mother got Kousei scared and if his playing on stage gave his mother satisfaction then he would strive to play each and every piece as if it were his last – all for the sake of his dying mother.
This desire in Kousei was gradually warped as his mother slaved him away by making sure he memorized every note, every time-signature, every slur, every single detail – to play the piece as the composer had intended for it to be played. His own mother would be beat him and yell at him for every mistake but despite all that, the mother is not to blame.
For the mother’s case, she is scared of dying and leaving Kousei alone. Questions are raised in her head: will my child live well without me? Is the piano his only means of living day-by-day? If so, I should make him the best of that craft.
But to a mere child, the mother’s warped thoughts sends the wrong message. Kousei, after countless times of beating, yelling and unreasonable lack of affectionate display from his mother has brought him to his breaking point – he rebels and shortly after, his mother dies.
Unshaken – he goes up the stage again. Determined and certain that the piano is the only thing he has and he should do. What happens next? It is taken away from him – the ability to hear, to discern the notes, and to perform.
The only thing he had left has been taken away from him. He has nothing.
Dealing with the loss
Similar to Kousei’s case, people at the present time feel devastated after losing something that we have treasured dearly for the entirety of our lives. Losing this important treasure leaves us shattered, weak and uncertain of our own purpose and worth.
To Kousei, he deals with the lost of his mother and the inability to hear his own playing greatly symbolizes the trauma he is dealing with in this current loss. With the lost of his mother, the piano is the only thing that connects him to her and as such it gives him the feelings of guilt, resentment and self-shame on how he couldn’t love his mother on her last days.
This symbolism is very much evident when every time he tries to perform. His mother haunts him as his plays – taunting, shaming and telling him that this is his curse. Kousei carries this burden and blames himself for his mother’s death. With this, he lives the entirety of his life in self-shame and sorrow – unable to determine his own worth and reason to continue living.
People in real life tend to deal with these losses through self-harm, through shaming themselves and imprisoning themselves in the mentality that if it weren’t for their actions and interference, the situation would have gone better. But, as I explain further, allow me to give you reasons on why this is not the case.
Hope in the form of Kaori Miyazono
The introduction of Kaori Miyazono gives Kousei a second opinion with regards to this own situation. As Kousei would describe her, she “barged in without even knocking” and rightfully so. Kaori serves as a wake-up call for Kousei into the realization that in the end, there is hope as we go through all our trials.
Kaori enters unexpectedly into Kousei’s life. Her wild and unorthodox personality completely sets off Kousei and initially is seen as just nothing more but someone who will come and go in time – but that is where Kousei gets wrong. He gets to witness Kaori’s rebellious method of playing the violin – how she prefers to bend the rules and manipulate the notes thus straying away from the intentions of the piece composer.
Along the way, she forces Kousei to become her piano accompanist – much to his displeasure but then again, he did as she asked anyways. But the tables are turned and Kousei gets to realize what’s behind the wild and bubbly personality that Kaori is trying to show.
As any other individual, Kousei forgets that Kaori has her own problems as well: more specifically, her deteriorating health status. With having a few months to live, Kaori makes the best out of it by meeting Kousei, doing her own way of playing, going blonde, and more. It shows Kousei another side of dealing with loss or having nothing which is to determine your own purpose and goal into making sure that you get to have something at the end of your darkest times.
Despite deteriorating health and the risk of dying, Kaori puts her best foot forward and faces the realities of life head-on thus determining how her life plays out and making sure she kicks the bucket with little to no regrets – something Kousei fails to understand.
Unlike Kaori, he dwells on something that is gone rather than realizing what has come out in that loss. In Kaori’s case, she understand the severity of the situation and doesn’t want to back down without a fight. She did everything possible to make sure that she would go out as a force for the entire world to be reckoned with and she has fulfilled that.
She made an impact on Kousei’s life and expressed her romantic feelings for him, bent the rules and played the violin her own way, made the most of her life and lastly (most importantly), ate a lot of sweets.
Kaori’s impact and contribution to Kousei’s realization
With the introduction of Kaori into his life, Kousei begins to understand that dwelling on something that is gone doesn’t only serve as a hindrance to his capabilities but also puts the efforts that other people have done for him to waste.
In turning away from the piano and becoming traumatized, he has forgotten its importance which is the only sole connection he has to his now deceased mother. Despite all the torture, beatings and yelling – Kousei’s mother, at the end, wanted to make sure that even if she would be not there to guide him, he would be able to stand on his own two feet. Although the method of conveying this is questionable by itself, Kousei understands the context on why she has done so.
Now, Kousei faces another loss – Kaori Miyazono. But this time, he understands and has come to terms with this event. Instead of self-blame, he takes it upon itself to give Kaori’s life justice by making sure that he lives his life – the life which Kaori herself has tried to return to Kousei despite all odds.
At the final parts of this anime series, Kousei comes to terms with his loss – both of his mother and Kaori Miyazono.
In his mother’s case, he begins to realize that his playing is the only direct form of connection he has with his mother. The sound he creates was developed and honed with the support from his mother all the way from his childhood to her death. Initially he saw himself unworthy after rebelling against his mother in her last moments – how he could have treated her better. But as time went on, he realizes that the piano is the only form of memento his mother left for him and understands that by continuing to play, he continues to make his mother proud and propagates her legacy.
In Kaori’s case, she serves as Kousei’s beacon – a symbol of hope in his time of uncertainty and grave despair. With Kaori came his ability to understand that in our lowest moments, we must strive to see to see the opportunity to make something better for ourselves and for the people around us. It made him realize that his own worth and reason to live is based on what could be rather on what could have been.
Kousei has realized that his most precious treasure is the presence of those who he has lost but rather the connection that he has with people as shown in the sound that he creates through his piano.
Connecting Kousei’s realization to real life
Instead of dwelling something that is lost forever, we should instead give importance to something that lasts forever and transcends words and actions – a connection. What we say and do can mean so little compared to the connections that we share with the people around us.
If a person mean’t something, then we should not dwell on the things that are no longer possible. Instead of eternally putting ourselves in sorrow and pain for their loss, we should honor and celebrate their lives by making sure that we fulfill in living our lives as they can no longer do so since our lives is a connection we share with the people around us.
Live for those who could not.
That ends my part of the “Treasure” blog tour and I hope it made some of you realize the importance of living out your lives for people who could not be with you today.
Again, if you have not read the previous post for the “Treasure” blog there, click here.
For more information about Otaku Warriors For Liberty & Self-Respect (OWLS) or to ask about joining us, click here. Also, don’t forget to follow the group on Twitter. Thank you very much for reading and hope you all have a nice day.
Free to be me,