I have not been this worked up for a finale since Season 3 of Haikyuu and the suspense has been killing me! Piano no Mori is finally coming to a close and the ending… let’s just say, it was worth the wait! We’ve been on this journey with Kai since the beginning and it’s a little sad to be saying goodbye so soon, but, through all the ups and downs, Piano no Mori has been one hell of a story!
The final results of the Chopin Tournament are revealed and the winner is… KAI ICHINOSE!!!! After winning, Kai reveals that he arranged for Sousuke to undergo surgery on his hand in hopes of giving him a second chance as a musician. However, it’s met with reluctance from Ajino.
The Best Pianist in the World: After 11 episodes, the winner of the Chopin Tournament is finally revealed and the results shake the competition to its core! With so many amazing performances from musicians from across the globe, only one could take away the big prize and it’s…. OUR BOY!!!
Kai’s Surprise: After sweeping the Chopin Tournament, Kai reveals that he has one more surprise up his sleeve: he arranged for a super famous surgeon to perform an operation to repair Ajino’s hand. As a final thank you to the man that helped make him the pianist he is today, Kai arranges to have his hand repaired so he can play again. Though the reveal is met with some reluctance from Ajino.
Ajino’s Story: While no one will deny that Piano no Mori is Kai’s story, it’s also not wrong to say that it is also Ajino’s story, so it only makes sense that the final episode of the series should focus on both characters. In fact we see a lot of the events of the episode from Ajino’s perspective with his internal monologue and not Kai’s. His life was changed by hearing Kai playing the forest piano, it was the day he started believing in music again. It was the day he really started living again.
Playing Together: But, the most important part of the episode is the ending where Kai and Ajino finally play piano together! This is something Kai has wanted to do since the start of the series and we finally see them together on the world’s stage as equals.
Themes and Trivial
Teacher Becomes the Student: There’s a lot of role reversal in this week’s episode between Kai and Ajino. Post surgery, Ajino acts in a manner similar to that of Kai at the start of the series, he’s moody and reluctant to play the piano so it’s kind of funny to see Kai employing some of Ajino’s own tactics against him.
Little Brown Jug: In a callback to the first season, during his victory gala, Kai plays Little Brown Jug, the first song he ever played and the first song Ajino ever played for him as a way to show his gratitude towards his former teacher. It’s definitely one of the more emotional moments of the episode and is sure to stir some serious feels.
Rotoscoping: So it’s not a secret that I absolutely hated the CGI in this anime, but, I did really like how they showed how rotoscoping was used to help animate the piano playing for Ajino at the end of the episode.
I don’t think I’ve said this enough, but I LOVE PIANO NO MORI! When I started this series, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but, I can honestly say that I love this series from the beautiful music to the dynamic cast, everything about this series was a win for me!
Episode 24, ‘The Best Pianist in the World’, is a reminder that at its core, Piano no Mori is the story of both Kai and Ajino. This is their musical journey, first as teacher and student, then as father and son, and finally as equals. Everything Ajino has done up until this point was for Kai’s sake, to get him on the World’s stage, to give him a chance to stand on his own two feet as a pianist. Their relationship might have started out as that of teacher and student, but over time it developed into something more: that of a father and a son.
This week’s episode is a testament to the bond Kai and Ajino share and how their shared love of music has elevated them both to heights neither could have reached on their own. Ajino has learned just as much from Kai as Kai has learned from him, which makes their role reversal towards the end of the episode that much more meaningful. Kai has spent the entire series being nurtured and cared for by everyone else, it’s finally time for him to do the same for Ajino and there is no better way to end a series than with that!
In the final moments of the episode, we see Ajino finally learning to play the piano again, alongside Kai as the two take to the stage for a duel performance. They’re equals, sharing their love of the piano with each other.
The Best Performance Ever
This is how you end a series! We ended season 1 with a bang with ‘fff’ and now, we’re ending the series with something much more tranquil. It’s been a long road since we started out in Episode 1, but, I will sincerely miss this series and the wonderful characters and music. This is truly a delight from start to finish, and a fitting conclusion to a Kai’s journey and Piano no Mori. If you haven’t seen this amazing series, I urge you to see it now, you won’t be disappointed! This is one of the best musical anime I have seen in a very long time!
This is it for Piano no Mori, but in the meantime, be sure to check out MANGA.TOKYO’s other amazing Winter 2019 reviews!!
Piano no Mori
Winter 2019 | Anime Info | Simulcast