Despite the title, the first half of this week’s episode can only be described as the Shuuhei Chronicles, with the viewer getting much more insight into the troubled young pianist’s time at the Chopin Competition. Love him or hate him, there’s no denying that his mastery of the piano is a delight for the ears.
Japanese Original Episode Title: ポーランドの新星
It’s Shuuhei’s turn at bat and he blows the crowd away with his beautiful playing. Even Kai is in awe of how far his childhood friend has come. Meanwhile, in theirdowntimee, both Kai and Shuuhei become acquainted with two of Poland’s young competitors.
My Heart Song: During the episode, Shuuhei refers to Chopin’s Ballade No.1 Op. 23 as ‘his song’. It’s the song he feels best encapsulates his feelings of anguish and torment towards Kai, who he views as an obstacle in his path to greatness. This is very telling, as Kai remarks that the piece was originally written about a tragic hero, a role Shuuhei has taken on more and more as the series progresses.
Haunted by the Past: Shuuhei is constantly tormented by his past ‘mistakes’ which are shown in the episode as a warped flashback montage of events from the previous episodes. But, it’s deeper than that his anxiety over the past has manifested in a number of ways that not only affect Shuuhei mentally, but, physically as well.
Western Name Order: This is definitely a blink and you’d miss it moment but when Kai introduces himself to Lech he says his first name before his surname, Kai Ichinose, rather than saying, Ichinose Kai.
Comic Relief: The competition so far has been pretty heavy, better break up some the tension with some good old fashioned comic relief courtesy of Kousei’s music teacher and his animated commentary.
Themes & Trivia
Now Playing: There were quite a few of Chopin’s musical pieces played in this week’s episode:
- Ballade No. 1, Op. 23: Chopin’s Ballades are a series of four one movement piano pieces, having been composed between 1831 and 1841. These are renowned as some of the most technically challenging solo piano pieces.
- Prelude Op. 28, No. 7: The first piece played by Lech in the First Round. Chopin’s Preludes were published in 1839 and are each representative of one of the twenty-four musical keys. Each piece is short, and without the usual formal structure that dominated other compositions of the time.
- Fantaisie Op. 49: was composed in 1841 and is one of Chopin’s longest and most prolific works.
One True Rival: Despite everyone at the Chopin Competition gunning for Shuuhei, he only acknowledges Kai as his one true rival.
Creating Your Own Worst Enemy: Shuuhei relents that it’s his fault Kai is his “rival” since he is the one that told Ajino to go to the forest where Kai was playing the Forest Piano. He “accidentally” created his own worst enemy.
Okay, so this is no secret, but I am not a huge fan of Shuuhei Amamiya. I just can’t for the life of me sympathize with a character as privileged and entitled as he is, I mean come on, everyone else has a tragic backstory or they are dealing with a past trauma and in waltzes Shuuhei the sheltered, pampered son of a famous pianist with a chip on his shoulder.
Everyone else has had to scratch and fight for a chance to be at the competition, hell, to have a chance to even play a damn piano and Shuuhei has had everything handed to him for the time he was born! He gets insecure because Kai plays “better” than him and has daddy send him halfway across the world to train! I mean come on, how privileged can you get?! And then there’s the fact that he is outwardly distant towards Kai and the kid wants nothing more than to just be friends again like they were as children. Oh and let’s not forget the fact that Shuuhei constantly bemoans how lucky Kai is to have snagged a famous music teacher like Ajino and to have all these famous music connections, as if Kai didn’t have to work hard for every single scrap of help he got. HE EARNED HIS PLACE AT THE CHOPIN COMPETITION!!! Shuuhei, pitched a damn fit and whined his way into the competition and honestly, I don’t think he deserves to be there!
I said it before and, I’ll say it again, Shuuhei isn’t playing for himself, so it makes everything he has done up to this point seem empty and shallow. So when Adamski calls him out on the way he’s been acting, I literally did a little cheer (okay, I really yelled finally at the top of my lungs, but still, same difference), because finally, someone was telling him about himself, he is being a jerk!
Shuuhei just kind of overshadowed everything else in this episode, which is a shame because I quite liked the interaction between Kai and Lech, they are two kindred spirits lost in a word of their own and it is honestly precious. Even Adamski was an unexpected treat, I thought he’d be more akin to Shuuhei, but, he was oddly enough much more down to earth than I gave him credit for.
Playing from the Heart
This week’s episode was very Shuuhei-centric which if you’re a fan of the character is a hug plus, but if like me, you aren’t there are some other fabulous side characters introduced in the second half of the episode to make up for it. As always the music was phenomenal and I can’t wait to hear Lech play in next week’s episode! All in all, another great episode, despite my reservations about Shuuhei.
NEXT TIME: fff (Forutisshisshimo) (ｆｆｆ(フォルティッシッシモ))
Piano no Mori (The Piano Forest)
Spring 2018 | Anime Info | Simulcast