Piano no Mori is always a journey with its beautiful piano music and phenomenal cast. There is just so much to fall in love with in this amazing series. This week’s episode, ‘As Proof That You Lived’, like many in the series so far, will resonate with you long after the credits roll.
Original Japanese Title: あなたが生きた証に
It’s the final day of the Chopin Tournament and despite some last-minute shake ups, Wei Pang makes his way to the Final Stage. Before his performance he has a chance meeting with his idol, Sousuke Ajino. A serendipitous meeting between two pianists… What lasting impact will it have on Wei Pang’s performance?
Lech/Kai’s Confrontation: Now that Shuuhei and Kai are back in good terms there is an opening for another ‘antagonistic’ rival and Lech has stepped up to fulfill that role. His early interactions with Kai were playful, almost teasing, but, when Kai solidified himself as an actual threat in the competition, his teasing took on a more antagonistic tone. We see that come to a head in this week’s episode when Lech insults Ajino in an attempt to get a rise out of Kai.
Meeting Ajino-sensei: In the aftermath of the ‘Truth About Wei Pang’ article, everyone has been talking about the young pianist and his tumultuous upbringing, but, perhaps the most sensational fact about Wei Pang is his idolization of Sousuke Ajino. Despite having his idol so close, he refuses to meet with him until after beating Ajino’s only student, Kai. However, fate has other plans in mind and the two have a chance meeting on the stairs. Ajino imparts some of his sage wisdom, drastically changing Wei Pang’s outlook on life and piano.
Pang Wei’s Performance: The highlight of this week’s episode has to be Wei Pang’s final performance. After returning to the competition, Wei Pang alters his performance, switching from playing Piano Concerto No. 2 to No. 1. Like Shuuhei in the Second Stage. Wei Pang has an awakening of sorts which drastically changes the style of his playing, infusing the notes with much more feeling and love than we’re used to hearing from the pianist. It’s a wonderful change that has many in the audience believing he will steal a victory from right under the noses of the other competitors.
Piano Concerto No.1, Op. 11: The first of two piano concertos composed by Polish composer Frédéric Chopin. While it was written after Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2, it was the first to be published and thus was given the distinction of No. 1.
- Played by Seong-Jin Cho in the Final Stage of the 2015 Chopin Tournament: YouTube
Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21: The second of two piano concertos composed by Polish composer Frédéric Chopin. While it was written before Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1, it was the last to be published and thus was given the distinction of No. 2.
- Played by Charles Richard-Hamelin in the Final Stage of the 2015 Chopin Tournament: YouTube
Wei Pang… Wei Pang… I’m starting to really believe that the second season of Piano no Mori is really all about him, since so much of the season has been dedicated to him and his growth as a character. Kai, while still the ‘main’ character, has been relegated to an auxiliary character in his own story. This isn’t a complaint, mind you, since I quite enjoy delving into the narratives of the other characters, especially one as multifaceted as Wei Pang. He has come a long way since his imposing first performance and it has been a delight watching him slowly open up both as a character and as a pianist.
The scene where he finally meets and talks with Ajino is definitely one of the most emotional ones this week. Seeing the usually stoic pianist regress to that of a star-struck fanboy reveals a much more sensitive side to the character that we’ve only seen brief glimpses of in the past. You really see just how much Ajino has touched his life, giving his playing purpose and meaning, much like he did with Kai years ago. The whole interaction takes place over the course of a few moments, but, you can feel just how much it has affected Wei Pang, especially when he takes the stage for his final performance.
Piano no Mori is full of wonderful performances, but Wei Pang’s performance is definitely one for the record books. Emotive and vulnerable is perhaps the best way to describe it; a stark contrast to his rage-filled playing earlier in the series. Where his performances in Stages One and Two were filled with his anger and frustration, reflecting his difficult childhood, this performance is light and airy, a testament to Wei Pang’s deep love of music and piano and his gratefulness to his mother and abusive guardian, Hao for making him the man he is today.
A Loving Heart
Each of the competitors in the Chopin Tournament have their reason for playing piano. Some simply want to be the best, where others like Kai just want a chance to play the piano their own way. Before this episode I would have put Wei Pang firmly in the first camp, but after watching ‘As Proof That You Lived’ I think he’s doing it because he truly loves the piano. I can’t wait to see what other surprises the series has in store for us as we speed towards the conclusion of the Chopin Tournament and Piano no Mori.
I’ll be back next week with another Piano no Mori review, but in the meantime, be sure to check out MANGA.TOKYO’s other amazing Winter 2019 reviews!!
NEXT TIME: In the Country Where Chopin Was Born (ショパンの生まれた国で)
Forest of Piano (Piano no Mori)
Winter 2019 | Anime Info | Simulcast