This week’s episode brings back the spirit of competition. Old faces and a few new make an appearance as Kai takes to the stage once again! Beautiful music is always at the forefront of the series and Episode 8 more than delivers with classics from Beethoven and Rachmaninoff.
Japanese Original Episode Title: 挑戦状
Some time has past since Shuuhei’s visit to Japan and Kai is finally ready to reenter the world of competitive piano playing. When his name shows up on the list of participants in the Piano Soloist Competition, it attracts the attention of two of the judges who snubbed him in the Junior Music Competition five years prior and a friendly face from his past!
Musical Visuals: Piano no Mori has been taking full advantage of the animated medium of the show, using visuals to help support the stunning musical numbers throughout the series. Sometimes these visuals are little more than background animations that highlight a characters particular style of playing (ie. bubbles for lighthearted musical pieces), while other times the entire scene shifts to depict a setting most in fitting with the music being played (ie. a moonlit clearing during Kai’s performance of Moonlight Sonata).
CGI: Okay, so after watching 8 episodes of the series, I will admit that the CGI is kind of growing on me. It allows for a more detailed portrayal of the piano playing and the movements of the pianists than traditional animation would have. BUT, that doesn’t mean I’m completely sold on it yet, I still think it’s kind of clunky looking and doesn’t always mesh well with the main artistic style of the rest of the series.
Themes & Trivia
Piano Sonata No. 14 ‘Moonlight Sonata’: The piece Kai plays during the solo piano competition is Ludwig Van Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, granted we only hear the first and last movements. Moonlight Sonata was composed in 1801 and remains one of Beethoven’s most popular pieces. Known under the title Piano Sonata No. 14 in C♯ minor ‘Quasi una fantasia,’ Op. 27, but is more commonly known as ‘Moonlight Sonata‘ after a music critic likened the first movement’s serene style to that of moonlight on the lake.
Tendonitis: Kai’s friend Takako makes an appearance once again. Unfortunately, the years have not been as kind to her as she is now suffering from tendonitis in her left hand. Tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendons and is characterized by aches, pains, and/or joint stiffness along the affected area. If symptoms persist, physicians may diagnose an individuals with tendinosis, which is a more severe form of inflammation that affects the tendons on a cellular level and can take months or years of treatment. The condition is thought to be caused by overuse.
Piano Concerto No. 2, Movement 1: After winning the Soloist Award Kai is invited to play with a full Symphony Orchestra and their first piece is Movement 1 of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2. The piece was composed between 1900 and 1901 by Russian composer/pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff and remains one of his most famous musical compositions. His Concerto No. 2 was composed between bouts of chronic depression, something the composer struggled with throughout his early years.
I’m glad that we’re jumping back into the competitive aspects of the series. Not that I don’t like more everyday character moments, but I am really excited to see Shuuhei and Kai face off again, this time on a much more even playing field, and the Chopin Competition is the perfect setting for their showdown! On top of that, I am happy to finally see Kai’s hard work finally being acknowledged by the larger Japanese musical community. When they offered him the soloist award and gave him the chance to perform with a real orchestra, I was overcome with this intense feeling of pride. I was also glad to see Takako again. Her reunion with Kai was heartwarming, but, the reveal about her tendonitis near broke my heart!
Rising to the Challenge
This week’s episode had a lot of feel good moments that are sure to tug at the heartstrings. Kai is really growing into his craft and I look forward to his amazing performances each week. Yet another fantastic episode you shouldn’t miss!
Don’t forget to check our weekly anime preview each week for an exclusive sneak peek into next week’s episode!
NEXT TIME: Warushawa no Taidō (ワルシャワの胎動)
Piano no Mori (The Piano Forest)
Spring 2018 | Anime Info | Simulcast