Your Lie in April Episode 5: Merciless

There’s no way I could ever forget, because I’m a musician, like you.

One thing that anime does well, and which Hollywood does, too, is to stir these emotions within us that make us feel like humanity glitters, that people are capable of wonderful, amazing, earthshaking things, and that we just need the right spark to cause us to glow. There’s something powerful inside of us – a hero, a warrior, a musician. As Kousei comes to see in episode five of Your Lie in April (Shigatsu wa Kimi no Osu), for him, that spark is Kaori.

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It’s funny, then, that he describes her not as something glorious, but instead as merciless. That’s not the usual adjective you might ascribe to someone you admire. And yet, it’s the perfect word for Kaori. She continually pushes him, both with force, as when she compels him to join her as an accompanist, and more gently, as she does on the bridge in this episode. But whatever way she does it, Kaori is relentless – she refuses to give up or to even slow down in her pursuit, even when Kousei avoids her and stays in his depressing cocoon.

Have you ever had a person in your life that resembles Kaori, who pushes you to be more than you ever could? Some of us might have, and perhaps for just a brief period of time. Those that have can tell you that there’s nothing quite as amazing as someone who is on your side even more than you are.

It’s no wonder that Kousei is unsure of his feelings toward Kaori. He admires her, he’s in awe of her, but does he love her? It’s a dynamic, amazing relationship, and he feels something around Kaori that he doesn’t around others (at least not as consistently and powerfully). And in that way, to me it resembles the possibility of one’s relationship with the Creator.

God paints his relationship with humanity as romantic one. He loves us and wants our love in return. And as with Kaori, he is unrelenting. Time and time in the Bible, He demonstrates this as He returns again and again to his unfaithful Israelites. His love knows no bounds. And when a believer comes to understand that, we feel toward him something that remarkably seems a lot like those lovey dovey feels we get for crushes. The relationship feels like a romantic one, and it shares some similarities, though of course it’s also different. After all, unlike a marriage, for instance, our relationship with God is not on a level plane.

And so it goes with Kousei ‘s relationship with Kaori. He is amazed by and smitten with her. Tsubaki, on the other hand, feels more like the usual object of affection (and perhaps will become that), while Kaori is on a whole different level.

She’s there to mercilessly mold Kousei into all he could be. And boy, could Kousei be great! It feels like there’s no limits on where he could go if he rose above the miasma that chokes him.

Humanity is the same. In the light of our failures, we understand ourselves as sinners, as imperfect. But we – and this certainly applies to me – often forget what we were meant to be and what we’ll be one day. We’re meant to be so much more than what we are. After all, we were made in God’s own image. When we examine the best qualities of humankind – kindness, passion, artistry, brilliance, empathy – we’re seeing the very image of God. It’s his kindness we adorn – his love, his compassion, his grace.

These are some of the same qualities Kousei admires in Kaori – that he wants to emulate. And when he surrenders that which is holding him down now – the guilt, the pain, the avoidance – and accepts a better way, he’ll blossom, not only as a musician, but in the ways that Tsubaki hints at, fully becoming someone who is so much more than he is now.

We, too, have that chance – a chance to shine. Our violinist is patient and beautiful and kind – we only need accompany Him. And when we do, we’ll “sparkle so brightly.” We only need remember that we’re created in someone’s image.

How could we forget? We’re musicians, too.

TWWK

Husband. Dad. Occasionally Korean. Enjoys Star Wars, ASOIAF, and Meg Ryan movies. Tweets before proofreading. Ghibli. Oregairuuuuu. Jesus is King.

6 thoughts on “Your Lie in April Episode 5: Merciless

    1. That’s an interesting connection, and I see it, too. There was actually a little bit of a flap regarding how much the girls pushed Kousei. I can indeed see how it might be annoying (and the same with Naruto and Sasuke), though both are out of love and, at least in both these series, accomplished something important.

  1. <3!! Your writing glows with love, and this is precisely the thing I have sought from others for so long. The thing that shows that you really worship and love God instead of just agreeing to be his follower. So, my comments for this one:

    "The relationship feels like a romantic one, and it shares some similarities, though of course it’s also different. After all, unlike a marriage, for instance, our relationship with God is not on a level plane.

    And so it goes with Kousei ‘s relationship with Kaori. He is amazed by and smitten with her. Tsubaki, on the other hand, feels more like the usual object of affection (and perhaps will become that), while Kaori is on a whole different level."

    Truth be told, I don't really have a point of comparison for worship. I at least think that the "father" analogy is…off. I think it worked very well for its intended audience (A Biblical-era audience with a collectivist culture, whose love for their family was more powerful than that for their wives/husbands), but it comes off as very odd in our own culture. Actually, for a lot of people it comes off as alienating.

    The analogy made calling the love between God and the Church a "marriage" seems to make more sense to me. If only because the romantic and friendship elements were more immediately prominent when I first met the spirit I have known all these years. But there's….something more to it. The person you're in this relationship with is much stronger than you, much grander than you, the bearer of everything you've ever dreamed of and everything you haven't. You're scared of that person, because this person's motives are so different from your own and you cannot control them. That person in fact sweeps you off your feet instead, drive you to greater heights. You bask in them. Breathe them in.

    "These are some of the same qualities Kousei admires in Kaori – that he wants to emulate. And when he surrenders that which is holding him down now – the guilt, the pain, the avoidance – and accepts a better way, he’ll blossom, not only as a musician, but in the ways that Tsubaki hints at, fully becoming someone who is so much more than he is now."

    Very good stuff, again. :}

    1. Thanks, as usual, for your gracious words. 🙂

      The “father” analogy is an interesting one. I think I’ve written about that somewhere on this site… Certainly, it does alienate with a lot of people and just doesn’t really connect with many others. For me, I understood the idea very differently when I was younger. I’ve always seen God as “Father” more than as spouse, lover, friend, or any of the other terms used to describe Him.

      When I became a father, I understood this relationship so much better (big surprise). The moments of delight, suffering, fear, disappointment, anger, and most especially joy, help me understand just a bit of what God feels for us. And now, I have a hard time ever talking to God with any other reference than as “Father” or “Father God.”

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