After so many episodes of epiphanies and emotional closings, episode seven of Your Lie in April (Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso) is even keeled. Arima prepares for the piano competition while continuing to battle his inner demons. Meanwhile, we learn more about Emi and especially Takeshi, two talented pianists who have longed to defeat Arima in competition. If I have to take a guess at this point (and no spoilers please), I imagine that Arima will lose the competition – maybe badly. After all, he still can’t hear the music, nor has he yet reached a point of transformation.
In fact, Arima spends most of this episode thinking about who he is. Although Kaori gives her always wise words in the very anime-ish “you are you” fashion, Arima still feels he doesn’t know himself. He belongs to someone else – or really, to multiple someone elses. His fellow competitors whisper that he plays like a marionette, and Kaori says he is “slave to the score.” But Arima isn’t even to the point of realizing how he plays – he’s still stuck as his mother’s child. Afraid to show his emotions to her as a child, he’s still afraid to be himself and break out of his shell. He is slave to the score, slave to his mother, and slave to fear.
Arima’s condition isn’t too different from anyone else’s. If we investigate closely enough, we’ll find that we, too, are slaves to something or to multiple things. We worship at the altar of money, success, pleasure, wealth, comfort, entertainment, pride. They become our idols, the places where we put our effort and longing – and that, like it or not, come to define us. Arima is the same – he doesn’t know what he is, as has become wrapped up in places that are unhealthy.
Ultimately, if we place our trust and identity in anything of this world, it will fail us. Stock markets crash. Relationships end. Physical pleasure is hollow. Consider even Arima and where the series might be headed. He places more and more faith in Kaori each week, but laying aside the God comparison I’ve been making and just considering her for the girl she is, Kaori will fail Arima, too. The foreshadowing from her fainting and hospitalization tell us as much.
Neither can we trust fully in ourselves. We know better than anyone our imperfection. We’ll let ourselves down time after time – it’s natural.
People are made to fall down at the feet of something or someone, that we cannot change, but we can choose who or what we serve. Will it be one of the worldly items I listed above? Will it be ourselves? Or will we submit to a God who is both the only being deserving to be our master and who will never fail us.
And what’s interesting is that when you choose God, something unexpected happens. Our identity is no longer wrapped up in something temporal – we are set free from those things that weigh us down. And in submitting “ourselves” to God, we find what Arima is looking for, what we all long for. When we lose ourselves to God, we find that very thing we desire most – we find ourselves.