Rivalry is a funny thing. Through competing (and often losing) to someone who’s your equal or better, you can become stronger than you ever thought you might. Episode 8 of Your Lie in April (Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso) is all about the rivalry that Takeshi and Emi both have with Kousei, and how those rivalries made them immaculate pianists.
What’s funny, though, is the nature of those rivalries aren’t nearly as aggressive as I think the Takeshi and Emi would have them appear to be. There’s more than a feeling of mutual respect that those two have toward Kousei – more even than admiration, each qualities that you would expect in such relationships. It goes deeper than that – Takeshi and Emi care about Kousei. They want to see him achieve more. They in fact, love him.
If anything, these relationships might be called “friendly rivalries,” or better yet, friendships made through competition.
When I was in middle school, my best friend was a guy who was my age, but who was probably at least five years more mature than me. He felt like an older brother, and he was someone I cared about deeply. Once, he came to me seeking relationship advice – he wanted to know whether he should date this, er, rather violent girl. I advised him otherwise, and he felt the same, though he also mentioned that were they to date, he’d be “one up” on me, as if we were rivals.
I was surprised by his words because I felt he was so much more than me in just about every way. He pushed me, without realizing it, into becoming a better person. And in fact, he was the first person my age that I knew who actually acted Christian – he was far more than just words. I later realized that I wanted to be like him.
I think there’s a lot of that vibe going on between the two competing pianists and Kousei in this episode. Takeshi and Emi were moved to become better pianists out of love and admiration, and they want to see the best out of Kousei. They don’t want to destroy him – not unless, as Emi thinks to herself, it will make him into someone even greater.
And that’s the magic in being friends with someone who challenges you. You grow and you care – the former is better for you and the latter is better for your friend.
In my case, my friend and I went to different schools and drifted apart. I later heard that he went down a very dark path. For years, I tried to find him, and finally, I reconnected. And now, I hope that I can be someone that can reach out and love him, and maybe help him remember that potential he has.
As for Kousei – I have a feeling we’ll being just the same.