You win some you lose some.
After two weeks of improvement it seems that we’re back to a mixed bag with KimiUso. I mostly consider this a positive episode but there were parts were examples of some of the underlying issues with the show that don’t really seem to be going away. The first half of the episode was very good, as has been the case with most of the parts that focus on Tsubaki’s relationship with Kousei. This episode continued to build on the inevitable conflict between Kousei’s musical ambitions and Tsubaki’s desire to be by his side. Kousei has been the one constant throughout Tsubaki’s life and the idea of him suddenly not being there is understandably scary for her. This is highlighted by the beautiful scene where Kousei plays the piano while sharing the bench with Tsubaki. This scene showed us Kousei at his best, but it also is a version of Kousei that can’t be around forever. The atmosphere created by the calming notes of Claire de Lune as Tsubaki stumbled through her efforts to express her feelings was magical.
The second half of the episode was where the show hit a bit of a rough spot. KimiUso has had issues in the past with focus such as the choice to drop Saitou from the plot for eight episodes then suddenly brought him back. In general it often feels like the events of the show don’t flow naturally from one to another. It’s difficult to draw a line of causation from one episode or scene to the following one and at a point the show kind of feels like a series of “and then this happened, and then this happened etc” rather than a unified overall narrative. This was certainly the case in the second half of this episode as the show jumped from an unconnected scene involving Emi and Takeshi, to the sudden introduction of Aizato Nagi, to Kousei struggling to visit Kaori in the hospital and finally to the sudden deterioration of Kaori’s condition.
Some of these scenes were very nice and managed to evoke genuine emotion like Kousei’s phone conversation with Kaori and Kaori’s physical struggle against her ailing body in the final scene. But there was no sense of narrative flow between the scenes like there was in last week’s episode into the first half of this week’s. Emi and Taekshi in particular seem like they’re going to get the Saitou treatment of being introduced then dropped before completing their role in the plot and then resurfacing later to finish the job. I also question the decision to introduce a new character at this point in the show’s run. The inclusion of Nagi is definitely something that will be easier to evaluate once the show is complete but from here it seems like an odd place to bring her in. There’s plenty going on already and tossing another ball in when there are already this many in the air feels like it will just add to the confusion. I could be wrong and Nagi could be the one who brings everything together but for now it’s not something I’m terribly happy to see. It’s not a crippling flaw like the tonal issues or the treatment of bullying in the first half dozen episodes but it does do a lot to hurt the overall viewing experience.
The ultimate fate of KimiUso will depend on whether its final episodes more closely resemble the first half of this episode or the second half. If the show can manage to be emotionally resonant while effectively incorporating beautiful visuals and music then I might be able to forget the earlier missteps. If the show instead loses focus and stumbles across the finish line then it will be little more than an example of wasted potential.