Tag Archives: Fall 2014

Review: Sailor Moon Crystal, Episode 14: Conclusion and Commencement -Petite Etrangere-

Review:

Well, here we finally have it: the actual conclusion to the battle between Sailor Moon and Queen Metalia. Honestly, I still hold to my opinion about this being a fairly suspense-less final battle. Perhaps it’s just because I’m familiar with the Sailor Moon franchise, but it really doesn’t feel like Sailor Moon struggled very much for her victory. In other words, there wasn’t a whole lot of “battling” in this final battle as opposed to the amount of talking. Now, granted, it would have been interesting to see how our heroine would have combated a giant cloud of miasma, but I just think that some kind of struggle would have been better than what we ultimately received. I know my criticisms will probably come across as anti-Sailor Moon, and honestly that’s not me at all. I like Sailor Moon, but as a reviewer I need to look at it with unbiased eyes inasmuch as possible, and from a critical viewpoint I just see a final battle that was simply lackluster.

What’s worse, though, is that the episode actually does set up something of a potential plot point, but then fulfills it not long afterward. This is going to get into spoiler territory now. During the final “battle” with Metalia, Sailor Moon’s brooch shatters, which of course strips Usagi of her powers as Sailor Moon. Now, as the end of this episode suggests (and as anyone with a knowledge of the Sailor Moon franchise knows) there is more to come. It would have been a great plot point for future episodes if Sailor Moon was powerless as new enemies attacked and therefore had to find a way to regain her powers. Sadly, a short trip to the moon quickly provides her with a new brooch, restoring her powers in an instant.

With all of that said, do I have anything positive to say for the episode? Yes. If nothing else, the actual ending of this episode is done well. We get to see where each of the characters are at, including Usagi and Mamoru. While for the most part it appears to be your typical happy ending, we are given a brief foreshadowing of events to come via a vision that Rei has in the fire, and something completely unexpected happens while Usagi and Mamoru are having their moment. In a way, it actually shatters the “happily ever after” vibe, which is certainly unsuspected given the show’s usual track record. It also clearly sets the stage to show that the Sailor Moon saga is not over.

So, should you bother with Sailor Moon? Yes, you should. If nothing else, it is a genre-defining series and is worth viewing if for no other reason than that (unless, of course, you have no interest in the magical girl genre). My criticisms may not be your criticisms, and where I feel the show could have done better perhaps you will feel the show did exactly what it meant to do. For all of my griping about the final battle being lackluster, you can be sure that I will continue to watch whenever the next arc is introduced.

A Christian Perspective:

This episode has a lot to say about prayer. Granted, it is essentially pagan prayer (Sailor Moon is encouraged to pray to the legendary crystal, or the Crystal Tower, or both), but we see that the show doesn’t treat prayer as a superstition with no real effect—these prayers are pretty much the reason the episode goes the way it does. As believers in Jesus, we know that prayer has power, and that we can accomplish great things in prayer. For example, it was with through prayer that Joshua requested the sun to stand still. James 5:16 tells us that “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” Prayer is a powerful tool that God has given us, so let us use it effectively and appropriately to do God’s will here on Earth.

Content Guide:

Language: None

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Queen Serenity cleavage; Sailor Moon transformation sequence

Violence: Sailor Moon attacks Queen Metalia with a giant beam of light; a girl falls on Usagi’s head; a girl points a gun at Usagi

Blood/Gore: None

Other: Sailor Moon is encouraged to pray to the Crystal Tower on the moon; there is a bunch of backstory about how praying to the crystal tower will provide protection; Luna is shown praying to the aforementioned tower; the Sailor Senshi seem to provide Sailor Moon with their power despite being (presumably) dead; there is mention of a goddess of the moon; Sailor Moon prays to the Legendary Silver Crystal; the usual magical nature of attacks; characters appear to be resurrected from the dead; Rei is shown praying in front of fire, and she sees a vision in the fire

Review: Sailor Moon Crystal, Episode 13: Final Battle -Reincarnation-

Review:

The beginning of this episode would probably be a bit more suspenseful if not for the preview at the end of the previous episode. If nothing else, though, there is still the opportunity to see how the events play out to get us to that point. Sadly, for en episode with “final battle” in its title, there seems to be very little “battling” outside of the Senshi’s feeble attempts to combat the now over-powered Metalia. Granted, Sailor Moon has never contained extended battle sequences, but if there was ever a time for an exception this would be it. Alas, this is not the case.

That’s not to say that the episode is boring, because it’s not. At least, I didn’t find myself looking at the clock, wondering when it would be over. I just don’t find it to be particularly exciting. I suppose it also doesn’t help that there’s little tension in the way of “will they survive”, and more of simply wondering how the characters will get out of this situation. I don’t have much else to say about this episode. I suppose it doesn’t help that I waited so long to write it after viewing it, but even then my thoughts are pretty well summed up in what I have written here. I am still enjoying Sailor Moon Crystal, if only on the basis of nostalgia factor. I just can’t help but look at what’s there and think about what else could be there.

Christian Perspective:

John 15:13 – Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (NIV)

The most obvious lesson in this episode is the Sailor Senshi’s sacrificing of their own lives in an attempt to rescue Sailor Moon from her imprisonment within Queen Metalia. It is a great example of how we, as Christians, should be ready to lay down our lives for other people or the greater good. Maybe this takes the form of simply sacrificing a Saturday afternoon to help a friend, family member, or neighbor with some task. Perhaps it goes further, to sacrificing your yearly vacation for a mission’s trip. Or giving up your comfortably American life to live in a third world country in order to bring the Gospel. It could even mean dying while standing up for your faith in Jesus. Whatever form it takes, the message is still the same: we should be ready to lay down our lives. Granted, while writing this paragraph, I lost track of the fact that this verse specifically mentions laying down our lives for our friends (which is why it connects so well to the Senshi laying down their lives for their friend, Sailor Moon), but any time we lay down our lives for Jesus we are ultimately laying down our lives for our Friend.

Content Guide:

Language: None

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Queen Serenity cleavage

Violence: A character is slashed with a sword, and another character impaled on the sword; the Senshi and Luna are struck by Metalia’s dark energy; a man attacks a person in the streets; another violent altercation seems to be shown

Blood/Gore: None

Other: There is a theme of reincarnation; Mercury refers to the Senshi’s guardian planets as “holy”

Review: Sailor Moon Crystal, Episode 12: Enemy: Queen

Review:

Picking up from where it’s predecessor left off, this seems like the kind of episode that would lend itself well to some prolonged battle sequences. Sadly, that does not seem to be Saior Moon’s modus operandi, because while the characters could be considered “in battle” for pretty much the entire episode, there isn’t a lot of actual battling going on. Dialogue and backstory fill the spaces in between actual combat, although there is one particular character death that I was not expecting. Even still, this death sequence was fairly underwhelming, as the character simply stands in one spot gloating until their actual death. I suppose we could look at this as an issue of pride (the characters saw no need to be concerned with their situation, and paid for it with their life), but let’s face it: character deaths are always more exciting when they’re prefaced by some intense conflict.

This episode also takes the fight to the final frontier: the Dark Kingdom itself, bringing to a head the Usagi/Mamoru conflict as well as the Senshi/Knights conflict. Without saying too much, there are some unexpected events that happen during this portion of the show that are kind of sad (if not a bit expected, particularly if you were already a Sailor Moon fan). While the episode ends with what could be considered a shocking ending, it really isn’t if a) you’ve been paying attention through the whole series and b) you watch the previews for the next episode. Is there anything more frustrating in a show then when it spoils its own cliffhanger with the previews?

A Christian Perspective:

John 8:44 – You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (NIV)

This verse applies to Queen Beryl in this episode. At one point, she states that Endymion is dead; however, as far as I recall, Endymion was never declared dead anywhere in the series. As far as I understand it, he was well and alive, but under Queen Metalia’s power. Much like the devil, Queen Beryl used a lie to try and discourage Usagi from her fight. Let’s face it: the devil will say whatever he can to trip us up. “You really think you’re saved? Look at you! What makes you think you’re a Christian? All you do is screw up!” And on and on. I’m not shooting down the benefits of self-reflection, but it would not surprise me to find out that the devil plays on our weaknesses and insecurities to discourage our walk with Christ.

Another thing that can be seen in this episode is the result of love that is not godly. It would seem that the whole fall of the Moon kingdom started because Beryl loved Endymion, but of course Endymion loved Serenity. While I’m not clear on the details (I’m guessing somehow Metalia got ahold of Beryl and gave her power), it seems pretty clear that it was Beryl’s unrequited love for Endymion that sparked the whole uprising in the first place. I can’t think of a verse off hand that applies to this situation, but I’m sure we’ve all see the results of selfish love instead of selfless love at some point in our lives.

Content Guide:

Language: None

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Queen Beryl cleavage; Queen Serenity cleavage

Violence: The Sailor Senshi trade attacks with their foes; the Senshi are choked by Beryl’s hair; Sailor Moon is choked by another character; fighting in general; four characters are destroyed by dark energy; a character is slashed with a sword, and another impaled with the sword

Blood/Gore: The common flashback that suggests Edymion is struck by a sword, followed by red rose petals

Other: The seemingly magical attacks that the Senshi and their foes use; Sailor Moon is told to pray to something on the moon; the Senshi seem to hear dead characters speaking to them

Review: Sailor Moon Crystal, Episode 11: Reunion

Review:

This episode is coming to us a week later than usual, thanks to November having five Saturdays instead of four. That said, it was well worth the wait. As we already knew from the previous episode’s preview, Mamoru returns this time around, only he is under the control of the Dark Kingdom. Although his appearance is completely unaltered, he still assumes a different name, and this is apparently enough to throw Usagi off—while she wants to spend time around him (presumably because he looks like Mamoru), she tells herself it’s not him because he is being held captive by the Dark Kingdom. I suppose this speaks to the power of the human mind to trick itself—or perhaps it just speaks to how ditzy Usagi is supposed to be. Either way, she finds herself being lured in to the Dark Kingdom’s plan.

The episode isn’t completely dark; however. At one point, the Sailor Senshi gather at Ami’s home to have a meeting, to which Usagi has brought an absurd number of snacks. More humorous, though, is that Minako walks down the street in broad daylight while cradling the sword that the Senshi brought back from the moon. I found myself thinking it absurd that no one would think this odd, and the thought doesn’t even occur to Minako herself until the girls are in the lobby of Ami’s apartment complex. It could have been amusing to see this joke played out a little more (the girls having to explain the sword, for example), but it doesn’t happen.

Watching through this episode also reinforces the fact that Usagi isn’t as weak as she tends to appear. While undoubtedly heartbroken over Mamoru’s disappearance, she does her best to put on a strong face, although her veneer very clearly cracks when she encounters the possessed Mamoru (who, again, she doesn’t believe is actually Mamoru). Without spoiling anything, the episode climaxes with what can only be a painful encounter, leaving the viewers with a tense cliffhanger for another two weeks.

A Christian Perspective:

While I don’t have a Scripture for this perspective (the closest I can think of is 2 Corinthians 4:4 – The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.), I think the most obvious lesson is that we can be easily deceived by people by allowing ourselves to be blinded to the warning signs. Usagi quite readily throws herself into the companionship of the possessed Mamoru (who she believes to be someone named Endo) without thinking it at all suspicious that someone who looks just like Mamoru happens to show up as a part-time employee at the game center where she always hangs out. It seems that her desire to be around Mamoru is so strong that she will even settle for being around someone who simply looks like him. While it certainly appears that other forces are at work here (as evidenced by the final scene that includes Usagi and Mamoru together in the game center), I do not think all of her time spent with him is against her own will. In this sense she has been blinded, not considering the truth so that she can have whatever bit of joy she has. Actually, any number of Scriptures about false teachers would probably fit here, as well.

The point in all of this is that we should be careful of who we trust and weigh their trustworthiness against the facts instead of following what we desire. Sure, that preacher may say things that you like hearing, but do his words match the Scriptures? That “Christian” friend of yours may seem to be super spiritual, but then you find out he’s sexually active with his girlfriend. I’m not saying people don’t make mistakes, and there is certainly a difference between slipping up once or twice and living in active sin, but we should certainly consider more than just the outward appearance that the person is putting forth before we place our trust in them.

Content Guide:

Language: 1 “j**z”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Venus, Mercury, Mars, and Moon transformation sequences; Queen Beryl cleavage

Violence: A flashback shows a woman preparing to stab herself; Rei knocks Makoto into a pillar; the Sailor Guardians do battle with two foes—Venus seems to electrocute one with her whip; Luna bites someone; Sailor Moon attacks with a beam of energy

Blood/Gore: Flashbacks to the red petals which I’m still assuming represent blood; there seems to be some blood from Luna biting a person

Other: The usual special powers that are employed by the Senshi and denizens of the Dark Kingdom

Review: Sailor Moon Crystal, Episode 10: Moon

Review:

This was something of an info dump episode. As you already know, the Sailor Senshi made the decision to travel to the moon in the previous episode, and that finds its fulfillment here. Once there, they discover something left behind by a resident of the now extinct Moon Kingdom, which fills in some of the blanks that have been left thus far. Previous flashbacks are further explained and fleshed out to give the full details of Princess Serenity’s life, her love for Endymion, and the ultimate demise of the Moon Kingdom. A later scene also reveals the true identity of the Four Kings, and the relationship between them and the Sailor Senshi is revealed, which finally explains Venus’ appeal to Kunzite a few episodes ago.

On a humorous note, one does have to wonder how the Senshi managed to fly into space without someone seeing or NASA picking them up on the radar. On a more serious note, it is nice that the episode seals up the plot hole of how there is no recollection of the old Earth kingdom and its relationship with the Moon Kingdom. On top of this, the reveal of the Four Kings’ true identities was particularly surprising. My one criticism is how all four of the Sailor Senshi just had to have past romantic interests, and more to the point how these love interests happened to be who they were. I don’t want to say too much so as to avoid spoilers, but it just felt unnecessary. First off, for them all to fall in love with these people who are their counterparts in a way just seems forced. Just because they share similar roles does not automatically make them the perfect lovers. Secondly, was it really necessary that all of the female cast had love interests? Princess Serenity and Endymion’s love story is central to the plot. The Senshi having love interests? Not so much.

Anyway, romance gripes aside, this really was a decent episode. Information about the backstory was provided in abundance, and the Tuxedo Mask plot was continued (albeit minorly) to carry into the next episode. Make sure to tune in December 6 for the next installment!

A Christian Perspective:

A common concept that seems to come up in Christianity is how God has created us all with a plan and a purpose. I don’t know that there is a specific verse that states this, but verses such as those describing the gifts we receive from God are probably the basis for this. The problem is, we can’t receive (or at least use) these gifts for God’s glory until we have come to receive salvation through Jesus. In other words, evil (sin) mars our ability to live for God and fulfill the purposes for which we were created. Of course, we could then get into a discussion about how God ultimately knows the intents of the evil hearts and can even use those to achieve His ultimate purposes, but that goes deeper than the comparison I’m trying to make.

Much like sin mars our ability to live for God and even blinds us to our need for Him (particularly when we were nonbelievers), the Four Kings have been blinded to their true purpose by Queen Beryl (the evil in this case). They have a much more noble and respectable purpose, but through her own evil powers Queen Beryl has made them forget that purpose, instead having them use their powers for evil. Sin can do the same to us. Perhaps you are gifted with eloquent speech. As a child of God, you can use that gift to present the Gospel to people in a clear and understandable way, allowing them to easily see their own sins and need for a Savior. If you have this gift and aren’t a child of God, though, then you may end up using this gift to swindle others, by speaking in a way that deceives the listener. That example ultimately sums up the point.

Content Guide:

Language: None

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Princess Serenity’s dress shows cleavage; Queen Beryl cleavage

Violence: A character stabs herself with a sword (actual stabbing not shown); Queen Beryl attacks the Four Kings; Sailor Senshi and Four Kings fight

Blood/Gore: Red petals that presumably indicate blood

Other: Various things: Mars refers to symbolic meanings of the moon and (presumably) divination; a character is able to leave her will behind to communicate with the Senshi; Queen Beryl possesses (?) the Four Kings; typical Sailor Senshi/Four King battle, complete with magical powers

Review: Your Lie In April, Episode 11: Light of Life

Review:

In the aftermath of his confusing performance, Kousei is faced with a number of reactions, the greatest of which comes from newly-introduced character, Hiroko Seto. It appears that Hiroko may be the very reason Kousei’s mom ever started him on the piano, and though it’s not stated in the show, it would suggest that she is ultimately the reason why Kousei went through everything that he did. The other major reaction (beyond that of Kousei himself) comes from Takeshi, whose internal feelings towards Kousei are given a short examination. This is, undoubtedly, a transitional episode, as suggested by Kousei’s response to Takeshi as well as Kousei’s acquiring of a new piano teacher. Add on Kaori’s cryptic comment at the end of the episode, and it’s safe to say that everything is just beginning.

The episode does a fairly decent job of wrapping up the current storyline while setting up the next. The conclusion of Kousei’s first competition in two years feels neither rushed nor drawn out, and the reactions from all of the characters seem to fit. Takeshi feels betrayed by his hero (quite literally, if we consider his internal monologues), and Kousei exhibits the typical emotional rollercoaster that seems to be so common for someone at that age. One minute he seems to wear a cool facade that says he’s okay with the results, the next minute he’s running and screaming next to a train. In the previous episode he seems to basically be internally confessing his feelings for Kaori (and externally through the music) while in this episode he is brushing those feelings off as mere gratitude.

Hiroko’s introduction also works out quite well. It probably helps that she was very briefly introduced (though not by name) in the previous episode, so that her introduction serves as more of an explanation than a new character coming out of the blue. Regardless, she does not feel shoehorned into the story. What kind of impact she will have on Kousei remains to be seen, but it’s probably safe to assume that she will not be like Kousei’s mother when it comes to being Kousei’s piano teacher. We still don’t know enough about her character, but she certainly feels like a good fit for this quirky cast we’ve been given.

Fans of Your Lie In April will not be disappointed by this installment. New resolve, new challenges, and new opportunities have come along to carry Kousei into the next arc of his journey, and if all that is not enough, just wait until the end of the episode!

A Christian Perspective:

We could stand to learn a thing or two from Takeshi’s view of Kousei—both as Christians and as human beings in general. While we already know that Takeshi held a high opinion of Kousei, this episode takes it even further, suggesting that Takeshi saw Kousei as some sort of hero. We also see that Takeshi feels as if Kousei has fallen, which does not sit well with him because heroes aren’t supposed to lose. This seems to leave Takeshi confused and angry, because ultimately his hero did not live up to his expectations. We can all probably sympathize with Takeshi on some level, because we’ve all probably done this at least once in our lives: we’ve found someone we look up to, who we wish to emulate. We feel as if this person can do no wrong, until they do. Then our whole image of them falls apart, and perhaps our own lives, depending on how much stock we placed in that person. The Bible has something to say about this:

Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. – Psalm 146:3

No matter what, our human heroes will fail us. Perhaps we will put too much on them in the way of personal expectations, which they could never live up to, or perhaps they will fail because they, too, are fallen human beings, tempted in their flesh like any other human. Regardless, the point stands: human heroes will fail us. Thankfully, we have One on whom we can put our trust—a true Hero, Who will never fail. That Hero is, of course, Jesus. We can look to Him and see the pattern we are supposed to follow. We can come to Him with our problems, and have faith that if we belong to Him, then He will hear us and help us. We know that there is nothing that can stand against Him or bring Him down. He is truly the only hero who will never fail us, and yet so many of us seem to have such a hard time trusting in Him like we do our human heroes.

Content Guide:

Language: 1 “d**n”, 1 “d***it”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Kousei is shown curled up in the bath tub

Violence: A scene in the beginning shows a super hero scene

Blood/Gore: None

Review: Your Lie In April, Episode 10: The Scenery I Shared With You

Review:

To be honest, this is a review that I really don’t know how to write. Pretty much the entire episode is taken up by Kousei playing the piano while we listen to introspection from Kousei himself along with that of some of the other characters. It’s the kind of episode that, by itself, probably wouldn’t be all that interesting, but as a culmination of all the events leading up to it actually manages to hold the viewer’s attention. At first, Kousei continues to struggle, and his thoughts ultimately lead him down the destructive road of forfeiture. It’s certainly something we can all probably relate to: a challenge that just seems so much bigger than us that we just throw in the towel. Thankfully, Kousei doesn’t stop there. It is in this struggle, though, that he finally finds freedom. Whether this means that he had to get to the point he reaches in order to fully abandon the type of player he used to be or whether it means something else, I’m not sure. I’m suspecting that the meaning of this episode is deeper than I’m capable of understanding.

One thing that I can say is that Kousei’s determination is admirable. Personally, I would probably have just quit. Once my hands hit my side, I probably would have gotten up, walked off the stage, and called it quits. Kousei is clearly more inspirational than I am. To go a bit deeper, though, it seems that he only finds the strength to continue (and, ultimately, grow) when he abandons whatever previous reasons he had for playing and begins to focus on his one true reason. It is at this point that his playing transforms and becomes something new. This kind of parallels the Christian life: at first we go about making a mess of our life until we finally surrender and start living for the One who matters.

The oddest thing about this episode is the fact that Emi, at the very least, is able to see what Kousei is imagining while he plays. I don’t know if this is supposed to be literal, or if the idea is that Kousei is able to communicate his emotions and whatnot by the way he’s playing. It doesn’t really hurt anything, but it does sort of jar the realism of the show, unless there’s something about music I’m just not getting. All in all, if you’ve watched up until this point, then you will not want to miss this episode.

A Christian Perspective:

Okay, so I threw a mini one into the review this week. What I want to touch on here is something Watari says at the beginning of the episode:

“In the face of adversity, that’s when you know if someone’s the real deal or not”

This one sentence is applicable to many things, and the Christian life is certainly one of them. Let’s face it: this is not an easy life. It was never promised to be, and if you think it’s easy then there will inevitably come a time when that image is shattered. Jesus promised that if they persecuted Him, then they would persecute us (John 15:20), so we should not be surprised when that happens. Depending on where you live in the world, you may be more familiar with persecution than some. The point, though, isn’t how much persecution we face, or how harsh it is, but how we react to it. If our faith is real and strong, then it should endure. We should come out on the other side still believing, still professing Christ, and still loving Him. I don’t want to say that someone who fumbles was never the real deal, simply because I don’t know if that’s a universally true statement. Is the issue really that black and white? I don’t know. The only thing I can say for sure is that, when adversity comes, the person who sticks with Christ no matter what the cost is, in fact, the “real deal”.

Content Guide:

Language: 1 “d**n”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: None

Violence: None

Blood/Gore: Young Kousei is shown with blood running down his face

Review: Your Lie In April, Episode 9: Resonance

Review:

This was actually a bit of a disturbing episode. This week wraps up Emi’s back story that dominated the previous episode, and it finally moves us into Kousei’s part of the contest storyline. While it takes a while before we actually see Kousei hit the stage, he finally does, but even then most of that portion of the episode focuses more on his backstory than on the events at hand. Previous episodes have certainly shown that Kousei’s mother was harsh on him, but this episode really shows how harsh. A young Kousei is shown with bruises and welts on his arm, and is later shown being publicly abused by his mother as she slaps him and beats him with her cane. Fictional or not, it is certainly disturbing to watch such intense displays of child abuse take place.

On top of this, there is a very brief scene involving Kaori that will almost inevitably become important at some point. While I don’t want to say what it is here, you will almost certainly be able to figure out to which scene I’m referring when you watch the episode. While this isn’t nearly as disturbing as the Kousei flashbacks, it still sets a pretty grim possibility in place. It is a very well-placed scene that can put a thought in your mind without taking the focus off of Kousei and the immediate situation.

Unfortunately, we do not see the end result of Kousei’s competition this time around. After watching Takeru and Emi do their performances and hearing them express their feelings towards Kousei, we do certainly see them get what they were hoping for, but how this will all turn out will have to wait until the next episode. As this episode ended, things were quickly going down hill and certainly did not look good for our hero; however, that doesn’t necessarily mean Kousei is hopeless.

A Christian Perspective:

As Kousei prepares to take the stage, we see him once again haunted by the specter of his mother. As he plays, we are allowed to see more of Kousei’s past, and we get a look into a particular incident where he said something particularly harsh to his mother. What all this seems to culminate in is Kousei being hindered by the memories of his mother. It would seem that his inability to fully return to the piano is directly connected to this. We Christians can sympathize with this; after all, how many of us have ever been held back by the memory of some sin we’ve committed? Perhaps we’ve agonized over it, felt crushed by it, even felt defeated by it. Maybe we thought God could never forgive us, or maybe we feel like we’re too deep to dig out, but no matter what our thought process is we just can’t move on in our Christian walk because we are tied down to the mistakes of our past. Until we learn to let these things go, we will find victory alluding us, and until Kousei forgives himself and moves on from his past with this mom, he will most likely never get out of his piano troubles.

Content Guide:

Language: 1 “d***it”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: None

Violence: A flashback shows Kousei’s mom slapping him and hitting him with her cane

Blood/Gore: Young Kousei is shown with welts on his arm (presumably from his mom beating him); his mom is shown with an IV in her arm, and the area around the IV is red (possibly blood); blood is shown dripping from young Kousei’s face

Other: Kaori is shown with a bunch of pills (seems to be medication)

Review: Your Lie In April, Episode 8: Let It Ring

Review:

So as stated at the end of my previous Christian Perspective, my initial assessment of Takeshi was off. As this episode progresses and Takeshi reflects on his feelings towards Kousei, we find out that this is more than just a simple rivalry, or a simple desire for vengeance because Takeshi feels humiliated by Kousei’s skill. It turns out that Kousei is something of an inspiration to Takeshi, a fact that is teased out through Takeshi’s own reflections, as well as those of his instructor. You can expect a bountiful amount of two things in this episode: piano playing and exposition. Both Takeshi and Emi play in this episode (Takeshi’s performance that began in the previous episode resolves, and Emi’s begins), and both are shown reflecting on Kousei’s impact on their lives.

One thing that is commendable about this series is that the creators are more realistic with the characters. Despite Takeshi and Emi both being highly skilled pianists, we see that they are actually quite nervous prior to their performances. This seems more realistic than the usual cockiness that highly skilled characters tend to show, and perhaps lends to the fact that Takeshi and Emi serve more of a purpose than simply being the rivals we’re supposed to dislike. Hopefully they will play more of a role in the ongoing story, as opposed to fading into non-existence once Kousei (presumably) “gets his game back”.

A Christian Perspective:

Okay, this may not be a strictly Christian perspective, but much like Takeshi and Emi, we all will inevitably come across someone who will inspire us—in our Christian lives, in our careers, in our hobbies, etc. The important thing is to make sure that the people we are following and allowing to influence us are trustworthy, especially when it comes to spiritual matters. 2 Peter 2:1 warns us that, “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them–bringing swift destruction on themselves.” If the person or people influencing us is exhibiting behaviors or teaching things that are contrary to Scripture, then we should swiftly and decisively sever that person’s influence in our lives.

Content Guide:

Language: 1 “cr*p”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: None

Violence: None

Blood/Gore: None

Review: Your Lie In April, Episode 7: The Shadows Whisper

Review:

Kousei’s piano contest is looming ever closer, and he’s about as prepared as he can be considering the fact that he can’t even hear the notes he will be playing. As the episode moves us closer to the actual competition, we get introduced to more information about Kousei, including his childhood cat. A couple shots in the episode show Kousei sitting on a swing, talking to a cat, which is presumably representative of the cat from his childhood. It should be noted that these are dream sequences or something similar, and they provide a deeper look inside Kousei’s psyche, although it didn’t seem all that ground breaking.

Of course, Kaori is there to lend an ear. Which direction their relationship is supposed to be moving towards is still a mystery, although Kousei definitely seems to confide in her more than his long-time friends (and we already know his feelings towards her). Scenes like this certainly lend hope to a romantic relationship, but only time will tell. For now, she proves to be a good (if not spastic) friend. On the other side of the spectrum, we have Takeshi and Emi, Kousei’s newly introduced rivals. The presence of said rivals isn’t surprising—it would be quite dull and unrealistic if the great piano prodigy did not have at least one—and they certainly have a history with Kousei (even if he doesn’t remember them). So now the stage is set. Will Kousei come out victorious? Or will he fall to one of these two contenders? Only time will tell, so let’s watch and see!

A Christian Perspective:

Romans 12:19 – Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

Let’s talk about vengeance, and what it can cost us. Near the end of the episode, we see that Takeshi had the opportunity to travel to Germany to perform so that he could enter the same contest as Kousei and ultimately compete against him. Takeshi’s seeming desire for vengeance (even if Kousei never truly wronged him… perhaps vengeance isn’t even the best term to use here, but you get the point) has cost him a great opportunity that could ultimately advance his standing as a piano player.

Before we get too down on Takeshi, though, let’s take a look at ourselves. Have we ever acted out of vengeance? If we’re honest with ourselves, the answer is most likely yes, and that vengeance has probably cost us. The degree of cost may differ—for example, taking physical vengeance may have personal as well as legal consequences as opposed to something less severe—but the reality is that we probably lost or damaged something. Relationships, reputation, and perhaps our own peace are some things that may be impacted. If someone has wronged us (and let’s make sure it is a true wrong and not just our perception), then we are not to take vengeance or hold grudges. Instead, reflect back to the verse shared at the beginning and remember that vengeance is in God’s hands, not ours.

(For the record: I wrote this after seeing the next two episodes, so I know more about Takeshi’s feelings now. I still thought this was a good point, and it is what I thought of upon initially viewing this episode, so I still went with the perspective.)

Content Guide:

Language: 3 “da**it”, 2 “p***es”, 1 “d**n”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: None

Violence: Kaori kicks Kousei several times; Kaori headbutts Kousei in the back; a scene shows Takeshi shooting a beam from his mouth and scorching a man’s face (this is metaphorical, of course)

Blood/Gore: A flashback shows a young Kousei with blood on his hand